Blog Tour: Romance Review: Strong by Kylie Scott: Muscley men with tiny swearing children. What more can you ask for?

Rating: 3 stars
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Inc
Genre: adult contemporary romance
Format/Source: DRC, from the publisher
Status: Book 4.5 of the Stage Dive companion series
Links: Wait For You review (also 4 stars)

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour. This does not affect the content of my review.

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kylie Scott comes a new story in her Stage Dive series…

When the girl of your dreams is kind of a nightmare.

As head of security to Stage Dive, one of the biggest rock bands in the world, Sam Knowles has plenty of experience dealing with trouble. But spoilt brat Martha Nicholson just might be the worst thing he’s ever encountered. The beautiful troublemaker claims to have reformed, but Sam knows better than to think with what’s in his pants. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to make his heart fall into line.

Martha’s had her sights on the seriously built bodyguard for years. Quiet and conservative, he’s not even remotely her type. So why the hell can’t she get him out of her mind? There’s more to her than the Louboutin wearing party-girl of previous years, however. Maybe it’s time to let him in on that fact and deal with this thing between them.

"Strong" is the final installment of Kylie Scott's Stage Dive series. Martha is an antagonist in a couple books of the series so I knew it would take a lot to make me like her and accept her as a part of the group and with Sam, who has always been one of the sweetest constants in every book. What I like about this novella is that it doesn't shy away from Martha's previous misdeeds and doesn't excuse her for her bad behavior. It's been a couple years since the epilogue of Deep when Martha and Lizzie come to a ceasefire during labor with Gibson, and it's obvious they have continued a more positive relationship to the point of being genuine friends. I like that Martha was able to have someone in her corner, even if Lizzie spends the entire time pushing Martha out of her comfort zone. I've been frustrated with romances lately that constantly pit women against women, but that's something Kylie does really well in her books: the women are always supportive and friendly (unless it's super deserved). There's an all-girls scene in which Martha and Ev are able to overcome their rocky beginning that I adored. It showed so much growth in all of these amazing characters!

The romance starts pretty abruptly. There's a lot of talk about Martha and Sam dancing around each other for a decade, but... I didn't see that in any of the other books except for a second in Deep. It's good that Sam and Martha acknowledge this when they talk about Sam being a major planner with relationship benchmarks scheduled out for years, while Martha wants to be in charge and just DO IT. It was very appropriate of their personalities, even if this story went from 0-60 more quickly than I usually like.

Fans of Stage Dive should be really happy with "Strong" because it provides not just an acceptable ending for Martha but it's a great conclusion for the entire series overall. All of our fave characters have grown so much and the band has evolved. I do hope Kylie will do other series like Dive Bar in which we can get glimpses of these characters, but I'm wholly satisfied with where they are now.

Also, "Strong" gives us a look at Daddy/Uncle Jimmy, Uncle Mal, Daddy Ben, and Uncle Sam. Not only are the kids (particularly Gibby) super adorable, scene-stealing divas (GIBBY SWEARING KILLS ME), but seriously: your ovaries very well might explode.

Ooh, busted,” said Lizzy. “The bodyguard caught you looking.”

“Shut it.” I inched my chin up a bit, trying not to frown because frowning gave you lines. “Sam and I have known each other for years and nothing has ever happened. You’re completely wrong about this.”

“Am I?”

“Yes, there’s nothing between us.”

“So that’s why you were staring at him?”

I chose not to answer that. “And you know he prefers to be called executive protection officer instead of bodyguard.”

At this, Lizzy burst out giggling, a malicious glee in her eyes. No wonder I liked my sister-in-law these days.

Ben shot us both an irritated glance. We both ignored it.

Of course, I’d known Sam would probably be here. Rock stars going out in public could be a delicate thing. People had a tendency to get overexcited. And while one person wanting an autograph wasn’t a problem, twenty or thirty of them suddenly swarming definitely could be. Having once been part of the entourage, I’d seen it happen to Ben and his fellow Stage Dive band members enough times to be wary. And you couldn’t get by with ordinary security. Rock stars needed protection from their over-zealous fans, but on the other hand they didn’t want the fans roughed up or hurt in any way. It required a delicate balance: control, experience, and a whole gamut of scary physical skills. Hence Sam.

Still, Portland seemed generally less crazy than the good old days back in LA. All of the guys seemed calmer and more settled away from the constant craziness of the party scene. Not to mention the effect of all of the wives/partners and various offspring. The biggest rock band in the world had officially been domesticated.

It was kind of cute. Or sad. I don’t know.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to stir you,” she lied. “What do you think of your brother’s new musical bromance?”

On the small stage set up in the corner of the room, a young man wailed his heart out while playing an acoustic guitar. Much angst about a girl who only called him after midnight. Trust a rockster to turn a simple booty call into a heartbreaking ballad. The song was damn good though. He had talent. If only I hadn’t had my fill of the type when I was younger. The kid looked to be in his early to mid-twenties. Lanky with lots of tattoos. Your typical rock ’n roll Prince Charming. Gag. These days my type ran more toward…actually, what I needed or wanted in a male was a total mystery.

And my gaze did not stray back to Sam. That did not happen.

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About the Author:
Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from

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  1. I haven't read this series before, but the characters sound fun and now I'm curious about the kids if they are that adorable. Thanks for sharing the excerpt too as I love musicians in the books I read and after reading the excerpt maybe I should check out these books.

    1. I *LOVE* the series! The kids are basically only in this novella, but the rest of the books are amazing and fun in their own way.

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