Review: “Falling Embers” by Catherine Cowles

Series: Tattered & Torn #2

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: April 12th, 2022

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CW: violence, parental disappointment and disputes, mentions of past kidnapping

I’ve loved Calder Cruz from the moment he taught me how to fly. Racing down a mountain and giving me the release I so desperately needed. My understanding. My safe space.

Hadley has fought for a life of her own ever since her sister’s kidnapping. When she was drowning in expectations and family pressures, Calder was always the one who understood her.

Until one night changed it all. From best friends to strangers in a single breath.

She’s like a fire that lives inside me. Even when I thought it was all burned out, there were still embers that lived in my bones.

Calder knows what it’s like to almost lose the people he loves most. He’ll never make that kind of mistake again. Working at the fire station and taking care of his daughters are the only things he needs.

All it takes is a single moment to make him realize how wrong he is. A split second of coming close to losing the woman he has always loved.

But as long-buried embers light anew, there are those who lurk in the shadows. And they’ll do whatever it takes to extinguish that flame for good…

 

Is anybody surprised that Catherine Cowles wrote another brilliant story? I am seriously loving the way this new series is going, because the Easton family and their tragedies, their wins and losses and watching them fall in love is truly something so special. I loved Everly and Hayes in Tattered Stars, and knowing that we were getting a  brother’s best friend, single dad, firefighter, pining story next made me really giddy to get it in my hands. And Catherine did not disappoint!

In Tattered Stars, I ached for Hadley and her difficult relationship with her mother, but in Falling Embers, all of that really just explodes. The Easton family, in general, is so great. They’re always there for each other. They support each other through the good and the bad, the ugly and the scary. And yet, there’s a dark cloud hanging over Mama Easton and Hadley and my god, it’s intense. I won’t give too much away, but just know that I enjoyed it more than I should have. I could feel the pain and struggles Hadley went through with that relationship. And on the other side, seeing Hayes and Everly again made me really happy, because those two were so special in their own book.

“You’re this explosion of light in a world that’s mostly gray. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Hadley is an incredible character. She’s independent, strong and rough. I love that she’s a risk taker, but she knows what she’s doing every step of the way. I admired how desperately she wanted to step out of the shadow of her family and do her own thing. Every time Hadley performed one of her stunts or did something totally wild, my heart was in my throat because that sounded dangerous and awesome all at the same time. But she’s also so much more than the risks and dangerous situations she places herself in—Hadley is loving, caring and generous. She loves the most important people in her life freely, she gives her mother countless chances to change her ways and let’s not even get me started on the way she loves Sage and Birdie, Calder’s twins. Speaking of Calder…he’s a single dad, a firefighter and basically the epitome of hot and sexy. He’s such an incredible father, I love how much of his relationship with the twins we got to see. Calder’s been through so much and his struggles are often holding him back from what he wants and deserves. For Calder, loving Hadley is easy, making her a part of his family is a whole other thing and it has everything to do with his past trauma. Which…my god, poor Calder!

The two characters that totally won me over were the Cruz twins—Sage and Birdie. They were so freaking precious. I loved that they were completely different people, their personalities and the way they function being so distinct. I enjoyed seeing their relationships with everyone else evolve and how much love they have for Hadley. I enjoyed quite literally every chapter they were in, because they were such well-rounded characters and so integral to the storytelling.

At times, Calder and Hadley’s relationship was a little frustrating, but I think that was the point! I wanted them to just stop messing around and admit their feelings from the moment I started reading, but the rollercoaster they go on is such an important element of their relationship. They’ve loved each other forever, so there was no ‘aha moment’, more of a ‘f*ck it’ moment which was beautiful. Their history plays a huge part in the building of their current relationship and I loved how emotionally invested they were in each other. As best friends and growing up together, they’ve already discovered everything about the other, including all of their feelings, so everything that came to head was brilliant.

“I’d loved Calder Cruz from the moment he’d taught me how to fly.”

I also have to give props for not having Hayes be a typical alpha male big brother and beat the shit out of Calder when their relationship goes public. I loved Hayes and Calder’s bromance and their friendship, because it was beyond special. They were more like brothers than just best friends and their scenes together were fantastic.

Because it’s a Catherine Cowles romance, you’re treated to some incredible suspense. From the start I predicted one person, then that changed when another ‘enemy’ entered the scene and then it kept changing. I loved that Catherine kept me on my toes in trying to figure out who the real ‘bad guy’ was, because I did not see any of those twists and turns coming and I loved it so much because of that.

After seeing Addie in these two books, I’m really curious to see how her romance is going to unfold in Hidden Waters, because she’s been through so much. And I love the sneak peek we got of Beckett as well. I am so ready for this book!

PS. While each story can be read as a standalone, it’s really good to start from the first book because it gives you more insight into the family and each of these characters. There’s a whole lot of drama to unravel otherwise!

Thanks to Social Butterfly PR for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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