From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You and Be with Me comes a daring tale that pushes boundaries . . .
At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.
But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought shed left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.
Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from they moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.
“How my life went from mostly okay, with the exception of being a little lonely sometimes, to one giant mess in the span of a week was beyond my ability to comprehend. I was so screwed, and not in the fun and sweaty way.”
One of his year’s revelation authors was Mrs. Lynn (a.k.a. Jennifer L. Armentrout). Whatever she writes, I’m usually a sucker for (check out my reviews of the Lux Series). And the Wait For You Series is no exception. But unfortunately, Stay With Me didn’t quite make the same impression on me.
I’ll start with what made it so and get it out of the way because I really wanted to like this book more because of its author, and having to say why I didn’t like a book by an author I usually like isn’t something I enjoy doing.
The main things that bothered me in this book were Calla’s inner monologues and the number of description of mundane things that really didn’t bring anything more to the story. For instance in one scene, we spent an awful amount of time reading about her waiting tables and picking up her very generous tip and putting it in her pocket while she thinks it’s way too much money for what she did but since she desperately needs the money she’ll still keep it. Really, I don’t think anyone really needs (or want for that matter) to read about every motivation behind what she does.
“I know what people see when the look at me. Most people don’t say anything because they’re not jerks, but I know what they see. It’s been that way since I was ten years old. And there is no changing that (…) My body was wrecked. There was nothing attractive about it.”
Then, and that’s what bothered me most, she spends a lot of time doubting Jax’s attraction and interest in her. I get that she has a hard time believing him, and considering what she went through, it’s understandable and makes total sense. But it was still getting on my nerves when the guy did nothing to make her doubt it, and even when he tells her he doesn’t care about her scars, she still doubts him. I understand insecurities, and I know there is no rationalizing them. But it got old anyway and made me roll my eyes. So there’s that.
The second thing that bothered me was the fact that I thought the denouement was kind of easy. I don’t know what I would have preferred or what would have made it more believable to me, but considering the mess Calla finds herself in because of her mother and the kind of people it involves, I was kind of expecting a more….spectacular ending. I know this author is capable of because I’ve read other books from her that really did it for me (you should take a look at the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout), so I felt a little let down by this book.
I won’t comment on the other little things that I noticed in this book because I was able to overlook them and enjoy the book anyway. So here are the good things I have to say about the book.
With Stay With Me, I felt a slight difference from the other books in the serie. In a way, they were lighter. Don’t get me wrong, all of those books deal with some serious subject matters but I did notice that as the serie goes, the books become not darker, because I still laughed and swooned a lot while reading them all, but this book’s plot was way more serious than the other. And even though I enjoyed this book, I don’t have the same feeling about it than I had with Wait For Me (even though it probably had to do with Cam).
We met Calla in Trust In Me, Tess and Jase’s book but she stayed a mystery to us. So I was curious to know her story and what would happen to her. Why does she have a scar on her face? Why is she always so evasive about where she comes from? ect… And Calla turned out to be a very brave, lovely girl to follow through this book. She is filled with insecurities, grief and heartache but she still manages to be a sweet girl that you can’t help but like. She hasn’t had an easy life, she was forced to grow up when she was still very young and she was forced to witness a whole lot of things that really messed with her and to protect herself, she had to avoid a lot of things in life. She sheltered herself in order to protect herself from her world. She was a very touching character and I loved seeing her growing into herself in this book.
“I don’t kiss girls that I don’t find hot as hell or beautiful. So, you get my point?”
When she let her insecurities get in the way of her life and relationship though, we discover that she is also a little naive and inexperienced, and that made her do things and hurt people without her intending to, but it was still a little frustrating. In this book, one of the big challenges for Calla is to learn to trust and even though you get why she has a hard time doing so, it’s not easy at all for her to get there and made her characters a little frustrating to me at times.
“God Almighty, I might have just committed a cardinal sin just by thinking it, but he was like Cam 2.0”
Enter Jax, smexy bartender with a smile that make all the panties in a one mile radius drop. Man the man was good. I loved Jax’s character. And he was so good for Calla. I loved how he was able to see past what everybody notices when they look at Calla. I loved his bossy ways and his cheeky attitude. I loved the sexual tension between Calla and him. In short, I loved him. Sure, he does act like an idiot here and there and sometimes I really wanted to smack him upside the head for his callous behavior but you know he’s good at heart and that he is loyal to a fault to the one he cares for. I really loved his character and how he was able to relate and connect with Calla when no one ever really did.
“I felt something else — something I hadn’t felt in years. I felt cared for…..cherished.”
This book had my heart racing on many different occasions and always had a nice new twist in its pocket. It is full of suspense, mystery, emotion, laughter and romance. I loved the secondary characters for the most part and wouldn’t mind knowing the story of some of them (I’m thinking Roxy and Reece here, because it has to be juicy!)
I won’t say much more about the book because I went into it a little blind and seriously enjoyed that. All I’ll say is be prepared to be surprised. This book os full of mystery and suspense, with a good dose of sweetness and laugh out loud moments as well as truly moving and emotional moments and characters. I’m really looking forward for the next book in this serie and more of J. Lynn’s brand of writing that I grew to love. I really hope Roxy and Reece’s story will feel more like the stories that made me love this author.