New Adult Romantic Suspense
Kindle/Mobi Format provided by author for review
Stella's future was set, and it was a bright one. She was engaged to a man she adored, and was headed to law school in the fall. Tragically, her perfectly planned future ends just as it was beginning. With no ties to family or friends, Stella finds herself alone in a new city, spiraling out of control. Her typical day comes to a close with her passed out on the floor; sometimes clothed. Luckily, her new roommate, essentially a stranger, is dead set on getting Stella past her grief and back to functioning within society. Putting one foot in front of the other, she climbs up from the bottom of a bottle. Even with all her progress, Stella walks through life unfeeling, numb. Defiant, she sends out warning signals for the world to keep away. But, is that what she really wants? With the steadfast help of a few tight knit friends, she gradually begins to feel again. She starts to savor the flavor of food again; lets herself notice how the handsome bartender glances at her. Still, after allowing herself a fling, she wonders if she will ever be able to let go of her shattered past, fully enjoy the present, or get over what she thought would be her perfect future and with the man who destroyed her heart.
R.L. Griffin makes me stiffen! This book is intense, heartbreaking, dramatic, nerve wracking and any other word you can use to describe a book that left me with a shit load of grey hair. It's a character driven story following the daily struggles of the main character trying to cope with grief while starting over.
The prologue begins with Stella working in an FBI field office when an explosion rocks her office. Three masked men rush in and one is determined to have his way with her despite her protests. She can't figure out why they would want to take over this particular field office but that doesn't matter to her once she gets shot in the chest. As she is laying there fading away she looks into the shooters eyes and recognizes them right before the blackness takes over.
Present Day: Stella is living in Washington D.C. with her fiance Jamie and their dog Cooper. They had just moved into a house with some of his friends Stella doesn't know. The day after they arrive Jamie is immediately sent to Georgia starting his new position as an ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) agent. Stella is on the cusp of starting law school and getting to know her other roommates in Jamie's absence when she gets a phone call that changes her life. When the sad news that Jamie has died in a car accident on his way home to her comes, she breaks down and becomes an empty shell. She can't eat, she can't sleep and ultimately defers her law school education for a year while she grieves. When he notices that all she does is drink and hasn't showered in a while, her roommate and Jamie's close friend, Patrick steps up and helps her try to start living again.
As Stella moves on with her life she makes a new friend in Millie (whom she meets in school) and along with Patrick (Jamie's friend) and Billy (Patrick's friend) she is able to function...somewhat. She meets a sexy bartender named George who becomes her bedroom buddy! She makes him promise not to fall in love with her and tries to keep their relationship strictly about sex. If she doesn't get her heart involved it won't get broken. Things don't always work that way though and they find themselves closer than they intended. As their relationship progresses and Stella starts her new job a new surprise pops into her life throwing the story into chaos with an ending left to be continued...
Wow! There was sooooo much to cover in this book that I didn't even cover half! I am still trying to process how I feel about this book. It takes place over four years following a grieving Stella after the death of her fiance but it's basically her daily struggle to not lose her shit. I loved that about this book. I have been where Stella is, granted my fiance didn't die (the fucker) I could still relate to losing someone you love out of the blue. After Jamie's death his friend Patrick steps in and takes care of her. I thought throughout the entire book that he would be the one she moved on with, even when the author gave us sexy George! It just seemed like the story was going to go there but Patrick just remained a good friend...until he wasn't. (DUN DUN DUUUUUN).
YES! There is a mystery inside this story that I had a feeling was coming but the farther into the book it got I started thinking "Hmm, maybe I'm wrong?" NEVER! Hootie is NEVER wrong! Things are never as they seem especially when Uncle Sam's crooked ass is involved! Every damn person in this book was a suspect to me! EVERYBODY! It got so bad that I started pointing fingers at the fucking DOG! I would think "OK Cooper, you shit eating bastard, what have you done?". That's pretty bad (or clever of the author) when a story has you so tied in knots you don't trust any of the characters.
Stella's grief was hard to go through with her because the way the author wrote her was very emotional. It was hard losing Jamie because he was her first love and seeing her keep her engagement ring on even after years he'd been gone both broke my heart and made me love her even more. I love the idea that even death can't overcome real love. It was hard for me to see her move on with George because I didn't want her to move on from Jamie but I loved George at the same time. He was sweet, attentive, charming, sexy and mainly he put up with Stella being completely broken and pushing him away. Any guy who can stay through all that deserves some decent head. Just Sayin'.
There was one thing about the story that bugged me the most and it may be petty but it got on my nerves. It seemed like in every chapter, on every page, Stella was blowing her bangs out of her eyes. Fuck me! It started to make me feel like mine were in my face even though my hair was tied back! I guess you could boil it down to the character being stressed but after a while I was like "OK I get it!" It didn't turn me off the story at all though and I still enjoyed it very much. I really hope the author is planning to continue with another book because there are a few things that weren't wrapped up that left me confused. The events in the prologue weren't really explained and I felt like some things involving unimportant characters weren't necessary. I trust that the author has a master plan because I enjoyed this story and look forward to another round of suspense induced fucking Diarrhea!
"Pretty sure the happy-go-lucky, idealistic person I used to be has been replaced by a drinking, cussing, mess. How do you like me now?" Kindle Ebook 14%
"You think you're the only one who has had loss, pain and despair? That's ridiculous. You're a smart girl, El, you know that's not true. You don't have a monopoly on baggage or pain." Kindle Ebook 52%
"You could call me a mother fucker for the rest of my life and that'd be fine if you would just talk to me." Kindle Ebook 90%
Joining me on the blog today is Stella and George from By A Thread the gripping and suspenseful novel by R.L. Griffin. Welcome to the blog you two and thank you for being here today!
George: Thanks for having us. (Full on dimple smile)
First question is for Stella, You have been through a rough time the last few years, how are things going now, are you happier now than you were three years ago?
Stella clears her throat and George squeezes her hand.
Stella: Yes, it’s hard to imagine saying that since I just got shot, but I really am happier.
George- What did you see in Stella that made you hang around so long?
Stella: That’s a really good question.
George: Well, I really liked her when she, Billy and Patrick started coming into the bar, but I fell head over heels with her when I ate lunch with her on a daily basis at Cosi. When she’s herself it’s like there is a glow around her, she’s funny and really crass. And (clears throat) she’s pretty good in the sack too.
Stella - I know how important companionship can be in hard times, I've been there myself. How differently do you think you would have handled your grief if you didn't have your dog Cooper?
Stella: I think my life would be totally different. I think I would’ve probably moved home. Cooper was with me 24/7, I definitely needed that and his unconditional love.
Stella and George - besides the obvious ;) what are some things you two like to do together? (assuming you aren't breaking them up you evil troll lol- HAHAHAHA <== Author laughing at me)
George: I like doing a lot of things with her. (laughs)
Stella: (elbows him) She said besides the obvious, ass. Well, it’s tough to do anything in public right now.
Stella - What do you mean?
Stella: Things have been a little insane with all the media coverage after I got shot. I feel like I can’t even take Cooper outside anymore.
Stella - How do you think new readers will react when they get to the big surprise in the book?
Stella: Well I was pretty fucking shocked myself.
George: Stella, remember your Mom said not to cuss in the interview. (laughs)
Stella: You should probably ask R that.
George - It wasn't really clear in the book why you kept your real name and who you are from Stella, why did you?
George: (shakes his head) Because I’m a dumbass.
Stella: He wanted to get in my panties.
George: Pretty much. I never tell girls that I just have a physical relationship with who I am, people are really strange when they know you have a little money. When I first met her in the dog park she was wearing this green tank top and short shorts. She was hot. Then by the time we were friends it was too far down the line to be like. Oh by the way… Also, she didn’t even ask my last name when we first got together, she just wanted me for my (clears throat) skills.
Stella - What would you do for a Klondike bar?
Stella: I don’t get it.
George - Same question
George: (Laughing) Well, I actually think that’s a pretty important question El. I’m not sure there is something I wouldn’t do for a Klondike bar.
Stella - If you could go back in time and change anything about your past, would you? And what would you change?
Stella: I try to live without regrets, but I think… I wouldn’t have gotten the tattoo on my left shoulder blade. I feel like a total ass.
George - Besides running the bar what would your dream job be? ;)
Stella: Easy. Reporter.
Stella - What are a few of your pet Peeves about George?
Stella: That’s hard.
George: She didn’t say what you liked.
Stella: (turns red) He works too much. He’s obsessive about the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Nationals. Ummm and others, but I’ll keep the list small.
George - Same?
George: She blows the bangs out of her eyes A LOT. I kinda wish she’d just get a haircut.
Stella: I like long bangs.
George: She’s really surly and hard, but I kinda like that too.
Stella & George - Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
Stella: R told us we banned from talking about anything like that for fear that I would ruin the book.
(Questions for the author)
Tell us about yourself a la twitter style! (GO!)
I’m sarcastic, kind of raunchy and tired. I have insomnia which is the only way I can write. Oh I like drinking…#mom’sproudnot
Your book ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger, will there be another book after By A Thread? If so what can we expect?
Yes, the other book is finished and going to the editor soon. Should be out in the summer. You can expect answers, twists, sex, drinking and more from George.
What inspired the characters and events in this story?
I write in a very strange way. My first book I woke up at 4:00 in the morning with the first page of the book (which is the end) and the story flowed from there. This one was different. I dreamed of a scene between George and Stella where Patrick had to get to come get her at the bar and the characters took over my brain. I mean it was constant. Truthfully, I went to law school in DC and had two male roommates, but my experience didn’t inspire shit that happened in this book. I don’t wish that on anyone.
Favorite (current) Songs: (You can also check out the playlist from Stella on my website)
1. Mama’s Broken Heart, Miranda Lambert
2. Lumineers, Stubborn Love
3. Kid Cudi, Pursuit of Happiness
1. FIGHT CLUB
2. Steel Magnolias
3. Pitch Perfect
Tv (current) Shows:
3. Pretty Little Liars
What does the R.L. in R.L. Griffin stand for?
I’ll just say this, people always ask me if I was named after a president. However, I always liked it when people asked me if I was named after the girl in the Exorcist. Google that in 3….2…1
In closing what would you like future readers of your books to know about your writing style and stories?
I want them to know how much I appreciate them. I read every comment, every review and try to respond. I love that people are enjoying the story and hope they will enjoy more books. My writing style comes straight from my sarcastic ass and it will continue to be snarky and fun even when dealing with heavy topics.
Look for Book 2 this summer. I’ll be doing the name reveal soon and will let you know.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I live in the Atlanta area and I'm surrounded by awesome dudes: my husband, son and two dogs. I went to law school at American University, Washington College of Law, but only after I fell in love with D.C. I worked in the Senate during the impeachment trial and wanted to stay. After law school I worked for a bit in the area, then moved to Atlanta. If you ask anyone who knows me they know I love reading and read all sorts of books. Any free time I have I'm either reading, writing or drinking with friends.