Title: Liquid & Ash
Author: E.M. Abel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Love was my weakness.
In the light of the truth, no one can hide.
Derek had ignited a spark inside of my heart, a hope for a love I never expected to find. However, our connection lacked the substance it needed to burn. Weakened with resentment, our relationship crumbled under deception, slowly dissolving into ash.
I had sacrificed myself for him and paid the price.
By the time Brandon entered into my life, the longing in my heart had turned cold. But fate was not done with me. His crystal blue eyes and fluid touch revived a wish that had been frozen in time. He gave me hope once again.
Hope is a dangerous thing, especially when you dare to dream.
**WARNING: This book contains adult content and drug use.
Liquid & Ash is Penny's journey to finding love and contentment not in another person but within herself. Penny has spent most of her life sacrificing her wants and needs for the wants and needs of others around her. Starting university she was finally hoping to really do something for herself but life seemed to have other plans. Meeting Derek led her to a life she at one time tried her best to avoid. A decade later her choices as a young college student have led her living precisely the opposite life she'd hoped for.
Penny's story starts in the present and it's apparent that her marriage is in shambles. Surrounded by deception and ruined promises, Penny is barely a participant in her own life. Interspersed within Penny's ongoing dilemma is her and Derek's story. Told in flashbacks we get glimpses into their happy lives together as we piece together the destruction of their love story. After all their dirty laundry is aired, Penny is introduced to Brandon. A beautiful but guarded bar tender, the sparks between them are obvious from the start even with the odd beginning to their relationship.
As time progresses Penny begins to pick up the pieces of her life and tries to put herself back together without the help of anyone. She's determined never to have anyone dictate her life again. But making choices for the future are more difficult that she anticipated especially when she finds that there may be more between her and Brandon than she first thought.
I really enjoyed the overall story and its theme of starting over and being strong for yourself and learning that you can do more for yourself than you ever thought possible. Penny's journey seemed real and authentic to me. It was hard reading at times because it was so real but E.M. Abel did a fantastic job of creating the perfect mood. What I found hard to connect to was the relationship between Brandon and Penny. I honestly don't feel like I know Brandon that well and I really didn't feel their connection beyond the obvious sexual attraction until later in the story. I think it would have helped if I could have been in Brandon's head a bit more and have had a bit more of an epilogue. While I may not have been as enraptured with the love story part of this book, I was entirely hooked into Penny's journey and for that, I really enjoyed this book.
Reviewed by Paige
★★☆ 3.5 "New You" Stars ☆★★
E.M. Abel was born and raised a Marine Corps brat. She spent a large portion of her life moving and living in her mother's home country, Japan. As a result, she gained independence and a unique perspective on the world. The youngest of three girls, E.M. Abel spent a lot of time alone in her room writing or sketching in her journals and dreaming up stories. Growing up, she wrote poems, short stories and articles for her high school newspaper. She also fell in love with art and discovered her deep need for self-expression.
Now, a Navy wife with two small children of her own, she still loves being creative and most of all translating her stories into novels. E.M. Abel, now referred to as E or Em by her friends and readers, can often be found with her headphones on jamming out to punk rock, in a chair getting tattooed or cooking dinner for her kids and attending gymnastics practice. No matter what she's doing in her life, she's always sure to do it her way.