Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fractured Steel - TJ Loveless - Review - Rebecca

Title: Fractured Steel
Author: T.J. Loveless
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: February 15, 2014

Karen Barnes’s life is simple, just the way she likes it, surrounded by horses and the mountains of Laramie, Wyoming. She is well aware the longing for adventure can lead to blood and death, a hard lesson taught during her one, and only, tour in Iraq almost a decade ago.

A stranger approaches Karen about boarding a famous horse foaled in her stables, making her instincts go on high alert. She knows for a fact the stallion’s owner would never sell Five Alarm, the US Reining champion worth a hefty ten million dollars. In ten minutes the stranger confirms her worst fears, launching her into weeks of torment at the hands of her kidnappers.

Armed with a spine of steel, she steals a truck and trailer, rescuing another victim, and recovering Five Alarm, but the ordeal is far from over. The kidnapping was a cover up for espionage. Trusted contacts join the fray, and in the end, pay for their loyalty by dying for her safety. Others aren’t so trustworthy, and as the truth is brought to light, she is betrayed yet again.

Safety and freedom come with their own emotional shackles. She had the courage to fight the battle, but can she live with the aftermath of the carnage, or survive the fractures to her mind?

5 stars

Mind. BLOWN.

Fractured Steel started as a bit rough for me to get into, only because the beginnings included a lot of references I had to look up.  I am not familiar with the horse rearing world, and some terms caught me a little confused, but that didn't take away from the story at all, and after a little research and getting a few chapters in I couldn't put this book down.   

Captain Karen Barnes has gone to hell and back so many times, any "ordinary" person would've already lost any sliver of humanity they had left.  Most would have been broken beyond repair, but not Karen... she's fractured, but she's a hell of a fighter.   She breaks, she fights, she survives, she suffers, she triumphs, she is SO freaking admirable!!   She knows that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few... or the one.  She pushes and fights, no matter what situation she's put in and that's admirable beyond belief. 

The situations throughout the story are ones that I just haven't encountered in many other stories, at least not weaved together as beautifully as TJ Loveless does.  The ranges of emotions pulled forward by the story were at times hard to take -- I cried.  A lot.   Knowing that the author was including so much of herself in the character, and knowing the reality of the pain PTSD brings and the horrid anxiety and being walked through that, just made the story even more moving.   Everyone has a breaking point, but some can trek through and still come out fighting.    Karen is a fighter.  There is NO way in hell I could've taken all the things that happened in this book myself.  No way in hell!  To not know who to trust, whether it be people you know, your enemies, your own country, your family, your father...  So much chaos and destruction.   Then to have such a soft side, being so dedicated to the animals in her care, willing to sacrifice her own life if need be to ensure their safety/survival... 

I adored the writing, the wording, the journey through Fractured Steel.   I could not even imagine having such an amazingly strong spirit, and I admire not only the fictional characters, but the author herself, for each day they push through and put their feet on that floor for that daily victory.   

This book... really... you need to read it and read it NOW! 

Stand up, stand up and fight 
I know you’re in pain 
How can you see straight this way 
I know you’re ashamed 
Beginning to change… 
I will wait for you to come back 
I will stay with you right here

Born in Anchorage, I've lived ... well ... everywhere. From the Arctic Circle to a block from the beaches in Florida. I speak fluent Arkansas Hillbilly, make a mean gumbo, can sew when necessary and am a whiz at packing.

You'll generally find a Muse snuggled to my hip, the other one laying across my shoulders and Editor Kitty staring at the screen, waiting for the red ink to make an appearance. Once it does, he lays across the keyboard purring.

The family brags about the latest compromising position I've been found in, trying to figure out how to truly describe "legs all akimbo" or if falling on the couch could truly land a body in a certain position. They ignore my yelling at characters on the computer screen, and are forgiving when I accidentally write past the time for them to eat. It's one way of teaching the teenager to cook ...

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