The Rest Of Me by Ashley Munoz
Narrator: Scarlette Everdeen, Sean Hardisty
Publication Date: October 18, 2019
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 8 hours and 7 minutes
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Death never simply settles for the life it claims.It’s greedy.It stole all of our lives that night and while it put my husband in the ground, it left my four children and me behind.After an ugly year of grief, something had to change.
My sister suggested open spaces, big skies and fresh air in the heart of Wyoming.We settled into our shared estate the best we could until I met my new neighbor.Arrogant, bossy and rude; Reid was easily the worst person I’d ever met. I'd decided to write him off entirely until I realized he was the only local horse instructor.
I’d heard that if I could get my kids onto a horse, they’d start to heal. Desperation had me creating an alliance with him. Envy had me craving the connection he had with them.
Distracted by the newness of our situation, I missed how close his demons danced to my ghosts. While I was ignorantly letting him take my heart, it was too late to realize . . . He’d already stolen it once before.
I discovered this book through a reel on Bookstagram. The blurb intrigued me so I decided to give it a go. I wasn’t really expecting a dark, angsty read, but the heroine’s husband died a year before the story opens, so she and her children were still in the grieving process, which made for a darker tone. Plus, the MMC had some trauma of his own.
When Layla’s husband died unexpectedly, she gave herself and her children a year to grieve. They’ve basically been in a fog since then, but on the exact one year anniversary of his death she knows she has to push forward so they can find a new normal. For six months they’ve been living in a small town in Wyoming, but they haven’t really interacted with the town much or really settled in. As part of their healing process they start riding lessons with the neighbor next-door. Reid has recently moved back home and is trying to adjust to his new normal as well. It’s a struggle, but spending time with Layla and her kids helps him in unexpected ways.
I really liked Reid and Layla’s four children. The kids were doing their best to find their way without their father, and Reid really stepped into a role they needed. He didn’t take the place of their dad, but he helped them heal and move forward in a positive way. The best part of the book for me was the small ways they interacted with each other. I really felt for him as he tried to give Layla space while also being there for her.
Layla I had a harder time with. She didn’t really deal with any of her grief in the year since her husband passed, so she still had a lot of emotions to work through. I felt for her in that regard. But the way her kids suffered because she wasn’t ready to face anything? I had a harder time with that. Especially since she played hot and cold with Reid and the kids for the majority of the book.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’m still trying to decide how I feel about the ending. I saw the plot twist coming, though I had hoped that I was wrong. For all that I enjoyed the romance and the way they all came together, I have a hard time believing that this is an issue that’s put to bed and will never come up again. Especially the way Layla acted throughout the book, constantly pushing Reid away and getting angry at him for making her feel things she wasn’t sure she should (attraction, love, etc). I don’t blame her for it, because I can’t imagine her grief, but that doesn’t leave me with a lot of confidence that she wouldn’t throw his transgressions back in his face at some point. Or that the kids were really as okay with everything as they said. They might feel that way now, but what about down the road?
With a different FMC, this may have worked better, but the way Layla acted throughout the book left me feeling vaguely uneasy about the overall resolution and their HEA.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5