Book Review: Out of the Ashes

Out of the Ashes (The Ashes Series Book 1) by Diana Gardin: Out of the frying pan and into the fire…

Paige Hill is discovering who she is again after losing everything she loves in a tragic fire. She’s endured a long road to recovery with the help of her best fiend Gillian and is finally beginning her life again: college, a job, and a blossoming love she never even saw coming.

Clay Forbes is the notorious campus playboy. He’s a star athlete, a senior architecture major, and the only son in a family with power and money back in his hometown. When he crashes into Paige, his whole perspective on life shifts, and his world as he knew it becomes nonexistent. He’s wrapped up in her.

They’re both learning how to love, but Clay’s ex-girlfriend Hannah won’t make it easy for them. She puts a target on Paige’s back, and won’t stop until she’s derailed their budding romance once and for all. Who will be left standing after the ashes settle for the second time?

TeriLyn's thoughts:
**ARC graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**

After reading the blurb for Out of the Ashes I was intrigued. I both liked the story and was frustrated with parts of this story; I'll do my best to explain both aspects. It's more YA than NA, making it a bit young for me. The writing is engaging and fluid. The plot is very good; I enjoyed the premise of this and the heroine's back story. The story starts at telling us about the past year of Paige's life and it's nothing short of a tragedy. At first thought, I thought the story would be one of salvation and Paige reclaiming her life. It was not. Out of the Ashes is about Paige's continued efforts to just survive. The plot is my favorite aspect about the book, I genuinely like this story. The characters though made it hard for me to really love it. They acted younger than what I thought their ages were. And some of the story felt too rushed. The way the author moved the story forward at the beginning was satisfying. The nuanced plots throughout the book move smoothly and at a good pace. However, after Paige meets Clay I felt their relationship moved at warp speed and it didn't work for me. After meeting and reluctance from Paige, their relationship quickly escalated and it felt unnatural. I'm not sure if my opinion is slightly biased because I just came off a story where I totally connected with the heroine who had just as broken of a past but Paige, too many times, drove me crazy. I feel heartless saying that because there were many times where I did feel for Paige. Her story is heart breaking and her emotion is tangible for the reader through the writing. Her struggles are nothing short of valid and understandable. But she was so wishy-washy in her convictions, constantly changing her mind. It was at times like she wasn't even trying, making it harder for me to really connect to the character. I wanted her to stand up for herself; to have this huge moment where she draws from the strength I know she possesses. Understanding that's not what this installment of the story was about, this book completely highlighted her struggles. Thinking on it now, that's a subplot that moved at a much slower pace. Everything around Paige is happening so fast that her actual healing is stalling. Clay's character is half and half for me as well. He was strong and protective with everyone but himself. I loved how he found Paige and had one of the "aha" moments where he knew she was it. His back story is vague and not nearly as explained as Paige's so there's some mystery to him. The villain in Out of the Ashes is despicable and deranged, making her quite an intriguing foe for Paige and Clay. The craziness that ensues in the last 25% of the book is just that, crazy. And there is a major cliffhanger that leaves you needing to know what went down. It's a who done it and why type situation. Out of the Ashes is a solid story with some sticking points for me. However, I was left hanging just enough to want that second book.

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Lori L. Clark

She Reads New Adult Admin: Lori L. Clark

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