Monday, October 21, 2013

Title: Schasm
Author: Shari J. Ryan
Release Date: August 13, 2013
Blog Tour Hosted by: Romance Addict Book Blog


When reality utterly fails you, there is always the comfort of the land of dreams. Chloe Valcourt, a tormented nineteen-year-old young woman, has for twelve years hovered between a daily life dominated by an abusive mother and an imagined alternate world that exists only in her mind’s eye. Can she keep track of which is real—and whether or not she is real, too? Schasm is the mind-bending young adult romance by Shari J. Ryan that mines the heart of darkness, where one young woman seeks light in her own shimmering daydreams.

A psychological condition has captured the body, mind, and soul of Chloe, and thrust her into the hands of probing doctors at the continued mercy of her tyrannical mother.  As she struggles to break free of the grim life into which she was born, she continues to suffer the daily assaults from her mother and the dispiriting weakness of her dejected father. When Chloe unexpectedly finds herself drawn into a new, warm life abundant in love and romance with a kindhearted man named Alex, the escape at last gives her a happiness that she's never been allowed to feel. However, when hidden truths reveal a life that she cannot remember, Chloe finds herself lost between what is real and what isn't.

Blending extreme daydreaming, alternating realities, and multiple personalities, Schasm is a gripping tale that treads the thin line between a harrowing reality and the captivating terrain of an imagined world. As Chloe plays too close to the edge of insanity, her multiple realities clash, leaving her to question everything, including her own existence. Anyone who relishes a flight of fancy with richly drawn characters and surprising twists of plot will be immersed in the strange new world of Schasm, where nothing is at it seems.

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Shari J. Ryan

Shari J. Ryan has always dreamt of becoming an author and finally decided it was time to pursue her lifelong aspiration by writing her debut young adult novel, Schasm. She has long nurtured a passion for art, reading, and writing, and those hobbies have become a mental escape from her busy life. In the past year, she has put her heart and soul into the creation of her novel, which has taught her that it is never too late and nothing is too hard. The author graduated with a bachelors of science degree from Johnson & Wales University and has written hundreds of articles for various online publications. She is married with two sons.

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Excerpt 1:

“Chloe, are you awake?” she yells up the stairs. “Do I need to come up there?”
“Yes, Mother,” I shout back. “I woke up at seven o’clock on the dot, just like I do every morning.”
My parents have made it clear that I have been a burden on them ever since I turned seven years old. Oddly enough, it was around the same time when I was diagnosed with this so-called condition.
My parents and doctors apparently think I have some kind of psychological anomaly that can be compared to schizophrenia. Although from my perspective, my symptoms don’t even come close to the symptoms of schizophrenia. So really, I don’t think they have any idea what’s up with me.
The doctors are good at always reminding me that my circumstances could be a lot worse than they are, and I should be thankful that they aren’t. But thankful or not, the doctors have still made it clear to my parents that I’m incapable of taking care of myself, and that’s the real kicker.
My capabilities have never bothered me like they bother my parents. Actually, I don’t even think anything is wrong with me, except for the fact that I’m not as normal as everyone else. And because I’ve been going to the same doctor since I was seven years old, second opinions aren’t an option when it comes to my mother. One person says I have an incurable condition, and that’s the word we’re evidently going to rely on forever. Well, that’s only until I figure out how to escape for good.
My skills are actually pretty useful in life. If I had to categorize my own condition, I’d place it under daydreaming. But I guess it’s more like extreme daydreaming, or mind-drifting as I call it. When I dream or drift, I find myself somewhere else better than where I am right now, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
However, I don’t think it’s the extreme daydreaming that threw my parents and doctors for a loop. They became overly concerned when I tried to convince them that I was able to inhabit a different kind of life within my mental escapes. I guess I just didn’t think it was a big deal to have this ability, but clearly they did.
Because of this, my parents will always treat my condition as if it will ruin my life. Along with that, they think they’re doing right by me by allowing me to live at home, rather than forcing me to live at the asylum. Am I supposed to appreciate them for that? Yeah, it’s great that they haven’t decided to send me
off…yet. But they still treat me like a sick patient, just the same as the doctors do. So what’s the difference? They’ve even turned our house into a prison in an attempt to keep me from the outside world. My mother acts like I’m a threat to people, yet I’ve never hurt anyone. If anything, I can’t trust anyone in or outside of this house.
I’d like to think that I’m a pretty normal nineteen-year-old girl, but I guess the word normal goes away when you have capabilities that others don’t. I just wish I could have the chance to experience what life has to offer. But sadly, none of that is possible while I’m essentially handcuffed to my bedroom door and only let out for meals and doctors’ appointments. I’ll never have the opportunity to get out of here and take care of myself. Regardless of the fact that I’m of legal age to be on my own, I’ve been told that if I leave here, I will automatically become a ward of the state. I would officially become institutionalized, probably for life.
Finally taking the plunge, I shove my feet onto the arctic floor. It’s so cold! It’s even colder than it was yesterday. Who needs coffee? The chill from the floor sparks up to my neck, and it feels like electrical currents are bolting through my body, causing every strand of hair to stand at attention. I hate this place!
Afraid to see the mess caused by the static electricity, I sit down at the vanity that was given to me on my seventh birthday, and I look in the mirror to see the dreadful disarray that I have to deal with for the day. As usual, I notice the gray rings around my bulging eyes, which accent my perfectly monochromatic complexion. The only color that exists on my face is the redness of my dried and chapped lips. I snarl at my own reflection. I ruffle my fingers through my hair and push it all up in a pile on top of my head, while trying to figure out what to do with it. Although I guess it really doesn’t matter, because according to my mother, there’s no reason to get all dolled up just do go down to the asylum where my doctors await me.

Excerpt 2:

The open snow-covered field is mesmerizing to look at, and as I stare at it while whizzing by, the snow begins to melt into a blur and turns into the texture of sand. The sand leads my eyes to a blue ocean, rather than the white sky, and the branches of pine trees curl outward as they turn into palm trees.
I experience a brief sense of excitement, thinking I’m heading to my happy place, but it quickly becomes overshadowed as I feel myself choking on water that’s now flooding through my mouth. With an attempt to clear my lungs and throat, I try to force myself to cough up the liquid, but instead of freeing my lungs I end up inhaling more, forcing me to choke even harder. I can’t breathe, and my vision is becoming so blurry that I’m unable to see anything other than some
strange curvy lines. My once soothing thoughts are now turning into a panicked frenzy, and all I can do is try to breathe through the breaks of choking. But it seems useless since I just end up inhaling more water. I try to open my eyes again, but instead I become overwhelmed with a burning sensation similar to having soap in my eyes. This is ridiculous!
After what seems like an eternity with no air or sight, I regain some of my vision. I quickly try to focus on what’s going on around me, but before I can make anything out, the scorching sensation returns again. A feeling of impending blackness comes over me as I succumb to the sensation of drowning, and I feel weightless and numb. My body has stopped struggling, and I find some comfort lying on whatever soft surface I appear to be on. As the weakness continues to take over, lethargy begins to set in until I unexpectedly feel two arms underneath me. One arm slides under my legs and the other under my neck. I’m lifted up with ease and carried a few feet from where I was and then placed back down again.
By turns, pressure is being applied to my chest and air is being blown into my mouth as my lips are soothed by a smooth, dispassionate sensation. I feel the rush of trapped water racing up my lungs, through my esophagus, up through my throat, and out of my mouth. The movement fortunately allows me to gasp for air, and after a few free breaths, I feel it’s safe to open my eyes.
There’s a guy in front of me, and he’s dripping wet, kneeling over my body with a concerned look as he tries to catch his own breath.
“Are you okay?” he asks in a soft-spoken voice, his mouth still only inches from mine.
I attempt to respond, but the only thing I can manage to do is cough up more water, right in his face.
He swiftly lifts my head up off of the ground, forcing my airway to open a bit more, and it thankfully seems to help with the choking. After another grueling minute of coughing up more water, I look around and see that I’m sitting just a few feet away from the ocean. I also notice a surrounding crowd of people gawking at me with alarmed looks.

Excerpt 3:

Scared to confirm my location, I slowly open my eyes and see a lightbulb wrapped in iron bars hanging from a large rock above my head. The light is just bright enough to illuminate a few feet on each side of where I’m lying. Feeling very vulnerable, I stand up quickly and walk toward the wall closest to me. I find that it’s cold, damp, and has an odd texture. It almost feels like this narrow, cave-like room is made up of separate rocks or boulders.
Walking back toward the hanging light, I see that there is an adjacent room just a few feet ahead. The cave is empty, so every footstep I take makes the crackling dirt below my feet sound amplified.
I cautiously walk into the next room to see four more hanging lights and that the room is spherical. The lights are evenly distributed along the walls, and they reveal something so frightening that I’m not sure whether to run away screaming or take a closer look. But with no one in sight, I decide to face my fears and walk closer to this nightmare. Lined perfectly along the walls, I see thousands of skulls and random bones that appear to be looking directly at me. Where am I? This is the most sickening thing I’ve ever seen! Have all these people been killed here? Is there some kind of monster collecting heads of the deceased and mounting them on these walls? Why am I here? Is this some kind of place of punishment?
Becoming more terrified as the seconds go by, I decide it’s best to keep moving. It’s my only hope of finding a way out of this repulsive hell. Why couldn’t I just end up on Alex’s couch? I can only assume that those stupid pills must have caused this. Searching around the room in hopes of finding another way out, I see a small hole in the ceiling with a ladder leaning up against the wall. I jiggle it around to test that it’s sturdy enough to climb. Thankfully, it’s been ground so deeply into the dirt that there’s no movement, no matter how hard I try to shake it.
As I begin to ascend, it's clear that this hole isn't getting any brighter as I had hoped. However, even knowing that there may be no light on the other end of this passageway, I’m still going to continue climbing upward, hoping to eventually reach some kind of solid ground.
After climbing for a few minutes, I think I sense that the air has become less humid, and I don’t feel as constricted. I wave my arm around to verify that are no more rocks surrounding my head, and I thankfully feel open space. I eagerly reach up for the next bar on the ladder and find that my hand grasps nothing but air. I must be at the next location.
Cautiously pulling myself up onto the higher ground, I instantly notice that I’m still surrounded by complete darkness. It’s making me feel uneasy about walking anywhere when I can’t tell if the floor I’m standing on will just disappear or turn into some type of ledge. Searching in every direction hoping to see at least a shadow, I come to a halt when I see a tiny speck of light ahead of me. I guess that’s the direction I’ll be heading in. I’m not sure if the light is at the end of a long hallway, a hole, or just my imagination, but at this point I have no other choice but to see what it is. I can only hope that it’s a way out.

Schasm by Shari J. Ryan
Review by Mary Beth
4 out of 5 Stars

Your here, your there, your everywhere!

This book is not a mindless read, this is an amazingly interesting story that you have to pay close attention to or you may miss an important detail. While it took a chapter or two to understand the flow of the story, once I got it I was in it to win it.There is so much mystery and angst and well lets just say there was not a dull moment to be had.

Chloe and Alex are great characters with so much pain in their lives you can't help but have hope for them. I constantly kept saying to myself. "No, No way, what the heck, OMG!!!" As you can see I had a bunch of those moments. I routed for them, got angry for them and about died when I got to the end. Which by the way I am not giving away, sorry.

This is not your usual boy meets girl, they fall in love THE END. This is a story that delves into the mind and it's possibilities. I mean the mind is a terrible thing to waste and Alex and Chloe have found an interesting way to use theirs. All of the adventures and struggles is it real or just in their minds. I can't wait to what else Ms. Ryan has in store for us and I hope you feel the same way too.

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