Title: The Devil’s Tattoo, #1

Series: Devil’s Tattoo

Author: Nicole R. Taylor

Published: September 1st, 2013 – Self Published

Pages: 325

Story Synopsis: The Highway to Hell or the Stairway to Heaven?

Zoe Granger picked up her first guitar the day her heart was smashed into a billion pieces. It was a way to keep her mind off her inevitable downward spiral, but music soon became her escape. She’s been burned too many times to tell and is just happy to coast through life, never putting herself out there. That’s until her best friend Dee suggests they start a band and suddenly she finds herself not just a part of it, but fronting the whole outfit.

They call themselves The Devil’s Tattoo and when they release their debut EP, it rockets to the top of the charts and it’s like an overnight fairytale. Contracts, photo shoots, royalties and interviews are heaped onto the shy Zoe and it’s like she’s finally found her place. Then comes the phone call that changes everything. They’ve been asked to co-headline a tour with one of the hottest bands of the moment, The Stabs and Zoe will never be the same again.

Will Strickland is one fourth of the hottest indie rock band to ever grace the airwaves. He’s the bass player in The Stabs, hot as hell and could have his pick of any girl that flings herself at him. But he’s only got eyes for Zoe and she has no idea why he’d bother. She’s got one hell of a trust issue and an attitude to boot and Will seems to be the one who wants to tame her, but is he game enough?

The Devil’s Tattoo and The Stabs go on the road and it’s either going to be a highway to hell or a stairway to heaven. Only time will tell who will come out on top and Zoe’s determined to do it without getting her heart broken… again.

**NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way.

 I put The Devil’s Tattoo on my third shelf!

First Thoughts..

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars! This book screams rock and roll!

The Pace, The Plot and The Writing..

Unfortunately, I had some issues with the pacing of the overall story. While I LOVED the edgy and unique environment that was created for this book, I just felt like things seriously stalled in certain places and unrealistically fast-forwarded in others. I’ve read a lot of stories influenced by or centered around music and I can honestly say that The Devil’s Tattoo is one of the first books where I could actually place myself within the scenes of a gig.. The author does a great job lacing her words with authenticity and vividness when it comes to the whole experience behind a concert. When both Will and Zoe were up on stage performing or even when they simply hung out in the venues after their shows, I was so curiously drawn in by their actions and behaviors as popular musicians. I will say though, the music vibe started off strong in the beginning of the story and flowed steadily through the middle, but seemed to fade off as Will and Zoe’s romance hit its high notes and I wish it would of remained constant throughout the entire book. However, I did love cover of this book, the title, the band names, and the bonds and friendships between the band mates. There’s definitely heaps of potential with this series..

The Characters..

Zoe Granger is a damaged woman that allowed the demons of her painful past to heavily influence the person that she is today.. Aside from her best friend and the guys from her band, she doesn’t have the energy for relationships but isn’t interested in one night stands either. Zoe’s character is complex and hard to relate to at times, she’s very intense and personally, I felt she came off pretty cold at times (even though I know she wasn’t..) but was still frustratingly intriguing all at the same time. She throws herself into this sort of rockstar goddess persona on stage, but when she steps away from the microphone, she reverts back into a socially awkward, closed off shell of the girl she used to be. Zoe uses music to escape her reality and eventually becomes the lead of The Devil’s Tattoo, unknowingly memorizing her fans, her band mates and most importantly, Will Strictland..

Will, Will, Will… There’s something immediately captivating about his character.. As one of the guys from the band, The Stabs, he carries around this reputation that has labeled him as bit of a ladies man (aka manwhore), something he may have been at one time but isn’t anymore. Especially after he lays eyes on the wildly beautiful Zoe Granger..

The romance between these two is complicated, confusing and for the most part, swoonworthy. What was frustrating as a reader, was the length of time it took for the pair to finally come to their senses and hookup already. There was heated, instantaneous attraction right from the very beginning, and while I understand why the progression of their relationship was hindered, I felt like some of the events and reactions of the characters were unnecessary and misplaced. It made for choppy translation in my opinion. I think if the importance of Zoe’s brokenness had been introduced earlier on in the story, it may have allowed me to better relate to her and her reasonings. It was those misunderstandings that disrupted the flow and made things a little too confusing for my taste. But, that aside, the chemistry is still undeniable and palpable!

Final Thoughts..

I live for books that incorporate music into its storyline. It’s a difficult topic to write about too because there’s readers like me that are pretty demanding about capturing that “realness” of dark venues, loud music, passionate musicians with an all-consuming romance on top of it! Yes, there were some things that fell short for me when it comes to this book, but as I mentioned earlier, there’s quite a bit of potential as well. I look forward to seeing where the series goes from here!

A special note of thanks to the author and Xpresso Book Tours for allowing us to participate in this blog tour!

 Happy Reading!

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