✭Book Review✭ Rising by Lisa Swallow
Genre: Contemporary Romance / New Adult
Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs
Three attempts at staying clean after rehab and Jem Jones, Blue Phoenix guitarist, is determined this time he’ll succeed. Haunted by his recent past, Jem throws himself into the one addiction he still has left: music. With Blue Phoenix on a break, he looks elsewhere for a place to channel his creativity and discovers up-and-coming band Ruby Riot.
For lead singer, Ruby, breaking into the music scene could break the cycle of abuse that’s controlled her life since she was a child. Finding release through music, the growing success of the band has set Ruby on the path to regaining her identity and self-esteem.
Ruby Riot brings Jem and Ruby together, but Ruby's tangled personal life pushes her closer to a reluctant Jem. Living and touring together, Jem and Ruby discover they have more in common than their passion for music. Can this understanding break down the carefully constructed barriers they’re trapped behind? Or is loving somebody too big a risk to take?
When Jem’s past slams into his present, he has to face the reality behind what made him the man he is and why he hurts the people he wants to love.
And as Ruby reaches out to help Jem, she discovers trying to fix somebody comes with the risk of getting cut by one of their shattered pieces.
Jem and Ruby’s story is the fourth book in the Blue Phoenix series. It can be read as a standalone but contains minor spoilers for the other books in the series.
The Blue Phoenix series is one of my favorite rockstar series out there. It’s less on the hot, steamy side, and more on the drama and real-life dilemmas. They all possess strong qualities of authenticity that allows for such a flawless connection to the characters.
Each story is filled with obstacles that the characters must face all while trying to keep up their rock god façades.
For readers that have been reading this series from the beginning, I think it’s safe to say we’ve been eagerly awaiting Jem Jones’ book. Not to take away from the other BP guys, but Jem has been a rubick’s cube that we all desperately wanted to figure out. Readers have been given a taste of his dark and damaged past in the previous books, but hearing it from his point of view takes us to a whole other level.
The world knows Jem Jones as a bad boy, rocker with the typical cravings: sex, drugs and rock & roll. To a select few, Jem Jones is a broken man who lost his way long ago. With the help of his best friends/bandmates, he’s well on his way to recovery. But no one can help him heal quite like the fierce and volatile lead singer of Ruby Riot.
Fresh out of rehab, Jem is looking for a distraction from his addictions that constantly scream out to him. His manager advises him to seek out an opening band for the upcoming Blue Phoenix tour. Ruby Riot is the band that grabs Jem’s attention and he makes them his project. He believes in this band with everything he has, but is acutely aware of the drama at the center of it.
Ruby comes off as, well for lack of a better word, a bitch. But that is just a front she puts up so that no one tries to enter her world more than she allows. Rescued by her brother’s best friend, Ruby is grateful to her now boyfriend, Dan. He took her out of an abusive hell hole and for that she feels indebted to him. Which is why she continues to take his verbal and sometimes physical abuse.
Abuse is one thing Jem knows very well. As he makes it his mission to groom Ruby Riot for rock stardom, he also feels the need to save Ruby. At the same time, he knows he should stay away from her for her own safety.
Jem doesn’t do love and he has too much on his mind to even think of a woman past a one night stand. Yet Ruby manages to slowly crack away at his glass walls. In the midst of all the drama and chaos, their troubles push them together and enables them to form a bond like no other.
As I suspected, this book took on a completely different tone from the others in the series. This one is much darker and downright grim at times. Despite the severity of the story, it was amazing to see the light that rose up from all that darkness.
This story was very much about healing and getting a second chance. Not a second chance at love, but instead, a chance to renew themselves individually.
I highly recommend checking this entire series out even if you’re not necessarily a fan of rock star books. I’d recommend starting from book one and reading in order, but Rising can certainly be read as a standalone.
The Blue Phoenix series:
Summer Sky (Blue Phoenix #1):
Falling Sky (Blue Phoenix #2):
Unplugged (Blue Phoenix #3):
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Lisa is a romance author and writes both paranormal and contemporary, including the bestselling Blue Phoenix series. In between running a business, looking after her family and writing, Lisa sometimes finds spare time to do other things. This often involves swapping her book worlds for gaming worlds. Lisa is originally from the UK but moved to Australia in 2001 and now lives in Perth in Western Australia with her husband, three children and dog.