Title: Pop Life
Author: Ryan Loveless
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 13, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Andrew writes the songs everyone sings along with on the radio—tunes full of love, longing, and heartbreak. He has a knack for tapping into emotions, but when it comes to his own, the feelings aren’t so easy to manage. Sent to New York City to work on Irish singer Paeder Brogan’s first solo album, Andrew is caught in the middle of a boy band’s infighting and secret love affairs while battling the memories of his last trip to the Big Apple, which ended when English pop star Jamie Webster drunkenly kissed him.
Andrew’s heart leaps when he discovers he’s staying at the same hotel as Jamie, yet he doubts Jamie recalls him, even though Andrew wrote his biggest hit. Jamie remembers him, though, and he seems to think Andrew is the only person who can save him from his downward spiral. Even as his feelings for Jamie swell, Andrew faces the real threat that the maelstrom he’s walked into will pull him down alongside Jamie.
Pop Life is set in 1999, and is framed by articles from various faux publications providing gossip on pop star Jamie Webster and members of the boy band Icon (Paeder, Keelin and Russell). Successful writing duo Andrew and Michael have composed songs for Jamie Webster in the past, and have now been hired for Paeder’s upcoming solo album. Andrew travels to New York to meet with Paeder and learns that Jamie Webster is also staying at the hotel. Andrew has a “secret past” with Jamie … well, they meet ONCE over 2 years ago backstage at the Grammys when Jamie kissed Andrew before passing out in a drunken stupor.
The fairly incomprehensible plot revolves around six characters – Jamie, Andrew, Paeder, Keelin, Russell and a very creepy photographer named Jeff – all of whom are very lightly fleshed-out. Peader is an obnoxious git, Keelin is the blue-eyed sweet boy with low self-esteem, Russell is … well, there, Jamie can’t sleep at night because of his “darkness” (rolling eyes here), Jeff hits on anything that moves, and Andrew is confused. There is no chemistry between Andrew and Jamie (with only one somewhat detailed sex scene) and I felt there were so many baffling plot holes and twists that the book seemed much longer than it actually was.
For example …
- There is a covered-up drug death, suicidal thoughts, Jamie sleeping with women almost in front of Andrew, Andrew’s ex-wife Kate makes an appearance to say that she wants to get back together and then promptly drops out of the story, suggestions that Jeff and Jamie have a very masochistic relationship, and a truly bizarre encounter with a fan whose mother blames Jamie for the deaths of three teens.
Sometimes you’ll read a book that has a bewildering plot, and you end up liking it because something about it just grabs your interest and you are willing to suspend disbelief and buy into the story. This did not happen to me with this book; I struggled with finishing it and cannot recommend it.
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