August 12, 2015

REVIEW: Insider (Exodus End #1)

Insider (Exodus End #1), by Olivia Cunning
Publish Date: June 30, 2015 
Publisher: Vulpine Press
Format: e-ARC, provided by the publisher 
Genre: adult erotic romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble   

Rating: 3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Toni wants to be an insider.
Logan just wants inside her.

She’s finally ready to rock...
Toni Nichols set aside her dreams to raise her little sister, but now she's reaching for the stars as the creator of a revolutionary interactive biography about Exodus End. She’s on tour with the rock band to immerse herself in their world, but how will she ever gain the trust of four veteran superstars who've been burned by the media before? Nobody said this was going to be easy. Then again, good things can come in hard packages.

He's always ready to roll…
Adrenaline junkie Logan Schmidt lives for the rush of playing his bass guitar before thousands of screaming fans. When he's not performing onstage or in the bedroom, he's looking for his next thrill in extreme sports. So why does a sweet, innocent journalist get his heart pumping and capture his full attention? Is Toni the real deal or just digging up dirt on his band? Logan’s eager to rock Toni’s world and roll her in the sack, but when she starts to get too close to his heart, she takes her insider look to a place he may never be willing to go.

I was really excited to get into the Exodus End series. The Sinners On Tour series is the first one I ever read by Olivia Cunning, and this spin-off is sure to bring good things. It starts with the bassist, Logan Schmidt...

For the most part, I liked Logan. He is playful and fun. He loves women and any activity that gives him an adrenaline high and a thrill - motorcross, skydiving, bungee jumping - if it involves danger, Logan is in. Which, perhaps is why I was a bit perplexed as to why he was the one who was drawn to Toni, a woman who is about as far from dangerous as you can get. 

Toni works for her mother's publishing company, and this is her big chance to make something of herself. She's been hired to ride along with Exodus End to get the inside look at what it's like to be in a world-famous metal band, and then write an interactive digital book about them. Toni has been sheltered on her family's chicken farm her whole life. She's never dated, she wears turtlenecks and ankle-length skirts, and she has zero experience with danger. 

I think one of my biggest issues with Insider was that I just couldn't quite get to the place where I believed in Logan and Toni as a couple. They didn't have that spark for me. And they were just so unbelievably different. Don't get me wrong - I totally believe in the whole "opposites attract" thing. But, this was taking it to the extreme. Within an hour of being on the bus and in the company of the band, Logan had taken Toni's virginity. I just have a hard time believing that a woman who has held on to her v-card for 24 years would give it up so easily to a guy like Logan. 

I really enjoyed the dynamic in the band. There are obvious leaders and followers. Dare and Max definitely tend to take charge of situations and be the voices of reason. Steve and Logan are the goofballs that need reigned in when they get out of hand, which seems to be often. Reagan is the newbie, only with the band for a year while Max recuperates. I liked reading Toni's take on the concerts they played at, from the set-up and tear-down of the set to the promotional stops and marketing gigs they did in between. It really was a pretty cool insider look. 

And, what's even better is that we caught small glimpses of the secrets in each of the band members' lives throughout the course of the book. It's obvious that Dare, Max and Steve have all experienced things in their lives that, for better or worse, led them to be the people they are today in the place they are today. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for Logan and Toni as a couple, I'm still incredibly excited to get to the bottom of the other band members' stories. 

Reagan's story is next, and hers will be a real treat, because it will be the only one that is actually a continuation of a Sinners on Tour story. Regan is dating Trey Mills, guitarist for the Sinners, AND Ethan, one of her bodyguards. Their story came out in Double Time (Sinners on Tour #5), and it appears it's not done yet. 

Even though I couldn't get behind Logan and Toni, I did enjoy the drama and Toni's backstory. I loved that Insider was a dual POV, because Logan's headspace was a fun and interesting place to be, as he worked through his feelings for Toni and the place he wanted her to hold in his life. I'm excited for the rest of the series to get fleshed out, since I have a feeling the most compelling stories are still to come.   

1 comment:

Eva @ All Books Considered said...

OH I didn't know book 2 would be about Regan -- I will definitely pick that one up! The Sinners series is hit and miss for me -- I've read them all but I think I liked book 1 the most. I've seen mixed reviews of this new series so far but I'm sure I'll eventually read it. Great review!!