Playing Dirty (Stargazer 2)
By: Jennifer Echols
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Rating: 1 star
|Summary: A public relations expert tries to prevent the breakup of a raucous country band and corral their wild—and very sexy—lead singer in book 2 of the Stargazer Series.
As an expert in public relations crisis management—that is, babysitter to the stars—Sarah Seville just spent nine months in Rio trying to keep rock singer Nine Lives out of jail long enough to record his new album…and barely succeeded. Now she needs a triumphant success so she can keep the Manhattan-based job she loves. Trouble is, her new assignment is to travel to Alabama to prevent the breakup of the raucous country band The Cheatin’ Hearts, headed by sexy Quentin Cox. As she edges closer to Quentin, she discovers layers of secrets. It seems Quentin is taking the spin doctor for a spin.
The Cheatin’ Hearts have stayed on top of the charts two years following three rules. Rule One, no drugs. Rule Two, no sex with other band members. Rule Three, no sex with record company spies. Quentin figures he’d better follow the rules, because he made them. And because if you break a rule, you’re out of the band. But he can’t resist the record company’s beautiful PR agent, and inevitably he breaks Rule Three with hot Sarah Seville. As he falls for her, he finds out that she has plenty of secrets of her own, and one of them comes knocking on her door: what really happened to her in Rio.
Review: I haven’t had much luck with Jennifer Echols books lately, but I still had hope – AND this is a sequel to Stargazer, which I gave 3 stars to. Sadly, this book was a huge disappointment for me.
First and foremost, I thought this book was too over the top. There was so much drama in this book, and it was one thing after another. Echols stretched the storyline thin, throwing in every trick she could think of, and it just made me weary overall. Nine Lives, Sarah’s history, the band’s double-life, Quentin’s family past and his health problems. Too much.
Also, the characters were sketchy and ill-defined that I thought they were all bipolar. Now, I understand everyone is playing a role and putting on a different persona, but even when they were their “real selves,” I couldn’t get a good handle on who they were, so it was really hard to sympathize with any of them.
Speaking of, I could not stand Sarah. I got so tired of the arrogant, self-righteous, know-it-all attitude of hers. She was so sure she had it all figured out. I swear, I wanted to smack her every time she went on and on about Quentin’s cocaine addict. Enough already.
And I don’t like the basis for Sarah’s story was pretty much Wendy’s. Kick-butt publicist who made a mistake at her last job, and this would be the one who would make or break her career.
At least with Stargazer, there was a decent plot, likable characters and a few great lines. This one, it was nothing but over-the-top, too dramatic nonsense that left me very frustrated and angry – and not in a good way.
Rock and a Hard Place (A Jamieson Brothers Novel 1)
By: Angie Stanton
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Rating: 2 stars
|Summary: When you fall in love with a rock star, anything can happen. . . .
Libby In an instant, Libby’s life went from picture-perfect to a nightmare. After surviving a terrible car accident, Libby is abandoned by her father and left with her controlling aunt. A new town, a new school, no friends—Libby is utterly alone. But then she meets Peter.
Peter The lead singer in a rock band with his brothers, Peter hates that his parents overly manage his life.
Constantly surrounded by family, Peter just wants to get away. And when he meets Libby, he’s finally found the one person who only wants to be with him, not the rock star.
But while Peter battles his family’s growing interference in both his music and his personal life, Libby struggles with her aunt, who turns nastier each day. And even though Libby and Peter desperately want to be together, their drastically different lives threaten to keep them apart forever.
Review: I think I would have liked this book if Stanton hadn’t gone overboard and made it way too complicated. She should have kept the story about Peter finding a girl who wasn’t after him just for his money and fame. Or she should have focused on Libby’s life, which was a pretty heartbreaking story. Bombarding readers with the whole story was too much at once, and I think it robbed each character from the full sympathy and emotional impact he/she would have received if his/her story would have stood on its own.
Aside from that, the story started a little too cliche and a bit cheesy. Some of the lines made me groan a bit, but it’s a typical contemporary young adult romance. And Stanton wanted to portray Peter as the shy rock star who wanted so much more, but his first encounter with Libby (asking if the drawing wasn’t of him or just his whole demeanor) would probably be more of what you would expect of Garrett or Adam. And even Libby has said Peter had a bit of arrogance and confidence – in the cute way of course. I mean, yeah, he’s a rock star, but there were a number of instances that I just felt was out of character for someone like him.
And Libby. Her story breaks my heart. But I felt it was a bit too much. First of all, why did it take so long for Stanton to explain what happened to her family. Also, I understand being thrown into a situation where you have to live with a relative who just doesn’t want you, but Stanton went a little overboard with Libby’s aunt. Could Libby’s situation happen? I don’t doubt it, but all of the extra elements that Stanton throws in makes it really unbelievable – not in that it hasn’t happened but it’s too extreme. Throw in the rock star, and the story was too Cinderella-ish.
Overall, the story wasn’t bad. It wasn’t one of those stories that made me smile or cry from memorable lines or blew me away with giddiness or heartache. And it would have been great if I didn’t feel like Stanton tried too hard to weigh us down and ended up making it way too complicated. Makes me you wonder what she has in stored for the sequel if she’s already pulled all the tricks out of her hat.