BOOK REVIEW ~ SWEET SOUND OF SILENCE BY MELANIE DAWN

BOOK REVIEW ~ SWEET SOUND OF SILENCE BY MELANIE DAWN

Sometimes silence speaks the only truth.
Ryder Hawkley swallows his words the way he swallows his guilt. A life-altering tragedy keeps him locked away in a silent prison—a self-imposed punishment for a horrific mistake. His reputation…
Freak.Weirdo.
Alexis Honeycutt arrives at college craving one thing—independence. Now, away from home and free from her family’s overprotection, she attends a party with friends that will ultimately change her life. The moment she spots Ryder Hawkley sitting across the room, Alexis is intrigued.
Dangerous.They whisper.
The intensity shimmering from Ryder’s haunting eyes beckons her, but Alexis vows to stay away from him. Only, she can’t seem to get Ryder’s unnervingly quiet stare out of her head.
Ryder is determined to ignore Alexis’s contagious smile the instant she strolls into the room. Despite his efforts, he is drawn to her and finds himself questioning everything he’d been holding on to for the past two years.

I’ve been anxiously waiting for this 3rd book in the So Much It Hurts series for a while now. Book 2 completely floored me, and still remains one of my top favorites so I was curious to see how the author would approach this one. While I didn’t completely love it, this story was a sweet and touching read, already pulling at my heartstrings by the first chapter. I loved both the hero and heroine’s backgrounds – Ryder was this kid living the teenager life when a family tragedy struck and traumatized him, causing him to bottle up his thoughts and feelings and hasn’t spoken since then. Alexis (daughter of the couple from book 2) was such a lovable, warm and kindhearted girl who wanted nothing more than to help Ryder heal. Together, they made a wonderful couple and it was hard not to root for them. I had an issue with the way the book ended, which is why I can’t quite give it 4 stars but other than that, I’m sure this is a story that will warm the heart of any romantic, and definitely a feel-good romance.

The book starts off strong, revealing a horrifying ordeal Ryder went through, and since then he has always shouldered the guilt and pain, believing he wasn’t worth anything other than to live out the rest of his life in silence and solitude. I really felt for his character, and was already counting down the pages for the heroine to come blazing her way into his life and changing him, because no one deserved to find happiness more than this sweet, tortured guy. Because Ryder doesn’t speak for almost the entire story, I will admit it’s difficult to get his thoughts, even when I’m reading his POV. This is just one of those books where his silence is either going to appeal to you or it won’t, and for me it surprisingly worked. Did I want him to speak, to text, to write? Of course, but then it wouldn’t be an authentic healing process for him so I’m glad the author took the slow, painful route to have him open up little by little.
A bright and bubbly freshman, Alexis is an adorably naïve and kindhearted girl who can’t wait to experience college life. She’s a generous girl, and one of those people who can’t help but reach out to those suffering or in need, and when she makes contact with Ryder, she totally gets him. It’s definitely not insta-love…more like insta-connection. Maybe it’s because of her mother’s background in therapy and psychology that’s rubbed off on Alexis but whatever the reason, she sees Ryder, not as the campus freak but a scared, tormented boy wanting to break out of his shell. And similarly, Ryder sees Alexis, and a bridge of understanding forms between them.
The book pace is slow and steady, and it fit the story. While I was reading, I really got the feel that these two characters were never even supposed to meet and fall in love but did, going from acquaintances to friends to lovers. I liked that slow build. What I didn’t like, however, were Alexis’s pesky, shallow, and simple-minded friends. Throughout the book I wanted to throttle them and berate Alexis for not seeing how judgmental they were towards Ryder because he didn’t talk. I also wasn’t a fan of the last 10% of the story – it was entirely too rushed and made me knock down my rating to 3.5 stars (before I was going with 4 stars). Most of the story was slow and I appreciated that pace, but in the final portion of the book, the story fast-forwarded months to tie things up and exchange I-love-yous and that really didn’t sit well with me. I felt like all the progress Ryder and Alexis made together as a couple somewhat went to waste in the rushed conclusion. It’s an ending that definitely made me smile but I just wanted more for them considering all the obstacles they had to get through.
Despite my giving it 3.5 stars for reasons I can’t ignore, there is a lot of beauty in this book and it’s a story with so much to offer if you’re in the mood for a sweet, touching NA romance. I can’t forget to mention that I love how diverse of a writer this author is. Her previous books were all adult second chance romances and this one’s in a different genre, so for the first emotional NA she’s written, it was a solid read. I would still recommend this one, and of course I highly recommend book 2, which will probably always be my favorite in this series.
Sweet Sound of Silence is the 3rd book in the So Much It Hurts series and just like the first two stories, it can be read as a standalone.
An advanced copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
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