A Reason to Stay and The Only One are the first two books in Melissa Ellen’s debut Blackwood Series. I really enjoyed them, and she is off to a great start in her writing career with Rhett and Ava’s sweet and angsty romance!
Who needs a man? They’re nothing but a distraction.
They sweep you off your feet,
promise you forever, and then as soon as another
beautiful woman shows them interest, they leave you
crying alone on the sidewalk with your dreams of a life
And the sexy playboy that keeps showing up everywhere I go,
is the definition of distraction and inevitable disappointment.
And frankly, I can live without that heartbreak.
I have everything I need to make me
happy – a job, school, friends, and family that I love.
Yep. Mind made up… it’s just a shame my body and
heart didn’t get the memo.
A Reason to Stay and The Only One feature Rhett and Ava’s romance, as the first two books in Melissa Ellen’s debut Blackwood Series. She is a ‘new to me’ author that I had the pleasure of meeting at an author signing awhile back, and since I always love to support new authors, definitely wanted to check this series out. All I can say is my goodness, the angst! Rhett and Ava’s story is tumultuous, both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and I think she is off to a great start with her writing career!
Above all, my favorite thing about these books were the characters! I loved all their individual personalities and their close-knit relationships between Rhett and Ava’s family and friends – at least the ones I was supposed to! They were fun and flawed, which made them very true to life, and there was such a heartwarming connection between all of them.
While I did like Ava’s character overall and understood this to be a coming of age story, she seemed unnecessarily flighty and immature at times. I really felt for her, but at the same time, I wished she didn’t cry so much and seriously wanted to throttle her too. Ava definitely had some major trust issues with men – especially handsome wealthy men like Rhett. There was so much push and pull with them, and Rhett worked so hard in his determination to prove himself. Unbelievably, the poor guy didn’t give up, which really won my heart and made me love him more!
This isn’t a racy romance by any means, and there was a simmering attraction between Rhett and Ava that billowed over into an ‘insta-love’ relationship. I did feel that the first book could have used a little bit more intimacy on some level. Not necessarily sexy scenes, but anything to convey more passion between Rhett and Ava and reveal more depth of their feelings, other than just attraction. Towards the end of the first book and then as the story progressed, the feelings for this passionate pair were conveyed very well, but I was frustrated it wasn’t earlier in the story.
This was quite an addictive read, and there was a lot of ‘story’ to Rhett and Ava’s romance. I really enjoyed the storyline, and Melissa Ellen’s descriptive writing had a lot of depth and dimensions to both the characters and the settings. There were twists, misunderstandings, and a lot of emotion that really drew me in and gave me angsty feels that pulled on my heartstrings.
You will definitely want to have the first two books in the series in hand, because the cliffhanger at the end of A Reason to Stay will catapult you directly into The Only One seeking answers. On that same note, Ellen decided to totally kill me in the beginning of the second book – NOT NICE! The cliffhanger, lack of communication, and time frame for resolution absolutely annihilated me, but damn, if all the anticipation and angst didn’t make the ending that much sweeter!
The next two books in the Blackwood Series are Valerie and Liam’s story in A Reason to Leave and Forever Yours, and I’m really looking forward to reading these. Melissa Ellen also has a new standalone second-chance romance releasing February 1st, Redeeming Lottie, which I am currently reading and loving!
I really enjoyed A Reason to Stay and The Only One, and although I struggled with a few elements early on, everything came full circle for me in the end with Rhett and Ava’s incredibly sweet and passionate romance. There was so much growth in Melissa Ellen’s writing within these first two books, and I am quite impressed with her Blackwood Series so far. I recommend these if you are looking for a really sweet, emotional, and angsty romance centered around a wealth of family and friends, and I am excited to find a new author to enjoy!
*ARC of A Reason to Stay kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*
Read the conclusion to Ava and Rhett’s story in The Only One, and check out the rest of the books in Melissa Ellen’s Blackwood Series on Amazon – FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
I’m an indie author that focuses on contemporary romance and romantic suspense. A Reason To Stay, book one of the Blackwood Series, was my debut novel.
I grew up as a book worm, reading anything and everything and still try to read at least a book a week. I’ve always had an active imagination. Luckily, I now have time to put it to good use into stories that are constantly swarming around in my head.
When I’m not writing, you can find me working on architecture projects, buried in a book with a glass of wine (or coffee), playing with my adorable son (I’m not partial at all…his adorableness is a fact), laughing with my hot husband (another fact), or tackling my latest DIY project (and by that I mean putting my hot husband to work).
What are your thoughts on cliffhangers?
Love them or hate them?
Let me know in the comments below!
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