Hammered Series: Manaconda by Taryn Elliott and Cari Quinn

I took great delight in telling people I had just bought/read a book called Manaconda. My husband very nearly injured himself with his frequent and violent eye rolling.

Contemporary romance characters often have supposedly glamourous professions and this Taryn Elliott and Cari Quinn series features rock stars which, it should be noted, is not the same as being musicians. Other occupations standing in for all those dukes and earls from historical romance include:

  1. successful actors
  2. professional football players
  3. professional hockey players
  4. billionaire business men (always non-specific and not particularly busy)
  5. former military elite force members (SEALs and the like)
  6. billionaire former military elite force member business men


Hunter Jordan is the lead singer of a quickly climbing rock band called Hammered. Recently, he was interviewed and featured in Rolling Stone magazine. (Sidebar: Do you suppose the rest of the band was irked not to be included?) In the cover photo, Hunter’s jeans and pose conspired to reveal that he is in possession very impressive wedding tackle and is receiving a lot of attention for it. His record label is thrilled and has added an extra PR person, Kennedy, to his band’s support team.

Manaconda got off to a pretty good start with excellent sizzle between the leads and a playful use of the heightened reality in romances. Hunter and Kennedy are enormously attracted to each other, but she is career focused and doesn’t want to get involved. Hunter has his charms, mostly related to his efficacious use of the aforementioned prodigious reproductive organ and his work with animal shelters, and Kennedy succumbs to them. This good start was undercut by a repetitive structure finding them having an amazing night, things falling  apart, another amazing encounter, things falling apart, and Hunter desperately trying to win Kennedy back.  I have no objection to the spark and conflagration approach to romance, but I thought it showed a lack of effort to have Kennedy and Hunter come together and apart in exactly the same way twice.

Most significantly, Manaconda lost what I saw as an opportunity for wry social commentary. Hunter is mortified by the attention his mascupython is garnering, but at no point does he acknowledge that this is the kind of attention women get and have been told to take as flattering for (likely) the entirety of recorded history. Pity the financially secure, powerful, successful, good-looking rock star having to endure a few weeks of teasing for something every other aspect of the book, and culture, rewards him for.

This book inspired my list of Romance Novel Tropes That Need to Be Put Out of Their Misery  and contains four of them. Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

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