Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Book Review: Ashburn by Julia Erickson


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Title: Ashburn

Author: Julia Erickson

Series: I.C.E. Agency #1

Genre: Contemporary Suspense/Romance (a.k.a. Spy novel!)

Audience: New Adult

ABOUT THE BOOK

Cara Stephenson, a talented graphic designer at Silver Strand Technologies, never thought she'd see her childhood best friend again ... but when he suddenly reenters her life ten years later, he's a completely different man. What is he hiding, and why should she trust him? 

Bryce Reynolds is a man on a mission - a top-secret one at that! He never dreamed the girl down the street would one day become his link to the destruction of Ravenmeister, Inc.- a front for black-market arms and ammunition. Will he crumble underneath the burden of all his secrets? 

When the hunt for a missing technology developer in possession of a priceless prototype drags Cara and Bryce on a high-adrenaline ride through the streets of Paris, Venice, and Munich, they must work together to find what they're looking for ... and survive the trip!

~ MY REVIEW ~
**5 stars**

So ... contemporary isn’t really my thing. I usually don’t get into suspense either. But I decided I should attempt to slog through Ashburn by Julia Erickson, because I was trying to participate in the Homeschool Authors Read-To-Win contest; and I had bought it already, so better just read it! Well, let me tell you, friends, there was no slogging! Nope. I adored this book! Adored it! I have never enjoyed a contemporary novel so much in my life—and Ashburn has definitely made my list of favorite books in addition! ^_^ It was exceptional.

Cara Stephenson is a talented graphic designer. Bryce Reynolds is a mysterious man on top secret business. They were once childhood friends. Now they’re thrown together again; about to go for the rides of their lives. Does God have a plan amidst the secrets, struggles, and chaos? Or will Bryce’s many enemies ruin everything?

Eep! I just loved this book so much! From beginning to end, I was hooked! The crazy action. The intriguing suspense and secret agent stuff. The adorable, heart-melting, sigh-worthy, godly, beautiful romance(!!). The luscious trips to Italy and France, that may or may not have involved some danger. The hilarious, wonderful, perfect touch of humor. The sincere, conservative, deep faith theme. The awesome, relatable characters ... *huggles book* It was great. From start to finish. I wasn’t bored once! And guys, that’s saying something! Usually I dislike contemporary stories. I really enjoy a select few. Well, Ashburn—I loved! I squealed, and gushed, and laughed, and gasped, and cried. It was a perfect mixture of all the things I love.

There were a few moments here and there that it wasn’t “all professional”. For example, the first chapter was pretty wordy. Like too much. It kind of broke the natural-feeling flow. But I’m pretty sure that after chapter one, (or maybe after just a few pages), that vanished entirely, and I was sucked completely into the story, without complaint! *winks and grins*

It was a grand, romantic, mad-dash, heart-tugging adventure—with bursts of laughter erupting time and again.

I love, love, loved Bryce Reynolds! What a wonderful guy! ^_^ He is hilarious. And totally “cool”. And just sweet, and protective, and gentlemanly, and godly. And this super awesome secret agent with weapons, missions, and street fighting skills like none other. *grins* Altogether an epic character. I can’t say enough for this brilliant character.

I also loved Cara. She was real. She was sweet, and shy, and fun, and courageous. I really enjoyed journeying with her and watching her grow and everything else! And I love that she has loonnnggg blonde hair! *flails* She was pretty epic too!

And Penny!!! Bahahaha! She’s the best! *hugs her* What a fantastic lady! She is so cute, and hysterically funny, and just all her own! I so can’t wait to read her story!

Also loved Monty, Naomi Stephenson, Angel, and Mark, and probably some others that I’m just forgetting at the moment. Spectacular characters, Julia Erickson, you did a fabulous job with them!

What else can I say? Well, I could probably gush on forever; but I’ll try to stick to the main points. The humor of this book was priceless. I love humor. I love to laugh. And this book is definitely perfection with that. You just have to read it to know. It’s grand. Absolutely grand! *big grins* The Italian guys, hehe! The “cousin”. The bewildered but amused taxi driver. If you like humor, people, then Ashburn is the book for you!

The action/suspense/secret agent stuff was incredible. I'm not always into that; but I LOVED it in this novel. Awesome. Soooo "cool". Keeps you on the edge of your seat and scrambling to figure things out! (Mild warning here for younger audiences).

The faith and romance aspects. *Heartfelt sigh* I think why I usually don’t really like contemporary, is because it just has a “worldly” feel most of the time, no matter that it’s Christian-fiction. Well, that is definitely not the case with Ashburn. In this story, we see real faith, real trust, real seeking after God. We see sacrifices being made in order to stay true to God; we see characters conversing with God, asking for His guidance. They’re truly following. God is the center of these characters’ lives—not just some religion that they fit into their busy schedules.

The romance. How many contemporary books have I read that I just shake my head at the romance ... It’s not beautiful. It’s not godly. It doesn’t have depth. I’m like crying inside, “Where’s my fantasy? Where’s my fairy tale? Where’s my historical fiction? I don’t want this! I want a good, old-fashioned love story!”Yeah. So I just don’t like contemporary. However, it wasn’t like that with Ashburn. In fact, I absolutely ADORED the romance in this book! ^_^ First off, the two main characters were homeschooled. The guy checks himself and won’t enter a relationship if the girl isn’t on the same track as him when it comes to God. They both have purposed to save their first kiss for marriage. Like, eeepp!!! It was utterly adorable, godly, beautiful, deep, and just swoony, my friends! Praise the Lord for His amazing, original design for romantic love! It is truly a sight to behold! (Also note here; there's nothing inappropriate whatsoever, but it's just geared more toward an older audience, I feel).

Have a fangirled enough? No. Well, perhaps for this review. Now is the time for you to buy your copy! *grins* Seriously though, go read Ashburn. It is truly a gem among contemporary novels.


Note: I read Ashburn by Julia Erickson as part of the Homeschool Authors Read-To-Win contest. Check it out!! It's so much fun, and there's a $100 giftcard prize involved!!

4 comments:

  1. This sounds super good! Have added it to my list!

    -Grace (meyougod.blogspot.com)

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    1. You totally should, Grace!! I loved it!! ^_^

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  2. Um. So. THAT just went on my wishlist. O_O (And I only just saw you recommended it to me on Goodreads--ha! ;)) I'm the same, not very into contemporary stuff, but occasionally there are jewels... This mayyy be why I've been writing more of it myself, since the genre is lacking in good books. ;)

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    1. Great!! I totally thought of you when I finished Ashburn . . . so I just had to recommend it to you!! I hope you will love it as much as I did! ^_^

      Yes!! Occasionally there are! Yay for that! Ooh, and I'm sure if you wrote contemporary, it would be fabulous!! :D :)

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