Release Day Review: Make Me Stay (Book #2: Panic Series) by Sidney Halston

Make Me Stay

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April: Walking away from Matt Moreno was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Lying to him was a close second, but for his safety, I had no other choice. I was undercover, working to put some nasty people behind bars. But when Matt nearly recognizes me on Lincoln Road a year later, all those very real feelings come rushing back. Now that my assignment’s almost over, will he understand why I lied? Why I had to leave? Most important, can he ever forgive me?

Matt: I was madly in love with June Simpson . . . or, at least, with the woman I thought was June. Then she just disappeared while my family’s nightclub went through hell. And after months of searching, when I think I’ve finally found that sexy, raspy voice and those exquisite blue eyes, she slips away once more. Turns out, “June” is actually Detective April White. She’s been playing me the whole time. And she’s about to rock my world all over again.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley and Purchase     My Rating: 5/5 stars

I don’t even know where to start with this ball of awesome! I read this book twice before sitting down to write this review and I still have no idea where to begin . . . .

If I must pick a starting place, I think I’ll go with my weakness, characters 😊

Matt: Simply put, the universe hates Matt Moreno. Though he likes to believe he’s in control, if he’s honest, he’s never been in control of his own life. From birth, his father has groomed he and his twin, Nick to take over the family business. While Nick got a business degree, Matt was shuffled off to law school and as their father begins to age, the twins are taking over more and more of the nightclub’s running and responsibilities. For Matt, that means a full work week at the law firm and then endless hours at the club over the weekend. Matt’s burning more than one candle at both ends and eventually, something’s got to give. The only bright spot in Matt’s life is June, the gorgeous raven-haired beauty who walked into his life five months past. Just when Matt thought the universe was finally throwing him a bone, June disappears without a trace just as Matt, his brother, and father are arrested for a myriad of crimes.

One year later . . . . .

June/April: Matt Morena was both the best and worst thing to ever happen to June/April. He was strong and sexy, smart and successful, and cared for her unconditionally. Walking away from Matt was the hardest thing June/April has ever had to do and the betrayal is more than she can bear. As it happens, Matt isn’t the only person who feels betrayed by June/April which is how she finds herself in a hospital room surrounded by complete strangers. In fact, there is nothing in June/April’s memory, at all. When Matt shows up in her hospital room, the only emotion she has toward him is complete confusion. Her body recognizes Matt instantly, but her mind just won’t recall who he is or why on earth he is so very angry with her. Even more confusing, this man who seemingly hates her is taking her home to aid in her recovery.

The Plot: This is the first time (if memory serves) Halston has split one of her books into two distinct parts and it’s pure genius. Though Matt’s woman occupies a single body, her story is really that of two distinct women and two very different periods in her life. In fact, even as the plot unfolds and the reality of the whole June/April situation becomes clear, it is hard to see the two characters as a single individual – one playing a role and one real. Though there are certainly shared characteristics between June and April, they quite impressively read as two distinct and separate characters. This sort of distinction creates a very rich, very deep plot with characters far more complex than the synopsis implies. Though there is some plot overlap from the first book (Pull Me Close) it is told from a completely different perspective. In fact, it’s told from three completely different perspectives, Matt’s, June’s, and April’s.

The Bottom Line: The very nature of this book – two distinct parts, two distinct characters in a single body, and one very angry man – likely would have gotten away from a less experienced, less talented author. Furthermore, without careful planning and some crafty plotting, Make Me Stay could have become nothing more than a repeat of book one in the series. Instead, Make Me Stay is strong standalone title that shares characters and some plot points with book one, but is in no way a repeat or even a lame rehashing. Matt is by far my favorite of the primary characters and he tugged at my heartstrings from start to finish. Even in his angrier moments, I still wanted all the best in the world for the poor bastard. I found June incredibly difficult to like (to be fair, June felt the same way), but April was so very easy to like and feel for. To see how Matt reconciles the knowledge and reality of these two women in one shared body was really one of the highlights of the read and made me like him all the more. As always, the inclusion of older characters into this story was quite welcome and certainly helped round out the cast and enhance an already excellent story.

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About the author and where to find her:

sidneySidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”–Mark Twain. Or even simpler, “Just Do It”—Nike.  And that’s exactly what she did. After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative romantic side and wrote Seeing Red.That first pen stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing.  Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing you can find her reading and reading and reading. She’s a reader first and a writer second.  When she’s not writing or reading, her life is complete and utter chaos, trying to balance family life with work and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way.

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