ARC Review: The Sweetest Burn by Jeaniene Frost

The Sweetest Burn by Jeaniene Frost
Series: Broken Destiny #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: June 27th 2017
Links: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback• Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The breathtaking second novel in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Broken Destiny series finds Ivy and Adrian rekindling their alliance—and passion—as the struggle for the fate of the world begins…

Conquering a supernatural realm turned out to be easier than getting over a broken heart. But her initial victory has made Ivy a target for revenge, forcing her to reunite with the dangerous—and dangerously sexy—Adrian. Ivy isn’t sure which will be harder: finding the hallowed weapon that will repair the crumbling walls between the demon and human realms, or resisting Adrian, who’s decided that come hell or high water, he will make Ivy his.

At first, Adrian tried to resist his feelings for Ivy. Now, determined to break the curse that dooms their love, he’s vowed to save her and to have her. If only he can persuade her to forgive his past sins. But defying destiny—and surrendering to the smoldering desire between them—will bring consequences and sacrifices they never imagined…

It’s been about three years since the release of the first Broken Destiny book, so as excited as I was to read The Sweetest Burn, I was afraid I just wouldn’t be able to get into the story because it’d been so long since I was immersed in the Broken Destiny world. Thankfully, this didn’t happen – as soon as I opened up the first page of this long-awaited sequel, I was sucked back into this new(ish) world Jeaniene Frost created. It was almost as if I didn’t have to wait three years to read this, which impressed me immensely. If you were a fan of The Beautiful Ashes and have been waiting anxiously to continue the series, wait no more! Ivy and Adrian are back – and even better than they were before.

As the last Davidian, Ivy is the only person capable of wielding the three artifacts that hold the power to destroy demons and save humanity. Adrian is fated to be her enemy and downfall, but somehow fate got a little twisted and these two fell in love with each other. At the end of the first book, after finding the first artifact, Adrian had left Ivy for her own good – but now he’s back and ready to help Ivy again on her journey to finding the second and third artifacts, all the while proving his love and devotion to her.

“I didn’t want to know you, like you, need you, or most of all, love you, but I did. I still do. You are my destiny, Ivy, just not how everyone predicted. Now, when I think of the future, I think of spending it with you.”

Much of the first book felt like it was a set-up for the rest of the series. It had potential… and that potential was finally realized in The Sweetest Burn! I have to say I enjoyed this sequel so much more than the first book, mainly because of how much more I liked the characters. I felt like we get to know Ivy and Adrian a lot better, after all the trials and tribulations they overcome and still have waiting for them in the future.

This book was pretty fast-paced and easy to read. The action was intense and exciting, but it was definitely the romance that had me hooked onto the pages. I loved how determined Adrian was to win Ivy’s heart – he’s so lovable, charming, and protective! Ivy herself is a great heroine – a little too self-sacrificing, but I admired her strength and how she took to learning her newfound Davidian powers.

I’m SO excited to see how this series will end. There’s a little twist at the end of The Sweetest Burn that I’m sure will stir up a lot of trouble in the next and final book of this trilogy, and I can’t wait to see how it goes! I’m also so glad we don’t have to wait for another few years for the last book – it’s only a few months away in November!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Broken Destiny series

  

#1 ~ The Beautiful Ashes: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Sweetest Burn: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback• Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ The Brightest Embers: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Goodreads


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Release Event + Excerpt & Giveaway: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

Congrats and Happy Release Day to Jeaniene Frost! THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES is LIVE! I was lucky enough to read an early copy of the book, which you can read my review for here. Check out below for an excerpt of the book as well as a great giveaway!

The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

Title: The Beautiful Ashes
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Release Date: August 26th 2014
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In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who’s bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn’t mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn’t: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

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excerpt

Even on a good day, I hated when guys were cryptic. Those of the Testosterone Persuasion already came with a mountain of senseless tendencies—did they really think they needed to add purposefully vague statements on top of that?

The fact that Adrian refused to elaborate on his enigmatic warning while I was tied up in his backseatmade it unbearable. As the time ticked on, I consoled myself by imagining hitting him in the head with something heavy. Or leaning over the seat and choking him with the band of duct tape around my wrists. If the back of this vehicle had had a cigarette lighter, I might’ve gotten creative with fantasies about that, too.

Guess being kidnapped turned me into a violent person.

“Are you a sex slaver?” I asked abruptly.

“Someone’s watched Taken too many times,” Adrian said, and the amusement in his tone grated on my last nerve.

“Why wouldn’t I think that?” I shot back. “You saved my life, but you’re taking me somewhere against my will, and you refuse to untie me.”

“You picked truth, remember?” was his infuriating response.

I swear, the first heavy object I got a hold of…! “You didn’t give me that, either.”

“Yes, I did.” He said it with a heavy-lidded, backward glance that would’ve made me straighten up and smile if he’d done it while we were sitting at a bar. “Just not all of it, but don’t worry. We’re here.”

With that statement, Adrian turned down a long road that led to a set of soaring, elaborately carved gates.

“Wait a sec while I open the gates,” he said, turning the car off and taking the keys with him.

I waited…until he was far enough away for me to make my move. Then I leaped over the seats. When I yanked on the driver’s side door, however, a large hand on the window prevented it from opening.

“Why am I not surprised?” Adrian said with irony dripping from his tone

I stared at his hand, as if that could explain how the rest of him was attached to it. A second ago, he’d been in front of those barbarically ornate gates, doing something that caused them to swing open with a mechanical moan.

No one could move that fast. Or, more accurately, no one should be able to move that fast.

“What are you?” I breathed.

His teeth flashed in a smile that was predatory and sexy at the same time.

“A couple hours ago, I wondered the same thing about you.”

Me? Before I could ask what he meant, he opened the door and let me out. Ice raced through my veins when I saw the knife in his other hand. That was also the moment when I noticed the sign on the gates: Green-Wood Cemetery.

“Don’t,” I gasped.

He raised a brow, cutting through the duct tape around my wrists. “You’re the one who wanted to be untied.”

My arms fell to my sides while relief roared over me, replacing the surge of fear-fueled adrenaline. Just as quickly, something snapped inside me. All the grief, anger, fear and frustration of the past ten days hurtled through my defenses, turning me into someone I didn’t recognize.

A rage monster.

My hand cracked across Adrian’s face with enough force to make it tingle and burn, and still, it wasn’t enough. I began beating on his chest, part of me horrified by my actions, but the rest urging me to hit him harder.

“What is the matter with you?” I yelled. “You pull out a knife with no explanation? I thought you were going to kill me!”

Adrian grabbed my hands. Any sane person would have recognized how overmatched I was and calmed the hell down, but I was way past sanity. With my hands out of commission, I kicked his shin hard enough to send pain shooting up my leg. He grunted, backing me up until I was pressed against the car hood. Now I had a wall of steel behind me and a wall of muscled flesh on top of me.

“Stop it,” Adrian ordered, his strange accent thicker with his vehemence. “I promise, I’m not going to hurt you!”

My breath came in pants. Adrian countered my attempt to drop down and wiggle free by pressing his thigh between my legs. I stopped that course of action at once, which was the same as admitting defeat. I couldn’t use my arms to push him away. He felt more solid and heavy than a stone gargoyle.

“Get off me,” I said between ragged breaths.

“Not until you calm down,” he replied sternly. Then the barest grin tugged at his mouth. “Feel free to take your time.”

I glanced down, only now registering that my breasts were pressed against his chest just as tightly as his thigh was wedged between my legs. Any movement on my part caused an embarrassingly personal friction, as if inhaling each other’s breaths while we panted wasn’t intimate enough.

I tried to slow my breathing, not to mention my galloping heartbeat. If not for his grin, I wouldn’t have known he thought anything of the compromising position he had me in.

If nothing else, he didn’t seem angry that I’d slapped, kicked and pummeled him. Now that my reckless rage had passed, I realized how stupid I’d been. One punch from his massive fist would’ve meant lights out, but he hadn’t hit back. Instead, he’d promised that he wouldn’t hurt me. Despite his kidnapping me and his refusal to give me answers about what was going on, I decided to believe him.

“Sorry I attacked you,” I said, my voice no longer shrill.

He shrugged like he was used to it. “Don’t worry. You were overdue for a breakdown, anyway.”

Just how many people have you kidnapped? I almost asked. Since I didn’t really want to know, all I said was, “Can you get off me? You’re heavy.”

He slowly uncurled his body from mine, but that silvery blue gaze stayed glued to me. I shivered, suddenly aware of how cold it was, now that I wasn’t covered by over two hundred pounds of warm-blooded male.

Adrian shrugged out of his coat, revealing a crew-neck black shirt that hugged his physique like it was paying homage. Of course he’d noticed the shiver. I wondered if anything escaped those piercing eyes.

I put it on. The hem had been mid-calf on him; it pooled on the ground with me. I’d never felt dainty around a guy before. I was comfortable at a size eight because I didn’t have to starve to maintain it, and my five-six height meant I could usually wear heels without being taller than my dates. Next to Adrian, however, I seemed to drop twenty pounds while also shrinking a few inches. Of course, his bulk was all muscle. Feeling him on top of me had made that clear….

I nixed that line of thought before it led to other, more dangerous musings, and tightened his coat around me.

“If we’re not here so you can kill me and bury my body in an empty plot, what else is there to do at a cemetery?” I asked with admirable calm.

He laughed, the deep, masculine rumble teasing something inside me that was too stupid to realize kidnappers were off-limits. That’s why I refused to notice the chin dimple it revealed, or how his lower lip was fuller than the top one.

“Lots of things, but we’ll get to that later.”

“Sure there’s going to be a later?” I challenged him.

“Of course.” Another tantalizing smile. “Since you and I are from the same line, you’ll be seeing a lot more of me.”

Line? “You think we’re related?”

His gaze brushed me like a physical caress. “Not like that, thankfully. That would make our first date awkward.”

I stared at him in disbelief. “You’re hitting on me?” I finally managed. “Do you have any idea how twisted that is?”

He shrugged. “I don’t do subtle, it wastes time. Besides—” the silvery part of his eyes gleamed like liquid moonlight “—if you say you don’t find me attractive, I’ll know you’re lying.”

Under other circumstances, I might have blushed at being busted ogling someone I’d just met, but my kidnapper was hitting on me! Should that make me more afraid, or less? He’d already saved my life once and had had plenty of chances to harm me since, yet he hadn’t.

Plus, I wouldn’t be much fun as a date if I was dead.

“How about we hold the date talk until you give me the answers you promised?” I said, part of me wondering if tonight could get any stranger. The other part felt happy for the first time in over a week. Stupid ovaries. Down, girls, down!

Adrian’s expression turned serious. “I’m taking you to the person who can give you those answers.”

“Zach?” I asked, remembering Adrian mentioning the name.

“That’s him. This cemetery is almost five hundred acres, so if you don’t want to spend hours walking around in the cold—” he went over to the passenger side of the vintage-looking muscle car and opened the door “—get in.”

He was giving me a choice. Or at least, the illusion of one. If I ran, we both knew he could catch me.

The car’s interior light showed a hint of stubble trying to break through the smooth skin along his jaw, shadowing it in a way that was far too attractive. His exotic accent wasn’t helping, either. If I was ever kidnapped again, it had better be by an old, ugly guy. That would be less confusing to my emotions.

And less embarrassing. What idiot got caught lusting over her kidnapper? No wonder he’d asked me out. He must have thought I gave “easy” a whole new definition.

I walked over, thinking that even if I could run away from him, I wouldn’t. My sister was trapped in a place that shouldn’t be real, yet somehow was, and Adrian was my only ally because he could see the same crazy things that I did. More importantly, Adrian had proven that he was able to kill those things.

If he was able to help me save my sister, I’d not only take him up on his date offer. I’d pay for everything and seriously consider putting out.

I got in the passenger side, hearing the door lock as soon as he shut it. I tried to open it. Nothing. My sense of unease returned. What kind of person saved people just to kidnap them, and had a vehicle you could only exit from the driver’s side?

Then again, as Adrian slid into the seat next to me with an almost spooky fluidity, I realized what kind of person he was might be less important than what he was.

about the author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, and the upcoming Broken Destiny series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.

For information on Jeaniene’s books, reading the first 20% of each book free, book trailers, deleted scenes, creature mythology, and more, please visit: http://www.jeanienefrost.com

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Early Review: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost
Series: Broken Destiny #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 26th 2014
Purchase: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher (Harlequin) in exchange for an honest review

In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who’s bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn’t mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn’t: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

I’m a HUGE fan of Jeaniene Frost–she does paranormal like no other. And when I found out she was writing a new paranormal series that was also NEW ADULT? I totally jumped for joy! I loved her Night Huntress series, so of course I had to read this new series. Plus, there aren’t that many new adult books that dab in the paranormal genre, but what better way to be introduced to this genre than with Jeaniene Frost?

I really, really liked The Beautiful Ashes. It wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed myself the whole time reading this. We have our heroine, Ivy, who sees visions of different realms. She doesn’t know if what she sees is real, or why she sees them, or even how, but she mainly ignores it to keep her insanity intact. But when her sister gets kidnapped, her whole world is turned upside down, because those visions? They’re real.

“Well, Ivy. I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is, you’re not crazy. The bad news is, everything you’ve seen is real, and now, it’ll be coming for you.”

In the midst of finding out about all this craziness–demons, angels, and parallel realms are totally real and they totally exist–the one thing Ivy can focus on is saving her sister. And the one person who can help Ivy is Adrian, a man that sparks something in her she’s never felt before, a man who is destined to become her enemy.

I have to say, even though I didn’t fall for Adrian as much as I wanted to, I can see myself wholeheartedly loving him in the upcoming books in the series. I’m not even sure why I didn’t LOVE Adrian from the start–he’s a total badass, he’s mysterious, he protects Ivy with everything he’s got, and there’s a delicious tension between him and Ivy I lapped up. Adrian and Ivy are destined to be enemies, which makes their attraction to each other all the better.

“You’re the light I can never have… and I’m the darkness you’ll never succumb to.”

Ivy herself is a good heroine–I could connect with her, but up to a point. Still, I liked her well enough, but Ivy and Adrian together is what made the story for me. As Ivy and Adrian search for a relic to save her sister, they grow closer together. I really enjoyed watching their relationship slowly develop–the scenes I loved reading were always the ones with the two of them together.

There’s excitement, action, and intrigue, as well as a little humor here and there that is typical from Jeaniene Frost. The Beautiful Ashes met my expectations, but… it didn’t surpass it. I wanted to love it, but my only problem was that the world building fell a bit flat for me. It felt like I, along with Ivy, was thrust into this world too quickly without knowing anything. It gave me a ton of information without letting me have the time to process it. I like being given bits and pieces of a world so I can map it out myself, but it was difficult to do with this book.

The main thing about The Beautiful Ashes is that it holds potential. I honestly can’t wait to see what Jeaniene Frost has in store for us with the rest of the series. Now that we’ve got the world-building over and done with, I’m so excited to see this potential grow into so much more.

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Broken Destiny series

The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost The Sweetest Burn by Jeaniene Frost

#1 ~ The Beautiful Ashes: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Sweetest Burn: EbookAudible • Goodreads