My most anticipated release of the year does not disappoint!
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.”