Publication date: 05/31/2020
Kindle Unlimited: Yes
Another winner from Carian Cole. Not that I'm surprised. I mean, y'all are probably bored with how much I brag on this author, aren't you? Well...too bad. Imma do it again...
Plot overview: Rockstars Asher and Ember had it all--until a horrible accident ruined everything. Ember was left in a vegetative state due to traumatic brain injury for 8 years, and Asher remained by her side, ever loyal, the entire time. When she wakes up (kinda miraculously) with amnesia, she has to get to know herself (and Asher) all over again.
Trope bingo: Rockstar romance, amnesia, mature romance, slow burn romance.
I'm not usually a fan of the amnesia trope, y'all. I mean, sure, Kylie Scott pulled off a great one with Repeat, but other than that, I've always struggled to come up with recommendations for amnesia reads when asked. It always felt a little soap opera-y to me, you know? But this book goes to show that when an author is super talented, they can take any trope and spin it into gold. Here's what I loved:
I read a couple of reviews that said Ember was unlikable. I can't express how strongly I disagree. This is a woman who woke up after an 8 year coma (more or less) and couldn't remember who she was. She had to relearn how to do everything, including talking and feeding herself. She had to somehow reconcile the person she'd been pre-accident with the person she now was post-accident. All things considered, I think she handled the deluge of emotions and fears she must've been feeling with grace and dignity. She was honest with Asher even when her feelings were irrational (like when she felt jealous of her pre-accident self) and tough to explain. She was strong and smart, and even though she struggled with the concept of empathy for a while, she tried really hard to be sensitive to the feelings of everyone around her. I really liked Ember, and no one can change my mind about that.
Asher is an ooey-gooey, sweet and sexy cinnamon roll of the HIGHEST order. Not only was he 100% loyal and devoted to Ember during her entire ordeal, he was also loyal to her all the way back to when she was 15. They were first loves, childhood sweethearts, and best friends all rolled into one, and Asher never once devolved into a stereotypical rockstar manwhore like so many heroes out there in rockstar romance land. He was patient and sweet and totally selfless while caring for Ember. And the one time he did slip up and get angry with her...well, I understood it. After everything he'd been through and everything he'd done for her, his moment of temper was totally justified. (And he came around quickly and groveled nicely, which is always a plus). Frankly, Asher has earned a place of honor among my all-time favorite book boyfriends EVER.
All. The. Feels.
So, so much emotion. This book WILL break your heart. But it'll also leave you with such a feeling of hope and joy when you're done. It takes you from the pits of despair to the happiest of happily ever afters. All I'm saying is, prepare yourself for the book coma you'll be in after you read this one. You'll need a little recovery time.
I hate to be shallow, but damn it, that has to be one of the hottest covers EVER. Rarely do I see cover models who so thoroughly match the image of the characters I've put together in my head. This one is PERFECT.
Anyhoo, I'm gonna long-story-short this one so I don't come across like some squeeing fangirl. Needless to say, I highly recommend this one. In fact, it might be my favorite Carian Cole read to date.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
Crushes it. Absolutely CRUSHES it.
And when you've read this one and decide you need more, try these (my other, other favorites):