Wednesday, June 18, 2008

TBR Challenge for June

Rock Star by Roslyn Holcomb

Published in 2006

I’ve had this one in the TBR pile for a while now and kept meaning to read it. Yet again, I’m glad Keishon’s challenge has spurred me to read a book that might have lingered a bit longer in the TBR pile.

I bought this one when I heard good buzz on it and to also to be honest, because Of Karen Scott’s series of articles and posts about racism and AA authors. She helped raise my level of consciousness to the fact that while I didn’t avoid books written by AA authors, neither did I seek them out. Mostly it’s because we don’t hear that much about them.

Blurb from the authors web site:

How does a hedonistic, hellbound L.A. sophisticate like bad boy rock star Bryan Spencer woo young, gifted and black sweet home Alabama belle Callie Lawson? What type of magical voodoo draws him to her magnolia-scented bosom? Seduced by the unhurried pace and a lifestyle that is the antithesis of his own, he finds that he cannot break away from the seductive spell of a woman who soothes the deepest recesses of his tortured soul. Bryan, guitar god extraordinaire, is compelled to retreat to the small town when he is devastated by the loss of his best friend and band mate. The peaceful tranquility, not to mention unaccustomed celibacy, is slowly driving him mad until he meets Callie Lawson, budding tycoon, aficionado of black entrepreneurship and owner of the local bookstore. He quickly discovers that Callie is one of the few people he’s met who doesn’t have her own agenda for befriending him. Far from the cloying adulation he is accustomed to, Callie is totally focused on her own career goals and is reluctant to have anything to do with a ‘long-haired rocker from California.’ Bryan overcomes her misgivings with an old-fashioned courtship that belies his L.A. rocker origins. He introduces this Sunday School girl to some truly high-powered sex and decadence. The question is which one wins: Southern Sunday School or L.A. sin? Just when they’re certain everlasting love is firmly in their grasp, they are rent asunder by treachery and betrayal of the most staggering kind. They must defy egregious stereotypes and false perceptions to embrace their own sweet Alabama love.

I really enjoyed this book. Reading it, she did an excellent job in describing the intense longing between Callie and Bryan. I could relate to Callie in wondering what this hot, famous rock star who could have had any woman, saw in a small town girl like her. But as I got into the book, I could see it. She has a sweetness and an honesty about her and doesn’t hesitate to break his rock star at times, inflated bubble. She doesn’t kow-tow to him the way so many people do. And she sees him for who he really is inside – not the outer ‘famous’ layer.

For his part, Bryan is also a well written character. For him, it’s not about his rock star status, it’s about the music. Music was his solace when he was a young and neglected child. He’s totally and completely smitten with Callie, and as I’ve said before, I love that in a hero.

The conflict between them is two-fold. First of all, Callie is a small town girl at heart and really doesn’t want to be a part of Bryan’s wild, hedonistic LA crowd. She has made quite a success for herself doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing myself – opening and successfully running a books store. The second conflict that comes into play is their different races. For Bryan, it’s a total non-issue. He sees only Callie for the warm wonderful ‘real’ person she is, not the colour of her skin. On the other hand for Callie, it was a different story. Before I started the book, I read at the back ‘about the author’ and how she herself is in an interracial marriage and has experienced many of the same issues Callie does in starting and maintaining a relationship with some one of a different race. It really helped when reading later in the book, all the issues Callie encountered from both races. Oddly enough, she seemed to almost get it worse from other black women.

At this point, I’d like to say I find it rather sad that there still is a barrier in real life between two people who love each other but come from different races from other people. To me, love is love and if two people feel that deep connection to each other – and if they make each other happy and better people, that’s all that counts.

Callie certainly makes Bryan a better person.

The love scenes were a tad purple in places, as if the author was a bit uncomfortable writing them, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this book at all.

I checked to see if the author had any other books I could read and was disappointed that she doesn’t. I think Tonya, Callie’s best friend and business partner would make a great heroine for her own book. She’s also a writer of suspense books in her spare time and there is a hilarious scene where she is doing research and has tied Callie up to see how easy it would be to escape when Bryan walks in on them.

Roslyn Holcomb does have a short story, on her web site though, somewhat like an epilogue and I read and enjoyed it. She also gets a bit into the relationship of Twist, a fellow band mate and Naysa, their sassy fashion designer.

Overall, this was a tender, raw, poignant story of two people fated to be together despite all the odds and all that might separate them. I hope she is planning on more books, because I will be reading them.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Once again my TBR challenge book proved to be a real winner!


Phyl said...

Roslyn mentioned her book recently at SBTB and I found it in the library and read it a few weeks ago. I agree with your review. I'd really like to see more from this author, too.

MaryKate said...

Huh. This story sounds quite like Tom and Sharon Curtis's The Golden Touch.

Nice review though, it sounds like a fun book.

Carolyn Jean said...

I'm so glad yo did this review, I was JUST thinking about this book! I totally need to get it back on my radar.

Katie(babs) said...

Isn't it great when people can open your mind to new possibilites?

little alys said...

Oh, now I want this book too. *sigh* Kj crack. ^_~
Love the review. ^_^

Keishon said...

*marking this one down*


Anonymous said...

I love expanding my horizons - thanks for the review! You're right, I don't hear about AA romance in general in the blogosphere, and I usually buy books I've read about online.

Kristie (J) said...

Phyl: Thank you! I checked out her web site but didn't see anything. Now I'll keep an eye out.

MK: I haven't read that one by the Curtis's. I'll have to see if I can find a copy as I've read and loved a number of their books.

CJ: I've had it on my shelf for a while now - I just need that kick from Keishon to take it down and read it. It is a good poignant read. I love poignant books.

Katie: yes it is - it is indeed! I love having my reading world opened more.

LA: *g* I love to spread the love

Keishon: *laughing* turn about is fair play since I read and loved The Color of Love 'cause of you. (and do you know how hard it is to type color without the U in it? Just doesn't seem right)

Ciaralira: I have a number of them now, I just need to read them - as with so many other books in the TBR pile *sigh*