Author: J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout)
My Rating: 6 out of 10
Review (thanks Goodreads): 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.
My thoughts: It paaaaaains me to have to only give this book a 6. Literal heart pains, people! I was just expecting sooo sooo much out of this book, and I hate to say it, but it just didn't deliver it. I loved Wait forYou, I adooooored Be With Me, and Stay With Me just kind of fell flat on its face. And here I will try to explain why:
I can tell you, 100% for certain, that it was not the writing that didn't do it for me. This book was classic JLA, aka the writing was perfect. It was funny when it needed to be, and it actually felt like I was in a 21 year old's head. The writing is probably what saved the rating for me.
So, the plot. It was... interesting. I'm kind of disappointed that we didn't see more of Calla's world before it went to - excuse my language - shit. Also, it would have been nice to see her world after. I would have liked to see her actually experience new things (aka the list of things she hasn't done). Anyways, moving on. The plot was intense, and it felt a little far fetched for me (maybe I'm the one whose too sheltered). I don't want to get into any spoilers, but the ending seemed way to convenient, which actually annoyed this girl a whole lot. There were a lot of little plot-y things that seemed thrown in for the hell of it, and got resolved to quickly/conveniently. I don't know, maybe that's just me. If you've read it, what do you - in particular, about the ending with the bar/Mona - think? But, I digress...
I liked Calla. I liked her a lot. I thought she was funny, a little too obsessed with the word dumb, and despite having a shitty hand dealt to her, she was still optimistic (and not annoyingly so). I loved seeing Cam, Avery, Jase (!!!!) and Theresa too. I love how JLA is keeping all the characters present in the story and that we still are getting little glimpses of their lives. And here is where the real pain starts: I just did not like Jax. Nuh-uh girlfriend, would not want to be hanging around him. I thought that he was a tad bit creepy - and the fact that he apparently looks like Theo James didn't redeem him any points either. I don't know, but is it so hard for dudes to just accept the word "no". I mean, there were a few points where Calla herself says he's a bit creepy and just a wee bit off-kilter. I don't know, he just didn't do it for me, so that made for a long book. Which leads me to the last thing I want to comment on: is the length of this book. Holy good God it was long. It felt like it was never ending and *ducks* there were even a few points where I just skipped pages. Just straight up flipped right past them. It probably only felt long because I wasn't as attached to the characters as I have been in the past (see Jase and Daemon).
The Quick & Dirty: If you love yourself some JLA, I still recommend reading this book. The writing was on point, and you've got to finish the series, obviously!