Review: Beautiful Burn by Adriane Leigh

Beautiful Burn Publication Date: January 13, 2015


I've broken him, bent him, and burned him, and each fevered moment was worth every ounce of pain.

Auburn Lawrence has loved her English teacher, Reed West, since she was sixteen. Through brainstorming stories, reading classic literature, and plenty of fiery banter, they've forged a bond that neither of them expected.

Propelled by a chance encounter after her graduation, they discover just how deep their connection runs, but love requires more than chemistry to flourish. They spend three electrifying summer months discovering each other under a veil of forbidden passion and desperate lust before they learn that the unattainable is often destined to remain exactly that.

By the time temperatures dip and snowflakes fly, their relationship will face a deep freeze that threatens to snap the bond they thought they shared, shattering their lives one secret at a time.

Intended for mature audiences. Beautiful Burn is a 50,000 word, standalone novel. 

My Review: ★★★★ 4 stars

The last student-teacher romance I read, I absolutely loved it. Several similar books came my way since then, but the synopsis hints at a history between the two characters. It's not just them meeting at the beginning of the school year and then there's an insta-attraction going on. Not that I have anything against insta-attraction plots because I love them as well (lots of favorite books come to mind!), but romances that are built on long relationships are always kind of special, don't you think? It's one of the reasons why I love childhood friends-to-lovers stories.

So back to BEAUTIFUL BURN. This one is just... **deep, deep sigh** I'm torn between wanting to put it in my never-read-again list and my best-reads list. Perhaps I'll just put it in my hate-it-so-much-I-love-it list. =D Let me explain.

This story had me feeling so many things: wariness, excitement, dismay, resignation, happiness, sadness, heartache, hope, wistfulness, regret. Sure, I get a dose of these emotions in most other books. However, my emotional response to the events in the story was heightened because I knew beforehand that they were based on real-life events. Adriane Leigh did not disclose if it's the characters, certain scenes, or general plot that she witnessed or even experienced. Just the knowledge that maybe there was a Reed and Auburn had me staring off into space, thinking about what-ifs, where they are now, what they are doing, did they have regrets, and so forth.
So you see Auburn, I can't choose you. And the fuck of it is, you have my heart, so that means I can't choose me.

The book had kind of a dreamy aura. The way it's written is similar to how the movie, "The Notebook" was presented: the emphasis is on the two characters and their relationship, the narration is fast paced, and it is made up of "key scenes". There's not so much of the mundane stuff like, "she went to her room to study for tomorrow's exam. After two hours she had enough of Shakespeare and turned out the lights." Every scene that is highlighted means something.

The steam factor is off the charts. It's pretty descriptive, but nothing disgustingly graphic. Part of me felt awkward, to be honest, since this is a teacher-student relationship; but let's clear things here: she is not underage, and he is not overly old for her. They are both consenting adults. Reed and Auburn are very passionate, especially since they have gone through a period of trying to deny their feelings towards each other. They had given "doing the right thing" a shot, but it led them to discontent and unhappiness. Now that they could have the chance to be together, they are definitely making up for lost time.
I was enjoying this moment. The last few years I'd been living in an oppressive cloud, and this, this was my first breath.

I was really moved by this story. It is narrated in Reed's POV, which actually worked really well. For me, the impact of the climax was stronger because readers are seeing and hearing the story through his eyes, mind and heart.
A smile split her face, the hugest I'd ever seen, and with that one look I knew it was all worth it. Whatever the future held, that smile made everything worth it.
I reveled in these moments because I was afraid we would only have these... Simple though they were, I found myself realizing that the simple moments in life were the most profound.

I have to give this 4 stars though because as much as I loved their story, there were two things I wasn't satisfied with. First, I kept hoping for more flashbacks telling us how they met, how they had gotten close, what became the turning point that they decided not to pursue a relationship the first time around. That was, after all, one of the things I looked forward to the most. At least having an answer for the latter would have given me, as the reader, a starting point for their love affair. Second, I feel that there is so much more about Auburn that was left unsaid. What happened to her in the years after she first left? I was under the impression that she went through an experimental stage, but how bad or how long, I do not know.

BEAUTIFUL BURN is definitely one of those books that will stay with me because of the emotions it made me feel, of how I felt after I read the last page. Reed and Auburn remained in my thoughts well into the next day. I hope many of you fellow readers will also get to experience this story and be moved by it. :)

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**This review is in conjunction with the Beautiful Burn Blog Tour organized by Between the Sheets Promotions.



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