I am so excited to help introduce you to Chaos and the Mayhem series! If you haven't started it yet, don't wait! And, if you need some more convincing, check out my review and the excerpt below. Don't forget to enter the giveaway for copies of both Mayhem and Riot.
Chaos (Mayhem #3), by Jamie Shaw
Publish Date: July 21, 2015
Publisher: Avon Books
Format: e-ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4.5 STARS
(From Goodreads) From the moment she saw Shawn Scarlett perform at a school talent show, Kit Larson has loved two things: the guitar, and the gorgeous, green-eyed boy who inspired her to play. But one careless night in high school shatters her hope of ever being more than a notch on his bedpost.
Six years, two bands, and one mostly-mended heart later, Kit’s about to make her rock star dreams a reality as the new guitarist for Shawn’s band, The Last Ones to Know. He may not remember their reckless night together, but Kit has never forgotten… and she’s determined to make him eat his heart out.
The release of their new album means a month cooped up on a tour bus, sleeping inches away from the ridiculously sexy musician she’s never quite gotten over. And as Kit gets to know the real Shawn—not Shawn Scarlett, the rock god, the player—their attraction becomes too hot to resist. But the past is paved with secrets, and when they finally surface, Kit could lose everything: the band, the music, her dreams… and Shawn.
I love books that break the mold just a little bit, especially in the name of Girl Power. CHAOS is like that. I'm always happy when authors put girls in a non-traditional position that sets them up to surprise and delight their male counterparts. And, maybe even make them a little mad. That's especially fun.
Ever since she saw The Last Ones to Know, and especially lead guitarist Shawn Scarlett, play live, she knew she wanted to play like that - to be able to connect with the music on a personal level. Many lessons later, she runs into Shawn at a party, and is compelled to tell him how much his performance changed her life. That declaration resulted in a one-night stand - one of many for Shawn but unforgettable for Kit. Years later, the band is in need of a new rhythm guitarist, and Kit knows she's perfect for the job. But, it will mean having to spend long hours with the guy she's never gotten over.
After the prologue, which sets the stage for Kit's and Shawn's present-day feelings for one another, Chaos backs up the timeline a bit and overlaps with RIOT (Mayhem #2). It opens with Kit preparing for her audition with her twin brother Kale. She knows exactly what band she's trying out for and who is in it. She knows how hard it will be for her if she makes it, since her crush on Shawn never went away despite his casual discarding of her after their night together. But, this chick has some serious lady balls, and she's willing to try and put aside her emotions for the chance to really make a living doing what she loves the most. With the exception of Kale, her family isn't entirely supportive of her guitar playing, but she really wants this and will do whatever she has to to get it. I really loved and respected that about Kit. She walked into this situation knowing full well that it would be difficult for her, but wanting this shot to prove herself more.
Kit's audition was awesome. Female guitarists aren't the norm. Like I said - I love that Jamie Shaw used her to break the mold. The guys in the band are immediately suspicious of her ability, and Dee right away thinks she's a groupie. So, when Kit plays and blows them all away, it was a thing of beauty. Kit handled their preconceived notions with grace, which was another thing about her that I liked.
And then there's Shawn Scarlett. Let's face it - even his name is sexy. He was the last one to fully accept Kit into the band, but once he does, he's all in. Shawn is the intellectual one of the group. He loves to read and he writes the band's songs. And, he's all about the music and its integrity. Once he sees that Kit is the same way, he sees her as a sort of kindred spirit. A HOT kindred spirit. And, there's this connection between the two of them that goes beyond the music.
Kit's reactions to Shawn are a little volatile. She's still totally into him, but she's also still so upset and hurt over his rejection. Her present day interactions with him reflect her confusion. They are getting along great, making awesome music together, and then Shawn will say or do something that brings back all those hurts and emotions from when she was 15. All of a sudden, Kit is giving him the cold shoulder or being completely nasty to him. Shawn is confused, and rightfully so. This is the only problem I have with Kit. It would've been better for her to get it all out in the open, instead of playing games with Shawn's feelings. Especially after it comes to light that Shawn has developed feelings for her that go beyond those of friendship or band mates.
Of course, as you would expect, Kit does come clean eventually about her history with Shawn, and she does it in EPIC fashion. I loved Kit's relationship with her brother Kale. Kale has never been a fan of Shawn's, after he saw how upset his sister was six years earlier because of him. So, when things between Kit and Shawn fall apart, it's surprisingly Kale who becomes Shawn's champion. Kit actually has several other older brothers who are very protective of their baby sister, and the family dynamic among them is one of the best parts of this book. They love and accept each other unconditionally, and are very willing to admit when they are wrong - like when they see Kit play with the band and realize that she totally rocks.
In Chaos, I started seeing all these side characters that I wanted full stories for. Some of them we've met before - like Van from a different band - but in this book, they were fleshed out so much more. After Mike's story, of course, I'd love one for Van and one for Leti and one for each of Kit's brothers. Jamie did such an amazing job making these side characters come to life.
It takes me an hour to drive to Mayfield. An hour of drumming my fingers against my Jeep’s steering wheel and blasting the music so loud that I can’t hear myself think. My GPS interrupts the eardrum massacre to give me directions to a club called Mayhem, and I park in the side parking lot of a massive square of a building.
With my Jeep in a spot and my ignition turned off, I drum on my steering wheel a few more times before smacking the heel of my palm against my glove compartment. It pops open, a hairbrush spills out, and I use it to tame my wind-tangled locks.
Earlier this week, the name of Shawn’s band—The Last Ones to Know—popped up on one of my favorite bands’ websites. I blinked once, twice, and then pushed my nose toward the screen to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.
They were looking for a new rhythm guitarist. After doing a little digging, I found out that their old one, Cody, got kicked out of the band. The website didn’t say why, and I didn’t care. There was an opening, and everything in me told me to send an email to the email address listed at the bottom of the online flyer.
I typed the email in a daze—as if my guitar-loving fingers wanted to be in the band even more than my spaced-out brain did. I wrote that I had been in a band in college but that we broke up to go our separate ways, I sent a YouTube link to one of our songs, I asked for an audition, and I signed my name.
Less than half an hour later, I received a reply overflowing with exclamation points and an audition time, and I wasn’t sure if I should smile or cry. It was a chance to make all my dreams come true. But in order to do that, I’d have to face the dream that had already been crushed.
These past six years, I’ve tried not to think about it. I’ve tried to erase his face from my mind. But that day, with that email in front of me, it all came back in a rush.
Green eyes. Messy black hair. An intoxicating scent that seemed to linger on my skin for days, weeks.
I give my head a little shake to clear Shawn from my mind. Then I finish brushing my hair and take one last glance in my rearview mirror. Satisfied I don’t look nearly as messy as I feel, I hop onto the asphalt and haul my guitar case from the backseat.
Now or never.
After a deep breath of city air, I begin making my way around the concrete fortress casting shadow over the parking lot. Unforgiving rays of afternoon sunshine wrap themselves around my neck and send beads of sweat trickling between my shoulder blades. My combat boots hit the sidewalk step by heavy step, and I force them to keep lifting and falling, lifting and falling. It isn’t until I’m at a massive set of double doors that I finally stop long enough to let myself think.
I raise my hand. I lower it. I raise it again. I flex my fingers.
I take a deep breath.
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