If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: Ash to Steele by Karen-AnneStewart / @SKarenAnne

Title: Ash to Steele
Author: Karen-Anne Stewart
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: February 13, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
ARC Received From & Reviewed For: Pump Up Your Book

Who I am and all I believe is marred with just one glance into angry, steel blue eyes. He seems to control my air, my ability to breathe. He makes me crave everything I know is a sin. Pure becomes tainted and lines are blurred. It's my fault; I'm the one who isn't strong enough. I've been damaged...broken. Breck's words haunt me...'There's a consequence for every choice you make.'

I've had so many women I can't even remember over half of their names, but none of them are mine; I make damn sure of that. I take what I desire and never look back. I don't need or want anyone, ever...not until I met Emma. Those eyes bore into what's left of my soul and her touch sears me, weakens me. I want to hate her for that. She is my ruin...my sweetest hell.

Perhaps it was the pull of reading about a newly minted adult in a rather old world that made this story hard to resist. Or maybe it was the immense differences between Emma and Breck made obvious from their POVs. Or maybe, just maybe, it was this insane need in me to see them find completion in each other.

I don't know how to accurately describe what I felt as I read this story. It wasn't an easy read. Some parts were dark and crude, harsh and damaging. But other parts were redemptive, shards of hope shining bright in the dismal blackness surrounding these two. Emma's light to Breck's darkness flickered in the chaos of their relationship, but it never died, never faded. It was like a beacon of hope for Breck. It gave him something to hold onto as he wrestled with feeling unworthy of Emma and of all she offered him.

I don't read a lot of NA novels. The few I have read use the bad boy/good girl trope to their advantage. Larger than life heroes sweep into the lives of innocent heroines, playing havoc with their emotions, and generating negative and positive responses from them. The heroes are men damaged and bitter by life and relationships. They fight their battles with words and fists. They command with just their presence or a look.

But they are not infallible. They are, after all, still human. It's amusing to watch such a man fall at the feet of a woman they weren't ever expecting to meet. I like to think women like Emma are salvation to men like Breck, but that'd be wrong. They are each other's salvation, bringing an end to what was and a beginning to what is. They exist and live in perfect harmony because love enables them to see past scars and faults and shortcomings to the person underneath all that: a person who is worthy of their love.

Karen-Anne Stewart has always adored reading and has now fallen in love with writing. Her written works are The Rain Trilogy: Saving Rain, Healing Rain, and After the Rain, and the newly released stand alone novel, Ash to Steele. Her debut novel, Saving Rain: The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy, was a nominee for the Book Junkie’s Choice Awards, and Saving Rain and After the Rain were nominees for the 2014 RONE Awards.

When Karen-Anne isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and visiting new places. She fuels her addiction of creating new stories by her only other addiction, caffeine, and listening to a myriad of musical genres. Tucked away near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Karen-Anne lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and their cat. She plans on writing new adult romance as long as her fingers maintain dexterity.


  1. Thank you for taking the time to read and review Breck and Emma's story in Ash to Steele. I'm thrilled you enjoyed it :). I hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

    1. You're welcome :) I hope to read more of your NA novels!