AFTER THE CLIMB by Kristen Ashley

They were the Three Amigos: Duncan Holloway, Imogen Swan and Corey Szabo. Two young boys with difficult lives at home banding together with a cool girl who didn’t mind mucking through the mud on their hikes.

They grew up to be Duncan Holloway, activist, CEO and face of the popular River Rain outdoor stores, Imogen Swan, award-winning actress and America’s sweetheart, and Corey Szabo, ruthless tech billionaire.

Rich and very famous, they would learn the devastating knowledge of how the selfish acts of one would affect all their lives.

And the lives of those they loved.

Start the River Rain series with After the Climb, the story of Duncan and Imogen navigating their way back to each other, decades after a fierce betrayal.

And introduce yourself to their families, who will have their stories told when River Rain continues.

This series was started with the help of you, my readers, during the pandemic crisis of COVID-19. The first book in this series is free, a gift to my Chicklets for their loyalty and support over the years, and a project we all banded together to produce during a challenging time. Thank you for years of kindness and encouragement. I hope you enjoy what we built together.

Please note: This book is a love letter to my readers, a project we worked on together, and as such, for the time being, will only be available right here on my website. In time, I will put it on vendors to be made available widely, but now, it’s just for you.


Title : After the Climb
Author : Kristen Ashley
Series : River Rain #1
Format : ebook
Page Count : unknown
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : April 4, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 2.5 – 3 star review

It’s been a while since I’ve given a new KA release a chance and this freebie caught my eye. Side note: I was once a fan of KA but grew out of her writing style and alpha males but I still like some of my old favourites. AFTER THE CLIMB engaged my interest quickly with a story that was all about second chances, one of my favourite tropes.

I’m not going to rehash the story for you but I am going to explain what worked and what didn’t work for me. Character-wise, I liked the two main characters a lot and this fact carried me to completion of the book. I liked the family but how KA wrote the family I will return to. The male MC was not an alpha, and the ‘babes’ were kept to a minimum. I think the blending of the family that was central to this story, was fun but also somewhat unrealistic. The second chance romance was kind of lovely and light.

Now to the writing, having read so many KA books, I do know what I am getting into but unfortunately, what happens for me, is that the writing style stops me from sinking into the story. The robotic (thank you, Hollis) dialogue style that follows a unique KA formula does not float my boat.

But he looked how he looked. And he did what he did.

There’s a lot of these nonsensical statements along the way which I think is supposed to be endearing, but I have lost my love. Back to how the family was written, the family together were chaos but the dialogue with the family together was a disaster. I read numerous pages again and again, to try and grasp what was going on. Everyone was so humourous, everyone was so quippy.

All the above said, this wasn’t an awful book. I’m actually interested in future characters because it was a good story but whether I have to chops to throw myself back into the writing remains to be seen.

You can download this free book here.