Just an Illusion – EP by D. Kelly

Just an Illusion - EP (The Illusion, #3)

One of the Best Releases of 2017 is Available Now!

 

I am going to start with my original review and add more here and there.  I could not possibly ever say enough good things to truly bring the justice this book/series/trilogy deserves.  “All the feels” is so overused, but is never as true as it is in the Just an Illusion trilogy.

Just an Illusion – EP by D. Kelly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where to begin, oh where to begin? I have had several schools of thought on this while reading, knowing I would be reviewing as soon as I finished reading. But as I pulled up the page on GoodReads, something crossed my mind.

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This book, this series…these are the reasons I blog. The books that touch your heart and soul when you read them…the books that break you until there is no avoiding the ugly cry, no matter how guarded you think your heart is….and then put it back together, if only to set you up to do it all over again. Books that affect you in ways you never thought possible. Books that let you soar to the highest heights and drag you through the depths of hell and every emotion in between. Books of epic romances you feel privileged to have a peek at. For me, it is always a bonus if music is involved, particularly rockstars, but music is a part of almost every part of my life, so, once I discovered the multitude of books that weave music and musicians into their storyline, why would I not include music in my literary choices. But, I digress, I wanted to focus on those rare, special unicorns….those books keep me going as a reader as well as as a blogger. I honestly have never had dreams of writing myself, but there is a special kind of joy I get as a blogger when I have the chance to introduce these mythical masterpieces to a new audience. My friends, please take note of the name D. Kelly.

I really should start with telling you
Just an Illusion - EP (The Illusion, #3) by D. Kelly
Just an Illusion – EPis not a standalone; you must read
Just an Illusion - Side A (The Illusion, #1) by D. Kelly
Just an Illusion – Side A, followed by
Just an Illusion - The B Side (The Illusion, #2) by D. Kelly
Just an Illusion – The B Side first. This isn’t any kind of hardship – this trilogy is one of the best I have come across in ages, if ever. Okay, maybe I should have started with how honored I was to receive an ARC copy since this doesn’t actually release until June 21st, and I have been counting down the days since I finished The B Side. I am sure some of you would like to know that both Side A and Side B close on some pretty major cliffhangers and I will go ahead and mention that EP does close out this trilogy without that kind of angst. (So if you hate cliffhangers, you can get your closure on June 21st and not have to wait for closure.) I do know there is at least one more BAD/Weston book in the works, Just an Illusion – Unplugged, and I will hope, beg, bargain, plead and pray there will be many more than that. Only a very elite group of authors have ever touched me in the way Ms. Kelly has – as a reader first, but also as a book blogger, adding to that list is like a childhood Christmas morning. In most situations I am like the Grinch, and the every once in a great while a book/series/author comes along, sucking me into their fictional vortex and giving me all the feels, leaving me feeling like my heart grew 2 sizes that day.

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One more warning (that, actually probably applies to the entire series) before we get down to business- check your stock, you may need to make a Sam’s Club or Costco run before you get started if you don’t have several boxes of tissues on hand. While you are there a couple of bottles of wine, and maybe a good bottle of whiskey or tequila might be needed as well. Just fair warning, and it comes from a non-crier. I can only think of one book that had me in tears quicker than EP, and I don’t think any have produced the infamous ugly cry to the extent this book does. However, if you are suffering from allergies, or happen to have a sinus infection, the ugly cry might clear your sinuses better than any over the counter or even prescription medications.

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So it is time to focus more specifically on Just an Illusion – EP. I am a spoiler-free reviewer, and that gets trickier the deeper into a series you get. Add in the cliffhangers the previous 2 books end on, and, nope, sorry (not sorry), you won’t get a lot of specifics from me. The Weston Twins will both surprise you, in unexpected ways. I ran the gamut of emotions toward each of them as I read this tome. I will have to say the same is true of Mel. Sometimes you want to hug her, sometimes you want to shake her, or, as one member of the family actually does, you may have the urge to slap her (though perhaps not for the same reasons.) If you have read The B Side, you will know that it has a dramatic ending….I don’t think there is any way to prepare for how that will play out. Saying it is extremely emotional is like saying our 97°F temps with 80% humidity this week are a bit warm. The impact is massive, and the rest of the story is definitely colored by the aftermath. I truly can’t praise Ms. Kelly enough for her ability to make her characters come to life, all too human flaws and all. It takes true talent to bring such a realness to your creations that people have emotional responses to these fictional situations in black and white print in front of them. Ms. Kelly’s talent well must be overflowing.

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Don’t get me wrong, it is not all angst and tearjerking. There is plenty of slightly snarky humor (my favorite kind) and some scorching hot sexy scenes. There are the strong family ties that we have seen throughout the series, including friends who have become a part of the family. Much like real life, there are lots of ups and downs, misunderstandings, and those rare relationships where people know you so well words aren’t always necessary. One factor that sets this series apart from others is the strength of the secondary characters. While they never overwhelm our MCs, several have left me wanting to know more about them – lots more. Eli and Darren probably top that list, but there is no shortage of potential spinoffs because the glimpses we get are so strongly defined as to make us curious to know more. Mac the bodyguard even plays enough of a role to make my curiosity and imagination run. Off the top of my head I can think of at least 6 more names to add to the list. It is rare for me to take notice of secondary, and almost unheard of for tertiary, characters, but this whole crew, or more aptly, my reaction to them, has taken me by surprise.

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I am such an avid reader that I don’t often get attached to characters, but these have really gotten under my skin. I am about to do something I don’t think I have ever done, and reread this entire series , immediately. I have heard the term “book hangover” many times, and I have experienced them a time or two (and possibly it’s only because this is so fresh) but I feel like I have never had one to this extent. Obviously this series gets my highest recommendations.

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After having had almost a week now to digest and ruminate on this masterpiece of a book, the final book in this trilogy (but not, thankfully, the end of what we will have the pleasure of reading about the boys of BAD and those nearest and dearest to them.  Here’s an area where we need your help – the method in which the stories will continue after Unplugged will hinge on the success of the trilogy, and EP specifically.   For some unexplainable reason this series has largely flown under the radar….we need to change this.  What can you do?  Read the series, review the series (don’t be intimidated about the thought of a review – if I recall correctly, Amazon only requires 20 words for a review) and talk about this series, especially to your reader friends. Trust me, after you read it you are going to want to talk.   I will let you in on a little secret – at the end of Just an Illusion-EP, Ms. Kelly kindly includes a link for a secret Facebook group for discussion of the book.  Think of it as a therapy/support group.  Again, you may be rolling your eyes and thinking “could she be a bit more melodramatic?”….but seriously, everyone I know who has read the entire series has needed to work through the emotional rollercoaster we have been on with this.  We are normally fairly sane,competent,  fully functioning adult women and not a one hasn’t shed at least a few tears, not to mention laughter that shakes your whole body and levels of desire that just shouldn’t come from fictional characters.  Beyond those, there are all these other relatable moments everyone experiences in their lifetime; love, loss, family – good and bad, friendship, worry, guilt, joy – I think that is part of the appeal of this series…there is at least one thing that every person can relate to – much more for most others.  Combined with Ms. Kelly’s mad writing skills that make all these characters, and all the supporting characters, and all the settings and scenarios jump off the page to a level of “real” that you can see and feel all of them as if you are there.

 

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It all starts with Just an Illusion-Side A.  If you click on the book cover above, you can read my original  review here on this blog.  And now I am going to share some news from the author – some freebies, giveaways and special offers to go along with the release of Just an Illusion-EP. ***HINT – it includes links to get Side A FREE, and The B Side for a mere $0.99  Trust me when I say they will be some of your best spent book dollars this year.***

For some reason WP is not letting me paste the info.  I will try to edit after I publish this, but if I can’t get it to play nice with me the details will be in the post after the share of this one at www.facebook.com/backstagebookreviews

✦.•°*°•.✦ NEW RELEASE & HUGE GIVEAWAY!! ✦.•°*°•.✦
Just an Illusion – EP is live!
The breathtaking conclusion to The Illusion Series is finally here.

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2tKsIIo
iBooks: http://apple.co/2nNKICd
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2sr86Wb
Nook: http://bit.ly/2soejEa
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2tKnIU5
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2sT5Mdt
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2rAeWHE

If you haven’t read the 1st two books in the series I’ve got a release day surprise for you!

In honor of EP being my 10th book released I’m having a sale and a giveaway.
Just an Illusion – Side A is free and Just an Illusion – The B Side is only 99 cents. (You need to read these before EP)
Links for Side A
iBooks : http://apple.co/2cwMsfw
AmazonUS: http://amzn.to/2tK7BWz
Nook: http://bit.ly/2dPo5VX
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2elyttP
AmazonUK: http://amzn.to/2hnSmRJ
AmazonCA: http://amzn.to/2ieOSh5
AmazonAU: http://amzn.to/2iqulJA

Links for The B Side –

Amazon – http://amzn.to/2obKqGc
Amazon UK- http://amzn.to/2mQjwTY
Amazon CA –http://amzn.to/2mQbryr
Amazon Au –http://amzn.to/2oyUVQ2
iBooks – http://apple.co/2nKKSuE
nook – http://bit.ly/2nK9gww
kobo – http://bit.ly/2nEIrty

Now for the giveaway!
One winner will win an autographed paperback set of The Illusion Series – all 3 books! (open internationally)
One winner will receive an autographed swag pack (open internationally)
And three winners will win a $10 Amazon GC
Plus there are 2 rafflecopter giveaways –
#1 – http://bit.ly/2rBNHwu
#2 – http://bit.ly/2rTYmBR

If you’re still reading this super long post ***NOTE: THIS REFERS TO THE AUTHOR’S POST ON HER OWN FACEBOOK PAGE, NOT THIS BLOG*** – this is how to enter.
Like, comment, and/or share this post.
Sharing is an extra entry.
Tag friends for an extra entry -after all sharing is caring.
RT my tweets about the release or sale on twitter. You can find me at https://twitter.com/dkellyauthor
Repost any release day and sale posts on IG. You can find me at https://www.instagram.com/d_kelly_author/
For RT’s and Reposts you need to put screen shots or links in the comments for it to count for extra entries.
That’s it! Good luck! Giveaway will be open until June 30th and you can enter daily. 🙂
Blogs are eligible and welcome to enter!
*FB is not liable for this giveaway all prizes will be fulfilled by me D. Kelly.”

***Though I could continue babbling on and on, obviously, from the amount I have spouted already, but I will leave you to use your one click finger and start reading.  On that note, one of (many of) my favorite little touches in this series is the way two of the main characters often communicate by texting songs to each other – because this following meme is pretty much my motto – I will add my own contest to gift an e-copy of The B Side to a random commenter who sends me a link to a song this review makes them think of.  Bonus entry if any of them match the song I heard in my head with my Babylon comment before June 26, 2017.  I am solely responsible for this giveaway, and the ebook will be gifted by me through Amazon.***

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Review: Flow by Kennedy Ryan

Flow (Grip, #0.5)Flow by Kennedy Ryan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 Slightly Electrified Guitars for Flow

Pure poetic alchemy. I don’t know what else to say about this book/novella, but if I had to sum it up in 3 words, those would be the ones. For some reason, alchemy has always been a favorite word of mine, and it was used at least twice in this book. Both in passages I highlighted because they moved me. I found I highlighted many passages in this one – okay, I highlight passages in nearly every book I read, but there were seriously a lot of highlights in this one. I have read books by this author before, and I will definitely be revisiting them after I read Grip and Bristol’s book. I have some vague memories of the others, but I don’t remember the almost melodic flow of poetic prose that I heard and felt as I read flow.

I am including this in my rockstar romance category/blog, simply because music is an integral part of the book, but the rockstar part is pushing things. Grip is a yet to be discovered rapper, and Rhyson is a piano virtuoso hiding from the scars his child prodigy notoriety earned him. Bristol is Rhyson’s twin sister who is desperately trying to reconnect with her brother over her Spring Break from her Ivy League life on the east coast. She arrives in LA to be greeted by her brother’s best friend, Marlon aka Grip. Someone she has never heard of, and shouldn’t be so comfortable around, but there is a sizzling chemistry from the time Grip’s hand covers Bristol’s on the handle of her Louis Vuitton luggage. They may both try to fight it, with the millions of reasons why they shouldn’t be attached to each other, let alone act on that undeniable attraction that leads to deep conversations (and sizzling kisses) that are intertwined in such poetic ways. Most of the rest of this review is going to take on a different style from my norm – I am actually going to let y’all into my highlights and notes along the way.

One more note, the slightly electrified designation- I am not sure if I have used it before. There are no actual sexy times in this book, but there are enough references to skew it away from the under 18 crowd. Guess I should have used Acoutic/Electric since that is a real thing and I use acoustic for clean reads and electric for the, ahem, less clean ones, but I didn’t think of it until now.

But I want to share some of Ms Ryan’s lovely prose with you – I can’t think of a better way to convince you this is a must read.

” I like the color of smart, the shade of funny, and sexy is my favorite hue.”

I certainly understand why this passage has been highlighted enough to be “notable”. It is very deep. Though I am much more Bristol than I would probably care to admit, this applies to me completely. I have always dated long haired musicians, and I am well aware that they are viewed much as another species in certain circles – especially the circles of Rhys and Bris’ parents. But the traits in this passage – those are what I look for in the people I surround myself with, and the traits I have tried to instill in my children to look for in the friends they make, the people they cherish.

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“So what color am I then?” I ask before thinking better of it. He’ll probably just say I’m white, obviously. “What color are you?” he repeats, his eyes never leaving my face. “You, Bristol, are a freaking prism.”

Oh this….this is heartstopping. My ideas of romance are admittedly skewed, but that would undo me to the core. To me, that is about as romantic a statement anyone could make (says the girl who’s husband tells everyone we have to keep stocked up on mayonnaise in case I need a transfusion….)

☆☆☆☆☆☆

” She carries on a helluva conversation, which from my experience, is a lost art.”

See note below….this is too true, and really breaks my heart. I am guessing this is how older generations than I felt about telephones killing the art of letter writing…which makes me even sadder as there has not been a resurgence of that beauty….

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” We talked about things we don’t understand and aren’t sure we ever will. Things we thought we had figured out, only to realize we didn’t know jack shit. It feels fresh like a beginning, but it also feels like we’ve known each other for years.”

These are some of the best things in life. I agree with Grip, conversation is becoming a lost art, and may be one of the things that makes me saddest for the millineal generation. (Too lazy to come up with the correct spelling at the moment, and embarrassed and a bit scared that it isn’t coming naturally to me. The thrills of chronic illness.)

☆☆☆☆☆☆

” He’s lightning in a beautiful bottle, just waiting to strike.”

More poetic genius. I don’t remember this author being so profound…I am thinking a reread is in order. I will admit I only vaguely remember Rhyson and Bristol and Grip, and Rhyson’s girlfriend whose name I won’t even pretend to remember. I know the books I read were set further in the future than this…Bristol and Rhys having more of a relationship, Grip making a video…Definitely need to revisit.

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“There are too few perfect moments in this life. Far too few of us get them, but I am privileged to have this one with this man. When he empties his chest of his heart and empties his body of his soul for me under a starry sky on a Ferris wheel. And I know. In this moment, I know that I’m lost to him. It has been a matter of days. It has been a string of moments. It has not been long enough to tell him, but in my heart, I know I am lost.”

So beautifully stated, so truly romantic.

☆☆☆☆☆☆

” The inches between our lips disappear. At the first brush of his mouth on mine, I know this kiss will never end. It will live on in my memory for the rest of my life. His lips beg entry, a tentative touch that blazes through my defenses and hastens the rhythm of my heart.”

Again, easy to see why it has been noted enough times for that dotted underline. Powerful. Poetic. Sheer romance.

☆☆☆☆☆☆

” This kiss has a cadence, his head moving to the left and then right, on beat, a syncopation, a simultaneity of lips and tongues. His mouth slants over mine, hot and zealous, and I link my fingers behind his head, clinging, afraid this will end. Afraid to lose the enormity of this moment. At the top of the world, so close we could almost touch the sky and with only the stars watching, I found out what a kiss should be.”

More of that awe-inspiring, beautiful, romantic poetry.

☆☆☆☆☆☆

” Her sharp breath is her only reply, but I rest my lips against hers to taste her consent.”

☆☆☆☆☆☆

” The current tugs at our bodies as the tide comes in, and clinging to each other, we let the flow take us. With our mouths still fused, legs still tangled, tongues hungry and twisting together, we drift into deeper waters. Complex and effortless.”

☆☆☆☆☆☆

” The unexpected alchemy that’s been flowing between us since the moment we met. It’s layered and complicated, and yet, there’s no struggle, no force. It feels easy. Effortless. It feels so good, I can’t imagine this ending.”

☆☆☆☆☆☆

Of course, there is more drama that I am skipping over, and a heart wrenching ending – you just have to pick it up and see for yourself. And then, I am pretty sure you will feel as I do – needing to sink into the full length novel, Grip, as quickly as possible.

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Review: On the Road (Vagabonds #2) by Jade C. Jamison

 

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When I read the Get Rocked! In Vegas Anthology, I realized that I had never finished reading the Vagabonds series, and I can’t forget the life of me figure out why. At that time, I thought it was only the 3rd book I had missed, but when I started to pull them up I realized I had not read the second either. I guess I just need to thank Get Rocked! for making me see the error in my ways.

A little background, the first Vagabonds book was my introduction to Ms. Jamison, who has since become one of my very favorite authors, so I really am not sure what kept me from, as Paul Harvey would have said, “the rest of the story.” The only excuse I can think of is that I next read Bullet, which is one of my top ten truly moved me novels. It took me quite a while to finish that series as well, but I know the reasons for that. In the meantime, I started catching up on everything else she had written, and found that I loved them all, regardless of the subgenre each book may have been written in. Her romantic comedies make me laugh like few others, her romantic suspense definitely keep me on my toes, her May-December romance brought out unexpected emotions, and her rockstar romances, sigh, well, I have a huge weakness for rockstar romances, and hers are amongst the very best. I cannot recommend ANYTHING by this author any more highly (which makes my oversight of the last 2 books in this trilogy even more bizarre.)

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I remember in my review of the first Vagabonds book comparing the band to the iconic Runaways. I can still see the basis for this comparrison, but there is so much more to these young ladies than that summation brings to mind. In some ways it is a moving coming of age story, though that concept falls a bit flat when you realize this coming of age is happening in front of crowds of thousands, at least. The band faces, with varying degrees of destruction, the pitfalls of the sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll lifestyle (including the lesser discussed LSD – lead singer disese.) It is young love/first love in the most unusual/difficult of circumstances. It is 5 young women journey across America for an extended period to learn the hardest part of the music business-living in very tight quartvvvvvvvggvvers for too long stretches of time. This is true for any band; I shudder to think how much worse it would be with teenage girls.

As usual, with any Jade C Jamison book, the writing is superb and you will run the gamut of emotions. Highly recommended. As this is Book 2 of a trilogy, Book 1 should be read first. For adult reading only for explicit sexual content and some violence.

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Review: Get Rocked! In Vegas Anthology

 

My most anticipated release of the year does not disappoint!

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I will apologize in advance – this is going to be a long review, but this was one anthology I had to read cover to cover, so I am reviewing each story, in order.   But the quick synopsis of the review is Best Anthology of 2017.  Truly not a weak link in here (though I would say the entire book should be for adults only, and open minded ones at that.)  With that out of the way, let’s jump in and enjoy, beginning with the return of Jenna Galicki’s Angel Garcia and Tommy and Jessie Blaze.

The Stage – Jenna Galicki

A great way to kick off the festival!  I will admit it took me a long time to first read Jenna’s books because I wasn’t sure how I felt about the M/M/F storyline,  but once I finally got into it, I couldn’t put it down.  Very fun to see how their punk ‘n roll family has evolved, and kinda fun to see Tommy a bit unsure.  A great addition to the Immortal Angel catalog, and a reminder of how much I would like to see more of them.  I haven’t read any of the Bulletproof series yet, but I found Brandon Bullet completely charming and will have to add those books to my TBR.  I believe I already own the first, time to move it to the top.

I have been looking forward to this anthology for so long, amd this was a great way to start things off!

Beating Hearts by Jade C. Jamison

I have been a huge fan of Ms. Jamison’s for quite some time, and realized as I started reading this that I still have not read the 3rd Vagabonds book – something I will have to rectify soon.  The story can definitely stand as a standalone though, so don’t hesitate to jump right in.

This was a really fun twist from your typical coming of age story.  Brandon is adorable, and I enjoyed seeing all of his insecurities, and his journey toward being comfortable and confident in his own skin.

I can’t forget to add what a thrill it was to see a cameo from my all time favorite book boyfriend, Clay/Jet from Last Five Seconds.  Can’t wait for more LFS stories, and their appearance was a great tease to whet the appetite.

Something Wicked by Theresa Hissong

Heavy Metal has always been predominantly a man’s world, though the previous story by Jade C Jamison features female guitar goddess, Kyle Summers.  Ms His song’s Something Wicked has a newly added bass player, who also happens to be female (and we’ll see several more female rockers throughout this book, which are all great additions. As a 30+ year headbanger myself, it has taken me a long time to realize girls can rock as hard ý I have  as off.  All the women in these tales make it easy to believe that they deserve their spots.  But, I digress….)  It is a pleasure to get the female perspective in this story, from the stage (as opposed to girlfriend/groupie/fangirl/whatever…not that those perspectives don’t work, but they are more more common in the genre.)

Kit and Aiden (the band’s lead singer) are both fightin huge, Forbidden, attraction to each other.  Is it really completely out of the question?  And what secret is Kit hiding?

Alternating viewpoints, intense chemistry and outside drama all add to the greatness this story is.

Rock Casualty by Lisa Gillis

I have forgotten just how much I love and have missed the Loren family.  It’s odd to find Junie all grown up but I absolutely adore her, just as I adore her mom and grandma.   You really need to read all of Lisa Gillis’s books, but this one can stand on its own and is a perfect addition to the Get Rocked lineup.

I had admitted prior to the release that this may have been the story I was most looking forward to, and it certainly did not disappoint!   I want to know more about Crey and his band now too.

I don’t want to giveaway too much, but this is the perfect “it could only happen in Vegas” story.  Junie, basically a runaway bride, winds up in Las Vegas, knowing her brother and sister-in-law will be there the next day, as their band is playing Get Rocked.  Realizing she has not woken up alone, is only the first surprise of her morning.  I loved this story so much.  The ups and downs and craziness, mixed with family love and loyalty,  mixed against a rocking soundtrack, is an art form Ms Gillis has perfected.

Jagged Dawn by Lashell Collins

A perfect mix of rock ‘n roll, romance, drama and joy. It absolutely made me want to reread the entire Jagged Ivory series, but it can easily work as a stand alone as well.  Ms. Collins has done a great job showcasing so much character in her characters in this Novella format.

I continue to enjoy the way characters from other authors’ stories weave together throughout this anthology.  It really sets the bar high for future anthologies I will read – I absolutely love the interactions here, and the way they absolutely fit the characters as if their own authors had written them.

Force by Jennifer L. Allen

Ms. Allen always has a way with her writing that pushes all the right buttons.  From tender emotions to raw heat, she writes in a way that allows you to feel it all.  I am definitely looking forward to reading more about Ash and Lee.

She also did a fantastic job of bringing us to the festival with the bands, brining in the excitement that can only be found at a music festival.  I loved the peaks at all the other bands, and discussions of various band members. Before we got to Vegas, the various Battle of the Bands competitions were the perfect setting up to introduce us to the bands before they were thrown together. Loved every bit of it!

Prelude to a Wicked Wedding by Bella Jeanisse

Ah, a story in a way that could only suit Wicked End!  So many surprises, and nothing that I expected, but it was fantastic!   I can’t wait for the follow up, that’s for sure!

As is true of any of Ms. Jeanisse’s work, this is not for an under 18 crowd, and it is not for every taste, but for those open minded enough, she is the queen of the rock ‘n roll party.  Wicked End is probably the most across the board mayhem, but oh so fun.  I adore Brandon and Tink more with each edition, but I have really come to enjoy all of them, even some I was once sure I would never embrace.

For the down and dirty rock festival atmosphere, you couldn’t ask for more!

 Stand Up and Shout – Maria Bernard

I am particularly fond of Dream Crush, as it was the first Maria Bernard book I immersed myself in, and, let’s face it, I am terminally lost in the 80’s glam metal scene.  I did feel bad for Jay in that book, but even I am surprised by the turn of events we got to witness here.  Kudos once again, Ms. Bernard, you rocked my socks off.

Very nice to revisit SSL and Dream Crush as well.  I totally want to move into the compound.   Ashton, Chloe and Nick always make me smile. I love that I figured out Chloe’s secret before Ashton did, and I certainly hope you have a follow up in the works!

I  love that her writing is getting a bit more risque, with all of the flair she always writes with.  A nice reminder to me of why she is one of my favorite authors, there is just something so comforting in her utter coolness.

The mention of Gray Forrester and These Bones was a nice touch as well.  Basically, though this is quite nice as a standalone in this fantastic anthology, I highly recommend you read every title Ms. Bernard has written.

How long until Crispin’s book is released?  😉

Refrain & Reprise by Sadie Grubor

Before I get to the actual review, I have to make a couple of observations…1) steampunk inspired rock opera?  I want to see this.  Does this exist?  If not, let’s get it happening!  If so, please clue me in.  Thanks to a character in a book by another author in this anthology,  I have developed a slight steampunk obsession.  2) with phrases like “Karma is a mean twat-sickle.” Oh Sadie, I adore the way you coin catchphrases as awesome as this.

Wow, I am almost speechless over this one.  I remember Gemma and Zarek from Jackson’s book (an absolute must read, if for no other reason than it being our introduction to the queen of the world, Sid….and Jackson and Liza absolutely rock, too.)  I thought Gemma was cool as hell and that Zarek was, well, an asshat, but never dreamed I would be so absolutely riveted to their story, or that their chemistry would be so absolutely off the charts.  I think I may love Zora too.  It is hard to top Ms. Grubor in the arena of mouthy, obnoxious and absolutely hilarious females.  Her rockstars are pretty damn hot, too, and the women who love them tend to rock pretty darn hard themselves (even if Mia should be awarded sainthood.)

This is a fantastic addition to the stars family.  I am truly rooting for more, and think I may have to reread HITS again to see what I was overlooking when it came to G and Z.

It is going to be absolutely impossible to pick a favorite in this anthology.  I guessed that going in, but even I am amazed at how much I am loving each and every addition.

Rocking Vegas by Kacey Hamford

I will admit that I am not as familiar with this series as I am the others, but I have read a couple of them with the rest on my TBR.  I have finally gotten to the point that, as a snobby American, the Brit speak doesn’t throw me off the way it used to.

This one is a very different view of Get Rocked and very focused on Flix, which is fine.  Fair warning that it is M/M and if that is not your thing it probably won’t be your favorite in the anthology.  It does have a very interesting conundrum for a premise, and is well written.

Vegas Style by Toni Kenyon

I am finishing this one enthralled by Paul Gray.  He was just too perfect in filling the role of fantasy rockstar.  I am thinking I may have missed a book of Ms Kenyon’s as  I remember Julian,  but have only vague recollections of his brother Sam, and even less of Sam’s band.  I think a bit of catching up is definitely in order!

Ashley was a delight as well.  Heroines don’t often really capture me, but Ashley wasn’t your typical rockstar romance heroine, and I absolutely adored her for it.

Maybe it is something about New Zealanders, but I have found them to be a joy to read.  If I could even stand the thought of being in a plane so long it would be at the very top of my list of places to visit.

Guitar God by Lindy S. Hudis

I am truly impressed with the suspense aspect Ms. Hudis worked into this one.  I found Diego to be a completely charming guitar god, and his girlfriend Susan was just as endearing.  The rest of Medieval Steel are fun as your stereotypical rockstars who have been around the block a few times, though Danny had a few surprises up his sleeve.

The stalker storyline was absolutely chilling and seems to have been well researched (I am not familiar with the technical terms used.)  In a relatively short format, this story packs a whole lot of action, including some sweet sexy times. Mike, the band manager, is another well written and memorable character.  Nothing but praise for this show closer (though I am not ready for it to end – I have thoroughly enjoyed this festival from my air conditioned comfort.)

~~~~~~☆☆☆☆☆☆~~~~~~

Easily the best anthology I have come across, I dare say, ever.  I have read others with a central theme, and some have been quite compelling, but I cannot think of another that comes close to being as interactive throughout.  I was a bit worried that I had been too excited about this one and that it couldn’t possibly live up to the high expectations I had for it.  I needn’t have had any concerns – this far surpassed any dreams I had.  So many great tales woven together here, and done so well.  I hope this talented group of ladies are already planning next year’s Get Rocked festival; I will be first in line for “tickets.”

Review: Just an Illusion, Side A by D Kelly

5 Electrified, Emotional, Suspenseful, Passionate Guitars for Just An Illusion, Side A

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click cover to purchase through Amazon

This review is probably going to be uncharacteristically short for me. Real life has been more than the usual amount of chaos for me lately, so I am embarrassed to admit that I can’t remember for sure how the ARC of this book wound up on my Kindle, but I am thrilled that it did. I will worry about figuring out where it came from after I devour Side B, because that is taking high priority at the moment. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that it has already been released, because I don’t know how I would handle the wait. (Now is probably a good time to mention that it ends on one hell of a cliffhanger – but even if you here cliffies, as I mentioned book 2 is already out. It is so worth it.)

So, about the book….indie author who doesn’t believe in love has self published a sexy romance that has managed to hit #1 on the NYT list. Her best – and pretty much only – friend is a blogger/editor for a mock music zine. Perfect storm has hugely popular rock and making her an offer she can’t refuse to tour with them and write their official bio, while her bff’s magazine will have exclusive coverage of the tour. I could bore you with some of the amazingly authentic tour details (and a fabulous idea for bands sick of the ticket company which shall not be named that monopolizes the industry and the, um, jerk, who buy blocks of tickets to profit (greatly) on resale, but I digress.) Amazingly hot and sexy twins in the band, along with a couple of equally hot other members. The twins are fraternal, and their personalities polar opposites, but both have major appeal, both to the reader and the heroine. The heroine has been hiding from her past for 12 years, and the mysteries of who she is, why she is hiding, why anyone would have known her, and why she has sworn off musicians are a great way to suck the reader in early in the story, and when she eventually her story, I can honestly say I had no idea. As thrillers/mysteries are my favorite reads when I am not wrapped up in rockstars, this is very, well, thrilling, to me. Especially since the story makes perfect sense even if unexpected. Major kudos to Ms. Kelly on that.

Struggling, not only because I am anxious to sink into “Side B”, but because saying much more about the story itself would easily fall into spoiler category, and I HATE reviews that do that, so pride myself on not going there, no matter how tempting it sometimes is. And right now I would really love to spill all my questions and thoughts on key areas best left out of the review. I will have to suffice with saying it is a very compelling storyline, with plenty of realism (as in, a lot of this really could happen.)

The erotic moments are scorching – made me give some credence to the idea of letting the anticipation build. Beautifully broken characters (well, except one bat crap crazy beotch) will tear you up at times. I don’t think I actually shed tears (which has everything to do with my blackened, jaded soul and nothing to do with the writing) but it certainly pulled feels from depths I am not accustomed to and certainly didn’t expect.

For over 18 audiences for explicit…yada, yada,yada. I haven’t even read the synopsis of Just an Illusion, Side B, and have no intentions of doing so – just hopped onto the page long enough to one click. I want to experience every word without expectation. That may be the greatest praise I can give because I don’t think I have ever done that before. Grab and read.a

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Blogger Update

As my personal life continues to be chaos, I am going to try to start publishing related reviews here at the same time I publish to Amazon (Backstage Blogs) and GoodReads  (LaDonna) and will fill in older reviews as I find time and energy.  

At this time, I am going to continue my hiatus from blog tours, cover reveals, etc., until I am in a better position to truly commit to them.  I may sneak a few in from time to time for favorite authors, but it is not fair to the authors, PR companies,  or myself, to make commitments I cannot guarantee I can keep.

I am reading and reviewing like mad, and will commit to doing a better job of posting those here.  I am also planning to sneak some author interviews and such in here and there, but, because of the reasons above, I am not going to schedule them and will just surprise you when I can.

I do want to thank everyone for their continued support.

PS – I do still share quote a few promo posts and such on the Facebook page.  Please check out facebook.com/backstagebookreviews for more current information.

As always, keep rocking!

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Review: All Access by Karolyn James

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All Access by Karolyn James

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4 Electrified Guitars for All Access

I am a sucker for a good rockstar romance, and I will admit I was rather leary about this one for several reasons – I have read some absolutely excellent ones lately, and I have read more crappy ones overall than good, and this one was an Amazon freebie and that’s another area that I have wound up with more crappy than ones I loved. But, it was free and it was rockstar and the synopsis really caught my attention. And what a good decision it was to take a chance on it!

Johnnie, lead singer of one of the most popular bands around, and Jes, and up and coming author, accidentally meet at a coffee shop, and the sparks fly. She had no idea who he is, so imagine her surprise when her best friend drags her to a concert that night and there he is!

I always try to stay out of spoiler territory, but this one was a very sweet and charming rockstar romance. I liked it so much I have already bought and read the second and started on the third. Each book in the series focuses on a different member of the band, and I wasn’t sure I would like the others as much since I so fell in love with Johnnie and Jes, but so far the others are just as loveable.

Color Me Crazy by CarolPavliska

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Color Me Crazy by Carol Pavliska

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5 Electrified Guitars for Color Me Crazy

Another treasure that had been on my Kindle for much, much too long! I don’t know how it got buried so deeply, because I know I had been intrigued, but one thing is certain, I won’t be forgetting Julian any time soon! Ahhhh, Julian. Hot, complicated, refreshingly unique, maddening and utterly wonderful Julian. You must meet him!

All my guitar girls, Julian is a must. Oh, and fiesty Cleo is a hoot too. Hotter than the Texas sun when they are together and on the same page, this is one couple you won’t want to miss. Julian’s “quirks” are all consuming, to the reader, as well as to him. There will be times you will be screaming and wanting to throw your Kindle at him (and at Cleo too) but there are other times your heart will just break for him too, and other times he will more primally have you screaming.

Adults only for those primal times, and drug abuse. Goes on my short list of rockstar romance must reads.

Catching Up

Hello Everyone!  I  want to thank everyone who is sticking around.  You probably wouldn’t believe everything that has been going on – it would read worse than the cheesiest soap opera arc, if you made it medical dramas (thankfully my love life continues to be the brightest part of my life.  To my wonderful husband, my very own rockstar romance, I can never thank you enough.  I truly couldn’t have made it through the last few years without you.  May 2017 bring us the in health, and maybe a touch of the for richer as well, but regardless of what curveballs may Assault us next, I know we can make it through it together.)   Okay, mushiness aside, I am trying to bring myself back to my blogs, particularly this one.  I  am working on best of 2016 awards, including the Reader’s Choice which is in progress on the Facebook page.  I plan to start the final round in the next couple of days, and will start posting the various awards within the next week.  I am embarrassed to realize that all of the 2015 awards were not ever posted, so I will also plan a recap post sometime this month with all of those.

 

In the meantime, if you follow my reviews , Amazon or GoodReads,  you will know I have been reading and reviewing for the last few months.   I am going to start today posting some of the reviews that have never been published here before.  I know I started that project quite some time ago, and, as there are several years worth to catch up, it will be a long and ongoing process.  I do hope they will help you find some new favorites,  and maybe rediscover some older treasures.

 

Just a quick note about my reviews for Backstage Books – since this blog is solely dedicated to rockstar romance,  I decided from day one to have some fun with it, and rate with guitars instead of stars.  Any review with “Electrified Guitars” means it is for adult audiences only – which, more than 99% of the time, means the book includes explicit sexual situations.   If this offends you, this probably isn’t the genre for you, as the “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll” motto predates my existence  (and though I may forever be 21 at heart, I have more than 21 years experience of being 21.)  I generally give some warnings in my reviews, but as I occasionally overlook the disclaimers, or feel they have already been covered elsewhere in the review, the Electrified covers that.  For the occasional “clean” read, I use either Acoustic, or just Guitars.

 

I will be slowly working my way back into blog tours and such, very selectively.  As chaotic as things have been, I do not want to risk over extending myself, or, worse, letting down authors and the companies putting together the tours.  I do have one scheduled layer this month that I am really excited about, and think y’all will be too.  It will include author and character interviews – something that, God willing, I will be bringing you on a regular basis.

Thank you , all who have been with me through my unexpected hiatus, and all who are just discovering this blog.  May the rock be with you!