Wednesday, August 19, 2015

REVIEW: Ashes of Life

Ashes of Life
By: Erica Lucke Dean with Laura M. Kolar

Genre: Women's Fiction, Family Life, Romance
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Publication date: 4.28.2015
Pages: 280

Date read: 7.18.2015
Recommended by: Red Adept Publishing

I'm going to vent for a minute here so bear with me: I loved this book and absolutely hated this book all at the same time.  The emotions that this story brought out of me were - wow.  In fact, there were several times that I put my Kindle down and vowed not to pick it back up again.  Now, I've only been through part of the situation - my father died when I was a freshman in high school, but my mother never remarried, or even dated, as far as my sister and I know - but the way that these two acted, as if they were the only ones hurting, just really peeved me off.  I'm serious - there were times that I wanted to punch both of the main characters in the face, yell at them for their behavior ... and there were times when I really wanted to give them both a giant hug, help to take some of the burden that they were going through off their shoulders.  I know, from seeing friends go through the whole step-parent thing, that this is a realistic depiction of the relationship that happens a lot between the child and the parent's new spouse - even more so because of the fact that Alex was the only parent Maddie had left - but they spent far too much time hating each other when they really could have - and should have - bonded together in both their times of sorrow.  But I'm also someone looking in on their lives from the comfort of my couch, not actually having to live the life that they lived.  But MAN they pissed me off.

^^ That should tell you a lot about how well written this book is.  I don't often get super emotional during a book like that, but this one sure did pull the feels out of me.  It was eye-opening, to say the least. ^^

The characters are great.  Even though I spent quite a bit of time hating Alex and Maddie (when you read the book, you'll understand why), they were both good people and deserved better than what they got from each other.  The two men that came into their lives - and both of their best friends - really helped to show the kind of people they were outside of the grief that they were dealing with, and were just as well written as the two main characters.

Amazing job done by both of these authors.  This is a great book from the very first to the very fast page.  I definitely plan on searching out more from these two authors, and hope they produce something together again.

About the book:
Married for just three months, Alex Barrett is stunned when her husband, David, dies in a tragic accident.  And the absolute last thing the pregnant young widow wanted is to take on responsibility for his teenage daughter, Maddie.  Reeling from loss, Alex struggles to deal with her grief and her troubled stepdaughter, but one question haunts her: why was David with his ex-wife when he died?
            All Maddie Barrett wanted was for her parents to get back together, but an icy road took that dream away.  Afterwards, Maddie is riddled with guilt that she can't share with anyone.  Feeling angry and alone, she lays all the blame on Alex.
            Alex and Maddie must find a way to move past their path - shared, yet separate.  Thrown together in an untenable arrangement, they fight through a frozen landscape of sorrow and redemption while redefining love, forgiveness and family.

About the authors:
After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains where she lives in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180 lb. lap dog, and at least one ghost.
            When she's not busy writing or tending to her collection of crazy chickens, diabolical ducks, and a quintet of piglets, hell bent on having her for dinner, she's either reading bad fan fiction or singing karaoke in the local pub.  Much like the main character in her first book, To Katie With Love, Erica is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces.
            How she's managed to survive this long is one of life's great mysteries.

Laura M. Kolar lives with her husband and daughter in a one-stop-light town in northern-lower Michigan.  Though she didn't discover her love of books until she turned thirty, as a self-declared hopeless romantic, she has spent the past few years reading and writing stories with mostly happy endings.  If not at her day-job or with her family, you will find her sipping a cup of chai latte while sitting in her favorite rocking chair, hunched over her laptop writing or spending entirely too much time on Twitter.


Erica Lucke Dean said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review my book! It is very much appreciated. :)

Meghan H said...

You are very welcome. Thank YOU for writing such a great book. I definitely plan to read more of yours in the future :)