Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: The Keys to Jericho by Ren Alexander





Wild Sparks’ Hadley Beckett isn’t the only Beckett with a broken past and a story to tell…

Thirty-year-old Jared Beckett has always lived his life unconsciously, contemptuously, single-handedly, and on his own terms, not caring what people think of him, or thinking much of the people who do care. His mother’s abandoning him when he was a toddler laid the bitter foundation in which he proceeded to build upon, but that was only the launch of his downward spiral. His father tried to do the best he could as a single parent, and even though Jared was an honor student and is now a talented structural engineer, he’s always felt slighted and compared to his older sister Hadley, increasing his hostility. 

Despite his antipathy and aversion to being close to anyone, becoming a master at hiding his internal struggles, he has two friends, Dash and Rio, but even they don’t know the extent of his eternal anguish. His friends tirelessly try to change his life for the better, yet their efforts to help him find a love connection are fruitless because of Jared’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of love, feeling distrustful of people from his own mother’s inability to love him. 

Adding to his foundation of resentment, and unbeknownst to anyone, when Jared was 16, he had met a girl in school who made him question his enduring doubts. They became fast friends, but feeling oddly different about her and not knowing how or why he wanted something more from their friendship, he became frustrated when she didn’t seem to return his advances. Their friendship grew strained, forced, and painful. On his last day of school, he finally said goodbye to her and didn’t look back, yet never moving forward, caught up in her memory, and regrets of what could have been. 

Nearly 14 years after he said goodbye, Jared has returned to his hometown of Annapolis for the summer, as well as to his dark memories. However, with a new light illuminating them, revelations about his covert friendship are revealed, and as his secretive nature and progressing resentment deteriorates any relationships he has left, in an unexpected move, he reaches out to help her. With her in his life again, will he become even more entrenched in his acrimony or is she the only one who can bring down his walls, unlock Jared Beckett’s unconscious heart, and revive him before it’s too late for both of them?




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My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

“I never changed my mind about loving you.  I just admitted it to myself and then grew the balls to tell you.  I love you, Kit Kat.  Not just present.  My past and future too.”

“How long are you going to stand there and gawk?  You move slower than a legless turtle.”

“She’s my… everything.  I went without her for so long, and I never want to go back to that place.  I don’t even want to imagine my life without her in it anymore.”

“The day we met, she changed my life, but the day I walked away from her, changed me."

"You were my first love. I just didn't know it."

I love you right this second and every second left of my life. We'll make this work. Just trust me.”

“You’re the one I held everyone up to in comparison.  You’ve always been in my heart.”

“I’m sweeter than sugar coated bee crack.”


My Review:

That crafty wordsmith know as Ren Alexander has given us another highly entertaining gift. And it is stunning. I didn’t think it possible, but her stellar writing and story-telling excellence continues to improve with each new book. She has graced us with yet another well-crafted, absorbing, and deeply moving love story that has the emotional depth of the ocean floor, with a healthy serving of humor, snark, and sensuality sprinkled throughout. I readily admit to being a jaded and cold-hearted cougar, yet Ms. Alexander had me in tears several times. She also had me gasping and grabbing for clean linens, red lipstick, cold drinks, and alcohol. My husband started hiding from me for some reason…

Although officially an adult in his 20s, Jared Beckett’s emotional development seems to have stalled at puberty. He has since taken up permanent residence in the sullen phase of adolescence. He is a cranky, damaged, snarky, and immature jackass. And throughout much of the book, I did not like him… at all - but I couldn’t stop reading about him. I swore as I read and cursed him and his selfish behavior – yet I was totally invested and couldn’t put the book down. I despised how he treated his friends and family, and I deeply resented any interruption of my reading while I was hating on him. At first I thought him a narcissist, but later discarded that theory as he actually hated himself most of all. Guilt, secrets, and resentment were destroying him, and he was imploding at a sharply accelerated rate that concerned and baffled his friends. I was baffled that he had friends given his foul moods, sharp tongue, and asinine behavior. I deeply enjoyed feasting on Jared’s story and witnessing the peeling of the onion. Following his long awaited epiphany and redemption, I was shocked to realize that I had even became a convert to Team Jared. 

Ms. Alexander’s books are always an engrossing, compelling, and emotional journey, and her characters are consistently fully fleshed-out, complicated, and fascinating. Her writing tends to rattle around in my head and remain with me long after finishing. And no matter how long her books are, I always find myself wanting more, but I am greedy like that. I eagerly await her next opus, as I look forward to seeing what and who she comes up with next. 

Empress DJ

About Author

Ren Alexander was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, but grew up in a nearby tiny, historical, college town in the Northern Panhandle of the state. She graduated from West Liberty University, where she received a B.S. in criminal justice. Although interested in that field, her true passion was reading and writing. She currently lives in Detroit, Michigan with her husband, two daughters and two cats. "Chasing the Wild Sparks" is Ren's first novel.

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