Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: Stay With Me by J. Lynn

Stay With Me
(Wait For You #3)
J. Lynn
Release: September 23, 2014
Reviewer: Rose Red
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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 she'd 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 the 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.

Review by Rose Red:

Stay with Me is the fourth book in J. Lynn’s Wait For You series and is Calla's story. And while I really liked it, it’s my least favorite of the series so far. No one can top Cam and his cookies for me. This book had Lynn’s signature writing and was sweet, steamy and funny. But it also had way more drama and angst than the other two did.

Calla is friends with Teresa and we meet her in Be With Me. She’s the quiet one. She has a past that she doesn’t like to talk about. It’s not been an easy life for her and she’s got the scars to prove it. Calla is on the right track with her life. She’s put her past behind her and is looking forward to her future. She’s determined to achieve her goals: the three F’s.

Finish college.
Find a career in the nursing field.
Finally reap the benefits of following through on something.

Calla focuses hard on school because she doesn't want to be anything like the woman who raised her. Poor Calla! Her past is really ugly. Because of a horrible event in her childhood, she's left with some physical scars that have done quite a job on her mentally as well. She has never had a boyfriend, a first kiss, or been drunk, but she is on track to complete her three F’s.

At the end of the Spring semester, her world is blown apart again when she is asked to meet with Financial Aid, and learns that her tuition check bounced. All of her tuition money is gone. Her mom royally screws her by stealing all of it and disappearing. Calla’s stuck going back to the one place she thought she’d never go back to. Home.

When she gets to her family’s bar, the last thing she expects to see is a handsome bartender. She hasn’t been there in a while, but still. Guys like that do not work at places like Mona's. Jax and Calla are drawn to each other immediately.

I loved Calla and her inner thoughts, I loved that she was real, and I really loved that she calmed herself down and thought things out rationally. Typically the female character will drive me crazy obsessing about things or running away, but Calla actually had moments where she wanted to run but stayed because she knew it was the smart thing to do. A lot of the story is focused on Calla and how she sees herself with her scars. She's in such a bad place self-esteem-wise that she can't figure out why Jax would be interested in her.

What can I even say about Jax? I really liked him! He’s an ex-marine who came to town at the advice of one of his friends and ended working at Mona’s. He’s sweet and caring, however, there is this one part of the story where he did something really dumb. Come could he not know that that wasn't okay? Other than that part, I really liked him. The thing I really loved was the way he treated Calla. When he looked at her, he didn’t see the scarred girl that she and everyone else sees. He just saw her and he did everything he could to show her that he didn’t mind that she had the scars.
“I used to be really pretty. See? I used-”

“There is no ‘used’ to be. You’re really fucking pretty now.”
I loved the secondary characters in this book! I loved Calla's "Uncle" Clyde! He seemed like a big teddy bear and you could tell that he was the one who really raised her. Can I just say that I want to go to taco night!?! I also loved Calla’s new friends, Roxy and Katie. Roxy is a little fireball and I can’t wait to learn more about her in the next book! And ZOMG! Katie was so hilarious and crazy! The things that came out of her mouth had me rolling on the floor laughing! Although, it was getting a bit annoying by the end.

I also want to know more about a couple of the other characters like Reece and his brother as well as the other bartender, Nick. There has to be a reason why he’s so quiet, right? Even though we were introduced to several new characters, we did get to see some old friends from the previous books and I loved that!

Stay with Me was not only a beautiful romance between two scarred people; it was a tale of accepting yourself. There were steamy, emotional parts, sweet parts, drama, and lots of action! When I picked this book up I thought it was going to be like the other two books, but I was wrong. This one is a lot darker than the others are and takes issues related to drugs, violence, and thugs. It was quite the wild ride.

Overall, I really liked the story and this series is one that I really enjoy and will reread in the future. I do hate that there wasn't an epilogue or one more chapter in this book. I really needed some more happy at the end.

Also, this book made me love J. Lynn even more as an author. Not only for tackling some of the issues Calla is dealing with but doing so with humor and lines like this:

"Oh my God, guys that read were like unicorns. They only existed in fairy tales”

Recommended for fans of: 
I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Losing it by Cora Carma

4 / 5 stars

My reviews of other books in this series:
Wait For You by J. Lynn
Be With Me by J. Lynn

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