ARC review: Storming the Castle by Arianna Hart

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Sam Castleton is one of America’s greatest rock musicians, and he’s completely lost himself in the rockstar lifestyle.  Terrified that he’s well on his way to alcoholism, and in an attempt to get his muse back, he checks himself into an out of the way hunting lodge/bed and breakfast for some peace and quiet.

The bed and breakfast is run by Faith Adams, a young single mother doing the best she can.  Her husband died before she even knew that she was pregnant, so she’s used to doing things on her own.  She’s lonely, but her daughter is her priority and no sexy rock star is going to change that.

Can Sam and Faith put their fears and misgivings aside to give into their mutual attraction?

This book left me feeling very… indifferent.  It’s not that it’s a bad book, it just wasn’t amazing.  It follows the standard contemporary romance plotline and pacing, although there are a couple of twists thrown in to keep us on our toes.  None of this is necessarily bad, but it didn’t make for the most exciting book.

There were some things that threw me off, like the former in-laws suing for custody.  What was the point of it? They’d never wanted anything to do with Piper before, and even during the custody battle, they didn’t seem to care about much aside from just winning.  I had hoped that their motivations might be made clear at the end, but the brief answer we got seemed half-hearted and underdeveloped.  The whole plot line just seemed to be there to prove that Faith was A Good Person™ despite everything that had happened to her.

And, brief spoiler ahead

Can we talk about her dead husband for a second?  Like, yes, it was awful that he cheated on her and I myself could never set that aside and carry on with a relationship.  But, #1, he’s dead, and #2, of all the ways to be cheated on, I feel like the reveal here was kind of weird.  Matthew was quite literally coerced into sleeping with his boss to further his career.  I suppose he consented, but is it really consent if your job is on the line?  It doesn’t matter that he’s male and his boss was female, it’s still disgusting and wrong.  Whatever his boss said about “In my circles, that’s vanilla” doesn’t make it right.  I don’t care what kind of circles you run in.  I don’t care if sexual assault is the most common, most normal thing where you come from.  It is absolutely 100% wrong for someone in a position of power to use that power to garner sexual favors from someone who reports to them.  Even after finding out that Matthew literally wanted no part in these sexual encounters, he’s still vilified.  I feel like I came away from that revelation with a different impression than I was supposed to because honestly, I just felt bad for the guy.

Anyway.  I also thought it was kind of weird that Faith was so adamantly against casual sex and then she was just flinging herself at Sam.  I mean, good for you, Faith, I’m glad that you’re finally getting back out there after five years or whatever of celibacy.  Clearly, I have no problem with reading about sex (I mean, look at my recent reviews), but there was no transition.  It’s just like one minute she’s super anti-sex, and the next she’s like, “Wait, how many condoms do we have left?” The sex scenes were pretty hot, though, so I can’t say it’s really something to complain about.

I also thought that the ending wrapped up a little too neatly and quickly for my liking, but overall, I did like the characters (particularly Sam) and I appreciated the strong female friendships that constantly figured into the plot.  This book was, more than anything else, very readable and I really did fly through it.  Piper was the cutest and I loved how much she loved Sam. He was adorable with her as well, and much like in real life, I like the guys in my books to be good with kids.

If you’re into books about rock stars looking to settle down, you’re sure to enjoy this one.

Final rating: somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC!