*I received a free copy of Ride Steady from Forever via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *
Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
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 . . .
Ride Steady was an amazing story! Ashley took me on a tender, tough, sweet, sad, funny, happy and very hot ride along with Carissa and Carson.
My Ride Steady review:
Ashley certainly has a knack for writing stories in which my emotions are fully invested, with characters that might be strong, but that are also utterly vulnerable. Where there has been (or still is) a lot of heartache, but hope is still important. Ride Steady gave me all I expected and more! Chaos is a series in which the characters seem very hard and unmoving, but underneath that tough exterior, there is so much love, loyalty and strong ties to family, friends and the club. Carissa and Joker both had that air of toughness about them, but they had both had some very hard times in their lives; in Carissa’s case, the hardest might even still be in the future. When he was younger, Carson ‘Joker’ was a punchingball for his father, both physically and emotionally, and when he finally decided enough was enough, he hit back, took what money he could get, and disappeared. But only after going to the hospital to see his favorite teacher, Mr. Robinson, who had just lost a baby. Carissa on the other hand had a good family life, but tinged with sadness nonetheless, as her sister had died in an accident when they were small, and later her mother succumbed to cancer. Hanging on to the one person she thought would always be there – her high-school sweetheart – she got married while still young, only to be left for a younger and more stylish model while she was still pregnant with their son.
I’m sure you understand how come my feelings were ever-present while reading Ride Steady now! Carissa and Joker both touched my heart, but so did all the brothers at Chaos! And Carissa’s son was such a cutie, with a mother who would do anything to make sure he had everything he needed, and did her best to keep him happy, safe and content. Carissa’s ex was like a plague! He was slimy, untrustworthy, and a true ass. Leaving Carissa with no child-support, living in a bad neighborhood and not doing anything at all to help her, he made my skin crawl, while I was kind of screaming at him (or actually, at my kindle) to try to get him to wake up. Then came Joker. And wow! With all his outer bad-assery, the tattoos, the big bike, the long hair an beard, he was such a strong loyal man I fell for him instantly! Stopping to help Carissa with a flat tire, he didn’t really let her recognize him – even if there was a tiny glimmer of something in her eyes when she first laid eyes on him.
Once Carissa went to Chaos’ garage Ride, she was instantly adopted by all the brothers and their ladies, and suddenly, she had people who wanted to help her. Whom she could lean on. And who completely had her back! The only one she wanted, though, was Joker, and he was acting a bit distant. Until he didn’t anymore. Ride Steady then became even more full of feelings, because there was so much chemistry between Carissa and Joker I had to wipe the dampness off my kindle screen to be able to read! There was lust, friendship and even love. And it was beautiful to see these two characters open up and feel like they actually deserved to be happy for once. Of course, nothing was easy even after they started seeing each other, but fighting their demons together made them all the stronger.
Written mostly in either Carissa’s point of view, first person past tense, and Jokers, third person past tense, but peppered with dialogues and a few peeks from Aarons perspective, Ride Steady was so well done I felt like I actually knew all the characters well by the time the story ended. And even the side-characters who had very little page-time were well fleshed out and made to seem real. A wizard of words, Ashley kept me engrossed, entertained and emotional for the duration.
Some of my favorite Ride Steady quotes:
She laughed a lot. He was glad she did. Pretty girls like her who could be bitches but weren’t deserved to laugh.
The empty pie plate. So he had liked my pie. And last, there was that kiss. Truthfully, the rest could go away and the kiss could remain and it was so good, I’d still want more.
It looked biker babe. But biker babe chic. I stared at myself wondering if I’d ever have the nerve to wear such a top.
#COYER Scavenger Hunt item #53: Read a book with just half a face on the cover (4 points)
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: