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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

'Stage Dive' by Kylie Scott, series review

From the ‘Lick’ BLURB:

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.

‘Stage Dive’ is the four-book rock and roll (award-winning, bestselling!) romance series from Australian author Kylie Scott.

So, I inhaled these books over the course of one week recently – alternately kicking myself for waiting so long to read them, while being secretly glad that 4th book ‘Deep’ came out this year and I got to read the series in one shot. And now I’ve been faced with the hard task of writing a series review that’s not just unintelligible happy-reading-grunting sounds of sheer delight … this is my attempt at a cohesive review, though you should know that my face lighting up at the mere mention of the series is kinda all the recommendation you need …

First book ‘Lick’ is about Stage Dive lead guitarist and songwriter David Ferris, and the woman he marries in Vegas on a whim, Evelyn ‘Evie’ Thomas. ‘Play’ is all about hyper drummer Mal Ericson, and his unlikely love interest Anne Rollins. Lead singer Jimmy Ferris’s book is ‘Lead’, all about his relationship with sober companion-turned something more, Lena Morrissey. The series concludes with ‘Deep and unlikely leading man, bassist Ben whose life and that of Anne’s sister Lizzy Rollins is turned completely upside down by each other and the consequences of their one night stand.

“Do you actually state what a pain in the ass I am in these songs?”
“Not those words exactly. No.” He chuckled, his good humour returned. “You don’t want me to lie and say everything’s always fucking unicorns and rainbows, do you?”
“Maybe. Yes. People are going to know these are about me. I have a reputation as a constant delight to protect.”
― Kylie Scott, Lick

I loved every single instalment in this series, which is about rock and roll band Stage Dive who have already hit it big and are maybe facing some inner band conflict, when these various women enter their lives … I really appreciated that while every book is a contained love story for each band member, there’s an over-arching theme of the band’s shifting dynamics which are in need of an overhaul.

David kicks off the series with his Vegas-wedding, and when Evie is thrown into his high-profile world she kind of stumbles into a hornets nest within the band too… David and lead singer Jimmy are brothers who have family secrets they’re trying to keep a lid on, and are also attempting to forget the woman who came between them and nearly fractured the band. Ben’s family are also tangled up in David and Jimmy’s uneasy relationship in the wake of a ruined romance, while tragedy striking Mal’s family impacts on the band in a huge way. It seems obvious that a series about a band should have them as a sort of lodestone throughout that series, but I’ve read my fair share of rock and roll romances and I can tell you that some authors struggle with hinging the entire series on the core group … Kylie Scott has no such struggle, and does this rather masterfully. So much so that by the fourth book ‘Deep’ they really did feel like a family I was quite sad to leave by the last page.

I also loved these books, of course, for the romances. I do have my favourites – David and Ben’s books ‘Lick’ and ‘Deep’ – but I adored every instalment. I really loved how challenging all the heroines were, and that while the pressure of the fame-game was explored throughout, Scott paid more service to deeper issues within everyone’s psyche, the women especially. And I found real enjoyment in mapping how each new member to the Stage Dive family shifted the dynamics ever so slightly, which was beautifully summarised in Ben’s book ‘Deep’ when he’s the ‘last man standing’ and both terrified/craving the stability and love all the other men have found.

With all the skill and speed of a seasoned male stripper, Mal turned on his heel. “And you, young lady! You are grounded until further notice.”
“I’m grounded?”
“Babe.” Anne winced. “That’s not going to fly.”
“And you are never to talk to Ben again. He is clearly a very bad influence on you.” The drummer continued, oblivious, sneering at his former friend. “Is that understood, Elizabeth?”
Lauren snickered.
“Yeah. Okay,” I said.
“Get out,” I said.
 ― Kylie Scott, Deep

Kylie Scott can also write the hell outta sexual tension and ― *ahem* ― climactic scenes. She’s just a thoroughly enjoyable author to go on this ride with, and I’m over-the-moon at the prospect of her new series (a character for which, appeared in ‘Deep’ called Vaughan). ‘Dive Bar’ is going to be her new series coming in 2016, and it sounds like it’s going to act as an intriguing mirror-series to ‘Stage Dive’, about musicians who haven’t made the big-time and are instead slinging drinks behind a bar. I can’t wait to get stuck in to that series, because I think the same way Scott brilliantly explored the pressure of fame and excess, she’ll do seriously intriguing justice to character who are dealing with the fallout of “failure” and how they handle having to adjust their dreams (or not?). Either way – bring it on! Kylie Scott should be every romance reader’s automatic buy!


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