Posts Tagged ‘familiar trope’


Well. Wow. This looks like one heck of a different twist on our Rock Fiction collection here. It’s a threesome! Two men, one woman. A rocker, a manager, and a PR rep.

Here’s the description for the first book, Claiming Addison:

For Addison Beltrand, PR rep for Bold International, Inc. climbing the corporate ladder is all that matters in life. Her hard work is finally rewarded with the promotion she’s worked her ass off to earn—but the gig comes at a price. She leaves in two days for a twelve-week tour with America’s hottest alternative rock band, 69 Bottles.

Talon Carver, lead singer of 69 Bottles, has no problem with women–as long as they’re gone by morning. When Addison shakes up his world, it’s a huge problem—compounded by the fact that Addison’s not the only one he wants.

Kyle Black, manager of 69 Bottles, has a secret. He and Addison are closer than she thinks, but telling her could keep her away. When Talon sets his sights on Addison, Kyle uses his secret to push her into Talon’s arms, only to discover she isn’t the only one he needs.

Two men. One dilemma.

Talon is wild, reckless and loves control.

Kyle is calm, collected and loves passion.

The perfect balance…or Addison’s ultimate undoing?

Talon and Kyle push their boundaries and Addison’s, but can they throw their reservations to the wind and claim her together?

Two men. One woman. A rock band. A tour bus. One Wild Ride…

The first thing that comes to mind is that the manager’s not going to be on tour. He’s going to be back at the office, doing manager things. And you all know how I feel about the PR girl being the love interest. I know there’s an element of fantasy in Rock Fiction, and that it’s got to be there, but … ugh. It just screams of groupie and unprofessional and a means to an end and nothing more. I feel slimy when I run into these characters.

But I love the idea. I love that Talon, our rocker, doesn’t meet Addison and instantly want to be monogamous.

Book two, though, takes a bothersome turn that makes it clear I was right to feel slimy about this Addison chick: she sings a duet with Talon and it’s a hit. Ugh. And then someone targets her, and that’s really the focus of the book. That part, I like. What happens to this threesome when something bad happens to the woman. This becomes her ride. But can I get past the way she used her job to get on stage?

Book three has similar themes. Addison falls apart. Am I going to yawn? I don’t know. I hope not. The very idea of a threesome (even one as problematic as this) is SO rock and roll. I WANT these books to be good.

Book four leaves our threesome and focuses on the band’s drummer … and another employee of this PR firm. Is this really a dating service? Sheesh. I hate hate hate this trope. In case you missed that, I really do!

I’m throwing the gauntlet down, as Susan says the phrase should be (don’t even ask what I had before she fixed that). Zoey Derrick, I WANT you to deliver and make me get over my issues. Hear me?


Hey! This isn’t part of a series (yet). Although it’s published by Ellora’s Cave and I hear they have some sort of controversy of their own. So head’s up if you want to buy.

Computer geek by day, by night Mike Harvey becomes outlandish guitarist Chee Keydood for rock band Velvet Cocks. Spotting two women kissing in a club, he thinks he’s in luck.

Allana Miles isn’t sure what came over her, but she sure as hell recognizes Chee and can’t believe he doesn’t remember her from their one-night stand. But she has no time to think about him—she’s too busy opening her own yoga studio to get involved in a relationship.

When they meet again at a New Year’s party, their attraction reignites, too hot to ignore. But they’ve got issues to overcome. Allana catches glimpses of the man behind the façade, but doesn’t think they can fit into each other’s lives even though the sex is great. Mike has always known he’s a bit different, but is shocked to discover his real nature. Will he be able to protect Allana from danger and convince her to take a chance on him?

There’s something about this that makes me think it could spin into a hot mess. I don’t know… computer geek by day and red hot rock star by night? Even with flex time for the geek part, I just can’t see this fitting into one 24-hour day. I’ve known programmers. I’ve known guitarists. And what’s this at the end about him protecting her from danger? Most of the computer geeks I know … well, they’re not exactly Tarzan. Nice guys, sexy in that smart way, but action heroes? I know they wish they were.

This one’s a definite gotta read, in the hopes it’ll surprise me.


Yep, it’s another first in a series today. I swear, series are the new book crack.

This one is called Back-Up, and here’s the description. It’s long, so get ready.


Leila Marino’s biggest dream is to become a rock star. A lucky opportunity has her auditioning with an up & coming rock band named Devil’s Lair. The band hires Leila as their back-up singer, signing her up for months in the studio and touring on the road with the sexy bunch.

Jack is the quintessential rock star…gorgeous…sexy…a walking orgasm. Jack Lair is the lead singer of Devil’s Lair and his dreams are becoming reality as his band climbs the ladder of success. He’s living the perfect life, and enjoying every minute of it. With a steady stream of sexual conquests that satisfies his raging libido, he thinks he has all he needs in life…until Leila enters it.

Jack is not prepared for the sudden pull he feels towards Leila, and struggles daily to deny his attraction is anything more. Leila finds falling for her new boss is constant torment. Both convince themselves friendship is their only option.

An intimate moment causes their willpower to collapse, and their erotic love affair to begin. Finding love was a bonus that neither Jack nor Leila anticipated. As they begin their tour together professionally and personally, life couldn’t be any better for the couple. Until a mistake from Jack’s past threatens their new relationship, and their perfect future together.

A quick check with my buds who still work in rock and roll show it’s rare for an up-and-coming band to use backup singers. Established bands? Heck yeah, especially the dudes who’ve aged and can’t hit those high notes anymore. But a new band? Nope, not unless the singer’s a girlfriend.

So that’s the first problem. The second is that once again, the rocker is a manwhore who is reformed by the love of one good woman. Can’t we come up with rockers who are different, folks? They’re starting to be interchangeable, and that’s not a good thing.

Where it gets interesting is as the series rolls on. The third book, in particular, has the oddest description I’ve ever read. There’s no idea of the plot, just a note from the author that it’s a projection into the future and it sounds like the tone is very different from the first two.

And then we go to the fourth — how can there be a fourth after we’ve dived into a crystal ball? Oh, it makes sense when you realize the fourth book is about a different set of characters. At least we stay with the band.

Still, I’m curious, like usual. When aren’t I? This is why Susan keeps me around. Bring it on. I need to read it.


Woot! Talk about a score (and don’t tell Susan, who’s bound to be jealous)! A NINE-BOOK SERIES. It’s one of those “each character in the band gets a book” (or two) themes, and that’s fine by me.

Book one, All Access, though, starts in a place we’ve been before. Oh, how many times: Jess doesn’t recognize the lead singer of Charing Cross. He’s just some stranger in a cafe who wants company (uhh, bring your security guy if you’re that recognizable? Why isn’t he mobbed? Where are the cell phones that’re being pointed at him? No one tells her she’s suddenly all over the place, with gossip mongers everywhere wondering who she is?)

The second book, Broken Sound, starts off just as familiar as the first, but it seems to deviate. Lead guitarist Davey finds out he’s a daddy. But then the story seems to take a left turn and the description doesn’t mention Davey as the father of Anna’s kid. So I’m confused on this one.

Book three, Bitter Farewell, is the “rock star goes in search of the girl from his past he left behind and shouldn’t have” storyline.

But Buried Notes, the fourth book? Now we’re talking. Secret marriage, time to sign the divorce papers. Of course, he can’t, but that’s okay.

Last Song is the dropout story. You know: the guy drops out of the band in search of something. In this case, it’s to quiet the “demons in his soul.” — Yeah, we’ve seen this one (most famously in Don DeLillo’s Great Jones Street, which is described as a satire, but somehow, I never read it that way). But it looks like James might take the story one step further and do good stuff with it.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. A Voice to Love is the sixth book in THIS series, but the first in ANOTHER. Wild, huh? Kinda confusing. But the fresh plots continue: this one’s got a rocker with a secret. Think Mick Mars, folks. We’ve moved into a different band now, too. One who was introduced in the dropout book.

And it goes on from there. Interesting stuff, and I like that James is taking chances with her plots. Yeah, some of them are familiar, but it looks like what she’s doing with them is new. And that’s what it’s about. Keeping the category new, keeping it fresh, pushing its boundaries.

I definitely gotta read these.


Not only is Rock Fiction super hot right now, it seems Rock Fiction series are hot. When they’re good, when they can be good through all three (or however many, but I’ve noticed that three is the magic number), this almost better than good sex. Almost.

Today we’ve got the first in the Rock Star Romance series, Sophie’s Turn. Here’s the description:

Slapper? Slut? Adulteress? Sophie Penhalligan’s life and moral universe is turned upside down when rock star Dan proposes to her in full knowledge that she is already engaged. She has always loved Dan, in a remote-crush kind of way. She thinks she loves her fiancé, Tim. What is she to do?

It’s all happening because her past has come to tempt her. Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol and rock star extraordinaire, Dan Hunter, up close and personal. Well, almost!

Now Dan has crash-landed back in her life just as Sophie is happily embroiled in a relationship with Tim, her boyfriend of two years. Until recently, she was confident Tim would eventually propose. But while his persistent inaction is beginning to cast a cloud over their relationship, Dan’s sudden reappearance poses a whole new dilemma.

Having accompanied Dan’s band to Paris, Sophie suddenly finds herself engaged to Dan while her erstwhile fiancé Tim is… well, doing whatever it is Tim does back in London. Torn between the dream-come-true and the sensible-thing-to-do, Sophie concludes her inadvertent journey of self-discovery with an ending that surprises herself, and everyone around her.

Sophie’s Turn is a glamorous contemporary fairy tale that will make chick-lit and romance lovers laugh, cry and rock along every step of the way.

A new twist on a familiar trope! And it sounds like this is more about Sophie’s choice (har) than real Rock Fiction, but who knows? Maybe Dan’s got the charisma to lift this above a chick lit sorta read and bring the music.

Looking at the series, it’s really a sort of Sex in the City with a rocker as Mr. Whatever-his-name-was. Sophie loves Dan. Or does she? Will she come back to him? Why’s he waiting so patiently?

Lots of questions, and I’d love to see the answers. But the one that won’t be in the books is this one: Rockers today have super slick names. Devin. Magnum. But Dan?

Well, there’s Dan Spitz and Dan Lilker and Daniel Adair, and more, so it’s not unheard of. It’s just…

Bucking the trend. Again.

I may like this Nicky Wells. Would love it if she’d stop in for a guest post about why she named her man Dan.


Susan and I are having a debate about this one. She says it’s Young Adult. I say it’s New Adult. She says it sounds like it could be, but a sixteen-year-old protagonist means it’s Young Adult. I ended it by telling her it ultimately didn’t matter. Both YA and NA are tailor-made for Rock Fiction.

She didn’t argue.

Here’s what we’re arguing about:

Sixteen-year-old Lily O’Brien has one goal in life—to sing. Her dream is to get into a topnotch college vocal program, but the summer before her junior year, her high school cuts their awarding-winning vocal ensemble. She might as well kiss her dreams goodbye.

When the snobby new neighbors move into their mansion up the hill, Lily is positive summer can’t get any worse, and she’s determined to hate and ignore them—until she meets Aiden.

He’s broken and beautiful, and they become reluctant friends. Through her newfound friendship, she finds the strength to step outside the comfort of her plan and follow her dream.

But when Lily’s family is about to lose their home, she puts her wishes aside and finds the answer to save their generations-old ranch in the last place she expected.


I like that Lily wants to sing. She doesn’t want to be a star. She wants to sing, and she’s going to go to school and learn how to do it the right way. But what’s that cliche? Something about life happening when you’ve made plans?

A few more cliches — the teenager rescues the family. Look, it wasn’t that long ago that I was a teen, convinced I could save myself if I saved the world first (hello my first marriage). Crappy self-esteem that others magnify. I get it. I do. I was that kid, too.

I guess I’m looking for something that breaks out of the usual mold.

The early reviews on this one were pretty good, so I’m curious to take a look for myself. YA Rock Fiction is probably my favorite of all the genres the category (see? I’m using Susan’s terms the right way for once) covers, so I’m already halfway a fan. I just wish it wasn’t the same thing, book after book.


This one’s been on our list for awhile now, but we’ve never actually written about it. I like the book title, myself. It’s Jet, written by Jay Crownover.

Here’s the description:

With his tight leather pants and a sharp edge that makes him dangerous, Jet Keller is every girl’s rock and roll fantasy. But Ayden Cross is done walking on the wild side with bad boys. She doesn’t want to give in to the heat she sees in Jet’s dark, haunted eyes. She’s afraid of getting burned from the sparks of their spontaneous combustion, even as his touch sets her on fire.

Jet can’t resist the Southern Belle with mile-long legs in cowboy boots who defies his every expectation. Yet the closer he feels to Ayden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows firsthand what happens to two people with very different ideas about relationships.

Will the blaze burn into an enduring love. . . or will it consume their dreams and turn them to ashes?(

Know what the problem here is? I feel like this isn’t new. Like this has become the generic Rock Fiction plot.

Only one thing will save it: that it’s written really well and isn’t as familiar as it sounds from its description. Which means there’s only one way to find out…


As I’m doing extra posting this month and finally starting to catch up on all the links Susan and I have been swapping, I’m really seeing trends in Rock Fiction plotting. And here’s one in Lauren Dane’s The Best Kind of Trouble: the rock star who can’t get the more restrained/conservative/chaste girl off his mind. Here. Take a look:

She has complete control… and he’s determined to take it away

A librarian in the small town of Hood River, Natalie Clayton’s world is very nearly perfect. After a turbulent childhood and her once-wild ways, life is now under control. But trouble has a way of turning up unexpectedly—especially in the tall, charismatically sexy form of Paddy Hurley….

And Paddy is the kind of trouble that Natalie has a taste for.

Even after years of the rock and roll lifestyle, Paddy never forgot the two wickedly hot weeks he once shared with Natalie. Now he wants more… even if it means tempting Natalie and her iron-grip control. But there’s a fine line between well-behaved and misbehaved—and the only compromise is between the sheets!

It’s a natural fantasy for anyone who feels chemistry with someone who meets a jillion people every day. Notice me! Look at me! Remember me! We all want to stand out. So I guess it’s a natural plot line.

Besides, as Susan points out, this is Lauren Dane. Her books are always good. And if this has some of those classic Dane sex scenes? Get the smelling salts ready!


Okay, so first, let’s talk about the author’s name. Clever, really. Scarlett, Susan says, is often used to talk about something that’s red hot. So this woman has named herself Red Hot Metal. Pretty slick.

[This is where Susan points out that Scarlett O’Hara? Nothing red about her. From her eyes to those dratted curtains, green was Scarlett’s color and yes, you can mine even more out of that and write an English paper on it. Just give me thanks.]

Now, to the book. Check out this description:

Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll.

It might sound cliche, but this is my life and I make no apologies for it. I party hard and f*ck my women even harder, sometimes more than one at a time. Music is my life and nothing else matters.

Then I met her.

She turned my world upside down with one smile…

Would I be able to give up the life I loved for her?

Know what I notice? Other than the inability or refusal to swear in the book description (and I really hope that doesn’t carry through the book itself)?

We have a first-person romance told by the MAN.

This might be the first of those that I’ve seen. The bummer here is that this is a pretty familiar plot. Hard rockin’ dude gets reformed by love. How often do we see this? Seems like an awful lot — this might win the award for the most-used plot in Rock Fiction. We definitely need some new tropes around here.

I like the idea of the dude telling the story. It’s all going to be in how it’s pulled off — but isn’t that how it always is?

As I’m surfing the web (yes, when I should be working. I’d feel bad about it, but admit it: you do it, too), I often come across new-to-me Rock Fiction. And since every time I do, it means the genre swells, that means I totally have to drool over it.

The alternative — getting overwhelmed by how much is out there and how I’ll probably never read it all, as much as I want to — just isn’t acceptable. Not in my book. Pun intended.

So… that brings us to another one I hope I get to read. It’s called A Beautiful Melody, and even though it’s the third in a series (called Beautiful), the review I came across said it can be read as a standalone. Hope that’s true!

It’s a familiar trope by now, especially in New Adult: the heartbroken girl turns around, only to realize Mr. Right is right there behind his guitar. It’s not quite that simple in this book: Naomi finally owns up to the fact that she’s more into her dude than he is into her. So she takes refuge in music, gets asked to join a band that’s “doing pretty well” (to quote a review or two) and falls for her bandmate.

One thing gives me pause, and that’s a glaring typo in the book’s description. I didn’t see mention of poor editing in any of the reviews online, but sometimes, I read the reviews online and wonder if literacy sinks in when we sit and read…

Anyhoo… I gotta admit I’m curious, especially because it sounds as though Naomi’s music isn’t exactly what I’d first pictured when I heard she took refuge in it.