Monday, June 10, 2013

Book Review: Ashes Ashes by Julie Coulter Bellon

Back Cover Blurb
Are you ever really innocent until proven guilty?

Sophia Naziri is wanted for questioning in the murder of a U.S. senator. She’s worried the police will show up on her doorstep any moment, but when Detective Colby Black appears, it’s to help her put out a kitchen fire, not take her in. Yet. His easy smile and persistence in getting to know her pushes all her troubles to the back of her mind, until a hit man tracks her down. Getting arrested becomes the least of her worries and the handsome detective could be her only way out---if she tells him the truth.

Colby Black’s sniper skills have been a blessing and a curse to him. As a member of a Hostage Negotiation Team, he can use them to save people, but sometimes he can’t protect the innocent despite his best efforts. When a hostage situation goes bad, he tries to put it behind him by helping out his mysterious next-door neighbor, Sophia Naziri. But she pulls Colby into a web of lies and conspiracy that will force him to use every skill he has in order to survive. Faced with the moment of truth, can he trust anyone around him---including the woman at the center of it all?

My Review
I've been a fan of Julie's books for many years now, and Ashes Ashes did not disappoint. The opening scene, where Colby is on site at a hostage negotiation scene in case his sniper abilities are needed, immediately pulled me into the story and had me rooting for his character. I loved his loyalty, and I loved the way he allowed Sophia to be independent and make her own decisions. I really enjoyed how strong Sophia was. I loved watching how she dealt with her difficult situation. Sophia and Colby--and their relationship--just seemed so real. One of my favorite aspects of the book was watching their trust in each other slowly develop over time. I didn't happen all at once, and they even doubted each other a few times, and that made it so believable. 

Julie balanced suspense and romance like a master in this book. She carefully weaved the two together, blending them seamlessly. Each had its place; the characters were focused on the matters at hand when they needed to be, and focused on romance when appropriate. There was none of this we-have-two-seconds-to-detonate-the-bomb-so-we-should-probably-make-out stuff that Hollywood so often does, and which drives me batty. The characters' reactions in all the situations were realistic and believable.  

The plot was also flawlessly crafted. As I watched it unfold, I kept looking for plot holes, and I couldn't find any. 

Ashes Ashes is the second book in the Hostage Negotiation series, but it can totally stand on its own. I have not yet read book one (though I plan to remedy that soon!) and I didn't feel lost at all while reading Ashes Ashes. 

This is an intense, edge-of-your-seat read that will keep you turning pages all night long!

Author Bio
Julie Coulter Bellon loves to write international romantic suspense novels because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books. Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She taught journalism at BYU for fourteen years and that kept her on the cutting edge of current events and world news---which is where she gets her story ideas.

Julie offers writing and publishing tips, as well as her take on life on her blog You can also find out about all her upcoming projects at her website or you can follow her on Twitter @juliebellon

Buy Links
Amazon * B&N * Createspace


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