Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ARC Review: RISE

Karina Bliss
Contemporary Romance
Rock Solid/Book 1
Self Published/January 28, 2015

Acclaimed literary biographer Elizabeth Winston writes about long-dead heroes.  So bad-boy rock icon Zander Freedman couldn't possibly tempt her to write his memoir. Except the man is a mass of fascinating contradictions – manipulative, honest, gifted, charismatic and morally ambiguous.  In short, everything she seeks in a biography subject. When in her life will she get another chance to work with a living legend?

Suddenly she’s having heated fantasies about her subject, fantasies this blue-eyed devil is only too willing to stoke. She thought self-control was in her DNA; after all, she grew up a minister’s daughter. 

She thought wrong.

Rock star Zander Freedman has been an outlier–many would say an outcast–for most of his life. But there’s no disaster he can’t overcome, from the breakup of his band to the inevitable damage to his reputation. His Resurrection Tour is shaping up to be his greatest triumph – if his golden voice holds out. 

Contracting a respected biographer is simply about creating more buzz. Elizabeth’s integrity is the key to consolidating his legacy as one of rock’s greats. All the damn woman has to do is write down what he tells her. Not force him to think. Or encourage the good guy struggling to get out.  And certainly not make him fall in love for the first time in his life.

It's been a few years since What the Librarian Did was released and when I first met Zander Freedman. He was an ass. A drunk, entitled, rude, immature ass.  Hero material he wasn't.  Or was he?  No way could I believe Zander could change.  Boy was I wrong!

Zander Freedman is determined to bring his band back on top, even if it means doing it with all new band mates. What he also needs is money to make it happen. In addition to touring, Zander has been writing his memoir but it's not going well. Then Elizabeth Winston comes into his life and Zander finds someone who doesn't cower under his angry glare. At the beginning, Zander had already started his transition from stereo-typical rock star indulging in excesses of parties, women and drugs to a more responsible businessman when he meets Elizabeth. I loved seeing how Zander continues to change under Elizabeth's influence, even though he'd probably deny it. He's stubborn like that.

Elizabeth Winston finds herself in a foreign world of opulence, excess and fame. It becomes a learning experience in not only what is real and what is fake but how she fits in to this very different reality. I adored Elizabeth for her intelligence, kindness and her faith. Watching how she reacted to Zander who was like a wild animal and completely out of her realm of experience, was a pleasure. The concert scenes, with Elizabeth experiencing the full impact of Zander on stage, were thrilling.

As Elizabeth becomes more integrated into Zander's world, Zander becomes more open to Elizabeth, allowing her to see him at his most vulnerable. It wasn't easy for him to do this and he didn't do it all at once, he fought it, which made it that much more believable. He also made some mistakes along the way which only made his rebirth more genuine.

I'm so very happy Ms. Bliss decided to give Zander a chance and paired him up with Elizabeth. There was a scene when Zander and Elizabeth were flying and Elizabeth is nervous (read terrified). Zander begins reading an aviation safety manual to Elizabeth, to take her mind off of her fears. It was one of those quiet moments, a small gesture showing what a big heart he has. Yes, Zander Freeman is a hero.

Rating: A

Rock Solid Series ~


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