Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Book Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway: To The Stars

To The Stars (Thatch #2)
Published By: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Page Count: 384
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: New Adult/Adult - Contemporary

Thatch, Washington is a small town with a cast of characters who has stolen my heart. The first novel, Letting Go, focuses on Grey and Jagger. (You don't have to read the first novel for this one to make sense, but I would recommend it. Seriously, Grey and Jagger are awesome and their relationship will make a lot more sense if you have the background knowledge.) To The Stars showcases a new relationship between Harlow and Knox; it might be one of the most complicated romances I have ever seen McAdams write. That's saying a lot if you've read Taking Chances. This one was just as emotional for me, but for very different reasons.

Knox was Harlow's first love, but their relationship is unique because she is only 15 when she meets him and he is getting ready to turn 18. Knox, being the awesome guy he is, decides that he is going to do the right thing and wait for Harlow to come of age before pursuing anything serious with her. Harlow doesn't want Knox to give up on his college days and his chance to be happy so she always tries to get him to experience things apart from her. Knox's friends are less than supportive as they see Harlow as nothing more than jailbait that is stringing their friend along. I loved getting to see Harlow and Knox in the early stages of their relationship through their flashbacks. On Harlow's 18th birthday, she makes a drastic choice that will change the course of her life and send her down a path away from Knox. The majority of the novel is set in the present day when after years apart, Knox and Harlow finally cross paths once more.

To the Stars was a difficult one for me to read as it focuses on domestic violence. Harlow's marriage is full of physical and emotional abuse. She feels that she has no alternative than staying with someone who treats her horribly and injures her on almost a daily basis. Seeing Knox again reminds Harlow that she is worth love and living shouldn't be a daily torture. The reconnection for these two was intense and poignant. Harlow soon finds that time can't heal all wounds and that Knox is still very much in love with her. When he finds out what her husband is doing to her, he can't stand to watch her suffer. While there is romance and Knox is certainly a swoon worthy book boyfriend, I found myself drawn to the fact that their relationship was about taking care of one another and being courageous enough to stand up to a true villain. My heart broke for Harlow's circumstances over and over as I read this one. I couldn't imagine surviving in those conditions.

The serious nature of this novel made the romantic moments all the more sweet. I seriously will never be able to look at stars the same way again; it reminds me of how important devotion can be in a true and lasting relationship. Knox is also one of my top McAdams male characters. He wasn't able to knock Gage out of the #1 spot, but he's in the top 3, for sure. As always with a McAdams novel, there are a few steamy scenes, but they aren't the driving force behind the story and I found they were less explicit than some in the other novels. I just like to point this out to prepare readers like me who are of the less is more school of thought.

On a final note, I loved getting to see Grey, Jagger, Graham, and Deacon again. I had grown to love these characters in the previous novel. I'm rooting for Graham and Deacon to get their own novels.

I highly recommend visiting Thatch if you're a fan of contemporary romance.

One Last Gripe: The one thing that held me back from giving this five birdies was Harlow & Collin's families. How could they not see that something was very wrong? Harlow's parents just frustrated me in general.

Favorite Thing About This Book: The friendship between Knox, Graham, Deacon, and Grey

First Sentence: "Happy Birthday, Low."

Favorite Character: Knox

Least Favorite Character: Collin

In the second standalone book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Molly McAdams’ Thatch series, Knox Alexander must convince his long-time love Harlow Evans that they’re meant to be together.

He promised to wait for her.

She told him he was wasting his time.
Not waiting for him ended up being the biggest mistake of her life.

When they were younger, Knox Alexander swore to Harlow Evans that he would wait for her to turn eighteen so they could be together. But that was two and a half years away, and Harlow couldn’t ask him to give up all the fun and thrills of going away to college for her. As the years passed, Knox remained a constant in her life but when her eighteenth birthday came around, Harlow’s heart belonged to someone else.

Every day for the last four years, Harlow has been haunted by that fateful choice. And though he may appear unaffected by what happened in their past, Knox has always tried to fill the void Harlow left. But when he comes stumbling back into her life and refuses to leave, will Harlow finally let him into her heart…?

About Molly McAdams:

Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she's not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm ... or under one in a bathtub if there are tornados. That way she can pretend they aren't really happening.

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“I just had to see her.” 

Both of them sat there staring at me like they didn’t know what to do with me anymore. “Why?” Graham finally asked. “Why, Knox? This can only go bad for you. You have to be able to see that, you’re not blind, man.” 

“I love—” 

“Don’t!” He cut me off. “Just stop. The way you talk to her, how often you talk to her, the fact that you went to see her tonight … all of those things are marks against you. Knox, you can go to jail. We can’t let you do that over some girl.” 

Deacon didn’t add anything, but he was nodding. 

“Dude, you need to stop talking to her, and you need to move on to someone who is at least eighteen.” 

I huffed. “To who? Someone like Madison? Someone I can’t stand to be around, but informed me we were dating because she thinks we’re perfect together? I only let it go on because it shut you two up about Harlow!” I ran my hands over my face and groaned. “Look, I know you two hate the thought of Harlow, but I love her. That’s it; I love her.” 

“But you can’t,” Deacon reminded me. 

I kept talking like he hadn’t. “Throughout everything since middle school we have all been there for each other, and it is such bull**** that my best friends have turned on me now. Okay, yeah, I thought we were going to come to Seattle and party all the time and hook up with as many girls as possible. I know that was the plan. I know the plan wasn’t to get serious until after college, but screw the ******* plans! I met Harlow and I knew immediately that she was it. It wasn’t that I just wanted her; I needed her. I get that it isn’t the best situation, trust me, no one gets that more than I do; but I don’t need both of you making this that much harder for both of us! Harlow knows you both hate her. How do you think that makes her feel? How do you think that makes me feel? What would it be like for you, Graham, if Deacon and I hated the girl you were in love with?” 

Graham looked like he was about to yell, but took a calming breath and said, “You aren’t understanding that you can’t be in love with her. Knox, Harlow is a child!” 

My eyes narrowed. “That’s disgusting, don’t do that.” 

“She is! You think of Grey as a little kid, and they’re the same age.” 

“Grey isn’t as mature as Harlow. Harlow has spent her entire life with people our age; she doesn’t fit in with people her age. She doesn’t think or act like a sixteen-year-old. And no one has thought of Grey as a little kid since she got breasts when she was twelve, Graham, get over it.” 

“That’s true,” Deacon murmured.

And don’t miss the first book in the Thatch Series…


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