Posts Tagged ‘one in a series’

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Maybe six months ago, I was all excited to read Kristen Callihan’s Idol. Now I’m excited to read the next in the series, Managed. Here’s why:

It started off as a battle of wits. Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big…ego.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London.

That is until HE sat next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me.

I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming.

If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.

Let the battle begin…

So he’s an arrogant manager… man, we see a lot of those. Think it’s because arrogance comes easily to the successful? They get too much of themselves?

But I’m curious what this “only in a way I didn’t see coming” means. You’d think it’s sexual, right? Except… this is a romance, so we readers see it a million miles off. Doesn’t mean the lead doesn’t, just that she’s maybe not as smart as we are.

All in all, it sounds like Gabriel’s music ties are there for color, making this Not Rock Fiction. But I need to read it to see. Which means… I need to read it.

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So Susan read a Maya Banks book a couple years ago. She was disappointed in it.

But I’m not Susan, so I’m going to try to track this one down, and her review isn’t going to bug me at all. Mostly because I didn’t bother to read it.

Here’s what Kept is about:

From the author of Mastered and Dominated comes the third Enforcers novel—the searing story of a woman who finds sanctuary in surrender…

He can’t change who he is…

A horrific childhood has made Silas the man he is today: dangerous, distrustful, and demanding. He’s lived in self-imposed solitude, convinced that no woman could ever accept his need for absolute control—in business and pleasure. That is, until a young violinist walks into one of his buildings and into his life.

She can’t change what she wants…

Haley has been struggling to fulfill her father’s dying wish: to attend a prestigious music school in New York City. But even working two jobs, she can’t afford the tiniest of apartments. Seeing her hopeless and near tears, Silas vows to help and protect her, no matter the cost to himself. But when Haley meets his every demand with unwavering acceptance and love, he is overwhelmed by her goodness and gentle spirit. He knows that the dark stain on his soul can never be erased—and rather than risk destroying the most beautiful thing he’s ever experienced, he knows he’ll have to do the hardest thing he’s ever had to face. Let her go. But he’s totally unprepared for the lengths Haley will go to fight for his love and a future brighter than the sun…

So how much of this has to do with music? That’s the number one question I have.

I’m a little leery of the “absolute control–in business and pleasure” part because that just seems cruel to me and not my thing, but Maya Banks has such a good reputation (and Susan met her once and said she’s awesome in person) and honestly, I’m curious. This guy knows he could destroy his love. He’s got hard choices, but what a chance to open up and grow into someone new.

I’m intrigued. Totally. Even though none of that plot seems like it’s Rock Fiction at all.

Hey, every now and then, one reaches out and grabs me. What can I say?

(btw, for those of you who care, this is the third in a series, and I have no idea if they are related, or if you have to read the first two, or what. If you know, let’s hear from you!)

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You know, I can’t decide how I feel about books that wind up being the token Rock Fiction entry into a series. On the one hand, it’s a great way to expose non-Rock Fiction readers to our amazing category. But on the other, they have a greater chance of not breathing music the way the best Rock Fiction does. So are these books really showing the magic and pull of Rock Fiction?

Today’s Coveting entry is Anne Calhoun’s Going Deep. Check the description:

After weeks on a sold-out tour, singer Cady Ward is coming home for the holidays. But after one too many episodes of fan-craziness, Cady’s manager decides that she needs protection—in the form of muscled cop Conn McCormick. Longing for peace and quiet to prepare before her next album drops, Cady doesn’t need a bodyguard just to deal with some vague email threats…though she can’t deny that close proximity to Conn’s body is a very nice place to be.

Conn is in the midst of a career scandal when his boss assigns him to pop-star guard duty. It’s a poor use of his skills, even though Cady’s feisty nature proves the perfect distraction for Conn while Internal Affairs investigates his case. What begins as a sizzling attraction becomes something deeper than either Conn or Cady could have expected. But when Conn uncovers the sinister plan behind the threats to Cady, he’s faced with a professional dilemma: To save her life, will he risk having a future with the only woman who’s ever touched his soul?

Ahh, the bodyguard trope. You guys know that I think it’s hard to touch this one, given how well Lorelei James did it a few years back.

But this book might be coming at it from a different angle. After all, Cady isn’t on the road (or so the back cover says), so that takes that element out of the picture. And the series is about the Black Ops dudes, so that suggests this is more the hero’s story than the heroine’s. Which is also cool. I mean, I love men. Why wouldn’t I love reading about them?

As always, it’s all about the execution, so bring this one on and let’s see how it executes. Or better yet, represents Rock Fiction. AND makes my knees weak. I love it when a good romance can make my knees weak.

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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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Here’s one for the Vaguebookers among you all…

My name is Scarlett, but most call me Lett. Well, everyone except the man I’ve been in love with for as long as I can remember.

It wasn’t difficult growing up the daughter of a rock star. I loved the attention and the music so the decision to follow my dad’s career path was an easy one.

Trouble always seemed to be my shadow and keeping out of mischief sometimes seemed impossible. The social life always kept me busy. However, recently I just long for a bit of privacy, a little anonymity just for a little while.

Singing and music are my lively-hood and my passion; I need to find my balance. Little did I know, my life was about to be turned upside down and finding someone to trust in my line of work was difficult; I learned that the hard way. But there has always been one man who has been by my side throughout it all, my best friend. It’s a shame he doesn’t feel the same, will he ever love me back?

Will fate be on my side?

Was my destiny about to be rocked?

Okay, so we’re not going to mention the HUGE capital letters Susan used when she picked out lively-hood from that description. Because, umm, hey. I know that editors aren’t cheap, but on this one, I have to agree with her. Having that edited would have been money well spent. And Susan says she’ll edit a description like this super cheap. I’d say it’s totally worth it because even if she hadn’t pointed that out, I’d have caught it. That’s a pretty bad one.

So Lett is in love with this dude who may or may not know she’s alive. He doesn’t have a name, he’s THAT important to her. And something bad happens, but we don’t know what, which means anyone who needs trigger warnings is going to approach this one carefully.

And the author’s bio on Goodreads says this is a series, but the book isn’t linked to a series, so I don’t know what number it is, or if there are others or if this is just an intended series.

So lots of questions, and other than that huge typo in the description, nothing that I don’t think scares me off. It raises a lot of questions about what’s really going on here, and that’s not always a bad thing to start reading with, you know? So much better when you don’t know the plot. I mean, hello? It’s a romance. We know the plot, or at least the happily ever after (or happy for now, which seems to be a thing anymore). But that’s okay — with romances, it’s all about getting there, not how it ends. Romances are all about the falling in love, and that totally works for this single girl.

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I wrote yesterday’s post awhile ago, and it’s funny that it’s running this week, the week after McCarthy’s second book in the series, Dream Maker, was released. Let me tell you, after reading Dream Maker, I gotta go find that first book.

Here’s the review I wrote before I realized we had two days of Erin McCarthy. Think it’s enough to convince her to come hang out here a bit and talk about this Nashville Nights series of hers?

Can I gush about how much fun this book was? It’s such a simple, familiar setup, one I’ve been seeing a lot lately.
Avery’s lost on a street corner – the why is important, so I won’t spoil it, even though if you’ve read the first chapter, you know – and gets picked up by Shane Hart, music producer extraordinare and brother to Jolene Hart, country music darling.

Throwing caution to the wind and needing to be wild for just one night, Avery takes Shane to a hotel room and screws him silly. It, of course, is wonderful, but Avery promised herself it would be one time, one night, and she leaves a note and sneaks out while Shane snores on. If romance heroes snore.

Fast forward three months. Avery’s found herself a new footing and a job as a songwriter. She’s messing around with a new tune and freezes. That’s Shane in the hallway, loving her song. Or is it her?

It doesn’t really matter. It takes her co-workers about zero time to figure out that there’s some unresolved heat between Shane and Avery, and that’s pretty much it. That’s the plot. Oh, there’s a subplot about Avery’s father, too, and it’s resolved super fast and with zero angst. I wish there’d been more angst about this part of the book.

But the romance is a fun read. It’s charming, it’s cute, it’s heartwarming. And yes, it’s hot, so don’t think that words like cute and charming and heartwarming don’t mean there’s not some explicit loving happening.

And yes, it’s Rock Fiction. I mean, hello? He’s a music producer. She’s a songwriter. And there’s Jolene running around, too, since she and Shane are some of romance’s almost typical brother-sister loving duos.

This is part of a series, the second book. The first featured Jolene and her love, and we get to see them in this book. I’m not sure where McCarthy’s going to head next, but it’s listed as upcoming and man, I hope I get to read it. I also need to read Jolene’s story. This is some good stuff. Fun, frothy, and… just perfect.

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Okay, WHO let this one slip through the cracks? We’ve done multiple posts about wanting to read the first in this series, You Really Got Me. Susan and Michelle have read books One and Three. So why no love for Number Two?

Let’s fix that right now.

Derek Valencia finally has the success he’s worked so hard for. His band is touring its debut album and great reviews are rolling in. But when pictures of him tossing naked groupies off a balcony go viral, it’s damage-control time. He’s assigned a “babysitter” whose sole job is to keep him out of trouble.

Violet Davis swore she’d never work in the music industry again, but being a minder for a rock star will earn her enough to pay off the mortgage on her wildflower farm. And for a girl brought up in the foster care system, owning her own home means more to her than anything.

Though at first the two bang heads, the rocker and the farm girl soon grow close and realize that they make sweet music together. But can a girl who craves the stability of life on a farm really make it work with a man whose life is spent on the road with his band?

This is the throwing-naked-groupies-off-balconies book and I haven’t given it its own time here at The Rock of Pages!

Really. If Susan wanted to fire me, she’s got a good reason to. A better than good reason.

So. What more do I need to say? Books One and Three have made it onto the Recommended List here at The Rock of Pages. This one has naked groupies being flung off balconies (take THAT, Led Zeppelin!).

I guess the only thing I need to say is that Michelle got to read the first book, and Susan read the third, so I get this one!

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Susan and I were tossing e-mails back and forth the other day, talking about Nalini Singh and this series. We’ve been coveting it for a long time now, but neither of us has made a move to read it — and we should. We were debating who gets to do it, but we haven’t reached an agreement yet. At least we’re talking about picking it up!

So here’s the next in the series. The fourth or fifth, depending on how you count the one listed on Nalini’s website as 1.5. At any rate, it’s more than a trilogy. Sounds like this one can go long — although what’s that middle book doing there? The one that has nothing to do with rock stars?

Here’s the description:

After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love…even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?

We’ve seen second-chance romances before, but this one? Sounds… heavy. Angsty. And with a heaping dose of redemption.

I can’t speak for Susan, but I’m hoping I win the battle over who gets to read this series because man, this one sounds like it’s made for me.

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Well, if there was ever an excuse for full-on debauchery, this is it. The rock star’s wedding.

I mean, have you SEEN the November Rain video?

Although, to be honest, this doesn’t sound much like that. Excesses, debauchery, and all. See what I mean:

Kenzi’s vacation in St. Thomas becomes a lot more interesting when her high school sweetheart, rock star heartthrob Chaz turns up. If only he wasn’t there for his wedding…

Rumor has it the rock star is marrying his actress girlfriend. Yet when he sees Kenzi, it’s as if five years hasn’t passed.

Seeing Kenzi reminds Chaz how love ought to feel, which is nothing like he feels for his fiancée anymore. Since her well-publicized affair with her costar, he’s played the faithful lover giving her a second chance. Now he wishes for a way out, and the chance to get to know the grown-up version of the girl he once loved.

This actually sounds… better. Kinda like the storyline of Melody of Truth — but not so much the same that you’re gonna pick up this one expecting a clone of the other. It’s the idea of facing up to the truth of why you’re marrying someone and what love ought to be.

Pardon me while I sigh in longing.

So yeah, bring this one on. Best of all, while it’s the second in a series, the series looks like each book is a stand-alone. Different characters, and I’m guessing a different spot for the weddings, but when you only have the descriptions to go on, it’s hard to know for sure.

Definitely gotta read to find out. Bring it on!

Susan dropped me a note that she’d gotten approval for the new Stina Lindenblatt novel. You know: the follow-up to This One Moment, which was a book I’d really liked. I was pretty darn excited to get my hands on My Song For You. Which band member was this going to be about?

Turns out it’s Jared’s story. He runs into the little sister of an old flame, and she’s got a kid.

Now, he looks at this kid and there’s not a flash of recognition, even though the kid apparently looks exactly like him. Not even when he grabs a picture of himself at age four, which is Logan’s age, does he get it. He keeps telling himself he never slept with Callie, so there’s no way. But he never stops to think beyond that.

Our Jared’s a little slow. Or maybe he’s distracted by Callie, who’s always had a thing for him but he never knew it. And maybe he liked Callie better than he let on, but he was busy with Callie’s older sister—and man, was he crushed when she told him she’d aborted their kid.

You guessed it, huh? Big sister Alexis lied. She had the kid and swore her family to secrecy. Not long after, Alexis and her parents died in a car accident, leaving Callie to raise her nephew, realigning her life plans and struggling to get by.

It’s a good setup, but it’s not enough. Callie and Jared don’t talk about the situation. Jared goes running to a lawyer behind everyone’s back and this lawyer dude ain’t real smart ’cause he doesn’t focus one whit on what’s best for this kid, who has no reason to think the only mother he can remember is really his aunt. And Jared? Doesn’t stop to consider Callie. He’s too busy being… well, not quite angry because he’s not passionate enough, but he’s being an idiot, that’s for sure. He wants to man up to his responsibility and that’s admirable, but he seems short on people around him who he’ll talk to, and who will widen his too-narrow viewpoint. And this includes his parents.

As for Callie, she gets scared and shuts down. And that’s how these two deal with this pretty big problem they’ve got. They don’t.

There’s not a lot of music in this book, to be honest. Jared isn’t the most dynamic character; he’s not got that charisma that Tyler/Nolan had in the first book of the series. He’s one of those guys who could be an everyman. It’s disappointing.

And so are the music details that do appear. You don’t meet with a music video director one day and begin recording the next. There’s no way this band would defy the micromanaging head of the label and change up the songs they had committed to play on a TV showcase special.

This doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good read. And okay, maybe it wasn’t good in the same way the first was. Too many chapters end the same way: with Jared telling us he’s an idiot. After the first couple, it’s a yawner. The potential for a really rich, rewarding story is there, but because Callie and Jared don’t talk through the big issues, this really readable book loses a lot of the high marks it could have otherwise had.

Let’s write this one off to a sophomore slump and hope the next in the series is about Mason, the foul-mouthed dude. Right now, he’s the guy I’m most interested in.