Blog Tour & Giveaway: Untamed: S.C. Stephens

Untamed (Thoughtless #4)
S.C. Stephens
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#1 New York Times bestselling author S.C. Stephens brings us the next book in her Thoughtless series!

The spotlight doesn't only shine. Sometimes it burns.

Being the bad-boy bassist for the world's hottest band has earned Griffin Hancock some perks: a big house, a fast car, and most importantly his incredible wife, Anna. The one thing it hasn't brought him is the spotlight. Anna tells him to be patient, that his talent will win out. But Griffin is through waiting for permission to shine.

Without warning, Griffin makes a shocking decision and takes the gamble of a lifetime. Suddenly he's caught up in a new level of lights, cameras, and chaos. One that pushes his relationship with Anna to its limits. Anna has always found his unpredictable behavior sexy, but lately he's seen an ache in her eyes--and it has his soul in knots. Just as the recognition Griffin seeks is finally within reach, the thing he loves most in life could be slipping through his fingers...

When Anna came back into the room, I was my usual self—just a half chub was trying to poke through my jeans. But even that faded when I saw the little miracle in my wife’s arms. “Daddy!” Gibson tossed her hands my way and leaned so hard in my direction that Anna had to struggle to hold on to her. Gibson’s little face scrunched with annoyed concentration while she fought against her mom. Then, with a pout that only a little kid could make adorable, she turned and scowled at Anna. “Want Daddy.” She said it as a command, not a request. Gibson was only around a year and a half, but she already knew what she wanted, and she fully expected to get her way. She was so much like me, it was scary.

Anna rolled her eyes but stepped closer so Gibson could reach me. When her little hands touched my skin, they suddenly became razor-like talons. Like an eagle securing a fish from the sea, Gibson clamped onto my forearm with a surprising amount of freakish strength. “Ow, shit! Relax, Gibs. I’m right here.”

Grunting, I pulled her into my side and examined what was left of my arm. I half expected to see a mutilated flap of skin hanging off the bone. Instead, all I saw were bright red streaks where she’d raked me. Anna winced. “Guess I need to cut her nails. Sorry.”

I shrugged. “The day isn’t truly awesome until a gorgeous girl has scratched me up. I wear my war wounds with pride.” Looking at the design she’d left behind, I added, “I might actually get this one tattooed on me. How cool would permanent shred marks be?”

Anna smiled, then shook her head. “No, if you want claw marks to tattoo, I’ll give you some good ones. Then every time you look at them, you can remember how you got them.”

“Damn…yeah, that’s a much better plan. Fuck, you have the best ideas.”

Gibson grabbed my nose and pulled my attention her way, where she liked it. Girl had a jealous streak a mile wide. Looking at her was like looking at a miniature version of me, if I were a girl. She had the same light blue eyes, same blond hair, although hers was a pristine platinum color while mine was a little dirtier. As it should be. She gave me a smile full of shiny white teeth, then spouted, “Fuck.”

Anna crossed her arms over her chest, but her expression was more amused than annoyed. “I think we’re at the point where we need to start watching our language.”

I looked past Gibson to Anna. “Watch my language? You might as well ask me to hop on one foot while reciting the alphabet backwards. I can’t police myself like that twenty-four-seven. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.”

Anna swished her hands at Gibson. “Well, she’s starting to copy you, and if we don’t put a stop to it now, she’s going to start calling people cocksuckers soon.”

I started laughing. “That…would be so awesome.”

Anna put her hands on her hips; true irritation was starting to edge out her amusement now. “No, it wouldn’t be.” She smiled. “Well, yeah, it kind of would be, but as parents, we have to put a stop to that kind of stuff.” She sighed. “Well, we should try anyway.”

Looking back at Gibson, I frowned. “I suppose I could try.” Even though I was sure she didn’t have a clue what we were talking about, Gibson laid her head on my shoulder, wrapped her arms around my neck, and patted my back like she was encouraging me. Yeah, if it would help Gibson, I would try to control my mouth. There wasn’t much I wouldn’t do for that little girl.

The Hulk has never really done it for me. I am firmly all about Kellan Kyle, which is pretty much why I was anxious to read Griff’s book. I wanted more Kellan and I didn’t care how I got it, as long as I got it. 

Untamed totally took me by surprise. I ended up adoring Griffin more than I thought I would. I devoured his book in one sitting. And I have to say, holy crap, the myriad of feels I experienced. I went from being annoyed, to laughter, to swooning, to anger, to downright bawling and everything in between. I wasn’t expecting any of that, definitely not the bawling or swooning, especially over Griff. I expected maybe slight boredom and major annoyance towards Griff’s self-centered as hell attitude, as it’s what I felt when it came to him in the other books. I love, though, that I was so very wrong about my least favorite band member. 

Speaking of the band, all of the gang is back. You’ll get to hang with Kellan, Kiera, Matt, Rachel, Evan, and Jenny. Each of these characters will play their own hand in the drama that unfolds. 

Griff can very much still be that arrogant, rude, cocky asshole; he will piss you right the hell off for most of the book. But then that seems to be the trend with this series. You don’t walk away from a Thoughtless book without some extreme emotions. You’ll want to throw your Kindle, slap some heads together, or maybe you’ll even want to DNF, but hang in there because Griff’s character does some major growing up through this book. Our obnoxious guitarist will have you falling for him one way or another. The question is will he be able to redeem himself? He’s no Kellan Kyle but he did end up making me appreciate everything that is Griffin, cockiness and all. 

I loved Anna in Untamed. Not sure how she was able to handle Griffin’s over blown ego day in and day out, but she did. And she did it with so much love and dedication. She took her husband at face value and accepted him for who he was. She wasn’t looking to change him. Her love for him was pure gold and it helps you hang in there when the going gets tough. Your heart will ache for her, but at the same time, it will also feel so much pride at how much she too has grown as a character. It’s her strength that will keep you glued to the pages, routing for her happy ever after.

With that said, I never really understood their relationship. Maybe because I was totally wrapped up with Kell and Keira’s drama that I didn’t care to focus too much on those two. They were always about sex and who they could get it from. However, with the focus on Anna and Griffin, it was different this time around. I adored them together and thought they fit each other perfectly. Their personalities complimented each other and balanced one another out. Anna was made for Griffin and vice versa. They weren’t just lovers, they were best friends. There were moments that you could just feel the love pouring from them. I loved watching Griffin with his baby girl and Anna. You could see him as a different man when he was with them. Which is why it killed me that they fell apart over the lack of trust and communication. 

The tension and angst was low compared to that of Kellan and Kiera, but it was still prominent, and it’s sometimes hard to get through. Most of the time I really wanted to knock some damn sense into Griffin. I found myself yelling at him in my head as too many times he took his friends and family for granted. And he was so willing to walk away from everything for the sake of his damn pride. I wasn’t sure how he would come back from that. Or if they would even forgive him for that matter. Hell, I didn’t know if I would be able to forgive him. For a while there he felt more antihero than hero. 

Even though, I am rating this 5 stars, I did have a couple tiny issues. I loved being able to visit with the gang again, especially Kellan, but I wasn’t so ecstatic to hang with Matt this time around. He really got on my nerves, more than his cousin did. I hated how he treated Griffin and I felt like he was a part of the huge issue that made his cousin fall apart and make quick inappropriate decisions. I found Matt to be quite the douche bag (no pun intended), which made me dislike him. He was no longer the quiet, shy band member you met in Thoughtless. 

My other issue was that Untamed dragged a bit here and there. Due to that it could sometimes get repetitive. 

One of my favorite things about S.C. Stephens is she never fails to take me from not caring about the outcome of some of her characters to having me rooting hard for them. She did it the first time around with Keira and she did it again with Griffin. I’d say that is quite the testament to her writing ability.

Thank you, Forever (Grand Central Publishing), for the complimentary copy of Untamed. 

Griffin Hancock is the bassist for the D-Bags. He self proclaims himself to be awesome and dreams of being lead guitar and more in the spotlight. He is unfiltered, cocky, self centered and at times childlike and at other times an a-hole. So the band doesn't always trust him to follow through. He feels held back, unappreciated, and not accepted for who he really is. His wife Anna supports him, but he feels no one else does.

I have always had a soft spot for Griffin and his big mouth, outrageous behavior, dirty mouth, and big heart. He sometimes acted clueless and he could be really self absorbed and selfish. He was always kind of the big embarrassing oaf that was always putting his foot in his mouth that people just kind of either laughed at or were annoyed by.

But now we are getting into his head, and He has his own agenda. He is filled  with  jealousy, resentment, an inflated ego, and foolish pride. It will lead him to some poor choices that will cause breaks in trust, loss, guilt, misery and even desperation. He was so busy reaching for more, he was clueless as to what he was risking losing. I was mad and disappointed in him and I wanted to smack sense into him and yell "STOP!" But I was also heartbroken for him and at times felt sorry for him. I liked seeing his vulnerability, inner heart and emotions. This was a journey of self discovery for him. He had to face harsh truths, go on without his safety net, and get a taste of real life and loss to truly understand what he really needed and what was most important. 

I adored his wife, Anna. She was always a good match for Griffin,  tolerated his behavior, and could keep up with him. But she really shined in this one. She meets him head on, pushes him, supports him and tries her best to hang on. But he really tested her. Even though their relationship was good, they still had some growing to do together. They take some hits and they will have to fight for what they both really need. 

Griff and his little girls together just made my heart melt.  He was such a sweet Dad and he loved his family and wanted to provide for them. But that was also part of what skewed his beliefs in what he deemed important.

And of course, the D-Bags are back. Sweet, swoony lead singer Kellan who brings out major jealousy in Griff. I love him but he had a few moments that annoyed me too. And Griff's anal-retentive, precise, grumpy cousin Matt who holds tight to lead guitar and won't share. I wanted to shake him sometimes too, even though I felt that he was more emotionally invested in Griffin than he wanted to admit. And even the generally low key Evan got just as mixed up in the drama as the rest of them. And the girls Kiera (who surprisingly gets to really be on my good side in this one), Rachel, and Jenny are also back. I enjoyed seeing more progression in their lives. There were good times, but also struggles. I also loved Griffin's brother Liam who was a new sweet, sexy hottie to love and their outspoken sister Chelsey.

This was another long book (416 pages). I will admit that it dragged a bit for me in the beginning to middle part. I got tired of Griffin's whining and need to prove his awesomeness and him feeling held back. It was like a train wreck that you can see coming, but can't look away. It was painful to see him about to veer so far off track and implode his life. But it was also inspirational and emotional following his journey and watching a once prideful, arrogant man try to pick up the pieces, make amends and find redemption.

This story brought out negative emotions like anger, disappointment, heartbreak, pain, and sadness. I could not believe it, but Griff even had me tearing up and emotional at times. But there was also friendship, family, love, laughter, sweetness, and hope. The characters all are so familiar that they feel like  family. I felt like I was all mixed up in the drama and tension surrounding them.But I think everyone learned valuable lessons about themselves and each other. I loved everything about the last part of the book and it could not have been more perfect. I ended up loving Griff and Anna and was totally invested in them. So this was a wild ride that was to be expected with Griffin, but it was well worth it.
ARC provided by author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
Series info on Author's website 

Thoughtless (book 1): Goodreads/Amazon/B&N
Effortless (book 2): Goodreads/Amazon/B&N
Reckless (book3): Goodreads/ Amazon/B&N

Thoughtful (book 1.5-Kellan POV): Goodreads/Amazon/B&N
S.C. Stephens   

S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance.  In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family.  She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.

One paperback of Untamed (US and Canada only)


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