I am a binge reader.
Like a big one.
If you’ve been following me or this page for any amount of time, that is probably not a secret. And if you’re new here, welcome! Let me introduce myself. My name is Megan, I am a binge reader and am proud of it.
Like real proud.
I live my life in the midst of binge reads and binge watching TV shows. It’s something I’ve gotten really good at (I say that like it’s a skill you can develop and make stronger) over the years. Depending on what mood I’m in you’ll find me in the middle of a binge read of a certain trope or genre, series, or author. Same with TV shows. Sometimes my binge reads last a few days, other times they last a couple of weeks depending on what I’m reading.
Suffice to say, I am a pretty experienced binge reader. I love binge reading. I love getting so sucked into a series or an author’s backlist that I don’t know which way is up. I love getting to spend an extended amount of time in a certain world or within a certain feeling that books can evoke. I love that for days or weeks of time, all I can think about is that next book in my binge read and what it’ll bring. I also kinda love feeling like I’ve accomplished an Olympic level feat when I finish a binge read, especially a particularly long or large one.
I live for a good binge read. It is one of the things I love as a reader. And honestly, it’s something I highly recommend taking up as a reader because a good binge read can change everything.
And I do mean everything.
Case in point: my latest binge read.
The longest binge read of my life.
Let me set the stage for you.
Back in November of last year, I was feeling all kinds of down. Between the craziness of work virtually teaching my tiny humans, feeling isolated from those I love because of the panoramic (or pandemic for those of you not yet obsessed with Tiktok and its pandemic references), and all of the things happening, I was struggling. I was missing my people. I was just not in the best place and I was searching for whatever could be found to cheer me up.
Enter in Kristen Ashely and her amazing, unforgettable, and all-consuming books.
I don’t remember the first time someone told me I needed to read a book by Kristen Ashely, but I do know that the number of times her books have been recommended to me over the years is probably around 67 bajillion. She is a queen in the romance community, and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t listen to those 67 bajillion recommendations for almost 7 years because I am stubborn. Like real stubborn. I tend not to listen, and then find myself regretting that lack of listening for years to come. (Just ask my book friends how many times I’ve told them over the last few months that they was right and I was wrong and so very dumb for waiting to read KA’s novels.)
It’s not that I don’t want to read what’s recommended to me, it’s just that I really am a bad listener. I always think something along the lines of “one day I’ll get to that”, but one day always gets further and further away. I’ve even been known to buy those books recommended to me and hold onto them because I know that I need to read them, even though I have no idea when I’ll actually do just that.
Kristen Ashley is a prime example of that.
I was even lucky enough to meet her in 2018 at Apollycon, but at that point I hadn’t actually read her books. (Remember when I said I was stubborn as hell and didn’t listen?!) But I did know I needed to read her words, so I interpreted that as clearing out a full shelf of her books at my local Books-A-Million. Let’s just say I am equally so thrilled that I did that because I have so many of her books in print, but also so mad at myself that I waited SO long to read her books that I couldn’t properly fangirl over her when I met her.
Can you say holy freaking missed opportunity?!? *smacks head with e-reader again*
When I finally came around to pulling my head out of my butt and starting her books in the fall of 2019, I literally wanted to hit myself with my e-reader because I had waited to read them. I devoured the first 3 books in her Rock Chick Series, simultaneously falling in love with everything I was reading, while also telling myself that I should’ve been reading these books YEARS ago. I had planned to keep reading all of her romance book goodness then, but of course life got in the way and I was pulled away.
Flash forward over a year later, I found myself back to her books because I needed a sure thing. I needed a book I knew I would love, and after having read a few of her books the year prior, I knew I could count on her to deliver what I felt was missing. I went into that book needing a pick me up and needing something to take my mind off the craziness going on around me. I started that first book, Rock Chick Revenge on November 30th, and almost 3 ½ months later I completed the longest binge read of my life.
60 books. Over 3 months of time. Countless 5 star reads. Thousands and thousands and thousands of pages. So many all-consuming series that I will literally treasure forever. So many characters who will forever own pieces of my heart….and so much more.
And you know what? It saved me. In more ways than one.
This binge read, the longest I’ve ever done, saved me. It saved my mental health. Reading these books, living these stories with these characters, and just basking in every moment was my form of self care. This binge read gave me sooooo many things to look forward to. It gave me SO many unforgettable and dynamic characters that each took me on one hell of a ride. It gave me stories that swept me up and that never let me go. It gave me real and fictional worlds that owned me heart and soul. It gave me so many conversations with my book friends and people about these books that just made my heart and soul happy.
It gave me everything.
And let me tell you, after a year of serious craziness these books were the lifesaver I didn’t even know I needed. They not only saved my mental health and brought me back to me. reading them, talking to all my book friends about them over and over again, and experiencing every moment of them was the best. The actual BEST. (Seriously never doubt the power of a good book y’all.)
If I’m being honest though, I didn’t think I’d make it this far in this binge read. I can definitely tell you without a doubt that I definitely didn’t think I’d be sitting here having read 60 books by one author in the last 3 months. But here I am y’all, living the best kind of binge reader dream.
That’s not to say I didn’t want to read all of Kristen Ashely’s books, but I tend to be a big mood reader, so I often find myself jumping from trope to trope to subgenre to subgenre quite a bit when I am a reader. (Luckily KA has it ALL, so she delivered everything I didn’t even know I needed with her entire backlist.) I also might have a touch of a self-diagnosed focusing issue that can often prevent me from focusing on one type of book for too long. When I started that first book of the binge read back in November I thought I’d finish the Rock Chicks and maybe read some more of the paperback books I owned by Kristen Ashely and call it a day. I figured my reading mood would eventually shift, and one day I’d come back and finish wherever I left off.
Flash forward to mid March and I was practically in tears because I didn’t have any more Kristen Ashely books to read.
For 3 ½ months these books OWNED me, heart and soul. They consumed my every thought and feeling. They gave me life. They took hold of every emotion I had, every part of me, and truly, they never let me go. They were all I could think about. All I could talk about. All I could post about on my social media and blog page. All I wanted and needed to read. Really, just all I wanted and needed.
These books, this binge read, these stories, the writing and characters…they were everything I needed.
Everything and more.
I even named my new succulent plant after a character in these books. That’s how much I couldn’t get enough of everything I was reading and how much I loved these characters. That’s how addicted I was to everything I was reading. (Plus when you meet Frannie in Midnight Soul, you’ll understand why that was the perfect name for my succulent.)
Throughout this binge read I’ve joined the crazy wonderful Rock Chicks, fallen in love with the Dream Men and Dream Team, spent some time on the darker side with some Unfinished Heroes, and joined a motorcycle club named Chaos. I’ve spent my days running away to the Colorado Mountains, a Burg in Indiana, the coast of Maine, small towns and big towns across this country and world, and even a parallel world that doesn’t actually exist. I’ve fallen in love with Moonlight & Motor Oil, The Honey Club, and a blue genie named Fazire who will always own a piece of my heart.
These books encompassed so many moments, so many characters, so many stories that I will forever treasure. Told through some of the best storytelling and writing I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, these books and stories gave me so many moments that shook me to my core.
Moments that took my breath away. Moments that made me laugh my ass off, cry my eyes out, and feel practically breathless with what these characters gave me. Moments that I will never forget. Moments that I’ve already gone back and reread multiple times. Moments that will go down in my book history as some of my favorite book moments ever.
Moments that I will truly never forget reading or experiencing.
I’ve lived and loved it ALL over the last 3 1/2 months with these books and fictional characters. I’ve traveled to worlds that aren’t real, and worlds that I wish with everything I have, were real. I’ve had some of the best reading experiences EVER.
And honestly? I just wish I could give Kristen Ashley the biggest hug right now because what she gave me within her books. I also want to say thank you to her a million times over. What she so infinitely created with her characters and moments and stories and worlds, what she allowed me to live and feel and breathe with her characters, and what she gave me to experience along the way is something I will treasure for the rest of time. Her writing is on a whole different level, and the moment you read and experience one of her books you will know that with every bone in your body.
You will love it, you will crave it, and you will need as much of it as possible. Trust me on that.
Simply put, Kristen Ashely has firmly cemented herself as one of my all-time favorite authors and reading these books, all 60 plus of them is something I will never forget.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I found myself reading my last Kristen Ashely book. (That is until she writes more romantic goodness, which I cannot wait for!). I purposefully chose her Loose Ends Anthology to end with one last little bit of some of my favorite characters, as well as to get the stories for a few characters that I had been dying for. To celebrate I got me a cinnamon roll the size of my face and a good as hell coffee to accompany me with that last KA book. If you read any of these books you too will have an appreciation for baked goods and coffee from small businesses.
And let me just say, as sad as I was for this binge read to end, I couldn’t be happier that I finally listened to the 67 bajillion people who told me I should’ve been reading these books years ago.
Y’all were right, I was stubborn as hell and didn’t listen, but I got there in the end. And I will be forever grateful that I did.
So there you have it.
The longest binge read of my life.
The best binge read of my life.
The binge read that brought me back to me. The binge read that brought me a multitude of fictional characters and stories and moments I will forever LOVE and cherish. The binge read that brought me to one of my favorite authors ever. The binge read that gave me so many moments that literally took my breath away. The binge read that showed me a million times over that a book, an author, a series can truly give you everything you need and more.
The binge read that truly gave me it all.
Never doubt the power of a good binge read y’all.
It just might be the pick me up you need. It also might be everything you didn’t even know you needed and then some. If you’re really lucky, it just might give you some of the best damn books and reading experiences of your entire life.
And really, it doesn’t get better than that.