More Than a Feeling concludes Erika Kelly’s bestselling Rock Star series and does so with my new favorite Blue Fire band member, Cooper Hood. Kelly was clearly holding him close to her heart, saving the best for last. Cooper felt like background in the three earlier books, especially in the shadow of Slater Vaughn and Derek Valencia. He emerges from his hiding spot in More Than a Feeling, twisting my heart and making me fall in love with him.
I love Kelly’s characters and have since the beginning of this series. Right from the start I couldn’t get enough of the members of Blue Fire and their soul mates. Early in the series I compared Kelly’s writing to that of Kristen Ashley with her ability to create a cast of characters that felt like family and had you reaching for the next book so you could spend more time with them. In MTaF there are a lot of new characters, but Kelly brings them to life with as much vitality as she did her previous characters.
Cooper returns to his hometown, a place he hasn’t been in 10 years. The only good memories he has there surround the music program at his high school, which basically saved his life, and the friendship of Daisy Charbonneau, a girl he loved but he felt was too good for him. As the only son of the town’s infamous drug addict, Cooper was neglected his entire childhood. He raised himself in a falling down cabin in Snowberry, Montana as his mother only had the energy to deal with herself. With a music scholarship in hand he left Montana, swearing to never return. That is, until he gets a call indicating that his mother is finally going to reveal who his father is.
Daisy is the town princess and rightfully so. Honestly, it would’ve been easy to dislike her because she’s just that nice. Daisy loves Snowberry, and has dedicated her life to making this picturesque town a place that people want to live in, not leave. I fell in love with her sweetness, honesty, and passion. Daisy has never forgotten Cooper and when he returns just as Daisy learns the annual Huckleberry Festival is in jeopardy, she grabs at the chance for them to work together.
Daisy is the perfect woman for the insecure, emotionally shuttered Cooper. Cooper has one goal: find out who is dad is while helping his mom and get out-of-town. As far as he’s concerned, there’s nothing in Snowberry for him. He wants to finally know who is father is and get back to his Blue Fire family. When the revelation sends him into a tailspin, it’s Daisy that helps him hold on. She’s perfect foil for the bitterness that he holds close to his heart. I loved their moments together as she quietly challenged things he’d believed his entire life. Their honesty with each other was refreshing and real, including how much they wanted each other. So, yes, Daisy and Cooper are a sweet, passionate couple that I have no trouble believing belong together. I loved their romance.
So, why 3 stars instead of 5? There are big parts of the book that I struggled with.
- The people of Snowberry are not folks I’d want to give my time to. They’re great to each other, don’t get me wrong. But, except for the music program director, there wasn’t a single adult that did anything substantial for Cooper while he was growing up. I found their lack of concern for Cooper as neglectful as his mother’s and unrealistic. This is such an important part of the plot and it felt forced.
- I missed Blue Fire. I loved the brotherhood of the band members. The chemistry between the characters as each H/h fell in love amidst the music industry made reading the Rock Star series so much fun! While I absolutely fell in love with the Blackstock family (these guys need their own series!!), I felt like Cooper was left hanging. Perhaps this is intentional, to reflect his upbringing, but it left this last book in the series with a much different feeling than the rest.
- It also really bugged me that Cooper’s drug use in the previous books was overlooked. He did drugs, but it’s never mentioned and I thought it a pretty big deal now that we know his history. The fact that he doesn’t even reflect upon it is feels dishonest. A scene or two between him and Daisy talking about this would’ve put my unease at rest while strengthening their relationship.
At the end of the day the Rock Star series is still one of my favorites and one that I’ll reread over and over.
3 Stars for More Than a Feeling. Heat level: 3.5
I received this book from the author in exchange for honest feedback.
More Than a Feeling was published in April 2017 by EK Publishing.