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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Mini-Review: Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley (Chaos #2)

Book cover of Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley (Chaos #2, motorcycle romance)
Mmm, a biker hero....rugged, surly, tough, alpha.  I'm usually more of a rakish duke fan, I admit, but there's something so manly and delicious about a badass biker falling in love.  And though I'm by no means an expert when it comes to biker romances, it seems that few authors write them better than Kristen Ashley.  The most recent installment in Ashley's Chaos series, Fire Inside, is an opposites-attract love story that's intense and hot and straight-up engrossing.

Summary: Lanie Heron isn’t looking for love—no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed. So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club...

For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She’s too polished and too classy for his tastes. But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can’t say no. And he doesn’t regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that’s ever happened to him—in or out of bed. Now the trick will be to convince her of that. — Goodreads

My thoughts: Despite some things that didn't sit well with me (see notes below), I really enjoyed Fire Inside.  It's the third Kristen Ashley motorcycle book I've read and it won't be the last.  Ashley crafts a super-steamy romance that I really loved.  For those new to the series, Fire Inside is a good introduction to the world of Tack, Hop and all the uber-alpha bikers of Chaos (and I mean uber).  At the same time, Ashley is very good at writing female characters with agency.  Her women are fully realized characters who have lives and relationships outside their romantic concerns.  Ashley's females have friends, jobs, hobbies and interests outside the men in their lives.  I wish more romance writers would create similarly real women.  Tack and Lanie's love story in Fire Inside isn't simple or easy, but it felt authentic, and it's that quality that make Ashley's books so compelling.

A few caveats for those who haven't read Kristen Ashley before:
  • The bikers have a pretty unique vernacular, what I think of as "Chaos speak."  Half the time, her heroes don't use complete sentences and they almost always drop the 'g' from -ing words.  It's a rhythm that suits the lifestyle, but it may take some adjusting for Ashley newbies.
  • Ashley's books are looooonnnnng — a lot of them are 500+pages, Fire Inside included.  Don't expect a quick read.  At the same time, I find her books to be almost unputdownable.
  • Those bikers like it dirty.  Just sayin'.
  • Finally, the most troubling part about the Chaos books, something that unsettles me a great deal.  Fire Inside uses "bitch" liberally to refer to women and isn't shy about throwing around the c-word.  A feminist friend recently explained to me why she finds it so disrespectful to call a woman a bitch, and it's made me think long and hard about the sexist power of that word.  Plus, in my opinion, there are few things more offensive than a man using the c-word to derogatorily describe a woman — a serious turnoff for me.  It's very much a part of the alpha male Chaos culture Ashley's created and though it's easy to imagine such characters using it, I still hate it (though, for the record, so does Lainie).  Related: I think it's offensive for one woman to call another that.  As for women reclaiming the c-word, I get that but I still can't use it myself.
Rating: B+
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Length: 528 pages
Sensuality: Very hot






Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.

1 comment:

  1. "Those bikers like it dirty. Just sayin'"

    Haha, I might have to check this out. I don't know if I could past the "c" and bitch name calling thouigh.

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