REVIEW: Songs to Make You Stay by Jay E. Tria

songs-to-make-you-stayAuthor: Jay E. Tria
Series: Playlist #3
Release Date: October 9, 2016
Rating: 4/5
Source: ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review
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Love isn’t supposed to be this hard.

Now that he’s finally won Jill, the girl who’s always rocked his world, you’d think life would be heaven on earth for Shinta Mori. In a way, it is. But maybe he’s underestimated the fact that he’s a hunky movie star in Japan while his girl is ruling the indie music scene all the way in Manila.

When he spends a long-awaited vacation with her–through impromptu performances, frenzied flyer distribution, and unhinged radio guestings–he realizes how imperfect his seemingly perfect life is. And he begins to wonder if what they have is strong enough to survive years of being apart.

Can Shinta prove he’s worthy of the spotlight the universe shines on him? And more importantly, deserving of the devotion of a young girl in love?

I admit I was not very thrilled when I heard about Shinta and Jill having another book. They’re not my favorite people, to be honest. Haha! Because I was always Miki’s girl. But with a promise of Shinta’s POV (I’ve always wanted to get in to his head and am a sucker for male POV), heat level 3 (!!!) and that cover, you bet your a$$ I am going to read it. And read I did, and look at where it got me:

tears in my eyes…

chest clenched tight (I’ve lost count at how many times I had to stop and take deep breaths because everything’s… too much)…

but a satisfied, happy heart, overall.

While this book can be read as a standalone, I’d recommend to read Songs of Our Breakup prior, to have a better feel of the story as this is Jill and Shinta’s long-awaited continuation. Not that the first one ended in a cliffy, it’s just always nice to have more of these characters. And even when Shinta’s not my favorite person before and I feel like betraying Miki when I say this… he’s starting to get to me… and I am so petrified at this revelation. LOL.

Back to Jill and Shinta! Shinta’s running streak on keeping his promises is next to nada. What, with the endless shoots here and there, TV interviews, all the things that a hot, famous actor does in Japan, it’s no wonder he can’t always be there for her girl, Jill—Trainman’s female vocalist. For the record, he tries his best to shorten the distance between Japan and Philippines with his frequent visits. But Shinta’s career is very demanding because rising star and all that. And Jill… she’s got a life of her own in the Philippines, too, and there’s Trainman. Can their young love survive the miles and miles apart and the need for being physically present?

I knew from the first book that I wasn’t really going to like Shinta. Not because he’s a d-bag (because he’s not), not because I hated him (because nope, I didn’t) but because he’s the kind of guy who has a job that doesn’t let him stay in one place permanently. Like I said, hotshot actor problems. Songs to Make You Stay magnified that complication even more. And I’m telling you now, it’s not going to be as easy as the first two books. Because this one successfully delivered a sharp blow in the gut with the emotions spilling from the characters. But it was balanced out with the right amount of light and fun and a little steam.

I liked that the book was written in Shinta’s POV because it let me see things from his perspective. It let me feel his frustration and helplessness about wanting to be in two places at the same time and just wanting to be at one place but he couldn’t. It helped me understand his parents’ choices. It let me appreciate him as a person. And with that, I’d like to commend Jay, for establishing this kind of Shinta that I haven’t learned in the first book. From my standpoint, this was more of his story than it was of both of them. And it was nothing short of touching. It also helped that Jill was the kind of woman who was very far from a doormat heroine, so that’s another advantage.

If I were to market this book (on #FeelsFest), I’d tell people what to expect if they wanted a little nudge to pick it up.

What’s Inside Songs to Make You Stay:

  1. Hot Japanese actor ninja-ing things.
  2. Hot Japanese actor in the rain. In thin, white shirt no less.
  3. Hot Japanese actor Edward Cullen-ing his way.
  4. Hot Japanese actor getting his heart broken.
  5. Hot Japanese actor being cute; you’d want to pinch his adorable cheeks. Swoonfest!
  6. Hot Japanese actor performing… things… live…
  7. Hot Japanese actor firmly standing his ground.
  8. Hot Japanese actor getting his fill of his Jill.
  9. Hot Japanese actor food-tripping in the Queen City of the South.
  10. Hot Japanese actor writing… poetry…

I really enjoyed the book and I was pretty content with how the story turned out. BUT! I guess I expected more from the heat level 3? Not that it was bad, it was… nice. And I kind of didn’t want nice. I just wanted… more and steamier. Had this met my heat level 3 standard/expectation, I was sure to get in to #TeamShinta.

But overall, Songs to Make You Stay powers through a handful of relationship and love complication that’s well-paced, relatable, believable, has authentic feelings and has successfully intensified that love wins especially when you choose it to. Songs to Make You Stay is another solid must-read from Jay E. Tria.

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