Review: Double Takes (Shooting Stars #2) by K. Vale

Standard

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Double Takes (Shooting Stars #2) coverFor Giovanni Savale, lead singer of Three Deaf Mice, life could never be less like that of a rock ‘n roll star.  His band reached the heights of popularity in the ninties, until an experimental album almost destroyed their fan base.  Now Gio is trying to put together a new album in the midst of a personnel crisis.  After nine years of a tumultuous and unhappy marriage, Gio is trying to hold on to the only good thing that came out of that union, his son Marco.  In order to get the money needed for an expensive divorce lawyer and to provide a stable home for his son, Gio has agreed to be a part of a reality series about him and the band.  Only its not going the way Gio expected.

The series producer wants to increase the show’s ratings and to do so he intends to showcase Gio’s bisexuality and a new “fabulous” boyfriend, a fake boyfriend to boost interest in the show.  It all started with a comment made off the cuff in an interview Gio did for a rock magazine.  He never thought that lead to this mess and the revival of desires Gio thought he had buried in his past.

Kyrie, the flamboyant  and funny actor hired as Gio’s pretend boyfriend is cute but it’s Lance Garrett, the mysterious and sexy owner of the local antique shop, that sparks Gio’s interest and passion.  But Lance is hiding secrets of his own.  In between battling his ex for custody of Marco,fighting the producer for some sanity and privacy, and Lance’s past, can Gio find love and the happiness he seeks?

I throughly enjoyed the first book in the shooting stars series, Forever is Now.  That had a rock star, a former lover, a past to be reconciled and a love that burned brightly throughout the years.  It has a small cast of characters and a basic, endearing plot.  Double Takes, the second novel in the Shooting Stars series, is a whole different type of story.

I was intrigued by the premise of Double Takes.  A fading rock star with money and soon-to-be ex-wife issues agrees to a reality cable series about himself and his band in order to earn the money he needs for a high powered lawyer.  What a great concept for a story,  especially considering the ubiquitous nature of reality tv shows today. An additional element here is the fact that Gio’s true sexuality has been suppressed by the times and his long term marriage. Only a throwaway line in an old magazine interview brings his bisexuality back out into the light.  And once that item has been seized on by his unscrupulous producer to be used to launch the new season, then Gio has a whole new set of personal issues to deal with, including outing himself to his bandmates.  I liked the  way the author dealt with these concepts,uniting them in a cohesive manner into her narrative.

When Double Takes and Gio are dealing with these plot layers, the story is fun, frustrating, and pretty realistic.  Unlike the rockers of Forever is Now, I never got the feeling that music was all that important any more for these older rockers.  They’ve been there, done that, and are now just playing for the fans and money.  They need to tour but Gio is stuck in one place because of his divorce, and needing to provide stability for his son.  That’s another very authentic element here as is Gio’s love for his son.  So far, we have three plot threads that make this a interesting and terrific story.  Between a reality show, a disintegrating marriage and custody battle, a father and son relationship, and having to deal with a hither to unknown aspect of his sexuality,  that would  absorb the majority of any story.  Especially as you will throw in a romance as well that will have Gio reexamining his sexuality and desires.  Loved the way the author dealt with this element too.

There are two romantic lead possibilities here. One is Kyrie, the adorable actor hired for the role as Gio’s boyfriend on the series.  Vale is setting up Kyrie and his ex brother in law as the next couple in the Shooting Stars series, so the amount of attention given to this secondary player makes sense.  Gio’s “real” romantic interest is Lance Garrett, an antiques dealer he met when trying to sell off items to help pay for his lawyer.  They meet, are attracted to each other  and try to deal with the awkward situation created by the tv show and his “fake” boyfriend.  Again, another wonderful concept and it works to highlight relationsip issues and feelings of trust the men have to work through.  I really wish the author had left it at this because these men have so much to work through to get to a solid place with their new status as lovers that to portray their “relationship dance” alone could take most of this story.

But that is not to be.  And for me this is where the story starts to disconnect from everything the author had established in the preceding chapters. I don’t believe that I am giving away anything by stating that Lance is not what he seems.  The blurb  infers that there is something mysterious about Lance and there is a problem from the past that will arrive to cause problems.  And it does but not just for the characters but for the readers as well.

From this point, the story splits off into something totally unexpected and wildly dissonant from the rest of the story elements we were involved in.  It’s almost as if we have an entirely different book and plot going on.  It comes out of nowhere and soon the author starts piling on more surprises and twists than this story can or should have been asked to handle.  Left behind are all the other major plot points…the band, the tv show, the divorce, even the father/son relationship…all dissolves under the need to work this new angle into Double Takes.  For me, this story then crumbles under the weight of all that material and extraneous plot devices.

And that’s a shame because the promise of the original concepts and the wonderful manner in which this story started had me smiling in anticipation of the tale to follow but left me perplexed by how quickly it all fell apart.  I did like so much about Double Takes and what the author attempted to do with her characters and plot.  It was ambitious and interesting.  So I will be looking forward to the next story in this series, featuring Kyrie, an altogether different type of shooting star and Greg, his ex brother in law.  While we are waiting for that story to arrive, go back to the beginning and Forever is Now to get your rocker fix from Kimber Vale.

Cover art not credited but I like the cover.  Its eye catching and interesting.

 Books in the Shooting Stars series include to date:

Forever is Now (Shooting Stars #1)
Double Takes (Shooting Stars #2)

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 28th 2014 by Liquid Silver Books (first published April 20th 2014)
edition languageEnglish
seriesShooting Stars #2
Buy Links:   Amazon    ARe   Liquid Silver Books

Mother’s Day and the Week Ahead in Reviews, Book Tours and Stuff!

Standard

 

 

books headers blk and white

It’s Mother’s Day and I am taking the day off for family events and such.  So without much further discourse, here is the week ahead in reviews, author guest posts, book tours and contests.  It looks to be a wonderful week:

This Week’s Schedule:

Monday, May 12:              Author Spotlight: Kimber Vale on Double Takes

Tuesday,  May 13:             Riptide’s Hostile Ground Book Tour with Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt

Wed., May 14:                    Daylight Again by SE Jakes

Thursday, May 15:            Double Takes by K. Vale

Friday, May 16:                  Author Spotlight: RJ Scott

Sat., May 17:                       One Night by RJ Scott

Review: Forever is Now (Shooting Stars #1) by Kimber Vale

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Forever is Now coverNine years ago Alex Bremen was very much in love with Chance Ralan.  The high school boys were inseparable until Alex’s dad caught them together.  The events from that traumatic night tore them apart. The breakup permanently separated them and  left Alex forever bitter at Chance’s betrayal. Now Alex is a successful director and producer of independent documentaries at his own production firm.  And Chance? Chance went on to rock god status when he turned  his high school rock band  into the famous Armageddon Showdown. Over the years, Alex had got a concert or two…just out of curiosity of course but never attempted to contact him.  And he never again heard from Chance.

Then Alex happens to hear the  song he wrote for Chance all those years ago played on the radio.  Stunned and enraged, he listens as his song is credited to Chance Ralan and its Armageddon Showdown’s latest hit!  The song “Forever is Now” was Alex’s love song  to Chance.  It was always meant to be a private things between them and now Chance has not only stolen it but claimed to have written it as well.

Determined to take his revenge and take back his song, Alex travels across country with his production team to meet up with Armageddon Showdown and Chance Ralan.  At first Chance has no idea that the company that is to film their tour is also bringing with it someone from their past hellbent on making Chance pay for his actions once and for all.  But Love is a quixotic thing and as the men tangle, old passions and feelings that never completely went away start to rise again.  In the end, what will win out?  Love or revenge?  Does time really heal all wounds or let them fester, so all hope of love is lost?

Parted young lovers, a troubled rock star and a spurned nice guy set on revenge.  Yep, I’m in.  Kimber Vale takes those ingredients and turns them into a highly readable and engaging tale of love, betrayal, and a rocker’s redemption.  I love rockers!  All the drama, glitz and glamor that surrounds them often hides a wealth of problems and hard work.  They make for perfect main characters and Kimber Vale’s Chance Ralan is another wonderful rock god character readers will love to embrace.  Haunted by his actions and betrayal of the one person who loved him all those years ago, Alex is wading in a mire of his own making.  The pierced, tattoed rock god is a far cry from the scared kid who only wanted to play music but Vale does a great job of showing how Chance’s insecurities and  regrets are now playing out through drunken binges, denial, and depression.   You should dislike Chance but he is so miserable and increasingly out of control that it is hard not to feel compassion for the guy, especially when Alex shows up to confront him.

Ah, Alex…..gorgeous, in control, out and now spitting mad Alex.  The story’s pov switches back and forth between our two protagonists but the Prologue and first chapters belong to Alex.  We see the events happen from his eyes and pick up 9 years later where it is clear he has never gotten over neither his resentment and bitterness nor his love of Chance.  Alex is a easy character to love.  He confronted his demons then made the tough, right choices in his life.  He became successful without sacrificing those personality traits that makes him accessible to the reader.  Plus he has a great sister he adores.  You start off understanding Alex, then you like him and finally, you fall in love with him as deeply as Chance already is.

Alex’s love life is as stalled as his affections as his latest lover just happens to resemble a  young Chance. As Vale heads her characters towards a combustible reunion and a confrontation, it is clear that both men need this to go forward in their lives. The author has created a wonderful atmosphere of suspense and anticipation for the reader leading up to this moment and she never quite gives in to the impulse to make it explosive, keeping us on the edge as we continue into the narration.  I loved that aspect of this story.  It totally works in keeping us engaged and in the moment.

There is quite a cast of secondary characters here that have important roles to play.  There are the Armageddon Showdown band members of varying degrees of maturity and congeniality,  and Cliff the manager who is smarmy from the ground up. Alex’ production company, Real Reels, is represented by Jools and Miles, the mistake and Alex’s ex lover who unfortunately is still circling around Alex like a hopeful bee. I like that no one character felt extraneous here and that each was as well crafted as the next.

Kimber Vale does seriously address Chance’s drinking and drug habits.  When we start the story Chance is already an alcoholic in denial who also uses drugs as casually as he does booze.  Without going too deeply into  the steps necessary for recovery and rehab, the author makes it plain that this self destructive behavior is hurting him on all fronts. And that only Chance himself holds the key that will make him realize how high the cost will be if changes aren’t made.  Vale keeps it realistic without being clinical, especially given the length of the story.

There are places where the story slows down, but that only happens occasionally.  The narrative picks up speed as it heads towards the end, and even though most will be able to tell who the villains of the story are and what possibly their roles might be as the plot unfolds, the pleasure you get from these characters and the drama of their situation will have you glued to the page until the very end.

Need a great little fix for your rockers in love addiction?  Start here with Forever is Now and Chance and Alex.  Kimber Vale continues the series with Giovanni Savale of Deaf Blind Mice in Double Takes (Shooting Stars #2). Giovanni Savale has a small mention here as his band plays along side Armageddon Showdown.  I will meet up with you there!  Happy Reading!

Cover Art by Unknown Artist who did a good job with the characters and cover design.

Books in the Series to Date include:

Forever is Now(Shooting Stars #1)
Double Takes (Shooting Stars #2)

Book Details:

ebook, 101 pages
Published September 9th 2013 by Liquid Silver Books
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.lsbooks.com/pre-order-coming-soon-romance-books-c322.php
seriesShooting Stars #1

Your Best Books That Most Readers Never Read and the Week Ahead in Reviews

Standard

✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍

ScatteredThoughts Call For Favorite Books Most Have Never Read!

Feather20Pen20ClipArt

Have you ever finished a book, loved it, and then wondered why you have never heard of it before?  Or see a book released to kudos only to vanish shortly after?  I have seen both happen and I bet you have too.  Or perhaps it’s a book you love but somehow it never found a larger audience and  you can’t figure out why? Maybe it’s the title that throws people off or even a blurb that doesn’t reflect the story within. What ever the reason…these stories never really found an audience that you hoped they would find or think they deserved.  And you wish you could change that.

So I was thinking, why not add a page to the website of books you love but no one has really heard of.  Give these great stories and their authors another chance with readers who might have passed them by.  I have been making a short list but I know you have books to add.

So look through your libraries and books you want to rec, check them twice for stories and authors that you think others may not have heard of.  And then pass them on to me.  Let’s compile a list together, all genres, for others to explore and discover whether they can new stories, old stories, no matter.  And perhaps include a comment or two about what makes them so special.  And we will keep adding to it.  So spread the word.  We need those recs of little known or barely known books and authors and why you love them so.  I can’t wait to see what you all send me.

books headers blk and white

Now here is the week ahead.  I have two author book tours, both with sequels to their new series.  S.J. Frost is here on Monday talking about Knight of Fire, her sequel to To the Other Side, her Terra series.  And Shira Anthony is here on Tuesday talking about her inspiration for her Mermen of Ea series and the release of Into The Wind, sequel to Stealing the Wind.  Both have brought books to giveaway and Shira Anthony has an over the top book tour mega contest as well to offer.  I will be reviewing those stories as well as books by David Pratt and Kimber Vale.

It’s going to be a outstanding week in books so don’t miss a day of it.  It’s the first week of May, let’s hope it’s a merry one!  Have a great week and happy rreading.

  • Sunday, May 4:            April 2014 Review Summary/Best Covers of April
  •  Monday, May 5:          Spotlight on S.J. Frost and  her Knight of Fire release (contest)
  • Tuesday, May 6:          Go Into the Wind with Shira Anthony and her Mermen of Ea’s lastest story and 2 contests to enter
  • Wed., May 7:                 Into the Wind by Shira Anthony
  • Thursday, May 8:       Knight of Fire by SJ Frost
  • Friday, May 9:              SE Jakes Daylight Again Book Tour
  • Sat., May 10:                  Forever Is Now by Kimber Vale
  •                                              Looking After Joey by David Pratt

IntoWindKnight of Fire coverLooking After Joey coverForever is Now cover