NEW RELEASE!! Rock Rebel by Tara Leigh ~ Sarah A’s Review

He’s a rock star with a secret, she’s a pop princess with a painful past – can their forbidden romance survive, or will their lies destroy them both?

I’ve earned my bad reputation.

A few years ago, I was New York City’s hottest classical music prodigy. But I wanted something else, something more. So I chased my real dream, and now… I’m rock royalty. Dax Hughes, lead guitarist of Nothing but Trouble. But to my family and former Juilliard classmates, I’m an outcast. A misfit. A rebel.

They’re not entirely wrong. I don’t give a damn what other people think, and I’m all for breaking the rules… except when it comes to our new opening act, Verity Moore.

Rock gods don’t tour with pop princesses.

It’s not personal. Actually, under that fallen diva reputation, Verity’s incredibly talented. And her fiery redheaded personality is… intriguing. But I’m convinced the skeletons in Verity’s closet are as scandalous as my own, and when we’re not sparring, she has a way of drawing out all those secrets I’m determined to keep hidden.

Yeah. Verity Moore is definitely off-limits . . .

But since when do I give a damn about the rules?

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Rock Rebel is my first foray into the work of Tara Leigh, and I was pleasantly surprised.  I always read new to me authors with a healthy dose of skepticism, I’ve been burned too many times not to.  Tara Leigh showed a lot of promise with this book, and I quite enjoyed the ride she took me on in Dax and Verity’s story.  I especially appreciated the depth and timeliness of the #metoo storyline, and how the social climate we’re living in today played such an instrumental part of Verity’s growth.

Verity’s story was heartbreaking but all too real.  From her mother’s exploitative treatment of her to the things she was forced into while she was far too young to be making those kinds of decisions, her life had never been her own.  Seeing her take the reins and fight for the life and opportunities she wanted made me happy.  When she stood up to the people who’d done her wrong my heart burst for her.  Verity was a marvelous character, and I loved seeing her learn to love and trust herself, as well as take the steps she needed to protect herself and find justice for the things she’d endured in her past.

Dax had an idyllic life when juxtaposed with Verity’s, but in reality, he hadn’t had an easy road either, his struggles just looked a lot different.  He’d spent so much time ignoring the hurts he’d been dealt; I’m not sure he even realized how much they’d affected him.  When he finally pulled his head out of the sand and faced the problems he’d buried, it was almost as if a new Dax had arisen, one who wasn’t so cynical and aloof.

Dax and Verity were great partners.  From their electric physical connection to the way they each saw beneath the façade they’d constructed to show the world, it was easy to see why they needed to be together.  I especially loved the consideration they showed one another and the understanding they each displayed, the kind of understanding that can only come through having lived through similar pain.

I have a few wishes for this book.  First, I needed more clarity on the timeline between Dax and Verity.  By all indications in their interactions a few weeks would pass, but then we would check in on a secondary timeline that is very much established and set in stone and months would have passed.  It was jarring and took away from the experience for me.  Secondly, there were these random chunks of text that felt incongruous with the rest of the writing in the book.  It was as if someone else had written specific passages and they had been copy and pasted into the novel. Lastly, the climax resolution between Dax and Verity felt lacking to me. I would have loved to have seen them work through their problems on page rather than just jumping to everything being okay.

Rock Rebel is the third book in Tara Leigh’s Nothing but Trouble series.  These books are interconnected standalones and can be read independently.  I have not read the first two books in this series but had no trouble understanding what was going on in Rock Rebel.  There were enough innuendos into the relationships in the previous books to make me want to read the books, without giving away too much of their stories.  Rock Rebel is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Verity and Dax.

Tara Leigh is a multi-published author of steamy contemporary romance. A former banker on Wall Street, she graduated from Washington University and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, but she much prefers spending her days with fictional boyfriends than analyzing financial spreadsheets. Tara currently lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut with her husband, children, and fur-baby, Pixie. She is represented by Jessica Alvarez, of Bookends Literary Agency.

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