Monika’s Review…Rock Addiction

review iconI have to admit, I love it when people give me reviews to post, partly because I suck at reviewing myself, partly because I am nosy and I like to get honest opinions on what others are reading without having to search through the masses at Goodreads and Amazon. And when the book in question is from a favorite author, it is even better. Monika sent over a review for the upcoming (and very much a surprise) Rock Addiction from Nalini Singh, which from what I understand is being classed as New Adult.

What Monika said…

Wow, I’m still fanning myself! Nalini Singh succeeds in striking the perfect balance between scorching hot eroticism and sweet romance. The hero is an alpha male with hidden vulnerabilities and the heroine innocent but with an adventureous streak. It’s a case of instant lust and they have intense chemistry but need to come to terms with what it means to have a relationship in the spotlight.

I used to read a lot of romance novels, both historical and contemporary, although these days I am mostly into Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. The Psy/Changeling and the Guild Hunter series range among my favorites and I consider them some of the best writing in the genre, so I was very excited when I discovered the unexpected announcement on Nalini Singh’s blog that she had branched out into contemporary romance. The whole rock music scene is not really my thing, but the blurb sounded very promising and struck a chord with me.

Synopsis: At a party hosted by her publicist half-sister cute librarian Molly Webster comes face to face with Zachary Fox, sex god and lead singer of the famous rock group Schoolboy Choir. She has been fantasizing about him for some time, so when he follows and propositions her, she throws all caution to the winds and decides to indulge in one night of pleasure. Fox has been captivated by her artless and likeable nature, so there is no way he will be satisfied with one night and he proceeds to convince her to give him the whole month he is vacationing with his band in New Zealand. Afraid of the intensity of her feelings and haunted by traumatic events in her childhood Molly nevertheless agrees since she feels she will at least always have the memories of the time she spent with Fox. After the month is up, Fox, who was playing for keeps from the beginning, asks Molly to come back with him to California. Taking the biggest chance of her life Molly leaves her job and her friends behind to be with Fox in his Santa Monica home. Although she can slowly establish herself as a freelance editor and researcher, she has to come to terms not only with beautiful Hollywood actresses dropping by unanounced, but also with pushy groupies groping her man and intrusive papparazzi. Plagued by demons in his own past Fox has a tendency to try to control Molly, and not only inside the bedroom. While on tour an incidence occurs that plays on Molly’s worst fears and that will put their fragile love and trust to the test…

What I didn’t like about it: Nothing against a heroine that is sweet and inexperienced, but a virgin at 24? And then she considers a one-night stand, even if the hero is gorgeous and she’s had a crush on him for the longest time. Also, though probably many (female) readers can identify with Molly, she is a bit ordinary and bland. And I don’t mean only her looks (she is described as pretty), but also her personality and her whole life. To have a gorgeous, sexy, famous hunk fall madly in love with one has at one time or another probably been the secret fantasy of every woman, but even with the suspension of disbelief I find it hard to swallow. So does Molly, actually, and at the beginning of their relationship that is a source of insecurity for her. It wouldn’t be so bad if Fox, in contrast, weren’t so perfect in every way: hero with a tortured past, great body, ribbed, golden skin all over (why does this remind me of a certain cat), sexy voice, talented, great in the sack and loaded. Really, why am I complaining? But he seems just like too much of a good thing. Oh, and the name oft he band “Schoolboy Choir” does so not hit the right note for a supposedly gritty rock band.

What I did like about it: Even though it’s in the “didn’t-like-section” I actually loved Zachary Fox, because who wouldn’t? He is very likable beneath his rough edges and although he is quite controlling and demanding in bed he isn’t too bad outside of it and Molly stands up to him if he tries to be. Recently I have started to read some erotic romance, but disappointingly most of it is written very badly, with inconsistent character development and very repetitive. I would also label “Rock Addiction” erotic romance, but that’s where all similarities end. Nalini Singh is a superb story writer and her main protagonists are well developed. I liked the local color she used for the scenes in New Zealand and Santa Monica. She also finds a good balance between romance, intense emotion and explicit love scene and the narrative has a good rhythm. The sex is intense, with some kink (light and playful bondage). The cast of secondary characters is also well drawn and I’m looking forward to future stories featuring the other band members, Molly’s half-sister Thea and her best friend Charlotte.

If I had to rate this book, it would very much depend on what I compared it to. On its own merit as an erotic romance I would give it five out of five stars, because it’s so well written and by far the best of its genre I’ve read. Compared to Nalini Singh’s PR / UF writing I would only give it 4 stars, because I feel that the complex world building accounts for a large part of the appeal and what I am willing to believe in a story set in a fantasy world it not necessarily the same as in one set in the “real” world. Having said that, I will certainly check out Thea’s and David’s story, which is coming up next.

Rock Addiction will be hitting the shelves on September 9th, and it will be followed by the novella Rock Courtship in October.

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6 thoughts on “Monika’s Review…Rock Addiction

  1. I do have to say, that I also think that virgins at that age are nonexistant. BUT: a friend of a friend of mine is indeed 23 and still a virgin. Leaves me kind of speechless everytime I think about it. Though I’m fed up with the books where the heroine is the innocent virgin type of girl. They are out there, but it still feels like: “eye rolling, not a virgin again”

    • Isabel – I always feel that disbelief, too, when I read a heroine who’s getting into her twenties while remaining a virgin. I can buy it because I think it is more common than some people think. What I don’t buy is the “innocent virgin”. Never had any sort of sexual experience or familiarity with your own body is where I roll my eyes. Granted I haven’t read Rock Addiction yet (I plan to although maybe not right when it comes out) but the review did mention innocent.

      Also – thanks Monika for the awesome review. Some general response I’ve seen said people loved it or to lower your expectations but this gives me a clearer view if I will enjoy it.

      • Sorry, I probably didn’t express myself well. I didn’t mean to say that I believe that there are no 23 year old virgins in the “real” world, I just like the “innocent virgin” as a trope in romance novels, that – though of course fictional – are set in the real world. As a matter of fact I thought this particular trope had been abandoned in the late 80s or early 90s. In the world of Psy, on the other hand, (older) virgins make perfect sence within that universe and I have to say that I especially liked the male virgins ;-)

  2. I have to admit that I did not seek out an ARC for this book, I was afraid it would pale in comparison to her PNR novels, this review while giving glowing accolades does not necessarily relieve me of that fear. I may still read it at some point but I think I will stick with her PNR novels for now. I review romance novels from several authors but many PNR/UF authors write romance novels under a different name (some use the same name) but I have read none of them for the same reason as above, so the fault may be mine and not the books themselves. The bottom line is that no matter how good them may be I will compare them to their PNR/UF writing and from comments from others they will suffer from the comparison in a review. Maybe this one will be different …….

    • I should mention (since I do reviews) that this review was done very well and covered the subject, I waffle back and forth in my own reviews about including the synopsis since I feel many times I am repeating known info but in this case it was necessary since many of us probably would not have read the synopsis for this novel. My previous comments spent more time on the general subject of PNR/UF writers branching out into romance (although many of them started in romance) and the poor comparison for most, Nalini Singh I suspect may not suffer in this comparison but we shall see.

  3. All: thanks for the feedback on my review. I’m aware that I should try to condense it more, but I myself like detailed reviews. As to including a synopsis I sometimes feel that synopses provided by the author/publisher? (who writes those, BTW?) are , maybe though not necessarily misleading, then at least emphasizing different things than I would…

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