2021 Vivian Award Finalist, Book Review, Contemporary, Homelessness, Obesity, Rock star, Romance, Second Chance, Series

How to Stay (Bad Girls of Cherry Lake #1) by Christina Mitchell


The baddest bitch in rock is running away. Again.

It’s been fourteen years since rock singer Adelia Winters escaped the small town of Cherry Lake. But thanks to her father’s death (and punching the president of her record label #sorrynotsorry), she’s back and forced to face the secrets—and the best friend—she left behind.

Perfectionist Conor Ross doesn’t take chances. Not with his body, his photography career, and certainly not with relationships. One-hundred and sixty pounds ago, he’d taken a chance on love and it ended with his best friend breaking his heart on her way out of town. Never again.

Between whiskey hangovers and rock song sing-alongs, Adelia and Conor must confront their broken friendship and the passion still sizzling between them. If they can find a way to heal the wounds of the past, they might just have a second chance. But Adelia’s career is pulling her away, even as the town—and Conor—are calling her home. 


Holy cow!!! I love this unbelievably beautiful, funny, and moving second chance story. It’s full of laughter, sadness, and so much love. 

Adelia is a mouthy, tough, and infamous rock star and she’s tired. Tired of her hectic life, tired of being told what to do, tired of being alone. So when she returns home to Cherry Lake, Michigan, to bury her uncaring and indifferent father, she opens old wounds as she confronts the friends she left behind. Will she be able to apologize for leaving them so suddenly? Has she burned her bridges?

Conor is in a dead-end job and wants to open his own photography studio, but there are things holding him back. Money for sure, but it’s also the niggling doubts in his mind that he’s not good enough. After all, his mother is the mayor of his town and his brother is a millionaire. With the return of the only woman he ever loved, his world is turned upside down as he tries to keep his heart intact while making the best of having her home for as long as she can stay.

What do I love about this book? I love how Adelia and Conor resort back to their childhood ribbing like it was just yesterday and not 14 years ago. I love how afraid they are of loving and losing each other again. I love how Conor is an incredible surrogate dad to Shannon’s daughter, Jo. I love how Adelia is so tough and hard with others, but all soft and loving with Conor. I love how Conor is such a neat freak but doesn’t care about Adelia’s messiness. I love Conor’s kind and generous spirit and of course his cute dog, Cupcake. I could go on and on about how freaking fantastic Adelia and Conor are in all their brokenness and fear of what lays ahead. I sobbed, I laughed, and I sighed with hope for these two extraordinary people who are meant to be together through good times and bad.

Not only are the main characters amazing, but the supporting characters of Shannon, Adelia and Conor’s long-time friend, and her feisty and stubborn daughter, Jo, are a huge part of what makes this such a great book. And, I’m hoping to read more about Shannon in the book series.

As you have guessed, I highly recommend this remarkable work of fiction that is a love story, but it also covers tough subjects such as neglect, homelessness, hoarding, obesity, and prostitution. Please give this book a try, you won’t be disappointed.


How To Stay

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Hi! I’m CHRISTINA MITCHELL. I write contemporary romances about damaged people who need (and deserve) happy endings.

My debut novel, How to Stay has sold tens of copies (TENS I TELL YOU) and it won the GDRWA 2020 Patti Shenberger Award for Best First Book. I’m super proud of that but also weirded out about saying that it won an award. It feels braggy. But I just said it anyhow, so I can’t be that weirded out. Point is… I don’t remember my point. I guess it’s that I’m kind of awesome, except when I’m not. It’s moment to moment, really.

I also collect novelty mugs, listen to sad sad songs, obsess over Batman, and watch way more Rifftrax and MST3K than is normal or healthy. I like dinosaurs, shark movies, and glitter. I live in Michigan with my hilarious husband and a houseful of non-winning scratch-off lotto tickets because I’m the most optimistic cynic the world has ever known.

Follow Christina on her website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.