Archive for May, 2016

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I feel like we’re turning into total fangirls for Kylie Scott without having read a single word of hers! But she puts out the books, we keep finding them, and so we keep adding to what of hers that we covet.

Here’s another one, Deep:

Don’t miss a beat with the fourth and final novel in the USA Today bestselling Stage Dive series from Kylie Scott.

Positive. With two little lines on a pregnancy test, everything in Lizzy Rollins’ ordinary life is about to change forever. And all because of one big mistake in Vegas with Ben Nicholson, the irresistibly sexy bass player for Stage Dive. So what if Ben’s the only man she’s ever met who can make her feel completely safe, cherished, and out of control with desire at the same time? Lizzy knows the gorgeous rock star isn’t looking for anything more permanent than a good time, no matter how much she wishes differently.

Ben knows Lizzy is off limits. Completely and utterly. She’s his best friend’s little sister now, and no matter how hot the chemistry is between them, no matter how sweet and sexy she is, he’s not going to go there. But when Ben is forced to keep the one girl he’s always had a weakness for out of trouble in Sin City, he quickly learns that what happens in Vegas, doesn’t always stay there. Now he and Lizzie are connected in the deepest way possible… but will it lead to a connection of the heart?

This one’s perfect for anyone who loves the little sister trope. And the unexpected pregnancy trope. And anyone who’s read the first three in the series, as well.

Does anyone know if you can jump into the middle of this series, or is it a start-at-the-start type? Anyone read ANY Kylie Scott yet? Anyone got a lead to get her to stop in and guest blog?

 

 

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In a rock fiction book, I love it when the music lives and breathes, when the rock star character transcends cliché, and I give lots of bonus points for a take-charge, professional-woman heroine. You Really Got Me checked all my boxes, and for that, I award it 4.25 stars.

You Really Got Me

The book starts out with Emmie working as an A&R manager’s personal assistant (that’s the guy within a record label who discovers and works with bands). She’s hyper-competent, and from the first page, I loved the detail-oriented peek at exactly what machinations go on behind the curtain of managing bands. However, her boss won’t promote her to finding her own bands, so she says promote me or quit. He says, find me The Next Big Thing and we’ll talk. She moves in with her brother in his rock band’s shared house to cut her expenses while she searches Austin, Texas for a new band to sign.

While there, she becomes friends with the whole band, especially their soulful, manwhore-with-a-heart lead singer, Slater. She overhauls the band’s image, again giving us a cool look at what it takes (beyond the music) to make or break a band. The sexual tension between Emmie and Slater SCREAMS off the page, but she’s been hurt before and she’s not about to be the dumb girl who loses her heart to a rocker right before he goes off on tour and cheats on her.

Nothing new there, right? But like any good trope, it’s all about the execution, and Emmie and Slater breathe life and humanity into the setup, reminding us that this is a familiar story because it’s TRUE. It happens all the time in the musical world. I adored the friendship between Emmie and Slater, and I was dying for the consummation of their relationship almost as much as they were. Plus, once Slater falls for Emmie, he falls hard, and it’s so vicariously delicious to watch such an incredible specimen of a man be totally devoted to his woman. Plus, he doesn’t just play music and write songs, he fixes stuff and helps Emmie run errands and sue me, but that’s just hot. Give me a man with a tool box and a guitar and I need nothing else in life.

Drawbacks? Toward the end, Emmie’s reluctance started to feel a little contrived, like I’d seen too many exchanges of her distrust while Slater laid it all on the line for her. But just as I was thinking that, it wrapped up into a hilarious scene where she realized what she was screwing up. I also would have given it a few more fractions of a star if the rest of the band were filled out more on the page. There were five of them, and that’s a lot, but we didn’t get to know them and their friendship with Emmie as deeply as I would have liked. However, Emmie’s brother and his insecurities and backstory were very nicely filled out, so I’m excited for his book (up next in the series!) What I did love about this book? The realism of the conflict and characters, the mouthwatering sexual tension, the songwriting and performing scenes and oooh la la! The musical details of what it’s like to manage a band. Very cool. This author just won herself a place on my top 10 Rock Fic authors, and I’ll be checking out the rest of her books directly.

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First in a series alert! First in a series alert!

And while the book title is awesome, the series falls back on the old Cliches. This one’s All Access.

Here’s the description of Book One, The Search for Paradise:

If you’re like most fans of rock and roll, then you imagine the life of a rock star is all about easy fame and fortune, big money, all-night partying, and doing what you love most. The same goes for writers and film stars, right?

Well, the money is good, the parties are happening, and we are doing what we love more than anything in the world, but getting there isn’t as easy as you think. My name is Tina Marz, and while I’m searching for my paradise, life throws me a lot of curves and hard lessons in my search for my success. It is all about hard work, long hours, and just when I think paradise is within reach…maybe it’s not. Come join me on my journey to the top, and I’ll give you an all access look at the truth about life in the spotlight…my life.

Okay, so this is… the character or the author talking to us? Or both? Yeah, okay, the lead character sports a variation on the author’s name, but… c’mon.

Lots of questions here, beginning with if this is fiction or not. Doesn’t seem to be a romance, either, so that’s another point in its favor.

Anyone else as curious as me?

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Better call Susan because this one’s a historical and it’s set against a music fest and it’s probably the same thing for her as handing her one of those pound-plus chocolate bars at Trader Joe’s. Check out what I mean:

After an exhausting Season, Bath’s first annual music festival offers Charity the perfect escape. Between her newly formed trio and her music-loving grandmother, Charity is free to play the pianoforte to her heart’s content. That is, until their insufferably rude, though undeniably handsome, neighbor tells her to keep the “infernal racket” to a minimum.

Hugh Danby, Baron Cadgwith, may think he’s put an end to the noise, but he has no idea what he’s begun. Though the waters of Bath provide relief from the suffering of his war injuries, he finds his new neighbor bothersome, vexing, and… inexplicably enchanting. Before long, Hugh suspects that even if his body heals, it’s his heart that might end up broken.

Oh, hell. Susan just took a look at a draft of this and texted me to guess what she just put on hold at her local library. Look out for her review before too long!

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I love a good Southern novel, and I love Rock Fiction that’s off the beaten path, and I just love good books, and let me start off by saying that Last Ride to Graceland has it all.

I may not need to say anything else—go get your own copy and see if you agree—but just in case, here you go:

Last Ride to Graceland is the story of Cory Beth Ainsworth, who interprets a rather cryptic message from her father and winds up setting off on an impromptu road trip that teaches her more than she ever imagined about her mother—and herself.

Her first discovery is one of Elvis’ cars, the famed Stutz Blackhawk itself. She had known her mother had spent a year—Elvis’ last year on Earth—as one of his backup singers. But she hadn’t known the car was there, almost right under her nose, bundled up for safekeeping.

Now, she’d long ago figured out that her father, Bradley, wasn’t her biologic father. That’s not news to anyone in this book. Nine-pound babies simply aren’t born after seven months of pregnancy, and that’s Cory’s logic when she figures out the truth. But Bradley’s a good man and by and large, Cory’s never thought too much about who donated half her genes. Why should she? By all accounts, her mother adored her. Bradley isn’t just a good man; he’s a good father, even if there’s been some space between them since Cory’s mother died.

But then this message and this chance at unraveling the past is dropped in her lap. And let’s face it: how can anyone resist? As a reader, I can’t. Could Elvis be Cory’s real father? Is that where her gift of music comes from?

I’m not going to spoil it. What I am going to say is that this is an effortless read, one that sucks you in and holds you in its spell until the last page, when you emerge satisfied, refreshed, and maybe a bit jealous that this brush with rock and roll royalty wasn’t really yours. You were just a voyeur, coming along for the trip. And on that trip, we meet great characters of all sorts, some whose motives are very clear and some whose motives never are.

My only complaint, and it’s a big one, is that we’re told Cory is thirty-seven. But she doesn’t seem that old to me. In fact, I kept expecting her to be in her twenties, which tends to be the decade for lost people to find themselves (by and large; I know a couple of folk in their early thirties who are still pretty darn lost). I have a hard time believing Cory is thirty-seven. It just doesn’t fit. And it’s not because I was a wife and mother at thirty-seven and Cory isn’t. She just has an air about her that doesn’t fit with any of the thirty-somes I know, even the ones who are a bit lost. She’s too naïve, too innocent, too inexperienced at the phenomenon of getting out of bed every day and doing what you have to do, even if all you have to do is breathe.

No matter how big this complaint, it’s not a good enough reason to keep you from picking this one up. Like I said, it hits all my favorites: Southern fiction, Rock Fiction, road trips, a story that’s off the beaten path (as the best Southern fiction is), great characters…

Really. Go grab a copy.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for approving me for the read. This is, of course, unvarnished truth. Meaning they didn’t pay me to gush like this. It just happened.

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There’s something about this that makes me think it’s YA, although the first sentence says the character has his own apartment. New Adult, then? It just seems young.

I’m Tyler Lindsey, and until recently, I had an okay apartment, an okay girlfriend, and an okay job as a bellboy at a respectable Boston hotel. Then rock star Chris Raiden died right before I brought his room service—stiffing me on the tip, by the way—and my life went to hell. My fifteen minutes of fame was more like five seconds, and my girlfriend left me in disgust.

But even worse—Chris is haunting me. Not the room where he died, like a normal ghost. No, somehow he’s stuck to me and is insisting on taking care of a bunch of unfinished business in California. So now I have to traipse across the country with the world’s most narcissistic ghost.

But . . . I keep having these weird thoughts. Thoughts about how much I like the way he makes me laugh. Thoughts where I kind of want to kiss the emo-narcissist, even though he’s a ghost and an asshole and I can’t touch him anyway. And even if I could, what will happen when he finishes his business and nothing’s keeping him here anymore?

Okay, I like the ghost idea here. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a totally new and fresh plot!

But I’m not so sure about other stuff. Like the fact that Tyler here is whining about the guy dying without leaving a tip for something that hadn’t been delivered yet. Into yourself much? And then this guy calls the ghost a narcissist twice and … just who’s got the complex here?

Still, we don’t see a lot of ghost stories in Rock Fiction, which is weird because if there was ever a section of lit that begs for it, this is it. And now we’ve got one, so Jett here is gonna shut up and hope a copy of this lands on her e-reader so she can see what it’s all about and if this ghost story lives up to its potential.

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This one might be tricky. It’s the third in a series, and the series is all about the same family, so we’re kind of dropping into the middle here. But it looks like only kind of, because everything that happened in the first two books may not matter as much here, because this is a trip through the past. Check it out to see what I mean:

In 1970, Lenny can no longer deny that his wife is undergoing a profound change. Despite her relatively young age, her mind succumbs to forgetfulness. Now, he goes as far back as the moment he met Natasha during WWII, when he was a soldier and she—a star, brilliant yet illusive. Natasha was a riddle to him then, and to this day, with all the changes she has gone through, she still is.

“Digging into the past, mining its moments, trying to piece them together this way and that, dusting off each memory of Natasha, of how we were, the highs and lows of the music of us, to find out where the problem may have started?”

To their son, Ben, that may seem like an exercise in futility. For Lenny, it is a necessary process of discovery, one that is as tormenting as it is delightful. He often wonders: can we ever understand, truly understand each other—soldier and musician, man and woman, one heart and another? Will we ever again dance together to the same beat? Is there a point where we may still touch?

These are some deep questions. They’re awesome questions, too. I’d read this, even without checking out the first two.

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What can you say about a book with a title this super?

Twenty-one-year-old front girl Emmylou knows that getting her band noticed in the ‘90s indie rock scene will be no easy task. She definitely knows better than to break the number one rule of the band: Don’t sleep with your bandmates! But after she ends up having the best sex of her life with her guitarist, Travis, she finds following that rule is a lot harder than it sounds.

When the band gets the gig of their dreams, making it big seems just within reach. But Emmy’s inability to keep her hands off Travis threatens everything they’ve worked for. Can Emmy find a way to break the rules and not blow the chance of a lifetime?

Now, I don’t know that sleeping with your bandmates is the #1 rule. I mean, look at Fleetwood Mac. Rob Zombie and Sean Yseult. I know there are others, too, but just can’t think of ’em right now. But if that’s the rule for this band — which has no name — then, yeah, Emmylou, babe, you’re flirting with trouble.

The way this is written, Emmylou’s got a bigger problem than you’d think at first. I mean, how does Travis feel about all this? And would screwing your bandmate really screw up your chances at the big time?

I bet Fleetwood Mac would agree with that. Not.

There has to be more to this book than just that. There just has to be.

Oh, and who was asking Susan about bands featuring chicks? This one’s got one.

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Wasn’t that long ago that I was coveting the first in this series, Blue. And here I’m back with the follow-up. Oh, sorry. sequel, although it looks more like a continuation to me.

Blue’s career is gaining speed, shaking up his almost quiet life. The unexpected success brings international recognition and sparks jealousy in a once trusted friend, shifting the precarious balance of ego and amity.

The increasing demands of Blue’s schedule prompt Brady to remodel his own career. Forcing him from the comfort of his obsessive schedule into something unknown.

Blue needs stability. Brady needs time to adjust. Can they pull it together before success creates more casualties?

Don’t miss the gripping sequel to the best-selling novel BLUE.

Yep, this feels like a middle child. I’d like to see more at stake here, but not in the over-the-top, crazed-fan-turned-stalker way. Just… more than “before success creates more casualties.”

I don’t know. Maybe there is more. Back cover copy is hard to write, Susan says. I’ll trust her.

Before I can read this one, though, I gotta read Blue. And yep, I’m still curious to.

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I like it when titles aren’t necessarily Rock Fiction titles. Like this one. If We Were a Movie.

So what’s it about? Maybe it’s not Rock Fiction and I was lied to?

Music meets Movies in this sweet college romance from the bestselling author of Cinder & Ella.

NYU freshman Nate Anderson is a triplet who is desperate to escape his wild and crazy brothers. After they screw things up for him one too many times, Nate flees his housing situation and takes the first available room for rent as far from his brothers as he can get.

Enter his new roommate Jordan–a quirky LA girl who believes that everything in life has already been done in the movies. In this heartfelt tale of love, friendship and family, Nate learns how to deal with his new adult life using Hollywood films as a guide.

So… where’s the music?

If you read a few of the reviews (sorry Susan! But I had to know. I really truly did), it turns out Nate’s an aspiring musician. So there’s our music.

Not sure what to say about this except I’m curious about how music meets movies and what it all means.