Sunday, November 6, 2016

{Book Review} Blow by Heidi McLaughlin

Blow by Heidi McLaughlin
Published: November 9th, 2016 by Loveswept
Series: Virtuous Paradox #1
Source: From Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 224

Bodhi McKnight has always had everything handed to him on a silver platter: fame, success, money, girls. The raven-haired, blue-eyed hottie is the son of Hollywood A-listers, and when he’s asked to join the boy band Virtuous Paradox, his star shoots even higher. But so do expectations, leading Bodhi down a destructive path of addiction—until a drop-dead gorgeous guardian angel shows him her sizzling brand of tough love.

When Bodhi ends up in rehab, he doesn’t expect to meet someone as cool and down-to-earth as Kimberly Gordon. Although he’s enjoyed the company of beautiful, charming women before, none of them have tried to get to know the “real” Bodhi. But Kimberly isn’t fazed by his stardom. She’d rather go horseback riding, teach Bodhi to play guitar, or ask him about his feelings. Soon Bodhi realizes he’s fallen head over heels for her. He just hopes that he’s strong enough to protect what they have from all the pressures and temptations of the outside world.

I am really torn about how to even rate this book.  I had a hard time enjoying the first half of this book, but I really liked the second half.  It was almost split down the middle with aspects of this book that I didn’t like and ones that I really loved.  I have really been loving rock star romances lately and was hoping that would be the case with this book, but unfortunately, the first half of this book really affected my rating.

I really loved the idea of this story.  I thought it would be a twist on the typical rocker romance by adding in the rehab.  I was hoping that it would be emotional and inspiring, but that aspect of the plot was my least favorite.  I imagined that it would have been deep and inspirational, but it felt very superficial and surface level.  I also thought that it was a little too slowly paced because it was lacking the depth and character development that I was hoping for. 

However, I really loved the second part of the book.  This was probably because it took place outside of the rehab facility, was faster paced and the romance became deeper.  This second portion is where I felt like I really started to like the characters and see their relationship grow and strengthen.  I also enjoyed that the plot became more interesting.  However, it still lacked the depth that I was really hoping for.  

I am a little torn with how I felt about the characters.  I liked Bodhi, but never truly fell in love with him.  I felt like his character development was okay, but I never really seen him switch completely from an addict to someone who is struggling to be clean.  It felt like from the first page of the book to the last, he was still exactly the same.  I just wanted to see something more!  I really, really wanted more development in Kim’s character.  I did not dislike her, but I did not like her.  She was just kind of there. 

However, I LOVED the secondary characters.  The other members in Bodhi’s band…heck yes!  I really liked them and am very, VERY intrigued about their stories.  I just wanted to know more about them.  The set-up in this book for their stories was perfect.  I think this might be a case of were the first book was okay, but the next are amazing!  I am really hoping that the second book focuses on Natalie and Brayden because I think that I would LOVE their story. 

One major flaw in this book is the insta-love.  I could probably overlook everything, but that is one of my biggest pet peeves.  The rehab was 30 days, which in my opinion is not long enough to say you love the person.  And if I am not mistaken, I think Bodhi’s internal dialogue said he loved Kim way before that.  Their relationship almost seemed like it materialized out of thin air.  I felt like they didn’t know anything about each other before they were saying they loved one another.  It just did not feel genuine or heart-felt at all, which really hindered the story for me.  I started to warm up to their romance in the second half of the plot, but without the initial development of their relationship, it still was not enough.

So I do have to mention one specific instance that really, REALLY hindered me from liking this book.  It is slightly a spoiler, but it will only be this paragraph.  There is one instance where Bodhi and Kim have unprotected sex and Kim starts to freak out (rightfully so).  Bodhi gets all butt hurt when she tells him why she is upset.  He storms out, cries in his room and then threatens that he wanted to leave.  She just had unprotected sex with a cocaine addict who she barley knows!  She should be freaking out and Bodhi should not have held that against her.  Him more than anyone should know that your sexual inhibitions go out the window when you are high.  Heck, at the beginning of the book he lets his drug dealer move in and then does sexual stuff with her only because he wanted drugs.  It really annoyed me and I would have liked it much better if Bodhi would have comforted and reassured Kim, rather than her having to do so to him.

Overall, I had a hard time completely investing myself into this story because of the flaws.  I think this is a story that some readers might like, but now that I am delving deeper into romance books, I just expect more.  I really do want to read the next book if it focuses on one of the other members in the band.  I think I will try to pick something else by Heidi McLaughlin because I did enjoy the writing.


“How do you know when you’ve fallen for someone?  You tell them the most embarrassing stories about your life and you do it with no fear.”

Also check out some of McLaughlin’s other books below.

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