The ride of her life....
Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy - until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa's pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.
Climb on and hold tight....
In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he's the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa's acting, it's clear she's falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker's secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa - or ride away forever....
©2015 Kristen Ashley (P)2015 Hachette Audio
I'm an avid audiobook fan reading contemporary, romance, YA, PNR, fantasy and sci-fi. I review for Jo&IsaLoveBooks Blog.
Carson 'Joker' Steele is one of my favourite KA male characters to date. This man is a hard, impenetrable shell with an equally toughened centre. He only cares about his brothers, this family he's found in Chaos. Joker isn't a funny man, he doesn't make polite conversation, he doesn't open up even to his brothers. Clarissa Teodore has had a bad year, following a tragic life. She's a young, single mom with an ex-husband determined to make her life miserable. She is devoted to her baby Travis. Joker changes her tyre on the highway and Carissa wants to say thank you. This thank you brings her into the Chaos compound. Joker and Clarissa have history, if only Clarissa can remember.
This series is superseding Colorado Mountain and The Burg as my preferred KA series. Truly, after Shy Parker, I didn't think I could favour a male biker higher, but Joker has done it. The big reveal was frankly fun to read. Some of the side characters delighted me, including the wonderful Big Petey, Mr Robinson and Travis. Travis was such a enjoyable character but more than anything for what he brought out of Joker, his mum and their relationship.
"The biker came forward, gloved hands up, caught Travis at his sides and pulled him gently from my arms."
I cannot wait for Walk Through Fire because quite frankly this series hits the best spots and leaves my voracious book soul satisfied. The narration was perfection that hit the mark with every bit of the story line.
As with all the amazing books by K.A. This WA not a disappointment. I have to ration myself to make her books last longer!
I recently returned to another author who's books I read before K.A. was recommended to me and I was so disappointed, the books were not on the same level!
My only wish, being English, is that The Gamble, one of my favourites is re- recorded with a new narrator. Her English accent is how Americans think we speak, but it ruins one of K.A's best books for me !
"EVERYTHING I WAS HOPING FOR & MUCH MUCH MORE"
Kristen Ashley has done it again..... she has delivered yet another all-consuming and utterly compelling MC story with loveable characters and a beautiful romance which was a joy to listen to as it slowly, and skilfully, unfolded. Carissa and Carson (later known as Joker) should have got together when they were in High School but misunderstandings and fate decided that the time wasn't right for them and instead their lives took very different courses. But a chance encounter years later between a stranded desperate divorced Mom and a leather clad Biker gave two destined hearts another opportunity to find each other again.
The young emotionally and physically abused Carson has turned into a handsome but closed-off Alpha Biker whose MC name is now Joker and, although he tries really hard to fight letting the beautiful Carissa into his now shady life, the feisty Carissa wasn't going to let this hard headed man get away again. She has been through tough times too with a cheating ex who has been screwing with her emotionally and financially but, although she was poor and without friends, she had a 9 month old adorable little boy, who was the centre of her life - even if she had to share custody with her ex.... an ex that was about to continue to try to screw with her life.
I haven't yet met a K.A. Hero that I haven't loved and Joker was a very swoon worthy addition as he gently guided and helped Carissa get back on her feet and fight for what she, and her son, deserved. All whilst emotionally supporting her, giving in to their undeniable explosive sexual chemistry and reconnecting with the girl he had loved and sadly left behind. Which turned out to be a heart-felt beautiful love story with plenty of passionate sex scenes between two lovers who understood where each other was coming from, had each other's backs and shared the same hopes and dreams for their futures. Laced in with the romance there's humor, drama and a close Biker family willing to do whatever's called for for one of their own.
Dual POV's, a good narrator, typical short 'biker talk', some good secondary plots of a gruesome murder, a rival MC Club , some well deserved revenge on an abusive Father and some characters whose lives crossed paths with the young Carson's in a positive way and, when his emotional barriers fell, he wanted to seek them out once again.
Worth a credit? It's a K.A. book so, IMO, they always always are worth the credit.... it was everything I was expecting and more than I'd ever hoped for..... she's an Author who never ever disappoints me and that's why I eagerly wait for her next release.
"STEADY, BEAUTY, BUTTERFLIES = MC ROMANCE!"
OMG! I wish I could think up these compelling love stories that Kristen Ashley creates!--Mainly, because they touch on every heart string and more! Carson "Joker" and Carissa's story was thoroughly enjoyable! You feel for both characters as they endure some really awful stages in their lives, but when they find each other…OMG…they fit together and are thankful, grateful and explosively linked in this romance that was sexy and comforting. I listened to this book on vacation and it was the perfect listen. Kate Russel was superb as she delivered in her narration about this MC Chaos romance. For me, this book was perfect! I also loved sweet Travis….what an added joy to this story. Through this story, you will feel anger for the wrong done to both Carson and Carissa in their lives and the loss they experience, but their love for one another was like a soothing salve. But, rest assured all of the bad people get their due, and for those in the Chaos MC, well life just continues to build and get better all they way around for Joker, Carissa and the rest of the gang. I just couldn't get enough and already listened to it twice! Great listen!
"BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR!"
This one is worthy of 10 stars without a doubt! When a story makes you smile, cry, laugh, and feel all types of emotions its got to be the best story ever told! I love this series, this author and I've fallen madly for Joker and Carissa---what a great love story!
"Good Story but..."
Narrator can't do the men's voices justice, she cannot do a wide range of men's voices, most of them sound more like they have wedgies up their behinds, Tack's voice is too high pitch rather than deep and gravely, as a matter of fact most of the men's voices do not represent them as the badasses that they're supposed to be. I wish more people will complain to audible or the publishers to do a better job of vetting those who narrate these books, some of these narrators make or break a good book and this is one of them. It's bad! Actually the books that Kate Russell had narrated should have had two narrators a male and female voice to act out the story. the ones she did of 'Law Man, Wild Man, Motor Cycle Man should be re-recorded with a male voice to the the men's so it would be more enjoyable.As it is I had to stop this book time and again and just try to read the ebook or the hard copy as I can't stand the voices of the men that this narrator try to emulate, IT"S SOOO IRRITATING!!!
"Narrator:MAJOR letdown-were characters TWEENS?"
Well, it is a Kristen Ashley book and the series is fantastic, but since the narrator was really bad I would give a warning if they were KA fans. I would not reccommend this book if they had not read any other of KA's books :(
I do not want to spoil it for any potential readers, but I can say that whenever Elvira & Cherry are involved there is alot of attitude & it is pretty funny.
NONE WERE MY FAVORITE "PERFORMED" BY KATE RUSSELL. This is the first time I was totally "turned off" by a narrator and believe me I wanted to "turn it off" several times! I think that the narrator distracted me from the story and as a result I could not relate to the characters at all.The male voices- sounded pre-pubescent not HOT ALPHA bikers! Joker and the other male characters all sounded the same which was very irritating, not to mention confusing!! "Butterfly" acted at times like she was a spoiled whiney girl. Even when there were hot scenes between the main characters it gave me the creeps b/c the narration made them appear "child-like"... YIKES!
I normally will listen to the book in one setting because most of the time even if the storyline has some issues if the narrator is fantastic then I was invested in the overall book and I would BELIEVE the plot, the conflicts, the characters- everything! The narrators job is to make the authors words come alive... just as if the reader who is subsequently imagining the characters feelings,hearing their voices, experiencing the happiness, feeling the sadness, etc.- basically the reader is right there beside the character(s) through imagination and connection. That is one of the major goals/purpose the author has in "telling" the story- to entertain and to connect or hook their audience (also known as authors purpose). This connection is achieved in part by word choice, imagery, and tone-which avid readers naturally do while reading. Consequently, the "narrator" has the VITAL role of delivering all of these things with their voice, tone, diction,connotation etc..In this particular book, Kate Russell did not complete this task where I am concerned.
Obviously, many readers do not share my opinion stated in this review. I completely understand because many times and I mean many :) I can totally overlook some flaws in delivery and still get into the book. Sadly, I was unable to overlook the narration which I feel diminished my connection and enjoyment of the entire book. Again, my opinion is that dual narration could have resolved part of the issue (at least for the male characters) in this +15 hour book.Lastly, a suggestion for Audible- in the sample narration clip please add examples read from both genders (female & male) so that perspective listeners/readers can make a better-informed decision on whether to read or skip it.
P.S. I will continue to be a loyal fan & "read" Kristen Ashley's books as she is a very talented author .
"Enjoyable, but I had problems with the narrator."
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR - Kate Russell:
I loved Russell in Mystery Man. And she is great doing females. But in this book I had problems with her male voices. I’m not sure I can describe how she made the hero Joker sound. I want to say dorky-wooden-loud-talking-jock. He did not have any sensuality. His voice was not sexy or low with desire. Russell did the hero in Mystery Man well, although he didn’t talk much. Russell also did not pay attention to the author’s words. Russell used a regular voice instead of “muttering.” She used a loud voice for: “Joker growled” and “He said gently.” Russell elongated the word “and” when the author wrote “and, he barked.” Even for the character Carissa, Russell did not read the way the author wrote: “why, I snapped” Russell said “why” as an elongated whine.
Above are examples of how the narrator puts her own interpretations into the reading and does not use the author’s interpretations. But it’s still excellent for female characters. It’s just bad for male characters. None of the men sounded sexy. She used a little old man voice for Tack, the head of the club. In conclusion, I will still buy books by this narrator, but she’s got to do better with men. There are many female narrators who do very sexy guys.
This is a feel good cuddly romance relationship story. This guy is so perfect for her and does so many wonderful things for her. It’s enjoyable for that reason. There is not a lot of biker action. It’s more about the romantic relationship and friends.
I do not like first person books, but I make an exception for K Ashley. This book is first person Carissa, and a handful of chapters in third person Joker or other. I’m glad she does that. Important parts of the story happen outside of Carissa’s sight and need to be done in third person. Ashley’s writing is so full of emotion, and that’s the best part of her writing.
Carissa is divorced with baby boy Travis. Her ex husband Aaron is a wealthy lawyer who screwed her in the divorce. He is continuing to make things difficult for Carissa. I liked the divorce story and what happened with the lawyers.
I liked the ending about Aaron - his feelings and actions. A lot of authors don’t write about the bad guy’s feelings when they don’t get what they want. Ashley did that really well. It felt good.
One thing some authors do that bugs me, I don’t think I have ever liked seeing it in a book. It was here. The heroine is hurting financially and could really use some money for her education, her future and/or her children. Then someone offers her a large sum of money, and she refuses on some kind of principal. I did not like it. I am an accountant, so maybe that’s part of it. It’s not smart.
A couple times Carissa was mad at Joker. It didn’t feel right to me. I would not have gotten mad. One time she was mad because she thought “he felt sorry for her.”
Narrative mode: 1st person Carissa and 3rd person others.
Genre: contemporary romance, motorcycle.
This book is pure Kristen Ashley gold!!
Squee!! Loved revisiting old characters. These two were filled with her brand of love and personal growth. More please.
"Really good addition. <3 Carissa & Joker :)"
This was a really good story. I loved both Carissa and Joker and their story was very good and ended in a way that left me feeling warm and happy.
Carissa is a very nice person who hasn't had an easy life. Growing up, Carissa lost both her sister and mother and it marked her but she was still a sweet and nice person who people genuinely liked. Unfortunately, Carissa married her high school boyfriend. He then cheated on her over and over and then left her when she was 2 months pregnant for a model. Since then, her Ex has been using his position as a lawyer to make Carissa's life miserable.
Joker grew up in a home with no mother (she took off before he could crawl) and a father that was mean and beat him at any excuse. Joker suffered through as much as he could take before he broke and left. He was gone for 7 years before he came back and got taken on as a Chaos recruit. He was made a full member a little over a year later and Joker started living his dream of designing cars for the Chaos garage.
Carissa is in a bind when the story begins. She's stuck on the side of the highway with a flat tire. She has her son, Travis, with her and is scared to leave him to try to change her flat on her own. She tried calling Aaron (her Ex) for help but he just threatened more court proceedings if she didn't drop Travis off on time. Carissa is surprised when she sees a good samaritan on a motorcycle who rides up to help. She's a little worried at first but soon realizes he's a decent guy and he's helping her out so she's not going to judge him for being a bit scary looking. She actually thinks he looks a bit familiar but with the beard and everything she can't place him. Joker recognizes Carissa when he stops to help her. They went to high school together and when she doesn't recognize him at first, he decides not to tell her who he is. Of course he also doesn't plan to see her again. He does offer her help with getting her tire fixed though and tells her to come to Ride (the Chaos garage) to get it fixed. When Carissa shows up, she brings Joker a homemade pie and wants to get to know Joker better. She's surprised and rather disappointed when he doesn't seem interested. Thankfully, her issues with her car as well as her Ex come out while she's there and the MC (and the MC women) all decide she needs help and they decide to give it to her.
Carissa is appreciative of the new friends and help but can't figure out how to deal with Joker. He has his demons that keeps him from thinking he can have something with Carissa at first. Thankfully, Joker gets some talks from other MC members that help him see that he's got more to offer than he thinks. Once Joker is ready to make his move, Carissa is his target and he does what's needed to get her and keep her. Carissa never thought she'd be with a biker but quickly realizes that it doesn't matter what Joker is...he's a good man that treats her and Travis like gold and that's someone worth holding on to. They have a few stumbles but do pretty well as they build their relationship. Most of the issues are thrown in from external influences, liked Aaron trying to destroy Carissa's life and a drug dealer that likes making trouble for the MC. Regardless of these issues, Joker and Carissa do very well at not letting anything get in the way of their relationship and keeping the angst to a minimum. The story ends sweetly and happily with Joker and Carissa getting a very well deserved HEA.
I really enjoyed this story. I loved Carissa and Joker and loved them together. The story was very good and ended great, really leaving me with good feeling at the end. I'd recommend this story. :D
"Love Kristen Ashley's MC"
This is now one of my favorites from this author. The narrator did an excellent job on this title as well.
"Absolutely ruined by narrator"
Unfortunately since the narration sounded like a middle school girl for all the characters, I did not enjoy spending the time listening.
I would recommend the book in non-audio format. KA went with younger characters who were fairly interesting.
See above. I am absolutely furious a KA book was handled so poorly by a lousy narrator (there were no male voices, just screeching little girl voices). Especially since there are excellent narrators out there (as for her Colorado Mountain Men series).
Is KA forced to accept whoever the publisher hires for narration? Truly sad if the whole series will continue with this narrator.
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