Colorado Mountain Series by Kristen Ashley
Published by Forever Genres: Contemporary Romance
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What I will say is that along the way that care, honesty, generosity and forgiveness can grow into love and love, honey, real, nourishing love, I truly believe, can heal anything. Because if you love someone, you’ll want a good life for them and for yourself and you’ll do anything to make that happen.
Laurie to Faye - Breathe
The Colorado Mountain series is my absolute favorite of all of Kristen Ashley’s series. It’s full of alpha males, strong women, action, intrigue, love and laughter. None of the couples have an easy journey, and to get to their good life battles will be fought against the bad guys, but also against each other and even against themselves. It’s worth it in the end because every tear, every nightmare, and every wound can be healed by that very care, honesty, generosity, and above all forgiveness that Laurie speaks of and the beauty that is left is not to be missed.
Like my other Kristen Ashley series reviews, I’ve put together a few goodies to go along with it.
The Colorado Mountain Series Character List to help jog your memory, or just take a walk down memory lane if you don’t want to do a full series re-read.
My Colorado Mountain Playlist, because you can’t read a KA series without a kickass playlist to go with it. It includes the songs mentioned in the books, but also my own choices to round out things out.
Kristen Ashley Reading Order: KA has a lot of series that overlap and intertwine. Here’s my suggested reading order to get the full experience. My order is timeline based, not series based so you read the books in the order they happened.
The Gamble is often overlooked because of all the greatness found in the rest of the Colorado Mountain Series, but it shouldn’t be. It’s one hell of a beginning to an absolutely amazing series.
Max is an awesome hero with his loving, sweet, and protective sides mixed with a liberal dose of alpha-hole. But it’s Nina who makes this book. She’s hell on wheels, funny, outgoing and refuses to take crap off of anyone, but she is so very lost and damaged. She won over not only Max within minutes of meeting him, but almost the entire town of Gnaw Bone falls in love with her, and she falls in love with their brand of nuttiness too.
The emotions this book brings out in me always catches me by surprise. It doesn’t matter how many times I have read this book I cry when I read the scene right after Mindy’s ordeal and Nina is in Max’s lap sobbing her heart out and she hears what Charlie has to say. On the other hand, the scene at The Rooster cracks me up every time.
In true KA fashion, there’s lots of action going on while Nina and Max find their way. There’s a murder mystery afoot along with Nina having her very own Colorado Mountain Man Stalker. Truly, though, this is a book about finding your way after profound loss, and being willing to once again take a gamble on love.
5 “I Want To Be Nina When I Grow Up” Stars
“You just need to know, I gotta fight to keep what we got so we can build on it, I will. Him, your dad, you, I don’t give a fuck. In my life, I’ve learned when to let shit go and when to fight. This babe, what we got, I’ll fight for.”
This is one of my favorite comfort reads of all time. Lauren Grahame lost her way and found herself married to an absolute mess of a man who was all about keeping up with the Jones’, living in a place she couldn’t stand with a job that she hated. When her world comes tumbling down she finds herself wandering, trying to find a place she can call home. Not looking for anything special, just someplace comfortable, her road ends at a biker bar in Carnal Colorado.
I love everything about this book. As Lauren fell in love with Carnal and it’s inhabitants, so did I. I especially love Tate. In fact, he shares the top spot of my favorite KA Hero list (with Tack– I just can’t choose). Yes, he can be an ass and when he gets mad he says some pretty unforgivable things. It’s lucky for him he is man enough to be forgiven almost anything. Tate isn’t lost like his “Laurie”, he is stuck in place, unable to function well after the death of a dream. Tate is in dire need of someone to wake him up and Laurie may be just the girl to do it.
Laurie and Tate don’t have an easy ride, it’s full of twists, turns, misunderstandings and heartbreaking events. Even once they get on solid footing, there is a serial killer hunting and everything points to it being someone they know. From the first page to the last, this book is KA gold. I don’t care how many times I’ve read it, once I start it, I have a hard time putting it down.
5 “I Love Tate Jackson” Stars
“Two kinds of women get under your skin. The ones who do damage, they don’t feel good there but once you’re fuckin’ stupid enough to let them in you got no choice but to take the time it takes to work them out. Then there are the ones who don’t do damage, who feel good there, feed the muscle, the bone, the soul, not rip it or break it or burn it. The ones you don’t wanna work out.”
Alexa Berry has never been a favorite of Lady Luck. Lady Luck hasn’t exactly been a friend of Ty Walker’s either. Lexie and Ty are favorites of the DG’s and for good reason– their story is intense, heartbreaking, but also heartwarming at the same time.
Ty is as alpha as they come. He has demons and sometimes they cause him to react to things in not so great ways. He’s also closed off and can be a supreme asshole, but when you find out why you will be willing to look past all that. Usually, I’m not all about Heroes who are out for retribution but I was rooting for Ty and his grand plan of vengeance.
Lexie had a history that was just as heartbreaking. Her luck sucked starting with the day she was born, and it didn’t get better. What I loved about Lexie was no matter how bad her life sucked, she found ways to stay upbeat, find the beauty in life, and enjoy it. Whether it be a good cup of fancy coffee or a fun place to go. She was one hell of a strong h, until she broke, but even then I still loved her.
Lady Luck is full of action, mystery, lots of wrongs that need to be righted, and is another one of my favorite KA’s of all time. It also has the best grovel scene ever written, but also the most heartbreaking one. The town of Carnal is front and center for this book and it’s going to take the whole gang to right the wrongs that were done to not only Ty but to the whole town.
5 Best Shower Scene Ever Stars
“What you need to give me is to know it is not about you, it’s about me. You gotta suck it up and stand by me. You gotta know, in the end, I’ll work my ass off to make it all worth it to you and you gotta always remember I love you and I have never, not once, said those words to any breathing soul so you also gotta know what that means.”
Faye Goodnight is hands down my favorite of all of Kristen Ashley’s heroines. She loves books, she’s sweet, kind, funny, and she’s one hell of a geek. I fell in love with Faye’s character long before I fell for Chace’s, and I think he’s pretty dang awesome too. Chace is the reluctant hero of Carnal, who thinks he is completely undeserving of the title. He has demons as bad, if not worse, than Ty’s.
This is one of the few books with the hero having an “I’m not good enough” complex that I adore. He has his reasons and I understood, even if I didn’t agree. It’s good that our Faye, even though most think she’s shy and clueless, is anything but. She is up to the task of standing by her man and helping him heal from his past.
Even though a lot of the bad guys are either dead or in jail, not all of them are and the town of Carnal is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Chace is continually a target of the remaining players even though he refuses to be drawn back in, no matter what they threaten him with. Along with that, a little homeless boy is in danger and it will take both Faye and Chace’s help if he has any chance of having his world set to right.
There is not one thing about this book I didn’t love. Even when Chace was making Tate’s most asshole moment look sweet, I understood the dark place he was in so I forgave him. I laughed, I cried, my heart almost stopped at one point even though it’s a KA romance and I knew it would all work out. Doesn’t matter how many times I re-read Breathe, I still get misty-eyed, especially at the end.
5 Best, Geeky, Sweet, but Kickass Heroine Stars
“What you got to give, Faye, here,” his hips pressed into mine, “clean, pure, all fuckin’ mine and that’s beautiful right there. But the rest, how wet you get, how tight you are, you goin’ wild for me like you did just now, baby. Fuck. You gotta know, coupled with the other, that’s beauty that’s off the charts.”
Hmm. I liked that.
A frak of a lot.”
Chace and Faye
Ham was it for Zara, but because she loved him, she knew he couldn’t/wouldn’t be tied down; so for years she let him walk away over and over again. Even though he kept leaving, Ham cared deeply for Zara and always came back to her at least for a time, until he rolled away again. That is until she had enough and walked away from him.
After she gave up Ham, Zara made the mistake of settling for a nice man, but not the man for her. Everything implodes, and she finds herself alone, and broke after losing her business and her dream home. Taking things one day at a time, working a crap job, living in a worse than crap apartment, she’s drowning.
After a severe and traumatizing wake-up call (an ax murderer goes after him in For You from The ‘Burg series), Ham learns being a traveling man may not be all he wants after all, and goes back to the one place he always felt comfortable: Gnaw Bone and Zara. Drowning or not, she wants not one thing to do with Ham. Being the alpha he is and knowing what he watched walk away, he’s determined.
Zara and Ham’s journey is not an easy one. There is a tragedy years in the making that finally comes to its conclusion, and a family betrayal that will rock Zara’s already shaky foundation. For Ham and Zara, there is also a changing relationship and the question of where it will end up when it’s all said and done.
A story about not knowing what you have until you lose it, about never settling but holding out for love, and also about allowing friends to hold you up when everyone else has let you down, Jagged had some serious underlying lessons to impart. Most importantly, I think the resonating theme was: don’t let your past overtake your future.
More relationship driven than anything, Jagged was a bit slow during the “roommate phase” for this action girl. In the end, KA’s beautiful storytelling won me over, and even on re-reads I still enjoy it immensely.
4.5 Wake Up Calls May Be Good Things Even If They Are From An Ax Murderer Stars
“If a woman loves you, truly loves you, baby, she lets you be the man you have to be. She doesn’t change you into the man she wants you to be.”
Deck, who has always intrigued me, is the main focus of Kaleidoscope. He was a huge part of Breathe since he is Chace Keaton’s best friend and I really wanted him to get his HEA. He is hot, mysterious, definitely an alpha, and has a thing for high maintenance, well put together women who are confident in themselves. Some took offense at this last bit about him but I didn’t. You like what you like. Some are into high maintenance, some are into women who are more casual (thank goodness since that’s what I am).
Emme has known Deck for years. He was the boyfriend of her best friend years ago. Back then, Emme was not a high maintenance, well put together, comfortable in her own skin woman. Unfortunately, when the romance with the best friend imploded, so did the extremely close friendship between Deck and Emme. Not able to face Emme and the hurt of the end of his relationship with his ex, he cut Emme off too but not before she gave him a gift to remind him that there is beauty to be had in the world, but you have to look for it.
Fast forward 9 years and Deck meets an extremely changed Emme on the street. What follows is a whirlwind romance, that was actually years in the making. There is also a ring of thieves using high school kids that need to be caught. Plus, although Emme has outwardly changed, she still has some battles to fight to finally get over what happened to her as a child.
Although extremely well written and a page turner, Kaleidoscope is my least favorite of the Colorado Mountain series. I adored Deck, but I had a hard time with Emme. I think KA did too good a job of showing that Emme wouldn’t allow people past the walls that she put between her and the world –she was so disconnected, I could not connect. Plus, some of her actions pinged my TSTL radar.
Even with my issues with Emme, the rest of the story was beautiful. The house was a character unto itself, and I think the kaleidoscope was too. Such beautiful imagery and additions to the story.
4 I Want A Kaleidoscope Now Stars
This was a kaleidoscope of beauty, the dials spinning, ever changing, but never anything short of spectacular.
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