Book One in the B-Sides series
Author: Keelan Ellis
Release Date: August 14, 2017 Price: $5.49
Reviewed by Chris
Cover Art: It is definitely well done. We see a vintage mic and a silhouette of a man on stage surrounded with band instruments giving us the exact feel of the story. The color used is bright and catchy. But what stands out to me is the placement of the title text. It is simply perfect.
Synopsis: The blurb summarizes the story well but gives away a little too much. Dell Miller’s involvement with the MC – Terry Blackwood, works well as a plot twist when it is revealed in the book although the blurb has ruined the surprise element for the reader. However, the main problem with the synopsis is the major editing flaws I found. It needs cleaning out for some word choices and quite a few grammar issues e.g. tense changes.
Plot: The story is set in the 70s and has an interesting plot – a famous rockstar, who has just lost someone, finds love and comfort in the arms of an unexpected stranger. It is a variation of an enemies to lovers storyline, which is something I love to read. Their struggle in order to get together was interesting to watch.
Main Characters: Terry Blackwood and Henry Cole are both in their twenties. The story shifts point of views between the two men and we get to see both the sides of the story. However, if I had to pick my favorite, it would have to be Henry, mainly because the major part of the story is described through his POV and he behaves more sanely than Terry – it doesn’t mean he is not prone to making rash decisions because there were definitely times when I felt like slapping some sense into his head.
There is also Dell Miller, who I believe to be a main character too, for the sole reason because even though he is dead, he is always present in Terry’s thoughts, his anger, his pain … I actually hated him and I hated the fact that he made his way into every conversations the characters have. It became frustrating after a while, though I understood.
Secondary Characters: Terry’s band is pretty cool but the bass player Alex Benton is the one who stole my heart. He is the one rooting for Terry and Henry till the very end. A loyal friend and an awesome brother, he is the guy who’ll protect you and stand by you no matter what. There is also Richard who is Henry’s friend. He is described as a handsome, rich brat who throws lavish parties and does not believe in having serious relationships. Still, he is always supportive of Henry’s relationship with Terry and does everything in his power to keep Henry on his feet. Apparently, the second book is about him and it will be interesting to see how it turns out. Female secondary characters are absent in the story and it makes for an unbelievable setting. There is Corinne, but her appearance was only for a couple of chapters and she didn’t do much to further Terry and Henry’s story.
Flow/Continuity: This is the part I struggled with the most. There’s no doubt that the alternating POVs helped me understand their story better, but it was confusing, at times, to understand whose viewpoint we were currently in. It is also difficult to tell the character voices apart. Furthermore, the story has been divided in two parts which I feel isn’t necessary. The “Part 2” is suddenly announced in the middle of the book which made no sense to me at all.
Conflict and Climax: There are dual conflicts in the story. As the story is set in a timeline where being gay definitely was not openly accepted. A lot of close-minded folks surround the men and it is interesting how the author has incorporated it into the story. Terry is famous and Henry is struggling to find his place in the music industry. Both men have a lot at stake if anyone finds out who they prefer to bed with. This definitely kept me on edge.
There is also Terry’s past to consider and his grief over Dell Miller’s death. Henry himself carries a lot of baggage. But it was nice to see the man taking care of Terry the way he did. Honestly, though, I liked the former conflict more but sadly, Dell Miller turned out to be the major conflict of the story.
Climax was well written and all the loose ends were tied up by the time the story ended.
Editing: After seeing the unedited version of the blurb, I was half expecting the story to have such issues too. To my surprise, it was edited really well and I didn’t come across a single typo, misspell or grammatical error. Authors should remember to have their blurb edited too as it is often the first impression a reader has of their books.
Format: The formatting was well done. No issues I could identify to ruin a reader’s experience.
Conclusion: While I did have some issues with the book, I enjoyed it nonetheless. This is a great start to a series and I’d love to read Book 2 whenever it comes out. A bonus point to this story for including a beautiful song in the book – The One Thing I Know (yes, the title comes from there and I love it!). The lyrics are heartwarming and it sounds beautiful too. You should definitely listen to it because it’s uploaded on Soundcloud for free listening (https://soundcloud.com/keelan-ellis-466950627/the-one-thing-i-know-country-rock). The other thing which impressed me about this story was the efforts Ellis put into researching the 70s era. She made the entire setting believable for me as a reader. Truly loved the mention of Elvis and The Beatles in between chapters.
I give this book 7 out of 10!