Monday, December 10, 2012

ARC Review - From Ashes by Molly McAdams

When he left for college, she was expecting his cousin, their new roommate, to be a Stetson-wearing cowboy since his family owned a ranch; not this incredibly gorgeous guy with a husky Southern drawl that seemed to make the world stop whenever she looked at him. Because of her past, she's only ever trusted two men in her life, Tyler and her dad whom passed away when she was six. But there's something about Gage that draws her to him in a way she can't explain, only problem? He's always telling Tyler that he doesn't want Cassidy living there and sees her as nothing more than his little sister. Gage Carson was excited his cousin Tyler was coming to live with, and go to college with him. When he'd called to ask if he could bring his friend Cassi with him, Gage didn't care. Gage had heard about this mysterious friend since they were kids and felt like he already knew her. Nothing would prepare him for watching her jump out of Ty's Jeep though. For a year and a half, Gage and Cassidy dance around their feelings for each other as Tyler continues to keep them apart; until one day Tyler unknowingly pushes her right into Gage's arms. With Tyler unable to keep lying to them, they finally start a relationship both have been craving since their first meeting. But when an accident and disaster sends her back to Tyler and California, will Cassidy be able to come face to face with the demons from her past to live a life she and Gage deserve; or will the fact that she once again ran to Tyler be the final push that ends Cassidy and Gage for good? Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations and language.

Release Date: December 11, 2012
Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Abuse
Pages: 416
Purchase at: Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

Review:  From Ashes is the story of Cassie, a frightfully abused girl, and her quest to rise from the ashes of her life, like the phoenix of legend.  Cassie lived a charmed life in an affluent neighborhood with her parents until her sixth birthday.  On that day, her beloved father died suddenly, leaving a wake of disaster behind him.  Cassie's mother, to say the least, was unable to cope with his loss, and began to take her grief out on Cassie.  Thankfully, Cassie's neighbor and best friend, Tyler, was there every time she needed a shoulder to lean on and someone to take care of her when times were desperate.  

When Tyler and Cassie graduate from high school, Tyler takes Cassie with him as he moves from their home in California to Austin, TX, where he will attend college.  Although Cassie only sees Tyler as a best friend, it is obvious that he wants something more from her.  On her first night in Texas, Cassie meets Tyler's cousin, Gage, who happens to be tall, dark, gorgeous and makes Cassie feel things she hasn't ever felt for anyone before.  Tyler is immediately jealous of his cousin, and stakes out to do anything he can to keep Cassie and Gage apart.  This is a difficult task, as Cassie and Tyler move in with Gage.  

The story is told in alternate points of view between Cassie and Gage, which I love.  The first half or so of this book deals with the Tyler-Cassie-Gage dynamic.  Gage and Cassie obviously want to be together, but Tyler keeps them apart with lies and half-truths.  I question this only because I find it difficult to believe that while living together, Cassie and Gage never once have enough alone time to discuss their feelings.  Gage does what he can to resist Cassie, going as far as changing his living arrangements, until one fateful night, where Tyler does something heinous that had me yelling at him out loud as I was reading.  Where Tyler was her rock when Cassie was an abused child, he turns into just another abuser in her life.  This isn't really a full-fledged love triangle, because Cassie doesn't have boyfriend feelings for Tyler.  

The second half of this book deals with Cassie's personal, family life and her travels back to her home in California. I think it is very necessary that Cassie goes home to deal with the specters of her past.  This girl as A LOT to deal with.  Although she is in love with Gage, she is reintroduced to Connor,  a man from her past that helps her deal with her previous abuse.  We begin a quasi-love triangle that I did not like one bit.  Connor is older than Cassie and has a career in law enforcement.  He comes on very strong.  Although Cassie met Connor as a teenager, it just seems that Connor falls into insta-love with Cassie and decides that he has to have her at all costs.  I hated him immediately.  

The ending of this book deals with Cassie's choices and her life after she has come to terms with her abuse.  There are some other hardships that Cassie deals with that I thought could have been left out of this story.  I thought the ending was wrapped up with a big red bow and she eventually does get her HEA.  

My problems with this book lie around what Tyler did to Cassie, and how he was forgiven so quickly.  I understand that they have been best friends since they were children, but what Tyler does is so very unforgiveable to me that I couldn't stand him throughout the rest of this book.  Tyler also does an quick change in his feelings towards Cassie and Gage.  It seems too easy for Tyler to accept them as a couple after all he went through with Cassie.  I also thought that introduction of Connor and his actions were a bit forced. It just seems that every male has a thing for Cassie.  

Although I had a few issues, this is a great, quick and angsty read.  I loved Gage, even when he overused his pet name for Cassie.  Cassie is one of the most internally strong characters I have read about.  What this story all comes down to is the struggle for Cassie to overcome her past and make her life meaningful without the abuse holding her down.  It is awesome to see the transformation in Cassie from a scared, introverted girl with heavy personal issues, to the woman she becomes.  It is story with a lot of heart about triumph over darkness, forgiveness, and about true love and how it can change a person.  Molly McAdams is an author that you really need to keep an eye on.  She effortlessly writes emotional and angsty scenes that had me staying up through all hours to finish this book.  I recommend this book to those who enjoy New Adult, Contemporary Romance and characters overcoming great adversity.  


Braine TS said...

Her covers are always like this. Love the theme

Jamie said...

I love the cover! The abuse theme was very powerful and she wrote it beautifully.

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