Posts Tagged ‘one in a series’

Jaine was kind enough to send me a copy of Dirty Like Us to review and, just as I knew I would, I devoured it. Jaine’s my go-to girl for really awesome characters.

Befitting a half-entry in a series, this is a novella, and I think it sets us up better for a continuation of the Maggie-Zane story than it sets us up for Jesse and Katie (still my favorite cute meet ever) despite the epilogue, which feels more forced than anything else.

But the Maggie-Zane thing? I loved it. Love the interplay between these two, love that they have a long history that’s both troubled and solid, love the sort of couple they are turning into. No forced dominance here because it’s the trendy thing. These two are on a par with each other.

The one area where I can see people having trouble with this novella is the whole, “Let’s get married to fuck with your father” idea. The joke in this instance isn’t on either Maggie or Zane, it’s on Dizzy, and he’s too clueless and self-centered to get it. I can see others complaining that this decision undermines feminism or something along those lines.

Personally, I think it’s stupid, simply because Dizzy is the sort of person who’ll never understand he’s the butt of a joke, even when someone tells him that he is.

While this is one of the harder plot points to move past, it’s also easy because it’s so clearly an excuse for Maggie and Zane. It’s convenient, it’s an out. In a way, that makes things all the more delicious.

I can’t wait for their full story. Hope Jaine’s kind enough to send me another copy because man, I am now an official fan.

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I was so excited to read this. Lisa Gillis! I’ve known her online in passing for years, although not terribly well. I’ve heard about her Rock Fiction for even longer and been dying to read the books to see if they were as good as I was led to believe they are.

I don’t remember how or when this came across my radar as a freebie, but I grabbed it. Because Lisa Gillis! WOOT.

But… it opens in a scenario reminiscent of Jessica Lemmon’s Return of the Bad Boy, only this doesn’t put me off the way that book put my buddy Jett off. She and I talked about it, and her memory of that one is that there was an anger between the characters in the Lemmon book, where here, we had a softness between the characters, a real chemistry and desire for each other. Their meeting came out of desire for each other as people, not as their job titles. And it came out of *desire* and not revenge or whatever had powered that opening in the Lemmon book.

This also reminded me of Stina Lindenblatt’s My Song For You, in that the rocker discovers his love has a hidden kid and he’s the dad. The situation is quite different, but there it is. And the kids in both these books have some sort of physical disability, too, although Gillis never gives us any details. She’s so careful about not revealing them that we never know what the issue is, or if she herself knows if this is a real, legit problem that parents have to face. Maybe it’s something made up for the sake of convenience.

So the book has these two others that it has to live up to, and by and large it does. Marissa and Jack are likeable, although we don’t see nearly enough of Jack as a rocker and can’t really consider this to be Rock Fiction. He’s not big enough, and while it makes sense that he tames that side of himself for the child’s sake, he also loses that spark that sets a rocker apart.

My biggest issue with it came in the editing. Holy hell. Talk about sinking a really good book. Marissa apparently is a child of the water or something because she’s got a naval something or other where most people have bellybuttons… or, more properly, NAVELs. Dialogue tags are used to tell us what’s been shown (so much for “show, don’t tell” although we did stop short of “Shit,” he swore — but not by much), and the words are often used incorrectly, as well. “She assures.” — that’s not a sentence. ASSURES is a verb that needs an object, yet this happened over and over again. Interestingly, a number of erudite words are used correctly, but they also don’t fit the characters, and since this is a first-person narration, the narrator’s voice needs to match that of the characters.

A lot is left to be developed further–the situations with the parents of both Jack and Marissa, for example, and for different reasons. Jack’s parents are the typical loving parents who hold the close-knit family together. Without knowing anything else about the series, I’d wager the series revolves around them and their family. Marissa’s family isn’t entirely the opposite, but it’s clear from the get-go that her mother is toxic and her father an enabler of that toxicity. Hopefully we’ll get to see Jack give them a true comeuppance, complete with severing of the mother-daughter relationship in future books.

But one thing nagged at me, and that’s in the beginning, where Marissa says she’s part of the famous JackMa. But this story doesn’t take us to any of the hows and whys of their *public* coupling, only their personal one. And I felt like the opening, with its talk on the first page of a perfect storm and an ending with this promise of their being a celebrity couple, promised more than it delivered.

So… would I read more Lisa Gillis? I think so. The woman can write some good sex, and maybe the editing in this one is not indicative of the rest of Gillis’ body of work. I really hope it’s not because the woman clearly can write, she creates very vivid and real characters, and there’s a lot going on here that I’d like to see how it unfolds. But sheesh, she needs people who understand that cheesecakes aren’t pies, that buttercream is one word, and that you don’t need to consult a thesaurus to write well.

Unfortunately, the listing at GoodReads doesn’t have a separate link on the series name so I can’t easily check to see if this is part of the same series I’d blogged about a couple months ago.

Ha. I went digging, and it is. So let’s see what this one’s about.

A rock band. A reality show. A recipe for disaster.

Falling in love with your best friend is one thing. Falling in love with a rock star is entirely another. Put those two things together, add in airing your new relationship on reality TV, and you’ve got one volatile mix just waiting to explode.

Lily Montgomery’s life has veered in a direction she never expected. She’s struggling to find her balance after her romance with rock star Dane Archer propelled her into the latest headlines. Her dreams of a successful writing career are fading in the bright lights of unwanted fame. She needs to figure out how to help Dane and his band achieve their goals without losing sight of her own.

Easier said than done…

As The Void’s tour continues, Lily faces family drama, relationship trials, dangerously dedicated fans, and zealous paparazzi. Between that and figuring out how to spin the tabloid-worthy relationship developing between the band’s brooding bassist, Keith Connors, and her conservative roommate, Sydney Ward, Lily has more weight on her shoulders than she ever imagined.

But her choice has been made. For the sake of love and her own reputation, she will have to find her rhythm and rise to each challenge. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose everything…and the whole world will be watching.

Lots going on here! Is this an extension of the first book? Sounds like it might be, but I’m not up for going digging AGAIN on the same series. (Really. Authors, make it easy. Tell your publishers to make it easy. That separate link for a series? Priceless! Make use of it!)

So if it’s a continuation of the first, then that means you gotta read the first before this one will make any sense. And I still need to do that, of course. So many Rock Fiction novels…

This is the fourth in a series, but hey, who said we had to start at the beginning? Besides, this is the required Rock Fiction entry into a series about brothers, so why NOT start in the middle? After all, we do Rock Fiction over here, not series fiction.

Here’s what This Is Our Song is about:

She knows him by reputation
Riley Shaughnessy knew that to stand out in his large family, he’d have to go big. Making a name for himself as a musician wasn’t easy, but he followed his dreams to rock-star success. But the relentless expectations of fans is not helping the slump he’s in now. So of course the person who attracts him is the woman who is not impressed by fame.

Which gives Riley Shaughnessy a lot to prove
Entertainment reporter Savannah Daly is completely unfazed by pretty-boy rock stars. She’s just here to get her interview and write her story. But spending an entire month with the Shaughnessys is going to show Savannah a side of Riley she never could have guessed.

On the surface, this is familiar stuff. Guy finds inspiration. She’s not interested. She’s a reporter, sent to get her story.

So what’s the attraction? HOW it’s done, of course. And this series has good reviews — I looked at numbers but didn’t read any — so you’d think the execution’s going to be good.

Bring it on.

Here’s the Rock Fiction entry into an otherwise not-Rock Fiction series. It’s the third in the series, and I don’t think you have to have read the earlier books to pick this one up. The descriptions seem, from a quick glance, to all be about different people.

Can a love built on secrets survive?

Rugged, hot, and rock hard, Dred Zander is exactly the type of man that normally sends Pixie running. Not dreaming about running her hands down his washboard abs…and lower. The lead singer and guitarist for the band Preload embodies trouble behind his quick smile and guarded eyes, and Pixie left trouble behind her years ago along with the name Sarah Jane Travers and the pathetic trailer her mom called home. With her abusive past in her past, she has a new life, a new family at Second Circle, and a dream of opening her own business. She needs capital and time. What she doesn’t need is a tempting long-haired rocker or the paparazzi that follow him around.

But Dred has other ideas. Pixie’s sweet hazel eyes, purple hair and kaleidoscopic tattoo of exotic flowers that swirl up her arm haunt his dreams, and he knows she wants him too. He just has to convince her. But as a juicy exposé threatens to expose their pasts, and a blackmailer terrorizes their present, Pixie and Dred have to decide what really matters and fight like hell to keep it.

This one’s gonna come down to how well the characters are drawn, so… let’s see how well the characters are drawn. Bring it on!

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I keep finding Peggy Erhhart books and I keep drooling over them. Here’s another one in the Maxx series that was started with Sweet Man is Gone. It’s called Murder Gets the Blues, and it’s three stories. So any of you who like the shorter stuff ought to be happy. I mean, who doesn’t like shorter?

Join blues-singer sleuth Elizabeth “Maxx” Maxwell from Peggy Ehrhart’s Sweet Man Is Gone in three stories that showcase her crime-solving chops.

“Maxx Nails It” Flash fiction—Maxx solves a murder in less than 1000 words.

“Blues Clues” Maxx frees her guitar player from a murder charge by paying careful attention to the dead guy’s trash.

“Daddy’s Girls” The puzzling death of Maxx’s old Atlantic City friend Cecile introduces her to an all-girl band being stalked by an ingenious killer.

There’s not nearly enough blues in Rock Fiction. And why not? The blues are perfect for Rock Fiction! Don’t believe me? Grab some and see for yourself.

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Last summer, I was on about the first in this series, Riff. And now I’m back to drool over the second in the series. It’s called Harmony. So we’ve had Riff and Harmony.

You know, these could be character names. They’re certainly music terms. And now, they’re book titles.

Damn, I’m perceptive.

Here’s what the book’s about:

Sean Scott, lead guitarist of Destiny Fades to Blue, the “it” boys of rock, is used to having any woman he wants. He’s never at a loss for companionship and his philandering ways are frequently on the front page of the tabloids. Summer Anderson, one of the founding members of Sweet Southern Sass, the platinum selling sweethearts of country, has never had much time for romance with her busy touring schedule and all that living the life of a country superstar entails. While on a crossover tour with both bands, Summer finds herself wildly attracted to the tattooed, bad boy of rock, but the close proximity also gives her a front row seat to Sean’s revolving door of bedmates. Sean knows that Summer is attracted to him. He’s interested but knows that she isn’t the type of woman he goes for though he loves the attention… until she suddenly treats him no differently than anyone else. When another man enters the picture and Summer seems interested, Sean must make a choice. Is he willing to forego his womanizing ways for a chance with Summer? Can Summer trust that he’s sincere in his affection? Will the sweetheart of country decide that the only relationship she needs with the bad boy of rock be as a tour mate or can these two find success in the rhythm of love? When the sweethearts of country meet the bad boys of rock… more than the charts heat up.

So we’ve got some cliches here right off the bat… sweethearts of country and the bad boys of rock. I just wanna gag.

But you know what I really like that’s happening here? That Sean’s given some competition that makes him stop and reevaluate. It’s not that his johnson decides it’s a one-woman body part. Nope. This is a decision that gets made with the sexiest body part of all: the brain.

Okay, sexiest after a great set of abs. Sheesh.

A couple points to note here: like I said, this is the second in a series. The first book involved people from the same two bands, so there’s gonna be stuff that repeats. If that’s not your thing, know that now. But for some people, they like having the foundation already laid for them. (Hey! I said laid in a post about an erotic read!) It lets them jump in and focus on the story, not the set-up. I get that. I can respect it.

If you’re reading this series, or if you know Skye Turner, we’d love to hear from you!

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This is the second in a series, but it’s the only Rock Fiction entry (so far; the third was just released on Valentine’s Day, so who knows how many more there will be?). Sounds pretty solid.

Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum, Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant bickering—and serious heat.

Noah really should tell Jenny that he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.

This reminds me of something else I read recently, Dream Maker — but only because we have new kids to Nashville who want to be songwriters, not performers. After that, the stories each take their own path.

But here’s a thing. In the first paragraph, she’s a songwriter — or so it seems. “to write music, not get famous.” That says to me she’s there to write songs, not get famous. The way to get famous is to sing those songs.

But in the next paragraph, she’s now a “feisty country singer.”

So which is it? And most important, does the Rock Fiction get lost when the love interest shows up?

So I’m confused and as usual, there’s only one way to find out… gotta read this puppy.

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So WHAT if it’s the end of February and the next holiday to look forward to celebrating is St. Patrick’s Day? And so what if we’re all tired of winter and ready for spring and green? Let’s take a step back a couple months and talk about a Christmas book. Because, you know, you’ll read about it now and go out and buy it, and it’ll sit around until you rediscover it before next Christmas, and then you’ll be in the mood.

Mark my words. That’s how these things work.

So the book is Rockin’ Little Christmas and it’s branded as being a True Mated Romance, although the first book doesn’t have a lick of Rock Fiction in it, if I go by its description. Which, for lack of other information, is what I’m using.

Here’s what it’s about:

When her parents’ rock band The Pack performs at Zach’s bar, Mandy discovers her True Mate, Joe Blackwolf, the band’s lead singer and guitarist. All she has to do now is convince Joe that she told a little white lie to make her mom happy, her father that rock musicians aren’t all alike, and her new mate’s family that rockers aren’t all that different from classical musicians.

Joe Blackwolf is celebrating his fortieth birthday. And what he wishes for when he blows out the candles is to find his True Mate. He succeeds when he meets Mandy Goldwolf. Problem is…he thinks she belongs to someone else. Finding out the truth leaves him free to explore every inch of her smokin’ hot curves, but now Joe and Mandy are neck deep in overbearing relatives and everyone is in for a Rockin’ Little Christmas.

Note: This book was previously published elsewhere but has been revised and updated.
Formerly titled: Cupid Rocks.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting: Cupid Rocks is the fourth in the True Mated series. But this isn’t part of that series, even though it has a new title? Color me confused! Francesca, stop in and explain it, will ya? Help a girl out here!

I love the line about “All she has to do now is convince Joe that she told a little white lie to make her mom happy, her father that rock musicians aren’t all alike, and her new mate’s family that rockers aren’t all that different from classical musicians.”

That is a LOADED statement, even though Susan looked at it funny and said she wasn’t sure it made sense. Too bad. I get the jist of it and sometimes, you need to go by the jist. And that? That jist just grabbed me. Hard.

So there ya go. If you’ve read this under either of its titles, or you know Francesca and can tell her we’re talking about her and have questions about the whys of things in her world, we’d love you for it. Or I will. Susan’s… well, she can be sparing with the love. It’s not you. It’s her. I think she needs some romance in her life, don’t you?

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We’ve had Tracy Wolff’s first two books in her Shaken Dirty series on our List for a long time, but this is the first time either Susan or I have openly wanted to read her. Which is stupid; who wants to start a series with the third book? But I’m going to write about that one today because I’m in a mood and feeling stubborn. Why does the first always get the love?

Here’s what the third, Fade Into You, is about.

Wyatt Jennings has been called a lot of things by the media. Bad-boy rocker. Intense drummer. Addict.

Finally out of rehab and desperate for a fresh start, Wyatt rejoins his mega-platinum rock band Shaken Dirty as they prepare for their world tour. But Wyatt’s demons are never far behind, always nipping at his heels for one. More. Fix.

Enter Poppy Germaine, the band’s new social media consultant. A beautiful bombshell who somehow manages to get underneath Wyatt’s skin, Poppy’s an addiction Wyatt can get behind. And even though she’s with the label—and therefore off-limits—he craves her. Needs her.

Except Poppy isn’t actually a social media consultant. She’s the daughter of the label’s CEO, sent undercover to babysit Wyatt and keep him from falling off the wagon again. Proving herself to her father is Poppy’s only goal—until she finds herself in Wyatt’s bed. But if Wyatt discovers the truth, it could send him spiraling all over again…

So my first thought was that here we go, into stuff we’ve seen and read before. Yawn.

And then the twists showed up. And dude, I’m hooked. Yeah, it’s clear we still have an employee in the rocker’s bed. I see that. Believe me, I see it. And believe me, I still hate it.

But I like the awareness here, the idea that the label head is so committed to this band (because, let’s face it, that’s rarely the case. The A&R guy? The manager? The people who work directly with the band? Absolutely. But a label head? Says something about the drawing power of this band — or it says the author doesn’t know her stuff, but let’s be positive here.) that he’ll take such drastic steps. I’m not sure of the wisdom of sending his beautiful daughter into the thick of things, but… I’m not a parent. Maybe it’d be different if I was in this guy’s shoes, so I hope we get to really understand his thinking here. I mean, doesn’t he know that there’s always this chance of chemistry?

Anyway, bring this one, and the rest of the series, on! It looks like at least two more are scheduled, as well, with titles listed at GoodReads. Let’s see where this one goes.

And hey, if you’ve read any of these books, send your reviews over and I’ll make Susan post them! We’d love help shouldering the burden around here and spreading the Rock Fiction love.