Nicole Reads A Lot

so many books, so little time

Stay with Me (Strickland Sisters 1) by Alexandria House 

on May 24, 2017
Title:Stay with Me (Strickland Sisters 1)
Author:Alexandria House
PublisherPink Cashmere Publishing
Publication Date:May 16, 2017
Publisher's DescriptionTwice unlucky in love, natural hair vlogger, Angela Strickland, has settled into a life centered around avoiding men and relationships like the plague. Unwilling to risk another broken heart, she resigns herself to being a perpetually single woman.

Corporate man and self-professed womanizer, Ryan Boyé, doesn’t believe in relationships or love and thinks anyone who does is a fool. But there’s just something about Angela Strickland he can’t shake…

When these two cross paths, their attraction to one another is undeniable. Will they find that the love they’ve both evaded is exactly what they both need?
My rating:*****

I’ve now read several books by Ms. House and have enjoyed each one more than the book that came before it. I found her previous works to be greater than the sum of their parts, and this book was no exception. The combination of a female protagonist who has been hurt before and has since sworn off relationships and a male protagonist who goes through women like a sick person through tissues is familiar, but the depth that the author gave Angie and Ryan are what make this book stand out from a crowded field.
I was particularly impressed with the richness of the secondary characters. I know that some table-setting was in order, as both of Angie’s sisters will get books of their own further down the line, but Renee and Nicky were interesting on their own merits. Angie’s parents’ dynamic explained a lot about the choices that the sisters made in their lives, and I can’t help but wonder what the future holds for the older Stricklands, as well. Ms. House did an excellent job of revealing her characters’ backstories in a believable way; it never came off as being overly expository but still managed to provide a welcome glimpse into the events and people who shaped them.
This book satisfied my soul. As much as I enjoyed watching Ryan realize how much he liked Angie, I liked seeing Angie turn him down even more. She didn’t come off as being too cool for school, because she’d liked Ryan from Day 1, but she also didn’t abandon her common sense the first time a hot guy approached her. Angie felt like the antidote to every too stupid to live heroine who abandons all her principles and common sense at the sight of a hot guy. It was fun to watch a cautious thinker fall in love with the type of guy she was sure would hurt her worse than her previous boyfriends had. I appreciated Ryan’s evolution over the course of the book. It wasn’t rushed, and it felt like a believable progression. There’s no instalove here, thank goodness.
I loved LOVED LOVED LOVED (did I mention I LOVED) that Angie was a vlogger who’d started out doing hair videos. I will watch a twist out tutorial or wig review YouTube video at the drop of a hat, and that being Angie’s job felt like a shoutout. Moreover, I loved that Angie had 4C hair. As a black woman who wears her hair natural, or under a wig if I’m feeling lazy (so you know that my hair is almost always under a wig), I appreciated that Ms. House gave her character what seems to me to be the least celebrated hair texture.
If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read this book for free. Then, once you’ve read and loved it as much as I did, you should buy it because it’s only $2.99 and people need to support good writers so they can keep writing us enjoyable books.

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