Joint review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/03/28/joint-review-own-the-wind-by-kristen-ashley/
Lou: I think apart from two of the BookPushers gang, we are big readers of Kristen Ashley’s books. Own the Wind is the first book in the Chaos series that carries on from Motorcycle Man. Tabitha ‘Tabby’ Allen is the heroine of this story. Tabby is Tack’s daughter, and she’s causing problems for Shy Cage. Tabby is in college, and she’s opening her wings, discovering who she is and having fun like college kids do. Unfortunately, she has a motorcycle gang that keeps an eye on her because of a past incident that could have ended horribly. Shy decides to teach Tabby a lesson, and it brings on a series of events that bring sadness, happiness and then tragedy to Tabby’s life.
Can I give a HELL YEAH for Own the Wind for being gloriously edited. KA’s author voice hasn’t been stripped away, but there’s no rambling on sentences. Tabby’s and Shy’s romance was sweet and so heartbreaking at times. This book really surprised me in a good way.
Has: I so totally agree! This is a much tightly written book compared to the previous books by Kristen Ashley, and I had high hopes that OTW would be good. In a lot of ways this was a bit of a sequel from one of my favourite Ashley couples, Tack and Tyra, and I liked the hint of Tabby and Shy’s beginning in Motorcycle Man. I have to say it definitely lived up to the promise.
It almost had a NA feel because unlike her usual books, which usually has the heroines and heroes in their 30s, this had a couple in their 20s and were just starting out. I also liked how she set up the romance by covering a large time-frame where so much has happened to the characters. It showed growth and development, and I think Own The Wind is definitely one of her strongest books to date.
MinnChica: I was so excited for the chance to read Ashley’s books with a proper editor. While I love her self-published books, I find that I usually struggle getting through the long sentences, grammar mishaps, and monotony. Not only was this book well written, but it was edited wonderfully and I never once felt the need to pull out my red pen and help the author out. While I think in many aspects this is one of Ashley’s strongest books to date, it also had a much more laid back feel to the overall plot. Unlike the Rock Chick and previous Dream Man books, this one did not have has much hard-hitting action that I’ve come to expect. Of course, that didn’t mean I still wasn’t head over heels for Tabby and Shy!
Lou: I appreciated that the story carries on only a few years after MotorCycle Man. I’m unsure of how I would have felt if Ashley had written the characters in their 30’s. I’m still hoping that we may get another Tack book, though, this is wishful thinking on my part. Without giving away spoilers, I was so not expecting the loss that Tabby went through. It showed mature development because in past books of KA, the heroes and heroines have been the only ‘true loves’. This showed a difference in Tabby and Shy’s romance which wasn’t full throttle. Their relationship had to grow, and along the way, they both had to grieve with their own losses. I loved that Shy didn’t boss Tabby around. Sure, he’s still the usual KA archetype hero, but he was willing to leave the gang and show Tabby that she’s her own woman. And he wanted to be her friend before anything else.
Has: I really enjoyed this aspect of the book, especially the time it took for their relationship to evolve and develop in the beginning. I think this was the biggest strength in the romance and the story because there was a strong basis between Shy and Tabby. I loved how they slowly converged together. It was sweet and tender, but still retaining the Ashley’s trademark stamp in her characterisations, especially with Shy’s alpha tendencies. That was fun, and also realistic, when Tabby was learning to accustoming to live with him and arguing about housework and expectations in their relationship. I really liked this focus on them because it felt real and authentic and grounded and it also helped to spark off with real chemistry.
I found the sub-plot with Tabby’s best friend a bit weak. Whilst I was invested in the main romance and personal back-stories focusing on Tabby and Shy, I think the plot involving Natalie’s troubles didn’t really work for me and I was losing interest in the scenes which included her. I also found her character a bit one-dimensional. Although the fall-out over this sub-plot hints of bigger things involving the Chaos MC Club which promises to be intriguing.
MinnChica: The romance was, in my opinion, probably the strongest Ashley has ever written. I was worried that Tabby would not be mature enough to handle her happily ever after, but I think Ashley did an amazing job showing a lot of growth with Tabby from where Motorcycle Man ends, and Own the Wind begins. I cried and laughed with Tabby, and when she and Shy began developing their friendship deeper and deeper, I thought that their love story could possibly be one of the most epic loves stories that Ashley has ever written. For me, that more than made up for the fact that the plot as slow and the action was lacking.
Lou: This was the first book that didn’t have a KA heroine battered and bruised by a man or sexually abused. It was a straightforward romance between Shy and Tabby with a hint of trouble with the gang versus drug dealers in the background. Shy and Tabby not only have to deal with their own issues, but they have to deal with the reactions of Tack and Tyra who are not supportive at first. It causes major frictions, but it shows just how mature Tabby has become. I agree about Natalie’s little side-story. I wasn’t that enthused about her character. I wanted to see more of Hop and Lani with their not so sekret make out sessions. It was hilarious, and I can’t wait to see what Lani is like as a heroine. I was more intrigued with Rush and how he’s butting heads with Tack in which way the club will go forward. He wants it to be much more cleaner and it came as a surprise. All in all, Own the Wind is a great book that shows the talent of KA. I can’t wait to read more in this series and future series with a great editor on her side. I give Own the Wind a B+
Has: I so totally agree! I think this was a bit of a departure and different feel from the previous books by Kristen Ashley, and it did feel refreshing. At the same time it had the old feel and tone of her alpha heroes and heroines who have a strong rapport with other women. I love that aspect of her writing and I was glad it was not lost in her transition to a major NY publisher. I also loved the little hint of romance with Hop and Lainie’s story which I am really looking forward to because they are such an unconventional and unlikely couple which will be fun to see them hook up in their book.
I loved Own the Wind because at its core it had a strong romance with two engaging characters that had rich chemistry. I loved the themes of healing and re-discovering love which carries the romance to the reader.
I also give Own the Wind a B+
MinnChica: All in all I really enjoyed the beginning to the Chaos series. Ashley did a wonderful job of setting up what I hope will be a really suspenseful and action packed conflict with a local crime lord. I’m anxious to get back to the typical adrenaline fueled stories that I’ve come to adore and cherish. While I was already smitten with both Tabby and Shy from Motorcycle Man, I thought that their love story was so well done, and built so beautifully, that I was so depressed to put them down. I hope that Ashley continues with the epic love story theme, and I’m anxious to see how things work out for the next couple, Hop and Lainie.
I give Own the Wind a B+ as well.