Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My Song for You by Stina Lindenblatt

In a poignant romance from the author of This One Moment (“Hot, intense, and filled with emotion.”—Rachel Harris), the rock stars of Pushing Limits have hit the big time. But fame gets tough when love presents a fork in the road.

At twenty-one, Jared Leigh had been prepared to give up the life of a touring musician to be a father after getting his girlfriend pregnant. When she told him that she’d gotten an abortion, Jared was devastated. Now at least he has the groupies to keep him company—until a blast from the past rocks his world.

Callie Talbert hasn’t seen her sister’s ex since high school. But after Callie bumps into Jared while she’s grocery shopping with four-year-old Logan, there’s a spark that wasn’t there before. Jared quickly realizes that her deaf “son” is the same age his own child would have been. When Jared demands to know more about Logan, Callie panics. There are things she just can’t tell him. Besides, Jared’s a bad-boy rocker, not a dependable father figure. He’ll move on to his next gig soon enough...right?

Trouble is, Jared refuses to be pushed away, and the more quality time he spends with Logan, the more he’s captivated by the woman Callie has become. When the truth is revealed, Jared only hopes that the three of them have what it takes to become a real family.

Add to Goodreads

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the second book in the Pushing Limits series and is Jared Leigh's book, the lead guitarist for the band Pushing Limits.

Jared sees his best friend and bandmate, Nolan, find his true love and Jared realizes how empty his own life has become. Groupies just aren't doing it for him, empty sex and empty heart, he has a sense of restlessness that he can’t seem to escape. On a break from touring, he's in the grocery store and runs into Callie, the little sister of an old lover, and her 4-year-old son. Callie had to give up her own dreams to take care of her nephew, Logan, after her sister and parents die in a car crash. Logan was certainly worth the sacrifice. He's her only family now and she's the only mother he remembers. When she runs into Jared, her life gets turned upside down when Jared realizes Logan is his son.

I truly enjoyed this story. Jared was a great character, written well and quite believable. I felt for him and his dilemma over realizing he's suddenly a father to a 4-year-old with a hearing disability. The deception that Callie's sister pulled on him hurts, but can he see she and Callie just wanted what was best for him and his son? Callie has loved Jared since she was 13, but can he see her as something other than Alexis's little sister? Will he pull Logan away from her? He's the only family she has left. I felt these two had great chemistry and real problems to work out, written well with real life issues that sucked me right into the story. Stina Lindenblatt and the Pushing Limits series is definitely up there in my favorites.

This is the second in the series, and I enjoyed book one, so was happy to be given the opportunity to review it.

I have to admit I am in two minds about this book. We can kind of guess the basics of the story from the blurb, and as the plot unfolds it made me feel quite conflicted. I have children; I can understand a degree of possessiveness, I can even understand that Callie may not have known the truth of what went on between Jared and her sister, but Jared gives no indication of being bad. Indeed, he is delicious – something Callie knows, even when keeping her big secret. Romances often develop with a big secret being withheld, but this is the ultimate elephant in the room! If I ignore that moral issue that has had me thinking about it for a long, long time, then this is a sweet and heartening love story. With the 'lost' rock star finding himself in a special woman who is bringing up her sister's son as her own, doing the best she can.

There are obviously a number of hints about who gets their happily ever after next, so Pushing Limits is set to continue.

3 Ethically & Morally Bankrupt Stars, and not on the rock star's part.

1) No doubt my tagline got your attention. 2) I'm going to be the annoying reviewer who can't let it go. 3) I read the book in its entirety, and while I can see why romance fans will go googly-eyed over it, I'm too ethical, too serious, too stick-up-my-bum to not vent. 4)I'll try to review it once I've let off the steam, because all those 4 & 5 stars are accurate from the 'romance' standpoint.

Hands down, I couldn't stomach the actions, behavior, and mentality of the 'heroine' in My Song for You, which makes enjoying a book impossible when you don't like one of the two narrators. I couldn't buy into the romance, as I wasn't on the bandwagon of singing Callie's praises.

Give her ten jobs, taking a double-major of courses, have her struggle, and remove all friends and family, have her be self-conscious about everything, but it doesn't erase what she's done when there was no logical reason for it to take place. The guilt – I kept thinking, how could anyone sleep at night after doing this?

Obviously the reader gets the gist of what the book entails from the blurb. Five years ago, Jared was told by his ex that she was pregnant, and a few days later she said she had an abortion... she didn't. I'm not a mother, and every mother will disagree with me – that is a woman's right to choose, UNLESS & UNTIL a child is born. Then the father has equal rights to the child they helped create.

If this book had been written in reverse, the uncle to the child would have been arrested by the true mother, and every female on the planet would have agreed. But since this is romance, we're just to overlook the morally and ethically bankrupt actions on the part of a pair of sisters.

I could have bought into the premise if Alexis and Callie had an actual 'reason' for withholding a father from the child. After the death of her entire family, Callie played the martyr instead of contacting the father. While the reader is to empathize with Callie (which I could), we're subjected to how 'giving,' 'sweet,' 'kind,' and 'pitiful' Callie is, when it's all a guise for manipulative, ILLEGAL behavior.

Why am I so angry? Because in reality, where this happens every day, where mothers use an agenda, use children as weapons, and withhold rights out of spite, the child is left feeling unwanted, as if half of the whole doesn't want them. But the real issue is when the truth comes out, how it wasn't that their father didn't love them, they didn't know the child existed, the child feels betrayed by the only person they ever trusted, creating a vicious cycle of behavior, where the child hates themselves.

Callie wasn't betraying Jared, having him miss out on 4 years of his son's life – she was betraying Logan. She was being selfish – not out of love for Logan, but possession.

Every time Logan brought up the fun things Ben did with his dad... that was Callie's fault, not Jared's. Logan had a dad, and Callie made sure Logan didn't have those experiences.

This behavior was exploited, and written away as romantic. Jared was not abusive. In fact, both sisters were in love with him. So why not tell him the truth so the child could have this amazing person as a dad? "It was just a hookup after we broke up." With the lame excuse, "Alexis felt you were too talented to be tied down to a kid... or Logan deserved more than having a father who was touring." That's not being selfless. Basically, Callie was saying, "Logan is better off with no dad, because I don't think you'd be a good one because you're a musician, but I'm going to lust after you like a groupie."

That's insulting to Jared.

Even if Jared toured a few months a year, at least Logan would have had a father every day of his life, grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousins. An entire family who loved him. Not just one singular person who was hiding to keep Logan as a possession.

If this excuse can fly for touring musicians, what about military personnel? Do they not deserve their child? Doesn't their child deserve their parent? Just because they may not be able to be there every single day?

Sorry, no matter how you slice it, it's gross. No matter how flowery, how romantic, how martyred and pitiful Callie was written, it tainted the story.

*end rant*

Now onto the review. I loved Jared, his entire family, Logan, the band, and the new puppy. What I didn't like is how empathetic Jared was, which made him look weak, a doormat, with no self-respect. Jared wasn't angry enough to fit true human emotions. The level of betrayal would take more than a kiss and a pout, and your friends telling you to stop being 'mean' to the woman who essentially stole your child (as I said, reverse it, and the male version of Callie would have been in prison).

Callie was angry that Jared was angry at her. Over and over again, when she should have felt guilty, the pitiful, "He only sees me as a little sister. He doesn't want me," would pop out, when I thought he should have seen her in prison, not his bed or heart. I wanted Callie to just once think, "My actions are hurting Jared and Logan. Why am I doing this?"

I get that this adds an extra layer of forbidden, maybe love-hate to the storyline, but the level of betrayal was never addressed. How could Jared, his family, and the bandmates ever trust Callie? It would take months, if not years, before that trust could be rebuilt.

I agreed that Callie should still be mother, a position she had no right to steal, for the sake of Logan. But any and all romance shown I couldn't buy, not so quickly, with no buildup or trust rebuilt. Callie made Logan feel as if he should be the one to be apologetic, and I don't understand that ethically bankrupt mentality.

However, I believe anyone who doesn't get stuck on the major plot point of the novel will find it decadently addictive and romantic.

Also Available in the Pushing Limits Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

For reviews & more info, check out our This One Moment post.

Born in Brighton, England, Stina Lindenblatt has lived in a number of countries, including England, the United States, Finland, and Canada. This would explain her mixed-up accent. While studying in university, she learned to play the electric bass and often dreamed of one day playing in a rock band. Alas, she ended up getting a master’s of science in exercise physiology instead and eventually went on to write stories about athletic heroes and rock stars.

In addition to writing fiction, she loves photography, especially the close-up variety, and currently lives in Calgary, Canada, with her husband and three kids.

Connect with Stina

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of My Song for You (Pushing Limits #2) by Stina Lindenblatt to read and review.

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