Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Shrapnel by Jessica Shook

Shrapnel is a dual perspective novel about an unlikely cyber-friendship that forms between a recently separated Administrative Assistant, Elle Holloway, and Jocelyn Turner, an"Army Wife" who is raising a toddler while her Sergeant husband is stationed overseas.  Although they seem to come from two completely different worlds, they instantly bond over the struggles of being alone in insomnia induced midnight correspondence.

At the beginning, Elle annoyed me almost to the point of insanity.  This woman was so conceited and self absorbed.  I cannot tell you how many times I rolled my eyes at her actions.  At one point, I said aloud, "No wonder your husband left you." Yes, I am probably a terrible person for saying that, but obviously you are cool with it since you are continuing to read this review anyway (so lol at you, friend).

After her soon-to-be ex-husband forced her out of their home, Elle has to move back in with her grandmother, Nora.  It is only then that the "prema donna" learns how to put other's needs before her own and become a better listener for her friends and family.  Nora played a big role in this character transformation.  Unlike most of the people in Elle's life, Nora was very real with Elle.  She did not try to sugar coat things or alter herself to please her granddaughter.  Nora stood up to Elle, and was not afraid to put her in her place.  It was this tough love act that ended up changing Elle's way of living, thus becoming one of the most impressive character developments I have ever read.

On the other side of the spectrum, there is Jocelyn; a kind, caring, thoughtful wife and mother.  She is the type of person we all strive to become.  Although Jocelyn is like an angel on Earth, even she has demons of her own.  The constant worry for her husband's safety as he fights for their country overseas and the doubt she feels as she struggles to raise a small child on her own seem to all but consume Jocelyn.  There is no wonder as to why she has so many sleepless nights.

My heart went out to Jocelyn from the start.  Her kind soul drew me in like a warm cup of hot chocolate on a snowy winter afternoon.  She is one of those characters a reader cannot help but love wholeheartedly.  When her husband, Scott is severely injured in an attack, the couple are challenged with the task of adjusting to their new normal.  It is a lot easier said than done.  Between the emotional stress of not being with his unit, the physical struggle of regaining his strength, and the mental anguish of living while others have died, Scott is unsure about everything, and Jocelyn does not know how to make him feel at ease.

Although it was awkward and difficult at times seeing Jocelyn and Scott reconnect, I can honestly say that we should all be a little jealous of the love the Turners share.  They complete each other in a way that words can barely describe.  Through all of the pain and suffering of Scott's rehabilitation, the couple never lost sight of one another.  Both knew that they needed the other in order to keep moving forward.  At one point Scott says to Jocelyn, "You are my home."  That is a powerful statement, and I think it reveals a lot about Scott's love for Jocelyn.

In the past, I have always kept my reviews spoiler free.  I feel that spoilers ruin the fun for prospective readers.  To me, its like learning the secrets behind a spectacular magic trick.  It takes away the mystery and the shock value.  However, there is a lot that I have to say about this ending.  With that being said, if you are one of those who enjoy reading spoilers and wish to read my thoughts on the conclusion of Shrapnel, click here.

Many Indie Authors sometimes struggle with fluidity in their novels.  This issue came up a couple of times in Shrapnel.  I am not saying that it was choppy or unpleasant, it is just that some scenes did not flow freely as that could have.  If some of the transitions could be altered, I believe that would eliminate most of the problems I came across.  Despite these minor flaws, this is a noteworthy novel that stands out among other in its category.

Shrapnel is one of those rare novels that you will never forget.  It deals with love, loss, and learning to be the best version of yourself.  Elle and Jocelyn taught me things about myself that I may never have realized without reading this novel.  Jessica Shook has a talent for reaching into the deepest parts of your soul with her descriptive writing, and I could not be more impressed.  Shook should definitely be kept on your radar.  I expect many more captivating novels from her in the future.  If you would like to purchase your copy of  Shrapnel today, click here.

Genre: Women's Fiction
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Silver Plum Publishing
ISBN: 0998070612