All posts by Mary Knobbe

Under Locke

Under Locke4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Okay, I was a lost cause the minute I started this book. For nearly two days, everyone in my home was under “don’t talk to mom she’s reading right now” alert.

The story basically begins with Iris, cancer and terrible dad survivor, trying to get back on her feet. She’s been laid off and forced to move in with her brother Sonny. Enter Dex Locke. He’s one of Sonny’s motorcycle buddies, and he’s in need of an office manager for his tattoo shop. It isn’t Iris’s dream job, but it will pay the bills. Unfortunately, Dex is a total dick of a boss. He’s moody and foul-mouthed. Dex has also made it clear (read straight out told her brother) that he thinks Iris is dumb. Life only gets more complicated when some sketchy bikers looking for Iris’s dad beat up Sonny and threaten Iris. Now it’s up to Dex to keep her safe while Sonny searches for their deadbeat dad. As villains come out of the woodwork, Iris learns to trust Dex with her safety and her secrets. She might even trust him with her heart.

I’m a sucker for a bad boy with a secret soft center, so for me, Dex Locke is a dream come true. He is so ridiculously angry at the world, it made me laugh. Iris ultimately begins to laugh about it too. The book starts with these two characters first meeting, and you get to watch their friendship and more build over the book. I love when we get to see characters fall for each other over time. It feels more real. I love the witty banter between these characters and the super-hot bedroom scenes. I will warn you, it takes a while to get to the steamy part of this book, but it is totally worth the wait. I love Iris and Dex. Sonny and the tattoo artists were great characters too. Overall this is a really solid read that won’t take you to long. Be ready, though, you become a sick reading addict once you hit the halfway mark. I had to force myself to put the book down and feed my children.

Plot: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

The plot takes a little time to start up, but it’s fairly believable. It moves along just like life does. Sometimes there’s lots of action. Sometimes, you’re just shooting the breeze with your friends. The pace could have been quicker, but I truly enjoyed the scenes where you watch Iris bloom in her new life.

Writing: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

The book could have used an edit here and there, but it was a pretty solid. I kinda like longer books. I get to stay with the characters longer, so I may be biased.

Characters: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

This is where Mariana Zapata hits it out of the ballpark. I loved every character in the book (you know, except for the villains). They have realistic problems, fun conversations, and good hearts. Not only were the hero and heroine written well, but also their cast of supporting characters was super interesting. I wouldn’t mind reading a book about Sonny, Slim, Luther, or Blue in the near future.

Fire Inside: A Chaos Novel (Chaos MC, #2)

Fire Inside3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

If you like sweet love/redemption stories with bad boys and good girls, this is totally for you.

So, Lanie’s back. (Remember her? The Russian mob murdered her fiancée and nearly her back in Motorcycle Man) It’s been seven years since she was shot when her fiancée used her as a shield in a rain of gunfire—I know, total douchebag move, but he was already mixed with some bad dudes just because he wanted to give her the wedding of the century. He’s not exactly known for great decision making. Anyway, after a long dry spell, she’d like to get back into the dating scene. Sort of. Really she just wants one night of hot biker sex with Hop Kincaid (Tack’s lieutenant). Hop is more than willing to help out. There’s only one problem: he’s falling fast for her, and she’s doing everything she can to back away.

This story sort of breaks the typical Kristen Ashley plot rules. First of all, there aren’t really any bad guys going in the story. I mean there are plenty of characters who aren’t going to win awards for pleasant behavior, but no one is actively trying to physically hurt Lanie or Hop. (I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop with the whole Benito situation, but I guess that’s for the next book.) This is a simple, straight love story. Hop isn’t the typical alpha male lead I’m used to, either. He’s still super bossy, but he lets Lanie take the lead in almost every aspect of their relationship. Hop also enjoys Lanie’s dramatic overreactions. Lanie, on the other hand, is a typical KA heroine. She’s smart, strong, and sassy. Still, her past has stunted her emotionally, and she’s fighting tooth and nail to keep Hop out of her heart. Ultimately, the plot line wasn’t as fast paced as usual. Still it was a sweet love story where I found myself rooting for both main characters about two chapters in.

Plot: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

I liked the story, but I wanted more action. I’m used to lots of it when it comes to Kristen Ashley books. I feel like this was maybe just a set up book for the next action packed Chaos MC book.

Writing: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

The fighting between the main characters in this book is where it’s at. They get down and dirty quickly. The other dialogue is dead-on funny. I love that I get to see Hop’s thoughts every once in a while. Still, there’s a lot (a lot) of description that could be left out.

Characters: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Characters are always the best part in Kristen Ashley books. Lanie is heart wrenchingly broken. You feel for her from the moment you start reading, especially if you read Motorcycle Man first. Hop is sweet and sexy. I loved seeing more of Tack and Tyra. I wish I had seen a little bit of Shy and Tab. It would have been awesome to see Shy confront Hop over his ridiculously bad behavior in Own The Wind.

First, Lanie’s fiancée really did use her as a shield (but he still died). Second, Hop broke up with his old lady because she passed off another man’s son as Hop’s. She straight up tells Hop after he’s raised the kid for a few years, so he keeps the son and loses the old lady. Third, Lanie gets pregnant, and Hop’s over the moon.  Ultimately, he has to kidnap Lanie and head to Vegas to make her marry him.

Darkside Sun (Mortal Machine, #1)

Darkside Sun5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

OMG, this book is totally amazing.  It grabbed me on the first page and did not let go until the last.

Addison’s pretty sure she’s crazy.  Since she was six, she been watching her world literally unravel while everyone else goes calmly about their own business.  Professor Asher Green may be the one person who can help her.  He knows what is causing the rift Addy sees and who is trying to squeeze through it.  Asher says he can teach her how to mend the fabric of their dimension for good.  But can she trust him? His explanations border on unbelievable. His allies are untrustworthy, and at least one of them has set his sights on Addy and all she holds dear.

This book has it all: action, suspense, betrayal, and some pretty intense sexual tension.  Addy and Asher burn up the pages with their volatile chemistry.  Both characters are fabulous.  Addy is strong, smart, and sassy (even to her professor).  Asher is beautiful, broody, and bad boy enough to win my heart.  Their friends (especially Remy and Sophia) are hard to figure out but easy to love.  Ms. Adams creates a complex world around these characters with mysterious alternate dimensions and villains with hazy motivations.  I guessed who the bad guy was pretty early on, but the plot gave me enough other mysteries to keep me up late reading.  The end of the book is a heart breaker, but don’t worry.  There’s plenty of hope for Asher and Addy as well as a world being made safe by a kick-ass heroine (who likes to hug).

Plot: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

The story was amazing.  It took me a couple of chapters to figure out how this new world worked, but the temporary confusion was totally worth it.  A third of the way in, I was totally adjusted to the alternate dimensions and still intrigued enough to be surprised by the plot twists. I loved trying to guess who was in cahoots with the villain.

Writing: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Darkside Sun moves at a break neck pace.  Still, Adams inserts quiet (or not so quiet) moments for Addy to be with her family and friends just when I need to catch my breath. Bottom line, I loved the writing

Characters: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

I fell in love with Addison and Asher on first read. They are complex and smart.  The supporting characters are mysterious and interesting.  If nothing else, read this book to meet these characters.

First of all, Marcus is the bad guy. Second, Addison is the “architect” or heart of the Mortal Machine. She and Asher are meant to be together and totally fall in love. Against Addison’s will, Asher removes all her memories of their love. He thinks it will protect her from other bad guys and protect the Mortal Machine