Title: Stay With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: New Adult Romance
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.
Stay With Me is book 3 in the Wait For You series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, if you are interested in reading my reviews for the first two books in this series you can do so by clicking the following links; Book 1 – Wait For You or Book 2 – Be With Me.
As always with this series, I would like to mention that this book may hold Triggers for some people as it deals with Drug Abuse and at moments discusses the other characters from book 1 + 2 which delve into subjects such as Rape and Domestic Abuse.
Firstly I feel like I should do a round of applause for Jennifer L Armentrout for her writing, book 3 is as exciting (if not more) and holds your attention as much as book 1 and 2 in this series. The pacing was perfect as the book went from hard hitting scenes to the romance and the in-between nitty and gritty. Stay With Me was even better than Be With Me for me because I felt like I knew the whole of Calla and Jax’s journey with being able to read the first time they meet whereas in Book 2 the relationship is already established prior to the book.
Ok so let’s discuss plot. WHAT DOESN’T THIS BOOK FEATURE?!
Well Stay With Me features gang culture, drugs, betrayal and that’s just for starters. I felt like this book was so exciting, mysterious and truly kept me on my toes throughout my reading experience. Calla is a character you can’t help but love and feel sympathy for because of her childhood, her experiences and what she is now going through with her mother’s choices.
In term’s of characters, there wasn’t any I really didn’t like unless I was meant to hate them like Mack. Calla’s character has some serious depth to her, she has scars from a fire in her childhood and we get to experience her personal journey to acceptance and learning not to hide her face or body and she becomes more confident. Jax also has some depth to him as we learn through his own past experiences, I won’t reveal what they are because of spoilers but between him and Calla you get a well rounded story knowing their pasts and how their experiences have shaped them today. One character I love and have to mention is Katie, she is a stripper and absolutely hilarious. She says it like it is and she’s also psychic, Jennifer Armentrout’s inclusion of Katie adds the comedic value which relieves some of the tension from the serious backdrop of this book.
One of my favourite things about this book was how mysterious it was and how many questions the story posed to me throughout, first off your questioning about Calla’s mother. Where is she? Why has she run off? Why did she max out credit cards in her daughters name? Then as the story progresses you question the gang elements and what is really happening.
I really liked this element because it wasn’t predictable and it took the new adult romance level of the book into crime genre territory. The gang elements really added a punch to the story as well as it features Execution style deaths and gang wars. Basically a whole lot for a little town.
Another element of this book I really liked was how inspirational Calla was, she escaped from the small town and escaped from her past and she was truly trying to find a better life for herself and work at becoming a nurse. She didn’t let what happened to her hold her back and she was determined to work hard to get back into school so she can have the career she wanted.
I would give Stay With Me 5 stars, the pacing is steady and the story has a perfect mix of romance, mystery and drama to keep you on your toes. Whilst the book leaves you with a heart warming feeling there are definitely moments when your heart is in your throat and you will find yourself shouting ‘NO WHAT IS HAPPENING?!’. Definitely worth checking out if you enjoy New Adult Romances or romances that are more than just love stories but feature real issues.