Featured Author Review: Complicated by Kristen Ashley


Welcome, LitStackers, to our December Featured Author segment.

We love compelling voices and character-driven stories that take us away from the tedium of our lives and this month’s featured author is an expert at doing just that.

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.


Up first in our December FA segment  is a review for Kristen’s November release, Complicated.


Title: Complicated
Author: Kristen Ashley
Release: November 7, 2017
Genre:Contemporary Romance

When small-town Nebraska sheriff Hixon Drake meets Greta Dare, the connection couldn’t be stronger, but the timing couldn’t be worse.

Dealing with the fallout of a divorce he never wanted and setting up a new home for his kids, Hix becomes that guy, that one he never wanted to be, and puts a stop to things before they can even start. Protecting his kids and himself is his only priority.

Greta, on the other hand, has found the place for her and the brother she adores that’s perfect for them – a sleepy little town in Nebraska. She’s learned from life that there are no hopes and dreams. The only thing to look forward to is peace. And that’s what she works hard to build for herself and her brother. Right up until Hix walks into her life.

Hix can’t fight the pull and stay away from Greta for long. And Greta’s finding it hard not to hope for something more with all the promise that is Hix.

But when the first murder that’s happened in over five decades rocks his small, sleepy county, Hix has got to learn to trust again, convince Greta to take a shot with him, and at the same time catch a killer.

In other words, things are definitely…Complicated.


Originally released exclusively for Audible, Complicated is now out on all platforms and follows the lives of small town sheriff Hixon Drake and local hairdresser/club singer, Greta Dare. Hixon is newly divorced after a nineteen  year marriage and Greta is still licking her wounds from her marriage to a good man who couldn’t take the darker side of Greta’s past.

When Hixon and Greta come together, they smolder, but the timing is off and the pair as a couple disturbs the peace of this sleepy town and piques the curiosity of the town’s biggest gossips, including Hix’s ex-wife who hasn’t quite finished with him. Complicating matters is a brutal murder–the first in decades–the local drug dealer,  and Greta’s vile mother who all have something to say about the couple.

But the pull Greta has on Hix, and the one he has on her is too much to ignore, and though the timing is off, the feelings aren’t. Hix and Greta navigate their bumpy road together by trusting those feelings and that bone-deep knowledge that what they have together is something that goes beyond complications.

Kristen Ashley is an author who knows how to spark emotion. She does it with a sharp wit, characters that are compelling, who have tantalizing chemistry, and plots that keep her readers from doing much else but being solely invested in the story they’re reading.

Readers have come to expect a lot in a Kristen Ashley novel–the towns are typically small, the heroes smart, alpha and full of honor, and the heroines are feisty, fierce and determined. She did not disappoint with Complicated. There is a lot of heart, a lot of humor and a whole lot of heat in this novel, but what struck me as genuinely compelling was the uncomplicated agenda in the main characters. Hixon and Greta know what they want and, though hurdles get tossed in their way, they know how to get it–with sheer, stubborn will.

Complicated is a scorchingly hot romance full of mystery, suspense and characters that are familiar, comfortable, each of which readers will find easy to love.

Highly recommended.