Body Rocks, by A.M. Arthur
Series: Off Beat, Book One
Publisher: SMP Swerve
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Everything is finally falling into place for Trey Cooper: his band has been accepted into one of the biggest music competitions in the country…too bad their drummer just quit to play with XYZ, their biggest rival. When Trey has a mind-blowingly hot hookup with a mysterious violinist, Trey definitely plans to see him again – just not on stage as a member XYZ.
Dominic Bounds’ time to make his musical dreams come true is running out. If something doesn’t happen fast, he has to head home to find a real job. This competition is his last chance, and Dom needs to come out on top – but he never expected to fall for his rival. As Dom and Trey risk everything to begin a secret affair, there’s no denying their chemistry is off the charts – but could their band rivalry turn their romance into a one-hit wonder?
In the Closet
Includes non-graphic content involving:
This book packed a punch. I don’t just mean emotionally, although there’s that too. I mean there was a lot going on, and I mean a lot. And yet, the author somehow managed to piece it all together and weave us another great NA story, the first in her Off Beat series.
One of my favorite things about this book was how naturally diverse the characters were. Hot half-Filipino/half-Italian main character? Check. With black adoptive parents? Double check. Latina sister with a heartbreaking story of her own? Okay! Another sassy sister with autism? Yes please. Okay, fine, at one point I did wonder if the author had a diversity cheat-sheet she was ticking her way through, but so what if she did? I wish more books had characters like the Bounds family – loving and colorful in every way.
The book was well written and the storyline well executed. Somehow, in the midst of talent competitions, band rivalries, losing one’s virginity, secret relationships, coming out publicly and dealing with some really heavy trauma (plural), the author succeeded in giving Dom and Coop a really sweet, really hot romance. And she did it with relatively minimal angst and a whole lot of love.
I thought the dual POVs for Dom and Coop worked out really well. The two MCs were not cut from the same cloth so there was no confusion as to whose head I was residing in at any given time. I thought their chemistry on stage and off was off the charts, and I totally felt their connection from the very beginning. I should add that I’m usually put off by the secret relationship trope (because I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop in the worst possible way), but I didn’t stress too much about it this time because I could totally see the light at the end of their tunnel.
Surprisingly, I also really enjoyed the band competition storyline. I was a bit worried the talent show setting would increase the cheese factor, but it actually had a chill summer camp/music festival type vibe, rather than the overproduced glorified TV game show I was picturing in my head. I thought the musical and performance aspects were really well done, and I loved that Dom’s band specialized in doing indie rock covers of pop songs (something I’m a total sucker for). Speaking of the bands, the book contained some fascinating side characters and I’m personally looking forward to reading Lincoln’s story when it comes out next.
If I were to nitpick, the only thing that I didn’t like about the book was the cover. Nothing against buff bods with popped up veins, but the cover art just didn’t match the image I had of early-twenty-something musicians who spend their days hunched over their instruments perfecting that Rihanna cover rather than getting swole at the gym.
Having said all that… Here’s a word of warning: If you’re triggered by anything listed in the Tropes and Tags section above, then this book is not for you, period.
I don’t claim to know how best to tackle sensitive subject matters, for NA or otherwise, but for what it’s worth, I think the author was very conscientious when dealing with some heavy issues that prove to be a major part of the story. The impression I’m left with in the end, I hope quite rightfully, is that the good things in life can help you overcome the bad, and that love always wins.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.