Book Review – Strung Tight by Ann Lister

The Road to Rocktoberfest #1
Publisher: Rock Gods, Inc
Pages: 209
Characters: Fletch/Dallas
POV: 1st
Genre: Contemporary, Series
What’s better than having your rock idol, Dagger Drummond be the mentor for your band? Having your band selected as one of the performing acts at the iconic music festival, Rocktoberfest.

My band was about to step onto our first professional stage. We’d more than earned our spot in the lineup. We had the talent and Dagger groomed our stage swagger. All that was left was to wow the socks off of the audience.

It should be easy, except I had major anxiety issues and it’s frowned upon when lead singers collapse on stage from panic attacks. Another detail adding to my anxiety level, I recently fell in love with a man. Imagine that, a straight guy falling for a dude. It’s the stuff stories are made of – and yet it’s my life.

Rocktoberfest was supposed to be fun but our trip turned sour when my guy went AWOL. Now my concentration is shot and my is heart heavy thinking his absence might have more to do with him not wanting to be with me than missing the bus. One way or another, I had to give the performance of my career – regardless of what was going on inside my head or my heart.

Strung Tight is the 1st book in the multi-author Road To Rocktoberfest series. Each book can be read as a standalone, but why not stay and enjoy the whole show? If you like scorching tales of hot rock stars and the men who love them, then you’ll adore the untamed musicians of Rocktoberfest!

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I’ve always had a weakness for music related stories, and I enjoyed Fletch and Dallas’ story although I must admit it did take me a while to get my head around all the drug use at the beginning.

I liked both of them as characters, and a couple. I loved how Dallas is able to be Fletch’s calm when he needs it, and not just during his performance nerves. I thought Fletch’s discovery that he’s bi and likes guys as well was very realistic, and their physical attraction obvious, and hot. I liked the sweet side to their relationship too, how Dallas goes at a slower pace for Fletch, that their relationship is far more than just about sex, and is very real and emotionally raw at times. Although this story is in many ways Fletch’s, it’s also Dallas’ second chance in life after having made some bad decisions.

I loved Fletch’s friendship with the rest of the band, and I hope they get their own stories. I particularly liked Mike. He’s a sweet guy. I also liked Dagger and the glimpses of his relationship with his husband, Ryan. I liked the guards and the hints of their personalities too. This story had a found family feel to it, which I love.

The music side of it felt authentic, and I loved the lyrics for “Strung Tight.” I’d love to hear the song as it was very easy to visualise the band’s performance. I thought the author captured the mix of nervousness and excitement that goes with a performance wonderfully well.

4 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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