Archive for November, 2016

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I came across this one because it’s been released in large print — there aren’t enough large print books, I don’t think. There should be more!

Anyway, here’s what it’s about:

Still mourning the loss of her rockstar husband, Leigh Tremayne didn’t know what to expect when his partner invited her to his Florida estate. Derek Mallory blamed Leigh for her husband’s death, and she wanted to spend as little time with him as she could. But a hurricane trapped her in Mallory’s secluded mansion. Soon both of them were caught up in a turbulent storm of emotions that would either have them at each other’s throats — or in each other’s arms.

So the question really is if this would be Rock Fiction or not. Only one way to find out, and I gotta admit that even though the GoodReads reviews seem to have issues with this book — it was first published in 1983, apparently — I’m curious. But then, I’m always curious!

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Holy cow, this one is a winner just on creativity alone. I don’t think there’s a single thing I can say about it except it’s the first in a series, the second is out, and holy cow, this needs to live up to its potential or I’m going to be one cranky Rock Fiction lover. Ready?

What do you get when you cross a smoking-hot rock star with a sexy wolf shifter, then throw in a heaping dose of gothic fairytale enchantment? Aleigha Daniels is about to find out!

In a world where human-shifter relations are often volatile and riddled with unfair presumptions on both sides, Aleigha finds it difficult to trust. Fairytales are for little girls because in real life, men cheat. Something Aleigha knows all too well. There are no enchanted castles and no Prince Charmings who will sweep you off your feet. So when she’s forced into interviewing the sexy, enigmatic, and eccentric shifter rock star, Morpheus Wolfe, at his creepy mansion out in the middle of nowhere, all Aleigha can see is the fear inside her own heart. And when circumstances trap her there, Aleigha begins a journey she never expected to take. What she doesn’t know is that Morpheus has an agenda, and sometimes fairytales do come true.

So WHICH fairy tale is it? Beauty and the Beast? Dracula? Something else?

Oh, holy cow, I so totally gotta read this one, I can hardly stand it. Bring it and bring it nnnoooooooowwwww!

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I can’t tell if this series ended at two books, or what. GoodReads doesn’t provide a helpful publication date for the second book, and the reviews are full of comments about how long it took to come out. (That’s not a great reason to give a book one or two stars, folks. Read it again: not a GREAT reason, before you start bitching at me ’cause that’s what the Internet is for.)

But anyway, since there’s two, let’s take a look at both of ’em. Here’s the write-up of Book 1, Savor You:

Kylie Wolfe and bassist Wyatt McCrae have been bad for each other for the last several years, but it’s impossible for them to end their toxic push and pull. Not when their attraction is constantly fueled by lust and proximity—she’s her older brother’s Lucas’s assistant and Wyatt is his best friend and band mate.

So when Your Toxic Sequel makes a move to record a new album in Nashville, Kylie decides to make the latest break with Wyatt official by getting the hell out of town. She’ll spend a week in New Orleans. A week to immerse herself in the Mardi Gras scene. One week to not think about the last time she was in New Orleans, seven years ago with Wyatt. Seven days where she won’t have to see Wyatt every day just to fall ridiculously in love with him all over again—where, if she wants to, she can have a normal, no-strings attached fling that won’t end in heartbreak.

Too bad Wyatt ruins everything by showing up, as gorgeous and demanding and awful for her as ever.

Wyatt refuses to let Kylie give up on him. Not without reminding her why they both fell so far and hard in the first place. Not without making her savor the good memories and what could be their last chance with each other.

My first thought is that this guy’s action proves he’s not good for her. She takes off to clear her head and look at things from a new perspective but guess what? Here he is! Ready and waiting!

But maybe it’s romantic, his arrival. Maybe he’s decided he can’t live without her, not in the sick, controlling way but in the hugely romantic gesture that I think we all want, deep down inside. Although maybe some of us know better than to trust those big gestures.

And here’s the second book. It’s billed as a standalone (although it’s the second book in this series) although it features characters from Emily’s other books and series. So her world is all messed up in each other and I like that ’cause why keep reinventing the wheel when you can just expand the existing universe, at least until it gets too big and too unwieldy? (and no, I’m not being sarcastic there!):

Useless.
Brilliant.
Sexy.
Uncontrollable.

From the childhood foster homes he was bounced around to, the one love he lost and hordes of nameless groupies, even his own bandmates—Your Toxic Sequel’s drummer, Sinjin Fields, has been called it all. That doesn’t include the names he calls himself. He knows he’s an addict—knows he’s damaged goods. He doesn’t care, though; drowning out the world numbs him. And for Sin, that’s the closest he’ll get to happiness.

When a drug-fueled confrontation nearly costs him his closest friend and bandmate, Sinjin is faced with no other choice but to confront each screwed-up facet of who he is and how he got there. What he never expected to encounter was Zoe—an over-achieving, fresh-faced violin prodigy who can’t seem to stay away from him. Not that Sinjin wants her to. She reminds him of the undamaged part of himself. Makes him feel emotions he didn’t know he could feel.

Possessive.
Protective.
Love?

And Sinjin will battle every demon haunting him so he doesn’t have to let that go.

Is this junkie fiction? Could be, but it’s also a romance so we know the drugs don’t win in the end. Or they shouldn’t. Who wants to read about a romance with a chemical? Yeah, yeah, there’s a band all about chemical romances but really. A band name and a book are different things, although the two totally can and should inspire each other.

So it seems to be all about Your Toxic Sequel… interesting band name, huh? Especially when the first book’s all about a toxic relationship and this one’s about a toxic affair with drugs…

Lots of toxicity. I bet these need trigger warnings. But I know I’ll read ’em to see if they live up to their own hype.

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Here’s another one that’s been on our List forever but is only just now getting written up and drooled over. It’s the Black Falcon series, written by Michelle A Valentine, and it looks like it’s complete, with seven books including a few in-between books. The series starts off focused on Lane and Noel, but then opens up and soon it’s about each member of the band.

From the descriptions, some of these make me gag. Right off the bat, there’s the usual works for the band stuff. But not all of them. And, of course, since it’s a complete series, you gotta take it as a whole, and that’s when a lot of these series really shine. When all the stories work together and you get to see a lot of the band — because, let’s face it: we’re here for the rockers. That’s what I’m talking about.

But it looks like the box set doesn’t include the in-between stories, and that has me crying foul. I want ’em all, and I want ’em together and man oh man, do I wanna sit and immerse myself in one band for the duration.

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Could there be a better way to start off a new series than with its Rock Fiction entry? Unfortunately, this seems to be the only Rock Fiction in the series so far, but we can hope! It looks like this series isn’t over yet.

It’s the Risking it All series, and this is actually numbered 0.5 — it is so special, it comes before the first. Definitely a reason to read it right there. But then! Read the cover copy!

Carly Taylor is pretty sure she’s dreaming. It’s not possible that Sam Weiss – rock star god and sexy hotness personified – is actually in her bakery. This sort of thing never happens in the too-small town of Haven. Or to her. And being stranded in a secluded mountain cabin with the deliciously decadent Sam during an ice storm? This is definitely not Carly’s real life . . .

Now there’s just the two of them, a roaring fire, lots of food and drink, and a sizzling attraction – one that just might make Carly do the unexpected. For one night, she’ll live the fantasy. For one night, nothing else matters. . . not her struggling business, not her lonely life, not Sam’s bad-boy reputation. But sometimes one night can turn one crazy, beautiful dream into something real.

Looks like the reason it’s not a full entry is because it’s a novella. Which is fine by me. Bring the good stuff!

But on the other hand, is Sam going to be one of those guys who could work any job, or will he have a rocker’s charisma? The idea of him in a bakery is amazing and I love it. The locked in a cabin? Well, it’s familiar, and when it’s well-done, it’s great fun and I actually love the idea of having two characters locked away together. Melissa Foster did it in the recent Chased by Love, and to be honest, it was my favorite part of the book.

And right now, with the backlog I’ve got, I’d love something short, especially if it’s good. I’m lacking for really good Rock Fiction lately, so bring this one on.

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Sometimes, there’s a fine line between junkie lit and Rock Fiction, but this book’s not there. Yeah, Bodhi’s an addict. Maybe even a junkie when we first meet him. But he’s got a zest for life that overlays the junkie status and makes us want to spend a book with him.

And in a move that’s pretty darn fresh for Rock Fiction, Bodhi’s also the talentless face in a boy band.
That’s right. Talentless. A boy band.

Now, the story pretty much focuses on Bodhi and his love for one of his psychologists in rehab. There’s not a lot of Rock Fiction happening here, but at the same time, there is. Hard to explain, but it’s the framework. Bodhi’s rocker status frames how his love, Kimberly, deals with him and things around him, both during and after rehab. And, of course, it affects Bodhi’s life once he’s out of rehab.

And that’s pretty much the story. It’s a forbidden romance story because what sort of true professional falls for her patient, especially when she works for her father at a super high-end, totally professional, catering-to-the-stars joint.

Look, Blow has enough holes in it to resemble what Bodhi’s doing to his septum when his father intervenes and drags his addicted self off to rehab. It’s not just that Kimberly would truly lose her job if this happened in real life—and you all know how I hate that plot line.

But it’s that Bodhi replaces cocaine with Kim, and no one catches it.

It’s that no one realizes Aspen is a problem for Bodhi and throws her out—before she slips him a roofie. Yes, you read that right. And there are zero consequences other than being told she’s now banished. Wow! I’d love to live in a world where you can get away with being worse than a reptile.

Want another plot hole? Here’s one: Bodhi realizes he’s doing all these post-rehab things for the first time without being high. And they’re all so much better now. And he’s involved with a psychologist. One who never talks to him, who doesn’t help him understand and deal with these new perspectives. Nope. Kim’s too busy having sex, being ready to have sex, or shopping with Bodhi’s mega-rich and mega-famous mother.

And yeah, he gets over his addiction in about twenty pages. It’s too easy, too simple. Even when he gets out, even when Aspen gets him high, he’s tamed that devil. He’s not relapsing, no way, no how. Even when he does.

Still, for all that we’ve got Swiss cheese here, this was a fun read. Rebel, Bodhi’s bitch of a manager, deserves her own book at the end of the series (and it is a series!) to explain how she got here, why she thinks pulling people with no talent out of thin air to turn into successful boy bands is a good idea, and even if the other manager who approaches Bodhi and his partners is right that she’s a crummy manager.

Rebel intrigues me. Maybe in a way no one else does.

Blow has some other cool parts: parents who aren’t total screw-ups. Yeah, they weren’t there when Bodhi was growing up and he resents them for it—who wouldn’t?—but they are doing their best now by their son. They love him and they’ll stand by him. But they aren’t afraid to be parental and use the tough love.

Way to go, Mom and Dad. We don’t see parents like this in fiction all that often.

So take this one to the beach or an airplane. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the sexy scenes, set yourself up for a series that’s going to go… who knows where. Just don’t think too much.

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Here’s another one that’s been out for awhile and we’ve never coveted over here. It’s Samantha Towle’s Storm series. Susan says for awhile there, she and Samantha had friends and contacts in common but she and Samantha never connected. Pity; we coulda had some fun over here!

This is an interesting series ’cause there’s four books, but they are numbered 1, 2, 3, 3.5 — and only #3 (Taming the Storm) is about a different couple. The rest are about Jake and Tru. Which is both super — I like following a couple, especially when they’re a good couple — and frustrating because it’s like, “Why are you interrupting my fun with Jake and Tru?” And since there’s no new entry featuring this second couple, it’s kinda hard to commit to them in the middle of serius interruptus.

So Samantha’s put out one book in this series a year since 2012. Which means there hasn’t been one yet in 2016, but here’s hoping there will be, and it’ll feature this second couple, Tom and Lyla.

Anyone know anything? I’d sure like to!

Here’s the titles, in order:
The Mighty Storm
Weathering the Storm
Taming the Storm
The Storm

And if you didn’t guess, the name of Jake’s band is The Storm.

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We’ve seen me drool over the series Ann Lister’s written. How about her standalone?

Sydney Willows, a professional photographer boasts a long list of world famous musicians as clients. She’s blond, ambitious, and about to shoot the most lucrative job of her career when she meets Ben Gallo, lead singer and guitarist for his band, Reckless. Tall, handsome, and with enough rock swagger to melt any woman’s heart, Ben plays to win. Will he be the one to show her that the path to ‘happily-ever-after’ is possible with a music man, or will a juvenile bet made between brothers prove stronger than a bond of love? For All The Right Reasons is ribboned with deception, lust and love and will leave you aching for an encore.”

So far, it sounds like familiar stuff. Photographer falls for the band she’s photographing. (Why do I doubt this ever happened to Ross Halfin?)

I wish this description told us more. What’s at stake, beyond “a juvenile bet”?

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The title of this makes me think of John Stamos, not Rock Fiction, but I know there’s some people who think the two are more related than I give them credit for being.

Anyway, what’s this book got to do with John Stamos and my sick, twisted brain? Let’s see. Probably nothing, which goes back to my comment that I don’t think of John Stamos and Rock Fiction in the same breath.

Rock diva Emme Hayes already broke up one band after sleeping with the lead singer, and she swears she won’t let sex screw things up again. The problem is, her new bass player—a lean, muscular, tattooed mystery man who makes her want to demand his absolute attention—has her so worked up she can hardly carry a tune. Emme promises he’s off-limits. She just doesn’t know how she’ll be able to confine the heat to her love songs.

The moment Tom McKinney lays eyes on Emme strutting around the stage of his blues bar—all curves, eye liner, and teased blond hair—he knows she’s one of a kind. So when she offers him a two-month paid gig to tour with her band, Tom can’t say no, despite family troubles and the bar’s precarious finances. Onstage and off, the music they make thrums in his soul, but Tom has too much going on to get involved—even if he burns to let Emme play his body like a fine-tuned instrument.

So Emme’s trying to learn from past mistakes. We gotta give her kudos for that.

But… I’m kinda confused. Is Tom the bass player? How can he be if he owns a bar? Why does Emme offer him a two-month paid gig to tour with her band Isn’t the money a good reason to go, since it sounds like the bar’s struggling? (but how will it do without him?) How does she even know he’s a bass player? And why does it sound in the first paragraph like she had nothing to do with this new bass player’s arrival and … oh…

I just gotta read this one. Good book descriptions, Susan says, are hard to write. Maybe this one’s just victim of that.

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I think this is a journalist-rock star trope, but the description’s all about the heat between them and not so much about how she’s struggling to do her job or anything like that. See what I mean?

Summer 2001. Naomi Stein is just praying for a little peace from her son, her ex-husband and her boss. Instead, she is following surly Country singer Sam Rhodes across the USA, covering his breakout tour for Rolling Stone. Sam has had bad luck with women and Naomi is trouble from the start. Sam tries to keep the feisty, sexy blonde at arm’s length…until Naomi pushes him over the edge. The hottest tour of the summer has just caught on fire. The music gets better and the romance steamier as they criss-cross the country. Will their passion burn out as autumn approaches? Stubborn pride forces them apart until the tragedy of 9/11 compels them to face each other one more time.

Interesting twist at the end there, too. Bringing 9/11 into it? How? I’m curious about this, and how it changes their dynamic.

The whole journalist thing? Meh. Been there, done that. But… what other reason would this woman have for following the band around? A legit one, anyway.