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ARC Review: Into the Nothing: B.T. Urruela

Into the Nothing
B.T. Urruela
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Release Date June 21, 2016

Xander Evans has been on the road for many years. Never settling. Always moving from one place to another, unable to let go of his past. He lived a tragic childhood, spending most of those years in foster care. He's never felt like he's had a home. That is until he stops in the small town of Truman Valley, Missouri, where he meets a woman who will change everything he's ever known.

Paige Watson has it all. A loving family, beautiful home, and a great career. The only thing she's missing....is love. After escaping an abusive relationship, she opens her heart up to a stranger. He is unlike any man she's ever met. He came into her life and turned it completely upside down. Everything is perfect. That is, until one fateful night. 

A night that would tear the Watson family apart, never to be put back together again. 

A night that would send Xander away to prison for life.
Xander’s past is not a pleasant one, and his lack of roots has him wandering without a set timeline though an eventual destination in mind. When he meets Paige and her father, an unexpected bond forms and the opportunity to earn a few bucks for the summer. But what looks like a perfect summer stopover changes Xander’s life, as well as the lives of the Watson family.

This was not an easy read. While I expected it to be dark, based on the synopsis, I wasn’t prepared for the depth of darkness. There is very little light, happiness for this couple, and after a while I had a hard time continuing as I watched my progress bar get closer to 100% with so many loose ends still hanging. Yes, this has an HEA of sorts, but in the moment it did not feel like an HEA. There was so much grieving still taking place at the end that I didn’t feel very happy for the characters, or even hopeful that their challenges were over.

I liked the beginning of the story, and the premise as a whole. A man without roots finds a semblance of family unexpectedly as he travels, but tragedy strikes one night sending him to prison for life and shattering the family of the woman he loves. I loved watching Paige and her parents embrace Xander, loved as he let go some of the pain from his past and started to look at a future he had never imagined for himself. 

Alternating point of view between Xander and Paige gave readers a good idea what each was experiencing for much of the book. Xander's voice was authentic, breathing the pain and tragedy he had experienced so much of as a child. At times Paige's voice seemed immature and a little inconsistent, but then again, she didn't have as simple a life as it appeared on the surface either. 

While this is the author’s first solo writing project, it is not his first novel. I loved his co-written title, A Lover’s Lament, and had hoped to love this one just as much. While I struggled with parts of it, I can see where readers who enjoy a lot of drama in their books would really like this story. Sadly, I can only handle so much drama before a story loses my interest and starts feeling like it is going in too many different directions. The beginning took some time to build, even though Paige and Xander felt an early connection, but the end raced far faster than I was prepared for with so many twists and turns that I had a hard time keeping up. Overall, the bones of this novel are good, and for a first solo project I would say this shows promise. It is different and engaging.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
B.T. Urruela  
BT Urruela was an infantryman in the US Army from August 2004 until February 2011. At the end of a year long tour to Baghdad, Iraq, his vehicle was hit by two roadside bombs, which took his right leg below the knee and the life of his commander. He was awarded a Purple Heart for his wounds, an Army Commendation Medal, and Combat Infantryman's Badge. He medically retired from the Army in 2011 and moved to Tampa, FL where he currently works as a Director and Brand Ambassador for VETSports, a veteran community sports nonprofit he co-founded in 2012. He also conducts motivational speeches, works as a cover and fitness model and he's a personal performance trainer. He co-wrote the military romance novel A Lover's Lament and will be releasing his debut solo novel, Into the Nothing, on June 21st, 2016.

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