Callen Hayes’s life is on the fast track to destruction. Then, fate throws him back in the life of Jessica Creswell, a girl he knew long ago. While old feelings start to come to the surface and new love blooms between the two, they’ll both find that sometimes love means facing the past to save the future.
Published: June 12th 2018
Pages: 336 (Kindle)
Series: N/A – Standalone
After all those years, my Callen had walked back into my life. Although, he had never really been my Callen. And, well… he never would be.
The moment she met Callen Hayes, eleven-year-old Jessica Creswell knew he was a broken prince. Her prince. They became each other’s refuge, a safe and magical place far from their troubled lives. Until the day Callen kissed her—Jessica’s first real, dreamy kiss—and then disappeared from her life without a word.
Years later, everyone knows who Callen Hayes is. Famous composer. Infamous bad boy. What no one knows is that Callen’s music is now locked deep inside, trapped behind his own inner demons. It’s only when he withdraws to France to drink his way through the darkness that Callen stumbles into the one person who makes the music return. Jessica. His Jessie. And she still tastes of fresh, sweet innocence . . . even as she sets his blood on fire.
But they don’t belong in each other’s worlds anymore. There are too many mistakes. Too many secrets. Too many lies. All they have is that instinctive longing, that need—and something that looks dangerously like love.
She wanted more from me than I could give, and she was right to want more.
Thank you to NetGalley, Mia Sheridan, and Forever for the advanced copy of this book!
I was super excited to get this ARC because the reviews from other bloggers I follow were so great, it honestly sounded like the perfect book; a famous bad boy, a strong and smart independent female lead, the beautiful French countryside, and a touch of a historic mystery. So I thought ‘what could go wrong?’
I think I’m going to chalk up my less than stellar rating to the fact that this is less of a New Adult Romance and fits more into the Adult Romance genre, which is a big distinction to me. I’m starting to think Penelope Douglas has ruined me for other romance authors. You see, I like romance books with lots of drama, overflowing angst, multiple ‘oh my god’ moments, and toe-curling, butterflies in your stomach type sex scenes. This book didn’t have that and I was really missing these aspects; in fact, this book was quite the opposite of what I usually look for in romance books. It was sweet and tender to a fault, and by the end I was actually kind of over how sweet this book was. It was one of those books that played up the damaged bad boy and pure angelic girl so much that it was mildly annoying at times. Let me say this; I enjoy romance books with that sort of theme, but when it’s just endlessly repeated over and over it starts to grate on my nerves.
This was a difficult book for me to rate simply because I really liked the ending, but the first like 70% bored me endlessly. The whole time I was reading this I was waiting for that feeling of a building plot, I was waiting for something to happen besides Jessica and Callen making doe eyes at each other, and that part didn’t come until the last twenty percent or so of the book. The ending of this was what pushed this from a two-star to a three-star review because I felt Part Three in its entirety was amazing. It was a perfect conclusion to the main love story between Jessica and Callen, the side love story taking places hundreds of years ago, and both Callen and Jessica’s individual journeys.
Another thing I thought was amazing was the little side story taking place within the historic documents that Jessica was translating. There was something so honest and wise, deeply moving, and romantic about that diary and the truth contained within it that kept me flipping the pages of this book when I was bored. I would have loved for there to be a whole book just about those two lovers from the diary because that would have been a wonderful book.
Although this review comes off as negative, I did like the book, I just didn’t ‘really like’ it the way I wanted to. With all the incredibly positive reviews I saw on Goodreads I had high hopes for this book and was disappointed with my feelings in the end. I really do think this is more of a negative review because of my personal preferences when it comes to the romance genre, it certainly has nothing to do with the technical aspects of the book. Again, I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to read and review this book early, and I’m sure that lovers of the adult romance genre will love this, it just wasn’t for me.
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