Release Date: July 27th, 2022
CW: mentions of depression, anxiety, cancer, parental death, disowning of children, mentions of suicide and self harm, gun violence, mentions of drug use
After surviving a suicide attempt, Phoenix Bridges has been given a second chance at life—one she isn’t sure what to do with. When she’s released from a psychiatric treatment center, she moves into her family’s old shore house in New Jersey to figure out how to start over. She expects the town to be desolate in the winter months.
What she doesn’t anticipate is the gorgeous, brooding cop who lives next door.
James Russo blames himself for being unable to save his mother years ago. Now he’s made it his life’s mission to help everyone he can. So when he catches a glimpse of his beautiful new neighbor crying through her bedroom window, he’s determined to be her refuge.
Sparks fly as they grow close and share their tragic pasts. But when danger unexpectedly strikes, James is helpless to stop it as Phoenix gets caught in the crossfire.
Will Phoenix fight for the life she never wanted, or will James lose the one he loves all over again?
I’m really excited to have another Kristen Granata book to read after almost a year! And in true Kristen writing, she gave us characters dealing with real life struggles and mental health issues that everyone can relate to. I love that she never shies away from the hard topics and always makes you stop and think about how you might have behaved in a similar situation. Another thing Kristen does well is give you a bunch of incredible supporting characters to love and root for, whether they get their own books or not.
In Bring Me Back, you’ll read:
✨ neighbours to lovers
✨ a strong woman looking for a fresh start
✨ a silent, but sexy cop hero
✨ cooking lessons
✨ forced proximity
✨ an amazing family
✨ being inspired by romance novels *wink wink*
✨ sloooow burns
✨ a little bit of suspense
While the romance in Bring Me Back is great, I think what I really loved about the book is all of the topics that Kristen covered and made her own. I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like to write about something that you go through in terms of mental health, but Kristen didn’t hold back. Phoenix has been through a whole heap of things in her life and now that she’s finally taking control of her own life, she’s not letting the darkness take over. In fact, she’s moved back into her childhood home and she’s looking to revamp the place so she can make it her forever home. The last thing she expects is to run into the Russo men who live next door—a father and two sons. And moreover, she didn’t expect to be so attached to them or to fall in love with the older son while finding herself.
“You don’t recognize the strength you possess. But I see it. It’s who you are. Your soul is a phoenix, whether you believe it or not. And one day, you’re going to burn your demons to the ground and rise above it all.”
Phoenix’s journey to getting better isn’t an easy one, but she picks herself up every single time. I loved her relationship with Jim and Leo so much. While her relationship with the patriarch of the Russo family is very minimal, it’s enough to give you an idea of how much she misses her own father. But her bond with Leo is so special. Their friendship and their brother-sister relationship really elevated so much about Phoenix. I enjoyed watching them become friends and how with each minute together, their connection strengthens. Plus, Leo is such an interesting character and his growth through the book might be one of my favourite things.
Of course the most important relationship in the book is the one Phoenix and James have. I felt like everything happened a lot faster than I would have liked. I did enjoy the way James goes from being a bit of a grump to warming up to Phoenix in all the right ways. It’s also clear that she’s the first woman in his life who has made him feel anything close to feelings in years. Their bond is forged over breaking and entering scenarios, cooking together and family dinners. I liked that it felt natural, even if it happened quickly. I loved how protective they were of each other and how much they wanted to help the other. James is a protector and so is Phoenix, which only makes it more obvious that they’re meant to be together. And more than anything, I love how James sees Phoenix even when she doesn’t see herself that way.
Thanks to Kristen Granata for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.