Published by Simon and Schuster on June 9th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, New Adult, Romance
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Collide and Pulse comes a gritty new novel about a shattered young woman who unexpectedly falls for two best friends.They were a storm I never saw coming, an unforeseen heartbreak on the edge of a dangerous cliff. Amber Moretti’s life changes in the span of minutes. An orphaned outsider, she is desperate to start fresh the moment she walks onto campus. In the time it takes to cross the university’s dining hall, she meets two men who bring color, air, and light to her darkened world. They became my addiction, each a needle to my next hit, my high. Brock Cunningham’s appeal is dizzying, a potent force Amber can’t deny. A green-eyed smooth talker, he instantly attracts Amber. It doesn’t take long for him to consume her every thought, her every breath. Ryder Ashcroft, a blue-eyed, tattooed, and pierced bad boy, turns Amber off immediately—that is, until he kisses her, stealing a piece of her heart, her soul. They were as opposite as fire and ice, yet I ached for them equally. Never knowing she could be broken down in so many unexpectedly beautiful yet petrifying ways, Amber finds herself falling for both men. Immoral? Maybe. I say undeniable. Uncontained. But one devastating event changes everything, shattering each of their lives...and Amber isn’t sure she can recover from it.
Amber to Ashes is a book which brings together the raw emotions of a college student trying to overcome her demons and rebuild her life with a red-hot romance I’ve not seen before in New Adult. Sex, drugs and – well not rock and roll but – a different type of love triangle, Amber to Ashes is one I’ll not soon forget… although maybe not for the right reasons.
The prologue lured me in with promises of danger and sordid relationships. Amber is sarcastic and to be completely honest she’s a bit bitchy. I loved that she owned her attitude and gave better than she got. But as I continued reading this book I wasn’t quite sure why the males were falling over themselves to be with her as her behaviour wasn’t any better than a certain ex-girlfriend the characters all despised.
Brock and Ryder, the two leading men of Amber to Ashes, are interesting characters who both have a lot more to them than what is on the surface. Despite being best friends and romantic rivals for Amber, I enjoyed how different they were from each other and I liked how much backstory McHugh gave us about these two men. But that said I didn’t feel any sort of connection with Brock, Ryder or even Amber. The relationships between Amber/Brock and Amber/Ryder didn’t seem to have much basis except for both men finding her to be insanely attractive and being turned on by her bitchiness. Even as the book went on and the relationships maturing, I wasn’t sure why any of the characters really wanted to be together except for incredibly superficial reasons.
There is quite a bit of drug use in this book. The sex is on the more graphic, down and dirty side of things. And it is one of those novels which is darker and grittier than most romances out there. These things combined with the instalove love-triangle pretty much ticked all the boxes for me in things I don’t always love to read about and I was not a fan of Amber to Ashes. I barely managed to finish reading the book and I will not be reading any more in the series.
That said, I can see readers liking a lot about. With the point of view shared between Amber, Brock and Ryder, we get to see just how complicated these characters’ lives are and I think this added to the story rather than just following Amber. There are some intense love scenes which are red hot with their intensity. The sex is creative and prolific with there never being a boring moment between the sheets with any of these characters. The plot contains twists and turns delivering many surprises along the way. There is also a certain level of suspense and danger which makes things just that little bit more interesting. This book is not life any other New Adult I’ve read before and I am glad I had the chance to read it.
Thanks to Simon and Schuster Australia for the review copy