{Review/Giveaway} INTO THE FIRE by Ashelyn Drake

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O P E N I N G   H O O K:

   IN ONE MONTH, I'M GOING to die and be reborn from my own ashes. I’ll forget everything and nearly everyone I know, but I can’t worry about that right now. Jeremy needs me, and I need him to remember. Remember me.
   The smoke wafts up from the basement. This is more than Jeremy setting his pillow on fire again. It’s time. He’s going to be reborn. Mom and I rush downstairs to find him standing next to his bed, staring at his arms, already beginning to ripple with the first signs of fire. I’m not sure who’s more freaked out right now, Jeremy or me. 
   “We have to get him to the bathtub before he burns the whole room down with him.” Mom’s voice is calm, and she’s already leading Jeremy to the bathroom. I follow, not having a clue what to do or how to help. He steps into the tub and stares at Mom like a scared toddler. 
   “Relax, Jeremy. The flames won’t harm you. Keep telling yourself that. There’s no pain during a rebirth, and your body will know what to do on its own. Don’t fight it.” 
   “Remember,” he chokes out. The word is followed by a puff of smoke. The only people he’ll remember when he’s reborn are other Phoenixes like us. Everyone else will be a stranger to him, no matter how close they once were. 
   “I promise you’ll remember us.” Mom reaches for his hand, but flames rise from his fingers and palm. She grabs the shower curtain, yanking it down before it catches fire. 
   I bite my tongue to hold back my tears as the flames spread up Jeremy’s arms and across his chest. They dance and flicker until only his head is visible. 
   “I’m so proud of you, Jeremy.” Mom’s eyes fill with tears. 
   I’m terrified for Jeremy but jealous at the same time. He’s my little brother, but in a way, going through the rebirthing process makes him the older one now. I shudder as flames shoot from where Jeremy’s eyes used to be. It’s like something straight out of a horror movie. My eyes close, unable to watch anymore. When I force them open again, Jeremy is gone. Nothing but a pile of ashes remains. 
   “What’s going to happen?” I ask, even though I already know the answer. He’ll be reborn. I never stopped to think about the whole rising out of the ashes part. I kind of assumed that was a metaphorical thing, that the flames would die out and he’d still be standing there, only different somehow. But Jeremy is gone.
(Pages 5-6, US e-book edition)

Kat actually first brought INTO THE FIRE to my attention. She named it one of her Most Anticipated of 2014 back in January.  The summary intrigued me because...a book about a girl who is a phoenix and able to reincarnate? How different is that? 

Cara has always known she'll eventually burst into flame and rise from her own ashes. She's blessed to be descended from a line of phoenixes, destined to be reincarnated at the age of sixteen for a total of five life cycles. Cara and her brother Jeremy are both on their first life and about to undergo regeneration for the first time. The first is the worst, however, because you forget everything. Cara gets cold feet watching her brother learn to re-navigate the world around them. A month before her own date with destiny, Cara imprints on the new boy in town, Logan, and finds herself falling head over heels in love. The timing couldn't be worse. Can love survive when the fire of life cleanses Cara's memories? And can Cara survive until that fateful day when there's a hunter on the loose killing the phoenixes? 

I really liked the mythology in this book. I thought the concept of phoenixes was unique. It's not the same thing as books with dragons or vampires disguising themselves as humans and hiding from hunters. It manages to bring something new to the table. I liked seeing all the challenges that come as a phoenix heads toward reincarnation, as well as the unique special abilities they possess. I was wary when Cara started talking about imprinting because it brought up memories of TWILIGHT, but it wasn't done in a creepy way, so it worked much better. At the very least, it explained the presence of insta-love and made it more palatable.  

The book also explores themes of heartbreak, of acceptance, and of family. Once it gets going and a dangerous, lethal Hunter is added to the mix, the story takes off and is much harder to put down. While I had a few issues because, as you know, I'm not big on lots of drama, the world was still intriguing and it was easy to keep reading because I wanted to see how everything came together in the end. INTO THE FIRE is definitely worth picking up if you're in the mood to read about a new type of being you haven't encountered before, our of you're into mythology in the modern world. 

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG13 ( lots of kissing; innuendo )
Language: PG ( Nothing too bad that I can recall )
Violence: PG13 ( Nothing really graphic, but there's a killer on the loose and there's a scene with a struggle toward the end )
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover is enticing because it makes you wonder what's going on.  The first time I saw it,  I thought she was holding a phoenix. Now I can see that she's holding/generating the flame all by herself. It definitely gives you something to notice and ponder! 

I also like the use of color and the way light and shadow are in play! 
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Ashelyn Drake
Release Date: Sept. 9, 2014
Publisher: Jennifer Comeaux
Received: Month9Books


Seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.
Ashelyn Drake is a New Adult and Young Adult romance author. While it’s rare for her not to have either a book in hand or her fingers flying across a laptop, she also enjoys spending time with her family. She believes you are never too old to enjoy a good swing set and there’s never a bad time for some dark chocolate. She is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.
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  1. Thank you for being part of the blog tour. I'm so happy you enjoyed the book. :-)

  2. Best of luck with the release, Ashelyn!

  3. Oh, I like the idea of a phoenix, too. Very nice and different. Glad you enjoyed this one, I might have to check it out.

  4. oooohhhhhhhhhhh!!bring forth the phoenix!


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