‘HERE TO STAY,’ BY MELISSA TAGG. Review of the sophomore novel by the contemporary fiction author. All text © Rissi JC

Coming back to a character we’ve already know can be something of a risk if not in the most skillful hands. Not because readers don’t like catching up with those characters (we do!), but because sometimes your idea of them doesn’t match up with what their more subtle (even mysterious) presence as a sidekick character begins.

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STORY: Returning home to Whisper Shore Michigan wasn’t an easy choice for Blake Hunziker, who has lived a nomad’s life for years, but what he doesn’t expect is a hero-like welcome upon his return; especially from his parents. When small town living gets in the way of forgetting, and Blake crosses paths with old friends who blame him for a tragedy, and Blake also reunites with Autumn Kingsley the girl who dreams of travel. Autumn not only runs the only inn in competition with the Hunziker family’s upscale hotel, she is also the one girl his family wouldn’t approve of. So why then, are the two of them continuously drawn to each other?  

Here to Stay, by Melissa Tagg | Book Review

One of Christian fiction’s sparkling new talents, Melissa Tagg returns to her cozy corner of fiction, inviting us to again, swoon over the adorableness of Blake, who just so happened to play a significant role in the author’s well-received debut, Made to Last. In his introduction (from MTL), Blake copes by using humor and becomes the comedic sidekick, which is something that can be iffy for a hero who anchors an entire novel. It’s tough to find the balance between “funny” and hero-ready. But fortunately, from his experiences, Blake grows into a mature person who rises to the status of hero with all the proper creds. Similarly, Autumn is a special leading lady. In her, there is an image many of us will relate to; she loves a good book.

To be honest, I had a difficult time getting “into” this book. Not because it’s not good, it’s more as a result of coming off an overwhelming reading stretch. Happily what Melissa’s “style” is so good, it charms her readers. This is so completely we’re loathe to leave the pages of her books. She has a great contemporary romance voice, plus tosses in cute pop culture references (something any frequent visitor to her blog will instantly “get”) and her sense of humor is unmatched (um, how could I forget? There is a bathtub incident that is hilarious!).

Expertly weaving in the backstory of these characters – most especially Blake, and making the title of Here to Stay shine through in every vignette of this sophomore novel means this is easy to fall in love with. Everything from the setting (hello, quaint) to the character’s ground this story. Oh, and as a fun bonus, we get to catch up with the famous Randi Woodruff. Visiting Whisper Shore is like tugging on your favorite sweater; the comfort of it sweeps us up into a sweet prodigal story with more than one (good) complication. In short, contemporary romance readers are definitely clamoring for Melissa Tagg to be here to stay. For a long time to come. ♥

About the Book:

Author: Melissa Tagg
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Author, Publisher / Fiction Addict
Publication Date: 2014
Find the Review elsewhere: Fiction Addict | Goodreads | WordPress
Add the Book: Goodreads
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Series: Where Love Begins, book 2
Rating: 5 out of 5

A version of this review appeared on Fiction Addict.

Sincere thanks to the author, Melissa Tagg (and Bethany House) and Fiction Addict for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Great review! :) I'm really excited to read this one. Like I mentioned on Goodreads, I just bought this book at the Christian bookstore yesterday. Then this morning, I got an email saying I had won a copy in the Goodreads giveaway! Ha…it seems like I'm destined to read this very soon. :) I can't wait to read Blake's story.

    And I didn't realize that Melissa's next book will involve moviemaking! Sounds awesome! :)

    1. Thanks for reading, Kristin. :)

      LOL, that is ironic – guess the way to win giveaways is to buy the book first. I might have to try that as I never win anything. ;) But on the upside, as you said, I'd imagine this book is insisting you read it. Soon. Hope you enjoy Blake's story – love him bunches!

      Doesn't Melissa's next book sound awesome!? I'm just thrilled to pieces – especially knowing about her blog! :)

  2. Oh Rissi, thanks so much for such a thoughtful review. I'm so glad you liked the book. It was a blast to write. Honestly, while I'm writing book three I keep forgetting I'm supposedly writing in a new setting, new town, with new characters…I keep just wanting to go back to Whisper Shore. :)

    1. Melissa, hi! Thank *you* for writing such a thoughtful rom-com – these are the best kind of romances, and I did indeed love the novel. It reads like you had fun with it – that bathtub incident?? How could I forget that!? ;)

      Aw, that's fun. I can see why you'd want to stay in Whisper Shore. It's a lovely place to be and I'll miss it too – even while being excited for book three!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

    1. Definitely! How awesome is it when a book can do that? Melissa's definitely fits the description. Enjoy if/when you read it, Missie. :)

  3. Great review! Blake/Blaze was my favorite character from book #1 and I can't wait to read his story!! :D

  4. I'm so glad you liked this even being in a little of a reading slump. I'll be reading it for it's tour with LitFuse, which I'm really looking forward to! :)

    1. I definitely did, Tressa! In fact, it's one of those books that has grown (even more) on me the longer I've pondered it. Melissa's are definite rereads – and won't be leaving my shelf anytime soon. :)

      Looking forward to your review.

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