From Winter's Ashes (The Girl Next Door #2)
TeriLyn's thoughts: **From Winter's Ashes generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**
This book serves as a stand alone featuring two main characters who appear in book one as secondary's to the mains. Amy Leigh Simpson laces this story of two people who felt an instant connection as teens but fell apart when manipulations cast their shadows on their young, vulnerable hearts. , ten years where their lives have intersected with sarcasm and disdain, Finn Carson and Joselyn Whyte find themselves needing each other like never before even if they don't want to admit it. This dynamic created intense chemistry from the two. Full of admiration and dislike they fight, banter, and snark their way into a meaningful and complex situation catapulting their relationship.
The tone of this story borders on reverence and compassion. With the knowledge clear to Finn and Joss that their hearts our more fragile with the walls they've erected because of each other the romance provided is charming, sweet, and full of friendly fire. Each hiding a past full of demons, these two dance around the flames igniting from their attraction. The romantic tension is combustible and palpable from the pages. The reverence comes in the form of deep and lasting care even though admittance to such would never happen. As the story layers itself with on-going mystery and true crime elements, questions of "who dunnit?" arise. The conflict and angst of the story never felt forced or misleading. And while those things are derived from a place of young, tender feelings never fleshed out as teens the way Amy Leigh Simpson unravels those misguided in the characters present lives was marvelous.
The third person point of view writing kept my attention throughout most of the story. There were a few times where the story broke focus for me later on when it goes into inner monologues and continual hiding. I felt some dragging as a result. However, Simpson's vivid prose is descriptive and full of beautifully complex sentences and story telling you cannot deny her clout or her gift as an author. And I especially love that the romance isn't wholly sexually driven. It's clean, pure in it's nature and more fade to black when it comes to sexual intent but the tension electrifies the reader.
I highly recommend this series from Amy Leigh Simpson. I'm grateful to have discovered her series and lovely writing and look forward to discovering more of her stories. From Winter's Ashes is a timeless romantic, suspense love story encompassing forever friendships, complex relationships, deep manipulations, engaging mystery, and sweet charm.