Title – Dissonance
Author – Drew Elyse
Publication Date – August 25, 2014
Series – Dissonance #1
The first time Logan ever saw Charlotte, she was staring up into the rain.
Logan is searching for direction when his new roommate makes that entrance. With a body of pure sin, giant bright eyes, and the voice of an angel, she has his attention immediately. But everything about Charlotte is also screaming “hands off.”
Charlotte is hiding. She made a life of pretending, and she is happy to keep it that way. Physically and emotionally scarred by the secrets of her past, the last thing she needs is a gorgeous roommate asking all the wrong questions. Their mutual attraction and devotion to music may be too strong to keep him at arms length, though.
Can they find a way to resolve the dissonance between them?
Dissonance is one of the best debut novels I’ve come across. In fact, I wouldn’t have guessed it was a debut novel just from reading it. This book is overflowing with genuine emotion. I found myself immediately attached to the characters and devoted to their stories. Charlotte and Logan’s story is breathtaking and raw. I could feel life pouring out of this book. Their journey is filled with much joy, heartache, and a fair number of obstacles, but it never crosses the line into unnecessary drama. The struggles they face are authentic and a natural part of their story. Drew Elyse managed to instantly grab ahold of my heart with this book.
“Even if Charlotte couldn’t see it, I could see that light in her, too. It may have been dulled by the things she experienced, but it still glowed beneath the surface.”
Charlotte is a mess. She’s been through a lot and she knows real heartache and pain. She struggles to cope with the things in her past while simultaneously trying to start her adult life. She epitomizes the astonishing and beautiful imperfection that is human nature and that’s why I connected with her so easily. She falters, she succeeds, she breaks down and she hopes. Logan pretty much blew me away. He’s the guy we all wish we could find. Beneath the gorgeous packaging, he’s scared, protective and a little lost himself. He understands what it means to be flawed and doesn’t judge Charlotte for it. This story isn’t all about the pain of the past though. Charlotte’s brother, Eli and her best friend, Alex are determined to show Charlotte everything she still has to look forward to in life.
“Hurricane Charlotte. Coming in from the east and ravaging my whole world. It was possibly the most accurate nickname I had ever heard.”
Alex and Charlotte seem to have a knack for finding trouble as they enjoy life like the twenty-somethings they are. The dynamic between Alex and Charlotte was colorful and fun. I could feel how deep their friendship ran and how much they understood and supported each other. Drew Elyse certainly knows how to heat up the page. Logan and Charlotte had some sizzling sparks flying between them. Their witty banter and flirtatious antics added a much needed levity to this story. They seem to have perfected the art of getting under one another’s skin and it made for some seriously intense moments.
“How anyone could be so annoying and so absolutely delectable at the same time was flabbergasting.”
Drew Elyse impressed me with her ability to handle the sensitive topics in Dissonance. She found a way to expertly fictionalize them while still remaining true to the reality and emotions of dealing with past trauma. I loved the realistic approach she took to this story. Pain doesn’t always go away, sometimes we settle for it fading. Life can’t always go back to normal and instead we’re forced to create a new normal. We adapt, we look forward and we dare to hope. Drew Elyse brought all of this to life in her debut novel and it made for a stunning story. I can’t wait to read more from this author!
Sometimes, I really love reading an author’s debut work. There is something that is so refreshing in them; it’s almost as if you can taste the passion and dedication in the black and white of the pages. Dissonance by Drew Elyse proved to be no exception to this feeling. I was instantly sucked into Charlotte’s world and curious about where she had been and what the future would hold.
Dissonance takes us through Charlotte’s journey of overcoming a past that she would rather forget. When we meet her, she is reclusive and closed off. She continually wears a smile while hiding every single true emotion from the world. Then she moves in with Logan, her brother’s best friend, and things slowly begin to change. She can no longer pile on the secrets as easily as she previously had been able to. Logan is inherently intuitive and very easily learns her boundaries. This was one of my favorite parts of the book. He was a little lost himself, but you could tell that from the moment he saw Charlotte standing in the rain, she gave him focus. That direction forced him to re-evaluate things in his life. It wasn’t your typical “bad boy transformation” and I could really appreciate that. In a sense, he became the character who made the difference, rather than the usual female changing the guy. Their journey was just so touching and heartfelt. There wasn’t drama or angst for the sake of a story; the portrayal of emotions felt so accurate and real in response to what Charlotte had been through.
I also really loved the bonding over music. I am a firm believer that there is a song lyric to every feeling imaginable. When an author enhances their stories with “mood music”, I am able to completely immerse myself in the story. It elevates it for me and provides an overall experience. The fact that Charlotte and Logan bonded through and sometimes communicated through music just touched my heart, and it’s something music lovers everywhere will appreciate.
Had I not previously known, I would never have guessed that Dissonance was the author’s first novel. It is an incredibly well written love story that will make you experience a gamut of emotions; you’ll laugh, feel sympathy, sadness, and joy. The bonds (whether friendship, sibling, or intimate) are ones you’ll envy and could only hope you’d find in your own life. The characters are relatable and ones you’d wish were your friends and family. I really did love this book and would absolutely recommend it to others. I can’t wait to see what else Drew Elyse comes up with (particularly in book two which will focus on Charlotte’s brother and best friend)!
“Dance with me,” he repeated.
I nearly dropped when he asked. Even following him through the crowd, I was unsure if it was a good idea to dance with someone who turned my heart into a jackhammer. But, with my hand secured in his and determination radiating off of him, there was no going back.
When we made it onto the dance floor, the crowd had thickened and Eli and Alex were no longer in our sights. A stranger bumped into me, sending me staggering backward a few steps and tugging my hand free from Logan’s. He was on me again almost instantaneously, pulling me to his chest to steady me. I looked up at him, breathless from the proximity of our bodies, feeling his toned chest and abdomen beneath his t-shirt. They were even more alluring pressed against me than they had been that afternoon in the living room.
“You okay?” he asked, leaning in close so that I could hear. Chills shot down my exposed arms and neck from the warmth of his breath. I couldn’t form words. I could only nod and try to keep my face from looking like a deer about to be struck by an 18-wheeler.
Pulling back just enough so that he could see my face, he smiled. It was the same knowing smile that I’d seen from him before, the one that seemed at once charming and almost disgustingly cocky. If there was one thing I did not want, it was for the arrogant man with his arms around me to know the effect he was having on me. Silently coaching myself, I regulated my breathing and turned around. With my back pressed against his front, I began to move to the pulsing rhythm echoing through the club.
If Logan was at all surprised by my sudden command of the situation, he managed to not let on. His hands immediately went to my hips and pulled me tightly against him. Even once I was pressed so close that I could feel every muscle of his toned core move and flex behind me, the pressure of his fingertips against my gyrating hips did not let up. He was holding me there, giving me no room to pull myself away.
There was no need to hold me. When Logan began to move, his pelvis rocking sensually against my backside, I was so enthralled that I doubt I could have gotten my body to pull away from his. I never would have expected Logan to be able to dance the way he did, with a sensual power over me that was far more intoxicating than the rum we’d been shooting.
Song after song bled together but neither of us made any move to pull away. The thought never even crossed my mind until the music slowed. The constant pressure of his hands had never let up – although it had traveled around the curves of my hips and waist – until that moment. When those deft hands slackened their grip, I assumed he wanted to stop, so I started to pull away.
I was wrong.
He caught my hand and turned me back to face him. I expected to see the same arrogantly dashing smile, but instead his face looked serious and pleading. I allowed him to pull me into his arms again. I placed my right hand against his chest, which was overly warm, and I felt the fluttering heartbeat under my palm that matched my own. He took my left hand up to his neck. The thin layer of sweat on his skin made me want to run my tongue along his neck. The sensual response my body had to him was wholly unnerving. I had never felt such raw desire for anyone. Given my history, I could hardly ignore the way that Logan ignited my blood, even if I wanted to.
This was no middle school, arm length slow dance. Moving with the deep beat, Logan let his body, which was touching mine from chest to knee, lead. His eyes were locked on mine, his irises reflecting back the colors of the changing lights around us. His hands moved from resting on my hips and slowly skimmed up my back. When his rough fingertips touched the slightly damp skin of my arms, a shock ran through me, just as it had when he touched my hand in the car. He continued a soft, tickling path up the length of my arms, pushing my right hand up to encircle his neck.
As distracted as I was by his hypnotic touch, I did not realize that his hand had reached my wrist until I felt his thumb graze the scar. I froze. I kept the raised, red line hidden beneath a thick layer of make-up, but there was no disguising the raised edge from his touch. I never let anyone get close to the spot, let alone actually touch it as Logan had. How it slipped my mind, I didn’t know. It was impossible to forget it now, as his fingers traced the line down the center of my arm.
I couldn’t look up at Logan, couldn’t stand to see the confusion, or pity, or judgment that would have settled into his expression. I had to get away from him. Yanking my arm from his hold, I muttered a feeble apology as I rushed away.
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Don’t miss the companion novel:
Harmony (Dissonance #2)
Drew graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a BA in English. She was born and raised in Chicago, IL, and still lives there with her boyfriend, a rabbit named Lola, and a bird named… birdie.
Besides writing, she loves reading, music, and crafting. She has a slightly-less-than-healthy obsession with all things Disney, and is an avid fan of the Chicago Blackhawks.