Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lick by Kylie Scott

Why I read it: I received a review copy from the publisher.  But (wait for it) this was also a part of my prize for winning the "name the band" competition.  (Actually, the name wasn't terribly original, the series was already called Stage Dive - I just piped up and said that would be an awesome band name).  The other part of my prize was that a secondary character in the book was named after me.  Kaetrin is an (awesome) (slightly slutty - but in a sex positive way) groupie with an AMAZING rack. LOLOLOL!    The author very kindly asked me to pick her hair colour and the colour of her dress for her second appearance in the book.  We had a lot of fun on Twitter with it.  I told her to go for broke - but please just make me hot!  (And she did, so: thank you Kylie!). She's not in the book very much and while I was tickled to see my name in print, that wasn't the reason I liked the book.  Fortunately, it turned out that it's a book I'm very happy to have my name in, even if Book Kaetrin is a bit of a skank (I say that with love).

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  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 as hell never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man, 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 for certain, being married to rock and roll’s favourite son is sure to be a wild ride.

What worked for me (and what didn't): I'm a hero-centric reader but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate a good heroine.  I was actually pretty impressed with Evelyn.  She holds her own against celebrities and rock stars when she's out of her depth and in unfamiliar territory.  There was a certain feistiness to her which appealed very much to me.

Waking up to find she'd married a rock star the night before but couldn't remember anything much about the wedding or the events leading up to it, Evelyn's reaction seemed pretty realistic to me.  The method of getting the couple physically together again afterwards felt authentic.  There was heightened emotion in the book and lots of angsty goodness but these elements of "real" kept the book out of melodrama territory for me and into compelling.

Leaving aside the relationship with David, Evelyn's biggest struggle in the book is really with her father, with asserting her own personality and realising that she had the right to decide for herself where she wanted her life to go - including making her own mistakes.  She starts standing up for herself with her dad fairly early - even when she's in a fairly embarrassing position.
The problem was, I wasn’t a little girl anymore. And this wasn’t about me not believing that our back yard was too small for a pony.
And by the end, she had very much asserted her adulthood with her parents.  In that vein, the book has a new adult feel.  But because the hero is 26, I'm not sure it fits solidly within that category.  It didn't matter to me, frankly. I enjoyed the heck out of it anyway.

Evelyn narrates the story in the 1st person present tense which might put some people off.  But I've come to love this style of story telling.  I like the way the emotions are unfolding as I am reading.  And her self-talk was full of her personality which I found immensely entertaining.
He’d written songs about me. How incredible, unless they were the uncomplimentary kind, in which case we needed to talk.
David is divine.  A dark, tortured, rock star.  Poor thing. No-one understands him. No-one will be "real" with him.  He sees in Evelyn, immediately, that she will be "real" with him always and he values this immeasurably.  He doesn't moan - he's aware of his privileged position, but his problems and loneliness were genuine.  He remembers the events of the night they met but Evelyn doesn't and this hurts him - that something so special to him could be so easily forgotten. And, this informs his dealings with Evelyn for the bulk of the book - he loses trust in her and needs time to regain it.  Unfortunately, this means he keeps some things from Evelyn which come out in a dramatic way (oh, the angst!!) and it is then David who has to earn Evelyn's trust.

David's feelings for Evelyn were clear very early on - you kind of have to buy into a whirlwind romance to go with the story, but I didn't have any difficulty here.  Usually that's something I struggle with, but I found it worked for me in this case, which I think says something about the writing and the chemistry between the characters.
“David.” I scrambled to tighten my hold on his back. 

“Hey.” He drew back just enough to look into my eyes. His pupils were huge, almost swallowing the sky-blue iris whole. “I am not going to drop you. That’s never going to happen.”
It was only after I finished the book that I had some hesitation about how little time they had spent together and how young Evelyn was and a couple of other little (spoilerish) things which felt a little unrealistic.  But when I was reading it, I was caught up in the sturm und drang and the sexy and the fun - because it wasn't all drama and angst, there was flirty and funny too.

David and Evelyn have off the charts sexual chemistry and their scenes together are full of sizzle.  There's some rough, angry sex which stays, in my opinion, on the right side of the consent lines (it helps we are always in Ev's head).  There's also hot, sexy sex and romantic sex.  But there is more to their relationship than just sex and there is far more to David's attraction (and Evelyn's too) than just the physical.

I devoured this book in one sitting, happily caught up in the romance and I ended the experience with a delighted smile on my face.

What else? It struck me that this book is written very much from the female gaze.  The descriptions of the groupies (including Kaetrin) are from Evelyn's female POV.  The descriptions of the hot guys are the ones which are sexualised.  Evelyn's self description is fairly broad - blonde hair, tall, generous curves, overall a positive body image, functional but not sexualised all that much.  It ought to go without saying that a book from the POV of the female protagonist should be in the female gaze, but that's not always the case.  I particularly noticed it in this book and I liked it very much.

“It’s not like you to cock-block, Davie,” said Jimmy. “Didn’t I see the lovely Kaetrin clawing at you earlier out on the balcony? Why don’t you go find her, get her to do what she’s so damn good at? Me and Ev are busy here.”
 (my emphasis)
See?  I told you she was hot! 

Grade: A-

(Also, Kaetrin the Groupie gets an A+ from me).


Come back tomorrow for an exclusive interview with Kylie Scott where she spills the beans on Kaetrin the Groupie PLUS there's a GIVEAWAY.

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