ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Syncopation by Anna Zabo


37648566Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: April 1, 2018
Received From: NetGalley

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.


GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: pansexual, homosexual


TROPES: coworkers to lovers, bandmates to lovers, slow burn, friends to lovers
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, BDSM, neuroatypical character (synesthesia)
WARNINGS: ableism, verbal/mental/emotional abuse, bullying, mental illness (depression, anxiety), drugging / non-consensual drug usage, hospitalization, allergic reaction


His love and Zavier’s passion. Together, they’d set the world on fire.

Honestly, truly, I don’t know where to begin with this review. This book is so incredibly wonderful that I’m having difficulties putting my feelings into words.

The whole cast? Spectacular. Every single character is dynamically written and wonderfully multifaceted. Ray Van Zeller is a man who simultaneously wants and needs to be strong for the people he loves, while also feeling like he’s not good enough and always letting them down. It was so beautiful to watch him go from this mindset to the confident leader he finally becomes by the end of the novel, with the help of Zavier and the rest of the band, and their unfailing confidence in him. So many times, I just wanted to wrap him in a blanket and hold him when someone crushed his spirit, but it was so great to see him come out stronger and braver in the end. Zavier Demos is self-assured and confident in almost every moment of his life, that it is utterly fascinating to watch him lose his calm with Ray and adapt to this new aspect of his life. Also, it was so interesting to watch him, an aromantic person, process the fact that while he’s not in love with Ray, he feels for the man in a way he’s never felt for someone else, and how that connection fits into his life. And the two of them together? Fantastic. They trust and understand each other so much, and they respect the other’s boundaries and don’t push them into situations they aren’t comfortable with. These two strike the perfect balance, and Zabo has created an ideal partnership with Ray and Zav.

Dom and Mish were wonderfully fleshed out as well. They’re secondary characters–though really, the only reason I wouldn’t call them main characters are because they don’t have POVs in this book–but their personalities shine through beautifully. You get a sense of who they are, both within and outside the band, and it’s so incredible to see different pieces of them. I can’t wait to read more about them in the next book, which is Dom’s, and am keeping fingers crossed there will be a third for Mish!

And, even Carl, who is a stunningly loathsome creature and and whom I hate with every fiber of my being, was a great character in that he was pretty well-rounded. Once you realize he’s the antagonist of the story, it’s not difficult to predict some of his moves, but they’re still somehow surprising in just how appalling he and his actions truly are.

Discussion of different queer identities and how your romantic and sexual orientations can be different? Phenomenal. I was brought to tears a few times when Zavier expressed his frustration and helplessness and pain about people not understanding or willfully misunderstanding when he gave clear expectations It was so stunning to see him realize that Ray actually got it and him, and process that Ray would not try to pressure him into something he couldn’t give. They both communicate so well and respect each other so much that I couldn’t help but love and adore them and their relationship. And god, the way they believe in each other and are endlessly supportive and take care of the other? Gah. So good.

I love everything about this book and I want everyone to read it. Once again, Anna Zabo has produced an amazing novel, and I cannot wait for more from them and this series!



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

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. Anna also has a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.


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