Publication date: 02/19/2021
Kindle Unlimited: Yes
I often struggle with rock star romance. Sure, I've read some GREAT ones, but the sheer number of manwhores and jerkwads in the category is pretty off-putting to me, since I'm a grumpy old lady with very little tolerance for asshattery. (Slightly off topic: here's a "best of" booklist featuring rock stars who AREN'T manwhores and jerkwads, if you're interested. But I digress...) All that said, though, I'm pleased to report that Fractured Dreams was a fairly delightful, slightly angsty rock star romance with two main characters that I generally enjoyed. Here's the scoop:
Plot overview: Eden has a bad breakup with her boyfriend and goes to stay with her rock star brother to emotionally recuperate for a bit. There, she discovers her attraction to his friend and bandmate, Tex. Romance and sexy times ensue.
Trope bingo: rock star romance, age gap, forced proximity, new adult romance, best friend's little sister, slightly forbidden romance
So, I'll admit upfront that Eden's age makes this is a new adult romance, and new adult romance is not generally something I enjoy anymore. As I've said, I'm a grumpy old lady, and the angst that tends to go hand-in-hand with new adult romance usually just annoys me. But happily, in the case of THIS book, I was rarely irritated (more on the use of “rarely” below). I found the plot to be plausible, the obstacles the couple has to overcome realistic, and the banter between characters had a nice, natural flow to it. The characters and side characters were likeable. Overall, it's a charming read.
Eden is a great heroine (for a youngster). She was (mostly) a mature character. She knew what she wanted and she went after it. I liked that about her. And in the end, she didn’t immediately forgive Tex for his obligatory moments of dumbfuckery (because, hey, it wouldn't be new adult romance without a little dumbfuckery from the hero, now would it?). She made him grovel for forgiveness, and I REALLY liked that about her. All in all, Eden is a character that I rooted for.
Tex is kind of an old soul. Even though he's only 27, he read more like a 30-40 year old to me. His feelings about wanting to find that “spark” with someone had a very mid-life crisis-y feel to me. But, other than me thinking he was in his late 30s based on how he responded to events and people, I liked Tex. He was kind, loyal, and super sexy. I also appreciated that (despite the line in the blurb about him having lots of casual hookups in the past), his sexual escapades with groupies were not detailed in the book. I HATE reading about manwhores in rock star romance. I mean, I understand that groupies are part of the reality for rock stars, but do I really want to read about a hero who has dipped his wick in every willing woman he meets for decades? No, I do not. So, yes, Tex had probably been a manwhore at some point. But the fact that the author didn't make me read about it for chapter after chapter earned her points with me.
Sexy times were of the spicy variety. They were on par with, oh...say an LJ Shen read. (Note: I'm only talking about sexy times, here. I'm not saying the author's style is like LJ Shen's. Just giving you a heat level comparison.)
If I was to complain, (which, let's face it, I'm a complainer) I'd have to say that:
1. The book's a smidge long for my liking. I prefer my romance reads (particularly new adult romance) to be no more than 250 pages or so. This one clocks in at around 342. But that's just me. Lots of readers love longer books. *shrugs*
2. There were a couple of points in the book that I wanted to grab Tex and Eden by the shoulders, give them a hard shake, and yell, "JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS!!" But that's pretty typical for new adult romance, I think. I'm guessing that readers who are comfortable with the new adult category won't even know what I'm talking about and probably wouldn't ever want to shake the characters...so, I'm chalking this one up to "it's not you, it's me."
But, with those minor complaints out of the way, I stick by my assertion that this is a well-done, generally very delightful rock star romance that fans of the new adult genre will probably love. (And on a thoroughly shallow note, the cover model's a cutie, too.)
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
No rehab needed. This one's clean and sober.