Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Rockstar

REVIEW:  Stay With Me by Elyssa Patrick

REVIEW: Stay With Me by Elyssa Patrick

Dear Ms. Patrick:

I’ve been reading a ton of New Adult books lately (probably because of the sheer number of them that are being published), but your new book, Stay With Me, is one that stood out to me as particularly polished, featuring interesting characters and one of my favorite hero tropes: the Caregiving hero.

Stay With Me by Elyssa PatrickHailey Bloom has been a star her entire life. She sings, she dances, she’s instantly recognizable all over the world (although presumably not for “twerking” a la Miley Cyrus). She’s decided to leave it all behind and go to college. It’s the first time in a really long time that she’s done anything at all just for herself. She didn’t consider the feelings of her controlling stage mother, her publicists, her fans, no one. She’s doing this for herself. But she’s having trouble getting over being “Hailey Bloom”.

When she arrives at Green College, she finds that the guys want to be the first to have nailed Hailey Bloom, and the girls don’t much like her because she’s famous and pretty, and all the guys want to be able to brag about having sex with a star. Her classes are much harder than she expected and her teachers assume that she’s been given everything in her life, so they are harder on her than she thinks is fair. One night, at a party, she steps outside to take a breather from being constantly scrutinized and finds herself on the back deck with Caleb Fox.

Caleb knows exactly who she is, but doesn’t treat her like she’s anything other than a pretty girl. He’s not star-struck, he’s not gushing, and he’s not making any particular moves on her. He’s kind, and offers her his jacket when she’s cold, and shields her from the interest of other guys who come outside looking for her. Make no mistake, he’s definitely attracted, as is Hailey, but he’s not pushy, and she likes that about him. But Hailey is at college to get a serious degree, and has no time for romance. She does share a kiss with him, but leaves the party directly afterwards.

Not one to give up on a girl who he thinks is a lot more than her public persona, Caleb decides to take action the next day when he literally bumps into Hailey at a farmers market, spilling tea on her. He takes her to his house to give her a dry t-shirt, and they end up having a very romantic encounter in his kitchen. Soon Hailey has met Caleb’s younger sister, who is also a freshman, and who strikes up an immediate friendship with Hailey, as well as most of his friends. And Hailey and Caleb begin a tentative and very sweet romance. Caleb woos Hailey with patience, care and respect. But when Hailey’s mother decides to snatch Hailey back into the limelight by telling secrets, Hailey’s instinct is to push away her love and the friends that she’s made. Will Caleb allow her to reject what they’re building? And will he be horrified when he learns more about Hailey’s past?

Because we are friendly on Twitter, I’ve read a number of books by you, and I think that your voice is particularly suited to New Adult. I found Hailey to be an interesting character, definitely damaged by the price of fame, but with a level of sweetness that made her likeable, even when she was pushing away the few who cared about her. Caleb is a dreamy beta hero. He’s not dominating in any way, but he’s determined to woo Hailey, and will not allow her to push him away. I found their romance to be quite charming.

My only complaints about the book would be that Caleb in particular is surrounded by a huge cast of friends, who clearly were sequel bait. And at times, I had a hard time keeping them straight. I also felt like I was missing a big confrontation between Hailey and her mother. I would have liked to have seen Hailey defend herself more against her mother, but I also thought her reaction rang true to her character. I just wished that Mommy Dearest had gotten what was coming to her.

Overall, I found Stay With Me to be a sweet and charming New Adult book that I enjoyed every moment of. I’m really looking forward to the next installment of the series. Final grade: B+.

Kind regards,

Kati

AmazonBNSonyKoboAREBook DepositoryGoogle

REVIEW:  Lick by Kylie Scott

REVIEW: Lick by Kylie Scott

Dear Ms. Scott:

I started reading you on the recommendation of another reader when I was looking into post-apocalyptic romance fiction. I really liked your erotic romances although I felt that the heroines could’ve been a lot stronger. In the meantime, you have published a book that could be categorized as a new adult based on the characters, but for me it read more like a standard romance with very erotic sex scenes.

Evelyn Thomas  wakes up in a hotel bathroom in Vegas with very little memory of the events that  took place the night before. In the bathroom with her is a very attractive tattooed guy whose name she figures out must be David because that is the name that is now tattooed on her ass.  All Evelyn wants to do is get away from the strange guy, take a shower, and get back to her life.

When she gets home, she finds out the press is camped outside her home. The attractive guy with the tattoos and guitar picks in her hotel bathroom happens to be heavy metal guitarist, David Ferris, of the band Stage Dive.  David arranges for Evelyn to come to his home in Laurel Canyon and figure out how they will manage the press and the divorce that Ev claims she wants.

The story is told in the first person so we don’t know all that is going on in David’s head, but we do know he is hurt and angry by Evelyn’s failure to remember anything that happened.  When they are thrown together in his home, Evelyn decides that she’d like to have a chance to get to know her husband and maybe, just maybe, stay married to him.

It wasn’t until the book hit the halfway mark that the story came alive for me.  As Evelyn and David explore that one night that brought them together, we get to know both of them on a deeper level.  Ev begins questioning her plan to become an architect, like her father.  Just being with David is out of character for her and as foreign as his world is to her.

Daivd was believably portrayed as the sensitive musician type. He had fallen for a girl before who had cheated on him and he was devastated.  During the evening in Vegas with Ev, David was seduced by her defense of a waitress, her lack of fawning, and her general good hearted demeanor.  The recording sessions, the talk about the creation of the music, and the tour scenes all contributed to the authentic feel of the story which is always a big thing for me.

The drummer in the band, Malcolm, provides the comic relief. He refers to Evelyn as “child bride” and pushes David’s buttons constantly.

“Child bride.” Mal smacked a noisy kiss on my cheek. “I’m heading to a club. You guys coming or taking off back to your love nest?”

“I don’t know. Just let me find David. That was amazing by the way. You guys were brilliant.”

“Glad you liked it. Don’t tell David I carried the show, though. He’s so precious about that sort of thing.”

“My lips are sealed.”

There were a few things at the end that bothered me.  The two have issues with each other stemming from David’s inability to trust but also his refusal to reveal important information to Ev. Other characters make excuses for David’s behavior and I felt that the explanations should have come from him.  For readers who like a good grovel, David provides it through his actions versus words, but I needed some words as well. Still, Lick, the first in the novels pertaining to the band Stage Dive, was an engrossing, sexy, and emotional read.  Bring on the rest of the band. B

Best regards,

Jane

AmazonBNSonyKoboAREBook DepositoryGoogle