DDS REVIEW: Connections Series by Kim Karr

Friday, June 13, 2014 0:00
Posted in category Review

Mended-teasers-8Stevie’s Duckies Do Series review of
The Connections Series by Kim Karr
Contemporary New Adult Romance
published by InterMix/NAL

I’m always on the lookout for good rock star romances, but I increasingly get the impression that what I want from such stories isn’t necessarily what a lot of authors in the subgenre are writing. What interests me is how characters balance life on the road with sustaining a relationship – regardless of whether their partner is on tour with them, waiting patiently at home, or off having their own adventures elsewhere. On the other hand, many readers apparently just want to see those bad boys and girls tamed and settling down with the love of their life, if the popularity of stories like those in the Connections series is anything to go by.

Book CoverConnected, Book 1
07 May 13

Dahlia is about to get married to her boyfriend-since-childhood, investigative journalist Ben, when he is gunned down in an apparently random attack. After almost two years of grieving, she finally feels ready to pick up her career as a photographer again, when her friend Aerie asks her to interview rock star, River Wilde, the only man who ever tempted Dahlia to be unfaithful to Ben. Back then, they only kissed, but when they meet again the attraction is still there and they’re plunged into an intense relationship.

Meanwhile, in the background, various odd happenings are ringing more alarm bells for me than for the characters: the house Dahlia and Ben used to share is subject to break-ins; one of Ben’s old friends (now a security consultant) drops by at odd moments to check the alarm system at the house Dahlia and River now share; River recognises Ben from a photograph, but doesn’t tell Dahlia why, even though it concerns vital events in his family’s past; and both characters experience bouts of irrational jealousy that really bug me. Then, Dahlia gets attacked – apparently by the man who killed Ben – although her injuries are only minor, and the shock prompts the pair to organise a wedding for as soon as possible. Before we see them on the way to Vegas, though, we’re catapulted into a cliff-hanger by an epilogue that turns everything we’d been told throughout the story upside down.

Grade: C

Summary:

What if a “Once in a Lifetime” could happen twice?

In Dahlia London’s world, happily ever after is a far cry from reality. Her soul has been left completely shattered by tragedy. But a surprising reunion with someone from her past is about to give her a reason to love again…

When rock star River Wilde comes back into Dahlia’s life, their super-charged connection runs deeper than either of them ever expected. The more time they spend together, the more intense their relationship becomes, and Dahlia believes at last she has found her soul mate.

But as old bonds fade and Dahlia’s grief begins to lift, her guilt and confusion remain. River desperately wants to be the one who mends what’s been broken—but with a past that refuses to stay buried, is it possible for their future to begin?

No excerpt available.

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Book CoverTorn, Book 2
01 Oct 13

Dahlia and River are about to head out to their wedding in Las Vegas, when a call from Ben’s mother – still a very good friend – stops Dahlia in her tracks. Reeling from the news that her life since what she thought had happened to Ben has been founded on a lie, Dahlia struggles to work out whether her love for River is as strong and unique as she’d assumed – not helped by her suspicions that Ellie, the band’s record label contact for their upcoming tour, is trying to steal River away from her. Of course both these issues could have been sorted out quite simply if River just explained to Dahlia how his family knew Ben before, especially as Dahlia already had some suspicions that Ben had strayed from her at least once.

I think the extreme jealousy exhibited by various main characters is what bugs me most about this book, although I find the explanation regarding what really happened with Ben rather stretches my belief too. However, my other big issue with the book is the eventual solution to River and Dahlia’s problems, in that it fails to satisfy my demands of a rock star story as explained in the intro to this review. But maybe that’s just me.

Grade: C

Summary:

Rock star River Wilde brought Dahlia London back from the brink of hopelessness with his unwavering love and devotion. But their entwined history is about to test the strength of that love…

Dahlia was certain she had found true love and met her ‘Once in a Lifetime’ when she reconnected with River. But Dahlia’s world comes crashing down when someone from her past resurfaces, and all of River’s carefully hidden secrets are exposed.

River wants to show Dahlia that life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass—it’s about dancing in the rain! But how many times can one broken heart be mended? Will River and Dahlia be able to face the turmoil together or will they be torn apart?

Read an excerpt.

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Book CoverDazed, Book 2.5
01 Apr 14

Jagger, River’s cousin who has spent most of his life in New York and Paris, relocates to the West Coast for a starring role in a film about the band that made Aerie’s beloved uncle famous. The two meet and hook up before she knows that he’s hoping to play her uncle and when she finds out, suspicions form that he’s only interested in her because of who her uncle was – just like the boy who broke her heart as a teenager. Aerie’s misapprehensions seem to be confirmed when a love interest is added to the film – to be played by a woman Jagger nearly proposed to. Jagger has hung onto the ring he’d planned to give his ex, and that makes Aerie angry, whereas I assume he was simply keeping it safe until he had a chance to either sell it for a sensible price or have the stones reset if he finds someone that wants them. Personally I dislike the trope in romance novels where characters throw away items of value just because they are associated with an ex. Give the thing to a charity if you can’t bear to keep the money from selling it for yourself.

Some of the details about Aerie’s uncle bug me as well: I just couldn’t buy the reason why he kept the real-life equivalent of the film’s love interest secret and was totally expecting him to turn out to have been gay all along (he certainly pinged my gaydar all over the place) and thus set up a great plotline for the novel about truth vs which story would sell better. Sadly for me, when Aerie meets the supposed love of her uncle’s life, the woman in question confirms that it was all true, and this makes Aerie realise that she has to follow her heart and not let old fears keep her from happiness in the present.

Grade: C

Summary:

In this dramatic new novella from the New York Times bestselling author of Torn and Connected, two people discover that even the truest love has ups and downs…

Jagger Kennedy never went looking for fame, he just fell into it. After scoring a major modeling contract, his clean-cut good looks and charm catapulted his career. But when his actress girlfriend breaks his heart, he moves to L.A. to try his hand at acting. He needs to make a change, and the last thing he’s looking for is love…

Aerie Daniels is a woman in control … until she meets Jagger. Her surprising connection with him leaves her stunned, and it’s unlike anything she’s ever felt. But just when she lets her walls fall, she makes a startling discovery about him that breaks her fragile heart into a million pieces.

To keep from losing the one woman he can’t bear to be without, Jagger is willing to give up anything—including his career. But even that might not be enough to regain Aerie’s shattered trust…

Read an excerpt.

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Book CoverMended, Book 3
03 Jun 14

Xander, River’s brother, and the manager of River’s old band, has always blamed himself for the suicide of their rock star father. That event took place immediately before he and his high school sweetheart Ivy – who was also the singer in their first band – were due to spend the summer together. Instead they broke up, and Ivy went on to make one album before putting her career on hold for the sake of her manager, Damon – the man whose name Xander and River’s father muttered before he died.

Damon is abusive to Ivy, and when Xander finds out he defends her, but she has already decided to break up with Damon. While her contract stops her from making a new solo album without Damon’s involvement, it doesn’t appear to prevent her from stepping in when the singer who replaced River in the band falls ill, jeopardising the next leg of their tour.

Damon keeps on scheming, however, and finds various ways – by blackmail as well as through contractual loopholes – of preventing Ivy and Xander from getting together. While I do enjoy watching the machinations and counter offensives, I’m disappointed that the reason for Xander and Ivy’s original break-up all hinged on a Big Misunderstanding. As with the previous book in this series, there is at least one background character who massively pinges my gaydar before turning out to be disappointingly straight.

Grade: C

Summary:

Music has the power to heal, but not all broken hearts can be mended.

Always in control, Xander Wilde considered life on the road to be a perfect fit for him. But when disaster strikes on the band’s latest tour, fate intervenes…and a newly single Ivy Taylor, the only girl he has ever loved, steps back into his life.

After moving past her painful breakup with Xander years ago, Ivy was poised to become the next big name in music… when suddenly she withdrew from the limelight—the same day she announced her engagement to her controlling agent, Damon Wolf.

Xander knows he should keep his distance. But once they’re on the road, he can’t resist pursuing her for a second chance. Yet a jealous Damon can’t let her go—and he’s keeping dangerous secrets that could destroy them all.

When the three of them come together, everything falls apart. But if Xander and Ivy can hold tight to the bond that connects them, they just might have a chance to reclaim the powerful love they thought they had lost forever…

Read an excerpt.

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Stevies CatOverall, this is a well-written series, if founded on a slightly implausible base at times, but really isn’t one I’d want to keep reading (mainly for reasons that are very specific to me). Other readers would probably disagree and might also enjoy the sex scenes, which I find to be a bit much at times and not really my brand of vanilla.

Overall Grade: C

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