I adored Managed so much that I was almost hesitant to continue the series after reading what remains one of my all-time favorite books, but it was FINALLY the right time for me to sit down with Fall. And it lived up to all of my expectations! Once again, Callihan does an excellent job of slowly building up the intimacy, drawing two very different characters together, and developing a relationship that feels so fulfilling. Throughout the series (not required reading, but helpful), Jax has been a major character, but also something of a mystery. In attempting to take his own life, Jax forever changed every other character in his orbit, and the series has revolved around those lingering effects. Here, we finally get his story, and it was more hopeful and upbeat than I expected. I love the idea of two strangers having a chance meeting that changes everything, and it was the perfect scenario for this broken hero. It was great seeing the light come back into his eyes, and watching John embrace his true self versus the “Jax” rock star persona he’s perfected over the years. Finding love as his true self. It’s a slow-burning love story that really struck a chord with me, and it was absolutely worth the wait.
The story follows John, a man who has long been known as the reckless rock star, Jax. While he was once famous for being a talented (and incredibly sexy) musician, John is now infamous for being the man who attempted to end his life. He’s finally gotten to a place where day to day life is manageable, if not a little boring. But one chance encounter with a stranger at a grocery store – who soon becomes his temporary neighbor – has a spark coming to life in John. Stella sees John as the man he is today, and she thinks he’s enough. She thinks he’s worthy. And as the two develop a friendship that feels like more, something awakens in John. But the demons of both of their pasts are never far from the present, and they’ll have to dig deep to survive the fall.
Rock star romances can go one of two ways for me, but I kind of love watching a manhoe be brought to his knees the instant he meets the right girl. Working for something that’s always come easy, or working towards something he’s never experienced. And that’s the case here. As Jax, John has gotten used to the rock star lifestyle – his newly discovered (treatable) STI proves it – but there are certain experiences that he’s missed out on. He’s never experienced true intimacy, or a relationship that feels like more than a fleeting connection. I loved watching him appreciate the “simple” things in life, and it felt like he was truly falling for the first time. Uncertain and unsteady, John is off-balance in a way he hasn’t been before. I also loved that he’s still broken in many ways, but finds a strength within himself. The book isn’t overly heavy or weighed down by John’s past, but it’s always there in the background. Stella makes the perfect partner for him – she also has darkness in her past, and it was interesting to see the parallels in their very different lifestyles. They were really great together, and I LOVED that John took the time to woo her. I’m so glad that I finally sat down to read this – it just increased my already-overflowing love for the series.
The audio is well done, though not my favorite! It’s dual narration, with Nelson Hobbs and Maxine Mitchell. Mitchell does a great job; I loved her voice, and her chapters were very relaxing. Hobbs gives a good performance as well, but his British accent took me out of the moment on several occasions. I don’t know, it just wasn’t how I envisioned the hero’s voice, so it was jarring to me. The story works well in audio though – the tone is upbeat enough, and the slow burn romance worked well in the format too. You could probably listen to a decent amount of this at the office, though there are several references that might make you squirm a little. The runtime is also too long for a workday listen; it’s over 14 hours, which means it’ll likely take at least two days to get through. I definitely sulked a bit every time I had to push pause, lol. So not a resounding win in audio, but certainly a good listen – and a great story.
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.
Start the series today!
I found Killian drunk and sprawled out on my lawn like some lost prince. With the face of a god and the arrogance to match, the pest won’t leave. Sexy, charming, and just a little bit dirty, he’s slowly wearing me down, making me crave more.
He could be mine if I dare to claim him. Problem is, the world thinks he’s theirs. How do you keep an idol when everyone is intent on taking him away?
As lead singer for the biggest rock band in the world, I lived a life of dreams. It all fell apart with one fateful decision. Now everything is in shambles.
Until Liberty. She’s grouchy, a recluse—and kind of cute. Scratch that. When I get my hands on her, she is scorching hot and more addictive than all the fans who’ve screamed my name.
The world is clamoring for me to get back on stage, but I’m not willing to leave her. I’ve got to find a way to coax the hermit from her shell and keep her with me. Because, with Libby, everything has changed. Everything.
While Idol was good, the second book in the series (Managed), is one of my all-time favorites!
Managed on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3y2G5I7
About the Author:
Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.
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