Book Review – Ashes to Ashes by Karina Halle

by Maryse on December 21, 2013 · 9 comments

in My Book Reviews

Ashes to Ashes (Experiment in Terror #8)
NOTE: For those that have not yet read this series, skip this review and check out this reading order, and this “Experiment in Terror FAQ” entitled “Intrigued readers want to know…” that I wrote. This is one of my all-time favorite series and it just keeps getting better and better with each installment. This is book #8, and is the second last one. One more book to go!

Another 5-star installment in the Experiment in Terror series, the second last one, and OMG was it intense!!!!! It did everything to me that I love so much about these books. Realistic “guy” behavior, realistic “romantic issues”, whether they be all-consuming proclamations of love, “Dex-style”…

… his dark eyes quickly flew over to me and he smiled as bright as day, his dimples showing on his scruffy face. “There’s my woman.”

It felt like warm honey poured down my spine and feather-winged butterflies flew up my limbs. All it took was to see him, to hear those words that I was his, and I was falling in love, so hard and so fast all over again.

*siggggggh* HIS. Yep. That was totally me. Excuse me while I bask in my Dex-memories…

*ahem* sorry about that. lol

Hehe. This is chock full of realistic romance and realistic “OH NO HE DIDN’T!!!” kind of stuff. Like… a secret that was revealed. We get it in full force, here.

Oh yes, there it was. The look of utter doom on Dex’s face. His wide eyes stared at me like he was caught in the headlights and I could almost see his brain trying to make sense of what I just said, trying to figure out how to play it off.

For once, he was actually speechless.

A secret reveal? *nods* My jaw dropped and I totally *get* where it went for awhile. I love how the author can still mess with us (and them) realistically as a couple. Drama and angst continue throughout the series, which makes sense. They’re still “new”.

“It’s eight months. You’ve known this guy for eight months.”

Holy f#&king sh!t. Was that true? I’d only met Dex eight months ago?

Yep. And as you get to know someone that you believe you’re in love with, there will be bumps along the way, and some of them might be big. And some of them, not so big, but enough to give us an emotional thrill. When it comes to this series, it just depends what book you’re reading. ;)

Plus all of that realistic steam. Er… well. Ummm… I dunno that, realistically, I would have been able to do all that in that scary place, but hey! *shrug* Dex is my #1 man, and Dex rhymes with… ahhhh you get what I’m saying. Tee hee!!! Hey he pretty much said it himself. I’m just going with it. redface

Let’s just say this one gets H-O-T.

And on top of it all… all of that ↑ was mixed in perfectly with some of the scariest scenes in the series so far. Giggling, whispering school children (whether they be alive or ghosts) woven into such darkness was enough to have me jump outta my skin a few times.

“Do you ever get scared?”

I snorted. “Yeah. Of course.”

I mean, they were ghosts. We weren’t seeing puppies. We were seeing the dead, and both of us knew very well that the dead had the power to kill us. Of course, they had the power to kill anyone, but when they found someone who was actually able to see them, able to communicate with them, it made things a bit riskier.

Pure entertainment perfection!

So what’s it about?

Dex, Perry and Rebecca are now a “Experiment in Terror” trio, and while Rebecca doesn’t have any connection to “the other side” (she pretty much sees, hears, and feels… nothing), she helps produce the show and it’s really working out. In fact, Perry finds that she feels a little “better” in the midst of a creepy ghostly interaction when she sees Rebecca right next to her, acting normally and not seeing a thing. Kind of dulls the creep-factor for her. And I get that! If Rebecca can’t see it, maybe it’s not that real.

That is… until she suddenly can see it, too.

“R-rebecca?” I asked, my voice shaking. I stopped and pulled Dex back. He immediately shined his light on her.

“Are you all right?” Dex asked. “Why are you being creepy.”

“Shhh,” she said softly. “I’m listening.”

“To what?” I whispered as goosebumps prickled my arms.

Eeeeeep!!!! eek *shudders*

So… they get a job to investigate a haunted school for gifted children.

“How is this school still being used?” I asked. “I mean, a school?”

He shrugged. “I know. Apparently it’s a grade school for artistically gifted children. Their old school was in Tillamook but it burned down a couple of years ago. Parents didn’t want to have to pay for a new building with an increase in tuition so they decided to take over the old sanitarium.”

I snorted, trying to ignore the prickles of unease on my neck. “Great. All we need is a bunch of creative art kids in a school full of ghost kids.”

Haunted because once upon a time, it was a “hospital” for children with tuberculosis, and it would appear the children that died there are still not at rest.

“…we’ve got a school of dead children. But we can handle it. And if we can’t. well that’s what Jack Daniels is for.”

Mmmm… maybe. ;) But don’t forget the “bad thing” that skulks and crawls along the walls and the ceilings. And it is not childlike at all. It’s demonish, scary as heck…

And yes, I saw that, but oh god I wish I hadn’t.

… and it’s got an eye on Perry. Pippa warned her.

“I just know that when demons get to the other side, they look for a host and they go after the ones with power.”

And Perry ignored the warnings. Again. *sigh* Perry and the demons, I swear she can’t get a break. And she’s pretty much over it.

Been there, done that, I said, narrowing my eyes at the memory. Have the t-shirt.

And I’m going to leave it there. What this trio uncovers is just as bracing (maybe even more so) as some of the past mysteries that caused such unrest. But as they uncover it, they are forced to uncover parts of themselves. Discover things, reevaluate and come to grips, as they experience the terror head on.

A quick-witted, intense, raw, emotional, romantic, scary, and most of all —> real read. I loved it, I love these characters (I am these characters), I love this series and I LOVE DEX!

Claudia: Ashes to Ashes by Karina Halle=WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT 5 Stars!!!!!!!!!!!! I am dying in here.


Ohhhh right. The cliffhanger? ↑ Yah, its killer. *smirk* But I’m good with it. Another new thing to focus on as I backtrack through what I remember of the series, to see if I can “suss” anything out before the next installment. And I SO look forward to it!

5 stars!!

P.S. And just for fun, here are some reader reactions. I’m not the only one head-over-heels. ;)

Terri: This one was so good! My favorite so far!

Ann: Oh get ready to swooooon….and also have the living crap scared out of you!!

Ray: Am at 73% and scared!

Sally: I literally just finished and it was fantastic!!

Maryse’s Book Blog: YAY!!!

Jessica: It’s soooo good so far! I love me some Dex!

Hang: So good!!! I’m tempted to re-read with you!

Sam: Nothing “ish” about this one, I thought it was her scariest one yet! Finished it last night, it was awesome!! Now I’m just counting down till May!

Kristi: It was so good and super creepy!!!

Mary: Just finished it.. Loved it!!!

Sadie: I’m at 50% and am highlighting everything Dex says as usual. So good!

Kristi: She Knocked it out of the park with this one!! I loved Come Alive but I think Ashes to Ashes was even better!!

Jessica: I reading it now. I am already getting sad that there is only one more book left

Alyssa: Oh. My. No!!!! I need this!!! Between this one and Kristen Ashley’s Broken Dove in 2 week. Happiness!!!!!!!

Sadie: Finished and gotta say it was one of my favorites in the series. How does this series keep getting better?

Jackie: It’s freaking amazing!

Ashley: I’m pretty sure I think this is her best work yet. LOVED this book!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

anna December 21, 2013 at 4:21 PM

I loved the first book but do we know how many books are going to be in the series? I’ve stopped reading until all of them are out.

Rebecca December 21, 2013 at 6:24 PM

OMG, do you realise how hard it was for me Not To Read this review?? I’m currently on book 3, and this series is my current book obsession (I started exactly 1 week ago). I did though, read the FAQ’s, and totally agree. Book 1, Darkhouse, was a little YA (but a page turner nevertheless) but I was intrigued, and a few days later, I was still thinking about it, couldn’t stop thinking about all those unanswered questions, and picked up Red Fox. Couldn’t put it down, and I’ve been ruined for all other books for a while, as I devour the rest of the series!! For those from Australia, look at alternative pricing from Smashwords, a LOT cheaper than Amazons $6.34 for every book!! You can still get book 1 free, and consecutive books 99c or $3.99

kim December 21, 2013 at 7:19 PM

Loved it and Dex just keeps getting better and better!

Michelle M December 21, 2013 at 8:22 PM

Loved this one! I think this one was the creepiest of them all so far. The images of the darkness are evil and chilling. I’ve lived in Oregon all my life and grew up spending lots of time on the Oregon coast so these creepy stories from old coastal towns suck me in every time! And I love being able to say “Oh, I’ve been there!” when Karina uses a familiar locale. But most of all, I LOVE DEX! Dex and Perry are so real at times you can feel the bumpy turmoil and the sexy steam all in the same scene. In most books, I feel more connected to either the hero or to the heroine, but in the EIT books I feel totally connected to both Perry and Dex and love them both. And those last few pages…HOLY WTF!!! I can’t believe there is only going to be one more book in this series! :-o

Kirsten December 21, 2013 at 10:21 PM

@Anna this is the next to the last installment in the EIT series. The last book will be out in May… Dust to Dust.

Loved this book although I found myself trying to slow down to savior my Derry time. Thank you for introducing me to the awesomeness of Karina Maryse. I love everything she writes.

Maryse December 21, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Anna, there’s only one more left to come out. :)

Pamela December 31, 2013 at 12:16 AM

Ok so I just purchased the book but I think I might wait for tje last one to come out since I cant take the cliffhangers

Jessie April 1, 2014 at 1:18 PM

I liked this one and was creeped out from time to time but still think Dead Sky Morning was by far the creepiest. That one kept me awake when my husband was away for the weekend and I had to lock my dog in my bedroom to keep me company.
This one to me got so intense and then it just stopped. She was being chased down the chute thing by the doctor…then its over. sigh…not that I like being scared but I wish it could have gone on from there. I loved the cliffhanger too. Any idea when the last book is expected?

Teri May 5, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Good Laurdy! I just finished Ashes to Ashes last night and I swear I’m still having heart palpitations!! This was the best EiT book yet! Outstanding and what a cliff hanger at the end (EEk!). I can hardly wait for the next book but yet if it’s the last one, I’m going to be so sad! Ugh, I love this series, really love this series!!! Can’t it go on forever?…

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