Susan Reviews Take Me Home Tonight by Erika Kelly

Posted: March 5, 2016 in Reviews
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It was my friend Jessica Topper who first told me about Erika Kelly’s books. She promised I’d love them – and so I could hardly wait to dig in and see for myself how right Jessica was. Which does not explain why, when I ran into Ms. Kelly’s books in the library a few months ago, I didn’t check them out. I’m kicking myself for that now, of course. Why deny yourself something so good?
Take Me Home Tonight is the story of Mimi, the aspiring chef who works for Blue Fire, the band whose stories make up this series. Mimi chases a dream of working for her father and, by doing so, becoming the princess in his eyes that she’s always wanted to be.

Of course, there’s a love interest, in the form of standoffish Calix Bourbon, the keyboard player with major commitment issues.

That’s pretty much the story: how these two heal each other, grow, and come together. But of course, like the best fiction, there’s way more than that. The characters are smart, they are stupid, they are blinded by love and loyalty, they are brutally honest and walled up behind their fears, and they are both afraid to take chances. They are achingly human.

It’s hard not to love Calix’s major entry into the story, when he pulls up on his motorcycle and saves Mimi from a fight with her father. Without uttering a single word, he establishes his bad boy persona, and it’s both hysterical and hot. This man doesn’t need words and it’s almost a letdown when he does begin to use them, especially because when aroused, he’s got a habit of speaking in caveman grunts. “Want you,” he’ll tell Mimi.

I was into it until one of the other guys in Blue Fire speaks the same way to his girl. And then the magic went out. What a shame; it was such a neat nod to that man on the motorcycle.

Another thing I really liked was the issues of family in here. I really liked that these characters had families; how often do our romances exist in a family-free vaccuum? Maybe not as often as memory is trying to serve, but here, the family issues fuel the plot, fuel the characters’ motivations, and help shape the entire story. Both Calix and Mimi are chasing their families, but for different reasons. Calix’s family is close. Mimi’s is the opposite, although not to the polar extreme, fortunately. If anything, Mimi’s family is more in keeping with the relationships a number of my friends and I had with our own families at that age: wanting the best for us but unable to trust that we needed to fumble through on our own in order to be able to fully appreciate the success that came out of those struggles. Even more than the band, I loved the family members, although I’m a little iffy on Jo. She seemed to come around too fast, to be too normal compared to what we are set up to expect.

Coming into the series with this book, I was a bit let down that the members of Blue Fire come off as largely interchangeable. Granted, this is Mimi and Calix’s story, and they should take center stage, but I’d have liked to see more personality in the men, even if that meant they had to struggle a bit with the family for the reader’s attention; the series as a whole does, after all, revolve around them. It took me a good three quarters before I could recall which man had paired off with Violet and which with Emmie. This had a dual effect: to both irritate me beyond belief and to make me swear to go to the library already and catch up on what I’ve missed.

I liked that Mimi was a breath of fresh air and a disruptor in Calix’s life, and I liked that Calix is less of a bad boy and more of a rock, especially for Mimi, but also for his family, for better or worse. This man is solid, and probably one of the best fictional rockers I’ve encountered. And believe me: Rock Fiction is my category. I’ve met fictional rockers. Calix is right up there. Calix is welcome in my life. What a shame he’s not real…

I’ll definitely be reading this one again, for a couple of reasons. The e-ARC I got from NetGalley had formatting issues. I know I missed nuances that I’d have better appreciated without this issue. But also, as I said, I need to start with the first book, You Really Got Me, and immerse myself in the full Blue Fire experience. Take Me Home Tonight was a good place to start, a great introduction to this band, but dammit, it was so good, I want more. MORE.

Just as my buddy Jessica Topper warned me: I’m now an Erika Kelly fangirl.

Don’t miss this series.

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