Review: From Dust (Portland ME #1) by Freya Barker

Posted December 29, 2016 by bookstobreathe in Book Review / 1 Comment

Review: From Dust (Portland ME #1) by Freya BarkerTitle: From Dust
Author: Freya Barker
Series: Portland ME #1
Published by Self-Published
Release Date August 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Pages: 385
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase From: Amazon US
Purchase From: Barnes & Noble
Purchase From: iTunes
Purchase From: Kobo
Pain punished her...

The bottle numbed her...

Guilt kept her trapped...

In the dark alley of a pub, the words “Please don’t” take hold of her heart and break the silence she seeks. Thinking herself beyond redemption, she tentatively grabs on to the slim thread of hope that unfolds inside of her.

Holding her secrets close, she can’t resist the comforting draw coming from The Skipper. The unconditional friendships it offers, the protective roof it provides, and the spark that its owner ignites in her—melting the frost off her heart, and slowly stripping away her resistance.

His life flows from one crisis to the next. Under the pressure of competition crowding him out of his family’s pub and the need to protect his children from the ruins of a bad marriage, he barely breathes. That is until a mane of strawberry-blonde hair and a set of big, pale blue eyes, shake him up.

He never expected the shadow of a woman he finds on the floor of his washroom to bring him the air―the balance and the light he’s been missing.

Title: From Dust

Series: Portland, ME #1

Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance

Author: Freya Barker

Release Date: August 3, 2015

My Review

I cannot remember the last time I was so instantly captivated with a story, especially with an author that was previously unknown to me. I can’t even remember how I stumbled upon this series, I just know I will forever be grateful that I did. I was basically flying blind in this book as the synopsis, thought poignant, wasn’t very specific. It took a while before I figured out the direction it was taking and by that point I was completely immersed in the characters. I was so invested in them I refused to go to sleep until I finished, even though I had to get up for work a mere two hours later. Nothing mattered but finding out what happened with Syd and Gunnar.

One thing I loved and appreciated about this book was how real the characters were. They were ordinary and blue collar and there was something spectacular in the simplicity of them. Because even though they appeared simple from the outside, deep within their souls was a complexity I couldn’t have anticipated. The further I got to the heart of who they really were, the more my soul bled. I fell deep and I fell hard. I began drowning in the sheer beauty of it all, without even attempting for air. When you get to the root of where Syd’s troubles began you will think you know and understand, but I promise you, you won’t. What she experiences is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, yet it is the truest testament of recovery and forgiveness. It shows how we are often our own worst enemies and critics, believing the outside world views us the same when it couldn’t be further from the truth.

I thrive on painful books and it doesn’t get much more harrowing than what transpires in this book. Syd’s story utterly gutted me to my core, but at the same time, there was a tenderness and strength you don’t often find in others going through similar situations. This story had it all. Pain, explicit steamy scenes, friendship, forgiveness, suspense, family blending, and most of all, love. Often many acts seem senseless and truly, they are, but if you look hard enough, you can almost always find a silver lining. Maybe not immediately. Maybe years down the road. But if you hold out hope and be the best version of yourself, redemption is around the corner. Syd was about as low as a person could be, and all it took was a helping hand to turn things around. I’m in no way saying it was easy; she had to fight every step of the way. But the battle was won and it was as victorious as I hoped it would be. We met most of the characters that will star in the other books in this series and I cannot wait to find out what their stories are. I have a feeling they’ll only continue to get better and better with each installment.


Cruel Water (Portland, ME #2)

Amazon US

Innocence marked her…

Violation crippled her…

Love left her raw…

The life she carefully rebuilt is challenged when she is confronted with the sins from her past. The carefully applied protection is at once ripped away, leaving her exposed and vulnerable.

Her single night of indulgence with the silver-eyed stranger is only the beginning. He sees right to the heart of her and she is unable to ward off emotions that have been deeply buried. With the sting of betrayal still fresh in her soul, she’s surprised to find herself opening up to the honest integrity of the sharp-eyed, rough-looking biker.

When he lost everyone who mattered, he was left without roots and learned to be content simply living in the moment. Completely unprepared for the feisty blonde bartender with old pain marring her clear-blue eyes, he questions his own rules of detachment, as she unwittingly finds a way under his skin.

Appearances deceive and when the masks fall away, revealing deep, dark secrets, there is nothing left but to hang onto each other and survive the storm.


Through Fire (Portland, ME #3)

Amazon US

Violence corroded her…

Obedience defiled her…

Fear kept her chained…

Freedom is hard to embrace when she’s never learned to trust. Yet in the span of a second, she grabs a single opportunity and runs toward it. Straight into the sanctuary of a pub at the end of a wharf.

She doesn’t understand the concept of friendship. She’s never felt the connection of a relationship. She’s as innocent as the driven snow and yet tainted with corruption. Still, she finds herself surrounded by people who accept her, without even knowing the first thing about her. But one of them is determined to dig deeper.

He treasures his friends, yet he’s steered clear of committed relationships. He likes his life comfortably predictable and entirely controlled. Until it isn’t. For months he’s avoided interacting with The Skipper’s newest addition. Perhaps realizing that once he looked deeply into those liquid brown eyes, he wouldn’t be able to turn away.

When his present and her past puts them both on the brink of change, they are forged through fire as one.


Still Air (Portland, ME #4)

Amazon US

Deprival haunted her…

Regret troubled her…

Silence left her detached… 

A life in the service of others is both penance and a blessing. She soothes her personal hell by pulling victims from theirs, helping them on their path to survival; never finding her own.

When a crippling blow finally evaporates her last hope, the temptation to give up is strong. Still, she can’t find it in her to turn her back on those who need her: the innocent, whose rescue is her perpetual goal.

He was blind, but now he sees how his family has sifted through his fingers. The reality hits hard when his son becomes a stranger, slipping deeper into transgression. Concern has him call on the one person he fears will see his own failures all too clearly. A woman he’s kept his distance from for his own protection.

What appeared to be an incompatible pairing, turns out the unyielding bond needed to heal them all.

About Freya Barker

Author of the popular Cedar Tree series, as well as the critically acclaimed standalone “From Dust,” Freya Barker is driven to make her stories about ‘real’ people; with characters who are perhaps less than perfect, but just as deserving of romance, thrills and chills, and some hot, sizzling sex in their lives.

Recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None,” Freya has hit the ground running. She loves nothing more than to meet and mingle with her readers, whether it be online or in person at one of the signings she attends.

With her kids grown and out in the world, Freya has poured her creative energy into spinning story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!

One response to “Review: From Dust (Portland ME #1) by Freya Barker

So, what did you think? :-)