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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Date With a Rockstar Sarah Gagnon *Blog Tour Review & Giveaway*

Title: Date With a Rockstar

Author: Sarah Gagnon

Release Date: June 23, 2015

Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary

Only one girl will win the cash prize...and a chance at love with Jeremy Bane.

Monet isn’t just another lust-struck teenager trying to win the heart of Rock God Jeremy Bane--she needs the prize money from his new reality show to cure her illness. 

Monet has Fluxem, a contagious disease that's spread through saliva. It's completely curable if you have enough money, which she and her single mother don't. Now that she's on the show, Monet has to work harder to keep her Fluxem hidden. She only has to keep the secret long enough to woo Jeremy Bane so he picks her as the winner. She doesn't even care about the love part; the prize alone will change her life.

But the real Jeremy Bane is nothing like she imagined. Monet finds herself fighting against feelings that make her want to give in to her attraction and Jeremy's attempts for a kiss. The further she goes in the competition, the more impossible it becomes to resist him--and when the producers turn the tables and start digging up dirt on the contestants, Monet fears her secret will be revealed before she's ready and ruin everything.

The only way to win Jeremy's heart is to tell him the truth, but confessing her disease could cost her the competition, the prize money, and him.


I'm thrilled to be reviewing Date With a Rockstar today :). Big thanks to Sarah Gagnon and Spencer Hill Press! 

*I received an e-copy in exchange for an honest and fair review* 

Date with a Rockstar is the fun, somewhat silly read that I tend to miss out on because such novels tend to have a little too much romance and not enough plot for my taste, but this novel, though both fun and somewhat silly, set itself apart from the very beginning with a lovable protagonist and a fantastic didn't-see-that-coming premise. I really enjoyed it! Yes, there was a good bit of romance, but the subplots and Monet's goal—not to mention some stellar secrets and backstory tidbits—made for a complex and riveting story. 

Great Protagonist
One of the reasons I found Monet so relatable was her lack of money. Maybe that's judgmental, but it did lessen her chances—at least in her mind—to succeed, and added a dimension of rawness and realism to her story. Then, of course, there was the illness...which was tragic and worrisome, yet fascinating. Monet's hobbies also drew me in (art? I love art).  I thoroughly enjoyed having a down-to-earth, determined, and intelligent protagonist.

Killer World
I could rave for a page about how cool the world-building was, but I'll spare you that lengthy monologue. It was unexpectedly good. That sounds insulting, so I'll qualify: I was under the impression that this was not a novel that would be exploring the world outside of the typical setting...and that the setting would be typical...because the main storyline revolves around winning this competition—winning the rock star. I'm so glad I was wrong. 

Gagnon added a nice big slice of futuristic fantasy-esque material to her settings. It was like finding a bunch of easter eggs in a Nancy Drew game (win. So much win) because fantasy is my GENRE. You know how people say someone is their homeboy? Fantasy my homeslice. (Don't judge me.) In other words, I felt like I'd won the jackpot without even playing. 

And there's more: Gagnon's finesse in the area of world-building is impressive, but what really blew me away was her ability to weave backstory and setting details into the story so subtly and creatively. Skyrim sneak level? 100—and Legendary. Brilliant. 

Sadly, as with most novels, there were some things I didn't love about Date With a Rockstar:

Jeremy Bane, Rock god? ...Really?
...If you know me, you already know why I have a problem with this. If you don't, here's my attempt at an uber short explanation: he's just a guy. Nothing particularly special about him other than the fact that, like hundreds of other guys, he can play some instruments and jam out on a stage. I don't appreciate or condone encouraging girls to look up to rockers--male or female--as anything more than human...because they aren't. 

And I know, I know--it's a terminology thing. "That's just what people say." My unforgiving opinion: Gagnon's a writer. Finding something better to say is part of her job description as an artist, and judging from her novel, she's more than capable of rising to the challenge.

Happily ever after? 
The ending and all loose ends were wrapped up nicely. A little too conveniently, really. Still, despite the fact that the ending wasn't as believable as I would've liked, it was still a solid, fulfilling, and desirable ending that left me feeling a tad warmer and fuzzier than before I began the journey alongside Monet. 

Mother dearest
I actually empathized with Monet's mother and resonated with her until around the 85-90% mark, at which point I was stunned by how unrealistic her response was to everything that had happened. It was the one thing that I just could not buy into. My disappointment was compounded by the above-described coziness of the ending as a whole. 

The romance
Ehhh, it was ok. Yeah, it was a cutesy love story and there were all the thrills you'd expect in any good romance—past love interest appearance, confessions/dirty secrets, angst—but sometimes the whole bachelor-thing really turned me off toward Jeremy. It made it harder to accept the romance as legitimate. (Probably didn't help that I have PTSD and trust issues with men lol.) The cattiness was also fairly obnoxious, though in fairness to Gagnon, I can't say that was unexpected.

Most bothersome? There was a scene or two near the end of the novel that was, in my opinion, not delivered in the best taste. Nothing raunchy, of course—this novel's clean with the exception of a few choice words sprinkled throughout—but it's the principle of the matter that bothered me. From Monet's pov, I get it; it wasn't unrealistic. But as an adult and a writer? I disagreed with the presentation and felt that Gagnon should've stepped up and discouraged the not-so-fantastic choices. 

Overall, I found Date With a Rockstar heartwarming, entertaining, and intriguing, and recommend it—especially to fans of romance. I was very impressed and will be on the lookout for Sarah Gagnon's work in the future :)!

Final Verdict: 

About the Author

Sarah Gagnon grew up in the frigid woods of Maine amidst snow and animal skins and has now moved back home. As a small child she wrote ship-wrecked romances all while being stared down by a taxidermied duck.

She has a BFA in photography and a minor in writing from the University of Southern Maine. She's the mother of two tiny, feral children and two ill-behaved dogs. For fun she’s taken up construction and interior design. Her first project: moving into a dilapidated farmhouse with her computer-genius husband. 

| Website |

Giveaway time! 
One winner will receive a Date With a Rockstar Tee and a finished copy of the book!

Must be 13+ to enter.
US only.

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