Thursday, November 12, 2015

review || RAVEL { tour } by Shari J. Ryan

Gravity | November 7, 2015 | Military Romance


At twenty-three, I’m left with a decision. The outcome could be life or death.

Trent hit me once, and I cried. Then he hit me again. And again. After a while, I got used to it, as I slept on the floor beside his bed, night after night.

Everyone told me to leave him, but I can't. He won't let me.

The moment I wanted to give up on myself and any form of hope, Kemper—a tall, sexy Marine just home from Afghanistan walked into my bar. With one look in his eyes, I saw pain that mirrored my own.

At first, I thought maybe he would be my prince charming, riding in to save me, but all it took was one tragedy for me to remember…fairy tales don’t exist in real life.

*The content in this book discusses domestic violence and is suitable for readers over 18*

{ about shari j. ryan } .

ShariAuthorPic(main).jpgInternational Bestselling Author, Shari J. Ryan, hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two lively little boys. Shari has always had an active imagination and enjoys losing herself in the fictional worlds she creates.

When Shari isn’t writing or designing book covers, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor.

To learn more, visit her: WebsiteFacebook, or Twitter. Also, you can find her here: TSu, Pinterest, and Google+.

Shari’s other books: Red Nights, TAG, You’re It, Schasm, Fissure Free, and When Fully Fused.

{ excerpt } .

“That’s twice in one day I’ve had to save you,” Kemper says, his soft voice soothing my nerves as he presses a cool compress against my forehead. His other hand is cupped around my cheek. No one has ever cared enough to save me. Kemper’s face is inches from mine and I can smell the cool mint on his breath from the gum he’s been chewing.

“I guess so,” I mutter, falling a little deeper into his gaze.

His thumb runs down the length of my nose, and while most of me is feeling pain, that sensation still drives quivers through my body. “Does that hurt?” he asks.

I shake my head, “Not too much,” I say, noticing a slight ache in my neck.

His thumb moves over to my right cheekbone and he presses gently. “How about that?” All I feel is the warmth from his skin. I shake my head again. He does the same for my left cheekbone. This time I wince. It hurts. I clench my eyes and I hear him yell to someone to grab ice. “Is this the first time he’s hit you?” Kemper’s brows are bowed toward his nose while his thumb continues to trace small circles around my cheek. I’d rather lean into his hand than respond.

In truth, I just don’t want to answer him, but he’s still staring at me, waiting for a response. I look down, away from his gaze. The ache in my chest, mixed with feeling like a weak woman, makes me want to cry, but I won’t cry in front of all these people. His finger curls under my chin and he tilts my face back up to look at him. His eyes are kind and caring, yet pained at the same time. The light is hitting them at the perfect angle, giving them the slightest shimmer in the center of each pupil. Then there are his lips—I can’t stop looking at those either. They’re full and capable. They look like they have the ability to kiss in a way I’ve definitely never been kissed. I want to touch his lips, but I belong to Trent—the asshole that just hit me.

{ review } .

Shari is certainly making her mark on the world with her titles; each one has grown a little bit more in her writing style. Things that were slightly amiss in TAG were definitely grown-upon in RED NIGHTS. I haven't finished reading through her SIN serial, but I do feel that RAVEL had some of her strongest writing.

That said, I still had issues...

First... (this isn't an issue, fyi): this book has many potential triggers. There is a lot of groundwork for PTSD as well as abuse -- emotional, physical, sexual. Shari wrote these parts, these characteristics in Daphne and Kemper, extremely well. Kemper is every bit the Marine (...or military person, as it applies to all) and when he comes home after one too many tours with one too many consequences.... Well, when he finally breaks the emotion is definitely in Shari's writing.

When Daphne is thrown around by Trent, when we get glimpses of how that relationship started and the way it progressed... Shari wrote the abuse victim line extremely well.

Daphne and Kemper worked well with one another. I loved the chemistry and felt that each came into the other's life at the right time. There were some (later) decisions on Kemper's part, though, that seemed very reactionary due to previous experiences.

So what didn't work? What did I have issues with?

The first part of the book had many emotional moments -- that just didn't get there for me. Which honestly surprised me, knowing Shari's work the way that I do. I read the scenes and could feel that they were meant to pull heartstrings... they just didn't. They fell flat and I was afraid that those moments would be the defining ones for me with this book. The second half, though... (and by that I mean the last 50%, not simply 'Part Two') -- I cried a few times, so those heartstring pulling moments do exist.

Some items in Daphne's characteristic didn't quite jive for me, either. She's an abuse victim who does everything an abuse victim is known to do -- I just felt she fell into Kemper a bit too quickly.

And my other point of disconnect... There were one too many military cliches for me --


We have the ever-viral beer for your fallen soldier line (which, regardless of it's virality, is a super strong moment and a super caring thing to do for the friends and family), and Lee Brice's "I Drive Your Truck" -- two of the moments that stood out the most for me. Now... I cry every time I hear the song, and with my brother in the military, I think of him and his truck and what I would do to feel near him every. time. I hear the song. I cry every time I hear "Letters from Home," too. For me, personally, the use of both these items in one storyline, semi-close to one another, was just too much.

So now that I feel like a meanie pants... (I've been up for 18 hours and worked all night, and it was crazy busy and I'm crazy tired so shhhhhh. Meanie pants is a great term)...

I still like Shari's writing style. It's light and easy with just enough drama and emotion to pull the reader through. Not everyone is going to be as picky as I can be, and the points that I made that didn't work for me... Well, they can be easily overlooked. I just tend to look more often than not.

Shari has included a blurb for her next book at the end of RAVEL -- and that little bit has enough emotion for me to know without a doubt, it just may be Shari's best. Like I said, she keeps growing with each book, and I'm very excited for the next.

{ giveaway } .

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