Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Blow by Heidi McLaughlin

Meet the complicated men behind the sexiest boy band in America! In Blow, the start of an emotionally charged series from bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin, an insatiable heartthrob gets blinded by the spotlight—and learns to fight for love.

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.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Bodhi is a member of the hit boy band Virtuous Paradox. He's living the superstar life and going nowhere good, fast. He's found himself addicted to cocaine and feels that no one cares if he gets sucked into the old rock star demise. After the band takes time off and Bodhi is deep in the depths of his partying ways and addiction, his manager and parents form an intervention. Bodhi ends up in rehab (cue Amy Whinehouse Rehab song...). In for 30 days, he finds his new caregiver another type of distraction/addiction. Kimberly is the rehab owner’s daughter. She's seen it all come and go, but she's liked Virtuous Paradox for years before Bodhi ends up in her rehab facility. She finds him even better than his star persona, but he's an addict and she should be treating him as such, not lusting after him.

The story was just a bit cliché and so-so for me. I found myself doing a bit of skimming here and there. They fall instantly in lust and even the idea of them being forbidden to be together on rehab grounds didn't put the thrill in it for me. I just found them a bit bland. Bodhi had some good dirty talk, but I didn't find myself invested in either character.

As a first book in the series, inevitably this has some world building to do – and that is generally handled well and within the context of the story. I felt we missed out on some of the band dynamics early on, but that is resolved later – although that is in part because we get Bodhi's viewpoint. It will be interesting to see how that changes as we get other band members' stories. I did really like the band name!

On the surface this is a good story, with all the elements that any romance reader would want. It is well written, and easy to read. But there are a few things which, for me, made it so unrealistic that it lost some of its shine. For a man who had sunk so low, to recover so quickly seemed unlikely – particularly with regards to his physique. That he would fall for someone so quickly works, but that she should not have any significant qualms, that seems strange. I also found some of his language not to be very sexy, which tore me out of the moment a couple of times. I have a feeling that anyone with experience of addiction or addicts may find this slightly glossy representation to be inaccurate, and possibly annoying. It is a difficult topic without a doubt, but maybe a slightly slower recovery would have been more realistic.

I am curious to see where the series goes next, and the change in topic would have me interested in reading more.

Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is hyper beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup, and a West Highland/mini schnauzer, Jill, and her brother, Racicot. When Heidi isn’t writing, you’ll find her sitting courtside during one of her daughter’s basketball games.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Blow (Virtuous Paradox #1) by Heidi McLaughlin to read and review.

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