Monday, July 18, 2016

[ARC Review]: "Rock Wedding"

Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh
Publisher: TKA Distribution (July 19, 2016)
Series: Rock Kiss, 4
Genre: Contemporary Romance

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Rock Kiss series with a hot, sweet, emotional contemporary romance about love and forgiveness…

After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love...even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?



Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Reviews of Singh's Previous Novels:

Rock Hard (#2) -- Kame + Pat

Slave to Sensation (#1) -- TBQ
Vision of Heat (#2) -- TBQ


My Review:



Abe was living the rock star life – women, drugs, alcohol, partying, tantrums and attitude. The problem being he was this way while married to Sarah. After a particularly bad binge, when he took his anger out on Sarah – verbally, not once did he ever physically harm her – Sarah was done. She grabbed what she needed from the house and left, later serving him with divorce papers. She’s never quite gotten over Abe, nor Abe her, and when they reconnect for a one-time stand, they’re both aware that while the past is in the past, they can’t completely move forward without each other. The two must work things out along the way. Has Abe changed his ways, can he make up for all that he did before? Can he truly open up to Sarah this time rather than hiding away his troubles? More importantly, can Sarah trust that he won’t return to that hellish behavior, and drag her down again?


Rock Wedding was one of those books that just gave me all the feels before eventually leaving me with warm fuzzies and a sappy smile. I’d call this a very sweet romance. Which is NOT to say that there’s no spice to it; there’s a nice dose of heat, like all of Singh’s books. But despite the chemistry between Abe and Sarah, the focus of this book was really more on their relationship, their emotions – past and present – and their hope for a future together.


The sex, while great, was secondary, maybe even tertiary, to the story. But that doesn't mean I'm complaining about it! Nope. Not. At. All. From their first kiss -- post divorce, that is:



When Abe bent toward her, she tilted back her head, parting her lips. His heat branding her, his scent sinking into her, his lips touching hers...and ignition. Her entire body went up in flames, her pulse rocketing. Moaning in the back of her throat, she gripped at his T-shirt and rose on her tiptoes to deepen the kiss, the craving inside her a feral thing.

A rumbling sound in Abe's chest that vibrated against her hands, and then he was spinning her around and picking her up to put her on the counter. All without breaking the kiss. Pushing her thighs wide apart without apology, he settled in between and, stroking one hand up her back to grip her nape, used the other to shove up her dress so that his palm was on the bare skin of her thigh.



I’m not going to lie; the start of the book had me worried. It starts out with the fight that would lead to Sarah’s leaving (and their divorce). Abe was an ass to her, all but saying that he only married her because she was a great piece of ass and lovely arm candy. Yes, he was high at the time, yes he was grieving (more on that in a moment), and yes, he was also lying to himself about his feelings for her, but he was still an ass. But I loved that Sarah didn’t put up with it anymore and she left him. That was the best thing for both of them. Though Abe was horrible to Sarah during their first few years of marriage, I promise you that he not only owns up to it later, he also apologizes, changes his ways for good, and grovels/makes up for it in all the best ways. You may be mad at Abe in the beginning but I think you’ll find it hard to resist falling for him in the end!



He'd been so fucking stupid to let her go; she was the best thing that had ever happened to him. She'd loved him. Not Abe the rocker who was one quarter of a multiplatinum band, or Abe Bellamy the heir to a large family fortune. Just Abe. He'd been too drugged, too obsessed with drowning his grief to see the value of what he was destroying.



Abe’s drug addiction really stems from his grief over the death of his little sister. He turned to drugs and alcohol and typical rock star partying to numb and avoid the pain. He even admits later that he loved Sarah from the beginning, but back then was too afraid to really open up to her, and that fear combined with the drugs lead to asshole Abe. Until he got his act together, that is, thanks partly to his band mates for first hauling him off to rehab. But the fact that his recovery stuck was all on Abe (basic rule: if a person doesn’t want to change, no one can make them). Abe finally wanted to change, he wanted to get Sarah back, to get clean and stay clean. And he did. He started working with a counselor, he turned to healthy coping habits for when his demons stirred – exercise and healthy eating – as well as, eventually, opening up and talking to Sarah.


So, with all of that in mind, yeah, there’s a lot of feels throughout this book as Abe and Sarah confront the truth about their hideous first marriage and work through things in hopes of trying again. Forever this time. Spoiler alert: they succeed. J


Spoiler: Sarah got pregnant after their reunion hookup, and this adds more feels and conflict to the story. Sarah miscarried early in their (first) marriage, and during their divorce, she had a stillbirth with another man. She’s afraid that this pregnancy will also end, and it’s heartbreaking to see her dealing with all those emotions. But Sarah is strong, and this time Abe is with her fully, not just half-assing it between the partying. It’s heartwarming watching Abe be there for her.


Did I mention the constant feels in this book?!



It was such a horrible lie, Sarah hated being alone, had had too much of it in her life. But she'd learned to bear aloneness even when it hurt...and she had to protect herself from Abe. High, he'd brutally hurt her. Sober, he could destroy her.

Because love? The kind of love she'd had for Abe? It never really died.



I loved that Sarah had the strength to walk away from Abe originally; it was very much the wrong time for them then, both as individual characters and as a couple. Abe needed to come to terms with where his life was going and change his ways, and Sarah needed to take control of her life and not passively go through it, which is kind of what she was doing before leaving him. The second time around, they had both changed, but it was all for the best and those changes allowed them the chance to make it. As a second-chance romance, Rock Wedding is fantastic.



"That man you knew during most of our marriage?" he said, tugging away her hand and pressing it against his heart. "He wasn't Abe. Or he was a fucked-up version of me." The music had survived his addiction, but the drugs had damaged everything else. "But I was stone-cold sober the night I met you and I'm stone-cold sober now -- and no woman, no woman, does to me what you do. I fucking love you. Always have, always will."



I highlighted a lot of things, including a bunch of sweet moments and lines from Abe. There were also some fun interactions with Abe’s band mates, including a bachelor party that ended in matching daisy tattoos for all of them (yes, Abe was sober that night, but he still got dragged into their crazy).


I’ve really enjoyed this series – though I still need to go back and read one novella and book 3 – and I’m very much looking forward to a new book, loosely related to this series, that’s set to release in 2017. Singh is a must read author, and she has a bit of something for everyone (PNR, UF, and these contemporaries). If you’re looking for a feel-good, emotional, and truly sweet second-chance romance, look no further than Rock Wedding. You could even read this as a standalone without too much problem. 


4 1/2 STARS! 


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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

*Note: The quotes used belong to Nalini Singh; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.

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What was the last book that left you with warm fuzzies? Do you have a favorite second-chance romance? Or even a favorite Nalini book? Talk to me!

Remember, since this is a Royal Pick, come back on July 28th for a chance to WIN an ecopy of your own!



Enjoy!


Until Next Time,


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  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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