Goodreads Monday (5/29/17): When It’s Real by Erin Watt 

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To participate, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners and add your own links! 

My choice today is When It’s Real  by Erin Watt.


BLURB
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From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

ADD TO GOODREADS 

Isn’t that cover beautiful? Erin Watt is the brainchild of two bestselling authors: Jen Frederick and Elle Kennedy. I devoured their Royal series (See Review) on audio in a week. I hope to finish this book tonight and have a review for tomorrow. I’ve only read one book by Jen Frederick but I just bought my second audiobook to try. On the other hand, I’ve read 2 different series by Elle Kennedy which I will loved:  Killer Instincts  and Off Campus. I normally don’t enjoy rocker romances but I like this one so far.  Have you read anything by the two author? What did you think?

What are you reading today from your Goodreads TBR shelf? 

Thoughtful (Thoughtless #1.5) by S.C. Stephens

Thoughtful (Thoughtless #1.5) by S.C. StephensSeries: Thoughtless #1.5
on 2015-02-24
Pages: 560
AmazonNarrator: Jeremy Arthur
In Thoughtless, Kiera told her story. Now it's time to hear from the sexy rock star who captivated us all . . .THOUGHTFULThe only place Kellan Kyle has ever felt at home is onstage. Gripping his guitar in a darkened bar, he can forget his painful past. These days his life revolves around three things: music, his bandmates, and hot hookups. Until one woman changes everything . . . Kiera is the kind of girl Kellan has no business wanting-smart, sweet, and dating his best friend. Certain he could never be worthy of her love, he hides his growing attraction . . . until Kiera's own tormented heart hints that his feelings might not be one-sided. Now, no matter the consequences, Kellan is sure of one thing-he won't let Kiera go without a fight.
three-stars

Thoughtful (Thoughtless, #1.5)Thoughtful by S.C. Stephens

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, except the tree in the middle, you must not touch it or you will die!”
description

I read this book because I was told that it would change my perception of Kellan, from a snake in the grass, to a misunderstood nice guy. 21 hours and 15 minutes later, Kellan is still snake to me. Out of all the fruit in the garden, Kellan had to have the forbidden one, despite the warning he received.

Kellan’s “POV” starts with a history lesson of his relationship with his parents and how he became “mates” with Denny. I definitely felt bad for him for getting abused. Kellan’s parents were terrible people and were the root of his lack of sense of worth. It does not however excuse how easily he overlooked his band mates’ loyalty to him. It doesn’t excuse that almost from the beginning, he coveted what his mate Denny had with Keira. In Kellan’s frequent monologues, he whined about how he wanted someone to look at him like that, hold him like that, love him like that etc. So I would call that ENVY—coveting what someone else has.

As the lead singer of the D-bags, Kellan had so many girls after him. He slept with a lot and discarded the m like used tissue. The minute Keira did that to him, Kellan was pissed. Never once did he reflect on how many women he had “used” but he dwelt on how painful it was.

Frankly, I don’t see what’s so lovable about Keira because she seemed more like a cute puppy needing to be stroked all the time than a partner who could support, comfort and encourage a loved one.
puppy dog photo: Bentley, puppy, dog, Maltese IMG_8520.jpg
This cute and messy little bitch was just a taker. Well actually, she laid down and gave it up to Kellan when he wanted to stroke her. But other than sex, I don’t see anything of value she contributed to her relationship with both Denny and Kellan. I also resent that everyone made excuses for her instead of making her own active and continual deception.

It begs a brief mention that even Kellan’s bandmates knew enough of his character to feel the need to Warn him against betraying Denny. The whole Bros before Hoes things, but Kellan had already fixated on what he desired, and to hell with the awkwardness it would cause between Kellan, Denny and the Band.

I get the author’s message though, that Kellan was broken and lacked a sense of self-worth. He just wanted to wanted as a person and needed to matter to someone else. I just don’t see it as a viable reason to encroach on the relationship of the guy he claimed he loved as a brother. His inner musings told the reader that he knew this betrayal would “kill Denny” but that wasn’t enough to make Kellan stop. He was just not a likeable guy to me, and this book didn’t improve him in my estimation.

As far as the writing goes, it was intriguing just not entertaining. This book was too long and most of it was a regurgitation of book 1. So I felt that I have heard all this before. I applaud the author to tackling such an angst-filled and emotional topic, but I won’t be continuing with the series.

View all of Ezi’s reviews

Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane

Beneath the Stain by Amy Laneon 2014-10-17
Pages: 350
AmazonNarrator: Nick J. Russo
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers and their penchant for making good music when they weren't getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends especially Grant Adams made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind. Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he's hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn't flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that's not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav's help but Trav's not sure he's going to survive falling in love with Mackey. Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn't do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey's past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking.
four-half-stars

Amy Lane is one of the best storytellers in the business and this was definitely one of her best work, if not the best. I felt engaged from the beginning to the end, but no runny mascara eyes this time. I love how Amy Lane (via Nick Russo the narrator) takes the reader on a journey with the characters from adolescent years to their time as grown men. It’s like the author is the driver, the character is the passenger, and I was in the back seat watching and listening. It was a quite a ride!

This story featured the Sanders brothers who formed a rock band with one of their childhood friends and named their band “Outbreak Monkey”. The youngest, 14 yr. old Mackey Sanders, was the band’s writer as well as their lead singer. Mackey had a crush on his oldest brother Kell’s best friend, 17 yr. old Grant Adams, the other member of the band but always thought Grant was straight. After one drunken night of mutual discovery, Mackey and Grant embarked on a secret affair. They told no one because Grant’s family was unaware of his orientation and they are very homophobic. Out of fear of incurring his father’s wrath, Grant drops out of the band and marries a girl, ending his relationship with Mackey.

Outbreak Monkey moves on to sign to a record label and achieve professional success. Meanwhile, Mackey personal life descends into depression and drug abuse. The record company brings in a new manager, clean up specialist Travis Ford, to get the Outbreak Monkey guys on point. Travis immediately set up on the task of helping Mackey reclaim his life starting with rehab. Under his care, Mackey and the Outbreak Monkey had to address their issues before they began to flourish again. The brothers and the band went from a fun time to living the rock-n-roll lifestyle to rediscovering their bond as a unit. This book took us through all those transitions whether they were happy or painful. After some healing, Travis and Mackey begin a relationship…and then the past comes knocking.

While I didn’t cry, this audiobook was angst –filled. Grant and Mackey had all that youthful passion and love that I couldn’t help but root for. Mackey and Travis had that adult relationship when you have seen a person at their lowest which I also found myself wishing would last. I thought, Amy Lane, what are you doing to me because I don’t know if Mackey can handle this?  The writing was poetic and smooth, and the characters were multi-layered. I found it hard for me to judge their mistakes because you could see why and how they could make those decisions. While Mackey was the central character, the supporting cast was equally essential to the story. Forgiveness and Support was big in the end. If you are looking for a book about love, second chances and character growth, then this one is for you.

Available at: Dreamspinner Publishing

*Special thanks to Dreamspinner Publishing for providing the audiobook.

About Amy Lane

Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

Deep (Stage Dive #4) by Kylie Scott

Deep (Stage Dive #4) by Kylie ScottSeries: Stage Dive #4
on 2015-03-31
Pages: 231
AmazonNarrator: Andi Arndt
Don't miss a beat with the fourth and final novel in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Stage Dive series from Kylie Scott. Positive. With two little lines on a pregnancy test, everything in Lizzy Rollins' ordinary life is about to change forever. And all because of one big mistake in Vegas with Ben Nicholson, the irresistibly sexy bass player for Stage Dive. So what if Ben's the only man she's ever met who can make her feel completely safe, cherished, and out of control with desire at the same time? Lizzy knows the gorgeous rock star isn't looking for anything more permanent than a good time, no matter how much she wishes differently. Ben knows Lizzy is off limits. Completely and utterly. She's his best friend's little sister now, and no matter how hot the chemistry is between them, no matter how sweet and sexy she is, he's not going to go there. But when Ben is forced to keep the one girl he's always had a weakness for out of trouble in Sin City, he quickly learns that what happens in Vegas, doesn't always stay there. Now he and Lizzie are connected in the deepest way possible . . . but will it lead to a connection of the heart?
four-stars

Ben Nicholson was the laid back member of Stage Dive. He just wanted to play the bass and live a nomadic life with no commitments or expectations. He did have a friendship with Lizzy, who lived with her older Anne & her husband Mal.

After some bonding via texts, Ben and Lizzy had a night of passion after a Stage Dive Concert. When Mal called Ben, interrupting their tryst, Ben admitted to Lizzy he wasn’t ready to be a couple or let anyone know they were sleeping together. Lizzy told him she didn’t want to be his dirty secret and she broke off their friendship.

Fast forward a couple of months later, and positive pregnancy test, Ben and Lizzy have to deal with his desire for freedom and Lizzy’s desire for a stable environment for her baby. Can Ben finally stop running?

This book was better than the last book and I enjoyed it. Ben wasn’t a bad guy; he just liked the simplicity of his life. He wanted to wake up, make music, travel and not feel beholden to anything except for how he felt at any given moment. I get it. Lizzy was confident in her feelings for Ben and she also had time to absorb the magnitude of her new reality—she was to be a mother. Ben kept seesawing between his desire for a relationship with Lizzy and his desire to retain his independence. Things were moving too fast for Ben and he hadn’t come to grips with his feelings for Lizzy. I like that he kept coming back after each bad decision. People make mistakes, and Ben made a lot here. That added a feeling of realness to the story. Ben had to “grow” into the idea of being a father as well as being Lizzy’s boyfriend. It wasn’t smooth nor was Ben easy to like. I think that’s why I liked him so much. He showed development from the beginning to end. I am glad Ben didn’t allow the issue of Lizzy to wreck the band and his relationship with Mal. The brotherly affections are one of the things that makes the series fun to read.

I appreciate the author taking the sex down a notch and letting us enjoy the range of emotions Ben’s waffling evoked. A few times I considered punching him in the stomach, but Mal took care of that. This one was entertaining. I am glad to hear there will be a spin off though I am not excited to read about Martha as she was unpleasant. I highly recommend this series to fans of rocker romances who love HEAs.

*Special thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin via Netgalley for the e-arc, which was given in exchange for an honest review

Bright Side by Kim Holden

Bright Side by Kim Holdenon 2014-07-09
Pages: 389
AmazonNarrator: Lidia Dornet, Roger Wayne
Secrets. Everyone has one.Some are bigger than others.And when secrets are revealed,Some will heal you ...And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick's life has been anything but typical. She's endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there's a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She's also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.They both feel it.But they each have a reason to fight it. They each have a secret.And when secrets are revealed, Some will heal you ...And some will end you.
three-half-stars

The first 60% this book was barely a 2-star and the last 40% was a 4.5 star. I actually considered stopping the audio and getting another audiobook as I was so bored, but I am glad I stuck it out. The emotional ending was worth it.

Katherine aka Kate aka Bright Side was starting college in Grant, Minnesota. She seemed to be running away from her hometown San Diego as she just suffered a devastating loss. She maintains contact with her BFF Gus, and lives with her aunt Maddie as she tries to build a new life here in cold Minnesota. We quickly learn that Kate loves music, she plays and sings. Kate has an optimistic disposition despite being poor and having lost loves ones. That’s why Gus calls her “Bright Side”. Kate is loyal, considerate and hardworking. Kate loves coffee. At coffee shop, she meets Keller Banks, but all Kate has to offer friendship. But he wants more and sets out to prove that they can be good together.

I don’t think the précis gives a good synopsis of what this book is about. Half way into this book I kept trying to figure out what this book was really about because I was bored. When the book finally hits its stride, it becomes a smooth ride. This book reminds me of he Fault in Our Stars, but a little more cliché. The characters were likable but I wish the author had given Kate and Keller a little more shade. It was almost like Kate was striving towards Sainthood and it’s hard to imagine a college student being that thoughtful, good and generally perfect. Nonetheless, I liked her because she was genuinely kind. Keller was also a near perfect character but he seemed more human.

I think this story is worth reading but just know it’s a slow burning and doesn’t pick up steam until you get to the second half of the book.

Lick ( Stage Dive, Book 1) by Kylie Scott

Lick ( Stage Dive, Book 1) by Kylie ScottSeries: Stage Dive #1
on July 1st 2013
Pages: 286 pages
AmazonNarrator: Andi Arndt
Waking up in Vegas was never meant to be like this.

Evelyn Thomas's plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Las Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man in her room, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.

One thing is certain, being married to one of the hottest rock stars on the planet is sure to be a wild ride.
four-half-stars

Good girl Evelyn Thomas woke with a 5-carat ring on her finger. Whatever happened, she can’t remember. But apparently she married David Ferris, one of the members of rock band Stage Dive AND got a tattoo of his name on her butt.
The horrors of alcohol!

Well David and Eve decide to spend some time together and get to know each other since they have this easy banter. Eve moves up to David’s home in Monterrey and they have a blissful 5 days, until real life comes crashing in. I mean, what do they really know about each other? Their lives are so different. Evelyn wants to be an architect (or so she says) and David travels a lot with Stage Dive. Will this new romance work?

I am so glad that I listened to this book. I normally detest rocker romances, but this one was sweet. The hero and heroine had interesting back stories and their chemistry was intense. They were good for each other and I liked that something in them recognized it, even though they didnt know how to fight for it. It was sweet, emotional and slightly angst. But best of all, there was healing towards the end, with people facing their past and making better decisions to pursue their own dreams and happiness.