Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Book Spotlight on Ashes to Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan (REVIEW)

Two people with painful pasts find themselves drawn to each other in this sweet and sensual novella that’s part of the 1,001 Dark Nights anthology series of books.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Ashes to Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan, along with my impressions of this friends-to-lovers romance, then add this next installment in the Montgomery Ink: Colorado Springs series to your bookshelf!

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Carrie Ann Ryan comes a new story in her Montgomery Ink series...
Back in Denver, Abby lost everything she ever loved, except for her daughter, the one memory she has left of the man she loved and lost. Now, she’s moved next to the Montgomerys in Colorado Springs, leaving her past behind to start her new life.
One step at a time.
Ryan is the newest tattoo artist at Montgomery Ink Too and knows the others are curious about his secrets. But he’s not ready to tell them. Not yet. That is…until he meets Abby.
Abby and Ryan thought they had their own paths, ones that had nothing to do with one another. Then…they took a chance.
On each other.
One night at a time.




With characters we’ve met through past interactions with the Montgomery clan, Ms. Ryan puts forth a strong sense of family in this latest tale of addiction, loss, and overcoming the past to make a HEA.  Along the way the main couple takes readers on a sweet and sensual journey that warms the heart and lays the groundwork for more HEAs in the future from amongst the appealing cast of secondary characters.

Ryan’s the newest tattoo artist at Montgomery Ink Too and it’s a career he’s wanted to do since he was young and it was just one of many times he disappointed his parents.  Theirs was a rocky relationship where his twin brother Michael was seen as the golden child while he was viewed as the problem.  The truth couldn’t have been more different though and the duplicity of his brother continues today as Michael’s addiction has made Ryan’s life miserable.  Any bit of happiness and success Ryan has found quickly becomes tainted by Michael’s manipulations and lies and it’s made Ryan leery of forming attachments for fear they’ll be hurt and used by his brother.  When it comes to the Montgomery family though, they’re not easy to ignore and have enfolded him wholeheartedly into their lives and have made it their mission to help him find a HEA with Abby, another new addition to their “family”.  Ryan’s always been a bit of a mystery, keeping to himself but ever watchful.  This novella has him taking center stage and showing a bit of awkwardness along with a kind heart.  With a past he’s ashamed of he doesn’t think himself worthy of Abby, but he’s grown tired of fighting his feelings and finally lets their friendship become something more.  When a sweet first date leads to a sultry night, both of them start to share more about themselves in a journey of healing and empowerment.

Abby’s heartbreaking past was depicted in Ms. Ryan’s Hope Restored (a must-read book in my opinion) and it’s a past that she fought to rise up from as she has a daughter who needs her to be strong.  Though she’s in a new city her past is never far behind as her love for Max still haunts her when she’s lonely.  The Montgomery family may have claimed her as one of their own, eased her loneliness a bit, but it’s still hard for her to depend on others after the loss she experienced.  She wants to be seen as strong and capable, someone her daughter can be proud of, even if she feels the exact opposite. Into her conflicted feelings comes the sweet and sexy Ryan, someone just as uncertain as her, and together their shy and subtle flirtations take them from friends to lovers.  Abby’s a likable heroine, part of the action yet a bit apart at times.  She may seem a bit weak early in the story, but when Ryan needs reassurance most she’s a bold support and her words to him had me cheering.

This was an entertaining read for the most part, full of playful interactions amongst the Montgomery clan and their friends.  The sense of family is strong throughout this novella as every one of the Montgomery family is there when trouble arises, or a listening ear is needed.  Family is what fuels these books and it’s what pulls me in wholeheartedly as I start reading each new installment. The romance is tender in this book, sweet in its newness and fragile as Ryan and Abby both have fears.  There’s sexiness too and in their steamy encounters they show self-assuredness that made them a formidable couple.  As their mutually painful pasts are revealed readers will find themselves cheering as a new family is created.  Though the ending is satisfying, I did have an issue with how Michael was handled.  After a loud and scary introduction his character just seemed to vanish with a single sentence devoted to him.  After seeing the power Michael had over Ryan I wanted a more powerful ending for him.  Despite that small quibble I found this to be a heartwarming story with characters that are easy to relate to. This story may have been a short and quick read, but it packed quite a punch and has me longing to see where Ms. Ryan takes us next.

My rating for this is a B+/A-

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.


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