Reviewed by Sarah Lelonek

I often look at reading as a way to escape. I hunker down on the couch with a bowl of snacks, a glass of wine, and prepare to take a break from real life. The Beautiful Ashes, by Jeaniene Frost, fits this description for a perfect fall read. Full of romance, danger, and mystery, I was only disappointed that the novel had to end.

Ivy has been through some hard times. A week after her sister Jasmine was kidnapped, her adoptive parents died in a car accident. On top of all that, Ivy is seeing strange visions of a different, darker world placed exactly on top of her own. Enter Adrian, a tall, dark, and handsome bad boy with a past that he refuses to let go. Ivy and Adrian set out on a journey filled with twists and turns that will forever intertwine their destinies. In fighting to save her sister from a dangerous realm, Ivy finds love and war cannot be separated.

While I really enjoyed the story, I do not think The Beautiful Ashes will break the mold of a young adult novel. The characters were well-developed, and there was a nice mix of dialogue and description—literary elements essential to good storytelling that I look for while reading. I am not the type who enjoys pages dedicated to describing a scene. I like minimal description so that I can make my own scenery in my mind, and in that respect The Beautiful Ashes really delivered. I just feel like there was something missing…something that makes a novel unforgettable.

That being said, I think that The Beautiful Ashes is a fast, fun read. I would definitely recommend this to someone who wants to escape for a few hours in a PG-13 love story. I’m not the type to really enjoy stories like 50 Shades of Grey, but I do enjoy some romance. Especially the kind with a strong, brooding leading man. There is more to the book than just a love story, though. Through Ivy, we see that family doesn’t have to just mean blood relations. All-in-all, I really enjoyed The Beautiful Ashes.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is planning on attending Graduate School for English Rhetoric and Composition. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harlequin HQN. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.