Posts Tagged ‘first in a series’

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Here’s the kickoff to another new series. I love the idea of series, when they’re done right, because we get to spend extra time in what becomes a familiar world. As the series goes on, each book turns into a comfort read (Sookie Stackhouse, I’m talking to you).

This one starts off with a fun vibe.

She stole his roses.

Fleeing the spotlight, burnt out rock star Layla—“Belle”—Dubois seeks refuge in the south of France. That old, half-forgotten heritage in a valley of roses seems like a good place to soothe a wounded heart. She certainly doesn’t expect the most dangerous threat to her heart to pounce on her as soon as she sets foot on the land.

He wants them back.

Matt didn’t mean to growl at her quite that loudly. But—his roses! She can’t have his roses. Even if she does have all those curls and green eyes and, and, and…what was he growling about again?

Or maybe he just wants her.

When an enemy invades his valley and threatens his home, heart, and livelihood, Matthieu Rosier really knows only one way to defend himself.

It might involve kissing.

So I bet this is more of a Rock Star Who Could Be Anyone than actual Rock Fiction, but it’s cute! The dude’s possessive about his flowers!

(and I can think of some other Rock Fiction that feature flower shops and/or greenery. Is that a thing?)

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It’s difficult to take a cast of unlikeable characters and make the reader care about them. Not all readers are willing to rise to the challenge, and that’s okay. The payout for those of us who are is bigger somehow.

Lisa Marie Perry has a cast of some tough characters. All of them are morally deficient in one way or another; all of them have seriously fatal flaws. In fact, it’s hard to believe this was published by one of the big houses, but it was. Good for them.

The set-up is pretty fascinating: the central player here isn’t a person so much as a record label. And we can argue the usefulness and relevance of record labels until the Spotify Premium’s up for renewal, but that’s not what Sin For Me is about. It’s about the people who used to control it (Dante and Delilah) and the people who currently do (Emma, Joshua, and Chelsea)—and the betrayals and baggage that remain as Delilah wants her family’s heritage back.

That’s the big story arc. There’s also a smaller one, in that it’s about the relationship between Dante and Chelsea. There was a betrayal between them as well, and it was part of the bigger betrayal that led to the leadership change at Devil’s Music. But it’s that betrayal between Dante and Chelsea that’s just as hard, if not harder, to get past. Dante copes by leaving town and starting life at the farthest point he can get to from the glitz and glamour of the record business. Chelsea, though, isn’t so lucky. She’s stuck in the executive offices, busy self-destructing and stuck in the guilt and anger of what she and Dante did to each other, surrounded by the constant reminders of him and the family legacy that she took from him.

This is enough for a single book, sure, but there’s a couple more subplots, as well: Delilah wants to make a play to get her label back and decides to use Dante to do it; one of the label’s artists is angry and turns first rogue and then violent; and a new talent comes into the fold. And, too, there’s something going on between married Emma and Joshua, something Chelsea doesn’t understand—and neither does the audience.

It’s almost too much, except there’s something soap opera-esque going on here, and the book certainly reads well. I found I had to read in small doses because the characters are so morally vapid, I’d have to resurface just to recalibrate myself. But at the same time, it was hard to put down (yes, it’s true: the famous editor loves trashy, soap opera-esque books as much as she loves everything else her clients throw at her. Maybe more? I’m not telling!).

This, friends, is the sign of a good book. It’s a train wreck you can’t look away from, a delicious taste of something forbidden. But best of all, the book itself isn’t a train wreck. It’s well crafted and constructed, the characters are beautifully drawn, and it’s well written. The various strands of the plot are well cared for in Perry’s experienced hands, and wow, does she do a great job with it.

But if there’s one area where the book isn’t as strong, it’s in the descriptions. I wanted a better view of what these people wear—telling me the sandals are diamond-studded doesn’t really show me much—as well as how this old house has become a record label, with stairs and offices and… just how does this place lay out and work? It was hard to visualize and I had a hard time making sense of what was where.

After all the rich plotting that happens here, I really missed the rich descriptions to go with the lushness of the characters. Here’s one book that demands more than just a broad brushstroke of description. It needs to breathe the way the rest of the story does.

Even before the cliffhanger ending—I hesitate to call it a cliffhanger because it doesn’t leave us on our toes at the edge of the world so much as it merely stops, the last page gets turned and you look up and wonder where the hell the rest of it is—I was hooked on this series. Morally absent or not, I’m dying to know what comes next for our salacious crew, and how they solve the problems that have been laid out in this first volume of The Devil’s Music.
October, when the second book is released, can’t come soon enough.

*Copy from NetGalley, and thanks for it! Can’t wait for #2*

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It was almost a year ago that Michelle reviewed Girl with Guitar (come back, Michelle! We miss you!), and now it’s my turn to drool over something Caisey has written. Even though it’s almost 2 years old, I still want to read it! Here’s why:

Nashville meets New Adult in Neon Dreams, a dramatic, sexy series from bestselling author Caisey Quinn, about a country band’s rocky road to fame—and the ambition, dreams, and love of the people who make the music.

Dixie Lark hasn’t had it easy. She lost her parents in an accident when she was young and grew up in a ramshackle house on a dirt road in Amarillo with her ailing grandparents and overprotective older brother. Thanks to her grandfather, Dixie learned to play a mean fiddle, inspired by the sounds of the greats—Johnny and June, Waylon, and Hank. Her grandfather’s fiddle changed Dixie’s life forever, giving her an outlet for the turmoil of her broken heart and inspiring a daring dream.

Ten years later, Dixie and her brother, Dallas, are creating the music they love and chasing fame with their hot band, Leaving Amarillo. But Dixie isn’t enjoying the ride. All she can think about is Gavin, the band’s tattooed, tortured drummer who she’s loved since they were kids. She knows he feels the connection between them, but he refuses see her as more than his best friend’s little sister.

Convinced that one night with Gavin will get him out of her system, Dixie devises a plan. She doesn’t know that her brother has forbidden Gavin from making a move on her-a promise he swore he’d always keep . . . a promise that once broken will unexpectedly change the future for Dixie, Gavin and the band.

Little sister trope! If this is your catnip, here you go.

If you’re just here for the Rock Fiction, get in line. In front of me. Behind me. I don’t care. Review this before I do. Still don’t care.

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Talk about an oldie! I wasn’t even alive when this one came out, but here it is, on my radar, so what the heck. Let’s talk about it. It’s got a listing on GoodReads, so that means you ought to be able to get a copy SOMEwhere, even if you may have to dig through some dark and dusty and spider-filled spots in questionable bookstores that look more like a hoarder’s heaven than your local indie shop.

The book is called A Song Begins, and it’s the first in a series written by Mary Burchell, which seems to be a pseudonym for a great woman named Ida Cook, who saved Jews during the Holocaust. With a resume like that, expectations for the book just went up.

So here’s what it’s about:

An unknown benefactor had sufficient faith in Anthea Benton’s singing voice to pay for her training under the celebrated operatic conductor, Oscar Warrender. She was ecstatic, but her joy was short-lived when she came face to face with the great man. Cold and forbidding, he proved to be a hard taskmaster. She felt her dreams can be coming true… but would she be tough enough to work under such and exacting taskmaster?

A quick glance shows that there’s more Rock Fiction in this series, so expect to hear more about it from me. I’m looking around for my socks, which just got knocked off. And entire 13-book series of Rock Fiction romances? Written and published before they were a Thing?

Ida Cook might be my new hero.

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So right off, this one’s got me on edge. Why? Because “rock star” is always two words. Susan’s taught me that much and I gotta say I agree.

But here’s what it’s about:

Violet has been raised in a world with bikers, rough men and separated parents. The only savior in her world, was her love for Travis, her best friend. They grew up together, creating a hopeless friendship against all odds. Then he left, with no goodbye, no explanation.

Travis went on and became a successful rockstar, Violet moved on and thought she was finally over it. Then Travis returns and tugs on her heart strings all over again. She finds it hard to say no, she is different now…she isn’t the girl he once adored; dark things have happened to her. What if she isn’t what he believes he wants so badly?

Come on Travis and Violet’s journey of love, heartache and all the things in between.

Ugh, typos galore! (Hey, Susan would be glad to help with that…)

There are some interesting things here, if they get developed. Violet’s got it rough, it seems like. You gotta both feel for her and wonder what exactly those dark things are. There’s no trigger warning, but there’s this:

This book is erotica; it contains graphic sexual content and swearing – it is lusty, crazy, beautiful and in parts morally incorrect. It is one hell of a rollercoaster ride of love and heartache. It is action packed with drama, if this is not your thing, please don’t purchase it. It does end with a cliff hanger but I promise the next book will be HEA!
Please remember it is FICTION!!!

Makes you think.

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First in a series! And this one’s release is pretty recent — September 2016 — so there’s only this one so far.

Ash Taylor lives life without making deep connections with anything other than his brothers and his bass. His past has jaded him to love and makes him fear getting too close. Then Michelle walks into his life. Every night, she invades his dreams and stars in his fantasies. She makes him question himself and his ways. However, he is sure she could never date someone like him. So much so, that he convinces himself that she is married.

Michelle Reynolds has been jilted so badly, that she doesn’t want to date again. Her friend Beth tries to encourage her, but all of her relationships end badly or don’t last. She is sick of disappointment. When Ash comes into her life, she feels an immediate spark. He makes her feel special without effort. His big heart and deep voice mesmerize her. As soon as she finds out he is a rock star, her hopes are crushed. In her eyes, it could never work because musicians are not faithful, and she is not good enough for him.

Can these two polar opposites find a way to make a relationship work? Will all that dating a rock star entails break them or bring them closer? Find out in the first book of the Velocity series.

So two jaded, broken hearts find each other. Works for me; I like broken people.

I’m not really seeing polar opposites here, but those are also fun in romance, especially if there’s good banter between them. Is there good banter? Does anyone know?

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Yes, you see the right avatar. I shoved Jett out of the way because this one’s set in Pittsburgh and that immediately disqualified Jett from writing about it. It’s Rock’n Tapestries, the first book in Shari Copell’s series of two. The books came out in 2013-14, so I’m doubtful we’ll see more entries. In fact, Ms. Copell leaves a note on the description for the second book, Wild Angel, that she was going for a standalone with it. And the second one may not be set in my favorite stomping grounds; if it is, it doesn’t explicitly say. And no, that quote at the start doesn’t tell us much of anything. How many bands have opened a show with that same phrase?

That’s a bummer.

Here’s the description of Rock’n Tapestries:

“Asher Pratt had been a drug for me, and I wasn’t sure I wasn’t still addicted.”

Chelsea Whitaker works as a waitress at Tapestries, a trendy Pittsburgh bar. She’s doing her best to avoid Asher Pratt, the Pittsburgh rock legend who shattered her heart years ago.

When he takes a job at Tapestries just to be near her, Chelsea has some decisions to make.

She soon discovers that some things never change. It’s all she can do to keep a tight hold on her heart as Asher takes her for another wild ride.

As she struggles to gain some perspective on their relationship, she learns that he’s never needed her more. She must put the past aside for the sake of the future.

I am DYING to know what bar this is modeled on. Is it one I used to hang out in? Or is it straight out of the author’s imagination? Is the author herself from here? A current Yinzer?

But back to the book. It’s a familiar trope, no? The “Loved him when she was younger” trope — do we ever get over those early loves?

And then here’s the description for Wild Angel:

“Hello, Pittsburgh! You ready to rock?”

Nicks Sorenson, guitarist extraordinaire for the band Wild Angel, has a lot going on during her last year of high school. In fact, she sometimes wonders if someone has painted a bull’s eye on her forehead.

Stone Jensen, lead guitarist for the band Heavy Remedy, shows up everywhere she plays despite the bad blood between them. The high school principal is targeting her with endless detentions for some reason. And she’s starting to wonder if her mother is losing her mind.

Life soon spins into chaos for the Sorenson family. It began when Nicks learned the name of the dead musician who’d willed her his four guitars. Then came the dreams of a man shrouded in mist. She doesn’t recognize him, but he seems to know her.

As the strange occurrences escalate, Nicks goes on an unexpected—and painful—journey into the past.

She’s about to learn what you don’t know can hurt you.

Umm… wow, this is a departure! Why are these two books in the same series? They seem totally unrelated beyond the fact that they’re going to be pretty hard to challenge for their Rock Fiction qualities. What am I missing?

Like Jett so often says, I need to read this to see for myself. All of it: the setting, the stories, the whys and hows of this two-book series.

If you’ve read it and have a review you’d like to share, send it on. I’m always glad to post reviews for anything Rock Fiction.

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We’ve known Jade C Jamison’s name around here for awhile now, but this is the first time we get to covet something she’s written. What’s wrong with us?

Here’s all about Bullet, the first in a series:

What if you discover the man you want is toxic?

She tasted a little bit of heaven with him, and now they’ve gone through hell and back, but can their relationship take anymore?

Valerie Quinn is a naïve college freshman when she meets on-the-rise rock star Ethan Richards. He’s an idealistic, handsome, reckless young man, but he’s captured her heart. She doesn’t give up on him and eventually his walls crumble down. By the time Valerie has given herself to him completely, she discovers he’s damaged and may be beyond help. Can she save Ethan and their relationship before he implodes, or will he self-destruct and take her with him?

So for New Adult, which this seems to be, it’s pretty on point, no?

But for real life? Why do we women think we have to save our men from themselves? I mean, seriously. It’s like we’re programmed to do that or something, but it never turns out well. Look at the first line of this description. Valerie knows he’s toxic. But she doesn’t care.

This has nothing to do with the book. Or maybe it does. It’s just… why?

But here’s where he has to do with the book: maybe it’ll help explain it to me. Because even though I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I just don’t get it.

This is the first in a series that features Val and Brad and Ethan and others from the band. Looks like the series is still going strong ’cause there was another release in 2016.

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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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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.