Play it Safe by Kristen Ashley

February 25, 2018 An EDGy Buddy Read and Review, Book Review 0 ★★★½

Play it Safe by Kristen Ashleythree-half-stars
Play It Safe by Kristen Ashley
Published by Self-published on January 14th 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 487
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No connections. Play it safe. These were the rules Ivey lived her life by.

Until she hit Mustang, Colorado, a perfectly imperfect town where the citizens were welcoming and one of them included the tall, beautiful, macho man rancher cowboy, Grayson Cody.

On the run for a decade, Ivey knew she was supposed to play it safe. But she was tired of being on the run. She wanted a normal. She wanted real. She wanted a home.

And she wanted Grayson Cody.

And Grayson Cody wanted Ivey.

No one who looked at them couldn’t see they belonged together. There was one man in this world for Ivey and one woman in this world for Grayson Cody.

So they fell in love.

But just as quickly as they fell together, they were betrayed and torn apart. Separated for years, Ivey was certain her life would not include her rancher cowboy. Until the town of Mustang reached out to her when Gray was in trouble. Even though she thought he broke her heart, she charged in to help. Then Gray and Ivey discovered they were betrayed and, not only that, Gray had an enemy who would stop at nothing to defeat him.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

By Spice

When we were talking about fun things to do on Edgy for 2018 we came up with the idea of doing at least one official buddy read per month.  We thought it would be fun to go old school with them (well old school for us) and incorporate some of our own conversations and comments into those reviews like we did when we first started Edgy. Our first attempt was a false start—we picked a book that had just been made free for a limited time and it kind of sucked. We bailed lickety-split, and after a bunch of back and forth (it’s hard to pick a book all three of us could be on board for), we decided on doing one by the author who brought us together, Kristen Ashley. We picked Playing It Safe for a couple of reasons. It seems Lily has never read it and it’s one of the few neither I nor Sparkles has reread. Perfect!

At first, the going was a bit slow as Lily kept getting distracted by the horse on the old school cover, and Sparkles kept getting distracted by Charlie Hunnam GIF’s. Yes, it happens to the best of us.

Since this is old school KA, it was immediately noticed that things were a bit wordy. Well, maybe a lot wordy.


Lily: Is it me or is this wordy.

Spice: It’s wordy. This was one of her first books, wasn’t it?

Sparkles: That would explain it not being as good as a Rock Chick book. If I remember it starts out slow, then gets captivating…maybe.

Spice: Actually it’s from 2012, after Rock Chicks.

Lily: You guys need to encourage me on. If it wasn’t a KA, I’d be DNFing at 10%.

Sparkles: Keep going. I’m sure magic will happen soon.

Lily: This may be a chapter a night buddy read.

Things may have been going kind of slow with the book but that didn’t stop us from finding things to discuss. Questions were brought up like  “Did she get the name Gray from Fifty Shades since it released the year before?” along with a heated discussion on what plasters were in the UK vs. Australia vs. the US. We also discovered we all love Vix Vapor rub. Clearly Playing It Safe needed to speed it up or this buddy read was going to break down.

At 15% things finally picked up enough to appease the Dark Queen. But even then, she was begging to edit it down. As much as I love KA, I had to agree.

Spice: Definitely want to edit:

“My Dad taught me good things come to those who wait. He was a patient man and he taught that to me”

Ugh. The thing is she does the repetitive stuff that makes me want to scream, then ends that same paragraph with:

“Whatever led you to that life wasn’t good but you didn’t let it make you hard. There’ll come a time when you’ll give that to me. And you take your time, Ivey, I’ll wait.”

That right there is why I love her and she drives me nuts at the same time.

Sparkles reminded us of another reason why we love KA. Her lovably awesome side characters by bringing this quote to our attention:

“Evenin’ Gray. Hello beautiful creature that embodies the reason I put my ass on the line for this country.”

We were alternately enjoying the story, but then getting frustrated too.

Spice: This starting and stopping is getting kind of funny lol.

I like the story, but it spins its wheels then goes 0-120 in two seconds flat.

Lily: I am enjoying the story and  like the characters but, gee, it feels like we’ve opted for a looonnng game of golf to get there, stuck behind a couple of big groups of hopeless players (because you know I am such a fantastic golfer – not) instead of walking briskly from the car park to the 19th hole.

We all agreed that the situation with Ivey’s brother was heartbreaking.

Lily: He started off valiantly, saving Ivey from the unthinkable

Sparkles: Yeah, but then he f*cked up forevermore.

Spice: But he expected her to pay him back forever for that, only living for him.

Lily: I believe he became that loser, but he didn’t start out that way though. Nature or nurture question yet again. Two siblings + different fathers.

Once things got back on track for Ivey, we had Green Acres going through our heads so it was pretty funny when it was actually mentioned in the book.

Showcasing how dialect can take some off track if they aren’t from the area highlighted, Lily brought up that she thought part of her problem was the style of the dialogue. At times she felt like it was satirical but she wasn’t in on the joke. I assured her it wasn’t meant to be like that and I had no issue with it.

As we came to the end, we all agreed it was full of the feels and emotions that we all love about a Kristen Ashley book, but it felt like it took a long time to get there.

Final Thoughts:

Lily: While Play it Safe felt like a long ass read, it’s left me in a good space. That’s what KA books do, but gee the repetition was frustrating—3 stars.

Tighten the story up and it could easily be 4 stars. I couldn’t overlook the repetition to rate it higher.

Spice: I’m at 3.5. Things frustrated me but the feels were awesome. Plus I did enjoy my little glimmers of other characters and books here and there. It felt familiar but not a bad familiar.

Sparkles: While part of the buddy read, Sparkles was traveling while this was put together so I never got her final impression other than she loved it overall, and agreed it was a bit wordy. For her it was all about the emotion, and she was all over that.


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