Review – Syncopation by Anna Zabo

Posted July 16, 2018 by smutmatters in Contemporary, M/M, Reviews / 1 Comment

Review – Syncopation by Anna ZaboSyncopation by Anna Zabo
Series: Twisted Wishes #1
Series Rating: four-stars
Published by Carina Press on April 9, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Rock Star
Pages: 295
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Barnes & Noble
Apple Books

Twisted Wishes front man Ray Van Zeller is in one hell of a tight spot. After a heated confrontation with his bandmate goes viral, Ray is hit with a PR nightmare the fledgling band so doesn’t need. But his problems only multiply when they snag a talented new drummer—insufferably sexy Zavier Demos, the high school crush Ray barely survived.

Zavier’s kept a casual eye on Twisted Wishes for years, and lately, he likes what he sees. What he doesn’t like is how out of control Ray seems—something Zavier’s aching to correct after their first pulse-pounding encounter. If Ray’s up for the challenge.

Despite the prospect of a glorious sexual encore, Ray is reluctant to trust Zavier with his band—or his heart. And Zavier has always had big dreams; this gig was supposed to be temporary. But touring together has opened their eyes to new passions and new possibilities, making them rethink their commitments, both to the band and to each other.

Holy shirtballs, you guys. This book was so freaking good! This was my first book by Anna Zabo, but I immediately requested the followup from Netgalley and I’m a convert.

Twisted Wishes is falling apart. Their drummer is struggling with substance abuse issues, and after a particularly vicious fight with lead singer Ray Van Zeller, leaves the band to focus on recovering. On a personal level, everyone is glad to see him getting the help it needs, but it does leave the band in a bind. They’re leaving soon on a national tour to open one of the biggest bands in the country, and they’re down a drummer.

Thirty seconds into Zavier Demos’ audition, and both Dominic and Mish know they’ve found their drummer. Ray, who has history with Zavier, isn’t so sure. But he’s smart enough to realize that his problems with Zavier are personal, and he really is the best drummer they’ve seen. This is the basic setup for the book, but it in no way gives you even a glimpse of how good this story is.

Ray formed Twisted Wishes in high school, and he actually asked Zavier to be a part of it. Zavier, who had just been accepted to Julliard and had all the confidence and smugness of a teenager, turned him down cold, even laughing at him in the process. Ray never forgot that, and he can’t help feeling a little bitter that Zavier wants in the band now as a last resort after things went bad at his last job as a classical drummer in an orchestra.

Zavier had no idea how Ray felt about him, had no idea that Ray had such a crush on him in high school, but he’s never forgotten Ray, either, and he’s paid close attention to Twisted Wishes’s rise. He wants in, and he wants Ray.

I really don’t want to give too much of this story away; it’s such a delight to watch it unfold. Zavier is pansexual and aromantic, which has always caused problems in his previous relationships. Both of these men get something they need from one another, and it’s beautiful to see it unfold. There’s so much genuine growth in both of them by the end of the story, and it’s so well done, and so realistically portrayed. Being aromantic doesn’t mean that Zavier is incapable of relationships, he just needed to find someone who understood that and was willing to accept him and allow him the space to be who he is. And Ray needed someone who could understand him, be there for him, and allow him to put down some of the burden he felt he always had to carry.

If I had one quibble with this book, it would be the villain, Carl, the band manager. He was a little too over-the-top and mustache-twirly for me, and I never thought we really got an answer as to why he was as nasty a person as he was. I needed a little more of his story to really understand where he was coming from.

But that’s a minor quibble, and it won’t stop me from recommending this book to anyone and everyone. And gobbling up Anna Zabo’s backlist as quickly as I can.

About Anna Zabo

Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Anna uses they/them pronouns and prefers Mx. Zabo as an honorific.

One response to “Review – Syncopation by Anna Zabo

  1. I’m so glad you liked this, I heard Sarah Maclean rave about this book on the When In Romance podcast and requested it on my library’s Overdrive. They have some indie M/M romance but I have a feeling they may not fulfill the request so I may have to buy this !