Book Review: Fame and Secrets by Cora Kenborn

I received an ARC copy of this book to write an honest review. the first book of this series, you may have figured out that I enjoyed the story a lot and that it got me invested so much I was up until late at night to keep reading because I couldn’t read during the day due to college. Well, if you want to know my opinion, this book is even better than Fame and Obsession! And you need to read that one if you want to follow the whole storyline and not be confused. Trust me, it’s really worth.
This book will be published on March 14th, but you can pre-order it HERE on Amazon.com. 😀

Genre: New Adult, Romance, Suspense
Publication Year: 2017
Pages: 314 (Paperback)
Part of a series?: Yes Book 2 of 3

WARNING: mild spoilers


The book picks right where Fame and Obsession left off: Phoebe and Julian have moved from New York City to Los Angeles together, but things seem off. She is alone while he is on a tour with his band Lords of Lyre. They are both on edge after Julian’s stalker attempted to end Phoebe’s life and things get even scarier when her abusive and psychotic father starts sending them signals that he is going to make her life a living hell again.

I love how this book also opens with the POV of the stalker and we get a glimpse into Phoebe’s father, Daniel Dalton, as he commits a new crime that shakes her world even more. Not only she is a hormonal mess, she is also worried that the life she’s tried so hard to escape from, is catching up with her and that she and Julian can’t be truly happy. Phoebe’s father is able to make Julian borderline paranoid because of his obsession with her, and the rock star is not able to see clear and starts being a bit of a dickhead to his woman and his band mates, helping the relationship to be pushed to a precipice where it seems there is no point of return.

Fame and Secrets is even more dark than Fame and Obsession and we see Julian and Phoebe in a new light, and it isn’t all butterflies. After she hears on TV about a murder, Phoebe has a panic attack that sends her to the hospital and Julian runs to her with evident worry on his face but keeps his mouth shut about the secret investigations and bad guys he’s hired to keep his family safe. Secrets start brewing between the couple and it is never a good thing when that happens, because they start drifting apart. It also happens to Julian e Phoebe, who seem to realize that the person they fell in love with isn’t the one they met a couple of months before despite the flame and the love is still there. What they lack is the trust in each other, but they will build it as the story progresses. Trust is never earned easily and they need to pass through bad times to finally cement their relationship more.

The secrets are what leads our main couple to argue and have hate-sex. In another case I would be annoyed of the drama and the confrontations, but here the journey and the character improvement was the cherry on top. You have Phoebe who is a strong female character with balls that stands up for herself. She is a great character, has been through things another person wouldn’t have survived, yet she still stands and has the strength to go on. She is a rare find in romance novels, because most of the heroines of our time are either shallow or tend to always be under the thumb of a male. This isn’t the case with Phoebe who is admirable. Julian puts her through a lot of shit with a capital “S” but she still fights and in the end she is rewarded. She surely won’t be forgotten as a character.

On the other side, there is Julian. I love the cover because in my mind I have pictured him as the hot model with tattoos on the book. He is also a mess. After his friend Billy died in an accident, he spiraled down until he walked on the right path again. His encounter with Phoebe enlightened his life and made him appreciate life more. He is a family oriented man although he probably ignores it at first. And is that kind of man who wants to protect the woman he loves from external harm; he wants to be a man. In this book we see Julian’s self-destructive side. He tries to do what is in his power to catch Phoebe’s father and erase the danger in their lives, keeping her in the dark and hurting her feelings while he blames himself and the world. It was a fucked up downward spiral, but I’m impressed because it was awesome. He needed it and I enjoyed it. In the end it only improved him.

The angst was the master of this book. As a fan of deep dark feelings, I loved that it wasn’t all flowers and roses because entirely “good” characters are just flat and superficial, while a character with layers is a whole world to explore and to analyze. This was exactly how this book showed through Julian and Phoebe but also in the background characters of Ryker, Zane, Faith, Ty, Jaxon and Chloe that have unique personalities. You saw them start in a way and develop chapter after chapter and become new people, each one with a particular identity you can’t categorize nor stereotype. Especially Julian, like I have already said, was super irrational and said some hurtful things but realized his mistakes and he proved he is not any alpha male but more than that. It’s awesome how these characters have such a realistic way to bicker. Descriptions are great and engaging, but so it’s the dialogue. Julian and Phoebe bicker like no other and it’s entertaining to read them argue. They are not a cheesy couple – this I appreciated very much because I’m not a fan of those characters who express their love for each other in a sappy way. Their emotions were raw and authentic and I could feel them while I read. Read Julian talk to his band mates and brother was also very fun but the exchanges that made me laugh the most are the ones between Ryker and Phoebe. Through those dialogues it shows even more how they are not your classic characters: just because Ryker is Julian’s brother and Phoebe does have some difficulties with her man, they aren’t attracted to each other NOR start having a relationship and as a result a triangle is generated.

The main focus besides the angst, passion, paranoia, confusion, was also the mystery element. This is a romantic suspense book after all, so there needs to be something dark roaming in the shadows to keep the main characters on their toes; if they weren’t edgy enough already! Haha. In this second book there’s a great deal of suspense ever since the first pages, I had to take a breath every time something happened. Everything happened to our couple and I loved that! I loved that “life” in the book kept on reserving new things for them and some weren’t exactly as sweet, but this is the unpredictability of existence. There is never a dull moment in this book. The author managed to put together a story with not only complex characters but also a complex story which I am so sad it’s over. At least Phulian’s story, because there’s a third Lords of Lyre book coming in the future and it’s about Zane and Faith. 😀 I’m excited to see their POVs because I’ve already mentioned our background characters are very interesting because they are one of a kind. I wonder if there’ll be also a book on Ty and Ryker, but I guess we are going to find out in the next months.

OK, now I’m done. If this review didn’t convince you to buy this series, I don’t know what will. Romantic suspense fans will love this kind of story, but also who enjoys contemporary romances.

RATING: 5/5 stars

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About purplebass

hey, you! Thank you for stopping by. I'm Tweety, and I am a girl who loves writing, reading, and watching stuff on TV and write reviews about it. I currently study languages (English and Spanish) @ University here where I live in Italy. I dream to become a teacher or something more impossible, like a writer. For the moment I only write stories on my laptop and review a lot of books. Speaking of which, I'm really into YA despite I am not a teenager anymore, and if you have suggestions, I am always open to hear your book advice! :D
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