Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Fall (VIP #3) by Kristen Callihan

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The first time I met Jax Blackwood things went a little sideways. 

In my defense, I didn’t know he was Jax Blackwood—who expects a legendary rock star to be shopping for groceries? More importantly, a blizzard was coming and he was about to grab the last carton of mint-chocolate chip. 

Still, I might have walked away, but then he smugly dared me to try and take the coveted ice cream. So I kissed him. And distracted that mint-chip right out of his hands. 

Okay, it was a dirty move, but desperate times and all that. Besides, I never expected he’d be my new neighbor. 

An annoying neighbor who takes great pleasure in reminding me that I owe him ice cream but would happily accept more kisses as payment. An irresistible neighbor who keeps me up while playing guitar naked–spectacularly naked–in his living room. 

Clearly, avoidance is key. Except nothing about Jax is easy to ignore—not the way he makes me laugh, or that his particular brand of darkness matches mine, or how one look from him melts me faster than butter under a hot sun. 

Neither of us believes in love or forever. Yet we’re quickly becoming each other’s addiction. But we could be more. We could be everything. 

All we have to do is trust enough to fall. 

Source: advanced e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review

Man, talk about a meet-cute borne out of fantasy. I don't know about you but if I came across my favourite celebrity crush I don't know that I'd kiss him with the intent to distract him so I could take the last tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream out of his hands. To be fair, Stella isn't aware that she's kissed Jax Blackwood, the sexy and troubled lead singer of Kill John. At least not until later but there was a good reason for her cunning. A massive snowstorm in the city meant she had to have all her basic food groups. They walk away from each other - Stella with ice cream in hand - and think they'll never see each other again. But wait! Stella is contacted to house sit for someone while they're away. She's not aware whom she's housesitting for but her new neighbour is none other than the mystery man she kissed and then she finally puts all the pieces together.

I think of Stella as someone who's just kind of floating along. She has an unconventional job and to be honest, I'd never heard of such a thing but it makes sense. It became a lightbulb moment for me. Callihan touches on several issues from social awkwardness to anxiety to depression. If you've read the previous two books in the VIP series you know that Jax had tried to commit suicide two years before and that the aftermath left the band shaken and off-kilter. Jax strives on a daily basis to work through his feelings, doing everything he can to manage his mental health. Callihan purposefully stayed away from details about his suicide attempt and instead chose to focus on his recovery. Fall is a little more personal to Callihan and I admire that incorporated some of her own experiences with her mental health. She gave us a character actively working to understand his illness and take care of himself is positive encouragement to any reader, especially for anyone who lives with the same struggles.

The friendship between Stella and Jax has become such a bright point in their lives. Stella has never felt the love of a family and Jax who created his own family with his band have contrasting experiences but at the heart of it, they both want to feel that intimacy with someone they can trust and who will look out for them. Their approach to finding that is different but they undoubtedly find each other's company comforting, safe and most importantly, true. 

I enjoyed Fall immensely because Stella's quirkiness played well with Jax's rock star moments and his always coy and flirtatious moves. They have such a great vibe together. You know I can't resist a cheeky guy and I love Jax's nicknames for Stella and his humour. There are appearances from the rest of the band and their significant others including many funny instances with Scottie, the band manager. I'm picky about my rock star romances and only a few authors do it for me, Kristen Callihan being one of them. She has created a sexy, beautiful romance that shows how powerful human connection is in helping us to be stronger, better and feel that we belong. 

~ Bel

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