Yes, you read right. After nearly a year being book-free, book club is back. I stopped reading simply because, due to my university workload, I had less and less time to myself when I wasn’t working, and I just fell out of the habit.
I have been wanting to branch out into more adult romance for a while, and this is a very graphic, very sexy read. The majority of what I read is YA paranormal romance, and even though I enjoy the genre, sometimes things can get a bit samey and I just want something a bit different. Too much of a good thing and all that.
I came across Backstage Pass after Books With Court mentioned it on YouTube and immediately thought it sounded interesting, I mean music, romance and rock-stars?! Hello! 🙂 Not realising – as I bought it on my Kindle – that it was an erotic romance until I actually started reading it!
When a chance meeting see’s human sexuality professor Myrna Evans stumble across her favourite rock band, Sinners, in the bar of the hotel where she happens to be giving a conference, she can’t help but go and introduce herself. True to their metal-god reputations every member of the band turn up the heat in a bid to win her attention, but it’s their fast-fingered guitarist Brian ‘Master’ Sinclair that sets her pulse racing. As a whirlwind of passion unfolds Myrna finds herself going on tour with the Sinners, and the lovers’ wild and steamy antics uncover some unexpected emotions which “sparks the whole band to new heights of glory…and sin.”
From the moment I picked this book up I was hooked, so much so that I finished it in just under 4 days. It’s a fast-paced ride of music-laced debauchery within a solid story, using realistic characters who each carry their own emotional baggage and complexities. The characterisation in this book is brilliant, Cunning really breathes life into each character making them well-rounded with interesting back-stories, each novel in the series focusing on a different member of the band.
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and she said that the thing she dislikes in books like these, is that the women start off independent and ‘their own woman’ and by the end are completely submissive and reliant on the male character. I’m pleased to say that this isn’t one of those books. From the minute Myrna goes over to Sinners’ table in the hotel bar, she’s confident and undoubtedly sassy. You can see this even more as she engages with the band, for example, when one of the guys is running his hand up her leg, and she tells him he does not have permission to touch her as she removes his hand. This is a woman who can hold her own, but she also has a whole host of emotional issues that are glimpsed at throughout, from an abusive ex-husband to fear of getting too close to anyone.
Throughout the book Myrna is in conflict, outwardly she doesn’t want to get too close to Brian and constantly insists that they’re “just having a good time”, but inwardly her thoughts show her slowly becoming attached to him, as much as she tries to convince herself she isn’t.
In contrast Brian is much more of a heart-on-his-sleeve character. When we first meet him he’s paralytic to the point of barely being able to hold his own head up, trying to numb the pain of a previous break-up, he’s so out of it that even he can’t believe Myrna’s interest in him. He’s very open with Myrna about his feelings from the beginning – to the point of casually suggesting that they should get married on more than one occasion – but because she appears so closed off he becomes afraid that he’ll push her away. His band-mates also warn her that Brian is a “romantic retard” and make her promise not to hurt him, but he’s in no way a wet blanket, he’s still very much a masculine character depicted with effortless sex appeal and raw sensuality oozing from every pore.
Brian does become frustrated with Myrna’s flippant attitude at points, but he persists and gently coaxes her into getting to know him, opening herself up to the idea of something developing between them, earning her trust and showing her bit-by-bit that it’s okay to do so.
I liked the fact that it’s not one of those books where you turn the page and they’re in love, it’s more adult in its realism. It was really great to see Myrna slowly – and almost unbeknownst to her – fall in love with Brian, it shows that falling in love takes time and letting someone love you isn’t always easy; everyone has their demons and sometimes they inform our actions.
I also really liked Myrna’s character, I thought it was very refreshing to see someone with a bit of sass for a change; someone who knows her own mind and isn’t meek, demure or needy at all.
The way the book is written does a fantastic job of enabling the reader to really get to know the characters and their motivation, from the way they act outwardly to what is really going on inside their head. Switching between both Myrna and Brian’s perspectives helps readers to understand both characters rather than the story-telling being one-sided.
You also get little glimpses into the behaviour and emotional issues of the other band members, for example the hedonistic brutality of lead-singer Sedric ‘Sed’ Lionheart and the reason for his actions, which work to pique your interest and wonder ‘what’s going on there?’. To that end, I’m glad that each book delves into the lives of the different band members in more detail, although initially I was a bit disappointed because I love Myrna and Brian’s story and I just wanted to read more about them! But by the end of the book, Cunning wraps everything up in such a way that there’s not many other places for this particular story to go.
All in all I really enjoyed this book, I loved the realism of the plot and the fact that it wasn’t dressed up with gimmicks or anything. I also really enjoyed the characters and how they interacted with eachother, their relationships and the different dynamics there of.
It’s hypnotic, sexy and captivating, with enough plot twists to keep you entertained. Love, Sex and Rock ‘N’ Roll…indeed.