Monday, June 1, 2015

Wine Club #Review of Vicious Cycle by Katie Ashley

 Book Selection: 
Vicious Cycle 
by Katie Ashley

Wine Selection: 
Jeremy McGrath 

Lexi: This month’s wine club pick introduced a new author for me, I love that! Ashley surprised me with her ability to paint a vivid picture with her words. From the opening chapter of Vicious Cycle I was pulled into this dark world of violence and strong characters. Regardless of what anyone thinks of the plot and characters there is no denying Katie Ashley can write. What was your first impression, Crystal?

Crystal: This was my first read from author, Katie Ashley, as well. I've heard wonderful things about her writing and was excited to finally pick up a book from her. Vicious Cycle was well written, with a centralized plot that moved at a steady pace, characters that grew throughout the story, and a voice that drew me in to the character's surroundings. Whether I liked the plot or characters themselves...well, we'll get to that soon. 

Lexi: Reading Vicious Cycle I felt like I had stepped into an episode of Sons of Anarchy, which I loved. So the violence and misogyny didn’t surprise me, but it did make it difficult to like the MC Deacon. He is everything a leader of a motorcycle gang should be, protective of those who are his, smart, and tough as nails. Did you struggle connecting with Deacon too or did he hit a sweet spot?

Crystal: When you step into the MC world you should definitely expect violence and mayhem, besides the alpha sexiness of MC men with their hot bikes, this is why we read it. Deacon Malloy easily fit the bill but he almost fit it too well for being the story's hero. The anger, violence, and childish stubbornness was a little over the top for a grown man which made him difficult to like. Especially when it came to his attitude towards his young daughter, Willow. Which immediately put me off him. 

Lexi: The character that I connected with was Willow, another surprise because I typically don’t enjoy having children in the romances I read. Willow really stuck with me from that first chapter. I think with a slightly different twist the story could have been told from her point of view but that would have changed it from romance into more of a commercial thriller. What’s your take on Willow in Vicious Cycle, Crystal?

Crystal: When I first started reading, I actually thought that this might turn into Willow's story. Several years following the first chapter, of course. I think I might have enjoyed that more. Willow definitely made the story for me though. She brought forth the trust, the emotion, and the character connection that I found lacking in the rest of the book

Lexi: Despite all the violence and having the core of the story revolving around a child this story is a romance. Deacon and Alex were hot together, no complaints there. But beyond their sexy times I had a hard time accepting these two MC’s relationship and not envisioning an emotional blowup a few years down the road. Which would then lead me to thinking, what about Willow?! Were the hot scenes enough for you?

Crystal: Deacon and Alex had chemistry from the get-go, no matter how much they tried to deny it. My opinion of the characters did a total 180 though as their romance progressed. I really liked Alex's character at the beginning of the book. She was strong, independent, sweet and fought tooth and nail for Willow and what was best for her. But as she fell deeper and deeper into Deacon and the MC life the story and Alex's actions became pretty unbelievable and overblown. By the end of the book I no longer liked her. Deacon, as I mentioned above started the story as a complete @$$. But as the plot progressed he grew on me. Yes, he still had a nasty attitude, but it was understandable in that world. You expect these type of men to be gruff. And by the end his affection for his daughter was super sweet. But all in all, no, the chemistry wasn't enough for me. I need something more tangible between them then just a few hot sex scenes. 

Lexi: I don’t expect that I will continue with this series even though I liked Rev and was curious about his love story. I am very interested to check out some of Ashley’s backlist and explore her writing. Anyone out there have a good recommendation on which one to start with? And what about you, Crystal, are you going to keep up with the Vicious Cycle series to the gritty end?

Crystal: Unfortunately, I feel that Ashley missed the mark with this series and have no interest in reading further into it. Rev did seem like a sweet character, but then again, Alex seemed sweet at first too. I'd rather bow out now and keep my current opinion of him. ☺ 

I do have the first book in Ashley's Runaway Train series,  Music of the Heart, on my shelf and look forward to reading it. 

Lexi: Thanks for stopping by to share another wine club selection with us! Cheers to a summer full of books!

Vicious Cycle
Vicious Cycle #1
by Katie Ashley
Published June 2nd, 2015 by NAL Trade
Paperback 336 pages
courtesy of NetGalley
New York Times bestselling author Katie Ashley revs up the danger and sexual tension in her brand-new Vicious Cycle romance series.
Deacon Malloy's life is dedicated to the Hell's Raiders motorcycle club. Tough, hard, and fast with his fists, he serves the group as sergeant at arms. But his devil-may-care approach to life is thrown for a loop when the five-year-old daughter he never knew existed lands on the club steps.
Alexandra Evans is devoted to all her students - but there's always been something about Willow Malloy that tugs at her heart. There's an aura of sadness about her, a girl in need of the love Alexandra can give. When Willow stops coming to school, Alexandra's search leads to a clubhouse full of bikers...and a father hell-bent on keeping his daughter always within sight.
The moment Deacon sees Alexandra, he has to have her in his bed - and he's never met a woman yet who couldn't be persuaded. No matter how attracted she is to Deacon, Alexandra refuses to be just another conquest. But it's Deacon himself who could be seduced - into a brighter future for himself, his daughter, and the woman he's falling for against all odds.

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