Insider (Exodus End World Tour #1) by Olivia Cunning #BookReview
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
Never has a story about a jaded rock star and his virginal conquest felt so inviting and real. That first sex scene between Logan and Toni is incredible, just the right amount of sexy and sweet mixed with just the right touches of embarrassment, uncertainty, fear, and pain.
The story moves on in grand rock star fashion from there, with all the band drama, naughty sex, and tour bus shenanigans fans of the Sinners series love so much. And there are Sinners cameos too, including one particularly mouthwatering workout battle that I won’t spoil.
Goofy and sex-crazy, bassist Logan Schmidt reminded me a little of Sinners drummer Eric Sticks, but more All American Boy and golden surfer good looks. Logan is irresistibly swoon worthy! His sweet heart and total crush on Toni made him adorable. His periodic fits of attention-seeking antics and flashes of temper made him real.
Laughing, probably about her wearing pajamas, the guys headed up the bus steps in single file. Except Logan. He lifted a hand and touched her cheek with his fingertips. His thumb brushed her trembling lips. “A sweet lamb left to fend for herself in a den of wolves. Whatever will we do with you?”
Toni, like Brian Sinclair’s Myrna, secured her spot on the bus through a book she’s writing that showcases the band, and she is probably the most relatable heroine in the entirety of Olivia Cunning’s body of romantic fiction. Chubby by her own standards (never Logan’s) and all kinds of lacking in self-confidence, Toni has readers rooting for her right from the very start. She is geeky and witty and brilliant, and I loved her!
Steve’s words got me wondering about my personal definition of success. The more I think about it, the more I keep changing my mind. So maybe success is an ever-moving target. Does that make sense? Once you’ve found success, then what? You find new success, right? A different kind of success or a higher level of success. I don’t know. I haven’t found success yet. I’ll let you know when I do.
Getting to know the members of Exodus End is a lot like making new friends: a little uncomfortable and awkward as you start to grow the bonds of friendship, then as addictive as new love when you find you just can’t seem to spend enough time with them. Ms. Cunning spins out lots of fresh, potential plot threads for the rest of the series–including (finally!) some developments in the Trey/Reagan/Ethan storyline.
The story arc in this book is very well crafted and the characters written with a deft, attentive hand. None are as simple as they may at first seem, and their various plot arcs all tie in beautifully in the end. Except some obvious ones, of course, which we’ll have to wait a little longer to see come to resolution. And if you are a hardcore Sinners fan who was irritated at the very long break between Sinners At The Altar and the first Exodus End book, be sure to read the author’s afterword for insights into her struggles with writing Insider and how the Sole Regret series spun out of that.
A little angsty like Sole Regret and a lot addictive like Sinners On Tour, Exodus End will leave you yearning for more. Brava on this new series from Olivia Cunning finally taking flight! Can’t wait to see what’s next!