October 7, 2011

Review: After Midnight by Sarah Grimm

This is one of those books that at first glance looked very appealing and I just had to read it. It had a damaged heroine, a hot rock star hero, and one of the settings was a bar. So the promise of someone maybe wearing leather pants and hot sex was enough for me to take the plunge (that and the fact that it came with a great recommendation, of course). I can tell you now that sadly no one wears leather pants but the sex was quite hot and the story delivered everything it promised and more.

Isabeau Montgomery’s life has been very difficult. A musical genius capable of playing the piano ever since she was a little girl, she started touring the world with her mother. But when a fatal accident killed her mother and left her severely injured, her world really turned upside-down. She went to live with her abusive father and stop playing music altogether. Now she owns a bar and every day battles the need to play again.

Noah Clark is in town to resurrect his band’s former glory, when he enters Isabeau’s bar the last thing he expected was to feel such an intense attraction to her. He decides to pursue her because he can’t stop thinking about her, but she has a lot of issues to overcome in order to allow herself to be happy and to love, and so a love story full of obstacles begins.

This book is, plain and simple, a love story. The plot is character driven, and even though there are some external elements that add some drama -albeit unnecessarily, in my opinion- the book is all about Isabeau and Noah falling in love and the development of their relationship. It’s a sweet and engaging story carried by two characters that are charming and likeable. It’s the type of novel that will appeal to every romance fan, and that will keep you engaged until the very end waiting to see if the leads will make it, even though you know that the happily ever after is a sure thing because that’s the implicit rule in romance.

The main character of the book is obviously Isabeau (this name is a mouthful, every time I write I need to double-check the spelling). Overall I liked her a lot, but because her whole backstory gradually reveals itself throughout the book at first I thought that she was immature and I found that the way she handled herself with Noah was inexperience and childish. Then I got to the part where it says that she’s just 25 years old and it all made sense. Having said that, once you get her whole story and once you get to know her more, you realize that yes she is immature in some aspects of her life, but she is also an old soul that has lived things that give her a complete different and even wiser outtake on life. I had both trouble and no trouble at all believing she was so young. I liked her a lot but I can see that some might find her annoying.

Noah was older and wiser. You could tell that he was on a whole different place than Isabeau, and that his previous experiences shaped the man he was today. He was 41 years old so this is almost a May-December romance and usually this would bother me, not because of the age difference since I find these type of romances quite hot, but mostly because 25 is too young. In this case though, it works perfectly because Noah’s stability balances Isabeau’s issues, and maybe someone younger and less experienced might not have been able to handle it. And also he was sexy, sexy, sexy, even without the leather pants, but I forgive him since there’s a lot of low-riding jeans action to compensate the lack of leather. And he’s also British, yep, he’s got an accent.

There are several secondary characters but my favorite by far was Noah’s band-mate, Dominic. It’s obvious that he will be the sequel’s lead and I’m doing a happy dance about it because this guy stole every single scene he was at.

I did have a couple issues with the book. First there’s a suspense sub-plot that’s completely unnecessary, this book did not need the drama. You will know who the bad guy is at first sight. This was the weakest part of the book and it felt more like a filler than anything else. Then there’s the big misunderstanding. I don’t want to give anything away but I had trouble with Isabeau’s insecurities regarding Noah. I get why she was insecure about herself (and you will too once you get to her backstory) but by the time the misunderstanding happens she had enough proofs of his love. I would have loved to see more communication between them. Gladly the big misunderstanding wasn’t really that big and things get straightened out quite fast and they both realize that there’s indeed a lack of communication between them.

This was a fantastic story, full of love and with the right amount of drama to make it interesting but not angsty. Ms. Grimm has a great voice and I can’t wait to read her next book, which hopefully will be Dominic’s. I recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance and dreamy rock stars.

Review by Brie
Grade: 4
Sensuality: McSteamy


Thirteen years--that's how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie. After an automobile accident took her mother's life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how. Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life. That is until he walks through the door of her bar... Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with a goal--one that doesn't include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won't be easy, but he can't get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head. Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?

Wild Rose Press. September 30, 2011.


  1. This is a nice love story - although like you said, kind of plain and simple, I was never bored.

    Totally agree about the suspense part too.

    Definitely will try this author again!

  2. Yep, I’m reading her first book this weekend, that one’s a romantic suspense. And I can’t wait to read the next one in this series, of Dominic is to die for! Thanks for stopping by Mandi!

  3. Brie-

    Thank you for the wonderful review. I'm thrilled you enjoyed After Midnight, and chewing my nails knowing you're reading my first book this weekend. *nervous*

  4. Hi Sarah!

    I’m reading Not Without Risk which I’m guessing is your first, at least the first one published… I’ll probably like it because it sounds like the hero is a brooding cop and I’m a sucker for those LOL.

    Can’t wait to read Dominic’s though, I’ll stalk you webpage until you post the release date for his book!

  5. I'm not usually a fan of huge age differences either, but I'm glad to know that it worked in this story. And Noah sounds pretty patient and understanding. Thats hot in my book. Nice review Brie.

  6. Jade,
    You have no idea how patient and loving he was! The best part about him was that he was confident and he knew what he wanted, I’m tired of commitment shy heroes who are always undecided about what they want.

  7. Ahhh no leather pants?! How unfortunate. Huge age differences usually don't bother me so I'm fine with that but immature characters really bug me. I would expect characters to be mature at 25. Afterall, I'm pretty darn mature *wink*.

  8. Alexis, your comment made laugh!
    I’m hoping that the next book will have leather pants! In the meantime I’ll settle for jeans…

  9. This one is going directly on my wishlist. I have a thing for rock star heroes. Although the heroine's name will be troublesome for me. Isabeau was the name of my ex-boyfriend's overweight golden retriever. Not exactly a good reference point when reading a romance novel.


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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.