At the Stars by Elisabeth Staab

atthestarsTitle: At the Stars (Book 1)

Series: Evergreen Grove

Author: Elisabeth Staab

Genre: New Adult and College

Blurb:                   

A GIRL TRYING TO LEAVE HER PAST BEHIND I was a normal teenager who loved music and dancing, until the day I was attacked in my favorite record store. A few years later when my mom succumbed to depression and took her own life, I couldn’t stay in my hometown with all the memories and the curious stares. I decided to get in my car and just go – except my car decided it was done going outside a tiny place called Evergreen Grove. That’s where I found Jake. Or I guess Jake found me.

 A GUY WHO CAN’T LET HIS GO For the last eight years, all I can think about is the day I ended another man’s life. Then I manage to save Cassie’s, and I feel like maybe I’ve got some kind of second chance. To do what I couldn’t before, or maybe even for something bigger. Something like love. If only I could feel like I deserve her…

At the Stars is a story of lost hope, new beginnings, and found love.

 

Thoughts:

Be forewarned, there may be some triggers in this story that some may have difficulty with.  That being said, a beautiful and talented young girl Cassie, seeks to escape the pity and whispers of her small town by hitting the road.  Without reliable transportation, she doesn’t make it far before her car breaks down in a rainstorm.  Cassie finds herself facing down an 18-wheeler in the rain, perhaps staring down her own demons, when she’s knocked to the ground.  Luckily it’s Jake, not the semi. Jake has his own demons, hiding far from his family and others, but he’s not about to let this girl become road kill. Maybe he seeks a little redemption.

This is written in dual POVs, which is always a favorite of mine.  The author weaves them in very well and writes a compelling, quick page turner.  The characters, while carrying heavy baggage, are stronger than they each think.  They both grow and learn from the support, trust and love they discover in each other.  It’s a well written story, with an HEA.  At the Stars is the first in the Evergreen Grove trilogy.  The 2nd in the series, Acts of Creation, is Jake’s friend Damon’s story.  Damon is a former underground fighter, like Jake.  The third is in the series, By the Rules, is AJ’s story.  AJ befriends Cassie when she gets to town.  Aj is a favorite of mine in this story.  Who wouldn’t want a great friend like this guy on your side.  He had a rough past, trying to make it on his own before someone helped him.
 

 

Excerpt:

Cassie– I gotta be honest, it’s one hell of a rush staring down a tractor trailer in the rain.

So much of one I can hardly breathe as hot, heavy drops batter my prickly skin. I swear even with the truck’s horn blaring at me, I can hear every freaking beat of my heart. Really hear it, like that whooshwhoosh whoosh sound is rushing into my ears through a set of quality headphones.

I feel… alive. Free, like I haven’t been since maybe ever. I spread my arms out to my sides, laughing. That high-pitched, throat-searing, I’m-totally-cracked sort of laughter that you hear from crazy cartoon villains. Because I am. Crazy, I mean. Not in the wearing tinfoil helmets to protect myself from government mind-control kind of way, but, you know. Crazy in the staring-down-a-semi-in-the-rain-at-night kind of way.

Honestly. I’m not out here in the middle of the road trying to die. I just… needed to remember what it was like. Staring that possibility in the face.

The truck horn blares again. Adrenaline surges inside me. God, this is nuts. I need to move.

I’m about to, when I hear the yell.

“Jesus, what the fuck is wrong with you?”

It’s late and dark, and I’m startled enough that at first I can’t tell where the shouting is coming from. It nearly sends me a mile up in the air.

I finally command my feet to move, but then something—someone—tackles me from the side. I roll and land in a squishy patch of wet grass by a busted fence on the far side of the road. Half on top of the extremely large guy who shoved me.

The tractor trailer rumbles past. I can’t understand what the driver shouts as he goes by, but I’m sure I can fill in the blanks. Stupid bitch. Certainly, I’ll agree this is not my finest hour.

Jake– Used to be, I could see Davidson Banes whether I was awake or asleep. Bouncing on the balls of his feet with a cheese-eating grin while we sparred, and then falling to the mat that last time after I slugged him. These days, it’s mostly—mostly—only when I close my eyes that I see his lifeless body at my feet. Mostly.

Watching this girl though, who’s now sitting in my truck beside me, trying to face off with an oncoming semi? I could see it all happening before I got to her. In my mind she was already down in the road, flattened under those tires. Lights out in an instant, like Dave.

I couldn’t stop Davidson from going down. His girl, Maria, looked at me like I was a monster so I couldn’t even offer any comfort. Knowing how every problem I try to fix turns to shit, I should probably stay away from this girl, too. Except only a complete asshole leaves a young woman alone on the road at night, and maybe if I stop her from going down like I couldn’t stop Davidson…

Maybe it makes up for something. Am I completely fucked in the head for wanting that to be true?

Meanwhile, I’ve got a drowned kitten on the seat next to me, looking like she’d rather be getting declawed. That makes two of us, doll.

 

Favorite Quotes: “She’s beautiful and young, and as far as I can tell, she’s perfect. I also know from experience that sometimes we hide our deepest scars and our ugliest, most twisted shit way on the inside. You gotta dig down to see it. That’s what I count on, anyway.”

“She’s right. There are worse things than my shitty story, and I don’t own all the pain in the world. I’ve been walking around with this idea that I’m alone because nobody gets it.”

 

Grade:  B+

 

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