Rock The Heart
by Michelle A Valentine, contemporary (2012)
Michelle A Valentine Books, $0.99, ISBN N/A


Lanie Vance is a pretty typical heroine in what these authors would like to call their genre "new adult romance", a nice jargon created to separate themselves from those "young adult romance" people even if the tropes are the same, in that she is yet another wide-eyed fresh meat in a big business, and somehow, because of her connection with the hero, she is landed a big plum assignment that, realistically, should never be given to such a fresh-eyed twit. Because true love is on the horizon, however, she can't be accused of sleeping her way to the top, even if, you know, there is plenty of "sleeping" to be had here.

Rock The Heart is all about the rock stars, and in advertising intern Lanie Vance's case, Noel Falcon is actually her high school sweetheart. It didn't work out, but their paths collide again when Lanie is assigned to wine and dine Noel to win him over and land the account of his band Black Falcon. Having him dedicate a song called Ball Busting Bitch to her during a concert may not be a winning endorsement of her non-existent persuasive skills, but when Lanie is prepared to concede defeat, Noel tells her boss that he'd give the company his account if Lanie would personally lead the account.

As to be expected, there is some considerable slut shaming here, as Ms Valentine has Lanie turning up her noses at groupies who just want to sleep with those guys in the band. Okay, Lanie wants to sleep with Noel too, but she's different... I guess, because Lanie doesn't wear short skirts? I really have to laugh when Lanie considers Noel's ex-girlfriend a slut (Lanie actually uses that word) because that woman came between Noel and his friend, never mind that Noel and Riff traded blows over Lanie too. Self-awareness is not a strong point for our righteous Yoko Ono here, and the shamelessness in which Lanie declares herself morally superior to these groupies is hilarious.

This brings me to a big reason why I can't buy this romance at all. Noel actually treats Lanie pretty decently, and the whole thing is powered by Lanie's non-stop jealousy and insecurities. It doesn't take much for her to turn into a crazy green-eyed monster as she's already seeing harlots in short skirts everywhere waiting to wave their evil hoochies at Noel. So how on earth is this relationship going to last a month as Noel remains a rock star by the end of the story? Either they will break up and Lanie ends up in a mental institution or... I don't know, they don't break up, but Lanie still ends up in a mental institution, screaming that evil tramps with giant vaginas of doom are coming to steal her man from her.

It doesn't help that Lanie is so depressingly passive here. Sure, she goes crazy out of jealousy, and she's always wrong, so it's probably a good thing that Ms Valentine doesn't let Lanie do anything big as Lanie just may end up being an even crazier bunny boiler than Glenn Close's character in Fatal Attraction. But Lanie is a depressing example of an increasingly prevalent trend in the current state of contemporary romances: heroines who exist only to be a receptacle of the hero's desires and wishes. Lanie has nearly all her decisions made for her by Noel or other people, and those few decisions she choose to make on her own see her being wrong or just plain stupid. Lanie is said to have great marketing skills, but there is no evidence of any skill at all here, unless I count "being wrong" a skill. Under ordinary circumstances, this would make Lanie a boring heroine, but coupled to her non-stop paranoia and irrational bouts of hysteria, Lanie comes off as... well, let's just say that I probably won't feel safe being in an elevator with her unless I have a tranquilizer gun ready to fire.

The people who edited this book fail to catch some obvious spelling mistakes - "cubical" instead of "cubicle", for example. Additionally, the author hyphenate oddly as well, coming up with phrases such as "sex-god" and "son-of-a-bitch", and while these are not necessarily wrong (at least, that's what the online dictionaries that I checked told me), they are distracting and I don't understand why the author doesn't just leave out the hyphens like every other person.

Rock The Heart isn't going to burn up the charts where I am concerned. Sadly, it's just another pretty generic tale that suffers from below average characterization, sloppy pacing, and contrived romantic conflicts. I can only hope that the next one plays a far more interesting tune.

Rating: 53


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