Posts Tagged ‘loads of potential’

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I’m hoping there’s more to this series than two books ’cause both sound good, if sorta familiar. Here’s the description for book one, After Midnight:

Thirteen years — that’s how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie. After an automobile accident took her mother’s life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how. Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life. That is until he walks through the door of her bar…

Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with a goal — one that doesn’t include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won’t be easy, but he can’t get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head.

Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?

Okay, so we’ve got some insta-lust here, maybe. But there’s also hints that this one goes deep. Lots of character building.

And here’s the second book, Midnight Heat:

The unconscious man wheeled into Dr. Rebecca Dahlman’s ER is sexy-devilishly sexy-and injured. This isn’t just any patient in need of medical help. He is the only man she’s ever loved-the one who still haunts her dreams.

Black Phoenix bassist Dominic Price made a mistake three years ago when he walked out on Rebecca. A mistake he plans to rectify. But first he has to convince her to open her heart to him again. One touch of his calloused hands reignites their passion.

Can they rekindle their trust as easily, or will her fears cause her to lose him again…this time to a man bent on revenge?

Yeah, yeah. Reunited lovers trope. But… that’s okay. There’s baggage here, and that’s what excites me.

Bring this ON, people. I can’t find anything to be down about, unless it’s that there are only two books and even that’s okay ’cause the whole world knows how slow I read…

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Seems every time I turn around lately, I’m hearing of a lot more of two things: Rock Fiction done in a series and male-male stories.

Like what Lori Toland’s cooked up. Check the description of the first book, The Replacement Guitarist:

Blaze Shinozuka has two goals: get a job as a guitarist and lose his virginity. At an audition for a famous pop star, he draws the attention of celebrity manager Jason Stockton—and their instant attraction sends his world careening off its axis just as he is thrust into the gritty world of rock ‘n’ roll.

Straight-laced music manager Jason Stockton is always professional and never dips his pen in the company ink. But there is something about Blaze that leaves him wanting what he shouldn’t. The guitarist’s exotic beauty and compelling innocence is a temptation Jason can’t resist.

After one lie in the national media pushes them apart, Blaze must decide whether he will trust Jason, a man he shouldn’t touch, let alone love. The cutthroat, jealous world of rock ‘n’ roll, has chewed up and spit out the toughest musicians, and Blaze vows he will be the last man standing, even after the music stops.

I like that when this opens, Blaze is a newbie. How much Rock Fiction is about either someone with Rock and Roll dreams, or else is about the jaded star who’s been into the groupie thing forever and is ready to be reformed?

And I like that it’s not another member of the band who Blaze has it for. In this scenario, I can see management getting involved and being around.

The rest of the series is interesting. Blaze and Jason weather hardships. Get fired. Break up. And by the fifth book, Blaze has made it and he’s an official pop star. (Really? A guitarist is a pop star?) And then Jason comes back around. This is one of those books that will either end the series or let it continue — If they break up, where’s left to go, story-wise? Isn’t the series about Jason and Blaze? But if they get back together, there’s a big world they can explore together…

I’m curious. Yes, me, who doesn’t particularly care for the gay lit. I’d read this series in a heartbeat.

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Sometimes, I can’t remember where I come across stuff. The more you surf, the more you find. I swear it. Take this one:

Lily Taylor’s life has been transformed twice – once by the music she loves, and then by the chance to make a career following her passion – writing about the business. But when she gets the biggest break of her career so far, an interview with the infamous Tristan Hunter, a rock star with a talent for trouble, Lily isn’t sure what to expect. Even though she’s always admired him, Tristan has a reputation for being difficult…and demanding.

Yet Tristan turns out to be just as electrifying in person as he is on stage, and the powerful connection between them is undeniable. Now the fiercely independent Lily finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of sexual desire that forces her to question everything she believes – and she’ll have to decide just how far she is willing to go for the answers…

Yeah, okay, we have that undeniable rock star chemistry, but Susan and I both swear it’s part of what makes Rock Fiction what it is (and so good). You just gotta have that charisma.

But this one intrigues me for a couple other reasons. It’s all about Lily. What does it mean her life was transformed by the music she loves? Is she like me, who knows she needs to be around it and walked away from a bunch of other dreams and considerations of jobs and careers to take a crummy-paying job that lets her travel and be around music — even if it’s not rock and roll — and meet rich people?

So I gotta find that out. Right away, I feel a connection to this girl.

And then she finds a way to be what looks like a music journalist, although “writing about the business” could mean she sits at a desk all day and is the one who compiles lists of the most played songs on the radio and what tour is raking in the biggest money. Could be boring as anything.

I like, too, that this isn’t the usual. It’s insta-lust, but it’s not love. It’s about Lily’s learning about herself, near as I can figure. That’s fresh. It’s different.

Bring it. There aren’t a lot of books, let alone Rock Fiction, that I gotta read because I’m on board from the get-go. This is one of ’em.

(Btw, a bit of GoodReads research shows this is the first in a trilogy about these two, and the plot intrigues the hell out of me. Fresh as anything. I’m in heaven. Or would be if I could read the damn things.)

It wasn’t that long ago that I was all excited about Nancy Loyan’s Special Angel. And then I went and got all excited again when Ms. Loyan was kind enough to send me an ARC copy to review.

I sat down with the highest expectations … and was crushed when they weren’t met.

Here’s the thing: the plot’s really cool. We have a woman who is discovered as a young child. She’s a Jackie Evancho, except she’s an orphan, found in the woods in the French countryside and raised by nuns who think she is an angel, a gift from God. With a voice like hers, perhaps she is. During a public appearance, she is spied by a couple of scheisters who decide to adopt Angelique and exploit the holy hell out of her.

Right here, I began to have issues with the plot. Why didn’t the nuns vet this couple at all, let alone more carefully? Was Angelique up for adoption even before the Davidsons asked for her? How were they circulating the word about their angel, if so? Are these public concerts less of a sharing of Angelique’s precious gift than a way of marketing her to the best adoptive parents?

But none of this happens. In a scene famous throughout fiction, Angelique is called into the office and told she’s going to be the child of these total strangers no one has met before. And, of course, the family turns out to be abusive.

This was the part of the book I was most looking forward to. From the book’s description, these were going to be the best villains this side of famous Broadway shows. And… we were told more than we were shown. Told about isolation, about tranquilizers (and why didn’t Angelique ever go through withdrawal or become addicted?), about abuse. But Angelique never shows any behavior consistent with an abused child. She doesn’t fight back, she doesn’t go submissive… nothing. Not even Stockholm Syndrome. Yet we’re told she’s aware she’s being abused. Why does she take it so meekly? It’s never explained to satisfaction. And so, it doesn’t ring true.

After she turns 18, the point at which she’d be a legal adult and free of the servitude the Davidsons hold her in, she’s not. We’re told repeatedly that she’s still their ward. Again, makes no sense that I can see, and I began to be a bit angry. Details were dragging down a good concept.

Except it was more than details. Go back a few paragraphs, where I say we are told more than shown. This is an ongoing problem through the book, and what a shame. Loyan has great characters in Angelique and Brian. I genuinely wanted to know them, wanted to see them, wanted to understand. I wanted them to live and breathe.

But even Brian’s complicity in Angelique’s escape has holes in it. As does the eventual fallout – how am I supposed to buy that she lives for three months in a lighthouse with no food, water, or toilet facilities? And, again, there’s no after effects, no negative repercussions.

It’s a shame. Good plot. Intriguing characters. The potential was there.

And I am one sad reader.

One last note: I know this was an ARC copy, which means Advance – which means the book will go through one final proofread before it is published. But holy smoke, the typos. Problems with she and he. Peek and Peak. These are basic mistakes, and when I take a step back and look at the project as a whole, I think that Ms. Loyan was let down by her publisher. A good editor would have pulled more of the story out of the book. And caught the typos. A better editor would have helped this realize its potential. And a great editor would have turned this into the home run it deserved to be.

I feel like a heel for not liking a book provided by the author. But I’d feel like a bigger heel if I sold out, raved about it, and damaged an awful lot of credibility for everyone involved.

In an ideal world, Ms. Loyan would get the rights to her book returned to her and she’d find a better support team. I’m telling you, the bones of this one are there. They really are.