Review: “Tattered Stars” by Catherine Cowles

Series: Tattered & Torn #1

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: February 1st, 2022

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CW/TW: kidnapping, physical assault, threats, stalking, violence

Be brave. Just for sixty seconds. Twenty breaths.

One night changed them both forever.

Their lives shattered, beyond repair, with jagged edges and pieces askew.

Now, Everly has a chance to make things right. To bring healing to the place where everything fell apart. But it means facing the family her father almost destroyed, and the boy with the dark eyes—now grown—who still haunts her dreams.

Just one breath away from having your life ripped out from under you.

The last thing Hayes wants is another reminder of all the ways he failed sixteen years ago. When Everly drives back into Wolf Gap, his only mission is to get her to leave. For his family’s sake, and for his own, those demons need to stay buried for good.

But everything about this woman is a surprise, from her spine of steel to the sanctuary she hopes to create with the land her mother left behind. And Hayes is powerless to stay away.

As a careful friendship sparks into something more, someone watches. And they’ll do anything to tear it all apart…

 

My god, this book. *chef’s kiss* Catherine Cowles has kicked off her new series with such an emotional, heartbreaking and intense story that I’m not sure I have all the words to express how much I love it. Low on the romance and high on the suspense, Tattered Stars was so beautiful. That’s not to say, the relationship between Everly and Hayes isn’t fantastic, but it’s the suspense element that really wowed me from start to finish.

Everly Kemper’s life was completely transformed when she was 11, but at the same time so was the lives of the entire Easton family. A night that changed the course of her life forever chases her away from the small town she grew up in, to find peace and solace in a big city like Seattle. Except, when everything else starts to fade, she chooses to come back home and start over. The only problem is that all the demons she left behind still lurk in the shadows and they’re doing everything they can to make her life miserable. However, Hayes Easton finds himself drawn to Everly despite the impact her family had on his all those years ago and between wanting to protect his family and this woman who has captivated him wholly, things are about to get rough.

So much is happening in this book, but not once did I feel like it was too much. The details we’re given, the flashbacks we see…everything was so beautifully crafted and my heart went out to Everly. As a vet, Everly wants to take the home where she was born and raised and turn it into something positive, like a sanctuary for animals. But being home brings back memories, ugly nightmares and pain that she didn’t expect. And through it all, she holds on and fights for what she believes in, making her truly a strong woman. Everly was perfect, though. I loved how much insight we got into her life, how tightly and fiercely she protects herself and those she loves. Despite having gone through the kind of trauma she has, the strength in this character was commendable. And then there’s Hayes, the town sheriff, who is protective of his family and the trauma they’ve been through that his first reaction to seeing Everly is to be horrible to her. But I loved how he slowly eased up on his anger, saw things through her eyes and listened to the people around him. Good at his job, determined to protect the people of his town, Hayes is such an amazing character. He’s strong, stubborn and sexy, but he’s also soft and kind. He takes time to find his footing in awkward situations, but I loved that he took the time to make the changes and do what was necessary.

“You came in like a flash flood with no warning, and now I can’t imagine my life without you.”

Everly and Hayes’ relationship is slow, but it’s still so wonderful. They go from being irritated and angry with each other to slowly warming up. Their banter and flirting was absolutely perfect. I liked how they used small moments to undo the damage they’d done the first time they met as adults. For every little Hayes gives, Everly gives back. And I appreciated their friendship so much. Because that’s what it is—they’re practically strangers, then they become friends and when forced into a situation they never saw coming, they become more. They share some of the sweetest moments, but I also admired how cautious they were with each other. Hayes’ feelings for Everly consume him, but he can see that she needs time and space to pull herself together and it’s the least he can do to step back and let her figure it out. But he’s always there, reminding her that she’s not alone and gah, it was beautiful!

Brace yourself, though. Because while the book has beautiful scenes between the two leads, friendships being built and family dynamics that will make your heart sing, there are some pretty intense scenes as well. There are a bunch of characters that poke, say and do terrible things to Everly, there’s some kidnapping and some arson. There’s violence and threats. But I have to say that Catherine handles all of those things with care, it’s crazy to think people like that exist in the world, but the way she puts it on the page and brings it all together really worked for me.

I may not have read a lot of Catherine Cowles’ stories, but the ones I’ve read always feature families—blood and found—and they’re always so fantastic. Despite everything the Easton family has been through, the way they welcome Everly into their fold, how they make her a part of their lives was so beautiful. I cannot wait to see how this family grows with all the people they keep taking in.

I cannot wait to see where the rest of this series goes, especially since I am beyond excited for Hadley and Calder in Falling Embers and all of the chaos that’s going to come with their book.

Thanks to Catherine Cowles & Social Butterfly PR for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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