~ A Young Adult and Fantasy Book Blog ~

Ashes and Ice by Rochelle Maya Callen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
She is desperate to remember.
He is aching to forget.
Together, they are not broken.
But together, one may not survive.
​Jade wakes up with no memory of her past and blood on her hands.
Plagued by wicked thoughts, she searches for answers. Instead, she finds a boy who doesn't offer her answers, but hope. But sometimes, when nightmares turn into reality and death follows you everywhere, hope is not enough.
LUST. LOVE. LOSS. Sometimes, all that is left are Ashes and Ice.

Okay! I feel much better now!

If you're wondering what's up with the angst, it's because I had to read 218 out of 257 pages to know the big secret! I had my suspicion of who (or what) Jade really is but nothing was certain until that very end of the book. Cruel. Very cruel to let the readers hanging like that. It was more cruel than a cliffhanger ending because Jade's identity is the essence of the story itself.

Anyway, Ashes and Ice is a nice effort from a debut author, Rochelle Maya Callen. The concept was intriguing - the battle between one's good side and bad side is right up my alley. The prose was mesmerizing too, for example;

"I hunch forward, leaning my head on my palm. I think of spit up blood, black suit, roses, eulogies and wet pillows. I think of lonely guitars, quiet houses, pointing fingers and scraped foreheads."

BUT sadly, it was obvious that this is a self-pubbed book. Something needs to be done to the flow of this book. I'm a big fan of short novels so this is rare, but I thought some of the chapters need to be expanded in order for the plot to make sense. The settings and the scenes were rapidly changing so three to four pages to describe and explain an important scene isn't going to cut it. Some of the sub-plotlines also disappeared completely by half of the book. For instance; how Jade really fits in the school, is she coping well with the homeworks, quizzes and exams (yes, contrary to popular belief, I do think these teenage paranormal creatures still need to keep up with their educations!). Also, it's odd how the law enforcers didn't find any clues or suspects when the homicide cases was rising.

The characters were okay, I guess. I could connect with Jade very well at the beginning until she starts to feel something for the ultimate asshat, which is Dominic. More about Dominic later. Connor is new for a male protag although his insecurities made him sound feminine at times.

Dominic. As the supposedly irresistible, magnetic guy, I only found him as repulsive. I know Jade meant to have this attraction to him because of her nature, but I still feel like uh, Jade, he might sound very evil, but he is nowhere near that definition of sexy evil. More like a scumbag.

Overall, Ashes and Ice is a nice book. I read it in a single sitting and didn't regret it (which is something the author should be proud of, trust me) but there are still a lot of rooms for improvement.

Three poker faces
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Rochelle grew up dreaming up stories. When she entered high school, she tucked away her creative side and jumped head-first into academics, work, and service projects. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Political Science and Communication when she was twenty years old. After years away from her writing, Rochelle picked up a pen and started fleshing out a character sketch that she outlined when she was twelve. That sketch was the start of the Ashes and Ice story. Rochelle lives in the DC metro area with her husband and daughter. By day she works as a behavioral therapist. By night, she is a dreamer and is busy tapping out new stories on her keyboard. Website Twitter Goodreads Facebook


I loved the book. But we are all entitled to our opinions. I think the build up was intriguing and loved the characters. It is one of my favorites in YA!

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