OMG I don't even know where to start with this review. Amber to Ashes by Gail McHugh is one of those books that you cannot stop reading or thinking about after you have finished. As I have been sitting here trying to figure out what to say, I can't help but ask myself what I just read! I had read Collide and Pulse by McHugh, but I have to say that besides the love triangle, Amber to Ashes was completely different! This book is not like Gavin and Emily's story at all, but was a completely different experience. I will warn potential readers that this is the first book and it does end with a cliffhanger, and when I say cliffhanger I mean EPIC! I have no idea when the next book will be out, but I need it yesterday.
Amber Moretti hasn't had an easy life, and she has been trying to move forward the best that she can. When she trips and stumbles in the dining hall at her new university, she ends up meeting two guys that will forever change her life. Ryder Ashcroft is the one that initially catches her, but they get off on the wrong foot. Ryder is charming and blunt and Amber is instantly attracted to his tattooed and pierced bad boy appearance. But Ryder's All-American captain of the football team best friend, Brock Cunningham, is the one that is able to smooth-talk his way into dating Amber. But the more she gets to know about each of them, the more she finds herself falling for both of them and knowing that the road they are headed down is bound for heartbreak and destruction.
One thing that was clear to me right away with this book is that readers will definitely pick a side when it comes to who Amber should be with. Yes that typically happens in books with love triangles, but I don't know that I have ever felt as strongly as I did here about which team I was on. Right from the start I had made up my mind about who I thought would be the one she should be with, and the more the story progressed the more that solidified. While I liked both Brock and Ryder for different reasons, I felt like only one of them was the perfect match for Amber. I just felt like she had more chemistry and connection with one of these guys than the other, and no matter what happened that didn't seem to change. I don't want to say who I believe is the right one, because I don't want to influence anyone that hasn't read the book. But to me one of the guys just seemed to be a little off, and I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that made him seem sketchy to me. While the other one seemed to truly care about her despite everything that happened and how things were. He seemed to be a much better guy, and I really liked him. I will say that I did see how Amber could be torn, and each of these guys could have been good with her. But I still believe that there is an obvious right choice here.
The one thing that I didn't quite understand in this book is how Amber could really have any kind of relationship with these guys knowing her past. I guess she was able to get over everything that had happened, but it just seemed as though what she learned about Ryder and Brock would have hit a little too close to home. I do think at that point she did start to have feelings for these guys, but it really seemed as though it was almost no big deal to her and that just didn't ring true for me. I will say that I absolutely could not put this book down though, and I was captivated right from the start. I knew something was going to happen after the prologue and I found myself devouring this one to see what would happen. I didn't know about the cliffhanger before starting, so suffice it to say that beyond the epic cliffhanger I was already shocked. But even if I had known to expect something, it never would have been that ending. I need the next book, and I need to know what happens next! I really hope that Amber winds up with the right guy for her, and I hope that after everything that all these characters have been through that they somehow find a way to end up in a better place than where they have been with their pasts. I definitely would recommend this book if you are looking for something different and I really think that this is one of those books that will leave you as anxious for the next one as I am. I just hope that we don't have to wait too long to get more of these characters. I can't wait to read more from Gail McHugh starting with the next book in the Torn Hearts series.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**