Review up!The pulse, the heartbeat, essence of Kristen Ashley,
the storyteller, lies in the sum of a life, for 'what is a life?'--without color, music, sound, the family that you make? This is not simply blood relation. In KA's crafted world, family is those who matter, no matter the blood. In Tack and Tyra's story this theme rings true.
The following review is separated by songs from a playlist I titled Pulse
(my experience reading MM):
(Prior to experiencing MM)
Okay, I can deal w/ the fact that Tyra seems to be a cardboard cut out of Gwen(she sleeps with Tack the first night she meets him over tequilas, etc.). I hope KA develops her more.
First, Tyra is nothing like Gwen. She didn't remind me of other KA heroines at all, but she did share qualities with the likes of Lexie and Laurie, IMO.
Counting Crows Tyra: "you color my world"
Tyra breaks the monotony that is her life, and breaks away from pretense and jealousy, only to fall right into "Chaos". She ineptly calls her life, before Tack, a roller-coaster, when in truth she soon learns that life isn't a roller-coaster unless one takes the risks. Tyra has a loyal best friend, an adoring aunt and uncle, and parents who are not exactly close (but still love her). Yet, Tyra has a dream to find and fulfill a void, a need inside her, like that in many women, to have a good man with whom she can further build more life, in color.
She falls in bed and instantly in love with Tack. Then she seriously doubts that he is right for her, more than once, for legitimate reasons. However, Tyra holds on, mainly because Tack doesn't let go. Also, to this character's credit, she understands that with Tack, his boldness and his "sweet" outweighs anything she's had before. Therefore, the smart heroine in her never looks back. Tyra has staying power
and she can break it down as good as Tack can. For instance, in one scene, she very accurately lets him know how much he has the power to hurt her and makes him realize that sometimes he has to soften his words. He paints her world bright and she grows to be his match in every way.Other songs for Tyra "Settle Down"
For the Girls Night Out at The Club (Tyra's initiation, where she christens Mitch and Brock with nicknames: Big-Hearted Mitch and Silver Hottie); Tyra has an epiphany about her future with Tack and hilariously drunk-calls him! "All the Man That I Need"
Tyra staring in the mirror, staring at Tack in bed, staring at Tack from across the compound, and handling Tack's sweet "No Light No light"
, Florence and The Machine:
Tyra's struggle with issues in Tack's world.
(Prior to experiencing MM)
...Please, please let this book be better than Wild Man and Law Man. Let Tack be his own character without so many similarities to the other alpha heroes and let him have a great, but unique back story.
Quoting Baba: "Tack sure gave Tate a run for his money." AND, he had similarities to Tate and maybe even Joe, but more differences. These differences came mainly because of the world of Chaos. My beseeching was not in vain!
2. "The Church and the River"
, Jennifer O' Çonnor:
Between the church and the river, My love waits for me to stand and deliver Every promise that I've ever made, I want to keep them now
And I am not afraid, I won't let you go
Even when you run all the way home, I won't let you go
Tack pushes Tyra. Hard. However, he loves her twice as hard. The one thing he promises is to see that she "sucks" all there is out of life and lives free. This struck a chord in me because 'what is a life?' If you are not bursting full, then how would you ever know? Here, KA speaks some wisdom and I think this is what keeps her readers coming, besides the special brand of alpha heroes."Three Seed"
, Silversun Pickups: Tack's story and why he keeps his hand on the pulse.
I can see the bottle on the ground
We turned the corner safe and sound
No thought of him as it was done
A clean execution
A clean execution
So, Tack doesn't come from a happy background. It wasn't described as exaggeratedly cruel, but there was a void of emotion that led Tack to search for it elsewhere. This left a sister behind. Tack suffers guilt from what he feels is his abandonment of her, and so this is escalated by a deeper tragedy connected to it. The song "Three Seed" hits it on the nail with some of the lyrics. Especially with "no thought of him as it was done, a clean execution." Those who have read MM may catch on to this, but a hint is that Tack is marked by something that glaringly redefines life to him. Nothing's "clean", but you can blink and life can be taken without you ever seeing it, or having the chance to save a loved one. "I Stand Alone"
, Godsmack:Tack, breathing fire or in cold burn
Oh Lawd, Oh Lawd, Tack breathes fire a few times and it's a lil' scary. He needed a good rock song! Every time, I wanted him to go on a rampage, but he actually held it together admirably; however, that doesn't mean his temper isn't quick and it doesn't lash out and sizzle. This rock song is definitely Tack, in all his fierce glory. "Feel This"
Bethany Joy Galeotti: Redemption
Can you feel this
My heart beating out of my chest
Can you feel this
Salvation, under my breath
When Tack get's Tyra back from every trouble that befalls her, especially the big trouble at the end, he has to "feel" her to assure himself that she is alive and vital, that she didn't slip from him in a blink of an eye, out of his control. I thought of this song, "Feel This", the moment Tack says "Welcome back". (Almost choked me up in this part.Almost:)
3. Epilogue, Part I:
Shit, this woman must be a witch. She weaves the best epilogues, EVER! I feel like I just went thru a Hallmark movie, an Oprah show, a praise session in church, an orgasm and a thrill ride, SOA style, all at once. "This Charming Life"
I wanna be with you all the time Every day Every night You're my déjà-vu
It's sounds obsessive But I think it's fine When you're gone all I do is to think of you
I live and love with you This charming life
This song, I first heard in Season 3 of Sons of Anarchy
, and I thought is was a great sound for the ending when everyone is at a shindig, at the Compound. Everyone! Commandos, Cops, extended family...but more... I liked how Tyra explains the different family bonds: among blood, the brotherhood of the MC, and more poignantly, the connections made by Tack, Hawk, Mitch and Brock, through their women and through something as elemental as living a full life. These Dream Men all held on tight to their women, they all had each other's back, and the glue that stuck was of respect, loyalty, honor, love and redemption.
4.Epilogue, Part II: "Breathe (2 AM)"
Anna Nalick: Tabitha
One nuance: the eyes of a badass slashing to look upon the blood on a certain young woman's face. Quickly, I felt the tingling of an awareness. Of course, knowing beforehand that there would be new series that springboards off an existing one, my instinct was "clued in" and I knew I would not see the last of Shy and it would seem , Tabby. Of all the boys in Chaos, the narrative spent some extra time on Shy, him getting his cut and emerging as a contender. So, to see that beautiful and wild Tabby hooks her wagon to a star
in this Chaos brother is an anticipation that I will try to contain. KA + Biker-World-Drama = Doin' the runnin' man.LMAO
The song, "Breathe (2 AM)" aptly personifies Tabby's beginning woes and those to come. It also depicts how I would imagine the thoughts running through Tabby's head.
So, to conclude this playlist/long-winded praise of a good book, I will say that yes, I left objectivity and heavy analysis at the door when writing this review because no amount of repetition (present) or awkward sequence (present) or in-need-of-decoding/polishing
dialogue (very present) could be a blip on my bliss-radar. It could not outweigh the good: strong characterization, appropriate integration of conflict, thought provoking themes, relationships and unforgettable
Like others, I like that KA is self-published and her books aren't factory products of a publishing house. Rule-ridden editing of these books might
wreck her flow! Might. We shall see. Either way, the "scale crashes" on KA's side and on my side, the reader. I remain an addict.