Posts Tagged ‘country music’


What IS it about country music? I don’t overly like it, until I sit down and watch Nashville, and then I absolutely love it so I try to listen to it and yeah, that doesn’t go so well and it’s like I’m a teenager again listening to it playing in my boyfriend’s truck, wishing I was old enough to drink beer so I could chase this crap out of my head.

But give me some Rock Fiction about a country star? I am so there. And I can’t tell you why. Or maybe I can. Check it:

Wade Sheppard was the king of country for nearly ten years. Now he can’t get Nashville on the phone, much less another record deal. When yet another drunken night onstage gets him fired from a casino gig, Wade is pulled off the road by his manager and sent home. Being back in the small town where he was born and raised, his every screw-up fodder for gossip, isn’t helping any. His family knows him too well, and the pretty, sharp-tongued waitress who catches his eye doesn’t want to know him at all.

Daisy McNeil has more baggage than most her age but she’s finally pulling her life together. College classes will be her ticket out of poverty and instability. She doesn’t mind waiting tables for the time being, but she could do without the rowdy rednecks who sometimes get handsy. When one of them crosses the line, she snaps and gives him and his stupid ten gallon hat the telling off he deserves, but causing a scene gets her fired.

Wade didn’t mean to cost Daisy her job. Chastened, he decides he doesn’t want his train wreck of a life to crash into anybody else. He offers the bar owner a summer of free shows if Daisy can have her job back. Now they’re spending nights together trading barbs and fighting a growing attraction. With a sexy smile and a powerful voice that can make any song his, Wade’s determined to show Daisy that he’s more than just a good time bad boy.

We’ve totally seen this before. The rocker who effs up his life and needs to get back on track. So what IS it?

I don’t know. Maybe it’s that he does something really cool: trading Daisy’s job for a summer of free shows. Smart move, on a million levels, and what a great plot device.

This one looks good, guys. Pick up a copy and read it before I do. I’ll make Susan post your review, too.


Look! It’s the first in a series! Anyone else totally not surprised by that?

Today, it’s Alecia Whitaker, who’s pretty new to the scene, to judge by her GoodReads page. I like new! Heck, I love seeing more people stick their big toe into the world of Rock Fiction. It benefits all of us, and that’s always a good thing. Anything that gives me a reason to sit by the pool now that it’s summer and read. I’m there.

Here’s Wildflower, the first in Alecia’s series:

The best songs come from broken hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family’s bluegrass band, and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennesee to Nowhere, Oklahoma. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.

Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She’s even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird’s star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?

In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice.

Wow, that seems pretty easy there. What about paying dues, or are the years singing backup with Mommy and Daddy considered dues? What about the years of not eating well, of scraping up gas money by cleaning out the couch cushions (damn, I did this last week and found three M&Ms. No change. What’s wrong with this picture? Other than I had no idea how old the M&Ms were, so I didn’t even eat them.)?

Well, maybe that’s not the focus of this story. Maybe the focus is on Bird’s development as a character. I don’t know… only one way to find out!

Before I sign off here, let me mention that the second book in the series, The Road to You, is coming out just in time for me to sit by the pool and read it. How about a two-fer for reviews? Pretty please?


Look what we have here! It’s new! It’s special!

It’s the first in a series. Here’s the description.

Cooper Krenshaw knows what it’s like to feel the bright lights upon him, the sound of the crowd roaring when he walks on stage; after all, he happens to be one of the biggest names in country music at the moment. And he has knowingly just dropped off the grid. The first decision he has made on his own in quite some time. Cooper only thought he was looking for a challenge when he walked off of that concert stage in Chicago. After finding himself in Devil’s Bend, Texas, he soon realizes that the dream he’s been chasing might not be the one he was after all along.

Now he’s found himself not only starting over in a new town, but he’s pretty sure he’s met the toughest challenge of his life… she just happens to be an angel in blue jeans.

Tessa Donovan hasn’t been the best of friends with Fate for quite some time now. Owning and operating The Rusty Nail, a small bar in her hometown of Devil’s Bend, has been enough to keep her going through the motions of her life. But it’s the only thing she’s got. After losing her husband fifteen short months after they were married, Tessa has spent the last four years chasing dreams in order to maintain her sanity. Only those dreams are soon ripped right out of her grasp by a sexy country music star who claims he descended on her small town by accident.

Coincidence? Or has Fate stepped in once again? Whatever the case, Tessa knows the handsome cowboy might get to overtake her dreams, but she’s bound and determined that he won’t take her heart.

Well, it may be a series, but there’s some fresh stuff happening here. He’s a dropout, which isn’t too terribly new, but I haven’t seen in awhile, so that’s good. And he’s a country star, which isn’t new either, but it’s not the cliche. And not a mention of how many groupies the man surrounds himself with — THAT is definitely new and welcome.

The heroine is the new kind of kick-ass woman: presumably widowed and a bar owner. Bar owners, historically in fiction, are tough women. So right there, it sounds like there might be some verbal fireworks before there are bedroom fireworks.

Bring this one on.

Oh, and the rest of the series? Hard to tell, as books three and four are only marked as untitled, but have a name beside them in parentheses. To judge by the second book, the series rounds out by following the rest of the band. The guy in the second book even follows Cooper to the same town and finds love in the same bar. Maybe it’s too much coincidence. Only one way to find out…

One more thing? These books seem to be about the men, not the women. Susan loves to tell the story of the agent who said she had to be writing about women because who’d want to read about men? Looks like all of Edwards’ books are at least a lot about the men. Susan’s not the only one who wants to read about men. I sure do.

Bring these on!

avatar S RED
For awhile there, country music was hot in Rock Fiction. At least the stuff crossing my radar, anyway. I think it has to do with the popularity of the TV show Nashville. If you’re not watching, you should be; that’s Rock Fiction at its best.

But I found this one.

From New York Times Bestselling Author, Marquita Valentine, comes the first book in her new adult series, LIVE FOR YOU.

Boys of the South ~ Book 1

The faster I rise, the harder they want to see me to fall.

For years, I had the perfect life and the perfect career as the reigning princess of country music, Violet Lynn. Then after one drunken night, my mug shot went viral. Suddenly, I was the girl least likely to be invited anywhere. Unable to withstand the questions from the press or the sight of my ex-boyfriend with my ex-best friend, I ran…straight into the arms of one bad boy bartender- Cole Morgan.

Cole’s nothing like any guy I met before, with his rough demeanor, tattoos, and piercings. It doesn’t matter to me that our worlds are so different that they don’t even occupy the same universe. He makes me feel safe, secure, and …loved.

But once he learns the truth of who I am and what I did, will he stay or turn on me like all the others?

[Note from Susan: four typos in the first line? Really? Well, maybe that explains why a quick Google search didn’t turn up the name of the publisher]

So on the surface, to make another Nashville comparison, we’ve got the story of Juliette Barnes here. The faster I rise, the harder they want to see me fall. Right there, I’m curious to know how this Violet chick falls. One mug shot ain’t gonna do it anymore, honey. You need a string of them — and music that isn’t that great in the first place, or that’s fallen off over the years.

And we know nothing about Violet’s background, so how can this Cole dude be nothing like anyone she’s met before? She’s never met bartenders? Really? Never played a place that had a bar and all the particular magnetism that goes along with it? Not sure I buy it.

Add this one to the “gotta read to see how it gets pulled off” pile ’cause in the end, that’s all that matters. I just know that as a freelance editor, these are the questions I’d be asking my client about her back cover description, especially with that title, that makes me think Violet’s feeling pretty desperate and it’s up to this Cole dude to keep her from doing something… stupid.


There’s been a lot of country music stars and Westerns lately. Anyone else notice? Seems like The Wild West is taking over Rock Fiction.

If the story’s fresh and the characters great and the details right on, I say bring it. Always fun to change up the genre every once in awhile. And here, we’re adding a twist, too: the rocker is the chick.

Check out what I mean:

April Swift and Dante Brooke were a couple as teenagers. They’d spent a summer falling in love, exploring one another, connecting stars…until April took off to follow her dreams as a country music singer.

Fifteen years later…

Dante shows up at April’s dressing room and she is lost in sky-blue eyes, again. A hello between old friends turns into a passionate reunion and both discover feelings they’d left behind. But April has a music career, and Dante has a ranch to run.

Two months later…

Home is where the heart is, but April doubted she’d find the welcoming committee on the doorstep, especially after she informed Dante that she was pregnant.

Dante has a reputation as a bad-boy. He wouldn’t deny the truth. He’d lived on the edge most of his life, but when he hears he’s going to be a daddy, his priorities flip-flop. He’d never stopped loving April and his only goal is to win her heart for a second time. However, his charming smile and sweet talk don’t work like they did before. Now, he’ll have to prove himself. Can he become the cowboy April needs?

When things start to spiral out of control, April realizes she must make a decision—to follow love or her career.

Another thing I’ve noticed lately is a trend to these “We had a torch for each other long ago and are finding each other again.” Like any storyline, it’s okay when you’re not reading 800 of them in a row. So if I actually get my hands on all these books and start reading, the ones that come to me late might wind up getting knocked down a bit on the grade scale just because there are so many of the same thing again. In other words: if you’re going to be kind and cough up a review copy, do it soon.

We’ve also got the unwanted pregnancy thing going on, too.

And I hate that women have to choose between kids and careers. Come ON people. This is today. It’s the 2000s. Can’t we get over this? It’s bad enough that Evanescence is on an extended leave and Lacey quit Flyleaf to focus on her kids. Let’s figure out how to make it work. Gwen Stefani did. Oh, wait. She’s not really making music these days, is she? (Nope, not since 2006 — Susan)

Okay, so maybe that part of the book is already true to life. But there’s gotta be some women in rock who figure out how to have kids AND a career. There just does.

Oh, yeah. This is part of a series that otherwise doesn’t seem to be a Rock Fiction series.


Susan and I were talking about this the other day. Rock Fiction is ripe for romance. She thinks that’s ’cause there’s still a romance attached to the rock and roll world.  She swears it’s not really that way.

I don’t want to believe her.

Anyway, I think any setting’s good for romance. All we need is good characters to relate to and root for and a plot I haven’t read a hundred million times. This book’s got at least a good set-up, and that counts in the “plot I haven’t read a hundred million times” category.

It’s called Country Heaven, and it was written by Ava Miles.

When famous-and infamous-country singer Rye Crenshaw saunters into the diner where she cooks, Tory Simmons is certain she’s got him pegged. He’s a bad boy who indulges himself in all things, women included. But while she couldn’t care less about country music or arrogant men, Rye makes her an offer she can’t refuse when he asks her to be his private chef on his multi-city concert tour. The job is the answer to all her prayers: it will clear out her debt and finance the fresh start she desperately needs.

Rye is certain his sassy new cook is the last woman who’d ever tempt him, but spending time with the wholesome girl next door will do wonders for his damaged public image, whether she likes being forced into the spotlight or not. Her food also happens to be the best he’s ever eaten, both comforting and seductive. But spending time with Tory on the road shows him a new side to her-one that’s as impossible to resist as her food. And when an emergency in his family whisks him home, he does the one thing he’s never risked: he lets a woman into his heart… Soon the emotions Rye faked for the tabloids become all too real, but will the country heaven he’s found in Tory’s arms survive in the real world?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I sure don’t read romances to find out the answer to that final question. I read ’em to find out what it takes to get there. That’s the fun.

Bring on the fun!