RELEASE REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY: BURIED ALIVE by Stacey Marie Brown

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Nine years after a tragic accident, Hannah “Brennley” Evans has returned home to the snowy mountains of Whistler, Canada. This is the very place that destroyed her, where her whole world ended, and the reason she now goes by Hannah Jennings.
Struggling with his own tragic past, Rhys Axton, an infamous sexy snowboarding champion, wants nothing more than to be the next Olympic hopeful. Sex, snowboarding, and working out are all he cares about, which helps shut off the demons that haunt him and the family who rejected him.
The moment Hannah walks into his room, he knows something is different about her. Drawn to her, he can’t seem to stay away from the mysterious, guarded girl. They are two heartbroken souls who both understand the darkness.
Little does he know she lives in lies and carries secrets that will bring his universe to its knees and secrets that will bury them both alive.
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Review

One of my personal reading challenges/goals for 2018 is to read new-to-me authors, at least once a month, based on recommendations, high reviews from authors/bloggers I love, and/or an interesting synopsis.

So first up was Buried Alive by Stacey Marie Brown…it was recommended to me by someone who had already read it and this person knows the kind of writers and stories I like, so I decided I’d take a chance and venture out of my list of instant one-click authors with a story where both the hero and the heroine seem buried underneath their painful pasts, losing themselves little by little and making it extremely difficult for them to find their way out of the darkness as well as the multitude of regrets and nightmares that plague their present lives.

The Brennley Evans who left Whistler, Canada, 9 years ago, is not the same one who returns after the death of her grandmother; she doesn’t want to continue to follow the wayward path she’s been on since she left home because it wasn’t helping her to find her place in the world and it only  managed to keep her entire life in neutral…not being able to move forward nor feeling strong enough to go back and deal with her past, so even though returning to Whistler and its mountains might be more than she can handle, it’s something that must be done in order to lay the ghosts who surround her to rest and to find the driven and loud-mouth girl she once was.

But when she returns to the scene of the crime, where every painful memory has the ability to drown her in grief and guilt, she goes by the name of Hannah Jennings, hoping that she can stay under the radar and figure out her next step before people figure out who she really is.

Brown constructs Brennley/Hannah’s character as two parts of a whole person, but neither of those parts is flourishing; they’re merely surviving the best way they can. Brown makes it clear that whatever the heroine experienced 9 years ago has turned her life and goals upside down and part of the story line focuses on Hannah finding a way to come to terms with what happened all those years ago and unbury herself from the weight of her secrets, her pain, and the loneliness that consumes her.

I have to admit that I didn’t really like Rhys Axton throughout most of the first half of the story…I thought his character was a bit too stereotypical whenever it came to his manwhorish way and how he used woman and booze to numb himself from the pain and the rage he feels down to his soul. I did start to like Rhys the further I read, but I guess I just wanted to see his character develop more, by finding other ways to channel his frustrations and rage over a series of situations he really can’t control…Don’t get me wrong I definitely felt like his reactions were justified, for the most part, but I wonder if Rhys would have focused on something other than himself and stepping out of his brother’s shadow if things would have been easier for him and for those who were there to watch his downward spiral.

I can’t say that I’m a lover of angst, but it did have its place in Buried Alive. There was so much for Rhys and Hannah to deal with on their own right from the start of their story, so then when further complications are added and more drama enters into the mix, it makes sense that the push and pull between Rhys and Hannah would fuel the angst of the storyline, forcing both of them to face their pasts and try to pull themselves out of the self-imposed prisons without destroying each other in the process.

Overall, I enjoyed Rhys and Hannah’s story. It was a bit of a slow go at the beginning…it took awhile to feel connected to the characters, but when I did, I was desperate to understand how Rhys and Hannah were connected and what would transpire based on their mutual attraction to one another. I can honestly say I didn’t expect the twist at the end, and I think it says a lot about the type of person Hannah is to protect those involved regardless of how much it affects her feelings and her memories.

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23316708_1032308720244287_6273353065146506807_nStacey Marie Brown is a lover of hot fictional bad boys and sarcastic heroines who kick butt. She also enjoys books, travel, TV shows, hiking, writing, design, and archery. Stacey swears she is part gypsy, being lucky enough to live and travel all over the world.
She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family’s farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. She volunteers helping animals and is Eco-friendly. She feels all animals, people, and environment should be treated kindly.
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