Review: Terrible Things (Star Shadow #1) by Beth Bolden

Rating: 4.5🌈

Terrible Things is another terrific start to a contemporary rock band romance series by Beth Bolden.

Set in southern California, the location allows the author to fold in characters from her other series (Kitchen Gods, Food Truck Warriors) into making guest appearances where needed. Or even serving up as locations ala Terrior Restaurant and Chef Aquino.

Star Shadow is a defunct teenage rock band that disbanded when one of its members disappeared at the height of its world tour. Unable to continue, the band crumbled under the pain and betrayal.

The remaining four members keeping in contact personally while going different directions professionally.

That’ll the surface facts that the story opens up with.

The truth behind that traumatic breakup and the repercussions that are still hammering at the band members presently begin with the return of that missing musician and friend. Caleb Chance. He wants to resume that ill fated tour

Where he’s been, what happened all those years ago, and the deeply held pain and torn relationships is the beginning here.

The format the author employs includes the use of Interludes, important chapters from the past that highlights a pivotal moment in this couple’s and the band’s journey. Whether it’s from the moment they met or the moment it all imploded, the Interludes work better here then any flashback because the contrast emotionally between past and present if often stark and telling.

Told from the perspective of Leo Humphries, the man Caleb Chance left behind and who’s leaving shattered him almost completely, a one person pov makes this a strong story. It’s an unusual choice because I think most writers would have included Caleb’s as well given his own personal demons and battles. But to do that justice would have doubled this story easily.

Their romance, their tortuous journey back to each other, to forgiveness and love is hard and raw. And honestly as it deals with Caleb’s addiction to alcohol and how Leo had to deal with the everyday ramifications of having a alcoholic lover, maybe be hard to read if this is a trigger.

For me it also left some parts feeling less than fleshed out here too with regards to Caleb’s rehabilitation. He used aversion therapy at the end but there’s no real explanation here of that. Just that all other type of rehab clinics hadn’t been effective.

I would have expected something more definitive here. Especially considering that the men are honest about other stages and parts of their feelings and expectations for their new relationship.

I’ve come to relish and prefer stories where the relationships are emotionally adult. They talk, communicating their feelings, thoughts, and share elements with their partners those aspects of their lives that bring them closer together . Or learn how to do that…it’s a process.

That’s shown here in all its pain, truth, recovery, and love.

It’s quite the journey.

I wonder where all the books will take us and them. I intend to find out. I recommend you start here.

Star Shadow series:

Terrible Things (Star Shadow #1)

Impossible Things #2

Hazardous Things #3

Extraordinary Things #4


When Caleb Chance walked out in Detroit five years ago, leaving his band, millions of his fans and his lover behind, Leo knew he could never forgive.

Some things, no matter what the cause, are unforgivable.

But Leo never expected Caleb to show up again, clean and sober and wanting to get their band, Star Shadow, back together. He definitely never expected to agree to Caleb’s plan.

He never expected to confront the love of his life again—or the disaster of his past, the hopelessness of his future, and every terrible thing he’s been carrying inside him.

But maybe some things aren’t so terrible after all.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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