Series: Book #1
Genre: New Adult
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Lakehouse Press
Format: Mobi/Kindle Arc
Rating: 5 Stars
(Click the Banner above to follow the tour!)
24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole.
He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match.
But he’s got his reasons.
His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count.
As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect façade.
So he slipped far, far from it.
Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right?
And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila.
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.
When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness.
But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it.
He knows that. And he’s working on it.
But is that enough to make her stay?
**Warning -Contains sex and violence**
Beautiful, Raw, Gritty, Emotional and Breath taking are just a few of the words I can find to describe this book. Not only was it amazing but it was heart warming and thought provoking. Pax Tate is a broken young man and exploring what brought him to the state he is in when Mila finds him was heart stopping! Upon first meeting Pax we find him in a compromising situation that involves drugs and a skanky woman. Let's just say if you are squeamish about sexual relations then look away. When Mila Hill first comes across Pax he is mid overdose, passed out in his car. She gives him CPR and somewhat revives him enough until the paramedics get there. When Pax wakes up in the hospital he is greeted by the beautiful green eyes of none other than Mila. They are drawn to each other for reasons they can't explain to themselves and embark on a relationship filled with beautiful moments and crushing revelations. Nothing I say will do this book any justice.
It's simply that good, no scratch that this book is to date Courtney Cole's BEST work! From the first page I was mesmerized and drawn into the story of this broken person who sought comfort in the numbness. I could really identify not only with Mila in that I too have dealt with someone who was into drugs but also from Pax' perspective knowing what it's like to want to numb out the harsh shit life throws at us. Pax wasn't like other broken book characters I have read. He was legit messed up due to a painful past memory that will haunt you as the reader and bind your soul to him. That is the only way I can fully express what you will feel towards Pax. Yes he is a total asshole and yes his behavior will make you cringe sometimes but there is something so endearing about him even during the beginning when you think you can't stand him. I saw a lot of myself in Mila's character in how strong she was in helping Pax confront his past and how she gave her all to try and help him heal. She fights for him and doesn't let him push her away and I loved that about her. It would have been so easy for her to just walk away like I would have done especially after she got up close and personal with his stomach contents. There is no way in hell you could PAY me to give someone who is covered in vomit CPR. It just ain't happnin'. You might as well say hey to Jesus for me and give up the ghost. Call me an awful human being if you want to but..
I think this book had some of the steamiest love scenes I have read, and I have read some raunchy shit. It wasn't just about the sex though, it was being able to FEEL what the characters felt for each other. It was real and beautiful, and written so well that it makes you crave the kind of intimacy these two people share. Enough to turn the cynical assholes (Yours Truly) into hopeful saps and melt their hearts. I love being able to get inside a character's head and experience first hand what they are going through and with this being written from both Mila and Pax' points of view, it gives you a hands on account of everything from start to finish. There are so many things to love about this book it is hard to sum up in just a few words the magnitude of feeling behind this incredible story. The love, the tragedy and the overall message of Hope being the only lifeline in a dark place will speak volumes to your heart and soul, to that special place that makes you human and makes you crave honesty. One of the best quotes I have ever read in a book has to be This one from Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.
"It's a shitty world, and shit happens. But we don't have to bathe in shit."
This quote has stuck with me for the last two years after reading that book and I feel like it sums up the the feel of If You Stay. That while our past may be tragic and heart breaking, we don't have to let it continue to define us and drag us down until we are unable to live for tomorrow. Reading this book was one of the best experiences I have had and I can't wait for you to go on this emotional and cleansing journey with Courtney Cole.
(Quotes were taken from ARC copy and may have changed since the book's release)
"You're lucky that's all I broke. The next time a woman tells you no, stop whatever the fuck it is that you're doing. Now go home and sleep it off. And don't come near Mila again. If you do, I will break your dick off and feed it to you." Kindle Loc.1030
"Hey, you're the one who wanted a nude picture, you freak. In order for me to do that, you're going to have to drop your trousers." Kindle Loc. 1495
she moans and it is almost my undoing. I've never wanted anything more than I want to bury myself in her right now. Kindle Loc. 1606
my heart literally overflows with love for this girl. And I don't care if that makes me a pussy or not. Kindle Loc. 2476
Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people. Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.
1. If you stay is very raw and gritty compared to your more YA books even including Ali Cat which is for the adult audience, what made you want to tackle such a subject?
Someone very close to me struggled with drugs. He wasn't addicted, but if he would have continued down that path, he would have become that way. This story morphed into something else than I had originally planned (I had planned to focus more on Pax's drug use, but then decided to focus more on his underlying issues), but I love the outcome. I love the way it turned out.
2. Will you continue writing YA books or do you feel more inclined to stick with more mature subject matter?
I still have an open YA series, The Paradise Diaries. I still have two books (at least) planned for that series. But I do see myself writing more NA or Adult in the future. It's really fun to write sex scenes and not worry about toeing the YA line.
3. How does the writing process for you work? Do you get random story or character ideas and run with them or do you think things out over time?
Oh my -- I can get an idea anywhere. Random things pop into my head at any given moment. I usually think of a character first and I will flesh out that character before I decide on the plot. I'm definitely a character-driven writer. The plot comes more slowly- I'll mull it over for awhile and it reveals itself bit by bit as I write.
4. Would you ever collaborate with another author for a book and if so who would you like to work with?
Absolutely! M. Leighton and I keep saying we'll write a book together when we get the time. Now getting the time is the challenge.....
5. If you could re-write any book out on the market today, what book would you choose and what would you add/remove?
Oh drat. This is a hard one. And practically impossible to answer. Oh, I know! I would re-write Twilight and make Bella a stronger character. Plus, if I was the author of Twilight, I'd be a gazillionaire. Now all I need is a time machine.
6. What are some of your favorite tv shows?
I love The Big Bang Theory, True Blood, Two Broke Girls, The Mentalist....
7. If you could switch places with any of your characters who would it be and why?
Oh my gosh, you're killing me with these good questions. Okay. Um... I would switch places with Em from my Moonstone Saga. She's immortal and has a bunch of cool goddess powers.
8. With the tension rising in the middle east and scientists fretting about global warming, do you like Starbucks?
Nice one. I do like Starbucks, but I don't drink there everyday. In fact, I don't even drink there that often unless I'm traveling. Usually, I prefer my own coffee at home, a pot at a time. :)
9. What are some things we can expect from you in the future with your writing?
I'm working on a companion novel to If You Stay, called If You Leave. It will follow Madison Hill. I'll also be writing the sequel to Of Blood and Bone this year, as well as the sequel to Confessions of an Alli Cat.
10. What is the main thing you want your readers to take away from one of your stories?
If anyone takes anything from If You Stay, I want it to be that change can happen. You can make yourself healthier and you can overcome anything that you truly want to overcome. And also, true love never fails. It really doesn't.
Thank you so much for having me here today. You know I love you!