Review + Excerpt: Falling (#2, Fading) by E.K. Blair - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review + Excerpt: Falling (#2, Fading) by E.K. Blair

My Thoughts

Emotional. Thoughtful. Insightful.
The story deepens as we better understand Ryan’s story of falling for a very broken girl, as he battles to overcome his own broken past and desperately hold on to the hope and love they both unexpectedly find in each other.

5stars

Synopsis

fallingSometimes it takes someone else to show us what we are truly capable of becoming.

Suffering from years of violent abuse, Ryan Campbell has learned how to keep people from getting too close. But when you shut yourself off, people get hurt along the way. Never caring much about others, Ryan creates a world in which he doesn’t have to feel. 

When Ryan meets Candace Parker, all of his walls slowly begin to crumble. Not sure of the truth of who she is, he feels his mind is playing tricks on him. Unable to force out the thoughts that consume him, Ryan is haunted by visions that torment him every time he looks at her. He finds himself swallowed by guilt and blame, but he’s unwilling to turn his back on the one person that could possibly save him.

You’ve heard Candace’s story in Fading, now hear Ryan’s.

My Review

When I was reading Fading, the first book in the series, I was pulled in by the emotional power of the story… the honesty of it… the pain of it… the hope of it.   E.K. Blair artfully and skillfully took us on a journey that is not so easy to traverse, but one that quickly got under my skin and weaved itself into my heart as I felt every intense, heartbreaking moment Candace battled through. But then, in a stroke of genius and what must’ve been quite difficult a feat, the author pushes us deeper into the story, allowing us to experience both Jase’s story in Freeing and now Ryan’s story in Falling. Each of the subsequent novels after Fading feel unique as we learn more about the protagonist including what came before and what came after… and of course the emotions experienced as Candace’s nightmare unfolds.

I wasn’t sure I could pick a favorite installment from the series, but the more I think about it, the more this may be my favorite and there’s a couple reasons why. First, as a reader I’ve already gone through two books with these characters. I know them. I know what they’ve gone through. I’ve felt the pain. I’ve felt the promise of hope. So going into this book, the power of the story was compounded. The nuances were magnified, the back-stories were more significant. This story felt particularly raw. Secondly, there was so much about Ryan I didn’t know. I didn’t realize the extent of his own brokenness and how he selflessly shoved his own experiences aside as his ugly memories were dredged up during this time. I really connected with Ryan and I found it quite powerful to see how Candace’s pain quickly became his pain and how he had to work so hard to control his insecurities and his anger to be exactly the person Candace needed him to be. Ryan’s own story, however, is it’s own kind of torment.

“The drinking, the drugs, the rage that fired through me last night — I’m him. He’s a part of me. He runs through my blood. I hate him. I don’t want to be him, but I am.”

Ryan grew up surrounded by hate and violence, with an abusive father who constantly berated and hit him and his mother. As a result he took on vices that helped numb the pain and bury the memories. He’s become an adult who uses women to forget… to escape the hollowness of his own reality. Fear of becoming like his father has ostracized him from people, unwilling to forge any meaningful relationships with anyone.

“I never care to look too much at the girls I bang. Honestly, I don’t want to connect in any way. This is me–disconnecting… My escape lasts for as long as it takes for me to get off, then I move on. I’ve been this way my whole life, from a fifteen-year-old freshman in high school to a now twenty-eight-year-old man. I’m emotionally messed up, and I don’t even try to hide it.”

We get to really see the extent of Ryan’s desolation, and although he doesn’t want to admit it to himself, his loneliness consumes him and it’s left him detached from the life he’s barely living. Of course we know what happens the night he witnesses the brutality of Candace’s rape, but what we now understand is the memories that furrow into his experience as the violence he once left behind is reincarnated by another abuser.

“I’ve seen so much shit in my life. Too much to ever forget. You can’t rid your mind of images that burn themselves into who you are. I’ve had to watch my mother getting the life knocked out of her at the hands of my father more times than I ever want to remember. But I also have her sounds etched in me. Her painful, pleaded screams. And now… now I have this girl. This unknown.”

The time they spend together is unsure and tremulous, as he slowly tries to get to know her, moment by moment, trying to assuage her when her all-too-fragile heart shatters time and again or her when her nightmares take hold and she relives the savagery. Ryan finds himself wanting something with this girl that he’s never wanted with anyone else. Their relationship evolves slowly, but beautifully and it felt like a new experience watching it develop through different eyes. I love what they each do to each other, both unknowingly helping to heal the other.

“I’ve never had the ties of emotion with a girl, so to say this one has me bound would be an understatement. What she gives me is something I never even knew I needed, so I never even looked for it.”

When Ryan finally realizes that Candace is that girl, the truth burns from the inside, out. He’s so scared to lose her and I felt his internal battle, his anxiety, his fear. And when everything culminates and shatters, I relived the pain all over again much more profoundly.

“I’ll never be able to tell her how sorry I am. There aren’t enough words. There isn’t enough in this world that I could give her to show her how truly fuckin’ sorry I am. so I sit here and cry for her because I don’t know what else to do. I love this girl beyond anything. Love her from a place in my heart that I never knew I had.”

And at the conclusion, I loved how it ended. I LOVED the Epilogue. I was perfect and it even managed to surprise me at the very last second. Overall, I think this third installment intensifies the experience of the series as we are finally able to see how sometimes such a significant tragedy can implode not only the life of the victim, but of also those that surround her. The book is once again beautifully written and emotionally charged, concluding a series that has now become a favorite of mine. It’s a story of healing and hope, of love and forgiveness, and one I won’t soon forget.

“You are the only reason there’s light in my life. Before you, there was nothing but darkness.”

addseriestogoodreads

Book Trailer

Falling by E.K. Blair book trailer from Novel Idea Inc. on Vimeo.

Excerpt

I drop my head in my hands and let it out. It’s a haze of unrecognizable emotions beating through me. To look past this and let her continue to sit and do nothing is something that I don’t think I’m capable of. But Jase is right. My girl is so damn fragile even though she’s so damn strong. It’s a paradox that’s hard to deal with. She’s gonna break one way or another.

Irritation boils inside, and the longer I sit here it starts to eat away at me until it takes over and I stand up, kicking over the stool, screaming, and smashing my glass against the brick wall behind the bar followed next by the bottle. The blast of glass shattering and sprinkling to the floor is all I hear through the ringing in my head. I grab my keys, leaving the mess, and head to my jeep.

I drive. Making my way back to my loft and upstairs to find Candace standing in my closet, slipping on a sweater.

“Why didn’t you do anything?” I ask, unable to control my frustration.

She turns to look at me, confused, when she asks, “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t make me say it.”

“Ryan, please. Don’t,” she says and then walks past me to sit on the edge of the bed.

“Who is he?” I press, emotions getting the best of me.

She keeps her chin tucked down. Avoiding.

“Candace, tell me his fuckin’ name!”

About E.K. Blair

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USA Today bestselling author and International Amazon bestselling author, E.K. Blair takes her readers on an emotional roller coaster with her FADING series. A former first grade teacher with an imagination that runs wild. Daydreaming and zoning out is how she was often found in high school. Blair tends to drift towards everything dark and moody. Give her a character and she will take pleasure in breaking them down, digging into their core to find what lies underneath.

Aside from writing, E.K. Blair finds pleasure in music, drinking her Starbucks in peace, and spending time with her friends. She’s a thinker, an artist, a wife, a mom, and everything in between.

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