Let You Leave, Keep Me Still, Hold Us Close by Caisey Quinn
Let You Leave, Keep Me Still, Hold Us Close by Caisey Quinn
Okay. We’re gonna do this a little bit different this time. I bought the paperback ‘Keep Me Still’ Special Edition, so this includes both novella’s Let You Leave and Hold Us Close. So what I’m gonna do is make this one giant review on all three. The first part will be the (hopefully) spoiler free review of Let You Leave, Keep Me Still and Hold Us Close. After that, there will be the spoiler parts in the same order. Okay, here we go!
Let You Leave
What happens when two people with huge issues meet?
Layla saw her parents get killed right in front of her when she was thirteen, leaving her with nothing but seizure inducing PTSD and to live with her aunt. After a tragic event in freshmen year, everyone in school avoided her and no one saw her, until him.
Landen is used to moving across the country, but when he walks into his new school and sees her, he’s not sure if he’s ever willing to leave again. What he does know is that he is willing to fight the one who will try to keep him from her.
But the traumatic events of both of their lives causes an intense insecurity that’s almost impossible to overcome. When Landen is faced with the biggest test of his life, will he make the right decision, or forever regret it?
Layla and Landen will pull you straight into the ocean and won’t let you go, causing you to drown into their lives, emotions and problems. The thing is; you don’t want to get to the surface.
I found myself wanting to just read their story and forget about the rest; my responsibilities, life in general. In the morning, I couldn’t wait until the evening so I could read again. During the night, I found time passing way too quickly, causing me some late nights sleep.
Their personalities are intense, and that’s what makes this book awesome. There is so much going on inside those pretty heads that it never stops and for that, I wasn’t bored for a second.
While the writing style may not have been the best I’ve ever read, it was fun and alive and enjoyable to read. It was written in a way that made the characters come to life and not every book has that power.
I had the feeling that Let You Leave was the tiniest bit rushed, but I have that feeling with all the novella’s I’ve read, so it’s not something that was a major issue to me.
Overall I really enjoyed this novella and I’m happy to have been a part of these great people’s adventure. Although they’re nowhere near done…
Keep Me Still
Scarred by loss, Layla leaves her hometown of Hope Springs, Georgia, hoping to put her painful past behind her and start over in college in California. When she runs into Landen at freshmen orientation, she has a choice to make. Reinforce those steel walls she’s built up around herself or give the only boy who can keep her still a second chance.
Landen’s more than ready to tear down those walls, but this time when they come crashing down, they might bury her.
Let You Leave was intense, but Keep Me Still was way worse. Holy shit. Assuming you’re not reading this when you haven’t read Let You Leave yet (if you do, scroll up and go read Let You Leave first 😉 ) I can say that the insecurities that were pretty huge in Let You Leave, were enormous now. They are both haunted by the decisions that were made nine months ago and they both try to live with the consequences. That shows to be pretty difficult, though.
The steaminess takes up a notch too. Or more like three notches, to be honest, because wow! In Let You Leave, their love was cute and sweet and heartwarming. This was warming too, but in completely other places. Or place, I should say. That doesn’t mean the adorableness is gone though, because really, how can Landen’s love not be downright heart-melting? But anyway, beware. That’s all I’m saying 😉
Keep Me Still is destructive too. Even more so than Let You Leave. That seems to be the keyword here, comparing these books. Keep Me Still is just more. More love, more pain, more beauty, more hurt, more excitement, more destruction.
This book had some twists I hadn’t seen coming at all, which was great because who doesn’t like an unexpected turn in a book? Keep Me Still will have you glued to the page once again until it’s over. That I can promise.
Hold Us Close
Sometimes happily ever after is just the beginning…
High school sweethearts Layla Flaherty and Landen O’Brien are living a fairytale in the heart of Spain. Landen’s professional soccer career is taking off and Layla is finishing her college degree. But when her aunt Kate calls with life changing news, she has to reveal the secret she’s been keeping from everyone.
She’s pregnant. And she’s not sacrificing her child for anything, not even her own life.
Landen has a secret of his own. There’s one thing he never wants to be. Ever.
I don’t even know where to start, honestly. I didn’t read the synopsis of this book until I finished Keep Me Still, so the whole part up here was already kind of a shock.
Then I started reading.
Remember when I said in the Keep Me Still review that I had the feeling we didn’t know all there was to Landen’s past? Yeah, we hear all about that now. And I can tell you, you better prepare yourself, because it gets ugly. And dark. And well… pretty devastating.
This definitely is the most tragic one of all three. I didn’t think the intensity could get any higher, but Hold Us Close surprized me once again. I was being plummeted from one major ‘WHAAAAATTT’ moment to ‘OHMYGOD, YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS’ to another. There just is no ending. It’s like the twists are infinitive. Wow. Seriously.
This book has your emotions rocketing up and down about a thousand times and you better prepare your heart for the devastation it’s gonna go through, because it’s bad. Just when Landen and Layla think they got their lives under control and are happy, life-altering news crashes in with the speed and devastation level of a comet and the impact has their life tumbling completely out of control from that moment on.
The novella-rushing I told you about earlier in Let You Leave was back, sort of, mostly as we got further into the story, but I knew it was coming, because this too is a novella. The same as in Let You Leave, it’s not rushed to the point of annoyance at all, just… a bit fast. Again, though, that comes in later.
I love that this novella is written, though, because I really think it added a lot to Layla and Landen’s journey. There were a lot of things unresolved and that is handled here. So if you’ve read Let You Leave and Keep Me Still and you’re wondering whether or not the last book is worth your time, I can say that it definitely is. You don’t want to miss the last of their journey.
******* WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS********
Let You Leave (Spoilers)
The feels in this book are high. Seriously.
The problem with these two is that they’re both super self-conscious about everything they do. And it’s so sad because it causes all this unnecessary hurt when they both really care about one another. Layla is consumed by the fear that everything and everyone can leave out of nowhere, causing her to build her walls up high immediately to keep herself safe. Landen is consumed by what he thinks is the knowledge that he fucks everything up, what was branded into his head by his father. When you both have insecurities piling up high, it’s hard to let anyone in, but ever harder to let go.
The problem is that because of these insecurities, they take radical decisions they otherwise wouldn’t have taken, causing more hurt than they both deserve. Like the ending.
Because, holy crap, the ending was so heartbreaking. I’ve said it before, but the insecurities both lovers have are so high they let go of something beautiful. This was one of those books were you want to yell at the characters to just voice what they really feel out loud, but they don’t.
The weirdest thing is, I found myself experiencing that the decisions these two people made are written and contemplated is such a way that I couldn’t even find it in me to be mad about them, even though I hated it. They just make sense in their heads. I can’t be mad about the decisions Landen made because I completely understand where he’s coming from, yet I also completely understand Layla’s reaction. They’re both trying to keep themselves safe, which causes destruction for their other half.
But this can’t be the end for these two, I just know that.
Keep Me Still (Spoilers)
Wow, this book!
It’s even more intense than Let You Leave.
Layla and Landon are both so devastated by how their relationship ended 9 months ago, that they’re both waiting for the other one to lay his/her heart out on a platter, showing what they really feel. But at the same time, those same insecurities keep them from saying the truth, fearing that their heart will be ripped apart once again and that they won’t survive this time, because let’s be honest, they barely survived the first time. So to keep themselves safe, they throw out things they don’t mean at all. But that just makes everything worse.
Where the love between Layla and Landen in Let You Leave was cute, it was the exact opposite in Keep Me Still. Hot, steamy, destructive. Holy crap. I don’t think I can ever look at a milkshake the same way again.
Honestly though, I wanted to yell at these two for saying what they really felt out loud in Let Me Leave. In Keep Me Still, I was screaming at them in my head half the time. In Let You Leave, at least I understood why they said what they said, why they made those decisions, even though I didn’t like them, I understood. This time I may still have understood, but it wasn’t the same. They just threw the most horrible stuff at each other. Layla and Landen are more broken than they even realize themselves and it causes the most devastating situations.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where both characters are so insecure and traumatized by their past, though. And we only got glimpses of what Landen’s youth was like in between, the moments where he is haunted by. It makes that the emotions in this book are constantly rocket high and it’s so intense the whole time.
The sneaky conspiracy between Landen and Kate was something I had not seen coming at all though. Although this does show exactly how much Layla means to him and that he is willing to do absolutely anything for her. And that just made me love him more. A lot more.
I have a lot of respect for how Layla deals with life, though. It’s not just a traumatizing past that haunts her and she still has to live with the consequences of. The test results she continues to get back are seriously life altering but she continues to live and that’s definitely impressive.
I loved the friendship with Skylar and Corin, though. I absolutely loved both of them from the start. Although I am still seriously curious about what they had going on. Because there sure as hell was something there. I’m hoping that we get to hear more from them, but I’m doubting that…
That ending! Holy crap. Holy. Crap! I loved it! I love Corin too, but that ending! That shows true love right there alright. They just couldn’t do it, not again. Both of them, and that was heart breaking in the best possible way. I was yelling at the both of them until that last page and I can’t help being grateful for Corin’s tactic, “Fine, spit it out. No more kid gloves, like you said.” That was exactly what Layla needed. To be put on the spot like that.
Hold Us Close (Spoilers)
The devastation to my heart was definitely the worst in Hold Me Close, of all three. My heart broke for Landen so many times, I lost count. He tries so hard to be the person Layla needs, but he’s not and it devastates him to the point of his behaviour only getting worse. At the same time, my heart broke for Layla too, because she doesn’t understand the true extent of Landen’s self-esteem issues and/or what his childhood was like.
Because boy, they are bad. There is so much awfulness planted inside his head because of his youth. He has no self-respect or self-loving at all and I don’t understand how he can’t see himself for the great person he is. At the same time, I completely understand because I know personally what it’s like to feel like you were never good enough. But it was clear that something had to happen because his anger was getting out of control. That’s were Corin comes in and once again Corin’s ’no-gloves’ tactic works. She’s plain hard and it sounds mean but it works. The thing I found myself experiencing is that Landen does some seriously fucked up shit, but I can’t even hate him for it because he is just broken inside.
Then the rushed part came in. All of a sudden he is in there and then suddenly six weeks has passed and wow! We’re going fast.
The epilogue, though. I needed that epilogue. I don’t know what I would have felt like, had I not gotten that epilogue, because that was an ending to an awesome series, alright.