Wednesday, August 26, 2020

#BookReview – “Say You Love Me” by E.R. Whyte


Five years ago, a boyhood dream came true when the prettiest girl I ever knew kissed me on a dare and sent my world spinning. I've crushed on Shiloh Brookings for five long years, the memory of that kiss making other girls come in a distant second.

Imagine my surprise when a friend drags me to a strip club in a neighboring town and the dancer on the stage is none other than Shiloh. AKA Miss Cherry Pie, the sweetest, hottest thing you ever did see.

My first instinct is to grab her down off that stage and hide her away from all those eyes.

My second? Figure out WTH has her up there in the first place. That's not the Shiloh I remember.

Shiloh's life is crazy-complicated, though.

Her present is burdened with baggage from her past, so she has no interest in letting anyone get close. And she may be a stripper by night, but I've just learned that she's teaching in my high school by day, which makes her completely off-limits.
And now she's attracted the attention of a stalker, and the stakes are getting more desperate every day.

Can I win her trust and break down her walls quickly enough to help her?


In book one in the Reclaiming Heaven series, high school teacher Shiloh Brookings moonlights as a stripper to pay for a slew of bills, including her disabled brother’s rehab. If anyone finds out about her after-hours activities, she would be fired from her teaching job and publicly humiliated. Unfortunately for her, two of her students are patrons of the strip club.
High school senior Gunner Ford has been crushing on Shiloh for years. She’s three years older than him, and they attended high school together when he was a freshman and she a senior. Now, she’s his teacher and a new stripper at his friend’s dad’s club. He pursues her—both in school and at the club. They have a history, and despite the consequences, he’s determined to make her his.
I’m not sure how to describe this story. It’s a cross between YA and NA with erotica undertones, and I only think of it as being YA because several characters are in high school and some scenes take place there. Otherwise, it’s NA due to the subject matter.
Shiloh is an interesting character. She’s tough and prepared to do anything and everything in order to provide for her handicapped brother. She’s also desperate and vulnerable, and she makes some mistakes that anyone who was thinking straight wouldn’t have made—like starting a relationship with her student. Her flaws made her a realistic person, and I felt bad for her.
I couldn’t connect with Gunner. Even though he cares a great deal for Shiloh, he’s manipulative and arrogant, which he freely admits. He pursues her against her wishes and doesn’t seem to care that she will get into a lot of trouble if anyone finds out they’re together. I had a very difficult time seeing him as an adult because of this.
About the villain/stalker, I liked him. I don’t know who he is (it wasn’t mentioned), but I enjoyed his scenes and the mania he’s going through in trying to get Shiloh to choose him.
There are some great secondary characters: Shane, Sammy, and Dr. Adams add layers to the story. I’m not crazy about Miles, Gunner’s best friend, though.
Shiloh is 21, and Gunner is 18/19. The age difference didn’t bother me—after all, what’s three years?—but the situation was off-putting (a high school student and his teacher). I think the story would’ve worked much better had Gunner been in college with Shiloh as his professor, but that’s just my opinion.
The story ends on a cliffhanger, so there are lots of questions that will be answered in the next book.
I don’t read 1st person narrative often, but for the most part, I wasn’t confused as to whose perspective I was reading from. I like Ms. Whyte’s flowing writing style and how she goes into deep POV with the characters’ emotions and thoughts. Overall, I enjoyed the story.
Thank you to Ms. Whyte for sending me this ARC. I voluntarily reviewed it.
4 Stars

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