REVIEW: “More Than a Feeling” by Erika Kelly

All of the books in Erika Kelly’s Rock Star series are cohesive but have a different feel.  In “More Than a Feeling” the band members are physically separated from the Hero so he’s on his own.  This is a significant theme for Cooper.  Cooper Hood started off this series as one of the happy-go-lucky band-members.  As each of his friends settle down he feels like an outsider.  He’s called back home and we see his past and present colliding.  Cooper has a chip on his shoulder, a heavy weight created by a horrible childhood and an inherited reputation.  His public persona is that of a playboy rock star; girls, booze, and whatever else.  Privately, Cooper’s trying to prove himself worthy as a leader in the band.  In his hometown, of Snowberry, he’s proving he didn’t end up as the drug addicted loser they thought he’d be.  Nothing’s what it seems.

Daisy Charbonneau is Cooper’s high school dream girl; the one he always wanted but knew he wasn’t worthy of.  She never saw him as the son of the town junkie just as another musician and a decent guy.  When he goes back to Snowberry he sees she’s still there just as pretty, kind, fair, talented, successful and smart.  Daisy’s more than content to remain in Snowberry; her heart, family, and career are there.  But when Cooper returns we learn she also had a crush on him, in high school.  Daisy never stopped thinking about him during those ten years.  Erika Kelly packs a lot of intrigue, sexy shenanigans, and romance into the storyline of “More Than a Feeling”.  The secondary characters are charming and engaging to the point that I hope they get their own series.  The pace is steady, the storyline keeps you going and the characters hook you.

Blue Fire’s at the last concert before the two week break in their tour.  Their opening act is a nightmare between an offensive song and a lead singer with a substance abuse issue.  They need to find a new band like now.  Cooper doesn’t want all of the couples to have to take time away from their break.  He’s been wanting more of a leadership role and now’s his chance.  Cooper demands that everyone go and enjoy their wives, girlfriends, and families and he’ll find a new band.  However just before the band goes on stage he gets a call from his mother’s sponsor.  She tells him he needs to return to Snowberry, Montana.  Cooper’s mother needs to tell him something about his “real” father.  Begrudgingly he leaves with the understanding that its only for a couple of days.  He needs to be back in Austin auditioning bands.

Daisy Charbonneau’s planning the annual Huckleberry Festival, proceeds going to improve the Blackstock Ranch and build a main resort lodge.  Daisy’s a partner with the family helping renovate the rundown cabins turning the property into a resort.  Her mother and godfathers invested money in the resort so it’s imperative the festival is a success.  The success of the Huckleberry Festival will determine the lodge’s fate.  Everything looks good, a popular 90’s band will perform a reunion gig which is selling tickets like hotcakes.  At the last minute the band changes the venue from the festival to a competing resort in the next town.  Pleas to the mayor for assistance are useless since he’s a member of the old band and’s promoting their show.  Daisy and the Blackstocks are scrambling to find a replacement band with just as much star power.

When Cooper arrives in Snowberry he ends up staying at the Blackstock Ranch something he hates doing.  But there isn’t many options in the small town.  The Blackstock boys were rich entitled sons of a successful musician.  They constantly reminded him of his loser status as they reveled in the health two-parent family life he wished for.  Almost immediately upon arrival he literally bumps into Daisy and she’s even more charming and beautiful than ever.  Once the event she’s involved with ends, successfully thanks to Cooper, they catch up.  Daisy learns Cooper put on a pedestal with his infatuation of her, while they were in the Music Program together.  Cooper discovers Daisy had a long time crush on him and asked him to the High School Prom.  He ended up blowing her off and breaking her heart.  He misunderstood, assuming she wanted to perform in a band at Prom.

Daisy has things to offer Cooper.  She can help him with building his mother a house on the property he grew up on.  Daisy’s also find potential opening acts from the bands who play live music at her mother’s bakery after hours.  There’s a band that’s not scheduled to play who’s wrangled time to play a song.  It happens that Daisy’s the lead singer of the band. but she’s clear she’s not entering the competition.  Cooper’s blown away by the band.  They’re the best he’s heard of all he’s been hooked-up with from Austin and in Snowberry.  At the bakery the man Cooper assumed was his father declares a paternity test proves Cooper isn’t his son.  Cooper’s humiliated in front of the crowd and plays it off.  But inside he remembers the little boy always looking for a kind word or encouragement and never getting any.

After being blown off for days Cooper confronts his mother demanding to know his father’s identity.  As he’s about to leave she announces it’s Hunter Blackstock, lead singer of a famous and once popular rockabilly band.  The owner of the Blackstock resort and the father to the boys who hated him in high school.  Who still have no love for him.  The next day Hunter comes to Cooper’s cabin to claim him.  Hunter never knew for certain he was Cooper’s father, but heard about the ruckus the previous night.  He tells Cooper he did have a one-night-stand with his mother and had his suspicions.  He tried, for years, to get him away from his drug addict mother.  But his mother never allowed Hunter near him.  Cooper’s mind is blown and needs time to process.  He asks Hunter not to say anything to his sons about Cooper being their half-brother.

Hunter’s hurt, he wants to make up for lost time.  Daisy believes this is an opportunity for Cooper to have a family like he had always wished for.  However Cooper never told her about the Blackstock boys accusing him of using drugs and warning him away from Daisy.  Cooper’s extended his stay for two weeks and informs Hunter about his search for an opening act.  Hunter volunteers his help and contacts, this idea develops into “Plan B” for the Festival.  A Battle of the Bands with the winner becoming the opening act for Blue Flame.  Daisy meets with the brothers to iron out the details.  Afterward the family is gathering for a barbeque at Ethan’s house.  When Hunter arrives he sees Cooper there and assumes  Ethan, Remi, and Nate know he’s their half-brother.  Unfortunately the news doesn’t go over as well as Hunter had hoped.

Hunter’s eldest son Ethan points out Cooper’s reputation, as a partying rocker, isn’t what the town needs.  Nor does Daisy deserve the media attention being that connected to him will bring her.  Ethan claims he and his brothers saw Cooper using drugs in high school.  Cooper informs him, it was the day he was at the rest stop when he was walking home from school.  Because he had to walk home from school every day the sole of his shoe fell off.  He was digging in the garbage can to find some string to tie it back together.  When they drove up in their shiny Jeep with their accusations.  The drug paraphernalia was already there because the rest stop is public property other people left it there.  Cooper’s refuses to a relationship with this half-brothers.  He’ll stay in Bozeman until the end of the festival.  But Daisy convinces him otherwise.

The mayor’s constantly trying to sabotage the festival.  So Cooper must work closely with Daisy and the Blackstock brothers to pull the festival off at all.  Because of that, Cooper and his brothers become close and inevitably bond.  While Cooper’s in Snowberry he’s confronted by many people who had no kind words or expectations for him.  When he confronts them he discovers that what he believed wasn’t the case.  These people cared about him and believed in him, but showed it in their own ways.  The messages might have gotten lost in its delivery or due to own demons and prejudices.  During his stay he and Daisy grow emotionally and sexually closer.  Cooper doesn’t plan on coming back to Snowberry but wants Daisy to come with him, though he hasn’t asked her.  Daisy wants Cooper to acknowledge his roots and want to return to his hometown and his newfound family.

Just before the festival ends the Blackstocks give Cooper a prime piece of their property.  Unbeknownst to Cooper, he actually won it fair and square in a brotherly wager.  He flat out refuses to take it, claiming he’s not planning on ever returning to Snowberry to stay.  Maybe just to visit.  Daisy is hurt and upset.  The festival’s successful especially with a surprise for Cooper.  The surprise brings a realization for Cooper.  He loves Daisy and doesn’t want to live without her.  He clearly sees a future with her.  But Daisy is offended that Cooper doesn’t take her career, family, or community roots into consideration.  He merely comes off a performance adrenaline high and declares his love and expects her to give up her life.  She tells him they’ll never work because they want completely different things.  Cooper has to fly out because the tour starts the next day.

I really loved “More Than a Feeling”.  The characters of Cooper and Daisy were extraordinarily likable and engaging.  The “Stars Hollow” small town vibe pulled me.  The growth of the relationship between Cooper and his father and half-brothers was also compelling.  Erika Kelly creates a compelling backstory for Cooper with twists of how the community behaved on the surface and behind-the-scenes.  The reader doesn’t truly miss the rest of the band but the epilogue helps in pulling it all together.  The sex scenes are hot, heavy, and plentiful!  I’ve read two of the four books of the series and already gone back to start on the first book.  This is a great book for a fabulous series.

I’m giving “More Than a Feeling” 4 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.

 

This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed

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