This review was first posted at West of Mars. It’s being reposted here, at its new permanent home.
I was very jazzed when I came across Olivia Brynn’s Falling Star. I was even more jazzed when Olivia contacted me and offered to send me one of the few existing print copies of the book.
I read it with no small amount of relish. It’s a fun book. I’d recommend it, absolutely. But, of course, as with the majority of what I read, there are some issues. Nothing fatal, I’m pleased to say.
Well, okay. There was one almost-fatal problem, but we can’t blame it on the author. It’s the editing, specifically the copy editing. I’m terribly sorry, but “Come here babe” just isn’t grammatically correct. There needs to be a comma between the words here and babe. This was enough of a consistent problem, there was no way it can be excused as a fluke. Someone doesn’t know how to do their job. Period.
Let’s focus on the things that are what we’re really here to talk about, which is the story. It’s not a fresh one: rock star needs to clean up his act, walks incognito into a florist, and falls in love with an ordinary girl who has no idea who he is, even though she loves his music.
Does some of this sound familiar? A bit? It’s a similar premise of the recent book from Karina Bliss, What the Librarian Did.
I feel like lately, every review winds up as a comparison — with the more recently reviewed book falling short. In some ways, Falling Star does just that. But because it lacks the more serious subplot found in Librarian, this is a stronger beach read.
That’s a compliment. I love a good beach read.
Unfortunately, our rocker, Adam, is a bit bland. He’s fine. He’s likeable. But he lacks that zing we saw in Bliss’ Devin, that raw sexuality and charisma. Likewise, Adam is also lacking the real bad boy persona — and details — that is causing his star to fall. We’re told he’s heading for problems, but all we get to see is a nice guy. His excesses are glossed over, and that gloss hurts my rock and roll rating.
Flower shop owner Jade is a character with a lot of potential. Sure, she’s got the gay best friend thing going, but she’s also confident without being too strong. There’s nothing wussy about this girl. Even when she chooses to sleep on the couch, it fits her character. Again, though, I don’t feel like I’ve gotten to know her deeply enough.
This is a problem, especially as we have many of the properly cliched scenes. The woman who doesn’t recognize the star. Getting up in the middle of the night to find Adam working on a song. The boats, the homes.
Since this is an erotic romance, I am compelled to mention the sex. Hot. Steamy. Possibly the best part of the book, and I’ve already said this is a good read. But there was a problem, here, too. In one scene, Adam changes and becomes very dominant. This was a jarring change and it bothered me. We see him so consistently as a good guy, a gentle man. And then he’s growling and he’s almost forcing Jade up against a wall and … yeah. It was too rough. Too out of character. For me, it crossed the line into assault, simply because it was so out of character.
In other words: dominant males are fine. A Jekyll and Hide switch from gentle to dominant isn’t.
I suppose that leads us to the final assessment: as a rock and roll novel, how is it? Only fair, I’m afraid. There are almost too many clichés. If that doesn’t bother you — or you’re one of those folk who lap it up, especially in an erotic romance or a good beach read — you’ll be quite happy.
I do look forward to more from Olivia Brynn. Even if she’s not kind enough to send me a freebie each time.