Archive for November, 2014

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I don’t know about this one. Susan says you never know until you try, but I gotta admit, I’m a skeptic. Here’s why:

Haunted by silence, a mute teenage girl is mysteriously given back her voice … and it is divine.

“Silent Echo is a gripping, original read, with a heroine you won’t forget. Katniss Everdeen-watch out for Portia Griffin.” -Erica Wagner, Author of Seizure

Rendered mute at birth, Portia Griffin has been silent for 16 years. Music is her constant companion, along with Felix, her deaf best friend who couldn’t care less whether or not she can speak. If only he were as nonchalant about her newfound interest in the musically gifted Max Hunter.

But Portia’s silence is about to be broken with the abrupt discovery of her voice, unparalleled in its purity and the power it affords to control those around her. Able to persuade, seduce and destroy using only her voice, Portia embarks on a search for answers about who she really is, and what she is destined to do.

Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, Silent Echo: A Siren’s Tale is an epic story filled with fantasy, romance and original music.

 

So we know that a book doesn’t have to be about a musician in order to be Rock Fiction. We’ve seen that with Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Susan also made note of it in Searching for Tina Turner.

Even the ending line of the description here makes it sound like this is Rock Fiction, so bring it on and let’s see. On the other hand, I never read The Odyssey, so maybe that is some warning sign I am missing. I don’t know. Those big fat Greek classics that the geeks love (Susan says thanks for that, by the way) … never been my thing.

But rock and roll? I am so there.

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Susan sent this one over, saying she’s not so sure about it. I don’t see why.

Yeah, okay, it’s the second in a series. Maybe that’s her problem. And the series, about Dream Weavers, isn’t Rock Fiction-focused. If anything, the concept of the series, near as I can figure, reminds me of that TV show, Dollhouse.  No, not the creepy part. The part where the clients were given people who could help them live out a dream.

So in this second book in a series, the character gets to live out her fantasy as a rock star.

Susan says she sees red flags. It’s fantasy. Means the details won’t be right.

I think she’s a cynic (that’s why I’m starting to take over this joint. Noticed?).

The bigger question is if this really is Rock Fiction. Here’s the description:

Emari Sweet’s story continues in this second book in the Dream Weaver Novels Series.

Friendship, like the immortality of the soul, is too good to be believed.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever dreamed of being a rock star? Emari Sweet has…and now she’s living the dream…the life of a rock star in an elaborate memory weave constructed by Dream Weaver, Sabre James. But her rock star world crashes around her and she returns to reality and the memories of Nick and his betrayal. Now, Nick seems to be hiding something dark and painful that torments his soul.

Thomas, the Nightmare Wraith, returns to haunt their minds and twist their dreams. Even Eddyson, Em’s trusty teddy-beagle pup can sense the Wraith’s presence. But Thomas is not alone. He’s brought a friend with him this time….Emari faces her own mortality at the hands of Sabre’s longtime nemesis bent on vengeance for the death of his beloved sister.

Immortality and magic unearth treasures and secrets that some would rather keep buried. And the biggest secret of all could destroy everything.

A lot can happen to a girl in a year. She can survive, and wonder why. She can lose her innocence, and find her way. She can fall in love, and be afraid. And on a cold, dark night, at the hands of friend—she can die.

So… yeah. Could be. Could not be. Only one way to find out.

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Sometimes, I can’t remember where I come across stuff. The more you surf, the more you find. I swear it. Take this one:

Lily Taylor’s life has been transformed twice – once by the music she loves, and then by the chance to make a career following her passion – writing about the business. But when she gets the biggest break of her career so far, an interview with the infamous Tristan Hunter, a rock star with a talent for trouble, Lily isn’t sure what to expect. Even though she’s always admired him, Tristan has a reputation for being difficult…and demanding.

Yet Tristan turns out to be just as electrifying in person as he is on stage, and the powerful connection between them is undeniable. Now the fiercely independent Lily finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of sexual desire that forces her to question everything she believes – and she’ll have to decide just how far she is willing to go for the answers…

Yeah, okay, we have that undeniable rock star chemistry, but Susan and I both swear it’s part of what makes Rock Fiction what it is (and so good). You just gotta have that charisma.

But this one intrigues me for a couple other reasons. It’s all about Lily. What does it mean her life was transformed by the music she loves? Is she like me, who knows she needs to be around it and walked away from a bunch of other dreams and considerations of jobs and careers to take a crummy-paying job that lets her travel and be around music — even if it’s not rock and roll — and meet rich people?

So I gotta find that out. Right away, I feel a connection to this girl.

And then she finds a way to be what looks like a music journalist, although “writing about the business” could mean she sits at a desk all day and is the one who compiles lists of the most played songs on the radio and what tour is raking in the biggest money. Could be boring as anything.

I like, too, that this isn’t the usual. It’s insta-lust, but it’s not love. It’s about Lily’s learning about herself, near as I can figure. That’s fresh. It’s different.

Bring it. There aren’t a lot of books, let alone Rock Fiction, that I gotta read because I’m on board from the get-go. This is one of ’em.

(Btw, a bit of GoodReads research shows this is the first in a trilogy about these two, and the plot intrigues the hell out of me. Fresh as anything. I’m in heaven. Or would be if I could read the damn things.)

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A few months ago, back closer to its release date, everyone was talking about this one. Even Susan’s friend Mary at Bookhounds has already read it.

But no one over here likes the Rock Fiction experts. Or else they just don’t know enough about us yet.

Yeah, that.

The book is Three Nights with a Rock Star, and here’s what it’s about

When Hailey crashes a Half-Life after party, she expects to find the bastard who knocked up her little sister. Instead she meets the sexy front-man who agrees to give her access to his crew if she gives him access to her body.

All Lock demands in return is three days of complete control over the Sunday School teacher. With a contract, because he’s been burned before. One misstep could send the band—and his tenuous sobriety—up in flames.

Hailey and Lock push each other’s limits… Against the penthouse window. Backstage. In the limo and on the elevator. But as the contract counts down, neither are ready for the party to end.

Glancing over the reviews from those lucky enough to get review copies, it seems they’re kinda mixed. Of course there’s some cliche going on here. The hot rock star, for starters. Makes me wonder what those people were expecting. And it’s a romance, so you know how it’s going to end.

What has me curious, beyond the sex, is who was dumb enough to knock up some chick. Why sister Chloe was on the road in the first place. Why someone so supposedly straight-laced as Hailey is willing to cut loose with someone like Lock, and why she thinks she’ll have time to play detective when she should be warming this dude’s bed. So to speak ’cause it doesn’t sound like they ever make use of a bed.

Yeah, gotta read this one all right.

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Susan and I are having a debate about this one. She says it’s Young Adult. I say it’s New Adult. She says it sounds like it could be, but a sixteen-year-old protagonist means it’s Young Adult. I ended it by telling her it ultimately didn’t matter. Both YA and NA are tailor-made for Rock Fiction.

She didn’t argue.

Here’s what we’re arguing about:

Sixteen-year-old Lily O’Brien has one goal in life—to sing. Her dream is to get into a topnotch college vocal program, but the summer before her junior year, her high school cuts their awarding-winning vocal ensemble. She might as well kiss her dreams goodbye.

When the snobby new neighbors move into their mansion up the hill, Lily is positive summer can’t get any worse, and she’s determined to hate and ignore them—until she meets Aiden.

He’s broken and beautiful, and they become reluctant friends. Through her newfound friendship, she finds the strength to step outside the comfort of her plan and follow her dream.

But when Lily’s family is about to lose their home, she puts her wishes aside and finds the answer to save their generations-old ranch in the last place she expected.

 

I like that Lily wants to sing. She doesn’t want to be a star. She wants to sing, and she’s going to go to school and learn how to do it the right way. But what’s that cliche? Something about life happening when you’ve made plans?

A few more cliches — the teenager rescues the family. Look, it wasn’t that long ago that I was a teen, convinced I could save myself if I saved the world first (hello my first marriage). Crappy self-esteem that others magnify. I get it. I do. I was that kid, too.

I guess I’m looking for something that breaks out of the usual mold.

The early reviews on this one were pretty good, so I’m curious to take a look for myself. YA Rock Fiction is probably my favorite of all the genres the category (see? I’m using Susan’s terms the right way for once) covers, so I’m already halfway a fan. I just wish it wasn’t the same thing, book after book.

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Claire Brighton has just finished college and is abandoning her warm, southern home in favor of gritty New York City. Her search for the perfect roommate leads her to Lydia Taylor. Lydia lives a life of privilege in her father’s penthouse, but like Claire, she’s ready to go out into the world on her own. Claire and Lydia rent a little apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, near Lydia’s older brother, Jason. Claire is intrigued by Lydia’s stories of Jason, who is the black sheep of the family—and a musician. The minute Claire hears him sing, she falls for him. Claire thrives in her new urban surroundings, treasuring her time with Jason and exploring her new found sexuality, but both Claire and Jason carry shadows with them. They’re each fighting wounds of their past. Will they defeat their demons? Will their feelings for each other last?

This had only been out about a week when Susan sent me the book description. She confessed she’d already caught a few typos, but told me to brace myself because she hadn’t fixed them all — in the book description alone. And then she ranted and raved about how long the staff list for editors and proofreaders was and why couldn’t they get this basic stuff down.

I think being an editor has warped Susan somehow.

Let’s talk about the book. When you talk New Adult, this is what I think of. Kids right out of college and starting life on their own. It’s not easy. I just did it a few years ago and so yeah, I know. What makes Claire think she’s going to find her perfect roommate’s beyond me, but that’s a small thing. Maybe Lydia’s only perfect because she connects Claire to Jason. Who knows? Gotta read the book.

And… I don’t know. It seems the whole hidden secrets thing is being overdone right now. Yeah, we all have secrets. Maybe they aren’t even secrets, so much as things you just don’t talk about, you know? Like my ex. I don’t talk about him much. Hell, I only think about him when I’m talking about things I don’t think about, so what does that tell you? That he’s not important and if we’d all quit talking about hidden secrets, I could quit talking about him and then I could really forget about him.

The biggest question here is about the Rock. Is this Rock Fiction, or is Jason’s singing voice the vehicle for Claire to want to spend time with the guy? Only one way to find out. Gotta read it.

And I’m not seeing the typos Susan was in the description, but I believe her that they’re there. That woman can spot a typo ten miles off, and so you gotta wonder why people want their books published by so-called professionals who can’t manage basic grammar. I don’t get it.

Susan Griscom was nice enough to send a digital copy of her book, Beautifully Wounded, and let me start by saying it’s a good read. But it’s not Rock Fiction.

Why not? Well, because it takes more than a scene with a woman playing a guitar and talk about making music to be Rock Fiction. To cross the line into Rock Fiction, music has to permeate the book somehow. It’s got to be central, but in Beautifully Wounded, what’s central is the struggle of Lena to get away from her abusive husband, emotionally as well as physically.

That part of the book is well done, near as I can tell. I wonder if someone who’s escaped an abusive husband would agree ’cause maybe, Lena falls for Jackson too fast. But maybe Lena’s one of those women who needs to be in a relationship. And that’s the biggest problem I have with this book: Lena’s needy and in denial about it. Oh, and she’s not terribly screwed up by the abuse. You’d think she would be, right?

But there’s a sweetness to this book. It unfolds slowly, like the author’s taking care of us the same way Jackson takes care of Lena. Not slow like it’s draggy and hard to keep reading. It’s actually leisurely and pretty much just right. Oh, sure, there’s the cliché confrontation at the end, but c’mon. What other end can there be when you’re dealing with an abusive spouse? How else can there be closure?

Real life isn’t that neat, but that’s why fiction is good stuff. Sometimes, it’s good to know it can be, and it fits this book pretty well.

I’d say this one’s worth a read but not if you’re looking for Rock Fiction.

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I’m stealing the site back from Jett for a few minutes here because Nalini Singh has long been on my I need to read this author and see what the fuss is about list. I hear things about her structure, her talent, her ability… she’s like a goddess in certain circles. One of the best writers of the moment.

But as anyone who hangs at West of Mars knows, I’m a pretty busy camper, running a small business and being a single mom and all. So reading… often falls by the wayside. And even then, a number of years ago, I dug myself a sinkhole of books that I try not to add to. So I’m reading stuff that’s been waiting for me for years.

Sadly, Nalini’s books aren’t in that pile. (I don’t think. At 500+ books, it can be hard to keep straight. But you’d think I’d have looked and you’d think if any had been there, I’d have read them.)

But now I’ve got a reason to pick one up. Or at least a reason to pass it on to Jett, who I can hear whooping in the background. Yep, Nalini has written some Rock Fiction.

Rock Courtship is the name of it, and here’s the description:

What happens when the Gentleman of Rock decides to play dirty?

A drummer for the hottest rock band on the planet, David has a single, powerful weakness: Thea, the band’s publicist and the woman who steals his breath away with her every move.

Only problem is, Thea doesn’t date clients—or musicians. Emotionally scarred by a cheating ex, she’s not about to risk her heart with a man who has groupies buzzing around him like flies. Even if his sexy smile ties her up in knots.

What she doesn’t know is that David is a one-woman man…and he’s madly in love with her. David’s determined to prove he’s worth the risk, and willing to court her, step by exquisite step. Thea’s about to discover just how long and hard this handsome drummer can play.

Oh, no! It’s the employee trope again! I gotta admit, I’m disappointed to see this from such a well-regarded author. And while I know there are only so many plots that exist in the world, the whole “I’m gonna sleep with my boss/employee” thing really irks me. Oh, I know it happens in the music biz. It happens on a daily basis. But in fiction, it bugs me; it’s too convenient and I continue to wonder, time and again, what sort of reputation these women — because it’s always the women who are the publicists and managers and whatnot — wind up with. Not among the public, but in the industry. “Oh, we just hired a new one. Figure she’ll be here for six months before she runs off with one of the clients. I’m already checking resumes for her replacement.”

THAT sort of reputation. Do you think band management ever says, “Hey, let’s hire firm so-and-so for our publicity/touring/insert-band-job-here because our guitarist needs to fall in love and settle down.”

And do you think we can EVER find a rocker who DOESN’T have groupies all over him? Again, I know: it’s part of the lifestyle, but on the other hand, in Rock Fiction, it’s almost like the two go hand in hand. The love interest always is dripping in girls. But look! He’s rarely the manwhore he lets the public think he is. He’s really a good guy and…

Well, I’m told if there’s anyone who can rise above, it’s Nalini, so bring it, girl. Set a new bar for Rock Fiction.

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Okay, so I’m late with this. Anyone surprised? I picked my name, Jett, hoping it’d help speed me up. No such luck. Not yet, anyway.

But it’s November now, and Rocktober’s over. I think it was a huge success, even if I didn’t have as many authors stopping in as I’d wanted. Susan says it’s Rocktober year-round over here, so tell your Rock Fiction friends and authors. Stop in. Spread the word. This is THE home of Rock Fiction, so take advantage.

And man oh man, is this a good time to be into Rock Fiction. I’ve got posts drafted and tabs open like you can’t believe. The sky’s the limit, says me, whose name Ostra means something even bigger.

Jump on, fasten your seatbelts, and all that other stuff. This ride’s just about to take off.

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During the deluge that turned into Rocktober — I have never seen so much Rock Fiction in my life — I came across author Emme Rollins. Looks like she’s my type of girl ’cause she writes primarily Rock Fiction. Why isn’t she hanging out with us here? Especially since it looks like the fourth book in her Trouble series is coming out at the end of this month?

The series, like I said, is called The Trouble Series. Why? Well, because Trouble is the name of the band. Interesting name choice, given that in real life, there IS a band named Trouble. They’re doom metal, and they’re one of the founding fathers of the genre. I suspect, given this warning, there’s nothing doom about this fictional Trouble.

Warning: This full 45,000 word novel the ultimate fantasy come true when a female fan meets a sexy rock star guitar god with enough pluck to make the g-string on your Stratocaster quiver for days. (Note: This title was originally published as “Happy Accident”)

Sounds fairly typical, no? Although I gotta tell you, Susan’s wearing off on me. I can pick out some typos in the rest of the book description.

But there are some fresh ideas in here. For one, the hot sexy guitarist is married, so if you’re not into that sort of thing, steer clear. Apparently, in the second book, his divorce happens, but still.

It’s the third book I’m kinda iffy about. He wants his girlfriend/fiancee to join the band? Really? That’s the sort of lovebirdy thing that garage bands do, not major bands. Yeah, yeah, Patti’s in Bruce’s band, but that’s different. Know why? Patti was already Bruce’s backup singer. He didn’t promote her to co-lead singer. Heck, I still think with her voice, she’s under-used.

Like always, gotta read it to see how it’s handled. Oh, and the upcoming fourth book is about Bree’s best friend, and her play for the guitarist in Trouble.

But I don’t know. There’s something starting to feel tired about the fan meets the band member of her dreams and it’s insta-lust and she’s the one for him trope. Rollins has another series out, so maybe that one’s fresher.