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Amanda DeWees received her PhD in English literature from the University of Georgia and likes to startle people by announcing that her dissertation topic was vampire literature. Amanda's books include the widely praised historical gothic romance "Sea of Secrets," a finalist in the 2013 Maggie Award for Excellence historical category, and the Ash Grove Chronicles, a captivating young adult "paranormal lite" romance series set in modern-day North Carolina. Besides writing, Amanda's passions include theater, classic film, Ioan Gruffudd, costume design, and the preservation of apostrophes in their natural habitat. Visit her at www.amandadewees.com to explore book extras and more delightful diversions.
on Dec. 31, 2013 :
This set contains all three novels in the Ash Grove Chronicles (The Shadow and the Rose, Casting Shadows, Among the Shadows). This was the first time I've actually had a boxed set of any series to read and I have to say I really enjoyed having all the books on hand. I am very impatient when I have to wait for the next book to come out in any series. Waiting for the next book in a series that I really enjoy? That's even harder to do. The trilogy moves seamlessly from one book to the next, making the boxed set an exceptional choice (in my opinion).
The Shadow and the Rose
Joy Sumner is a student at the Ash Grove High School for performing arts. When fellow students dare Joy to go into the old cemetery and take a rose from the grave of the school's founder she meets teen model and former Ash Grove High student, Tanner Lindsey. A simple meeting in a cemetery has greater consequences than she could have imagined. This quiet piece of North Carolina is just buzzing with supernatural energy and things are about to get shaken up more than Joy, Tanner, and the Council could have imagined. Their growing love makes an implacable enemy of Tanner's supermodel mentor, Melisande. She doesn't take kindly to Tanner's straying interest at all. Tense, fast-paced and full of unexpected turns. Learning that Tanner and Joy are expecting a baby puts the young lovers in a perilous and potentially fatal position.
In this second book of the trilogy, characters from the first book return to take their place more fully in the story. Joy and Tanner find things have gone wrong in ways neither could have anticipated. The truth behind what Melisande really is and how she stays young is exposed. William has loved Maddie for as long as he's known her. Unfortunately for the young couple, as soon as Maddie realizes that William is where her heart lies, things go wrong in a major way. I loved that we got to see more of Joy's friends. This makes for a richer, more fulfilling story to read. As in the first book, things move at a fast pace and take turns I couldn't have imagined.
Among the Shadows
Joy's father has been emotionally lost since his wife died when his daughter was very young. His grief has led him to conduct dangerous experiments with time. Only hours after Joy delivers their child, the world as Tanner knew abruptly changes. He's no longer married to Joy; she doesn't even no who he is. Their baby doesn't exist and as far as Joy's father is concerned, Tanner doesn't need to come knocking again. To make things even more complicated (or worse), Maddie makes a wish at the foot of the town founder's statue and reality changes even more. Time has been seriously warped and distorted all in the name of love. Alternate time lines, alternate lives for the people of Ash Grove and a succubus with a serious score to settle make for an intense and fast-paced read. If things aren't fixed soon, the town of Ash Grove and the people who live there may cease to exist as he knew them.
I was gifted this boxed set by the author for an honest review. The way each book seamlessly picked up where the last one left off made me very happy to not have to wait for the sequels. DeWees' handling of the shifting time lines and characters lives is nothing short of superb. Each book was better than the previous and I must admit to staying up too late at night to keep reading. And I'm ready to read them again. The entire set is well written, well edited with characters that are a pleasure to connect with. The boxed set is definitely a bonus in my opinion.
(reviewed long after purchase)