Review: Surviving Ashes Series by Kennedy Layne

The world as they know it is about to change. The Yellowstone Caldera has erupted in an apocalyptic fashion, triggering simultaneous events around the world. The one thing that will either bring society together or rip their lives apart is the need for survival as a group. A company of former Marines will do whatever it takes to reach an area in the far recesses of northeastern Washington state, a region they feel is uniquely equipped for endurance and existence in what is left of the crumbling infrastructure of the United States. Follow along as Kennedy Layne conveys each of their stories as these brave men and women face the harsh, fiery elements of an inevitable apocalypse while encountering passion, intrigue, and suspense…

Change is coming… Maverick Beckett took his much needed annual vacation up to Washington State to relax with his old friends from his years in the Corps. He also had every intention of extinguishing the fires that arose between him and a certain local woman he couldn’t get out of his mind until the unthinkable happened. Nothing is as it seems… Henley Varano loved the simple anonymous life that her remote hometown provided. She’d had the wealthy existence of a fashion model and the fame that came with it only to find it lonelier than she could have ever imagined. Unfortunately, men only saw the fictitious person she appeared to be in the magazines and not the real woman she was—even the one man she’s wanted for years. Surviving is just the beginning… An apocalyptic event changes the course of their lives when the massive Yellowstone Caldera erupts. Panic ensues among the small town, causing Mav and Henley to witness the best and worst of humanity. They must work as a team to create a new existence before the fallout of harsh and fiery elements overtakes their safe haven. Along the way, they might just find that they need each other more than ever.

Change is coming…
Maverick Beckett took his much needed annual vacation up to Washington State to relax with his old friends from his years in the Corps. He also had every intention of extinguishing the fires that arose between him and a certain local woman he couldn’t get out of his mind until the unthinkable happened.
Nothing is as it seems…
Henley Varano loved the simple anonymous life that her remote hometown provided. She’d had the wealthy existence of a fashion model and the fame that came with it only to find it lonelier than she could have ever imagined. Unfortunately, men only saw the fictitious person she appeared to be in the magazines and not the real woman she was—even the one man she’s wanted for years.
Surviving is just the beginning…
An apocalyptic event changes the course of their lives when the massive Yellowstone Caldera erupts. Panic ensues among the small town, causing Mav and Henley to witness the best and worst of humanity. They must work as a team to create a new existence before the fallout of harsh and fiery elements overtakes their safe haven. Along the way, they might just find that they need each other more than ever.

Essential Beginnings by Kennedy Layne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finding love amongst the ashes, and that’s literally in this new apocalyptic romance series. The author has taken an actual location within the United States, the Yellowstone Caldera which is the volcanic caldera and supervolcano located in Yellowstone National Park and written about something that could potentially happen one day. A Yellowstone supereruption would disrupt electronics and endanger human health in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and affect other parts of the country. Moreover, a month-long supereruption could affect the global climate for years, even decades.

Essential Beginnings starts after a rather larger earthquake happens at Yellowstone. Ernie “Tank” Yates retired from the Marines and opened up Lost Mountain Lodge in a small town in northeastern Washington state. A group of the Marines that had been under his command often come to Lost Summit to visit with him. Tank has always had a theory that one day Yellowstone would blow and had been building a large shelter in the hills with enough natural resources that could sustain them for years. His former team helped him build it even though none of them ever though what Tank was predicting would ever happen in their life time. Well they were wrong.

Maverick Beckett is currently the only one of the team that’s at Lost Summit visiting. Tank is like a father to Mav and he has tons of respect for him. He had a crap childhood and says that his life didn’t start until he joined the Marines at 18 and then found a real family with his fellow marines.

Henley Varano is from Lost Summit but had left after school and had become a successful fashion model. That life ended up with her crashing and burning over the stress that came with fame and the unreasonable demands put on body image a model has to keep to stay on top. Even though her parents have passed she decides to come back home and works for Tank at the lodge.

Mav and Henley have known each other for 3 years but Henley gives nothing but a cold shoulder to Mav and he’s never understood why. As the news about Yellowstone breaks these two finally deal with their issues and join forces along with the town to face the impending ending of the world as they know it.

Essential Beginnings blends the natural disaster, getting the town ready and the romance perfectly. The future books will be about the 4 other marines trying to make their way to Lost Summit through the ash cloud that is now working its way across the United States. Being a huge fan of disaster movies and loving romance books this was a treat to find and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

There were a few things that got Owen Quade through his multiple combat tours. One was the dream of riding a custom motorcycle on a winding mountain road. The former Marine had finally managed to complete that goal, and along the way he’d gained his own bike shop and the mechanic to go with it. She was a rare beauty, and he wasn’t talking about his bike either. Prue Whitaker preferred working on engines over rubbing shoulders with people, and that included her boss. She’d learned the hard way that men weren’t as reliable as the hogs she could repair and she kept her distance from those who didn’t feel the same way. She’d been successful until she’d recently shared a scorching kiss with Owen. One phone call had changed everything. A catastrophic event is on the verge of occurring, forcing them to pack up and leave everything behind. Prue is driven to trust Owen, who’s given his word that he can get her to safety. Through the endless days of darkness, passion and intrigue await them as they make their way through ashes and into the flames of tomorrow.

There were a few things that got Owen Quade through his multiple combat tours. One was the dream of riding a custom motorcycle on a winding mountain road. The former Marine had finally managed to complete that goal, and along the way he’d gained his own bike shop and the mechanic to go with it. She was a rare beauty, and he wasn’t talking about his bike either.
Prue Whitaker preferred working on engines over rubbing shoulders with people, and that included her boss. She’d learned the hard way that men weren’t as reliable as the hogs she could repair and she kept her distance from those who didn’t feel the same way. She’d been successful until she’d recently shared a scorching kiss with Owen.
One phone call had changed everything. A catastrophic event is on the verge of occurring, forcing them to pack up and leave everything behind. Prue is driven to trust Owen, who’s given his word that he can get her to safety. Through the endless days of darkness, passion and intrigue await them as they make their way through ashes and into the flames of tomorrow.

Hidden Flames by Kennedy Layne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another page turner in this post apocalyptic romance series. The super volcano located in Yellowstone National Park has erupted killing thousands and spreading deadly ash all across the United States triggering a global climate change. Ernie “Tank” Yates  had been preparing for something like this and has built a shelter in the mountains by Lost Mountain Lodge which he owns in a small town in northeastern Washington state. The first book set up the natural disaster, getting the town ready and we met one of the 5 men that served under Tank. The future books will be about the 4 other marines trying to make their way to Lost Summit through the ash cloud that is now working its way across the United States.  This is Owen Quade’s story.

Owen is in Florida where he owns his own motorcycle shop when he gets the call about Yellowstone. He currently has a woman working for him that he’s been attracted to but hasnt acted on due to her stand off nature with men. He manages to convince her that the world is about to end as they know it and convinces her to join him on his trek from Florida to Washington state. She agree with one stipulation – that they first go to California to pick up her sister.

As Owen and Prue were far from Washington we get to see what’s happening out in the real world. How they have to modify their motorcycles to be handle the ash that falling, wearing masks to keep the ash from getting in their lungs, running into unsavory characters who want to harm and steal from them and having to see all the millions of people along their trip who probably arent going to survive . Along with the harrowing trek , Owen and Prue start a relationship with Prue dealing with her past issues. All her reason’s for keeping Owen at bay now seem silly as life as they know it has changed and will never be the same.

As with the first book the blends the natural disaster and the romance perfectly and I didnt want to put the book down once I started it. Cant wait for the next story.

Mason Sykes had served many years in the Marine Corps for his country. His loyalty and sacrifice had left him disfigured—inside and out. He didn’t harbor regrets, especially since he’d finally found the peace and quiet he’d always desired on a Nebraska farm. Brenna Helm was a country girl through and through, right down to her cowgirl boots. Her heart had always belonged to the acres of land that had been her family’s legacy through multiple generations. She’d only ever loved one thing more, and that was the military man who’d moved back to town a few years ago who’d come home a changed man—one who apparently wanted nothing to do with anyone. The day the world filled with ash was the day Mason was forced to rise above his scars. Facing death off of the battlefield made him realize what he’d pushed away in the name of compassion, but that was about to change. The flames of desire he’d once felt were about to be reignited, but he first had to get Brenna to safety through the fiery, harsh new world that could claim their lives if they took one wrong step.

Mason Sykes had served many years in the Marine Corps for his country. His loyalty and sacrifice had left him disfigured—inside and out. He didn’t harbor regrets, especially since he’d finally found the peace and quiet he’d always desired on a Nebraska farm.
Brenna Helm was a country girl through and through, right down to her cowgirl boots. Her heart had always belonged to the acres of land that had been her family’s legacy through multiple generations. She’d only ever loved one thing more, and that was the military man who’d moved back to town a few years ago who’d come home a changed man—one who apparently wanted nothing to do with anyone.
The day the world filled with ash was the day Mason was forced to rise above his scars. Facing death off of the battlefield made him realize what he’d pushed away in the name of compassion, but that was about to change. The flames of desire he’d once felt were about to be reignited, but he first had to get Brenna to safety through the fiery, harsh new world that could claim their lives if they took one wrong step.

Buried Flames by Kennedy Layne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Boy, does the plot thicken in this third story about the aftermath of the Yellowstone Caldera erupting. Each book is so gripping with the suspense of each of the Marines having to make their way from all over the USA to Washington State through an ash cloud apocalypse.

Mason Sykes is probably the most damaged mentally and physically from his time in the Marines. After getting out he has holed up on a farm in Nebraska living a life of seclusion. When he gets the word from his team mates about the impending disaster he makes a rare appearance in town to warn them all to head east and then plans to head out on his own to Washington.

Brenna Helm grew up with Mason and they were high school sweethearts but all of that changed when he left to join the Marines and the man he came back as isn’t the same one that she knew. When the eruption happens she ends up on the harrowing journey with Mason much to his trying to send her with the rest of the town to the east coast.

This book didn’t spend as much time on the road and the previous one did but they came across a new threat while on the road that ended up bringing danger to Lost Mountain Lodge. I’m not going to go into detail about what that was as it would be spoilerish but we find out what some of the government has been up since the eruption and it’s not all good.

I am so in book love with this series and eagerly await each new story about the men and women falling love during what could be called end of times and how far they will each go to protect their friends and loved ones.

View all my reviews

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