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Beauty in the Ashes

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Standalone Dark Contemporary Romance

Some stories are a fairytale...but this isn't one.

Caelan Gregory’s life fell apart the night he went home and opened the door to find his whole family murdered. Since then, his life has held no meaning. He’s angry. He’s bitter. He’s barely human anymore. There’s nothing left to remind him of the straight A student, and football quarterback he once was…but he wasn’t a good person then, and he’s certainly not a good person now. He’s retreated into a world where all that exists is numbness and his passion for painting.

When Sutton Hale moves into the apartment across the hall from Caelan she’s not prepared for her reaction to him. Something in his broken blue eyes calls to her—after all she’s always had an irrational need to fix everything.

But Caelan doesn’t do relationships or feelings. He does drugs and alcohol. However, he can’t ignore his desire to get to know the raven-haired woman across the hall.

Two broken souls trying to mend one another.

But not everything can be fixed.

In the end, Caelan and Sutton will have to learn that there is beauty in the ashes.


First published July 1, 2014

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About the author

Micalea Smeltzer

88 books4,696 followers
Micalea Smeltzer is an author from Northern Virginia. Her two dogs, Ollie and Remy, are her constant companions. As a kidney transplant recipient she's dedicated to raising awareness around the effects of kidney disease, dialysis, and transplant as well as educating people on living donation. When she's not writing you can catch her with her nose buried in a book.

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5 stars
304 (37%)
4 stars
233 (28%)
3 stars
168 (20%)
2 stars
60 (7%)
1 star
46 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 176 reviews
Profile Image for Karina.
765 reviews
May 3, 2019
I couldn't. I tried I just couldn't. It didn't even start off good and got worse as I continued. I felt like a HS guy wrote this. Eff this, eff that, effing effer. If you need to curse that much in any book to make your point across then you need to reevaluate the English language and your feelings. Glad this book was given to me for free. Someone at the secondhand store will surely enjoy this. I just couldn't.
Profile Image for Stephanie D.
295 reviews4 followers
July 16, 2014
I should have never read the book. The previous reviews were all hinting it, I just thought it would be interesting. But ackkk!! I can't lie. It was heartbreaking for me. So, almost 2/3 of the story have been building about them. And suddenly, shit like that happens???

How do you expect readers to accept that 1/3 without that much build up. Not to mention, Memphis should have been mentioned at the synopsis from the start. It was unfair for readers to root for him.

I get that this book is about finding oneself, but the synopsis was misleading, the cover was misleading. Readers should know what to expect from a book, would it leave them heartbroken or happy. I would have never touched this book if there was as much of a hint of a third person.

Did the book leave me satisfied? Hell no, it was a really good read, until the last few chapters that actually leads to the end. It was heartbreaking because from the start to the 2/3 of course you root for the couple. So it was devastating(yes, I am) that the plot unraveled.

And I don't feel that I'm alone with the sentiment.

Now, I'm gonna find myself a good and honest book, and drown myself in happy hormones and forget that I've gotten my heart broken by this book.
Profile Image for Natalie  ~ The Biblioholic.
2,472 reviews1,204 followers
November 29, 2016
It was really hard to rate this book in the end. Why? Because I almost didn't make it.

It doesn't happen often. It was written well and it was honest and for most of the story I was hovering close to a 5. Not quite there but I was really enjoying myself. I love broken heros and Caelen was devastating. The horrors of his past still haunted him and it seemed the only things he wanted in life were drugs and alcohol. That is utnil Sutton showed up in his life. From their first encounter I was rooting for them. However, towards the end I got blindsided, which dropped this story to a 1-star rating. Seriously, who the heck was Memphis??? And why was there no mention of him in the blurb???

Speaking of the blurb:

Why you ask???

Because it doesn't make any freaking sense once you read the book. It's misleading. WTF?! I hate being made a fool of and I feel not only fooled, but also duped and bamboozled!! I get what the author was doing. I do. Not every broken couple is destined for a HEA and that's what made this realistic. But I get enough reality in my REAL LIFE !! I read fictional books about fictional characters to escape my NON-FICTIONAL life. I appreciate some realism in the work, but this just hurt me. I think there should have been more of a lead-in or warmup that could better prepare people for what's in store.

So, overall, a great book. Be prepared to have your heart torn out. Micalea Smeltzer is a great puppeteer!

Release Date: December 6, 2016

Profile Image for Heather.
812 reviews259 followers
January 30, 2023
Well, damn.
I think there are many people who will love this story. I was ALMOST one of them. Unfortunately for me....

However, I have a lot of Micalea Smeltzer books on my kindle and I won't let myself be swayed against them. I am still going to read more by her and I have a feeling I'll be able to give a better rating.

My Broken yet Sexy Caelan,




~Thank You Micalea Smeltzer for telling me about Toby Hemingway! He IS perfect! 💜💜💜💜💜


**Well, I screwed up now...
I got nervous and looked at the epilogue. Now I don't want to finish this. I always do this because I simply can't help myself but it usually doesn't change anything. Oh well. 😕
Profile Image for Jenny - TotallybookedBlog.
1,777 reviews2,010 followers
July 26, 2014

Our Rating:
First 80% of story: 41/2 Stars
Last 20% of story: 1Star
Caelan: 5Stars for the majority of the story until his character was let down.
Sutton: 4stars until ‘that which shall not be named happened’ then ✯ Star
Writing: 4Stars

‘He was right. What we had…it couldn’t be defined as love. It was different…infinitely more.’

Gitte: You know what; there’s some books where you finish reading and you think…what the hell happened here? When a story suddenly doesn’t play out remotely how you expected, in respect to how it actually unfolded for the majority of the storyline. How, the bloody hell, am I suddenly meant to feel a brand new connection and emotion when it punches me by surprise?

The writing was brilliant; many highlighted quotes poetic in their sheer beauty. The intense and harrowing subjects were hard to read about and my heart bled several times whilst crying tears of pain and anguish! I was loving it right from the first hard hitting words which tore at my heart and made me care so very deeply……then……

Upon finishing just now, I feel cheated and angry; defeated and confused! I ended up disliking Sutton fiercely; yes my heart broke for her, believe me, with what she’s been through, wow. BUT what a selfish, weak and frustrating girl she turned into! I did not understand her ‘split personality’ character towards the end!

This story had such a slow and beautiful build up and I was completely immersed and invested in Sutton and Caelan. Then it all turned around two thirds through, after an emotionally harrowing scene, and it became a different book altogether. This kind of ruined the whole experience for me in many ways. I felt the Author let her characters down; both of them. Love became cheapened and the characters had a complete change which didn’t seem natural nor convincing. I don’t know why it went this way…it was a truly beautiful fucked up mess until then when it just went….well strange and pointless really. The message got lost amongst the turning of characters.

I loved Caelan so very much; he took a huge part of my heart and I cared deeply for him. Then ‘that’ happened and suddenly everything I’d invested my emotions in became redundant. I had the rug pulled from underneath my feet and not necessarily in a good way! I don’t even know what to say, Jenny…..

Jenny: Gitte I have to admit I’m at loss for words and feeling a bit despondent at the moment. I can’t believe how differently I feel now compared to how I felt through for 80% of this story. For the most part I was moved and emotionally invested in Sutton and Caelan’s relationship. The slow build up, the outpouring of emotion, the beauty, the despair, the sadness and meaning behind the words this author brought to their story held me spellbound. I believed it, I felt it, I lived it but now I’ve come to the end and I’m feeling somewhat let down.

After one of the most horrific and heart-breaking starts to a book I’ve read in a while, I was immediately drawn in. I felt an instant connection to Caelan and let me tell you this man held my heart. I cared about him on a deeply emotional level. The pain, suffering, guilt and wretched emotional state this man was forced to endure seared my soul right through the story.

Through her tragic and cruel backstory I was made to care for Sutton, and so I became dedicated to these two very broken people. I shared their ups and downs, torments, struggles and moments of happiness. I. Was. Invested.

Then….80% happened and I was gobsmacked. Angry. Gutted. Confused. My feelings for Caelan never faltered and like you, I sadly found myself disconnecting with Sutton. It was as though I had been put through the emotional wringer for nothing.

I had highlighted most of this book up to about 80%, it was so moving and emotional. There were so many beautiful moments, so many powerfully meaningful words that went straight to my heart; I held every one of those quotes dear. And now I feel as if those words are devoid of meaning to me because I was made to care and then…I wasn’t. That may sound harsh, but that’s how I’m feeling.

The event that led to ‘that’ moment felt unnecessary. What happened afterwards……I still can’t think about it without getting upset. I so, so wish I felt differently about it all because the first 2/3rds of this book held me in its grip.

J&G: Beauty in the Ashes had some truly outstanding, emotional, sad and beautiful moments and it would be unfair of us to rate and review this book solely on our feelings over the last 20% because this book was so much more than that.

“I’m as addicted to you as I am the drugs and alcohol. It’s unhealthy.”

In saying that, it’s hard to give it an overall rating because our feelings at the end differed so dramatically from our feelings through most of the book. Therefore we’ve decided to go with a split rating on this one.

“I don’t drink or do drugs to forget them, I do it to numb the pain remembering causes, because I never want to pretend that they didn’t exist. If I don’t remember, who will?”

Beauty In The Ashes is one of those books you have to read for yourself and decide how YOU feel. Everyone will have a different opinion on how the story unfolded and only YOU can decide if the outcome leaves you feeling content as everyone’s feelings will differ.

‘We were both two entirely fucked up people, who’d been dealt a bad hand, if we couldn’t trust each other with our sins then they’d stay bottled inside us until one day we exploded.’

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not cookie cutter. We like to be surprised. We love being blindsided. When the outcome of a story unfold very different to what we imagined we normally applaud the author for giving us the unpredictable but that was not the case in this story because the feelings elicited felt null and void by the end of the story.

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Profile Image for 1-Click Addict Support Group.
3,749 reviews442 followers
December 7, 2016
Micalea Smeltzer is not a new to me author, having read her work previously, but Beauty in the Ashes was next level! I thought I was prepared going in, but I still had to put my iPad down a couple times because my heart hurt, and I couldn’t see through the tears. This wasn’t an easy read at times, but I am so glad that I read this beautiful book.

Caelan and Sutton are two broken people who are trying to make their way in the world. They happen to find each other at a time when each need someone to lean on, and through their shared pain, try and help the other heal.

My heart hurt for both of them, even though they had each suffered through horrible pasts, they were trying to deal in the only way they knew how. Caelan took a less than desirable approach, but still knowing what he went through I understood his choices, I don’t agree with them but I understood.

At around 70% my heart broke, and this was the point at which I didn’t know if I could take anymore but I pushed through and I’m so glad that I did. Sometimes you read a book, and you know that it’ll stay with you for a long time to come, and Beauty in the Ashes is that book for me. Micalea you have outdone yourself and written something remarkable. Yes, you destroyed me but then you also put me back together and made me believe in love again. ~ Tamara, 5 stars


This is the first book I have read by Micalea Smeltzer and after I finished I had to ask myself, "Why haven't you read this author before!?" I was was absolutely blown away by this book.

Beauty in the Ashes is classified as a dark romance, I would say it's a contemporary with some dark plot points. It's definitely not the dark type of romance I am used to reading. The characters are so three dimensional and well written, you feel their pain and triumphs pouring off the pages.

This book had me in tears, so much so that I couldn't read the pages. Sutton and Caelan were literally laid bare and open before the reader's eyes. Emotionally twisted and 100% refreshing, this book was a huge 5 star read for me.

Beauty in the Ashes is a full length standalone.

~ Erin, 5 stars
Profile Image for Sue Czarnomski.
739 reviews8 followers
July 22, 2014
What happened here? I loved this book up to the 2/3 point, but then it all went south for me. Not only was the ending an enormous disappointment, but it was rushed. This book had progressed so nicely, the story detailing the painful pasts that tormented both Caelan and Sutton. While their relationship was toxic at times, it wasn't just based on sex--it had grown to mutual love; both of them professing it to the other. They shared a bond and trusted each other with details of their devastating family trauma, finding comfort in one another. Sutton's selfless act of letting him go to get better was beautiful and I feel the reader was robbed of seeing this relationship survive their time apart. I also think Sutton didn't do enough to reach him and tell him about the wonderful gift that they were being blessed with. Their replacement relationships seemed forced to me, especially Calean's. I don't believe the ending did this relationship/story justice. So disappointed in this book.
March 9, 2018

Its good that I did not read the GR opening line before I read the book – or else I might not have read Beauty in the Ashes by Micalea Smeltzer at all. As I am not a fan of dark romances.
From the beginning on you feel the whole story is darker and twisted – it never feels like unicorns and rainbows – but it always leaves you hoping.
The characters are incredible even with all their flaws – and flaws is a very nice and soft word for some stuff that is going on here.
I can not say to much about the story – because of the spoilers – but be prepared for a bumpy ride and an unconventional ending.
If you had told me the end I would have said – no that is not a book I want to read. But the journey getting there made this end work.
Interesting read… Enjoy it.


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Profile Image for Gemma Weir.
Author 29 books882 followers
July 7, 2014
Check out more of my reviews on my blog www.gemmareadstoomuchforittomenormal....

Beauty in The Ashes is the new standalone novel by Micalea Smeltzer; I was given this ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review so here goes...

Ok so the good bits...

• Caelan, he’s a tormented soul I wanted to give him a massive hug.

• Sutton, she’s almost as damaged as him and I wanted to hug her too.

• This book made me ugly cry!

And the not so good bits...

• I really disliked Memphis for me he just came across a bit creepy.

Ok so I want to keep this review spoiler free so in some places I’m going to have to be a bit vague but once you read the book this will all make sense!!

I absolutely adored the first three quarters of this book; I loved Caelan & Sutton together. They absolutely should not work, I mean hell they didn’t work together but I just loved them.

It’s rare that I engage with both the male and female lead characters in a book but in this case I really did. I found myself completely absorbed in them and their relationship.

Now don’t get me wrong they are basically like a car crash waiting to happen but I still spent most of the book with my fingers crossed willing it to be ok.

This is a big ole book one of the longest I read in a while and I still devoured it in one go in fact I couldn’t put it down.

Unfortunately after the big dramatic event that happens for Caelan & Sutton for me things all took a dive, I actually could not believe what I was reading.

Now it’s rare that a book actually makes me have a vocal reaction but I will tell you now I was shouting at my ereader it went a bit like this “No, No, No, No, this cannot be happening, that’s not right, No No No!!!”

I basically chanted this for about the next 100 pages and even now I can tell you I was not a happy bunny!!

Now I know that in the end things all work out for the best but I’m a massive sucker for a love conquers all happy ending. I know this does end happily but just not quite how I wanted it to.

Talk about an emotional rollercoaster this book has taken me on a serious journey, I felt the stirrings of new love, I felt their heartbreak and then in the coffee shops scenes in the last pages I literally cried like an idiot!!

I loved and hated this book for me its Four stars it would have been a Five if it had ended like my ideal.
Profile Image for Romance Readers Retreat.
2,346 reviews213 followers
December 8, 2016
3.5 Stars

I don't even know where to start with this review. I both loved and hated this book and I don't know which is greater. I loved the original cover but it is extremely misleading along with the blurb so I understand why the author decided to change it. The new cover is just as gorgeous yet more appropriate for the story.
This story was angsty and dark and emotional and had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through but it's the last 20-25% that I didn't really like. That ending came out of nowhere and it was in no way hinted at in the blurb. I felt extremely blindsided even though I kind of understand the situation. I loved Sutton and Caelan and was extremely emotionally invested in their relationship. I loved the slow build-up, the emotion, the despair, the beauty, the sadness, and heartbreak that the author brought to the story. I believed every word and felt every emotion and then I felt a little let down at that ending even though it was kind of bittersweet.
After a tragic heartbreaking start, I was immediately captivated and drawn in to the story. I felt instantly connected to Caelan and he stole a piece of my heart. I felt for his every struggle, torment, guilt, and heartbreak and it just broke my heart all that he had to endure. And through her horrific backstory I was made to care for and love Sutton. I became dedicated to these two broken people I shared their ups and downs, happiness, and tears. I was completely invested in them till about 80% in when I was blindsided by what unfolded. I still love Caelan but I became less connected to Sutton.
This book was truly outstanding, emotional, and beautifully written. It had its fair share of beautiful moments as well as the sad and tragic ones. I love this author and I will continue to read and one click her books but this book was sadly just not the perfect one for me.
Profile Image for Everything Marie.
312 reviews15 followers
July 21, 2014
Let's start off by saying that I am a HUGE fan of Micalea's and absolutely couldn't wait for this book! The cover and the blurb alone sucked me in and I just HAD to devour it! Okay, now that's been said...HOLY SHIT! What did I just read??!??? This book is FAR from what I ever expected! I thought this would be your typical romance, with a little angst....WRONG!!! So wrong! The author actually warned me in saying that this book was nothing like her previous works and I should have listened!

So, let's start off with Cael and Sutton. From the prologue, I was hooked! I even shed a little tear, which is RARE because I am not a crier. Their relationship is fresh, emotional, tortuous, but most of all, its real. Their feelings and observations speak volumes and I totally fell in love with both of them. I found myself rooting for them and prayed that through all of the B.S., they would overcome the obstacles and end up together. Then the plot twist happens, and all those hopes were thrown out the damn window! Then the tears started flowing and I completely lost it. Kudos to the author for making me cry. She should be proud!

This book has it all, love, angst, drama, heartbreak, hotness, humor, suspense, and mind-blowing twists. I literally had to pick my jaw up off the floor! Micalea really threw me for a loop!

HUGE props to the author for creating such an original and compelling love story. This is her best work yet and one of the best books I've read this year. Yes, it's not your typical HEA, but that's what I loved about it. This story is fresh and outside of the box. It's a must read.
July 22, 2014
****4+ "I Live For You" Stars****

I must say this book took me by surprise. The writing was amazing and the story was phenomenal.

Sutton & Cael were both broken ans searching for an escape. They found that in each other however they could only escape for so long before reality came crashing back.

The supporting characters in this story were a perfect blend to the main characters and it made the story flow perfectly.

I will say that this story broke my heart time and time again. I cried, cheered for them, hoped for the best and was disappointed but glad at the ending and the story itself as a whole. I look forward to the next book.
Profile Image for Regina Bartley.
Author 25 books560 followers
June 27, 2014
This is not your average love story in the best possible way. Five gut wrenching, tear jerking, hate you, but love you forever stars. Micalea Smeltzer's best work yet!
Profile Image for Karen Anderson.
478 reviews7 followers
July 26, 2014
Would have been a 5* for me IF the last part of the book was a different outcome, i jst don't understand how that happened, im confused & after reading a beautiful story very disappointed
Profile Image for Stefanie Kral.
685 reviews23 followers
August 12, 2014
✯✯6 Beautiful Stars!!✯✯

We were opposites in every way.
She was the Beauty to my Beast.-Caelan

There is such things I want to say about this book. I had the privilege of being a BETA reader for this book. And, it's the 3rd one I've done for Micalea. I honestly don't know why she needs them because she is such a talented fantastic author who puts everything into her books. It took her 5yrs to write this and I can honestly say I'm glad she did because I got to be a part of it. I know that might sound selfish but I don't care, because I am that much in love with this story and the characters in it.

Caelan has had the hardest life. His life changed in high school. He sneaks out of his house and has the night of his life. He comes home to find his parents & younger sister brutally murdered. Caelan has never forgiven himself for that night. He feels that if he never snuck out of his house then he could of done something and his family wouldn't be dead now. Ever since then he's been a mess. The only thing in his life he loves is his painting.

“Loving you guys caused me unbearable pain and I refuse to ever go through that again. I can’t lose someone else, therefore it’s better if I don’t care.”

Sutton herself has her own issues. She was adopted because her family died in a house fire when she was an infant. Her adopted brother made her life a living hell. Her fiance had been cheating on her with her best friend. When she tells her parents everything about her brother & fiance nobody believes her. Sutton does the best thing for her. Packs up her car with as much stuff as it'll hold and moves away and tells nobody. Sutton plans to start over the best way she can!!

She was beautiful. She was warm. She was vibrant. She was a fighter. She was everything I was not. ~Caelan

Sutton & Caelan don't meet under the best circumstances. Caelan is a VERY angry person! He likes peace and quiet. Especially when he's painting!! So, when he's working on a piece and the banging coming from the new person that just moved in across the hall. He plans to let them know from the beginning to keep it quiet. Everyone else knows, now they will. He wasn't expecting to barge in and meet Sutton.

“This whole anti-social tough guy act is ridiculous. Anyone with eyes can see that you’re hurting. You can try all you want to push me away, but it won’t work. It just makes this game all the more fun.”

Sutton is a piece of work! She is hysterical and reminds me a lot of myself. I have been known for using my brush as a hammer a time or two. Sutton totally doesn't having a problem doing it either. After meeting Caelan she makes it her mission to piss him off!! I personally LOVED every minute of it too. She would bang on his door before leaving the building.

“I want to be your friend. I want you to trust me. I’m not some fragile little butterfly that you need to worry about breaking the wings off of. Talk to me, please.”

Caelan and Sutton literally went back and forth with pissing each other off. I would find myself laughing out loud at the things that went back & forth with these 2. While this was going on Sutton became friends with a few of the other people living on the same floor of her apartment building. She also got a job working at a coffee shop. She met a guy named Marcus. Marcus was definitely feeling Sutton. But, the only guy who was on her mind was Caelan. Sutton makes her decision on who she wants.

The back and forthness between Caelan and Sutton was hot. Eventually Caelan & Sutton give in to what they want. They get into a nice routine together. They have the hottest sex. And, for the first time in ages Caelan has felt alive. He tells Sutton his story. Sutton knows Caelan needs to face his demons to truly move on and be happy.

Family isn’t defined by the blood running through your veins. It can also be the people that come into your life and leave a profound mark on your soul. Kyle had done that might not abandoning me like everyone else and Sutton had done it for not judging me. She might want me to change now, but she still didn’t judge me for my misgivings. She just wanted better for me, and isn’t that what everyone wants when they love someone?-Caelan

Caelan starts to open up little by little. He started getting him clean. The drugs and drinking he was used to helping him deal with things gradually slowed down. Then, Sutton's past that she's been running from for all this time, catches up with her. She doesn't handle it good at all. Sutton takes the drastic route in the situation.

“I’ve never opened myself up to anyone, not completely at least. If I do this, I need there not to be any secrets between us. I think we both need someone who knows the whole truth and won’t judge us.” Looking up at him a sigh escaped my lips. “I think you’re that person for me, I just hope you believe that I’m that person for you.” ~Sutton

Needless to say. Caelan & Sutton end up in a Romeo & Juliet situation. They realize that they are both too damaged to be together. Even though they care and love each other. They need to fix themselves before they can make it work with anybody else.

“I want better for you. I don’t want you to depend on drugs or alcohol. I want you to be strong enough to own your feelings and memories instead of trying to repress them.”

Micalea did such a EXCELLENT job with this book. There was such emotions with every person in this book. Caelan & Sutton were both so damaged that you couldn't help but have your heart break. All you will want is for them to be able to heal and live the life they deserve. Especially Caelan for me.

“Don’t you realize, we don’t choose who we fall in love with, it just happens. You can’t fight it. You can’t deny it. All you can do is embrace it." -Memphis

I did have the ugly cry going on. But, I also laughed so hard when Sutton was up to no good. This is definitely a book you need to read. I totally was 110% blindsided by the ending. Not that I was disappointed with it either. I actually LOVED the ending. Micalea totally kicked ass with this story. I can not wait for the next book!!

We were two broken souls, desperately trying to put ourselves back together.

But not everything could be fixed. -Sutton
Profile Image for Martina Urbanová.
Author 3 books64 followers
March 11, 2017
Nádherne emocionálne, tajomné, dychberúce, dokonca ma to rozplakalo - a potom skončil trojstranový prológ a všetko išlo dolu vodou. Príbeh sa zmenil na klišéovitý gýč, z ktorého sa mi zdvíhal žalúdok a viackrát som premýšľala, prečo sa tak veľmi týram. A pritom táto kniha mohla byť fakt vynikajúca a emocionálna. Niečo, čo vás rozseká na celé týždne a nedovolí vám spať.
Kniha by bola oveľa lepšia, keby v nej nebola Sutton. Čítate dobre, hovorím o hlavnej postave. Keby sa autorka rozhodla riešiť len Caela a jeho problémy, bola by to čistá nádhera. Ale ona tam musela prepchať doslova chorú ženskú s ešte väčšími problémami, ktorú priťahoval asi každý chlap, ktorý sa v tej knihe objavil. Hej, hádate správne, fakt mi liezla na nervy. Keby bola kniha o Caelovi, bez zaváhania dám päť hviezd a som rozsekaná ešte niekoľko dní. Keby táto kniha bola len o Sutton, asi by som dala minimálne štyri hviezdice. Obaja dokopy? Boli fajn, ale to je tak všetko. Fajn. Pre mňa to nefungovalo po žiadnej stránke a už vôbec nie emocionálnej.
Takže nie, toto rozhodne nebolo emotívne čítanie. Teda, aj hnev sa ráta ako emócia, ale som si istá, že autorka nemala v pláne naštvať ma, keď túto knihu písala.
Profile Image for Kat DM.
321 reviews31 followers
July 17, 2014
Beauty In The Ashes
By Micalea Smeltzer
5-painting ✩★✩★✩'s

Gifted by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a standalone.

Caelan & Sutton, what a rollercoaster ride. This is a tear-jerker type of read. Two broken and lost souls cross paths.

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Caelan is a druggy and an alcoholic and is very attracted to Sutton but is very much in denial. Coming home to a house that you once called home with your whole family murdered, doesn't sound like you have much to live for. My heart broke for Caelan. I can not imagine this happening to anyone, it's so scary, and it gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. I cried ugly reading this... How can you move forward knowing the fact that your entire family is gone and that you will never see them again? All alone in the world, all he has now is his best friend Kyle who stuck with him no matter the situation Caelan puts himself in. One of the things he loves to do is to paint,it's what he likes to do to drown the pain and sorrow he feels everyday. I just wanted to get into my kindle and give Caelan a hug.

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Sutton is desperate to leave her hometown and go as far away as possible. She's on a mission to find her true-self. Losing her family from a fire while she was a baby and left all alone and never being able to meet her real family. Being alone with no friends at her new place, she finds a cat to keep her company. Now, Caelan caught her eyes. She makes it her mission to bicker with him, irritate him on a day to day basis. She has no clue why, but she loves the fire that comes out of him.Sutton loved to pushing Caelan's buttons. She is so curious about how he would look if he got pissed off. Curious about everything about him. Not sure how but she's drawn to him. By her being curious, got her into a big trouble. Pissing Caelan off shouldn't be a game. He did something to her that she would never forget.

Caelan's scared that if he got involved with someone, thinking in the end would lose them eventually. He can't handle any more pain than what he was dealt with.

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Micalea Smeltzer will surprise you with how this will end. It's not what or how I thought it would end. The story is about second chance at love and how to deal with your losing loved ones. And to not let your past define you because it will just end up destroying you in the end. Not the ending I expected but I loved it all the same. Awesome job Micalea. I am looking forward to reading more of your work.
Profile Image for Three Chicks.
2,592 reviews417 followers
July 23, 2014
4 Star Review by Jen Skewes

Beauty in the Ashes is an emotional story about two broken people who are so damaged from their past that they are not sure if they will ever be whole again. I felt for both Caelen and Sutton and wanted them to find their HEA.

Caelan is living his life day by day and drowning himself in drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of this past. I don’t want to go into too much detail about what happened in his life to cause this pain and anger and for him to be in this dark world. He is just so angry at the word and to be honest in some ways he has every right to be. The other people in his apartment complex only know one side of Caeln and that is the mean angry, drunk guy who is always yelling at them for making too much noise. No one understands him or even cares to get to know him For the past six years he has turned to his addictions to help him feel numb. He is addicted to drugs and alcohol. But the one love and passion that he does have is for painting which he seems to do often. When he meets his new neighbor Sutton, things change for him. There is something about Sutton that he is drawn to. He knows she is different. And the harder he tries to push her away the more she makes it difficult to do so.

Sutton has her own past that she is running from. There is something about Caelan, besides his good looks, that intrigues her. She sees the pain in his eyes and knows that there is a story behind that pain but is not exactly sure what it is. When she does find out she doesn’t judge him or pity him. She is there for him and gets him. Sutton and Caelan have chemistry and this undeniable passion for each other. When they are together they are explosive. They start to feel when they are with each other,which scare the both of them. The walls that they have both built begin to crumble. They need each other, and hope that together they can become whole. But how can two people who are so broken heal again? Is depending on someone who is just as broken as your are, healthy and the best way to move on? Is the love they have for each other strong enough to survive?

I loved both Caelan and Sutton and my heart just broke for them for all that they went through. I felt the love, the passion but also the need that they had for each other. This book was dark at times and Caelan was at times a complete jerk. But knowing what he went through and where his anger was coming from it was completely understandable. What Sutton went through will break your heart and make you sick. She was a strong girl at times but also had her weaknesses. I felt the pain and the fears that she felt. I just wanted to see these two beautiful yet broken people be happy.

Micalea Smetzler did a wonderful job with this book. It deals with very real and very deep issues. This book is so different from I am used to from Micalea, but I think she did an wonderful job with those issues. There was a twist and an ending that honestly I did not see coming but I have to say it as real and so true to the story. It was the perfect ending to this story. With that being said I wished that I saw more of a buildup to the relationship between Sutton and the secondary characters in this book. But overall I loved this book and cannot wait to see what Ms. Smelter has in store for us next.
July 17, 2014
I was desperate for this book! I was asked to beta read it by the author so I got to read it quite a bit earlier than when it was released! I love all this author's other books as well, so I always look forward to the next book from her! This book was absolutely amazing! I was always begging the author for more chapters I was enjoying it that much! The plot was brilliant! It developed at the perfect pace and everything about it was so beautiful, but so dark! I was expecting the plot to be quite dark after I read the synopsis and read the prologue, but it was a lot darker than I expected! It did get darker and then it started to turn light though! There were also a few pretty hot scenes too, which I loved! There was also a lot in the plot and I found it very emotional! The plot had tragedy, love and redemption in it, which just made this book up itself even more! The characters were amazing! Sutton was the main female character and she was snarky with a side of nice lol! She was such a nice, everyday person, but she had a bit of a devilish side to her as well! She loved to wind her love interest up and push his buttons to get a reaction out of him! Let's just say that Sutton got more than she bargained for sometimes though ;) I just overall loved Sutton and she grew a lot in this book! I wasn't expecting her to grow quite as much as she did, but her changes made her an even more amazing character! Caelan was the main male character and he was such a broken character! He had seen something that would break even the strongest of people! And trust me, Caelan was a very strong character! Caelan turned to painting to deal with his grief, but he also turned to alcohol! I could see how badly he was struggling with everything and it broke my heart! Caelan came such a long way in this book though! He was a completely different guy at the end to what he was at the beginning! I was so overjoyed at his changes because he was a much happier guy now that he was able to cope with his demons! I loved that this book was written from both Sutton and Caelan's point of views! This was definitely the right thing to do because of what happens in the book! It also helped me connect with both characters more! The ending of this book was so beautiful, but so unexpected! I was expecting it to end with a happy ever after, and it did, but it ended completely differently to any happy ever after I've read! I loved that the author took this step to change the ending of her book and not make it so everyday! I can't wait to read the next book in this series! I wasn't expecting another book, but I don't think it's going to be about Sutton and Caelan! I can't wait to read it though! The cover for this book is absolutely stunning! I know that the author had difficulty getting the cover the way she wanted, but damn she made the right choice! It looks so freaking hot! Big thank you to Micalea for asking me to beta read Beauty in the Ashes and to Stephanie's Book Reports for having me on the Blog Tour!
Profile Image for N Swaffar.
859 reviews24 followers
July 16, 2014

Rating: 5 Wonderful Stars (but it so deserves more)

Reviewed by: Neilliza

This is the story about two broken souls finding each other and saving each other.

I love all the characters in this book, except for Marcus. Who is a real piece of work, which you will find when you read the book. Of course I cannot forget about Memphis, the very hot and understanding friend. Who also helped Sutton out, without asking for anything in return. Even though I loved Caelan, I cannot help but also love Memphis. If you read the book you’ll see what I mean.

I love Sutton, even with her past she is as strong as a person can be. She is sassy and strong-willed. Caelan is a bad boy, according to people looking at him from the outside, but Sutton knew there was more to him than what she sees. No one knows why he is the way he is, until Sutton came along.

The first time they met, they both felt a high on meeting each other. Neither one would admit to that feeling, Caelan acted like he hated her and Sutton loved getting a rise out of him. As days pass they went back and forth, they enjoyed the banter that went with them seeing each other. They knew there was something between them, so the first time Caelan kissed Sutton to shut her up, they felt the pull they had on each other. Day after day, they thought of each other and couldn’t stop. Until one day they reached a new level on their weird relationship, neither one could stay away from each other. Weeks passed, months passed, then they fell in love. They knew their love, their relationship is a destructive one, but neither wanted to let go. They loved each other too much and needed each other to live, to feel alive. They live for each other. No one else gets them, but each other. They shared their painful past with each other, that no one could ever understand.

Will they stay together and make it?
Or will staying together break them into pieces?
Read and find out.

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This book hooked me from the beginning, there was no part of the booked that I didn’t like. This story is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. I don’t cry too much when it comes to books, I’m not soft like that. Yes books touch my heart all the time, but not a lot really makes me cry; breaks my heart and fall in love at the same time. This book is that, this book is so beautifully written that I am in love with it. I’m so glad I read this book, It made me wish I had more time in my day to finish it all in one day, but as a grown up I have to work and be with my family. So I read it as much as I could and I love it so much. I really really love this book, I cannot say that enough.

Profile Image for Becca.
687 reviews50 followers
December 5, 2016
Micalea Smeltzer has absolutely slayed me! Beauty in the Ashes is without a doubt one of my favorite books of all time. Writing a review that does this novel justice seems almost impossible because I honestly don’t know what to say to describe my experience with this beautiful story. Just as our lives are all incredibly unique, this book will touch every reader in a different way. For me, reading Sutton and Caelan’s journey was incredibly eye-opening as I grew to recognize pieces of myself in these characters that I never even realized existed. The writing was exquisite, perfectly capturing the haunting emotions and dizzying whirlwind of falling in love at rock bottom. Pulling me in from the very first page and holding me captive until the last, every moment of Sutton and Caelan’s powerful journey resonated through me as I read this inimitable story.

Both survivors of brutal, bloody and life-altering tragedy, Caelan and Sutton were connected by an unspoken understanding of one another’s darkest secrets and deepest pain - their souls each recognizing the other as a kindred spirit. In addition to the undeniable connection this couple shared, they also exuded a sizzling chemistry that only made this novel that much more addictive. Filled with soaring highs and devastating lows that constantly threatened to consume them both, Caelan and Sutton’s relationship was equal parts promising and tragic, destructive and thrilling. I found myself utterly overwhelmed by the emotions Micalea Smeltzer so expertly infused into this story. There were several moments where I came close to launching my iPad across the room because every single time the characters stumbled I was right there falling down beside them.

One of things I’ve come to love about this novel is the unexpected direction in which Micalea Smeltzer took this story. For a while I didn’t understand where Caelan and Sutton’s journey was headed, mostly because it wasn’t what I would have predicted and to be honest, the ending took me by complete surprise. However, looking back on the storyline as a whole, I am absolutely content. Happy even. Nothing about Sutton and Caelan’s story was formulaic or predictable so I both respect and admire an ending that stayed so true to the characters and the lives they had led. Plus, that epilogue absolutely lifted my heart to incredible heights and filled me with a sense of peace. Micaela Smeltzer truly outdid herself with this novel and I am left in complete awe of her exemplary storytelling abilities and her beautiful gift for creating and nurturing deeply emotional connections with her readers. Do not miss out on this book. Beauty in the Ashes is hands down an absolute must read!
Profile Image for Kim.
138 reviews7 followers
July 21, 2014
I was gifted this copy of Beauty in the Ashes, and so in return I am writing an honest review. This story starts out with a tragedy with Caelan and his family, this immediately had me hooked, pulled into this story in a way I had been missing for a long time. This first chapter gave me the feeling that I was going to be drawn into this book and I was. I am not a very fast ready, life just gets in my way sometimes so it took me a couple of days to read this book and I hated putting it down to deal with life. As this story continues we find that Caelan is tortured and struggling with life, with alcohol and drug abuse, he is angry at everyone and hates dealing with people. Woman are only there to service a need, but never kept around. When Sutton moves in to the apartment building just across the hall from Caelan, she soon discovers that she has a very unfriendly neighbor.
Sutton is running, running from her family and her past, she also has her demons that she doesn’t want to share with anyone. But with that said, she see’s something in this angry neighbor of hers that she can’t deny. This man that she cannot avoid or deny is slowly becoming a kinder and gentler soul with Sutton. They share this unspoken bond that seems to give Caelan some comfort and peace that he greatly needs. I was very intrigued and kept reading hoping the next page would reveal Sutton’s secret, this secret that she keeps from everyone. Ultimately we find out this secret and how Sutton still continues to run from her past. They embark on a friendship that gradually grows and the trust that they share is so moving. Of course as we can figure out since we are reading a romance novel, Caelan and Sutton fall for each other in a way that is deep, very deep, I loved the story of these two and I only wanted their love to work out. I will not say anything else about this story line or plot, because I hate spoilers. I loved this story, I am sooo happy this book crossed my path and I decided to read it. I will say this one is going on my top 10 books of 2014, I am recommending this one to anyone that will listen. There are so many twist and turns, I thought how can this happen? Why is this happening? What are they going to do now? But it works, and I loved the outcome. This will be a book that I read again. I am giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. I LOVED IT!!!!
Profile Image for Arti.
446 reviews11 followers
August 16, 2014
Let me just start this review off by saying, I have never read a book like this and nor do I ever want to. Anything I predicted would happen, didn't. I wish I had payed more attention to the description, because its all there. This is not a fairytale romance and it really is a dark contemporary romance.

I went into this book expecting a romance of two people with broken pasts who fight and resist, but eventually come together and fall in love. It was not even close to that. This is more on the dark side than the sweet romantic side. The main focus is on Caelan and Sutton's demons and how together they attempt to live and conquer them. And this really does take over the entire book. Your heart will be breaking for these characters at many different parts throughout the book all the way to the epilogue. You won't be able to predict what's going to happen and you really will be experiencing this story along side the characters. Micalea Smeltzer did an excellent job capturing the emotion and the darkness that was needed in this story.

Caelan and Sutton were phenomenally written characters and they really could not have been written any better. Their stories were indescribable and I can't even imagine their pain. It was heartbreaking. That is the only word I can use to describe it. I have never read a character similar to Caelan's and I will always remember him.

Caelan and Sutton's relationship throughout the entire book was the title. It was beauty in the ashes. There really isn't anything else to say about it.

This brings us to my biggest issue with this book. The ending. I was cringing the entire time while reading it and no matter how many ways I try looking at it, it just doesn't work for me. After being so emotionally invested in these two characters, throwing in a third one who everyone thought was gone, is not cool. After the Romeo and Juliet moment, Memphis was not supposed to jump back in. Any positive feelings I had towards this book, went away after that. To not give any more spoilers away, if you read this book, read it with an open mind and not with a planned out story line.

This book will meet your expectations and exceed it, but I would not recommend it to anyone who can't handle a dark romance. I know that I will never be able to read this book again. Reading it one time was more than enough.

But the cover is gorgeous.

More at: notclassique.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Valia Lind.
Author 61 books356 followers
July 18, 2014
There's so much to say about this book. And I will say it. Once I come to terms with my emotions. Because I'm going to need a minute. Or a few days. SO GOOD!


This book is NOT for everyone. I know Micalea has said it and it's worth repeating. This book is not a fairytale, it's not about two people living happily ever after. At least not in the way conventional books write about. It is a NA Standalone Dark Contemporary Romance. Just a warning :)

That being said, I found this book amazing. No, I've never had my family murdered or gone through what Sutton has gone through, but at the same time, I can relate to the brokenness of both characters. And these two are beyond broken. They're shattered. It hurts to read their story, it pains you as a reader to see what kind of a life they've lived, but at the same time, it gives you hope that things can get better.
I think it was particularly relatable for me to read this book because I saw this kind of life in my line of work. I saw first hand how broken people can be. And I saw it when there was no hope. I'm not saying this book will leave you all warm and fuzzy at the end. It probably won't. I will be honest and say that I cried reading the last couple of chapters because they touched my heart.
Did I want a different ending? A part of me did. But at the same time, I understood the decisions these two had to make and the maturity they both arrived at, at the end.
That's what I loved most about the book. Is the growth of both Caelan and Sutton. The understanding that sometimes the hardest decision is the best one and that sometimes we need to let go, rebuild, start over.
It's hard to review this book without giving much away, but I want people to read it, because it's a story that deserves to be read.
It is DARK and TWISTED and filled with broken people, but just like the title says, there is Beauty in the Ashes and this story has proven that in it's pages. Micalea did a fantastic job, crafting a story that will stay with you long after you've read the last word. Prepare for the feels!
Profile Image for Carrie.
93 reviews25 followers
October 30, 2014
Beauty In The Ashes we meet Sutton and Caelan, They live across the hall from each other. It all starts with Caelan being an Arties wanting his quiet so he can work and Sutton making too much noise, And Caelan just busting in to Sutton’s Apartment to tell her to keep the noise down…. Well not in them nice of words. Sutton turns it into a game with Cael, She likes to get under his skin. Everyone on their floor cowers to him but her, she’s not scared. In fact she finds herself looking for ways to piss Caelan off Just so she can see him and talk to him.
As I read Beauty In The Ashes, I found myself not being able to put the book down the characters just came to life on the pages and it was like your right there with them. These two broken people trying to live life by running from their problems or by using substances, I at one point almost put the book down and wasn’t going to finish, I was really wanting the book to go one way and I could tell it wasn’t going that way and I couldn’t bring myself to see the characters hurt any more. I just couldn’t do it. Well needless to say I love All Mecalea Smeltzer’s books so I finished and I am 100% happy and okay with the way the book ended that’s not saying I didn’t cry like a baby way more that once throw out the book because I totally did!
So throughout Beauty In The Ashes , We see and learn about love and loss and substance abuse and running from our problems, We also see how the characters see how destructive their relationship is after something from the past comes back to haunt one of them and it almost ruins them both. From here we See growth and your heart grows with them and you get peace and are okay….. lol seriously I loved this book I know not all books stick out to everyone but this one did to me and it may just be because, I seen some of this stuff growing up and I can relate. But Hands Down I give Beauty In The Ashes 5 + STARS
Profile Image for Michelle.
2,923 reviews21 followers
July 21, 2014
4.5 stars. I'm really impressed with this book. Caelan and Sutton are 2 broken people who live across the hall from each other. They start out antagonizing each other and eventually settle into a physical relationship. From there, they start to reveal their demons to each other. As much I enjoyed Caelan's POV and felt his pain and suffering, I hated how he treated Sutton and he wasn't winning any points with me on rooting for him to be Sutton's love interest. He didn't have much to offer her and they were toxic together, yet he needed her like the drugs he used. He was incredibly angry, bitter and numb. Sutton was a strong and likable heroine. She wasn't scared easily and was very independent but she kept people away at arm's length. They were both lonely and drowning in individual black holes but they also gave something back to each other, a safe place to feel again without shame or guilt. I felt their attraction but I was very skeptical of their love if that was actually what they had. It wasn't romantic, it was mostly cathartic. Caelan gave me emotional whiplash if anything. I did love both Emery and Memphis, though. They were more like boyfriend material with much better personalities and caring qualities, although Emery and Sutton were strictly friends (but I think Emery has potential for his own story). Memphis is the character that made it worth it for me to read this book to the end because of his everlasting patience and kindness. He brought a much needed light to the story. Despite the unexpected direction of the ending, I loved the way it ended because I knew that Sutton needed something more and she got it but she still shared something significant with Caelan that is long lasting. As for Caelan, I'm glad to see him move forward from his addictions and personal trauma so that he can enjoy life again even though I still don't really like him that much despite his accomplishments and growth.
Profile Image for Kristen.
164 reviews
March 23, 2015
An honest story of life, love, living, and learning with the MOST fantastic ending!

Have you ever heard The Fray's lyric: "Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same"? I feel like that lyric encompasses Beauty in the Ashes to a tee. What a beautiful book! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Micalea Smeltzer, for surprising me in the most fantastic way with the ending to this story. Thank you for taking a risk to make a credible and truly worthwhile statement. Thank you for a gritty, honest, and real storyline about life, love, living, and learning.

This book contains so many lessons from which we can all draw snippets of wisdom to apply to our own lives. Beauty in the Ashes portrays love not as a fairytale, but as a real-life experience that takes work and honesty and even then sometimes doesn't turn out as we may have wanted or planned. However, if we hang in there and are open to it, love can save us anyway.

I love, love, LOVED the ending of Beauty in the Ashes. It was honest instead of predictable; the truth rather than the fairytale. And yet, when you really look at it, Caelan and Sutton's truth, in the end, does end up being their version of a fairytale. Caelan and Sutton did get their happy ending!

I'm so conflicted on what rating to give this book, because I did want a little more in the first part of the book. However, I was enthralled with the ending! 4 stars for the first 2/3 of the book, simply because I would have liked a slower transition and a more fleshed out inner dialogue to describe the evolution of Caelan and Sutton's relationship, but 5 full I'm-in-total-agreement, what-a-fantastic-ending stars for the last 2/3. Overall: 4 1/2 STARS, rounded up to 5 because I'm so thrilled with the ending!

**An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Magic Within the Pages.
397 reviews15 followers
July 31, 2014
Reviewer: Donna
Rating: 5 Stars

**Copy received from author in exchange for an honest review**

I'm not usually one for crying through books but this book had me so tied up in knots! It was emotionally draining and i will confess, my eyes did well up on a few occasions.

The story is based around the lives of Caelan and Sutton. They both have really dark pasts and find it hard to live in the world and put the past behind them. Caelan was a popular kid at school and one night, while he sneaks out of his house to go party with his friends, his Mum, Dad and little sister Cayla are murdered. He comes home to find his whole family gone. He doesn't know how to cope so he turn to drink and drugs to make the heartache and pain go away.

Sutton was a baby when her family died in a fire and she was adopted. They already had a son, Marcus. What her adoptive parents didn't no was she was getting raped repeatedly by Marcus. When she eventually did decide to tell them, they didn't believe her. The only thing she can think of to keep herself safe from Marcus is to flee and move to where he can't find her. Sutton moves into an apartment across from Caelan. They hate each other at first, Caelan is moody, grumpy and aggressive but it doesn't effect Sutton as she believes something is wrong with him. She can't seem to stay away from him and they soon discover that they have a lot in common.

I don't want to give the rest away as there is a lot of things that happen to these two from this point in the story. The ending surprised me the moment but that was a happy tears moment. I fell in love with both characters, they were great characters to read about. The book was amazing to read. Had a hard time stopping to go to bed! I could have stayed up all night. Definitely go and read this. You won't be disappointed.
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