Release Date: February 21, 2017
Blurb from Goodreads: When Hailey Harper left her family farm to enroll in veterinary school, she had a plan: keep her head down, ace her classes, and most importantly… don’t upset the uncle paying her tuition. Translation? Don’t piss off his dramatic, self-absorbed daughter, Danica, even if she’s a nightmare to live with.
Falling in love with her cousin’s rock star ex-boyfriend was definitely not part of the plan.
As the drummer of a now-famous rock band, Mike Madden could have any girl he wants. He’s sweet, funny, romantic, talented—and the only guy that’s ever made Hailey’s heart do cartwheels in her chest. The more she gets to know him, the harder she falls, but Hailey knows they can never be more than friends… because Danica wants him back, and she’ll fight dirty to win.
Mike is falling for Hailey too, but Danica’s threats and his rock star life—music video shoots, international tours, obsessed fans—could tear them apart before they’ve even begun. Hailey isn’t sure she’s the one for him, but Mike’s waited years for a girl like her… and he’ll do anything to prove it.
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
So, big surprise, Sascha has found another book about rock stars! Don’t roll your eyes, I know that some of you love them as much as I do.
For probably 3/4 of the novel I was loving this book despite the fact that it felt extremely Young Adult to me rather than the New Adult that it’s supposed to be, except for the sudden sex scene, which was good, spontaneous, and definitely hot (and rarely happens in ya fiction). There were lots of sweet moments and Hailey was a nice change from the typical main character, although I would definitely have believed her to be sixteen or seventeen from her behavior rather than 23.
At the 3/4 mark, Hailey’s lack of self-esteem driven angst continued for far too many pages for this reader. The fact that Hailey’s whinge-fest resulted in Mike’s need to return home sucked eggs. While I can imagine that to the very young that seems romantic (“oh, bliss, he’s willing to throw his career away for me!) as an adult it felt needy and co-dependent. Pull yourself up and adult already! Up to this point it was definitely a 4 to a 4.5 butterfly book for me.
It’s also here where all of the fiddly issues come out such as: if it’s 8 am in Virginia, it is not nighttime in London, at least not recently.
And then I was not impressed with Hailey and Danica’s show-down, which seemed unlikely and immature for women in their twenties.
Danica, Hailey’s cousin, was a bit too over-the-top for me. Mean girls don’t hit. They pull hair. They slash tires. They spread gossip. But the chance that they could break a nail or their own skin? Not happening.
I loved Hailey’s family, especially her little brother. They had a great relationship. Mike was definitely a good guy. I might read the other novels just to see the transition of characters throughout.
It was while I was reading the Epilogue that I knew what would have worked for me with this book: alternating points-of-view (pov). The beginning of the Epilogue was written from Mike’s pov and, yes, it would have been great to have had that in Havoc. It would have alleviated the seemingly endless pages of Hailey’s pity-party. Also, we would have seen the band on the road and, for this reader, that’s part of the fun of a rock star novel: the rock star actually being a rock star.
Coincidentally in the past six months this is the second rock star novel I’ve read with a romance between a veterinary student and a rock star. Odd but true. Here’s a link to the other: Summer of Irreverence. It too was a New Adult.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
rating: (3 butterflies and a ladybug)
A resident of South Central Pennsylvania, Jamie Shaw’s two biggest dreams in life were to be a published author and to be a mom. Now, she’s living both of those dreams and loving every minute of it. When she’s not spending time with her husband and their young son, she’s writing novels with relatable heroines and swoon-worthy leading men. With her MS in Professional Writing and a passion for all things romance, her goal is always to make readers laugh, cry, squirm, curse, and swoon their pants off, all within the span of a single story. She loves interacting with readers, and she always aims to add new names to their book boyfriend lists.
Digital Set of Books 1 – 3 in the Mayhem Series (MAYHEM, RIOT and CHAOS)
At a door near the back corner of the room, my fun-loving cousin marches right up to the first security guard she sees, who also happens to be approximately five zillion times her size, with muscles made of stone and a face to match. “Who do I need to talk to to get backstage?”
At her bossy tone, Muscle-man lifts an eyebrow. “The Easter Bunny?”
“No one’s allowed backstage.” The arms he crosses over his chest warn that he isn’t messing around.
“I’m with Mike,” Danica lies, and after studying her for a moment, Muscle-man laughs.
“Sure you are.”
When Muscle-man just smiles at her like she’s a petulant child, Danica resorts to acting like one. She demands to see his boss and threatens to get him fired. When that doesn’t work, she resorts to curse words. And when those have no effect, all hell breaks loose.
She’s torpedoing her finger into his chest and shouting something about his inbred gene pool when I try to pull her away from him. But Danica is on a rampage, and all my efforts get me is a hard shove that nearly knocks me on my ass. At five-feet tall, one hundred and three pounds, I’m not exactly in a position to throw my weight around, and I don’t make a second attempt to try. I’m rubbing my tender collarbone when the security guy picks my assailant up off her feet, and I helplessly follow as he carries her outside.
After serving as an armrest for a sweaty gigantor inside the club, after obliterating my eardrums in front of the world’s biggest speakers, after getting knocked around like a bratty child’s toy all night, all I want is to take a hot shower and crawl into my own bed to sleep for a week straight. Instead, I stand on the sidewalk outside of Mayhem, frowning at the furious look on Danica’s face as she glares at the big metal door the security guard just shut behind him.
She came here for one thing, and I know she’s not leaving until she gets it.
“You didn’t have to push me,” I mutter, and her eyes flare.
“You should’ve had my back!”
“And done what? Bite his ankles?”
In her four-inch wedge boots, Danica towers above me. I stare way up at her, trying to remember the girl who played dolls with me up in my parents’ hay loft. But she’s lost somewhere behind fake lashes and fifteen years of getting everything she’s wanted.
“You’ve been nothing but a bitch this whole time,” she snaps, and I sigh and pull my shirt away from my skin again, letting the cool night air dry the sweat beaded on my lower back. There’s no point in trying to defend myself. In Danica’s mind, she’s always simultaneously the victim and the hero, and as her non-rent-paying roommate, I’ve learned to just accept that.
I appreciate everything she’s done for me. I do. If she hadn’t been the little voice in her father’s ear, persuading him to fund my schooling and begging him to make some calls to get us enrolled, I’d be home mucking stalls, not following my dreams. Her dad pays all of my bills—my tuition, my insurance, my living expenses, all of them. And while I suspect that Danica’s sudden interest in my life wasn’t entirely genuine—she’d flunked out of college before, and I think her dad was only open to the idea of her going back if she was living off-campus with a responsible roommate, AKA her boring farm-girl cousin—I owe her. I owe her the roof over my head and the massive student loan debt I don’t have.
When her phone rings, she wastes no time dismissing me to answer it. “Katie?” she says. “Guess who just got kicked out of the fucking club. Yes! Because this asshole bouncer wouldn’t let me backstage.” She gives me a dirty look. “Just stood there doing nothing. I know! No, she didn’t even try. Getting a place with her was stupid.”
An icy chill slithers up the back of my neck, and I chew the inside of my lip. Because of my uncle’s insistence that I focus all of my energy on school right now instead of also finding a part-time job, I have no income. My only “job” is not pissing off his daughter. And it’s a job that I’m learning I am very, very bad at.
With my mouth shut, I slink away before my mere presence can enrage Danica further, and when she asks where I’m going, I make up the lamest excuse ever. “To read this flyer over here.”
JAMIE SHAW — INTERVIEW
How is Hailey different from the other heroines you’ve written?
Hailey’s character is really layered, and she rarely fell into any extreme: she wasn’t super confident, but she’d stand up for herself when she had to; she didn’t believe she was pretty, but she knew she wasn’t ugly; she couldn’t stand her cousin, but she had a sense of family loyalty ingrained in her values. All of these middle-of-the-road characteristics made her feel very real, but they also made her difficult to write. I often had trouble figuring out how she’d act in a situation—more like the story was pushing her instead of her pushing the story. All of my heroines develop and change throughout their stories—something that I feel is an essential element of the New Adult genre—but Hailey’s major obstacle was her confidence, and that involved a deep level of exploration and growth that I think a lot of readers are really going to relate to.
Did you have to do any special type of research for this story?
In each of my Mayhem series books, I try to throw in some cool rock star element. In MAYHEM, the heroine went on tour with the band. In RIOT, the heroine went to a giant music festival. In CHAOS, the heroine was part of the band, so we got to see performing and touring from her perspective. And in HAVOC, Hailey gets to see (and be part of) a big-budget music video shoot! I had the video all planned out in my head, but since I had no idea how music video production actually works, I contacted an actual music video producer to find out. Since Taking Back Sunday was one of the big inspirations for the band in my books, I decided to start by checking out some of my favorite music videos by them and seeing who produced them. Then, I emailed that person, hoping and praying that they’d take the time to respond, and I freaked the hell out when they responded right away! The producer taught me all sorts of cool things about the production process, staff, and equipment, and it really helped me make those music video scenes much more authentic and detailed.
Readers have always loved the group dynamics and cast of characters in this series—can we expect to see those side characters and the couples from earlier books in HAVOC?
Yes! Because HAVOC is the final book in the series, it was very important to me to not only make sure Mike and Hailey got the happy ending they deserved, but to make sure that I ended the entire series—all of the romances, from all of the books—in a way that left readers content and smiling. In HAVOC, we get to see Adam and Rowan from MAYHEM, we get to see Dee and Joel from RIOT, we get to see Kit and Shawn from CHAOS, and we even get to see a ton of other series favorites: Leti, Kale, Kit’s brothers, Van… and even a surprise mention at the very end that ties everything together in a way I couldn’t be happier with. J
If Mike had a Horcrux, what would it be?
Easy! His drumsticks!