| |

a Pandora’s Box: Karina Bliss’s Rise

Acclaimed literary biographer Elizabeth Winston writes about long-dead heroes. So bad-boy rock icon Zander Freedman couldn’t possibly tempt her to write his memoir. Except the man is a mass of fascinating contradictions–manipulative, honest, gifted, charismatic and morally ambiguous. In short, everything she seeks in a biography subject. When in her life will she get another chance to work with a living legend? But saying yes to one temptation soon leads to another. Suddenly she’s having heated fantasies about her subject, fantasies this blue-eyed devil is only too willing to stoke. She thought self-control was in her DNA; after all, she grew up a minister’s daughter. She thought wrong. 

Rock star Zander Freedman has been an outlier–many would say an outcast–for most of his life. But there’s no disaster he can’t overcome, from the breakup of his band to the inevitable damage to his reputation. His Resurrection Tour is shaping up to be his greatest triumph–if his golden voice holds out. Contracting a respected biographer is simply about creating more buzz. Elizabeth’s integrity is the key to consolidating his legacy as one of rock’s greats. All the damn woman has to do is write down what he tells her. Not force him to think. Or encourage the good guy struggling to get out. And certainly not make him fall in love for the first time in his life. Turns out he is scared of something: being known. 

(from the book’s Amazon page)

Dabney: I, like many, were excited to see a new book by Karina Bliss. And, is it just me or are there a lot of kick ass romance writers in New Zealand? Bliss, Nalini Sing, Jackie Ashenden… Anyway, I love Bliss’s What the Librarian Did–it’s about the brother of the hero of this book–and looked forward to reading Rise. I liked Rise but I didn’t love it.

LinnieGayl: To say I was excited to learn that Rise was available for download would be an understatement. What the Librarian Did is one of my favorite, most memorable romance reads of the past five years. I couldn’t imagine how she would turn Zander into a hero, but she did. I not only liked Rise, I definitely loved it.

Dabney: I too really like What the Librarian Did, more than I like Rise. I think I am inherently less interested in rock star heroes now. That may be part of why this book didn’t rock my world.

LinnieGayl: it’s funny, because until a few months ago I would’ve said I would never read a romance about a rock star. What could possibly be romantic about that? And now two New Zealand authors have sucked me into to believing in a romance with a rock star. The first was Nalini Singh’s Rock Addiction, featuring a very sweet younger rock star. In contrast, there’s absolutely nothing sweet about Zander. He’s led a hard life, done all kinds of bad things – including those he did to his brother in What the Librarian Did. But despite his past, I fell for Zander in Rise, and came to believe in his romance with Elizabeth. And speaking of Elizabeth, what did you think of her character?

Dabney: Sigh. I really wanted to like her more than I did. I appreciated that she is smart and determined to be in control of her life. But the way she felt about Zander was, for much of the book, almost, well, trite. Over and over again she was bowled over by his physical beauty. I kept thinking that a hero who saw the heroine this way would annoy me.

LinnieGayl: Okay, finally back after a long pause in which I actually reread huge parts of the book to re-check my feelings about Elizabeth, and they haven’t changed. I still like her. You’re definitely right that she repeatedly thinks about how beautiful he is, and those feelings never go away. But she’s also very smart about it and initially wants to avoid falling for him just for his appearance. When she finally gets involved with him sexually, she’s still learning about his personality, and definitely wants to keep it physical. I think for me, she sees him initially as a gorgeous, seriously flawed man, and gradually comes to appreciate so much more. And of course there’s the fact that they did have the online conversations about her books before she ever knew who he was; so she knows he’s also smart.

Dabney: I do love the whole band concept–it’s better than the brothers concept because with a band, the guys can come from any background, race, religion, class, etc… So, I’d have to say–because I do enjoy Ms. Bliss’s work–I’m up for all the guys to each get his own story. I always love reunited couple love stories and that looks as though that will be Jared and Kayla. I’m totally up for that.

LinnieGayl: I agree about Jared and Kayla; I think there’s will make a great story, and the same goes with most of the guys in the band. I’m also very interested in seeing more of several of the women in the book, most notably Zander’s assistant Dimity, and his executive housekeeper Philippa.

Dabney: The book was a fun read for me, just not a great one. I did enjoy the humor, something at which Ms. Bliss excels.

LinnieGayl: Ms. Bliss does excel at humor. And for me, it’s definitely a great read, and a completely unexpected DIK. Ms. Bliss managed to turn a hero I thought I would hate into someone I really enjoyed. I can’t wait for the next in the series.

Dabney: I’d give it a B with the caveat that if you like rock star romances, I’ll bet you’ll love this book.

LinnieGayl: It’s a definite A- from me. I think you’ll like it even if you don’t like rock star romances.

Readers, have you read it? And, tell us what other rock star romances you love.

Rise is available at Amazon (click here) and other sellers.

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments