From the Ashes (Maya’s Review)

Title: From the Ashes
Author: C.M. Valencourt
Publisher: self published
Release Date: October 9 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 196
Reviewed by: Maya
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2 stars out of 5


Hunter and Derek are at a fork in the road…

At their friend Justin’s funeral, once-best-friends Derek and Hunter meet again almost four years after their monumental falling out. Hunter kissed Derek, and Derek freaked out and chose a college on the other side of the country.

If they had a choice, both of them would walk away and never see the other again. Except Justin has given them a mission: an epic road trip to scatter his ashes all over the Midwest, complete with cryptic notes, new friends, and a whole lot of sexual tension. Can Derek and Hunter finish Justin’s road trip without ripping each other’s heads—or clothes—off?

This is a stand-alone 65,000-word novel with an HEA ending.

I was hoping for a nice second chance at love story from this one. Two erstwhile friends are reunited when a third member of their once closely knit group dies. The cause for their falling out, attraction between Hunter and Derek is still there, but so is Derek’s fear of accepting it.

The story wounds back in time to set up scene at the beginning. The writing style was robust and didn’t help me connect with characters. Annoyance at Hunter and his attitude toward Derek was the first honest feeling since I started reading the book. I’m sorry, but I do believe that everyone has a right to make decisions for themselves whether others like them or not. I thought Hunter’s expectations from Derek are unrealistic. They are based on what Hunter wants from life, not Derek.

Considering the story prompt is a road trip to honor friend who passed, it lacked emotional punch. Also the idea of making a movie out of it rubbed me the wrong way, but that’s my take on it. This didn’t feel like romance story – its accent is on friendship and remembrance. The road trip part completely overshadows romance story.
I couldn’t summon any interest in characters so my impression of the story is pretty flat. It might be the case of trying to do to much at once so the neither part got the attention it deserves.
I can’t recommend this one.

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Galley copy of From the Ashes provided by C.M. Valencourt in exchange of an honest review.