Monday, June 8, 2015

Blog Tour: Amber to Ashes by Gail McHugh

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.

4 Star Review by Jen Hagen

Amber hasn’t had the easiest of lives.  She has grown up in the foster care system and only in the last couple years has had a stable home environment, with her last foster parents adopting her. She is 19 years old and hoping to start a new life at college.   Amber is quite adept at blending into her surroundings and is extremely mortified when attention is suddenly called upon her on her very first day of college.  She literally crash lands into Ryder and while she desperately wants to get away, he continues on with his one-sided sexual innuendo-filled convo, complete with kiss and all.

“And what’s happening between us is sexual tension at its finest.  It’s good –healthier than a cold glass of milk.  Just go with it.”  - Ryder

Then she meets Brock just a chair away who saves the day and rescues her from the onslaught of Ryder.
At this point I’m Team Brock – clear as a crystal ball I am going to be Team Brock.  I don’t have the same thoughts mulling through my head as Amber – what’s there to question?  Seemingly insane or stable? 

It’s here, on the first day of my freshman year of college, that I’m aware a fork in the road of my life has reared its ugly head.

I’m going with stable Brock, yep 100% Team Brock.  Brock is a football superstar and entrepreneur.  He comes from a wealthy family, but his family has all but disowned him because of an event that occurred when he was 16 years old.  Brock seems to be all light, but there is darkness to him and that is part of the allure towards him.

Unable to release himself from the guilt—no matter what he did to cover up the pain – Brock’s been forever changed.  His soul disappeared in an instant, never to be found again. 

138% Team Brock.

Ryder is a tattooed, appears to throw his cares to the wind, kind of a guy.  He and Brock are best friends, do some business together, and light up the football field alongside each other.  They share a lot of common interests (wink, wink). Ryder always has the women falling over him, and if there’s one thing that Amber can relate to is their common ability to hide behind sex.  “We’re both broken whores.”

I am 152% Team Brock. Brock is the first to break through Amber’s walls and therefor no matter how much Ryder desires Amber, he will not go against the bro code…he will not steal his friend’s girl.  No matter how much sexual tension emanates between the two when they are together, he is honorable to his friend.  That doesn’t mean that he can’t react to what is certifiably scorching between he and Amber when they find themselves alone together.

“And who’s the one driving who nuts, Amber?” Eyes still pinned on hers, I point at my hardened cock.  “I didn’t do this on my own.  You’re a fucking tease.”
And I am 166% Team Brock…Ryder is an ass. 

As the story progresses I realize Ryder isn’t all tattoos and big talk.  He’s a guy with a soul, a soul that aches heavily for the people that he loves and will carry their burdens.  I think he’s starting to break through my armor along with Amber’s.  Amber falls victim to his invisible charms and steals a kiss during an unguarded moment.  Ryder was not the instigator…I repeat…Ryder was not the instigator. He stopped the kiss before it went too far.  I don’t think he’s such a bad guy now.  Hmmm…I’m having to change my tune.  I am now 81% Team Ryder, even with his crude talk.

“I know my kiss has those panties needing a thorough washin’, but I don’t need your last bit of sanity hanging on my conscience.  It was the moment – that’s all.  You hear me?”

Changes are coming because of actions that will forever impact the direction of their lives…

I clamp my eyes shut, nightmares of what I’ve turned into – what I have yet to become – seeping into my thoughts.

The direction of a friendship…

“After everything you and I’ve been through, the countless times we had each other’s backs, our friendship’s done?”
“Yeah.  It’s as simple as that.” I nod tightly, knowing there’s no going back but hating the fact that there’s not. 
And finally the direction of where we go with the next book.

As the minutes creep by, ticking into silent hours, I can’t help but feel like we’re all standing in the path of a dangerous storm.  A storm I’m positive is gonna take one of us out.

Both Brock and Ryder obviously love her and Amber cares for both of them.  She has a tough decision to make.  So where do I stand?  167% TEAM RYDER!!! 

I did find the beginning part of the book to be rather slow moving.  I usually find myself docking a book because of not having enough depth, but for this book I found myself docking it because it had too much.  I felt like it was too wordy and even with everything being described, I never felt like I could bond with any of the characters, least of all Amber.  The last 25% is where I finally felt like the book was going somewhere and boy did it move quickly from that point on.  Talk about a cliffhanger…this is going to set the sequel up nicely and I believe the next book will take us on quite a ride.  Let’s hear it for Team Ryder!  Whoop whoop!!

About the author:
Gail McHugh is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Collide and Pulse. She is the mother of three beautiful children and has been married to her husband for fifteen years.

Atria Books Paperback | On sale: June 9, 2015 | 480 pages
ISBN: 9781476766010, $15.00 | eBook ISBN: 9781476766041, $7.99

Visit Gail online at:
Twitter: @Gail_McHugh

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