August 5, 2015

BLOG TOUR REVIEW, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Dare to Rock (Dare to Love #7)

Dare to Rock (Dare to Love #7), by Carly Phillips
Publish Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Avery Dare lives a quiet life in Miami as an online fashion/makeup video blogger. She has good friends, a close, large family and if her love life is lacking, she likes it that way. But when she receives an invitation to one of her ex's concerts along with an invitation to meet him back stage, she decides to take the risk… and comes face to face with the reality of his rock star lifestyle - the press, the crowds, and the half naked groupies.

At eighteen, Grey Kingston left everything he knew and loved behind to seek fame and fortune as a rock star, and he found it as the lead guitarist and singer for the band, Tangled Royal. Fans adore him, women throw themselves at him, and he can afford everything he couldn’t growing up. Yet at the height of his career, he’s ready to walk away and return home to a simpler life… and the woman he left behind, if he can convince her to give him another chance.

Except moving on isn’t as easy as Grey would like. When Avery is threatened by a stalker, it becomes evident Grey’s fans not only don’t want him to retire, they don’t want Avery in his life either. And Avery isn’t sure she wants the pressures that are part of Grey’s life… but she doesn’t want to lose him again, either. Can their recently renewed love survive the fallout? 

I admit to skipping a few books in this series. I was working my way through the Dare to Love series in audiobooks when I was presented with the opportunity to review an ARC of Dare to Rock, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. The awesome thing is, the fact that I skipped four books in the middle of the series didn't affect my enjoyment of this book, which is a testament to Carly Phillips' storytelling abilities. So, if you've skipped a few - or even all - of the Dare to Love books, never fear.

I've been on a second chance love kick now for awhile. Dare to Rock takes two of my favorite things - a second chance love story and a romance with a rocker - and marries them together. Avery and Grey were together when Grey was just in a garage band. When he had the chance to pick up and move to LA to make it big, he did it without much thought to Avery or her feelings. Ten years later, Grey is giving up the lifestyle and wants to pick up with Avery where they left off. But, convincing her to go along with that may be one of the hardest things he's ever done. 

Avery has gotten used to men letting her down and making her feel second best. Her father did it in spectacular fashion when she was only 8, and the effects of his actions are still far reaching. In every one of the Dare to Love books, I hate Robert Dare a little bit more for the damage he did to his children with his selfish ways. Cheating is a hard line for me, but Robert not only cheated on his wife and five kids, but he had a whole other family with his mistress. The knowledge of the other family devastated his children and made having relationships of their own much harder. Can you blame them? With a father figure like that, it's no wonder things like trust and unconditional love are hard concepts for them to master. 

Avery is no different. Although she managed to eventually fall in love, Grey left her too. All of Avery's relationships that came after him were shallow and pointless. Her job and her volunteer work with kids with cancer are what give her life meaning. She has a great relationship with all her siblings, even her half-siblings. But, she still wants to be loved and accepted by her father just like any other girl, and it still stings so much when he shows preferential treatment to his children by his mistress. It broke my heart.

Grey has always regretted leaving Avery the way he did, and now that he's had it with the groupies and the booze and drugs, he's decided to come back to Miami and win her back. I'll tell you one thing - I give Grey an A for effort. He never let up. Even when Avery rebuffed and refused him, he kept coming. Because he knew what he wanted. And, the best part was, he also knew he had screwed up. Majorly. Grey owned it, apologized, and set about trying to make it right and win her back. 

I love a determined man. I'm so glad that Dare to Rock was in dual POV, because otherwise I would've realized how insecure Grey was regarding his relationship with Avery. He has good looks, money and fame, but now that he's older, he's realized that all he really needs is her, and he's afraid he's screwed up too much to ever get her back. But, Grey doesn't give up on her, and that's what I love most about him. He knows he made a big mistake when he tossed Avery aside, and he comes back and he owns it. He tells her how sorry he is and he sets about making amends in any way he can - and all his actions made it impossible not to love him. 

Dare to Rock was relatively low on the drama and angst scale and pretty high on the heat. Avery and Grey had some wicked chemistry, and they acted on it frequently. With these things, coupled with the dual POV and the rock star vibe, Dare to Rock was a quick, awesome read for me. Now, all that's left to do is back up and read all the books in the middle that I've missed. 

Sweat poured off Grey Kingston’s body, and his heart beat a too-rapid rhythm, the high and adrenaline rush from his performance still pulsing through his veins as he walked into the lounge backstage. He pulled off his soaked shirt and tossed it onto the floor, grateful for the stocked room and waiting pile of towels. He grabbed one and dried his face and hair, deliberately trying to slow his breathing.

The sound of Tangled Royal fans stomping their feet and demanding an encore echoed through the walls, but the band had performed their final set. Even as his pulse still soared.

He glanced toward the door. “Did she pick up the ticket?” Grey asked Simon Colson, their manager, who was busy texting on his phone.

“What? Who?” Simon, ever the well-dressed Brit, shoved his phone into his trouser pocket. No jeans for him. “Good show,” he said to Grey and the rest of the band, ignoring Grey’s question.

Lola Corbin, their lead singer and Grey’s best friend, was still bouncing in her heels, not yet coming down from their shared high either. “We did rock it,” she said, tossing her dark hair over her shoulder.

Milo Davis, their bassist, grunted something and fell into a chair in the corner. Grey narrowed his gaze. Milo barely had the energy for a full concert these days, and that worried him.

But right now Grey had bigger concerns and turned to Simon. “I asked you if Avery Dare picked up the VIP tickets I told you to leave at the box office.”

Simon shrugged. “I couldn’t tell you.”

Grey scowled at his manager’s I don’t give a shit tone. More and more lately, Simon’s lack of consideration about what the band members wanted grated on Grey’s nerves. Lola might be considering using him for her solo career, but anything Grey did going forward wouldn’t be with the man.

At least he’d indicated he had left the tickets. He’d be out of a job if he screwed with Grey on this. “Fucking find out.”

“What’s so special about this piece of ass?” Simon barely got the words out because Grey grabbed him by his collared shirt and pinned him up against the wall.

“Talk about her like that again and you’re done.”

“Whoa.” Lola put her petite body between them, pushing Grey away from their manager. “Everyone breathe,” she muttered. “You. Go take a walk and calm down before your company shows up,” she ordered Grey.

He stormed off, missing whatever lecture she gave to Simon next.

Though the man had done his job well, helping maneuver Tangled Royal to the elusive top of the charts, he cared about the bottom line and not much else. Especially not the fact that Tangled Royal was more than a band, people with real feelings, issues, and lives. No wonder Simon didn’t believe how serious both Grey and Lola were about changing their futures.

Danny Bills, their drummer, already had a wife and two daughters who lived in L.A. He was ready for home time, and everyone knew it. Milo was another story. If he didn’t stop the drugs, he wouldn’t have a future.

As for Grey, he hoped for more than the travel and fame that had been so important to him way back when. He hoped for her.

His eyes flickered to the door. No sign of Avery. He tipped his head back, wondering if she’d come backstage or ignore the invitation … and him. His stomach gripped painfully at the thought of not seeing her again. She was the one person who not only understood the loner musician he’d been as a teen but who’d grounded him when he’d threatened to spiral. With her soft voice, that thick mane of dark hair, and those lavender-like eyes, she’d burrowed someplace deep inside him. Still, she hadn’t been enough to hold him, not when fame, fortune, and the need to be something more lived within him.

But it was Avery whose face he saw in the nameless women he’d fucked over the years. Avery whose belief in him kept him going when times were hard. Funny how that worked. He wondered if she’d thought of him over the years and if she was as hyped up about possibly seeing him again now.

After a successful fifteen year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers. She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She’s a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she’s a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers.


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