Title: Graceful Ashes
Author: Savannah Stewart
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 15, 2016
Zoey Fisher dedicated her entire life to dancing in hopes that one day it would pay off with a full ride to the school of her dreams. When luck grants her that wish she’s faced with leaving the only family she has behind to build a life of her own in a city hundreds of miles away.
Soon after the sheltered young girl begins to step into a World that is the Polar opposite of her own. Drugs, sex, and deceit paint her once colorful self black with no hope of turning back.
Will Zoey be granted a second chance to show her worth? Or will the boy that owns her heart permanently drag her down the rabbit hole?
Graceful Ashes steps outside of Savannah Stewart’s normal realm of heart wrenching romance and dabbles in the darkness, delivering a story that is powerful and completely unexpected. After meeting Zoey as the vibrant, sweet little girl in Graceful Scars, I was curious to see how Savannah planned on developing this character. She certainly did not disappoint, writing a driven, complicated, and deeply conflicted woman with big dreams and an even bigger heart. Zoey’s life has been carefully regimented, focused entirely on becoming a professional dancer, until Hendrix comes along thrusting Zoey into a world of chaos and life-altering consequences. As these opposite personalities collide, Savannah Stewart utilizes their stark contrast to develop an instant connection and a sizzling chemistry. A truly enigmatic couple, Hendrix and Zoey brought out the worst and the best in one another resulting in an unforgettable journey that was full of heartache, pain, and revision. Long after I’ve finished reading, I find myself drawn to the bits and pieces of these characters lingering within the shadows of my heart, their story having left behind its indelible mark.
“You’ve gotta let go of being so shy, pretty girl. The world is yours to conquer.”
The growth we see in Zoey over the course of this novel was absolutely stunning. I never could have predicted the path of this character’s personal journey nor could I have prepared myself for the emotional impact of her story. Zoey’s decisions take her down a road that is darker than what I’m used to from Savannah Stewart. However, I loved the risks that Savannah took with this character and her story, unafraid to explore the seedy, broken side of love and life. As Zoey is forced to rewrite her dreams, Savannah Stewart allows her readers to experience the never-ending hurricane of emotions right alongside this character. My heart ached and soared, breaking and being put back together repeatedly over the course of this story. Hendrix added an entirely different emotional component to this novel. With him I lived in extremes: outrageous anger towards his selfish and destructive behavior and absolute adoration for the unwavering love he felt for Zoey and the future he was determined to carve out for them. Between the whiplash from Hendrix’s highs and lows and Zoey’s heartbreaking vulnerability, Savannah Stewart has left me reeling.
“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you never give up.”
Graceful Ashes takes on the new adult genre from a different angle, allowing the reader to experience a gritty, raw, and unpolished path of self-discovery and the consequences we face in finding out who we really are. Not only did Savannah Stewart knock me off my feet with her daring storyline and unconventional characters, but she also left me absolutely breathless with the strength and hope she infused throughout this novel. Graceful Ashes is well paced, occasionally jumping forward in the timeline to maintain the fluidity of the storytelling and keep the readers engaged in Zoey and Hendrix’s journey. Zoey’s brother Talon and wife Tegan make several reappearances, reminding me of their own story and giving this book a sense of familiarity that was comforting, especially when it felt like Zoey’s life was falling apart. Savannah Stewart’s writing continues to grow, taking on an easy and casual style that allowed me to relate effortlessly to her words. Savannah paints a brilliant picture of life, love, and learning to forgive that definitely stuck with me. I can’t wait to see where she’ll go next.
I barely heard the sound of his deep inhale as I focused on his lips. Perfectly, kissable lips. My heart beat wildly within my chest as my gaze shifted back to his. His navy-grey eyes conveyed a message I was powerless to resist.
He stepped closer and covered my mouth with his. My lips parted in surprise. He exhaled and instinctively, I inhaled.
I jerked away as the smoke raced down my throat. My lungs burned as the smoke hit them forcing a round of heavy coughs.
He patted me on the back. “You okay?”
His eyes were mere inches from mine.
I nodded and covered my mouth until I caught my breath enough to huff, “Why…did…you…do…that?”
“You didn’t tell me not to.” He smirked.
“You didn’t even ask!” I sucked a clean breath of air into my lungs and felt the effects of the marijuana coursing through me. I backed up a step. “I—I can’t believe you did that,” I whispered then turned and took off toward my apartment.
My nerves spiked as I heard the sounds of his footsteps following me. Not wanting him to know which apartment was mine, I stopped well before I reached my door and turned. “Why are you following me?” A giggle rolled up my throat. Maybe from the marijuana?
“I didn’t mean to upset you.” His thick dark eyebrows pulled deep in the center as he ran a hand through his hair. “I thought it would help you chill out a bit. You seemed on edge.”
“You don’t think a complete stranger kissing me wouldn’t upset me? I don’t even know your name for Christ’s sake!” My mouth was as dry as a desert and my yell croaked like a big fat bullfrog.
“Hendrix.” He smiled.
“What?” I breathed.
“Hendrix. That’s my name.”
“Like Jimi Hendrix?” I laughed without being able to stop myself.
“Well, that’s pretty fitting.”
“Stereotype much?” He crossed his arms over his chest.
“If the shoe fits…” Another round of laughter passed my lips.
Hendrix let out his own round of laughter. “Touché.”
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From the Most Beautiful Small Town of America & the Bourbon Capital of the World, Bardstown, Kentucky, Savannah Stewart writes Contemporary Romance, New Adult, and Romantic Suspense novels. She is very much a Leo, with one fur baby named, Jack. She’s a Book-a-holic who loves music, tattoos, photography, singing, writing, & laughing. One of her favorite quotes is “Love is the beauty of the soul.”