Posts Tagged ‘got a junkie in this one’

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I have a feeling this one will appeal to people with certain reading tastes. I’m not sure I’m on board with them, but Susan’s always telling me that I might like it if I try it. So here goes. Here’s the book description of Strung Out:

Finding my best friend and getting the hell out of California is top priority. Especially as the relationship with my rockstar stepbrother becomes more complicated with each passing day…

I’m on the tour bus partying!

The text from my best friend, Ivy, is one of her last. When weeks stretch with no further contact, I travel to L.A. to track down the band known as Rageon and find Ivy.

As the daughter of a groupie mom, and of a rock star father who fatally overdosed, I know the dangers of the world my friend disappeared into.

My ex-stepbrother, Gage, a musician who’s just come off tour invites me to crash at his place.

The last time I saw Gage in person, we were teens. He’s everywhere on social media, so I’m prepared for the tattoo-covered rocker who answers my knock. What I’m not expecting to find is the sweet, sensitive teen I grew up with is now an irresponsible, partying playboy who lives for his next fix.

As the search for Ivy narrows, my relationship with my rockstar stepbrother becomes more complicated. The tingling tug of attraction toward him is unexpected–and unacceptable. First, we’re practically siblings. Most importantly, I’ll never allow myself to fall for a musician, especially one with a drug addiction.

Gage teams up with me to find Ivy, introducing me into the right circles and guarding my secrets.

My search for Ivy takes me places I never wanted to go…
And my heart is an unwilling passenger on that dark ride.

Strung Out: A Needles and Pins Rock Star Romance is 90k words which is around 300 print pages. It may appear to be double that as the download contains 2 versions of the same book, allowing readers to choose their favorite reading style of 1 POV or 3 POV

Wow, lots to talk about here…

First is the whole attraction to the stepbrother thing. Like I said, if this is your thing, have at it. I’m not convinced I am, but the boss has told me if a review copy shows up, it’s all mine. And she hopes a review copy shows up.

The bigger issue for both of us is the junkie angle. Susan’s made no secret that she doesn’t like Junkie fiction, and I’m not sure I do, either. It depends on how it’s handled. Here, it could be a gateway to the mission of finding Ivy. I like that our nameless narrator knows the dangers and wants to save her friend.

I’m not so sure how I feel about a romance with a junkie. And a junkie stepbrother, at that. It’s like double bad.

And this interesting twist at the end of the description? Hmm. Wow. You have your choice of POV. Susan says that’s like writing two entirely different books because of the structure of each POV and… frankly, folks, I tuned her out. She’s developed more and more technical talk, the longer and more successful she is as an editor, so I just nod at the right times. But maybe she’s right about this.

Or maybe she’s not.

I want to find out. As always, color me curious.

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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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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.

Jett-300x300Seems I’ve been seeing a lot of male-male romances being talked about lately. That’s fine, I suppose. It’s not generally my thing. I  mean, I like men and all. But I’d rather read a romance and dream that I’m the one being loved. For me, that’s part of the reason a girl reads romances.

Rock Fiction is a strong enough pull to make me, well, not forget that I don’t really like m/m romances. But I’m willing to put up with it for the sake of the Rock and Roll.

Sounds like there’s plenty in Guarded. Sounds like the story takes place on the road, and I love road tales (when they’re done right, but know what happens more often than it doesn’t? The details are messed up and the authors shoot themselves in the feet.) and there’s even the usual junkie cliche storyline, too. The main plot, itself, is the bodyguard story we’ve seen so often. Sounds like this one might give Kevin Costner a run for his money.

Another beef I have going in to this one: the heroes are Jordan and Jace. Know how often I had to go back and double-check to see which was the rock star and which was the bodyguard? What happened to treating the reader like gold and making sure they could tell one character from another?

Susan said she entered to win a copy of this at GoodReads, so if she wins, I guess we’ll both get a crack at it. Maybe it’ll surprise me … in good ways. I like those sorts of surprises.