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Okay, let’s be up front about this. It’s not Rock Fiction, for all that Grace’s father is a rocker. In fact, the few times we see Jer, as Grace calls him, he’s not much more than a name on a page, a vague character of a person. Neither is Grace’s mother, the typical model/actress/ambitious snob who can’t put her own control issues aside and see her daughter for who she is.

But if Grace’s parents are vague or stereotypic, Grace herself is the absolute opposite. Sure, it’s probably a huge stereotype that she’s the bohemian child who opposes her mother at almost every value. The biggest surprise about her is when she puts on the Reality Star Wardrobe and remarks how familiar and comfortable it is, even though she knows that the role she had been playing was nothing more than that – a role. This is an insight that transcends these stereotypes. It’s a welcome one.

On the flip side is Marc, Marcus, our buttoned-up, staid businessman type who has probably forgotten how to smile, if he even ever knew. He’s almost the third side of this trinity of who are you – the extravagant showman, the hippie chick devoted to her causes, the buttoned-up dude who’s buttoned down his personality and his life so that people like Grace and her family can’t disrupt the boat.

Enter one dog. One Great Dane, to be specific. Dogs in general aren’t going to work in Marc’s life. But a big Dane that needs room to run and is pretty much Grace’s totem animal?

Now, we all know where this is headed: Grace has to make peace with her family and their reality show life. They need to accept her and actually see that her painting talent goes beyond a hobby. She needs to accept that using the resources offered by their reality show isn’t selling out; it’s smart. Marcus needs to learn how to joke and laugh, how to unbutton not only his suits but himself, as well.

And of course they all do these things. This is a romance, after all, and there’s never any doubt what’s going to happen in it. It’s the getting there that is all the fun, and believe me, this is fun. Over the top fun. Crazy fun. Larger than life, if-this-happened-in-reality-no-one-would-believe-it fun.

Pineapple lamps and fires and activists and birds and dogs and Grace’s odd naïve trust in people despite the reality show and lens of fame she’s grown up in. It all figures in. There are assumptions and people who get too angry with each other to speak and work it out like adults. And there are unravelings of the assumptions and happy endings and love and respect. And big dogs.

I wish more books were this much fun.

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Okay, WHO let this one slip through the cracks? We’ve done multiple posts about wanting to read the first in this series, You Really Got Me. Susan and Michelle have read books One and Three. So why no love for Number Two?

Let’s fix that right now.

Derek Valencia finally has the success he’s worked so hard for. His band is touring its debut album and great reviews are rolling in. But when pictures of him tossing naked groupies off a balcony go viral, it’s damage-control time. He’s assigned a “babysitter” whose sole job is to keep him out of trouble.

Violet Davis swore she’d never work in the music industry again, but being a minder for a rock star will earn her enough to pay off the mortgage on her wildflower farm. And for a girl brought up in the foster care system, owning her own home means more to her than anything.

Though at first the two bang heads, the rocker and the farm girl soon grow close and realize that they make sweet music together. But can a girl who craves the stability of life on a farm really make it work with a man whose life is spent on the road with his band?

This is the throwing-naked-groupies-off-balconies book and I haven’t given it its own time here at The Rock of Pages!

Really. If Susan wanted to fire me, she’s got a good reason to. A better than good reason.

So. What more do I need to say? Books One and Three have made it onto the Recommended List here at The Rock of Pages. This one has naked groupies being flung off balconies (take THAT, Led Zeppelin!).

I guess the only thing I need to say is that Michelle got to read the first book, and Susan read the third, so I get this one!

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Susan and I were tossing e-mails back and forth the other day, talking about Nalini Singh and this series. We’ve been coveting it for a long time now, but neither of us has made a move to read it — and we should. We were debating who gets to do it, but we haven’t reached an agreement yet. At least we’re talking about picking it up!

So here’s the next in the series. The fourth or fifth, depending on how you count the one listed on Nalini’s website as 1.5. At any rate, it’s more than a trilogy. Sounds like this one can go long — although what’s that middle book doing there? The one that has nothing to do with rock stars?

Here’s the description:

After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love…even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?

We’ve seen second-chance romances before, but this one? Sounds… heavy. Angsty. And with a heaping dose of redemption.

I can’t speak for Susan, but I’m hoping I win the battle over who gets to read this series because man, this one sounds like it’s made for me.

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Holy typos, you guys. I’ve heard Susan complain all the time that authors complain she’s too expensive, but you gotta hire someone or else be ready for me to make fun of you for thinking JACKAL AND HYDE is a thing. Like… wow.

And that’s not the sort of intro you want for a review, is it? But there it is. Just… wow.

Melody of Truth

This sucks because Melody of Truth gets off to a fantastic start (one that’s light on the typos, which actually get worse as the book goes along). I was totally into it.

Melody’s a documentary filmmaker, a famous one. Think Bruce Sinofsky famous. More famous than Penelope what’s-her-name, who did the Decline of Western Civilization movies.

And Melody gets hired to make a documentary about… a band? A solo artist? This winds up being the first of a lot of details that are either confusing or make no sense. But Melody’s there to make a film and she’s got this insta-lust with the drummer, Sean.

Brownie points for giving the rocker a normal name. Although is it normal, or is it abnormal, since what’s normal has turned into the bizarre names?

Anyway, Sean’s there. And so are other guys in the band. And then the focus is on him and Melody and their relationship and sometimes, I’m not sure if there’s a band happening and a movie getting made, or if it’s all just a convenient backdrop for this romance.

Now, if you’ve got issues about cheating, this book isn’t for you. Melody, it turns out, is engaged to this guy and from the get-go, it’s clear she’s not in love with him. She’s settling. And that’s okay at first. People settle.

But people also meet the partner who sets them on fire, and Melody finds that in Sean, and she’s got a dilemma, but not really because she wants Sean and she admits that nope, Marco doesn’t do a damn thing for her. And then, long after things start to smell, we learn that Marco’s pretty much a cliché and so we don’t really feel bad that Melody essentially cheated on him by sleeping with Sean when she was engaged to Marco.

Like I said, if you have issues, this isn’t the book for you.

I like the concept of finding a love who you just can’t stay away from, everything practical be damned. I love the opening. I just wish it had been more: more Rock Fiction, more documentary, more explanation about the band, more detail, even more originality where Marco was concerned. I mean, a poet? With no day job? Really?

I don’t know if I’m getting picky lately, or if there’s just been a streak of stuff that’s not doing it for me. Either way, I’m still hunting for more authors like Cecilia Tan for me and Jessica Topper for Susan. You know: the authors we rave about to anyone who’ll listen. Not that I corner people on airplanes when I see them with a book. Nope. Not me.

Grab yourself a copy. Got a different opinion of this book? Send your review and Susan will get it posted for you.
Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook
Kobo
iBooks

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Well, if there was ever an excuse for full-on debauchery, this is it. The rock star’s wedding.

I mean, have you SEEN the November Rain video?

Although, to be honest, this doesn’t sound much like that. Excesses, debauchery, and all. See what I mean:

Kenzi’s vacation in St. Thomas becomes a lot more interesting when her high school sweetheart, rock star heartthrob Chaz turns up. If only he wasn’t there for his wedding…

Rumor has it the rock star is marrying his actress girlfriend. Yet when he sees Kenzi, it’s as if five years hasn’t passed.

Seeing Kenzi reminds Chaz how love ought to feel, which is nothing like he feels for his fiancée anymore. Since her well-publicized affair with her costar, he’s played the faithful lover giving her a second chance. Now he wishes for a way out, and the chance to get to know the grown-up version of the girl he once loved.

This actually sounds… better. Kinda like the storyline of Melody of Truth — but not so much the same that you’re gonna pick up this one expecting a clone of the other. It’s the idea of facing up to the truth of why you’re marrying someone and what love ought to be.

Pardon me while I sigh in longing.

So yeah, bring this one on. Best of all, while it’s the second in a series, the series looks like each book is a stand-alone. Different characters, and I’m guessing a different spot for the weddings, but when you only have the descriptions to go on, it’s hard to know for sure.

Definitely gotta read to find out. Bring it on!

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First in a series — but this series is supposed to stop at two. How unusual is that? Unusual enough that I gotta comment on it!

Brave move, author Emma Scott!

Here’s the description:

“I would love you forever, if I only had the chance…”

Kacey Dawson has always lived life on the edge–impulsively, sometimes recklessly. And now, as lead guitarist for a hot up-and-coming band, she is poised at the brink of fame and fortune. But she is torn between wanting to be a serious musician, and the demons that lure her down the glittering, but alcohol-soaked path of rock stardom. A wrecked concert in Las Vegas threatens to ruin her career entirely. She wakes up with the hangover from hell and no memory of the night before, or how she ended up on her limo driver’s couch…

Jonah Fletcher is running out of time. He knows his situation is hopeless, and he’s vowed to make the most of the handful of months he has left to him. His plans include seeing the opening of his glass installation at a prestigious art gallery…they do not include falling in love with a wild, tempestuous rock musician who wound up passed out on his couch.

Jonah sees that Kacey is on a path to self-destruction. He lets her crash with him for a few days to dry out and get her head on straight. But neither of them expected the deep connection they felt, or how that connection could grow so fast from friendship into something more. Something deep and pure and life-changing…something as fragile as glass, that they both know will shatter in the end no matter how hard they try to hold on to it.

Full Tilt is a story about what it means to love with your whole heart, to sacrifice, to experience terrible grief and soaring joy. To live life with all its beauty, and all its pain, and in the end to be able to smile through tears and know you wouldn’t have changed a thing.

I like the parallel between what they have and glass. Nicely done! (but oh, those typos in the first paragraph! Susan is beating her head on things and given that she’s still got a concussion, this is not good.)

The opening here’s pretty cliched, no? Wild child living large, on the brink of stardom, about to throw it away because of the excesses… yeah, been there.

But to wind up on the limo driver’s couch? Didn’t his bosses teach him what to do with a drunk? Or is she that special? (I can maybe live with it if she is. Depends on how it’s done.)

And then we get that beautiful parallel with glass and oh, if you can come up with that, Emma Scott, I’m thinking maybe this isn’t just a romance, it’s something that ought to be taught in lit classes everywhere because that’s the sort of example I bet kids will get. Not white whales.

Susan dropped me a note that she’d gotten approval for the new Stina Lindenblatt novel. You know: the follow-up to This One Moment, which was a book I’d really liked. I was pretty darn excited to get my hands on My Song For You. Which band member was this going to be about?

Turns out it’s Jared’s story. He runs into the little sister of an old flame, and she’s got a kid.

Now, he looks at this kid and there’s not a flash of recognition, even though the kid apparently looks exactly like him. Not even when he grabs a picture of himself at age four, which is Logan’s age, does he get it. He keeps telling himself he never slept with Callie, so there’s no way. But he never stops to think beyond that.

Our Jared’s a little slow. Or maybe he’s distracted by Callie, who’s always had a thing for him but he never knew it. And maybe he liked Callie better than he let on, but he was busy with Callie’s older sister—and man, was he crushed when she told him she’d aborted their kid.

You guessed it, huh? Big sister Alexis lied. She had the kid and swore her family to secrecy. Not long after, Alexis and her parents died in a car accident, leaving Callie to raise her nephew, realigning her life plans and struggling to get by.

It’s a good setup, but it’s not enough. Callie and Jared don’t talk about the situation. Jared goes running to a lawyer behind everyone’s back and this lawyer dude ain’t real smart ’cause he doesn’t focus one whit on what’s best for this kid, who has no reason to think the only mother he can remember is really his aunt. And Jared? Doesn’t stop to consider Callie. He’s too busy being… well, not quite angry because he’s not passionate enough, but he’s being an idiot, that’s for sure. He wants to man up to his responsibility and that’s admirable, but he seems short on people around him who he’ll talk to, and who will widen his too-narrow viewpoint. And this includes his parents.

As for Callie, she gets scared and shuts down. And that’s how these two deal with this pretty big problem they’ve got. They don’t.

There’s not a lot of music in this book, to be honest. Jared isn’t the most dynamic character; he’s not got that charisma that Tyler/Nolan had in the first book of the series. He’s one of those guys who could be an everyman. It’s disappointing.

And so are the music details that do appear. You don’t meet with a music video director one day and begin recording the next. There’s no way this band would defy the micromanaging head of the label and change up the songs they had committed to play on a TV showcase special.

This doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good read. And okay, maybe it wasn’t good in the same way the first was. Too many chapters end the same way: with Jared telling us he’s an idiot. After the first couple, it’s a yawner. The potential for a really rich, rewarding story is there, but because Callie and Jared don’t talk through the big issues, this really readable book loses a lot of the high marks it could have otherwise had.

Let’s write this one off to a sophomore slump and hope the next in the series is about Mason, the foul-mouthed dude. Right now, he’s the guy I’m most interested in.

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I can’t decide if I like this intro or if it’s too cliched. What do you guys think?

Libby

I found Killian drunk and sprawled out on my lawn like some lost prince. With the face of a god and the arrogance to match, the pest won’t leave. Sexy, charming, and just a little bit dirty, he’s slowly wearing me down, making me crave more.

He could be mine if I dare to claim him. Problem is, the world thinks he’s theirs. How do you keep an idol when everyone is intent on taking him away?

Killian

As lead singer for the biggest rock band in the world, I lived a life of dreams. It all fell apart with one fateful decision. Now everything is in shambles.

Until Liberty. She’s grouchy, a recluse—and kind of cute. Scratch that. When I get my hands on her, she is scorching hot and more addictive than all the fans who’ve screamed my name.

The world is clamoring for me to get back on stage, but I’m not willing to leave her. I’ve got to find a way to coax the hermit from her shell and keep her with me. Because, with Libby, everything has changed. Everything.

It’s the drunk and passed out in her lawn that troubles me. The whole “the pest won’t leave” totally hooks me. Who calls someone a pest anymore? I love that!

I like that she’s worried about how to share him with the world. And he thinks of her as a hermit who he has to coax out of her shell — but notice that he stops short of calling her a crab, although he does say she’s grouchy. Kinda like Susan.

So bring this one on, and bring it SOON.

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How’d this one slip past all the radars here at The Rock of Pages? It’s a seven-book series, for crying out loud, dating back to 2013!

It’s the Rock Gods series, written by Ann Lister, who has at least one other Rock Fiction series under her belt. Is she the real thing? Oh, I hope so!

All seven books (so far. Are there going to be more? Oh, Ann Lister, chime in and talk to us about what you’re up to!) feature a couple different bands. The first two books aren’t clear in the description, but then we seem to settle in with bands named Ivory Tower and Black Ice.

But… they’re all male-male. And we all know that’s not my cuppa. But the situations are interesting, and they are varied. Two dudes in the same band. A threesome. Strangers — more than once — who are brought together by fate and hormones and all that good stuff that brings people together. Yeah, there’s real potential in this series.

Susan would be GLAD to read these. All seven of them! Yes, it’s true. I would. — Susan, who wasn’t consulted before she got the post to look over and schedule.

Bring it.

And if you’ve read any and have reviews, I’m always glad to make Susan post them for you. More exposure for the book, for you, for the author… and more work for Susan (and less for me). No one loses.

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Okay, so Susan’s sitting in a tent on a mountain in West Virginia and I’m sending her all these texts about how amazing Cecilia Tan’s newest release, Wild Licks, is. And she’s thinking I’m totally nuts because, hey, this is pretty much her vacation although I can’t figure out who can vacation in a tent or why they’d want to when there’s NEW CECILIA TAN TO READ.

Wild Licks is the next in the Secrets of a Rock Star series. Maybe you remember when I read the first book, Taking the Lead, and went bonkers over it.

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Guys. This one is BETTER.

I kid you not.

Gwen and Mal are one hot couple. Where Ricki and Axel had inhibitions to overcome and heads to get out of, Gwen and Mal know they like it hot and they need it kinky. And man oh man, do they go for it. These two are maybe the perfect couple.

There’s more a sense in this book that Mal’s a rocker. He’s got something that Axel lacked, and that’s sad not because Mal has it but because Axel didn’t. And Gwen, too, is more real. Maybe it’s that she’s not as repressed as her sister. This isn’t a woman who’s afraid of things.

In fact, Gwen doesn’t have a lot of issues. This isn’t usual in today’s fiction, but I was digging it.

It’s Mal who’s all angst-laden, poor guy. And he’s the reason things are a bit of a let-down at the end. His moment where he comes around is just too easy and too fast.

But come ON. We’re not here for Mal to fix himself. We’re here for the dynamic with him and Gwen, and we get that. And we’re here for the sex, and we get THAT, too. We get some of the most inventive, no-holds-barred, lack of inhibition sex I’ve seen… ever.

Don’t miss this one.

I hear the next in the series, Hard Rhythm, will be out next January. Is it too early to sign up for a review copy? I am SO there.