Sunday, August 3, 2014

Author Spotlight: Tabatha Vargo - Day 1

Today I am covering Tabatha Vargo's Blow Hole series. *** 18+ Warning: the books in this series contain graphic language, sex, and violence. Mature readers only. Not intended for young adult readers.*** 

The reading order is:
Playing Patience (1)
Perfecting Patience (1.5)
Finding Faith (2)
Convincing Constance (3)
Having Hope (4 - coming soon)

The Blow Hole Boys series follows the lives of the members of the band the series is named after, Blow Hole. You won't be able to stop reading all about Zeke, Finn, Tiny, and Chet and the women who turn their worlds upside down.

Playing Patience (book 1)

Sometimes all you need is Patience. 

Life’s been hard for Zeke. Being a punching bag for his alcoholic father has turned him into stone. Not even the dodgy trailer park he lives in can scare him. Fighting is his release and sex, drugs, and his guitar bring him peace, but deep down Zeke isn’t quite as hard as he makes himself out to be. When he meets Patience, she finds all his broken pieces and puts him back together, but she’s a ray of light in his shadowed life and the last thing he wants to do is bring her into his dark world. Playing careless is easy, playing the bad guy can be fun, but playing Patience is impossible, especially when she can see right through him. 

Zeke isn’t the only one who’s broken, and for the first time, in a long time, Patience feels alive. Her black and white world gets a shot of color when she meets Zeke. He’s unlike anyone she’s ever met with his tattoos, piercings, and blunt honesty. She wants nothing more than to let go and ride the wild side with him, but some wounds never heal and the broken pieces of Patience aren’t so easy to find.


I'm not sure there's any other way to describe Patience and Zeke's relationship other than it's a beautiful mess. Both of them have been damaged at the hands of someone who was supposed to love and protect them. Zeke drowns his pain in music, alcohol, drugs, and women. Patience hides her scars behind soccer and school, and while she could tell someone about the torment she endures, she keeps quiet to protect her little sister, Sydney, and her mother who is dying from cancer. 

Patience and Zeke meet by accident when Patience finds herself on the wrong side of town and in trouble. Poor Zeke, no matter how much he tries to resist he can't help coming to her aid whenever she's in trouble, and ends up in jail for it, twice! Patience isn't intentionally trying to cause trouble for Zeke; she just wants an escape from her life, but trouble seems to follow her wherever she goes. 

This book makes you feel. You'll be angry, desperate, hopeful, heartbroken, amused, aroused (yes, yes you will, don't try to deny it), panicky, I could go on and on. Don't try to fight it. Just sit back and enjoy the emotional roller coaster that Tabatha takes you on. 

Perfecting Patience (book 1.5)

Sometimes happy endings are just the beginning of an even harder road. 

Although her aunt and sister believe she should get help to deal with her past demons, Patience believes the only thing she needs is Zeke. When he comes back into her world, her life couldn’t be more perfect. Except old demons pick the worst time to surface, and once again their happiness is threatened. Help was never a necessity, but Patience finds out that love isn’t always all you need. 

Zeke’s dealt with a lot in his life, but nothing could prepare him for watching the person he loves fall apart. Patience is different, she’s not the girl he came to love. He's willing to do whatever it takes to get her back, but a budding music career and his own demons seem to keep getting in the way. How can you help someone else when you can barely help yourself? Once again Zeke is faced with deciding between his future and the future of Patience.


The things I liked most about this book were:

1) We get to find out what happens next. Don't get me wrong, I love a good standalone book with a happy ending. But usually it just ends there and we never find out what happened after the mind blowing kiss and declaration of love that makes us swoon. 

2) It paints a real picture of how someone as broken as Patience handles the effects of years of abuse. This book is raw; it's real. I really like that Zeke isn't some white knight in shining armor who swoops in and saves her and then *POOF* all of her troubles disappear. Yes, they have their love but they also are faced with real life troubles. 

Perfecting Patience picks right up where Playing Patience ended. Zeke and Patience have an amazing reunion but then they are faced with another obstacle: Zeke has to leave to finish the tour with his band, Blow Hole. He doesn't want to leave Patience and asks her to come with him. At first, Patience was ready to leave in a heartbeat, but old habits die hard and she can't shake the urge to stay with her sister, Sydney, and protect her. It was her primary focus for so many years and she just can't stop. She ends up having a panic attack which further solidifies her realization that she is a very sick girl. 

She's so worried about being perfect for Zeke (which is ridiculous, that man worships the ground she walks on and loves her, flaws and all, but I digress) and convinces him to do a long distance relationship so she can start seeing a therapist and get some help. She doesn't want him to know she is having trouble and so she lies to him and tells her she got a scholarship for soccer to Florida State. Well, it wasn't a complete lie; she did get the scholarship but didn't have any plans of pursuing it. Once Zeke leaves she decides to actually go to college and use the scholarship, and she starts seeing a therapist. 

Things seem to start looking up for Patience. Yes, she and Zeke are experiencing the usual heartaches of a long distance relationships (time zones interfering with phone calls, jealousy, lingering thoughts of doubt, etc), but they are still doing alright. Then one day before a game, Patience has a panic attack and a friend and teammate, Hope, gives her a pill, a valium. And so begins Patience's slow addiction to pills. 

Things get worse before they get better, but I'm not going to elaborate because Tabatha throws a big OH MY GOSH moment in there that I don't want to spoil. You don't have to read Perfecting Patience to understand what happens in book 2, Finding Faith, but I highly recommend reading it anyway. It gives you a better understanding and appreciation of Zeke and Patience's story. 

Finding Faith (book 2)

A little FAITH can get you through…
One night. That’s all Finn had with the only girl he ever loved. Years later, all he has left of that night is a silver cross, a broken give a damn, and the unrelenting desire to drink her memory away. As the lead singer of Blow Hole, Finn has his pick of women, but none are able to squash the need he still carries around for Faith. To hate her offers some relief, but when Finn sees her again after so many years, it’s hard to despise her. Especially when every reason he had to hate her, turn out to be lies. 

As the daughter of a strict Baptist preacher, Faith Warren lived sheltered from all things sinful. When she met Jimmy Finn, the epitome of all seven deadly sins, she found out exactly what she was missing. After being forced to choose between her soul and the only person in the world who made her feel alive, Faith walked away from Finn and dove head first into her father’s preferred life. But now Finn’s back and he’s getting payback by wreaking havoc on her emotions. Except sometimes bad things feel good, and Faith has to decide once again if she wants to stay in her gilded cage or fly free with the dark angel of lust himself.


This book...I have no idea where to start with this one. I know my previous reviews have been straight and to the point, and while yes, they did draw a reaction out of me and made me FEEL ALL THE FEELS, this book turned me into a blubbering mess. It felt like Tabatha had a direct line to my heart and with every page she was squeezing and twisting it. 

Finn told us in Playing Patience that he had his chance at love and lost it. Now we get the whole story. The first half of this book is about when Faith and Finn are younger and how they fall in love. Once again, Tabatha takes you on a roller coaster ride. It starts out slow and sweet with flirtations and secret touches, and then peaks when they finally admit their feelings for each other. After that, everything is downhill and they encounter a huge obstacle: Faith's father. He is a minister and has physically abused Faith her whole life. He is extremely judgmental and controlling. He does everything in his power to drive them apart, and it works...for a while. 

The second half takes place 4 years later. Finn is a successful rock god as the front man for Blow Hole and Faith has finally gotten out from underneath her father's thumb. Her freedom came at a price though. Her mother finally stepped in when Faith's father was beating her, but during their divorce she suffered a stroke. In an instant a ton of responsibility was placed on Faith's shoulders. 

She ends up dropping out of high school and starts working full-time since her mother can't work. She lands a position as a housekeeper for a wealthy client and can't believe her luck. The pay is great and the hours are flexible, which she really needs. However, it turns out that the client is none other than Finn and the rest of Blow Hole. 

Finn has spent the last 4 years trying to bury the memory of the only girl he's ever loved with drugs, alcohol, and women. He uses his hate for Faith to hide his pain and protect himself from getting hurt again. He is hellbent on getting revenge on Faith for walking out on him so long ago. 

Like I said, this book tore me up. There's something else that I didn't touch on because I want it to be a surprise for you like it was for me. When I encountered this twist, I was cursing Tabatha and singing her praises all in the same breath. Out of all of the Blow Hole books, this one is, by far, my favorite. 

Convincing Constance (book 3)

As the only survivor of a tragic accident, Tony Russell, aka Tiny, is mentally and physically scarred for life. Years later, he finds himself addicted to the gym and prescription drugs. Relationships and sex are the furthest thing from his mind, but when a replacement guitarist steps in for his band Blow Hole, Tony can’t help his physical reaction to her. She’s a spicy rocker with pink highlights and a scorching attitude, and she’s exactly what he needs…regardless of how badly he refuses to believe it. 

Constance McClaire knows all about addiction. After growing up with a junky for a mother, she refuses to have anything to do with that life…until she meets the brooding, giant bass player for Blow Hole. He doesn’t take her shit, has sexy tattoos, and very large hands—but he’s clearly an addict and desperately needs help. Getting close to Tony without allowing herself to become emotionally attached is harder than she thought it would be. Addiction is addiction, no matter what it is swimming in your veins, and Constance finds its Tony she can’t get enough of.


Tony "Tiny" Russell is damaged and scarred beyond belief. As the sole survivor of a car crash that killed his cousin, one of his best friends, and his cousin's girlfriend, he is riddled with survivor's guilt and chronic pain from his injuries. His scars go from skin deep to soul deep. He keeps himself heavily medicated to deal with all of his emotional and physical pain. 

Constance McClaire, daughter of rock god Clarke McClaire, has been around drugs and alcohol all her life. One night when she was 15, her innocence is stolen from her by someone who she was told she could always trust. Her mom is always doped up on pills and alcohol and her father died 3 years ago from a drug overdose. She keeps people at an arms' length to keep herself from getting hurt again. She's an amazing guitar player but refuses to get caught up in the stereotypical life of a musician. 

But poverty and necessity have brought Tiny and Constance together. With Zeke recovering from being hit by a car, the band needs a temporary guitar player to fill his spot so they can finish their tour, and Constance is chosen to fill his shoes. Once they give into their attraction, things get hotttttt! They quickly fall in love with each other but things don't stay happy forever. Tiny can't shake his pill habit and Constance can't be with someone who uses drugs. She's had too many loved ones die from drug overdose. 

Once again, Tabatha does not disappoint! Tiny and Constance's story is beautifully tragic. It was so hard to watch Tiny struggle with his addiction to pills and I could literally feel the desperation in Constance to get him to quit. Convincing Constance is a story of redemption, forgiveness, growth, and most of all, all-encompassing love. 

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