Promo Tour & Giveaway: Sweet Sound of Silence: Melanie Dawn

Sweet Sound of Silence
So Much It Hurts #3

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Sometimes silence speaks the only truth.

Ryder Hawkley swallows his words the way he swallows his guilt. A life-altering tragedy keeps him locked away in a silent prison—a self-imposed punishment for a horrific mistake. His reputation…


Alexis Honeycutt arrives at college craving one thing—independence. Now, away from home and free from her family's overprotection, she attends a party with friends that will ultimately change her life. The moment she spots Ryder Hawkley sitting across the room, Alexis is intrigued.

They whisper.

The intensity shimmering from Ryder’s haunting eyes beckons her, but Alexis vows to stay away from him. Only, she can’t seem to get Ryder’s unnervingly quiet stare out of her head.

Ryder is determined to ignore Alexis’s contagious smile the instant she strolls into the room. Despite his efforts, he is drawn to her and finds himself questioning everything he’d been holding on to for the past two years.

Although this book is part of a series, it CAN be read as a standalone. This book is intended for readers 17+ due to some language and mature themes.
“Please,” I pleaded with him. “Please, say something. Say anything. I need to know how you feel. I need to know what this is. What I mean to you.”

His chest rose and fell quickly. The words were there. I could feel them, but they weren’t coming out. He stared at me, silently pleading for me to understand. I did understand. I knew the hell he’d been through, but if we were going to work then he had to break down those barriers. I couldn’t bear the thought of him allowing himself to suffocate under the weight of his silence anymore.

“Please, Ryder,” I begged. “Just say it. Say what you’re thinking.”
His eyes darted back and forth between my eyes and my lips. A kiss was not going to fix this. He knew that. He knew I needed more than that. I needed to hear him say it.
I caught his gaze, peering into those dark windows to his soul. “I’m leaving, Ryder. This is it. I’m going home, and honestly after all of this, I’m not sure I can come back to the silence.”
The hurt I saw in his expression almost made me lose my resolve, but I couldn’t falter. “Please say something. I can’t walk away not knowing how you feel.” The desperation in my voice scared me. More than anything, I needed him to say something at that moment. My breaths came hard and fast as I reached out to him, my final plea. “Please, Ryder. Do this. Do this for me.” 

While I overall enjoyed Sweet Sound of Silence, I also experienced mixed feelings. I’d have to split the book into halves to explain why I am sitting on the fence. 

To sum up the plot: Ryder has experienced one of the worst imaginable tragedies anyone could ever experience, it has stolen his verbal speech. The last time he uttered a single word was two years ago. It isn’t that he doesn’t want to, what it comes down to is that the anxiety and guilt he feels over what happened to his sister has kept everything boiling inside of him literally trapped. And while he would love to talk, and has tried on many occasions, he feels it is a fitting punishment. 

Along comes Alexis, the girl who sees beyond the silence. She is what I would classify as an all-American girl—the girl next-door, per say. She’s loving, friendly, and everything about her is positive and upbeat. Something Ryder finds he just cannot deal with at this point in his life. However, Alexis is everything his former life would have taken to in a heartbeat. While everyone else avoids the mute boy, talking smack about him, she defends him, seeing something worthwhile underneath the high built walls. Thus, she forges a tentative attempt at friendship. 

The first 50% of the book or so, I struggled some. There were some very moving and heart breaking moments; those were the moments I held on to when things were progressing extremely slow, for me. I get that Ms. Dawn needed to build up her characters and their backgrounds, but with that said, I felt as though it could get a bit over wordy. Also, most of the characters, specifically Lexi’s friends, pissed me right the hell off. They were malicious and beyond bitchy when it came to Ryder. I hate bullies and that is exactly what those two came off as. I’ll be honest, there were a couple times I thought this book was going to go into my DNF pile. Between the parts that felt as though they were dragging on, and the friends, I didn’t know if I could keep going.

What saved me from calling it quits was my love for Alexis and Ryder. They were compelling and intriguing. My need to see if Ryder would ever speak outweighed everything else I was feeling at the moment. 

The thing is, if I stopped here and rated the book, I would rate 2.5 stars.  

Now the second half of the book is where my heart was continuously pounding. This is where Melanie Dawn absolutely shined. I flew through the pages, sad when we reached the end. I wanted so much more from Ryder and Alexis. I did not want their journey to end, even though I’d been reading for hours, it felt like I just became wrapped.

As far as angst, I would classify this as a low-level angst. Sweet Sound of Silence didn't hold your conventional push and pull/fight and flight. However, there were moments that made my heart bleed with so much pain. Ryder made it hard for me to catch my breath. I even had some teary-eyed moments. I was glad that Melanie didn't add dramatization or tragedy to Alexis. Ryder's past held just the right amount, and Alexis' optimistic personality balanced this out.

Ryder could easily be a hard character to connect with, due to his lack of speech. It wasn’t always easy to grasp his feelings. There were moments I wanted to be inside his head, much more than we already were. Outside of wanting to give him a big ole hug and heal him, I didn’t always know how to take him in. Then there were the moments that his eyes spoke a thousand words, I felt everything I needed in just those few seconds of interaction. There were also times I wanted to scream at him to just text Lexi, but if he had I do not think his silence would have made such a pivotal impact, on me, in the end.

Alexis also out right shined through the second half. I'm not saying she wasn't amazing in the beginning, because she definitely was, but I adored her even more later in the book. I loved her devotion to Ryder. She never ever gave up on him, and she never hesitated to put her friends into their place. There wasn't a second where she didn't have me smiling huge and rooting for her to get her guy. Alexis was the perfect heroine for our crippled boy. Her patience, understanding, and ability to see past the obvious endeared her not just to me but to Ryder as well. If I had to vote for any two people who were perfectly paired for each other Alexis and Ryder would hands down get my vote. 

So, if based my rating on just this half I would rate a 4.5-5 stars. Therefore, I decided to give Ryder and Alexis 4 stars overall. 

Would I recommend? Although, I held mixed emotions regarding the first part, I would most definitely recommend this edition to the So Much It Hurts series. 

Thank you, Melanie Dawn, for the complimentary copy of Sweet Sound of Silence.

Ryder lives in silence after a tragic accident. By choice, and overcome by anxiety, he refuses to speak, refuses to take pleasure in anything, refuses to do more than exist in a state of self-punishment. 

Alexis is floating along in a near picture perfect version of college life. New roommate, new friends, supportive family. But everything is not as perfect as it looks. She is still haunted by a night in high school where things nearly went wrong. 

When Alexis sits in the only available seat in Psych 10, next to the silent man who everyone thinks is dangerous and strange, neither could predict that changes that would slowly happen over the course of the semester. Alexis begins breaking down the walls Ryder has built around himself just by being herself. Ryder can’t help but be fascinated by the light that surrounds Alexis and her inherent happiness. Meanwhile, Alexis feels there is something behind Ryder’s silence that no one else has taken the time to discover, something that points to guilt and pain rather than danger and oddity as everyone else sees. 

At times it was hard to like Ryder. Without speech or even facial expressions, it is hard to get a handle on his feelings and thoughts when Alexis is narrating. The parts of the story from his point of view helped balance the brick wall of insight that Alexis was able to see, but his inability/unwillingness to communicate made it hard to connect as well with him as I would have liked. 

But there were parts of this story that were fantastic. Like jaw-on-the-ground, can’t stop turning the pages fantastic. Other parts needed to be there for the plot, but felt like extra info that I would have skipped if I could, and other parts that felt so rushed I was left wishing I had more time with them. 

This was a fun, quick read. While I haven’t read the previous books in the series and this book does stand along perfectly well. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by not started at book one. There is enough interaction with Alexis’s mom, Salem, and her step-father, Chris, that I am tempted to pick up their book to read their story as well. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Melanie Dawn
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Melanie Dawn is a thinker, a dreamer, and a hopeless romantic. She's an avid reader who recently discovered her love of writing as well. When her head isn't in the clouds, she spends her time as a a jack of all trades to her family. Melanie resides in the hills of North Carolina with her husband, her three children, and her cat.
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