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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Ashes on the Earth: An Urban Fantasy and Greek Mythology Shifter series by Sarah Ashwood is the first book in the Stones of Fire series. Ellie St. James has an instinct to help people which is used to pursue a field in Pediatrics and drives her to an act of heroism that changes her life. She saves a child's life and quickly learns that he's the son of a mob boss, Sean Costas, whose gratitude draws her into the dangerous feud that has pitted two shifter gangs against each other. Her involvement puts her life in danger, which means she gets to spend quality time with Costas's handsome head of security assigned to protect her. Her entire world changes as she discovers that these gangs can turn into folkloric creatures and now they've all set their sights on her. She only has the option of trusting Carter to keep her safe but when he comes up with a drastic plan, can she trust him with her heart?
Ellie – a normal and good person – is tossed into a world that's dangerous and mythological. She starts her journey with skepticism about Sean Costas, then discovers that the world goes much deeper than she could have predicted. Sarah Ashwood has twisted the world of shifters by blending it with the reality of gangs to fit a mythological world. The perspective weaves between Ellie with a first-person voice and Carter with a third-person voice which balances the story. Their thoughts about each other create a romantic comedy tone in the background of this dangerous journey. The chemistry between them creates a fun dynamic rooted in clever tropes threaded throughout Ellie's discovery of the world and the danger chasing her. Tropes featured in their relationship include Carter serving as her bodyguard, the delightful incident of sharing a bed, and a drastic decision that could shake up Ellie's entire life. The title has a poignant place and deeper meaning within the story that changes the perspective on the shifters. The beings Ashwood incorporates into the story are immediately viewed as dangerous such as the mob boss, the gangs, and the various attacks. But the further Ellie dives into the world, the more layers are added to these characters. Ashes on the Earth puts an original spin on mythology in a story that takes an ordinary girl into a dangerous world with romantic moments that will have you immediately addicted.