Archive for May, 2015

Jett-300x300

Three shorties come together to make one novel. Check it:

“Tonight on stage, Ray Sandler was all those old fantasies come back to life. Emily Rivers soaked up his every move and she felt alive again for the first time in what felt like years. She never thought he would actually notice her, though.”

Emily is a successful woman in the tail end of a failing marriage. Ray is the reformed wild boy of rock, back on stage again for the first time in years. As a teenager Emily had Ray’s posters all over her bedroom wall so when she gets backstage tickets it’s as if her dreams have come true. Actually meeting him is an unexpected highlight of the evening, but that’s as far as it could ever go. They come from such different worlds: what could an international star ever see in a grounded, curvy woman like Emily? And how long could they ever keep such a relationship private when everyone from jealous fans to intrusive reporters wants a piece of Ray?

As things turn out to be even more complicated than she had first believed, and when tragedy and angry exes threaten to pull them apart and their secret affair threatens to go spectacularly public, can Emily do anything or has it all gone way beyond her control?

And when one of the sweetest things a man has ever done for Emily turns out to be a lie, will she ever be able to trust him again?

A story of secret romance in the world of the super-rich: an international celebrity and his unlikely BBW love. Steamy and passionate and full of the twists and turns familiar to readers of PJ Adams’ work, including the bestsellers Winner Takes All and Black Widow.

“It’s our song, Emily. It’s your song. It’s for you. Everything’s for you, now.”

[Previously published separately as a three-part serial, this edition has been rewritten as a single novel.]

I can hear Susan twitching at those typos in the description. Wow, even I noticed them, and I’m not that great with commas. And I gotta say, there’s a lot that’s familiar: the woman who’s worshipped her rock god and gets to meet him. An instant attraction. And then the issues that pull them apart — anyone else notice how that’s becoming the de facto plot?

Still, like I always say, it can be based on familiar stuff and still be awesome, so bring it and let’s see how awesome it is.

Jett-300x300

I have a question about this one right off the bat, so let’s get right to it.

Sometimes when you fall, you land just where you need to be…

Gwen Tennison got out of Afghanistan alive but scarred–and then got stuck on her sister’s couch. When she’s offered a job managing the U.S. tour for rock music’s hottest, most troubled star, it seems like just the thing to snap her out of her post-injury funk. Her instructions are simple: start the shows on time, and keep him clean.

But Lucas Wheeler may be more than she can handle. Though he’s drug-free, he still feels the need, and his gorgeous, capable new tour manager is a challenge he can’t ignore. Fame and infamy have forced Lucas to protect his heart, but soon he finds himself craving Gwen’s touch, and yearning to give her control. And Gwen might feel the same way.

But it’s not just the mutual heat between them that is keeping Gwen on her toes. Someone is following Lucas from city to city. With more than just her job on the line Gwen must decide how much she’s willing to risk to keep Lucas safe.

So aside from the two typos Susan found — and she’s yowling that it’s not just self-publishing where this is a problem, because this book was published by a division of Penguin, which is one of the biggest of the big publishers — we’ve both got an issue with how this starts off. Gwen gets out of Afghanistan alive and … winds up as a tour manager.

Susan has friends who’ve worked in the industry as roadies for years and haven’t been tapped to make that leap. Why does Gwen? How? Is she competent for the job? It’s so much more than keeping someone clean and starting shows on time. Hell, starting shows on time isn’t even the tour manager’s job. (It’s the production manager’s, for you who’re keeping score.)

Now, maybe the story itself will make a lot of sense once you get past that. But maybe it won’t. It’s hard to tell because there’s a lot of focus on the “capable new tour manager” and … well, from this description, it just doesn’t wash. Not unless she’s got a history of working in the business prior to the whole Afghanistan thing.

And is she a bodyguard or a tour manager? A tour manager’s not going to be expected to put her life on the line for her artist. Just… no. She’s not security. She’s the band’s asshole. Security is security. Tour manager is tour manager. Two different jobs.

The hard thing with Rock Fiction is establishing expertise. If the author can’t do that, what’s the point of setting the book in the rock world?

Yeah, I know. It’s a sexy place. The glamour. The bright lights. The stage clothes — it’s like playing dress-up. The roaring audience. I’ll admit it: I’m intrigued by the people behind all that, too. Who are they? What pulls them in and makes them want to be part of it? Because let’s face it: one of the first things you learn when you start hanging out backstage is just how grimy and scummy it is.

But you gotta sound like you know what you’re talking about. And from the description here, I’m not hopeful.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I won’t read it. It just means I’m going to approach it with a little bit less of my usual excitement and expectation. Who knows? Maybe that’ll let me rate it higher once I hit the end. Set the bar low and all that… And I’m hoping this is the only thing wrong with the book. I really am.

Jett-300x300

We don’t get a lot of Rock Fiction written by rockers themselves, but here’s one for you. And maybe you don’t consider a mere songwriter to be a rocker, but I sure do, especially when you’ve got as many Grammys on her shelf as Cynthia Weil’s collected during her career.

And now she’s writing books. I bet you dollars to donuts (who came up with that phrase and can I just have the donuts, please?) she’s written a fab book. I mean, hello? The woman writes for a living!

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and songwriting legend Cynthia Weil’s extraordinary YA debut opens the secretive doors of the Brill Building-the hit factory that changed history. Part Mad Men, part Grace of my Heart, part murder mystery, I’m Glad I Did is a coming-of-age story at an unforgettable cultural tipping point: the summer of 1963.

JJ Greene, a gifted 16-year-old songwriter, defies her lawyer parents by secretly applying for a job in the famed Brill Building-the epicenter of songwriting for a new genre called rock-n-roll. But their warnings about the evils of the music industry prove far darker than she imagined when she finds herself at the heart of a cover-up that involves hidden identity, theft, and possibly murder.

Susan, who once had a friend who worked at Tin Pan Alley, is going to be beside herself to get her hands on this one. You have to know Rock’s past to fully understand it, she says all the time. I’m not sure I agree, but music history is a heck of a lot more interesting than some of the history I had to learn in school. And working for a symphony, I get a lot of music history.

Nothing this recent, though.

Okay, then. Bring it on and hopefully I can hide it from Susan and read it myself.

Jett-300x300

I think Susan will relate to this one better than I will, but this is pretty much my site now, so here goes.

What happens when the world you love doesn’t press pause when you do? Singer-songwriter Christine Daley hit the streets of Boston and became a minor celebrity-with a local radio hit-in the 90s, but a “short” career break to marry and have kids changed everything. Now, sixteen years later, she’s a frustrated suburban housewife, struggling to find her place in life. After filing for divorce, she learns that her attempts to reestablish her own rhythms-both in music and in love-are more complicated than she’d anticipated. Her two teenagers are desperate for their mom, and her soon-to-be-ex-husband is throwing every obstacle he can in her way. Adding to the stress is the progress in technology, which has not only changed the music industry, but also the dating world. Is there room in the mix for Chris?

Lots going on here, and it could pull the Rock Fiction out of the book, or the Rock Fiction can compliment the story or… I don’t know! Let me read it and see. But be careful. This is one Susan may not let me have.

Jett-300x300

Believe me, I know that Jessica Sorensen’s second in this series is already out. You should hear Susan’s outraged yowls about its title; let’s all make up new words!

But we’re not here to talk about that one. Nope, let’s start with the very beginning. I hear it’s a very good place to start.

Lyric Scott has always had a good life. Outgoing, spunky, and musically talented, she’s constantly surrounded by family and friends, yet she still feels there’s something missing.

Then she meets her new next-door neighbor Ayden Gregory. Mysterious, sweet, and sad, Ayden is the exact opposite of Lyric and exactly what she needs to fill the void in her life.

Ayden has been through more than most people and believes his life is always going to be rocky, so when he’s suddenly adopted by the Gregorys, he’s thrown for a turn. But even with a new, loving family, he still finds himself haunted by the memories of his old life. The only true breath of fresh air is when he’s with his best friend, Lyric Scott.

As Lyric and Ayden grow closer, the lines of their friendship start to blur. But when Ayden’s past unexpectedly pushes its way into his new life, their friendship and newfound attraction will be tested.

**A novel about Ella and Micha’s daughter and Lila and Ethan’s son from The Secret Series. However, this series can be read on its own.**

So Lyric is missing the angst gene, like Susan. And Ayden fills that need, and for him, Lyric shows him what it means to be happy.

But where’s the music? Where’s the Rock Fiction?

Supposedly, it’s there. The other Jessica Sorensen books I’ve come across all have a Rock Fiction angle to them (she says even though she hasn’t read them yet to verify), and Lyric is the daughter of some rockers. So we’ll have to trust that this is more than yin and yang coming together. We’ll have to trust that the music’s really there.

Jett-300x300

At first, I was hoping this book had some cool other culture associations with it, but from this description, I might have lost hope.

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like . . . until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything.

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule . . . Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

Okay, so right off the bat, I’m confused. She thought she knew what it was like, and then she was a star. And after she was a star, she lost a stupid TV talent show and went home with her tail between her legs and got a phone call.

Umm… so when exactly was she a star? Before or after that stint on TV? Why would such an unlikeable person get the gig? Why her, and why not a million others, who’d get along better with the band and have the fans eating out of her hand from the get-go? Is she in high school? College? What’s she a senior of?

Yeah. Color me confused.

Someone send me a copy so I can figure all this out ’cause right now, it’s kinda seeming like a hot mess.

Jett-300x300

So I said to Susan, “I hated this. I gave up on, like, page eight.”

And she said, “Give me a break. Try again.”

This time, I got maybe halfway through before I’d had enough. Gary Benchley is one whiny boy. He’s not anyone I want to spend time with, so … too bad, boss. I don’t like spending time with him. Fingernails on a chalkboard.

Now, this book is compared all the time to Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. So, since I’ve never read that, it was off to the library with me.

And… from the first page, I could tell High Fidelity was a better book. Rob’s more pleasant to spend time with, but in the end, he’s no one I want to be around for 300 and more pages. I got to page 205, in case you’re keeping track. But the guy’s a loser. He’s in his thirties, he’s whiny, he’s not successful at what he does and worst of all, he doesn’t seem to care.

So where’s the Rock Fiction? Who cares? In High Fidelity, Rob works in a record store and he and his little loser buddies put everything in the context of music. In Gary Benchley, Gary wants to be in a band. Whee. It’s hard to care about the rock when the people are so gross and pathetic.

Yeah, skip both these. Unless you like whiny men, and then you’re golden.

Jett-300x300

Here’s a twist of a book for you. The second in a series, this is the only Rock Fiction so far. I think.

Shy music geek Emerson Foshay breaks into a cold sweat and is rendered speechless whenever Lola Brown, the girl of his dreams, steps into his guitar shop. But once a stray cat named Sam follows him home, everything changes and Emerson becomes the coolest guy in town.

Love that it’s a cat that makes the guy cool. Me, I’m a dog person and dogs make a person the coolest of the cool, but here, it’s a cat.

But… what’s the book actually about? Emerson being cool? Landing the girl? Connecting with Lola? Outgrowing her ’cause of the cat? And does catnip make him roll around and drool?

Inquiring minds. Like mine..

Jett-300x300

Susan’s known Lynne Connolly’s name for awhile now. She reviews somewhere online, and Susan reads those reviews.

I wish I had time to read other reviews, but I’m still behind on reviews I owe Susan and yeah, I got into a bit of trouble in the library again. I did it in the name of a review, though, one Susan had asked me for, so it’s … not as bad as usual.

So. This book. Born to be Wild — Steppenwolf, baby!

Maybe. Here’s what it’s about.

For six years Riku has wanted only one woman. Every person he has had on tour with the Murder City Ravens has been unable to compare to the electric lovemaking he had with Cyn. They had everything together, love, passion, fire, sex—until the day she left him and everything between them behind. Riku wants answers as to why she left, but he wants her more.

Cyn abandoned her future as an opera singer—and her relationship with Riku—when she dropped out of the Institute. A day hasn’t gone by that she doesn’t crave Riku’s body against hers. Now he’s back in her life, if only for a few weeks, and she plans to make the most of the time they have. Dressing rooms, the manager’s office, no location is off limits for their whirlwind romance. Cyn knows she can’t keep him, but that doesn’t stop her from falling for him, mind, body and soul, all over again.

WHY do women do this? WHY do we give up our dreams for a man? Do we really think we’ll be happy? For real?

Anyway, this is the sixth book in the Nightstar series that Connolly’s written, and judging by the paltry numbers of reviews on GoodReads (I didn’t read any! I swear!), this series is flying under the radar. That means I gotta find out why. And probably start at the beginning, too. That would be good.

Anyone know anything about these books? Anyone?

Add ’em to my list. And hopefully, my local library’s got copies so next time I go in and start causing trouble for myself, it’s so I can give Susan something better than what she asked for.

Jett-300x300

Back in Rocktober, Susan Griscom sent me a review copy of her two Beaumont Brothers books, Beautifully Wounded and Beautifully Used. Took me awhile to get through them, and I already reviewed Beautifully Wounded. I think the fact that it’s not Rock Fiction had me dragging my heels about getting Beautifully Used read … and then reviewed. I finished it awhile ago. Like a month or so.

But I take good notes. So let’s get to it:

Beautifully Used is the story of one of the minor characters in Beautifully Wounded, Jackson’s brother Brodie. Brodie’s your classic male slut and although I kept wondering why word never got out in this small town they purportedly live in about what a slut he was, the girls kept coming around. I don’t know. I’ve never been the type to seek out the easy lays, and it’s not like Brodie had the freedom to go chase tail: as a bartender, he’s pretty much locked into a fixed location. That’s why I wonder why word never got out about him.

And then, in the first book, he meets Gabrielle, the best friend of his brother’s girl. For Brodie, it’s lust at first sight, of course. Gabrielle isn’t so sure.

Which is why Lena and Jackson push them repeatedly into close quarters as they wind up essentially being the last-minute go-fers for Lena and Jackson’s wedding. Lena’s so glad to have her friend around, but in her pre-wedding Bridezilla self-obsession doesn’t spend that much time with her friend. Jackson, likewise, is absent. So it’s Gabby and Brodie and yeah, there’s no hope for them. We know they’ll be together.

The conflict comes in a way that’s too similar to the first book, too. Stalkers, confrontations in the woods, almost deaths. Brodie’s habits are less of an issue than this stalker-dude, and Gabby’s horrific past is dealt with way too easily.

While there’s more music in this one — the band goes on the road for a show, in a pretty implausible way (but it’s still fun — I have stress that. It’s fun) — it’s still not Rock Fiction. There’s not enough music, not enough of the right elements that push these people from being people into being stars. They’re just people who make music.

So. Lots of negatives here. And yeah, there are. But like the first book, this is a fun, easy read. It’s perfect for a day on the beach, a time when you want to escape into someone else’s life and see that they have it as tough, if not tougher, than you do, but at the same time, their problems aren’t insurmountable.

Not every book has to be lofty, not every book has to tackle the big issues. Sometimes, easy breezy is the way to go, and with that, Griscom delivers in spades. It’s a good escapist couple of hours, and I’m glad I read these.

Huge thanks to Susan Griscom (as opposed to our site owner, Susan) for sharing her books.