Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: The Scars Between Us - M.K. Schiller

The Scars Between Us
by M.K. Schiller
Published: July 17, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Emma Cooper is determined to fulfill her mother’s dying wish to scatter her ashes with Aiden Sheffield in Linx, Texas. Just one problem. Why Texas and who the hell is Aiden Sheffield? The only clue is a faded piece of her mother’s stationary. Emma imagines Aiden is a former love of her mother’s, but when she meets the beautiful, damaged stranger, she realizes her assumptions couldn’t be more wrong. He’s hot and young. And Emma is as confused as ever.

Aiden Sheffield would rather go to hell than Linx. Who does Emma think she is disrupting his carefully built life? The last thing the Marine needs is to slice open the sealed wounds of his painful past. Yet, as he gets to know the lovely Emma, a woman who manages to smile even though she’s lost everything, he changes his mind. He will not let her go to hell alone.

But neither is prepared for the devastating evil waiting for them at the end of the road. It might just destroy them.

4 Stars
ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

M.K. Schillers latest release is about forgiveness, the kind that changes everything and shapes you into someone new. It's heartbreaking, but hopeful, a book that will put a smile on your face right after you wipe the tears away. Told from the perspective of main characters Emma and Aiden, The Scars Between Us is a complex story that features a well-developed story line and engaging dialogue. It does focuses heavily on some serious subject matter, including emotional and physical abuse, and some readers might find that Schiller's descriptive writing could be a trigger. I found myself aching alongside the characters as their past hurts weighed heavily on them, as they pushed through a sad trip that took them into a life one never wanted to revisit and one never could have imagined.

"His smile is sad. 'You've been carrying it for a long time, Emma. Let someone else carry it for a while.'"

The Scars Between Us was such a fantastic read, it was character driven, and Emma and Aiden have some significant development as the novel progresses. I really enjoyed that the events of the book didn't carry the story, but rather how the character reacted to those events did. Oftentimes a book has just too much going on, but each time a bit of Aiden's past was revealed Schiller focused on how he overcame it, how he used it moving forward, and how Emma had to process it to truly understand how the events affected her life without her even knowing it. Emma's attitude about her mom's true past felt so accurate, though I have never been in a similar situation the writing gave me a sense of what it might have been like. Aiden, on the other hand, is so kind and giving, despite his prior struggles. His wisdom about life is based on a life no child should ever have, yet he makes it through and fights each day to be better. Emma and Aiden's connection is unusual, he's so much more than just the guy her mom asked her to take along when she scattered her ashes. The twists this novel takes, the ugly truths it reveals, only make the book that much more beautiful. As the two face the past they find comfort in each other and they find that trusting another with their story can open the door to love.

"What I want is him. He knows it. I hate him for it."

The events that unfold in the novel are hard to read, they're ugly and raw, things we don't want to imagine, and M.K. Schiller makes these overwhelming scenes come to life. I loved being in the moment, even though it broke my heart to read it. I did find, however, that some of the overly descriptive writing was also a negative. Some of the adult nature of the book was a detriment to the overall story. While the characters are adult, the story feels more coming-of-age than adult, contemporary romance and the smut scenes did feel like a bit too much. Overall though, it is a read that won't leave me anytime soon, I felt like it lived it too.

"It's time to forget the broken roads of the past, and look toward the bright horizon line. 
I should know better.
i learned a long time ago, you can't outrun darkness."

The Scars Between Us is my first M.K. Schiller novel, but it won't be my last. It was well-developed and held my interest from start to finish. Contemporary romance fans will love this thought-provoking release about love, loss, and life.

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