Cover Image: Stone Heart

Stone Heart

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Writing Bloc and NetGalley for an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a review. This novel released on Aug. 30, 2022.
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I like books that I can connect with, which is why I tend to read books with First POV so I can in theory be the MC. I  did not feel the connection I was wanting with this one. It might be due to the contemporary "real life" aspect of this read. While I did not enjoy this book, I always like to find positive things about the story to talk about as authors put so much time and effort into their books! I did like the storyline alongside the writing.
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Stone Heart is the story of a couple who, after a painful breakup, reunite twenty years later.  Now she is a famous singer-songwriter and he is a detective with a wife and children.

The truth is that I did not connect with the story itself.  I think the premise was quite interesting, but it got heavy over the course of it all.

I kept reading mostly because of Lauren, who keeps thinking about Danny as she tries to write songs for her new album and battles addiction-related demons from her past.  She and Auguie, her cousin, were my favorite characters.  Lauren is very strong and I really liked the development of her.

Danny, on the other hand, was quite unbearable to me.  Although I understand that the situation in which he finds himself when he meets Lauren again is not easy, I feel that he has very childish attitudes for a man between 30 and 40 years old. Also, his wife, Heather, is shown to be hyper-jealous of an ex whom he hasn't seen in over 20 years.  Their relationship is unsustainable from the beginning and becomes very repetitive.

The writing is quite enjoyable so the reading can be done quickly, which has more weight considering that the characters, not the protagonists, but the others involved such as Danny's parents and one of Lauren's sisters are detestable. 

To be honest, I think the best thing about the book was the band itself. I liked all the members very much and I would have liked to see them interacting with each other more.

If you want to read this book I would recommend that it be just to get really mad at Danny and the people that go around them both.

⚠️TW: addictions - stereotypes - strong language⚠️
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I wish this book came with a content warning in the beginning since it deals with adultery for a good portion of the book. The synopsis did not come with a content warning either, so this is your CW! If you have issue with adultery especially within the confines of a Roman Catholic marriage, this book is not for you. If you can separate fact from fiction, read on. 

I want to start by saying I do not condone infidelity/adultery of any sort, whether married or not. Once I discovered that Lauren and Danny, the main characters of the story, embarked in an adulterous affair I would have stopped reading. However, the depiction of the tenets of the Roman Catholic church on attending Mass, confession, and adultery were spot on. Was I disappointed that Danny and Lauren were in an adulterous relationship? Yes. While the readers get an eye full, this book was more than that. It was about struggle and inner turmoil, making bad choices and spur of the moment decisions. It was also about the value of communication and coming to terms that not every ending will be a happy one. It was about letting go... finally... and moving on. 

I received an advance copy of this book at my request and voluntarily left this review.
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I don't read fantasy often, but fortunately, when I do, I get to read books that are extraordinary, and Stone Heart is definitely one of them. I fell in love with Ms. Hamilton's writing, and I'll be checking more of her work.
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DNF 55%

TW: Cheating 

I don’t condone cheating and the affair is such a huge part of the plot that I can’t continue forward especially as both MCs don’t really see the wrongness of it and continually commit adultery.
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Lauren Stone is coming back to New York to record the newest album with her band The Kingmakers. She’s not only anxious about proving her critics wrong, she’s also revisiting past heartache thinking about her high school ex, Danny. They are thrown back into each other’s lives and struggle to find out if they are really meant to be tougher. 

I really didn’t care for this one. I’m sorry but I couldn’t find a single character I empathized with or liked all that much. Both Lauren and Danny are kind of…assholes. And I hated that Danny’s niece, Cole, is supposedly looking at colleges but her actions and dialogue read as a tween. 

My least fav character was Danny. Even when we are given access to his POV he just shows us he’s selfish. If he does feel remorse, it is short lived and he’s back on his bullshit. He fully earns the nickname Jackass bestowed on him by Lauren’s band mate. 

CW/TW: drug addiction, grief, depression, infidelity
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I found this book to be an enjoyable read. I liked the writing style, which flowed nicely throughout.
I found the characters well developed and I was easily drawn in to become invested in their individual parts of the storyline, which resulted in me crying a fair bit!
I would definitely recommend this book to others.
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I'm giving this 3.5 stars. I really enjoyed the writing style for the most part, it was one of those reads that kept me up well into the night without realizing it and I became very emotionally connected to the characters. Spent a fair amount bawling my eyes out in this one which I know is a sign of good storytelling.

I wish the description mentioned that it has been about twenty years since they last saw each other. I didn't assume it was be such a long time, I was think more like ten years tops, and I was a little surprised by it being more. I would have understood why the stakes would be higher since Danny has been married with children for more than ten years at the point of them meeting again.  So obviously, Danny and Lauren start up an affair, why wouldn't they after pining after each other for twenty years, that last for a few months with Danny saying over and over again that he's in an unhappy relationship with his wife but through the whole affair with Lauren all involved know it's going to end but Lauren, though trying to avoid the truth after the affair starts, is the only one completely honest about the fact that they have no future in the beginning when Danny first kisses her again. Danny is told pointblank by her that she'll be leaving once the album is done and her tour starts but he's the one that instigates the whole affair by meeting up at her hotel penthouse suite on more than one occasion clearly with the ulterior motive to start something with her. Danny is so wishy-washy with his decisions but it's also clear that he'd never want to leave his sons, especially after his wife takes them away when she first suspected the affair but it seems she's been suspecting Danny's feels for Lauren for years and that was already a major problem in their marriage even before Lauren came back into the picture. Everyone is telling Danny that he has to make a decision about who he wants to be with but like I said he clearly can't leave his sons so he chooses to end things with Lauren to stay with his wife and sons but again at the end he decides he rather be with Lauren but Lauren is stronger now after going through their breakup and she firmly tells him again what she told them at the start of the affair that she's leaving and he wouldn't enjoy her lifestyle which we've seen multiple times throughout the book already but he can't seem to get that through his brain. 

Lauren would say that none of her relationships worked out because no one loved her for her except Danny but clearly that wasn't true on both sides of their relationship. Lauren is the free-spirit who needs to be on stage preforming music while Danny is reserved, a family man with no desire to leave New York. When he first ended their relationship at eighteen, these were the very reasons it had to end and they knew that even before they started up the affair that those reason still stand.

A little more about the book...There's adultery (of course), drugs, a kidnapping and even murder! Okay, the last two are mentioned in passing as part of Danny's job as a police detective which when it's first mentioned threw me through a loop as up until that point (seventeen chapters in) nothing in the book was really dark and heavy yet they hadn't even committed the adultery though their was mention of Lauren's past drug use. For the most part the little snippets of Danny's job which just reaffirms his love for his sons as that all he thinks about after dealing with the murder-suicide scene and the kidnapping. The main focus in the story is the adultery between Danny and Lauren with Lauren's rehabilitation from cocaine second to that.

I think it's horrible how Lauren and her cousin/bandmate, Augie seem to blame her drug use on Danny ending their relationship when they were eighteen as she abused drug as a way to lessen the pain from the lost of Danny. It just felt like they put a lot of the responsibility onto Danny and not where it belong on Lauren with her mental state. There's even a whole emotional part after Danny breaks up with her for the second time where she's about to relapse and it just felt like after all her talk about not needing drugs through most of the book like a cop-out for Lauren because in the end she could blame Danny again for this. If she truly loved Danny she wouldn't be blaming him or end up putting him in the position where he's the one to blame either for her relapse or her own suicide. I understand she was dealing with depression and wasn't thinking rationally but it seems they have been blaming Danny for years and she still put herself into a position to be with him again which she knew wasn't healthy as she even called Danny her addiction that won't kill her. Thus just making Danny her current drug of choice. 

Here's a few things, I wished that happened in this story. Clearly there's some feelings from DJ, the keyboardist from the band for Lauren, he seems to write her a love song after they felt that they almost lost her after her breakup with Danny but this isn't explored at all. I'm one for happy ending all the way and for me that means someone ends up with someone they can truly be themselves with and love with all their hearts. We don't get that here. We don't even know what actually becomes of Danny as the end of the story focus mainly on Lauren and her bandmates, though not a budding relationship between her and DJ much to my chagrin. Danny is mentioned in passing at this point and it shows that Lauren might finally truly be over him as she asked her sister to no longer give her update about him but this leaves the reader with no clue about how his life ended up or how he's doing with the finality of their breakup.

I kind of hoped that Danny's being a detective would play a little more in the story other than what I mention above about him thinking about his sons whenever something bad happened at work. I know this idea would make the book a totally different story than from the author wrote but I think their third (first deliberate on Danny's side) meeting should have been official business for his job as he did use his badge to get up to see her. I wouldn't change a thing about their first reunion as I loved the set up for that and their chance meeting the second time was also a nice little meeting. I just think if they were push together again for a third time by fate almost because of his job and that lead into his first kiss it would really give his wife a reason to be suspicious of him working late and spending time with Lauren. His wife has been suspicious of him working late for a while now though even before and after Lauren came back he was working long hours to support his family. His wife was so worried about Danny cheating and accusing him of doing so when he hadn't yet, but he heard it enough from her that he might as well be seeing Lauren even if they already said there's no future for them. Which is exactly what he does. He even uses the excuse that he was already paying for the crime so might as well do it.

I'm not sure when this was first started by the author but a few of the real life mentions are already dated. It mentioned Prince writing a song everyday but in present tense as if he's still alive and hasn't been gone for six years now. Strangely the mention of real people actually pulled me out of the story a little. I know she's a rock star that knows other rock stars but I got distracted by this to the point that I was even Googling other characters to see if they were actually rock stars that I just didn't know about because when you bring in Jon Bon Jovi into the story I get suspicious of everyone else being real as well. 

Overall this was a good read and I did enjoy it but again the rating will be 3.5 stars out of 5 from me as it's missing a true love story for me look back on and say they made it. Yes, yes, I know you could say her career was her true love and that what she ends up with in the end. If I was truly meant to believe that, she wouldn't have her feelings of loneliness throughout the book. I guess, if it was shown that after her writer's block lift so did the loneliness, I might be more incline to believe she'll have a happy ending though that's not forever either. What's going to happen to her in a few years when she can no longer tour or make music? She was already having a hell of a time writing for this album until her breakup with Danny and her breakdown after that. What happens when she run out of inspiration again? I guess you can say all relationships have an end but Lauren's lifestyle does already have a coming expiration date as she's already pushing forty during this story. I just don't want her to find herself lone in the future turning to drugs. Probably why I want it stated pointblank that her and DJ found love with each other and the band has never been stronger together. Something that give me hope that in a few years when the Kingmaker's are really over the hill that she's not turning back to drugs to numb the pain of her lost true love, the music.
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This ARC was provided to me via Kindle, Writing Bloc and  by #NetGalley. Opinions expressed are completely my own. 

Nice read, well written, positive vibes.
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Good book well written, great feel good book for people don't want violence etc and want take themselves out of the current world and indulge in make believe
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