Tuesday, April 26, 2016

ARC Review: Ride Hard by Laura Kaye

Series:  Raven Riders #1
Pub. Date:  April 26, 2016
Publisher:  Avon
Pages:  320
Format:  eARC

I love the premise of this new MC Club series which is modeled after the charitable organization, Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA). Perhaps between the light being shined on the organization from Laura Kaye (and Kristen Ashley) more funds can be raised to assist those in need.

So the Raven Riders MC are a group of bad ass men (and some old ladies) who, instead of trying to be an outlaw gang, use their power, numbers and resources to help those in need, particularly women in violent situations. I liked all of the club members, who ranged from big teddy bear like characters to flirty playboys to mother figures. I think Laura has created a good foundation here for a longstanding series of swoonworthy heroes and those they protect.

This first installment is the story of the club president, Dare Kenyon, finding his HEA in the midst of turmoil. Dare has a tragic past involving an abusive father (a member of a 1%er type MC), and the loss of his mother and brother. Dare's backstory really tugged on my heartstrings and added a depth to his character that you could sink into. At 37 years old, he is quite a bit older than our heroine, but he has an immediate attraction to her beauty and vulnerability. 

Haven Randall has a tragic past of her own, being raised by a mid-level crime boss father, who treated her like a commodity to be bossed and punished at will. Haven is on the run and hiding when she is taken into the Raven Riders fold with her best friend, Cora. Unfortunately I didn't have a great connection to Haven's character. I think most of that was due to her age (22), and these younger heroines of late making me feel the need to see how many gray hairs I may be sporting. I think her personality and maturity level were on par with her age though, so it's just a personal preference thing and nothing to do with the writing style or character development. My heart did ache when Haven recounted some of the things her father put her thru, particularly the reason why she is afraid of thunderstorms. 

While the book took place only over the course of a month, this did not feel like a story of insta-love. Haven and Dare grew closer together at a steady pace, which accommodated Haven's past experience and naivety. I loved that Dare wanted to be the one to introduce her to new experiences, but sometimes I felt like his maturity level dropped to match hers. But again that could be me wishing for older heroines, particularly when the hero is my age.

All-in-all, this was a solid start to the series and I was glad to get in on the front end so I can follow the new releases as they come out. I received an advanced copy of this book from Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 stars / 3 flames.

About the Author

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.