June 29, 2015

NEW ADULT MONDAYS: Riot (Mayhem #2)

The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

Riot (Mayhem #2), by Jamie Shaw
Published March 17, 2015
Publisher: Avon
Format: paperback, purchased
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) When Dee Dawson meets sexy mohawked guitarist Joel Gibbon, she knows it won’t be long before she has him wrapped around her finger. No guy has ever been able to resist her… but Dee’s met her match in a player like Joel.

Dee’s not the relationship type—not after seeing the pain “love” has caused her friends and family—yet she’s desperate to make Joel want her more than anyone else. He quickly becomes an obsession, and when a reckless attempt to make him jealous ends in disaster, Dee turns into the damsel in distress she never wanted to be. With her carefree world crashing down around her, the last thing she needs is Joel’s pity.

But Joel is suddenly determined to prove he cares, and no matter how hard Dee tries to push him away, he refuses to let her shut him out. Now the girl who swore she’d never say those three little words must choose between guarding her heart and losing Joel forever… or falling head-over-heels for the tattooed rock star of her dreams.

My goal is to make sure that you, dear reader, are not the last one to know about The Last Ones to Know. After Riot, the second book in Jamie Shaw's Mayhem series, I'm completely in love with all the members of this rock band. In Riot, all of their personalities come shining through - Adam with his commanding presence, Shawn with his intellectual focus, Mike with his sweetness and control, and Joel with his jokes and manwhore ways. And then, there are the women in their lives...

Dee watched her mother cheat on and subsequently destroy her father. It was then that she decided that things like love and commitment and relationships were not for her. Her recent years have been filled with one-night stands and casual hook-ups. Until Joel Gibbon, bass player for The Last Ones to Know, got in her bed and in her head. All of a sudden, she cares what he thinks of her. She hates the groupies that he leaves with after every show. And she wants him to notice her. That makes her so mad and makes her do things that she comes to regret. 

Okay. So... Joel. He's the blond, mohawked bass player. He's goofy and playful and a complete and total player. He loves the women and the rock star life. When he first hooked up with Dee, she was just another hot chick. And then she kept showing up, being that she is BFFs with his lead singer's girlfriend. And, they kept hooking up, until one night when Dee needs his help and it changed everything. For both of them.

Dee was hard to love sometimes. She seems to have a good friend in Rowan. And, I can't imagine what it was like to learn about the things her mother had done and to see the effect it had on her father. I absolutely don't judge her for the number of guys she was with. Slut shaming isn't my thing. But, I definitely didn't agree with all the choices she made. She hurt a lot of people in her quest to remain detached and commitment-free, including herself, and it made me frustrated and mad. I wanted to smack Rowen in Mayhem (Mayhem #1) for not spilling the Peach secret to Adam right away. That was nothing compared to what I wanted to do to Dee at times.

It was clear to everyone that Dee cared about Joel. They spent a lot of time together after the night when things changed between them. They did fun things. They had fun together. And not THAT kind of fun. Stuff like going to concerts and having birthday parties and doing holiday family dinners. You can't not go through all that together and not develop attachments. On both Dee's and Joel's parts, this was not entirely welcome. It was hard for them to accept something that neither of them thought they wanted to begin with. 

And they both handled their realization that everything had changed for them very differently. Joel, being the easy-going guy that he is pretty much took it in stride. Dee, who still harbored so much bitterness toward her mother and her treatment of her marriage to Dee's father, dug in her heels and swore that, no matter how she felt or how Joel thought he felt, nothing had changed for her. Love and commitment and relationships were still a sham. And Dee wanted no part of them. 

I admired Joel so much. In my opinion, his childhood and his relationship with his own mother was far worse than anything Dee had endured. And yet, Joel managed to rise above it all. He discovered things that made him happy - the band, women, drawing - and engaged in them as frequently as possible. When those things changed, he went with it. Joel was always interested in his happiness, and that is how it should be.  

As with mayhem, Riot was told almost entirely from Dee's POV. Only the last chapter was from Joel's. I kind of love this strategy. There's no flip-flopping between the two, which can be jarring at times. Instead, we stay in Dee's head the whole way through the story, and the last chapter, which is essentially an epilogue, gives us a taste of what was going on on Joel's head. That tiny bit from him is just enough to both satisfy me and leave me wanting more. 

There are clues dropped at different places in the book that tell us what the next book in the series, Chaos (Mayhem #3) will be about. That book belongs to lead guitarist Shawn. At the time I'm writing this review, I've already read Chaos, and I can tell you that it's awesome. Shawn is my new favorite band member - I can't wait for you to get to know him better.

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