Review Tour: Stay With Me: J. Lynn

Stay With Me(Wait for You #3)
J. Lynn(Jennifer L. Armentrout)
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Expected September 23, 2014

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.

We met Calla Fritz in Be With Me. She became friends with Teresa and is now a part of their group of friends that includes Cam, Avery, Teresa, Jase, Brandon, Ollie and Brit. Even if she did not have a hot guy to call her own like her friends, she was working towards her dream of going to Nursing school, But even that is threatened when she discovers that her mother has cleaned out her account used to pay for school. So now she is forced to return to the place she never wanted to go back to and deal with her mother who she did not want to see again,

While looking for answers, she meets the hot bartender Jackson "Jax" James. He is charismatic, sexy, and initially seems into her. But then in contrast, he also does not really seem to want her to stick around. But he becomes protective of her even if she is resistant. 

She has limited choices and is stubborn. She digs her heels in, but gets more than she bargained for...her mom's issues, serious trouble, danger, and one magnetic bartender that is hard to resist. But she is innocent and naive to the world in many ways And she has scars that run deep and she is riddled with insecurities and fears making trust difficult. 

Jax has his own fears and past pain. He is plagued by loss, guilt, and is harboring secrets. He tries to make Calla see her own beauty and is protective of her.  But there is a lot going on and he sometimes makes mistakes as well. 

Together they are passionate, sweet, and really have the potential to help each other heal. But they are also stubborn, impulsive, and sometimes hurt each other. And learning to fully trust is work in progress for both of them.

There are secrets under the surface, dangerous situations, and quite a bit of drama. And there are many factions issuing threats and causing unease with no apparent easy solutions. 

Calla is a girl with little experience in relationships or the darker workings of the world. So she is bound to be unsure, make mistakes, have doubts, and be fearful. She has been through so much in her life that really beat down her self esteem and caused her to be afraid to open up with others. I admit that she frustrated me at times due to her insecurities and trust issues. It comes down to her needing to be able to conquer some of her own demons. She has to find her own inner strength to continue to face all of the challenges, but also has to realize she cannot do it alone. 

I loved spending more time with Cam and Avery (Wait for You/Trust in Me), Teresa and Jase (Be With Me), and even the little bit with Brandon, Ollie, and Brit. The relationships between all of these characters continue to grow and deepen. And I enjoyed her new friends in her hometown "Uncle" Clyde, Katie, Roxy, Nick, Colton, and Reece. I am already very intrigued about what is and isn't going on with bar worker Roxy and cop Reece. But something is definitely brewing so I would like to see them get their own story. 

This book takes the characters we have come to love, expands their location and circle of friends, adds very different challenges, then throws in danger, suspense and intrigue. It was told in Calla's point of view and we were able to see her fears, emotions, and growth. Jax was a bit more of a mystery, but he was still also very vocal, caring, and likable.  These characters had serious past pain, complications, and fears. It was suspenseful, heartfelt, sweet, passionate, funny, and at times frustrating. There were many plot twists and turns and secrets to figure out.  It was another engaging, surprising, emotional installment in this series with themes of  the power of friendship and love, forgiveness, and bravery and beauty in many forms. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Calla Fritz has built a life at Shepherd that included a few stretched truths and flat out lies. But she had goals she was determined to meet and a life she was determined to build far from everything she had grown up with. When her mom drains the bank account that contained her college tuition and racked up credit card debit in Calla’s name, she returns to her hometown to confront her mom. But she doesn’t find her mom when she returns home, instead she finds Jackson “Jax” James behind the bar, her “uncle” Clyde working the kitchen, and a threat she didn’t even know she needed to watch for. 

Calla is an interesting mix of strength and insecurity. Significant scarring, both physical and emotional, keeps her from being comfortable around people and letting others in. In the early scenes with her friends from school, it is clear that she holds herself apart, even as she shares space with them. 

I loved Jax, from almost the moment we met him. As soon as Calla walks into Mona’s and catches Jax’s attention, he is focused on her. Flirty and fun, but focused. Completely. For as hesitant as Calla was through the early parts of their relationship, he never backed down, didn’t give up, and continued to surprise her with his understanding and sensitivity. 

Normally, I notice if a character or book in general uses a lot of swearing. Not that it bothers me, but I notice. In this case, it was the opposite. The lack of cursing was initially surprising, but it also meant that when cursing was present it actually held weight, rather than simply being a regular part of the conversation. 

But what really caught me about the language was Calla’s penchant for using phrases that would make more sense coming from the mouth of someone much older than Calla. “Great googley moogley” and “holy billy goats” were two of the phrases that particularly caught my attention. At times they were off-putting, as they really did catch my attention, but at others they simply made me chuckle at their creativity. At some point, either it just became part of her character in my mind, or it was toned down, because while I had a string of phrases I noted in the first half of the book, I didn’t notice any in the second. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Calla and Jax’s story. Seeing Cam and Avery again, and meeting Jace and Tessa (I have Be With Me, but haven’t read it yet), reminded me of how much I loved this group of friends and the writing style of this series. I’m going to have to make time to catch back up on this series because it is such a fun read.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Follow links to book info and purchase links on author's website

Trust in Me (#1.5)

Be With Me (#2)
About J. Lynn/Jennifer L. Armentrout:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.


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