A young man from the Midwest finds fame, love, and an unexpected encounter with a peacock-worshipping cult in this exhilarating m/m rock star romance. Keep reading to get a tempting taste of A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love by Arden Powell, along with my impressions of it, then add it to your bookshelf. In honor of this exhilarating romance, leave a comment below telling me who your favorite rock band is for the chance to win a $20 Amazon GC!
What he wanted was a music career. What he needed was love.
When Kris Golding leaves his dusty Kansas hometown for a fresh start in New York, he thinks an apartment and a job are waiting for him. But when he finds neither, rather than admit defeat, he takes his chances busking—and meets Rayne Bakshi of international rock band The Chokecherries. Rayne needs a new guitarist, and gives Kris his first break since leaving home.
Rayne wears makeup and glitter and thinks nothing of kissing Kris in front of twenty thousand screaming fans for the attention. Instantly infatuated, Kris begins to question whether he might have a crush on Rayne—could he be bisexual? But since Kris originally claimed to be straight, Rayne’s wary of getting involved offstage.
As their tour gains momentum, Kris’s sexuality becomes the least of his troubles. Between his conservative brother hell-bent on “rescuing” him from his life of debauchery, a peacock that may or may not be the avatar of a cult god, and a publicity stunt that threatens to upend the band, Kris is definitely not in Kansas anymore.
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MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
At it’s core this is a simple story of a young man from the Midwest who finds sudden fame and unexpected love when he becomes the new guitarist for glam rock band, The Chokecherries. It’s a journey of fulfilling dreams and finding oneself that pulled me along in a wake of bright lights, addictive adulation, and non-stop sensuality. Along the way were a few frustrating distractions involving a peacock-worshipping cult, a judgmental brother, and a fake relationship that unleashes real feelings. It all makes for an exhilarating thrill ride that gives readers a vivid depiction of the rock star world that will leave you cheering.
Kris Golding grew up in the Midwest, feeling restless and longing for more. One day he decides to take a chance and move in with a cousin in New York, but things don’t go as planned as he ends up homeless on a park bench. Fate smiles down on him though in the form of rock star Rayne Bakshi who presents him with the chance of a lifetime. Kris soon finds himself on a tour bus with an eclectic group of bandmates that quickly become like family. Before long Kris has left his Midwest roots behind, embraced the glam look, and become a star. It’s a change that empowers him to experience more in life, as well as finally embracing his bisexuality. It’s a whirlwind journey, one he embraces wholeheartedly, sometimes with wide eyes, but never with judgment. Kris is a likable young man with a kind heart. He’s full of uncertainty when it comes to matters of the heart, but he leaves himself open to all the possibilities. Kris represents us, learning the ropes of being a rock star, while fumbling when it comes to love, and his bumpy journey endeared him to me all the more.
Throughout Kris’s journey he has the sexy Rayne by his side, introducing him to a whole new world, protecting him every step of the way. It’s a relationship that started out as friends but quickly became more as their sensual antics on stage soon moved backstage. Rayne’s an exotic character, teeming with sensuality, with a commanding presence wherever he goes. He was drawn to Kris from the moment he saw him buskering in the park and from there he took him under his wing. Fleeting touches, deep kisses, a bit of dirty dancing, and a drunken admission soon has Rayne feeling leery as his previous relationship with a straight man has left him bruised and questioning this new intense connection. Just as things seemed to be heating up between them though, their record label proposes Rayne have a fake relationship with another singer who was recently outed which complicates things even further. Rayne’s larger than life, prowling across the stage like an animal, and when offstage he’s just as drool-worthy. I was enamored with him wholeheartedly and could understand why Kris was drawn to him and ready to admit the truth in hopes of keeping him close. He’s loyal, giving, and unconditionally cares for the group who’s more like family to him and I quickly became invested in his HEA.
On a whole this was a thoroughly entertaining story that easily pulled me in. The rock star life was vividly depicted, with all the sex and drugs readers have come to expect. The romance between Kris and Rayne is a very slow burn, almost frustratingly so, but it still kept me rooting for them. Despite a silly misunderstanding and Kris’s uncertainties, it was still a satisfying journey to HEA. The other members of The Chokecherries were an equally entertaining bunch, supportive of one another while never judging their sexual antics. Make-up artist and trans burlesque club owner Angel was especially intriguing as she was often the voice of reason while showing a protective side to those who seemed lost. Together they made for a formidable family of their own choosing. So much about this book appealed to me, but there were a few hiccups along the way. The introduction of a cult at the midway point of the story was jarring and made me think I’d hit a wrong button on my tablet. It was over-the-top and took the story in a silly direction that marred the sexy rock star vibe that had been built. The other frustration revolved around Kris’s brother Brad and his crazed attempts to get Kris to leave his new lifestyle behind. It was melodramatic, and after reaching a fevered pitch, it was casually wrapped up. Without these two storylines I would’ve rated this book even higher as the author depicted the rock star world in a realistic and addictive light. Kris and Rayne were an immensely appealing couple whose slow burn journey to HEA kept me furiously turning the pages and has left me breathlessly waiting for what this author puts out next.
My rating for this is a B-/C+
*I got this book from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Arden graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with an Honours degree in English literature and the realization that essay writing is just another form of making up stories. They also came away with an overriding and all-abiding love of semicolons, to the general dismay of their editors.
Arden lives in Ontario with a dog, a fellow human, and an unnecessary number of houseplants.
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