So this review was supposed to be up a few days, unfortunately, life just got out of hand and it didn’t get published. However, here we are now! The blog tour is still going on, so jump over to Soldier Girl Stories to see what the other participates are saying about Stop the Rain.
Anyway, if you haven’t been around my blog for the last few days, here’s Stop The Rain‘s blurb.
He left his entire world in Iraq. So why did the war follow him home?
Harley Keane and his best friend Nigel were just kids when 9/11 rocked their world and changed their lives forever. When they’re finally old enough to join the Army, all their childhood dreams seem about to come true. But war wasn’t supposed to be like this. A kid’s dream isn’t supposed to become a living nightmare. Fellow soldiers aren’t supposed to bleed out in front of your eyes.
Back home, safe and unwounded, Harley feels anything but. Why would God spare him when so many others were taken? Why won’t the nightmares stop, even when he’s awake? And how long can he hide the truth that threatens everything he has left? When Harley’s invisible scars refuse to stay hidden, will he let anyone close enough to help? And how do you go on with life when “okay” isn’t okay at all?
Let’s get into the review!
First of all, Kassie’s writing style is so casual and friendly, reading STR kind of feels like having a friend tell you a story about themselves. Occasionally, there were a few parts where slang was used that I found hard to understand, but that might be just my Aussie brain getting confused. There were also a few spots where what was happening was a bit unclear, such as characters turning up and it not being mentioned clearly enough and that sort of thing.
However, I really enjoyed Kassie’s casual, conversational tone. And she also did a really good job at portraying Harley and his unique voice.
Ah, my absolute favourite part of any novel. Suffice to say, the characters in this book are awesome. It’s honestly difficult to choose a favourite.
First up, we’ve got Harley Keane, our main character. An Military Policeman in the American Army, he watched his best friend and whole world die in Iraq. Then he’s unceremoniously dumped back into his Texas life, suffering from PTSD and haunted by memories of his battle experience. Honestly, Kassie brought this boy to life and it is remarkably easy to relate to Harley, even if you aren’t an almost nineteen year old Iraq veteran with PTSD. Kassie really put me into his head and showed me the chaos and horror, but also the hope, of his condition.
Next comes Nigel Manning, Harley’s best friend. It’s hard to say much about him without straying into spoiler territory, so I’ll just say that I liked him quite a lot.
Last but not least, there’s the Carters, Dallas, Russell and Keith. These are the blokes (and lady!) who support Harley and constantly push him, whether he likes it or not, to seek help, and they are there with him through the process of healing. And just between you and me, Paul Carter was definitely my favourite.
The plot was a pretty slow, meandering one, but that fit the subject matter perfectly. Healing from PTSD isn’t a quick or linear thing, so neither should this plot be. I enjoyed the way the first half of the story was told through sections of flashback as well. I’m not a huge fan of flashbacks in general, but this was handled very well and the flashbacks were clearly labelled. They also helped build a sense of foreboding, because I knew something bad was going to happen, but I didn’t know what it would be yet. So that was very good.
This book was brilliant and I honestly wasn’t expecting it to hit me as hard as it did. I read Kassie Angle’s last book Tattered Wings (you can read my review here), but this book just had something that Tattered Wings didn’t. It was raw, honest and Kassie’s passion for the topics was so incredibly obvious. It also took me way longer to read than I thought it would because I had to keep stopping I was getting so emotional.
So what did I think of it? 9/10. It would have got 10/10, but there were a few grammar and style issues that I found, but I’m mostly just nitpicking. Definitely go and check it out if you haven’t already.
About the Author:
Kassie Angle is a teenaged Christian author, cowgirl, therapy dog trainer, stereotypical INFJ, and Army girl to the core. Her first love, i.e. debut novel, O to be Like Thee, swept her unexpectedly into the world of indie authors. She tries to use her stories to fill the silences in literature, helping more people understand the world of the Army and showing how God heals the broken-hearted. You can find her and more of her writing at SoldierGirlStories.com.