Ever read a book that you know is well done, but you just can’t get into it? That’s where I’m at with this one. I’ve enjoyed Shari J. Ryan’s work in the past, so I’ve been keeping up with the series but I found this to be such a heavy, depressing read. It was one thing after another that just added weight to the story, and the romance gets lost in the shuffle – especially since our heroine is kinda broken, and we see so little of the hero. It wasn’t until around the halfway point that I connected to either of the characters, and having this told exclusively from the heroine’s perspective means that we never really get to know the hero. I liked him, but I didn’t know him. That being said, it did evoke an emotional response from me, and I think there’s a lot of potential in this original story.
This follows Journey, a woman who has gone through a lot in her life – and carries that burden on her shoulders. When Brody resurfaces, it stirs up a lot of memories that are bittersweet. They’ve flirted in the past, shared 7 minutes in Heaven, but then life got in the way. Now that they’re seeing more of each other, those old feelings come back to the surface and Brody begins a relentless pursuit of Journey. She’s resistant, but the sweet and gruff single dad is determined.
I really, really wish this was dual perspective – and not in separate books, which seems to be how Ryan has set up the story. The first 40% dragged in a big way, with very little of Brody and nothing to break up all of the heaviness. That means that when the romance does finally kick in, it felt rushed and like insta-love on Brody’s part. I just couldn’t understand why he was so into Journey given how little time they’ve spent together, her sour personality, and her dangerously skinny appearance (yes, there are a range of triggers in this book, especially pertaining to grief). It’s the kind of original story I could’ve sunk my teeth into if executed differently, but that’s not how this played out. If you’re a reader who enjoys women’s fiction and plenty of angst, this will probably work better for you. I received an ARC via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review of this angsty book.
Life isn’t a game.
Life isn’t an empty bottle of bourbon spinning on a warehouse floor as I hold my breath.
I feel weak when others perceive me as strong. I’m passionate though I appear to hate the world around me.
I see the beauty in all ugly things. I feel pain when I laugh.
No one knows the truth.
Well, no one knew the truth until now.
Somehow, Brody Pearson understands more about me than anyone else in my life.
The severed connection should mean something significant, but I don’t know if I can forget all my self-proclaimed promises.