Amber to Ashes by Gail McHugh
Published by Atria Books on June 9, 2015
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Erotica, New Adult, Romance
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They were a storm I never saw coming, an unforeseen heartbreak on the edge of a dangerous cliff.
In AMBER TO ASHES (Atria Paperback; June 9th, 2015), 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.
I’m not one to shy away from love triangles. I don’t mind the broken souls, the secrets, the lies that are often found in romances. I like the dirty, wicked webs woven into these stories. I have a love affair with fiction. I preface my review with that because Amber to Ashes is full of all of the above. And while in most cases it’s cool, this time it just didn’t work for me. What I can say is, that I couldn’t put it down. I was intrigued by where the story was going. This is a tough one to review without spoiling something and to appreciate any part of the story you need the shock factor.
Suffice it to say I didn’t understand why our protagonist Amber would enter into a relationship knowing the parallels it has on her background. I didn’t understand why she would get anywhere near that scene let alone partake. The moment those decisions were made, I lost interest in the character. That combined with the “sex heals all” tone of her relationship with Brock, it was all a little too convenient of a plot.
Yet I couldn’t stop reading.
So there was something that pulled me in. Maybe because I’m Team Ryder and I was pulling for him the entire time. Hoping and praying Amber would make different decisions. Maybe because just past the halfway point the story took off giving the story line a little oomph. Maybe it was the super hot sex scenes and the crazy sexual tension. There’s one particular m/f/m scene that was one of the hottest I’ve read.
I liked Ryder a lot. I tolerated Brock. Something seemed really off with his character and I’m still not sold on him. I found the relationship between Amber and Madeline confusing. The back and forth between her not talking to suddenly having something in common and being bff’s was hard to understand. I would have liked some tightening between the characters relationships. I think it would have given more insight to their thinking, possibly making the main protagonists more likable. The way it stands Amber’s relationship with Ryder is really the only one has a foundation based on more than sex. They actually spent time getting to know who each other is.
I was definitely turned off by a scene in the book between Amber and her cab driver whom she labeled as “Bin Laden’s ghostly doppelganger” and how she has to “hand it to Middle Eastern men” because “they might scare me a bit, but they sure as hell know how to navigate the busy streets of Baltimore.” Later the same cab driver is mentioned as “none other than the terrorist driver from earlier.” I found those remarks to be insensitive and honestly inappropriate. I just don’t understand why he simply couldn’t be a cab driver?
Although I have my issues with Amber to Ashes, I have to say, I want to know what’s going to happen next. This story ends with a major cliffhanger and I suspect there is a lot more story to tell.
*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*