Intense and Emotionally Gritty
Adult Contemporary Romance
We are delighted to host the blog tour for Cristy Rey’s new release, Heart Grow Fonder. Last year I had the pleasure of reading this author’s super paranormal romance, the Incarnate Series, Taking Back Sunday and Trail of Dead and also her contemporary romance Weeping Angels, one of my Top Reads for 2014. Scroll down for the blurb and an excerpt from Heart Grow Fonder and read my review. Tina ❤
Heart Grow Fonder
Wrong place. Wrong time. Right people.
Jessie Bravo knows what’s wrong with her life; she just doesn’t know what to do about it. Eleven years ago, she saved Tyler Cantrell from getting his ass kicked by gay-bashing high school jocks. Since, they’ve been the closest of friends. Years later, Jessie circled the drain of chronic depression, spiraling out of control, and it was Tyler’s turn to save her. Who knew her best friend would become a Hollywood A-lister? Though Jessie credits Tyler for keeping her together, living in the shadow of her best friend’s celebrity isn’t all it’s cut out to be. It’s up to Jessie to figure out what she has to do to be happy: get better or get lost.
Stardom is on the horizon for British television actor Boyd Kerrington. He’s starring opposite Tyler Cantrell in an American feature film sure to blow his career out the water. For all the years he’s focused on his career, however, he’s settled in his personal life. That is, until he meets Tyler’s best friend, Jessie. Jessie is refreshingly cool, passionate, and compelling…but she’s also complicated. Worse yet, she’s not interested in remaining in the celebrity stratosphere, even for her lifelong friend.
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Excerpt – It was… to meet you.
“What was that?” Tyler said in a hoarse whisper.
Wide-eyed, his face shimmered as if he’d been doused with glitter under a blinding white spotlight. Dumbstruck, Jessie remained staring into the gaping hole of the universe where Boyd Kerrington sat only seconds earlier.
“That was…” Jessie struggled to get out even those two words, and she couldn’t think of another to follow them.
That was Boyd Fucking Kerrington. It was Boyd who’d stopped her world spinning on its axis for a suspended series of seconds that, for all she knew, could have lasted a whole year. She’d acted a brat and he’d thought it funny. When she realized she was embarrassing herself in front of Boyd, she stopped dead in her tracks and swallowed her pride, painfully.
Then their eyes met. She’d looked at him dead in the eyes a million times, but those instances had all been through the television. Sure, those eyes were the same—icy blue like a frozen-over lake in the dead of winter—but they weren’t Astor Welles’s eyes this time; they were something altogether new and different. For the first time in weeks, she felt something other than a vacuum of nothingness.
While he looked away, returning to his breakfast, Jessie watched him, for the first time free of the veneer his character. But he avoided her gaze, keeping his attention, instead, on Tyler.
Layers of stage makeup and all the smart hairstyling of Astor Welles peeled away to reveal a real human being with complicated expressions and a wealth of idiosyncrasies. Despite his severe, angular features, Boyd’s manner was approachable, even a little bit sweet. His voice was the same, but the cadence wasn’t. Astor Welles cut through steel with a crisp arrogant timbre as much as with his cheekbones’ daring angles. Boyd Kerrington wasn’t as clipped.
Sensing she was doing nothing to benefit her friend’s morning with him, Jessie excused herself.
“I have some writing to do,” she said, standing and stepping toward the sliding glass door.
Though she expected Boyd would relax a little at her departure, he reared to face her with an unmistakable tinge of remorse. She bit into her lip and reiterated her need to get to work. Boyd nodded shortly, his handsomely sloppy curls lifting in the breeze for a second before settling down again. Tyler said something that sounded like “Good idea,” but that melded with the white noise of Vancouver.
“It was… to meet you.” Red with embarrassment, she tucked into the suite and shuffled into her bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
With no one watching her, she banged her head against the door. Boyd Kerrington was currently sitting on the balcony of her suite, talking with Tyler over cigarettes and a king’s brunch feast. Rather than join them, Jessie relegated herself to the bed. She curled up beneath the comforter, fully clothed, and stared into the oblivion of her private bathroom.
Intense and Emotionally Gritty *****
Wow, what a read! Heart Grow Fonder kept me literally glued to my Kindle. It is an intense, heart-rending, emotionally gritty novel, which examines the consequences of celebrity life. The central story focuses on Jessie and Boyd, two people who are PERFECT for each other BUT who fate has conspired that they meet in the WRONG place and at the WRONG time.
Jessie is in the depths of depression, so bad that even her long-time friend Tyler, a top celebrity, feels powerless to help her. It is at this point that she meets Boyd, a British actor, who is working with Tyler on a new film. Jessie is already a big fan of Boyd, admiring him for his role in a TV series. When she meets him in the flesh she is even more enamoured with the reality of the man. Boyd is similarly entranced with Jessie. Yet Jessie fears involving herself with a man who is seeking fame and fortune as she has been so unhappy living in Hollywood. She also feels too broken to succumb to the passion that exists between them and realises that to help herself she must leave LA, where she feels at once stifled and alienated, and recover on her own terms. Before they can get together Jessie flees, cutting herself off from Tyler, Boyd and her life there.
The couple are not physically together throughout much of the book but nevertheless they are rarely out of each other’s minds and communicate through a heart-rending series of emails, where vulnerabilities are exposed and hearts are broken. Will Jessie recover from her illness? Will Boyd accept her for herself? Will Jessie be able to cope with his acting career? Will she reconcile with her friend Tyler? I could not see what was coming until the denouement and my heart was in my mouth waiting to see whether Jessie and Boyd would opt to be together or stay apart!
Jessie is a troubled individual and I admired her determination to get well on her own terms, although I despaired at the effect her actions had on Boyd, Tyler and those closest to her. The way the author portrayed her depression and how she deals with it was believable and realistic.
Boyd is an intense and serious individual who feels alive for the first time when he meets Jessie who bowls him over. He is confused by her behaviour, upset by her refusal to let him help her and devastated when she leaves LA. His growing friendship with Tyler and the support they give each other when Jessie walks out of their lives is also a major aspect of the story.
The writing in this novel is deeply emotional and there are many poignant scenes. However, there are also moments of humour, warmth and passion and the promise of a future between the main couple, if only they will take a chance on love.
I recommend this novel to readers who are looking for a deep and emotional reading experience.
Reviewed by Tina Williams
A copy of this novel was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
1. Miss Misery, Elliot Smith
2. Brand New Friend, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
3. Dear Catastrophe Waitress, Belle & Sebastian
4. Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t Have)?, Buzzcocks
5. I Shatter, Magnetic Fields
6. Can’t Hardly Wait, The Replacements
7. Cactus, Pixies
8. Stay Out of Trouble, Kings of Convenience
9. Never Talking to You Again, Husker Du
10. A New England, Billy Bragg
11. International Small Arms Traffic Blues, The Mountain Goats
12. Screaming at a Wall, Minor Threat
13. Andy’s Chest, Lou Reed
14. I Think She’s Starting to Like Me, The Queers
15. Long-forgotten Fairy Tale, Magnetic Fields
16. Rudie Can’t Fail, The Clash
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About Cristy Rey
Cristy Rey is the author of the romantic urban fantasy Incarnate series. Taking Back Sunday, Trail of Dead, and the prequel novelette, Edge of Seventeen, were released in 2014. The third full-length installment, Wolf Parade, will be released in 2015. She also writes and publishes unconventional romantic women’s fiction. Weeping Angels and her second, Heart Grow Fonder are available now.
Cristy lives in Miami, FL where she is a reader and writer most of the time, and a knitter much less of the time than she was six months before she took up writing again. She writes the books that she likes to read. She describes her writing style as riot grrrl Jane Austen sprinkled with a little magic. There’s always a killer soundtrack running in the background of her novels – all you need to do is turn to the playlist to know what’s up.
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