Posts Tagged ‘Cecilia Tan’

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I’ve been turned into a Cecilia Tan fangirl, and let me tell how excited I was when Susan let me know that Hard Rhythm, the third in Tan’s Secrets of a Rock Star series, was on its way to me. Whee!

Turns out, this one is the story of one of Ricki and Gwen’s employees, Madison. She hooks up with a member of Axel and Mal’s band, Chino. He’s the drummer.

Like I said in my other reviews of the earlier books, I don’t see a lot of rocker in Chino. He’s very much an everyman, and that is disappointing. In fact, we see so little of Chino’s rocker side that I hesitate to call this Rock Fiction.

I gotta admit, of the three books in the series, this is my least favorite. The guys—Axel, Mal, and now Chino—aren’t quite distinctive enough, and their personalities are all sorta blending together. They’re dudes in bands and they’re all doms – how’s that affect your band dynamics there, guys? – and they support their successful women… but what sets them apart from each other? I need more.

The other thing that totally squicks me out is the Daddy-baby stuff. Ugh. Age play just isn’t my catnip.

A few other things and man, I hate to rip on Cecilia, but… this one just didn’t hit the mark. The ending felt rushed and the situation with Chino’s family was too simple, too fast. There was real meat in that subplot, and I really wanted to see more of the struggles and the intricacies and all of it. It came on too slow, resolved too easy, and just wasn’t satisfying. Same for the subplot that occupies Ricki and Gwen, and I’m not going to spoil that except to say what I just did: came on too slow, resolved too easy, and just wasn’t satisfying.

So I dunno. This one didn’t hit the mark. It felt rushed, and almost scattered. Like, what’s really the story here? Is it really Chino and Maddie? If so, focus on that. Or is it Chino and his family? If so, focus on THAT. I’d dig both stories, separately, and in fact, Chino’s family’s story could be some really positive, helpful fiction if Cecilia would develop all that stuff out. It’s important stuff and could really help others. I want that for her, to write something really ground-breaking.

I’m writing this one off as a mis-step in an otherwise really awesome series. I love the first two in this series, and I love how Cecilia makes me bring new eyes to sex dungeons and submission and what it all means. She’s still writing incredible scenes and still teaching me new things and sometimes, it can be hard to expand your world in all directions at once. Cecilia’s not the first author who’s struggled with that as I watched. She probably won’t be the last. But she’s one I’m hoping gets it under control ASAP. And, of course, if she needs help, Susan’s just an e-mail away.

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Okay, so Susan’s sitting in a tent on a mountain in West Virginia and I’m sending her all these texts about how amazing Cecilia Tan’s newest release, Wild Licks, is. And she’s thinking I’m totally nuts because, hey, this is pretty much her vacation although I can’t figure out who can vacation in a tent or why they’d want to when there’s NEW CECILIA TAN TO READ.

Wild Licks is the next in the Secrets of a Rock Star series. Maybe you remember when I read the first book, Taking the Lead, and went bonkers over it.

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Guys. This one is BETTER.

I kid you not.

Gwen and Mal are one hot couple. Where Ricki and Axel had inhibitions to overcome and heads to get out of, Gwen and Mal know they like it hot and they need it kinky. And man oh man, do they go for it. These two are maybe the perfect couple.

There’s more a sense in this book that Mal’s a rocker. He’s got something that Axel lacked, and that’s sad not because Mal has it but because Axel didn’t. And Gwen, too, is more real. Maybe it’s that she’s not as repressed as her sister. This isn’t a woman who’s afraid of things.

In fact, Gwen doesn’t have a lot of issues. This isn’t usual in today’s fiction, but I was digging it.

It’s Mal who’s all angst-laden, poor guy. And he’s the reason things are a bit of a let-down at the end. His moment where he comes around is just too easy and too fast.

But come ON. We’re not here for Mal to fix himself. We’re here for the dynamic with him and Gwen, and we get that. And we’re here for the sex, and we get THAT, too. We get some of the most inventive, no-holds-barred, lack of inhibition sex I’ve seen… ever.

Don’t miss this one.

I hear the next in the series, Hard Rhythm, will be out next January. Is it too early to sign up for a review copy? I am SO there.

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You GUYS. It’s Tuesday and I’m supposed to be coveting some Rock Fiction for you all, but I can’t. For one, I signed up to be part of this release blitz (I thought Susan was signing me up to review the book, but guess not).

And for another, the book arrived late and I’m not done reading it because, let me tell you, this is one to sit and savor. And read with your boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, or battery-operated friend. Or any combination! I don’t care! Just… wow! Don’t miss this one!

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Pick up your copy. Seriously. Go get it. And if you haven’t read the first in the series, Taking the Lead, get that one, too. In fact, since this is the second in the series, it might do you good to read the first and get the background. Taking the Lead set up the storyline, and Wild Licks doesn’t do a lot of time explaining what’s already come to be. This is a good thing ’cause the book oughta be able to stand on its own, and is actually better so far ’cause it doesn’t have to take us through the set-up.

I’ll be back with a review. Or beat me to it, if you want. But we are just getting STARTED with the Cecilia Tan and Wild Licks goodness around here!

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I gotta give Susan props. When she sent over word that Cecilia Tan was going to be releasing the second book in her Secrets of a Rock Star series, she also included the note that she had the NetGalley widget for it.

So maybe it’s not right that I’m coveting this book. Because, you know, I’ve got a review copy pending.

But on the other hand, YOU should be coveting this book. Go and preorder it now if you can, from your favorite retailer (and remember: shop independent when you can, and there are other stores besides the Big A to buy books from). And then, on August 2, it’ll be in your hot hands and you can read it, too.

What’s it about? Oh, who CARES? This is Cecilia Tan, it’s the second in a series after a book I adored, and it’s Cecilia Tan!

But if you need to know, here’s the description:

Gwen Hamilton is always looking for a thrill. Not even running a secret BDSM club can fulfill her true desires. It’s only when she’s backstage at a rock concert and attracts the eye—and experienced hands—of guitarist Mal Kennealy that she finds that perfect combination of danger and excitement she’s been craving. Calling herself “Excrucia,” she revels in his uncompromising dominance each night. And yet by day, he knows her only as Gwen, his new escort for public appearances.

Excrucia blows Mal’s mind with her enthusiastic submission to his harshest commands. Even though he has a reputation for never seeing the same woman twice, he can’t help being tempted by the woman willing to fulfill his every fantasy. And when Mal discovers that Gwen—the sweet arm candy designed to soften his surly public image—is really Excrucia, he never wants to let her go. Finally he can indulge his absolute power. But dancing too recklessly on the razor’s edge could cut deeper than he bargained for . . .

Seriously. Preorder it. And watch this space for my review. Whee! Can’t wait!

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When I told Jett that the newest volume in Cecilia Tan’s Daron’s Guitar Chronicles was on sale today, she went nuts. Just totally flipped out.

You guys know that Jett’s a total Cecilia Tan nut, right?

If you are, too — and really, Cecilia’s worth the read, so if you haven’t yet, be sure to jump in and get reading — then you should rush over to your favorite retailer and grab a copy. Especially today, because it’s on sale for only 99c. Today, June 30, only, though!

Get buying!!

Here’s a link to Smashwords, but it’s available pretty much anywhere you like to shop. I’m using this one ’cause I’m an affiliate and I get a few pennies if you use my link. You know how it works. Those pennies help support this place. And I love Smashwords, so if you haven’t started buying books from them, why not?

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DESIGNED BY TOJ PUBLISHING SERVICES WWW.TOJPUBLISHING.COM

DESIGNED BY TOJ PUBLISHING SERVICES
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There’s something about the way Cecilia Tan writes. I love it. Just love it. So much that twenty pages into her newest book, Taking the Lead, I had to stop and send e-mails to half my book friends, telling them they needed to read this, too. Tan gets the world of the rich, famous, and rock star royalty. She knows how the power players work. And it shows in these books she’s turning out. If that’s your thing, don’t miss Tan’s books. Period. That should be my whole review.

Except, did I mention she knows how to write a sex scene? Hoo boy, she can write it hot. Susan thinks Lorelei James is the gold standard. For me, it’s Tan.

So. Taking the Lead is about two of these power players and what happens when they find each other. Ricki Hamilton is a movie production chick. I’m not exactly sure of her pedigree, but it seems to be there, and I’m really not sure of her passion for movies as opposed to her passion for going to the office. But we hear all about this secret dungeon she’s inherited from her beloved grandfather and she’s got to run it. Except, of course, there’s all sorts of problems including a possessive loser with holier-than-thou issues. He’s a charmer. I hope he gets chained to the Daisy wheel in the dungeon and left upside down for days.

Ricki’s partner in lust here is Axel, a rocker who… he just doesn’t seem like much of a rocker to me. He doesn’t have that special charisma and half the time, I had trouble remembering if he was a singer or a guitar player. Axel could have been any other Hollywood player. He just didn’t stick out as a musician/rocker type. And I wanted him to.

So Axel and Ricki get together and suddenly, his kinda sorta there dom tendencies show up and Ricki’s all too glad to be his sub even though this woman who owns a dungeon doesn’t know exactly what that means. Axel’s glad to teach her, and in the heat of the moment, she’s glad to learn. It’s when she thinks and gets into her head that the problems begin.

Pretty damn normal, if you ask me. I know an awful lot of people who overthink and no, I’m not looking at my Rock of Pages boss here. Nope.

That’s their biggest obstacle: Ricki. Not sure she wants this lifestyle, she and Axel talk about it a lot. And that’s a good thing, especially because this isn’t one of those books where they start off with the spanking and end with the anal and it all goes according to script. Nope. This is a new-to-me sort of submission and domination and I bet this is a good representation of it being done right. I love that Axel has some really dead-on instincts about Ricki and they talk about things—well, he talks and she listens—and instead of Axel being a total domineering idiot, he cares about Ricki in a way that most doms don’t—at least in the fiction I’ve read, and I’ve read more than I probably should have. At times, their dialogue doesn’t feel real, especially when they start talking about BDSM using that exact acronym, but what’s important here is that Ricki is open to it, and not just because of the dungeon she never knew about.

If anything, she seems to keep what she and Axel do very separate from the activities in the dungeon. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad or how I feel about it because they should be intertwined but they’re not. I’m also not sure how I feel about the idea that being into the scene is genetic, which is pretty much what Ricki learns as she comes to terms with the death of her mother. And, too, the ending, which mirrors what she learns about her mother, bugs me. It seems like too much too soon, more of a neat ending to a book than truth.

So I’ve got these gripes, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t the best book I’ve read in a long time. I love that there’s issues of Hollywood gender power games and the dungeon and the legacy Ricki’s grandfather left that she has to fight against. I love that the situation with her father isn’t cut-and-dry, and I doubt we’re done coming to understand that poor screwup of a man. I love the depth of this world that Ricki inhabits, although that’s part of why Axel falls a bit short. It’s a hard act to follow!

Like I said, I love that Axel cares about her, that he’s not always the barking-orders type of dom who ignores her needs and tries to bury who she is so that she can serve him better. I love that Ricki gets to be herself, not who Axel thinks she ought to be. I love the sex and how it’s hot and it’s different and I love that scene in the limo, when she puts her hands behind her back and I swear, that is hotter than almost any sex scene I’ve ever read anywhere else. I love how Axel comes to own her, I love that he’s a rocker who thinks and who does rise above most of the usual stereotypes (I just wish he felt more musical). I love that they’re going to be a power couple and this is the first in a series and I really hope we get to see how they evolve as that power couple and how the dungeon changes because of them and how Hollywood changes because of them and maybe somewhere along the way, Axel will rediscover what it is that made him join a band in the first place because right now, I’m just not feeling it and I’m all about Rock Fiction so as much as I like the kinky fiction, I’m even more about the Rock and Roll, so bring it, please.

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Thanks to the folk at Rock Star PR for letting us take part in Cecilia Tan’s tour. They handed the free copy out, we read it and decided to leave the varnish off our thoughts ’cause we have too much integrity to be bought like that. All opinions are Jett’s own and shouldn’t be confused with Susan’s ’cause Susan’s still down and out with an eye injury and isn’t reading much of anything right now. But don’t point that out. She’s kinda grumpy about it.

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Cecilia Tan might need to take home the award for Most Rock Fiction Ever Written (sorry, Susan. But… she’s currently writing and you’re not). She’s got a new one!

Ricki Hamilton and her sister have just inherited a vast estate in the Hollywood hills. Unfortunately, with that legacy comes the most exclusive club in Hollywood history, a secret BDSM establishment where only the rich and the naughty come to play. Ricki wants nothing to do with this business, and is trying to find ways to get out of having to run it . . . until she meets Axel―a sexy enigmatic rock star who makes her want to submit to needs she didn’t know she had.

This is a true coveting post ’cause it won’t be out until January 2016, but …

Except it makes me wonder if, like too many Rock Fiction books we run into, the rocker dude is a rocker who could be any other career. Insert Rocker Here type of thing, and as we all know, that doesn’t make for Rock Fiction. It makes for a book with a rocker who could be anyone.

But this is Cecilia Tan we’re talking about, and the lady knows her stuff. That alone gives me confidence.

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Susan sent me the link for a book tour. We’re totally willing to do them here at The Rock of Pages… so long as the books are Rock Fiction. Thanks to the excellently named Rock Star Lit for letting us be picky and join in today.

Susan told me, when she mentioned that Cecilia Tan’s Daron’s Guitar Chronicles was up for review, that it wasn’t the sort of thing you could really pick up in the middle – and the offer we were looking at was to read Volume Eight.

She said that came from Cecilia herself.

And okay, the first quarter was really hard to get into, but once I did, I sort of found myself caring about Daron. And sort of not, but I think that’s because at points, Daron was too stupid to live—really, dude? Running off after a show without your wallet and without telling anyone what you’re up to? That sort of thing has nothing to do with coming into the series in the middle. That’s just bad judgement. But… when you care enough to wince and want to slap someone for being dumb, that means it’s a good character, one worth your time and attention.

I need to read the earlier books, so if you haven’t read any of them yet, start at the beginning. Even toward the end, there were times when I felt lost. That’s because Daron’s not so good at setting a scene when we’re thrown into something new. I kept wondering if this was something I should have known to expect, but it could also be a failure on the part of Daron. After all, guys aren’t really known for their observational skills, as millions of women fresh from a new hair color will tell … anyone who’ll listen.

I’m totally up for reading the earlier books. I want to. Need to, even. Daron’s living a dream, but to him, it’s just the way things are. There’s no rose-colored glasses here. It’s the way it is, and it’s very real. People get on each other’s nerves. They want things, long for other people, feel lonely and isolated in a crowded room. Daron’s likeable enough that he’s good company, and I want to experience the backstory, not only figure it out from the sketchy details he tells us to remember.

Another thing I really liked was the way that the real-life death of Eric Clapton’s son echoed around the story of Remo. I’d actually forgotten that had happened, so seeing it on the page was a really cool jolt and maybe I felt more from it happening on the page than I did when I’d first heard about it, but I was how old when it actually happened?

So, yeah. I’d keep reading this series. I’d like to start at the beginning, though, so I know some of what’s going on, and like I said, if you’re going to pick any of Daron’s Guitar Chronicles up to read, I suggest you do that. Start at the beginning.

There’s a lot of volumes out – eight – and that’s longer than a lot of series ever get to be. But I have a feeling this one’s well worth the investment. And this is me, who hates making big time investments like this.

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Here’s the book description:

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Coming out and coming of age in the days of AIDS, MTV, Reaganomics, and Just Say No. Winner of the Rose and Bay Award for Crowdfunded Fiction!
Daron Marks is a young guitar player with a dream, make it big like the guys he grew up idolizing in New Jersey–or at least escape his dysfunctional family. He makes it as far as music school in Rhode Island, and the rock clubs of Boston beckon him. But it’s hard to succeed from the closet. A story of how finding one’s self is key to finding love, and loving one’s self is key to loving another.

And some buy links. Because you should. Buy all eight of ’em, even though these links will only take you to Volume 8
(Kindle
B&N
KOBO

Hosted by:

(and oh, yeah. Free copy… blog tour participant… and Jett only does honest, even when it brings the trolls out. Do I really have to remind everyone of that all the time?)

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Whenever I connect with a Rock Fiction author, I like to invite them to stop in to promote a new release, or to talk about the category in general. To promote her new release, Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, Volume Seven (Amazon link, no affiliate), she’s stopped in to talk.

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Why Rock Fiction?

I’ve been writing Daron’s Guitar Chronicles since the 1980s, when I was a teenager living in the suburbs of New Jersey. MTV was new then, and nonstop music videos brought visions of David Bowie, Prince, and Siouxsie Sioux right into my suburban den. These are the visions that saved my life, the guardian angels who told me through their songs and their mere existence that there was something else besides the crushing conformity of suburban life. Rock and roll called to me as a lifeline.

I was always the “weird kid.” Even when other kids didn’t know WHAT was weird about me, they knew I was different. I just couldn’t conform enough to their idea of normal. Teachers called me “creative,” but didn’t really know how to support my overactive imagination: no one lets you write fiction instead of a book report. (I confess: Mr. Mantegna, that book I said I read about the silver condor in fifth grade? I totally made that up.) To protest the tyranny of the “fashionable girls” I started wearing a Han Solo costume to school, complete with blaster strapped to my leg. To me the idea of being a rock star would mean I could wear whatever the heck I wanted–spandex? a unicorn horn? a tuxedo?–and people would love me for it instead of bullying me. Rock and roll, to me, has always been about the outsider becoming loved instead of reviled.

In Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, our hero is a talented guitar player who dreams of escaping suburban hell in New Jersey and making it big (sound familiar?). When his story starts he has made it as far as music school in Rhode Island. Daron has a lot of challenges in his way, not the least of which is he’s scared to death people will find out he’s gay. Heck, Daron is scared to death of BEING gay. He fears not only that if his sexuality is exposed it will prevent him from having a successful career, but on a deeper level he fears intimacy.

Enter Ziggy, the lead singer Daron’s band needs to succeed, but what relationship is more intimate than being a partner in creative pursuits? Writing music together, performing it live, and bonding as bandmates gives Ziggy far more access to Daron’s head and heart than Daron realizes.

Some see Daron as having two quests, one for artistic success, one for romantic love. But really it’s all one big quest for love: from the fans, from the men in his life, and from himself.

So why rock fiction? It’s the perfect vehicle for me to explore the inner workings of my poor angst-ridden heroes and the ways they push against conformity. These boys aren’t going to live in a suburban box. They can’t. They’d die, creatively and spiritually if not actually, if they were forced to be “normal.” And I get to explore all the issues about love and acceptance in a giant metaphor (the music business) for how damaging love can be. Like the Bowie song says, “And when the kids had killed the man, I had to break up the band.”

Oh, and did I mention the story is set in the 1980s? I started writing it then and when I started publishing it in 2009, instead of updating it to the present, I kept it in the era of AIDS, Just Say No, and Silence=Death. In 1986 the “alternative rock” revolution hasn’t happened yet. And neither has the gay “coming out” movement. So that’s yet another way I get to equate rock music and love outside the mainstream.

It’s all one giant addictive tapestry of garage rock, arena shows, basement rehearsals, tour mishaps, friendship, love, and art, told through the eyes of a musician who has as much to learn about life as he has to learn about himself.

Daron’s story is now seven books long–volume seven in the series releases today!–and the web serial continues over at http://daron.ceciliatan.com. Readers have told me they find the series deeply entrancing. Daron becomes like a best friend to many, so talented and beautiful and flawed, you want to root for him to succeed day after day.

If you want to cheer him on, too, book one of the series is free right now on Amazon and Smashwords, and the full chapters of the entire serial can be read at any time on Wattpad or on the Daron’s Guitar Chronicles home site.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cecilia Tan is the winner of the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in Erotica and the author of over a dozen novels. Her forthcoming January 2016 novel from Hachette/Forever, Taking the Lead, pairs a bad boy rock star and a Hollywood heiress with a secret.