Review: Ashes by M.K. Harkins

(Modern-Day Fairy Tale #1)
by M.K. Harkins
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication date: May 27, 2022
Genre: Young Adult Romance

If she thought college applications were complicated, just wait until she catches feelings for the newest celebrity in town.

Ashley Adams doesn’t have time for haters. Already too busy dealing with dead bodies after her stepmother purchased a mortuary, she is ready to put the lid on her judgmental peers and finally bury her high school experience. But her focus is shattered when a charming pop-star-turned-student needs her help evading his crazed fans.

The last place heartthrob Harry James wants to be is back in school. Sentenced to finish his senior year after a case of accidental arson, the singer longs to return to the stage. But he never expected to meet a girl who could see through the fame to the real person inside.

Surprised by the chemistry between them, Ashley is shocked when Harry gives her the cold shoulder. But with his publicist forbidding him from dating her, Harry must choose between fame or love.

Can Ashley and Harry survive the turmoil threatening to tear them apart?

Ashes is a fun and snarky standalone YA romance. If you like captivating characters, emotional twists and turns, Fairies and Cinderella retellings, then you’ll adore MK Harkins’ fast-paced tale.



Ashes is a young adult novel between an average teenage girl, and a famous teenage boy. Okay, well maybe Ashley isn’t technically average. She works at her step-mother’s funeral home where she dresses and does the makeup of the dead before their funerals. All quirks aside, Ashley meets Harry when he is court ordered to go to a small town school to finish out his senior year after getting in trouble at his last school. Obviously, there are a lot of obstacles in place when you pair a famous person with the high school pariah.

Since this is a Cinderella retelling, Ashley’s step-mother wants her daughters to gain the eye of the “prince of pop”. So, when Ashley gains his eye, her step-mother does everything she can to gain her daughters favor in his eyes. His publicist wants him to only be seen with the “in” crowd to make his image better and tries to push him away from Ashley. You also have some fairy godmother’s that come to earth to help these two find their HEA.

I liked that the author took a classic story and made it her own. I wish we could have seen more behind the scenes with Harry, but I understand that there’s not much really going on when it came to his career since he was on hiatus while in school. I liked that we did get to see some random things that Ashley did for the funeral home. I also liked that the author added a couple of curve balls to make the story a bit more interesting instead of just being a simple romance.

With that being said, I did have a couple things that bothered me. A principal asking a student for help in getting another student in trouble… weird. Same principal showing that student proof of a crime the other student committed instead of going directly to authorities… also weird. A judge telling Harry that since he’s on probation, he needs to stay away from a girl that works at a funeral home since she could be bad news… weird. The dialogue that tended to be a little cringe worthy with the way that Harry spoke to Ashley. Saying he’s coming on too strong but he just can’t help himself when he’s around her beauty… and it wasn’t a corny pick-up line… he meant it. Yeah, let’s just say there were things that didn’t work for me with this book.

I loved the idea of this story. I’m a sucker for rock-star romances and the fact that the author mixed that with a Cinderella story had me excited to pick this book up. This has a lot of amazing potential, however, I felt like the author missed the mark in a few areas. If it weren’t for the weird dialog and questionable actions by the adults with authority, I would have enjoyed this story much more. The fact that the next book, Red, will focus on Ashley’s college roommate and Harry’s best friend. I have a feeling the next book will be very interesting.




Meet M.K. Harkins

MK has always been a voracious reader. After hitting a dry spell of reading material, she decided to write the kind of book she’d like to read. This resulted in the creation of her debut novel, Intentional. (Award for Best Sweet Romance – eFestival of Words- August 2014)
Unintentional, Breaking Braydon, Taking Tiffany and The Reader soon followed. MK’s newest, Famous by Default, an Amazon Bestseller, was released March 2017. The follow-up to The Reader, The Jack, published 2018. Next up- A series of modern-day fairy tales. We’ll start with a Cinderella story: Ashes

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One Thought on “Review: Ashes by M.K. Harkins

  1. I hope the next book is better for you.

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