Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Review: Wrecked by JB Salsbury

Title: Wrecked
Series: Standalone
Author: JB Salsbury
Release date: July 18, 2017
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 4 stars


When you can’t trust yourself, how can you ask anyone else to?

It’s been months since Aden Colt left the Army, and still the memories haunt him. When he moved into a boat off the California coast, he thought he’d found the perfect place to escape life. 

Then Sawyer shows up, and turns his simple life upside down. 

Beautiful and sophisticated, she seems out of place in this laidback beach town. Something is pushing her to experience everything she can—including Aden. But as much as he wants her, starting a relationship with Sawyer puts them both at risk. 

For Aden, the past doesn’t stay there; it shows up unexpectedly, uncontrollably, and doesn’t care whose life it wrecks.

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Wrecked begins with a flashback in Aden's POV, three months prior to the present time. Those first few pages will immediately draw you in with a heart pounding scene that helps you to understand the severe PTSD that he's struggling with. While on tour in the Special Forces, his job was to train Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers. After his last mission went horribly wrong, he's left completely shattered and unable to pick up the pieces. Flashbacks and anger consume him, so he prefers to isolate himself to his own brooding company. He lives a simple life managing his uncle Cal's rental property in California, and living on his small houseboat. The string of willing women distract him from his inner turmoil, but it's only a temporary fix, like putting a band-aid on a bullet hole.

I know what it feels like to have something living inside that eats away at your sanity. They call it trauma, a deeply distressing experience, but God… it’s so much more. It’s alive and breathing, it eats and rarely sleeps, it’s a monster that demands attention and never ever gives in.

Aden was a likable hero, I sympathized with him right from the start and rooted for him to overcome his demons. He had a really great sense of humor that lent some necessary lightness into the story. I went into the book thinking that this would be a darker type of book, but it actually didn't feel that way at all despite the serious topics that were addressed. I was pleasantly surprised by the entertaining dialogue that propelled the plot forward at a fast pace.

My first impression of Sawyer was that she was uptight, filled with anxiety over a variety of things like germs, cleanliness, and organization. She pushed her fears deep down, and boxed them up, cushioning them with order and predictability. These things made sense, made her feel safe after her grandmother passed away and she spent years taking the blame on herself.

Sawyer's identical twin sister Celia may be her mirror image on the surface, but they couldn't be more different in every aspect of their personalities. Celia has always been the free spirited and outgoing one, looking at life as one grand adventure ready to be seized.

In a world where I live in black-and-white and absolutes, my sister lives in tie-dye and liberation. All answers are right answers and even negative consequences serve a bigger purpose. It’s insane. Anarchy. Chaos.

But after contracting a rare form of cancer, her time is drawing close to an end. She wants to leave knowing that Sawyer will put herself outside of her comfort zone and find the ability to live free and just be.

So she pushes her to go to her apartment in California and walk in her footsteps for a couple of short weeks. To pack her things of for her, and convince her friends that she IS Celia, just moving on to her next exciting city. So they remember her as the strong and vital woman they all love her as. Playing her part was impossible enough, but learning to let go was her most challenging test of all. What she really needed was to have her tidy little life shaken and turned upside down, and Aden was the one to show her how it's done.

Aden and Sawyer have an immediate disarming attraction, and even when they were butting heads, they still found a way to charm each other. He was hopelessly confused over his mixed feelings and growing attachment for this woman.

I want to fall into her arms and never come up for air, absorbing the sweet medication of her touch.

She was one big mass of contradictions, a constant surprise to be around, and she made him smile more than he could remember in a long time. But how would she react if she knew how volatile his moods were, and how deep his emotional scars went? How would he feel knowing that the woman he was falling for wasn't everything she seemed?

I loved seeing Sawyer break out of her shell and really embrace all the joys life had to offer. Aden wasn't magically healed, but with her support was able to seek out the help he needed and become a source of inspiration for others. I appreciated the originality of the circumstances of how they met a lot. I do think that two weeks was a narrow amount of time for them to meet and fall head over heels, especially since they weren't open and honest about who they were. That didn't affect my enjoyment very much though, because overall I loved the message and the end leaves you on a satisfyingly high note.

“Life is beautiful and terrifying … And we deserve to feel it down to our bones.”


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