This is the third Mila Gray book I’ve read, the third in her Come Back to Me series, and I have to say… it wasn’t my favorite. But! It was a fun read, and I did fly through it, and it comes out tomorrow! I was going to be part of the book blitz that also starts tomorrow, but here’s my review instead. (Hurray for reviews!) So here we go – Run Away with Me by Mila Gray.
In Run Away with Me, Emerson Lowe is stuck on tiny Bainbridge Island in Washington state, unable to leave because her father is sick and she is helping run the business that he is unable to run on his own anymore. She never went off to college because of a scarring, tragic incident from her youth, one that is entirely wrapped up in Jake McCallister. Jake is now a very good ice hockey player at a university in Boston, and is the number one draft pick for the NHL. But he still returns to Bainbridge Island under mysterious circumstances, which is a problem for Em. She doesn’t want him in her life anymore, but he’s back anyway. This kicks off a second chance love story that is both sweet and heartbreaking.
3 Things I Loved
- Jake. I tend to love romantic heroes more than I love the heroines a lot of the time, and I’m working on that. I did enjoy the characterization of Emerson, but I really loved Jake. I loved that he couldn’t let go of Em, that he basically let her beat up on him until she felt better, that he never gave up on her. He was sweet and sexy and I really really liked him.
- Jake and Em’s chemistry. This was so real and I was here for it. Oooh, they burned hot from the very first time they saw each other again.
- Hockey?! I say it like this because I love love LOVE hockey, buuuuut, like the baseball romance I read a while back, the hockey stuff fell flat for me. I just know how hockey player bodies look and assume it adds to the story. (LOL, sorry.)
Content warnings in the book for sexual assault, particularly sexual assault of a minor. There is also a neurodegenerative disorder that plays a major part of the plot that may be triggering for some people. And terrible misogyny, but that’s nothing new, really.
What I disliked most about this book was the complexity of it. I enjoy romances that have more than just a fluffy love story, but this was absurd. On top of Jake and Em’s story, there was a side story about Jake’s hockey career, the side story about Em’s assault from back when they were kids (which included flashback chapters), a side story with Em’s former boyfriend and the history he has with Em and Jake, plus something with his brother too, a side story with Jake’s ex who tries to wreck things with Em, a side story with Em’s family, and it goes on and on. It was too much to keep track of. It hurt my head. I really wanted to like this book, but it was trying to do way too much.
In addition, the author seemed to mix up Em’s ex and his brother (Rob and Reid) constantly in the later chapters of the book. I hope that was caught in proofreading (since I had an advanced copy) so that this whole paragraph can be a moot point, but that was super distracting and took me right out of the story.
Also, if you’re going to write about a hockey player, have a hockey player read the hockey scenes. I don’t play, but I was a statistician for our high school team for a couple years (I’M A NERD THIS SHOULD SURPRISE NO ONE) and know the game pretty well. And again, I was taken out of the hockey scenes a couple of times because they just didn’t seem realistic.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
This is a tough one for me. When I was finishing the book, I was intending to give it two stars on Goodreads… and then I read the author’s note. I won’t spoil anything, but it made me appreciate the main storyline and what Mila Gray was trying to do a lot more, even though I didn’t especially enjoy the book as a whole. So with that in mind, I’m going to give Run Away with Me a YELLOW rating. I’ve read worse, for sure. And if some of my issues were corrected in the final stages of editing, I could easily upgrade this rating!
Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinions in any way. And this book releases TOMORROW (11/28) so if you like complex characters and romances and hockey and aren’t quite so nitpicky, this might be for you!