ARC Review: Revelry by Kandi Steiner

Release Date: April 20, 2017
Rating: 4.25/5
I volunteered to review an ARC.
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Wren Ballard is trying to find herself.

She never expected to be divorced at twenty-seven, but now that the court date has passed, it’s official. The paperwork is final. Her feelings on it aren’t.

Spending the summer in a small mountain town outside Seattle is exactly what she needs. The peaceful scenery is a given, the cat with the croaky meow is a surprise, but the real kicker? A broody neighbor with nice arms, a strange reputation, and absolutely no interest in her.

Anderson Black is perfectly fine being lost.

He doesn’t care about the town’s new resident — he’s too busy fighting his own demons. But when he’s brought face to face with Wren, he can see her still-fresh wounds from a mile away. What he doesn’t see coming is his need to know who put them there — or his desperation to mend them.

Sometimes getting lost is the way to find yourself. Sometimes healing only adds a new scar. And sometimes the last place you expected to be is exactly where you find home.

I’ve seen fantastic reviews about Kandi Steiner’s A Love Letter to Whiskey. And for honesty’s sake I was petrified when I signed up for an ARC of Revelry, thinking that it would leave me majorly heartbroken too. Surprisingly, I was able to brave it and had a wonderful time reading this well balanced love story about healing and letting go.

The characters of this book are easy to prejudge. You could hastily say they’re flawed but to me they were real. The reasons behind Wren’s failed marriage with Keith would seem to be humdrum to others but I found them to be very relatable. I hated it when the ex would occupy her mind. She kept on recounting how she lost track of her self-worth through most part of their marriage. Chapters starting with her narrating her brokenness and convincing herself that she didn’t and should never owe anyone an apology or an explanation to validate her happiness. Repeatedly, I might add.  I didn’t easily dig this vulnerable side of her but I eventually understood that this aspect of self-assessment in every divorce is indeed a grueling process. You’d continuously question yourself, try to pick yourself up, and then you’re back to being doubtful again. It’s an internal struggle that’s continuous and never easy. I appreciate that Wren was able to realistically capture and convincingly translate that experience to me as a reader.

A well-known fashion designer from Seattle falling in love with a lumberjack. Looking from the outside, Wren and Anderson are opposites but as you go along you’d see how they were meant to find each other amidst grief.  Anderson crept into my heart. He’s not a hero that you’d predictably swoon or root for. He was guilt stricken by the death of her cousin, a sister to him that he loved so much. He was multidimensional and his personality was not eaten alive by Wren’s, given that majority of the story revolved around her. With angst bearable and a possessiveness that was all captivating, Anderson started broody then slowly became sexy and charming to my eyes.

Speaking of sexy – I loved how the author put up the chemistry of our MCs. It all started with tension so unmistakable. Wren threw a fit that was uncalled for followed by Anderson’s harsh retort. The frustration brewing inside them, the holding back, the lingering looks and touches that they couldn’t resist and finally yielding to their burning attraction. This progression intensified the connection between the MCs and made the sex scenes unforgettable. I loved every single moment when they’re together physically. The hot moments were emotional, classy, fluid, spontaneous and vividly depicted.

Kandi Steiner’s writing was easy on the senses. Welcoming and universal but at the same time lyrical and sentimental. It was perceptive, you’d finish this story with takeaways not just about love but life in general. How do we take other people’s perception about us? Question our own motivations? And how are we going to move on from the past that paralyzes us? These were dealt, not as heavy as I expected, alongside themes such as divorce, drugs and death. There were emotional parts, there was drama but the romance was still very much alive. The secondary characters became significant stimulants to the story and the MCs and each one of them stood out whether they were there to shake up the love, lighten it up or inspire it.

You cannot fake disinterest for Revelry, the story and the characters will grow on you slowly but surely. Some parts were a bit cheesy but don’t we all need that once in a while? Revelry was stirring and the kicker, it made me cry. There was something about Wren’s struggles that hit me like a bolt of lightning. I would have wished a closure between Anderson and his aunt (Dani’s mom). Nonetheless, amongst other reasons, I loved how the story was wrapped up. It was not your run-of-the-mill romance novel ending with a knock-you-off-your-feet engagement, a beautiful wedding, and lots of babies. Instead it was refreshing just leaving me with much optimism that Wren and Anderson had a great life together. Meek. Hopeful. Truthful.

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