If there is one writer out there that can say, “My characters are flawed, broken and real,” it’s Ashley Jade. If there is one story teller that can make you break down in tears one minute and laugh your ass off the next, it’s Ashley Jade. If there is one book that you can’t stop thinking about, crying about, screaming about even days after you read it, chances are it was written by Ashely Jade.
Ashley Jade is a USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author that has been publishing independently since 2015. She’s known for writing raw, gritty and suspenseful dark romance and within the last few years has grown quite the following. Your’s truly included. She has a knack for including all the ugly parts of real life into her story, sometimes coming from her own experiences. And she doesn’t sugar coat a damn thing while doing it.
I first discovered Ashely Jade around a year ago when I purchased her novel, Cruel Prince, part one in her Royal Hearts Academy series. Talk about being brought out of your element. Her writing and her story had me hooked within moments of reading and I knew there was no stopping me. I read the entire series within that week and did whatever I could to get my hands on whatever other books she had. And thankfully one of those books was The Words. Released in 2022 The Words was the embodiment of what every Rock’n’roll drama should be along with that second chance romance you can’t help loving. I loved The Words so much that I listened to it three times in a row in Audiobook form and kept going back to it on my Kindle and paperback for weeks and I wasn’t the only one. Soon after I read The Words I discovered Angry Girls which is a private fan group run by Ashely Jade for all her fans to discuss and fangirl over the genius woman and her stories. And this low and behold is where I discovered her newest release, The Choice. (Released Jan.19th, 2023)
The Choice I guess can be considered an unofficial prequel or perhaps companion novel to The Words, but then again it can’t. Mostly because The Choice and its sequel, The Consequence, (Release TBA) are centered on a different couple than The Words. Still doesn’t mean we don’t want to know what’s going on, because believe me, we fucking do! And given the way The Choice ends up, we’re extremely happy to know what happens in The Words, but we're also left with wanting more.
The Choice begins with three young teens, none of which have known a good day if ever in their lives. Skylar is a neighbor to two foster brothers Memphis and Josh and with her current living situation is looking for her version of prince charming. (Trust me, he isn’t that charming) She believes she finds that in Josh after discovering that they went through similar situations with the men that were supposed to protect and nurture them and instead didn’t. Having discovered that Josh has gone through something similar she believes she’s found the one and Josh is also convinced she’s the one. However Memphis can’t help feeling a little out of place, because he saw her first.
Over the years Memphis does his best to keep his distance from Skylar knowing that she belongs to his foster brother, but he can’t help feeling that Josh is all wrong for her, and you know he’s right. Josh is a character from left field that you know is probably going to be the villain but you still wish he wasn’t because of all the love that surrounds him. However as the story progresses you root for him to die. (Don’t worry, not a spoiler.)
Being a bleeding heart, Skylar is easily manipulated by Josh and is forced to participate in situations she’d rather not, such as being shared with other men for Josh’s own enjoyment. (Yeah spoiler, but is it really?) Along with that Skylar does her best to fight for the ones she cares for, but doesn’t really ever fight for herself. Having grown up the way she did she more or less learned to survive believing that was the only way she could keep her heart beating, and all the while you want her to fight just as hard for herself as she does everyone else. Hell, there were plenty of times I wanted to yell at her and tell her that surviving isn’t living, you have to fight for what you want. However, we really don’t know what Skylar wants. At least in my opinion. She says she wants to be saved by her version of prince charming, but does she really? Or does she just want someone to understand her and accept her with no strings attached?
Yeah, this isn’t Josh.
As you guessed it, this is Memphis. Whereas his childhood wasn’t traumatic as Skylars, it’s definitely heart breaking and makes him weary of who he lets in. Josh more or less forced himself in from a young age and from what I read Memphis didn’t know how to let him down easily. So when his brother snatches the girl he saw first, he’s naturally a little jealous but he loves Josh and if Josh wants Skylar then he’s more than willing to let him have her. No matter how much it breaks his heart.
But as the years go by, you can see how much Memphis regrets this decision and doesn’t know how to get Skylar out of it. Feeling that it would be a meaningless fight, he decides to do what’s best for himself by submerging himself into playing guitar and getting into a good school so he can leave this life behind. But the closer he gets, the more it hurts, knowing that he’ll be leaving her behind.
At some point, Skylar finally gets a good kick in the tits and discovers that Josh was never her prince, but Memphis was. However she’s put into an impossible position where she’s forced to make a Choice, and that Choice will follow them for the rest of their lives.
The Choice was a true mind blowing masterpiece that kept me emotionally invested. I wanted so hard for the Right Choice to be made between these three characters, but if you read the Words, then you know the Choice that was made. And if you haven’t read the Words, go read it now so you can see the outcome of that Choice!
By the end I legit wanted to scream, because I didn’t want the story to end. I wanted to see where these characters evolved too and see what their futures hold. Of course you see some of this in The Words and I imagine we’ll get the full scoop once the Consequence comes out.
I can’t wait!!!
So grab yourself a shot whiskey, put on your favorite rock playlist, and brace yourself for Ashely Jade, because believe me, you’re gonna need it and you’re going to love every single second of it.
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