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The Van Birch Incident

(The Incident Series #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Van Birch: Pop Star. A-list starlet. Off-limits.

Clay Noble has spent the better part of a decade avoiding his taboo obsession: His stepsister Van. In love with her since the first time he’d heard her sing, even shipping himself off to the army couldn’t stop thoughts of her. Now that he’s lost everything in a tornado, he’s forced to move back in with the only family he has
Published May 2020 by Tiny Dino Publishing
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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Paula  Phillips
Jun 05, 2020 rated it liked it
In the last year or so, I moved away from the Rockstar themed stories as I had gotten a bit bored of them. However, what attracted me to this particular book was the #MeToo and the words "scandal". In The Van Birch Incident, we meet Popstar Van Birch who is a popular singer and often in the limelight. She has been dating secretly her manager Bishop and is ready to come out as a public item, even if it means she must come clean about her fake boyfriend Bryant - her best friend and "partner" for t ...more
Erin Knuth
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Van Birch Incident is a story about a pop star and her reality show, but it's also a story about healing from the outside in. It's a story with substance. I was crying by chapter two. Van's pain from The Incident is palpable, as is Clay's desperation from the tornado - and his love for Van.

With this series, Ms. Holt takes forbidden love tropes and makes them approachable and realistic (while still being hot as hell.) Which brings me to Clay. The stepbrother. The heroes are why I read romanc
Rachel Dunk
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
“You’re perfect.” “I’m not,” she said, even as she writhed against his chest, needing the feel of the friction of his skin against hers. “To me, you are.”

OMG!!! Finally a #metoo movement novel that I can get behind!!! This book was a complex web of intricate details sewn together perfectly to create a gorgeous story. It is important to note that, yes, this tale stems from a rape. Van Birch is raped by a man she trusted and believed she loved. We are not privy to the details of her rape, which I
Char (1RadReader59)
This is the first book of Marla’s I’ve read and I really enjoyed it. The characters are full-bodied and engaging.

We have the story of Van Birch a music artist. From a young age, she always knew that she wanted to be a singer. So, when she needed a manager, she hired Bishop. A man who is ten years older than herself. A sexy California surfer who takes no BS from anyone and he will make her, a star. He and Phoenix her publicist have done just that.

Until the day he snapped and then it took her cli
Michelle Hillstrom
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First, I have to say that Marla Holt is one of those authors whose books are one-click books for me ALL THE TIME. I don't even have to read the blurb. What? Marla Holt wrote another book??? BUY NOW! And with The Van Birch Incident she lived up to my expectations. She definitely hit another one out of the park.

As an advocate for the #MeToo Movement, I have to applaud Ms. Holt for writing this timely story. It's important for stories like this to be shared because they paint a picture of the reali
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh man, ish got real, really fast in this book. The Van Birch Incident had my emotions all over the place. My heart shattered for Van after enduring the horrific “incident”. I just wanted to wrap my arms around her. I was instantly on her side. I found myself clenching my fists, ready and waiting to help her slay all the demons. Inwardly screaming at my Kindle. I so wanted her to fight but I knew she needed time to heal and find herself again.

The way the author wove media coverage and tweets in
Courtney  W
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What amazing characters! I am so impressed with Holt’s ability to weave a plot that is believable, spicy as hell, and includes social commentary. Not only did I fall in love with Van & Clay, but the whole ensemble.

While some parts were a bit intense to read (there are trigger warnings at the start of the book) they were not used merely for shock value or in some other non plot needed ploy. They were pertinent & well done. While I appreciate the author including a warning, I think the important
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Van Birch Incident by “new to me author” Marla Holt was billed as a rock and roll romance but it is more of a celebrity romance type of story. This story may have triggers for you: rape, forbidden romance, stalkers, incels and trolling. Still with me?
The heroine is a young pop singer who trusts the wrong guy and gets hurt for it. We get to watch as she goes through the trauma and comes out the other side stronger and with a chance at real happiness. This book will have you clutching tissues
Carrie Lansberry
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am now a new life long fan of Marla Holt!! This is a new author for me and I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this amazing book. It shifted me through all the feels in the best way possible! I cannot wait for the next part of this series!
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, romance, netgalley
Here's my youtube video long review, and here's the NetGalley review:

The Van Birch Incident, by Marla Holt is a contemporary forbidden romance with awesome characters and a deft handling of the topic of sexual assault. 4/5 stars from me!
After star singer-songwriter Van Birch is raped by a man she knew and trusted, she returns home to come to terms with the assault and to help her tornado-devastated home town. As she works on her next album and works through her feeli
Amy Dufera - Amy's MM Romance Reviews

The Van Birch Incident had me hooked on page one. This Marla Holt book is the first in The Incident series and it starts off with a whole lot of action. Hollywood, rape, the Me Too Movement, and a tornado start this one of in a riveting manner.

What follows is a stepsibling romance that's messy and complicated. Van and Clay have been attracted to each other since their early teens, before they became stepsiblings. With a tornado bringing Van back to town, they have a chance to finally clear the
Jun 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished-reading
Good potential but poor editing. I have given this book a rating of 3 mainly because of the myriad of grammatical, syntax, and spelling mistakes. Such mistakes and the mid-sentence changes in the person of the narrator, often make no sense. Where was the editorial team? This was an ARC copy and I do hope that the published version addressed the errors. Most of the characters were well developed. As far as the plot was concerned, the author had attempted a huge chunk of important issues, like rap ...more
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Vanessa "Van" Birch has always been in love with Clay Noble, but ever since their parents got hitched, Clay became The One She'd Never Have, and she's been trying to find someone to fill the void he left behind. Lured in by her manager, she finally thinks things are looking up, until they don't. Reviled and taunted by the same Hollywood & fans that initially claimed to love her, she escapes home to Wellville. Wellville, where her father and Clay live.

Clay, meanwhile, is trying not to get too clo
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Van Birch was a pop star along with being a reality star as well. The “Incident” was in the very first part of the book and grabbed me bringing some hard hitting issues into the forefront. It was how Van dealt with this that drew me in. Her lifestyle was in front of cameras and the “un-reality” of her show was filled with many secrets. This author also touch on a seemingly taboo subject as well since her step brother was a big part of the future that Van really had dreamt of. Van had crushed on ...more
Cassie Faber
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was not prepared for how much of an emotional ride this was going to be but damn it was so good.

Marla created a world with relatable characters, painful truths, and sizzling chemistry all weaved into an engaging layered plot that will keep you glued to your Kindle!

Clay’s and Van’s love is the real deal. There are so many highlights on my Kindle and it was almost impossible to choose my favorite lines but these had me break out in goosebumps…

I loved you in the moonlight
By day it wasn’t right
Ashley Johnston
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Van, a famous singer, had a boyfriend she thought she loved who took advantage of her when he was drunk one night. She then went home to help out with disaster that happened there along with getting away from here life in California and everything that happened there. She starts hanging around her step-brother Clay, who she had a crush on since she was 14, and things between them build. This story deals a lot with the way the media and public reacts when things are sl ...more
Peggy Spencer
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I really enjoyed this story, and that feels slightly odd to say considering the plot line.

Our heroine, Van, is a public figure and deals with the reality of having been raped by someone she loved. This book covers the internal and external fears and pain of having to deal with this in the public eye. A public eye that is still very anti-women in in regards to rape allegations, wherein the victim is gaslit by everyone, because of course the 'man is a good guy and would never do that' mentality.
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I literally devour any book this author writes.

This was such an amazing story of courage, healing and how the love and support from the people who care about Van helped her heal through the hardest of times. Some of the emotional scenes literally had me in tears.

As traumatic as ‘The Incident’ was for Van, she was still able to love again and the romance in this story is a slow burn of chemistry and suppressed feelings but an intense love nevertheless.
Marla Holt
Dec 17, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm reviewing the entire Incident Series as I work on putting together a box set and possibly writing some bonus epilogue material for it. I haven't touched this book since last May when it came out, so it was nice to visit old friends. I forgot how much I admired Van and her resilience. And her sense of humor. And Clay is a favorite of mine throughout the series. Everyone needs a friend like Clay, I think. ...more
Courtney Giardina
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was really hard to put this book down! I absolutely loved all the characters. I thought the media write ups at the beginning of each chapter were clever. Marla did a great job mixing steamy romance, entertainment and real life issues. The main character was strong, bold and wouldn’t back down no matter how hard she was pushed. I’d definitely recommend!
Maday Dearmas
May 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I didn’t like this book very much. It had a crime of rape which has no place in a romantic book. Actually I hate most reality like rape, child molesters, etc in my romance books. I found this book hard to follow and there seemed to be a lot of characters. I hated the name Van for a woman. Whenever the name Van and Clay were mentioned I thought of two men. I wouldn’t recommend this book.
Elizabeth McDaniel
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This fun and interesting story delved into some serious issues at times while for the most part was fun and flirty with the main character Van and her best friend, step brother, father, and fake boyfriend. Good read that kept me wanting more!

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
May 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This book ended up being about much deeper topics than I anticipated. I felt like there was a lot of buildup though and then the end was pretty quick. I am looking forward to reading Bryant and Minnie's story.

Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
As distraction from the on-going world situation, this NC17 fictional documentary will more than fill the bill for a full day. I had an unedited ARC and this voluntary review is my own opinion.
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Van Birch Incident, by Marla Holt is a contemporary forbidden romance with awesome characters and a deft handling of the topic of sexual assault. 4/5 stars from me!
After star singer-songwriter Van Birch is raped by a man she knew and trusted, she returns home to come to terms with the assault and to help her tornado-devastated home town. As she works on her next album and works through her feelings about her attacker, her long-suppressed attraction for her step-brother Clay starts to surfac
The Lusty Literarians

The Van Birch Incident is the first book I have read by author Marla Holt and I really enjoyed it! I like that this is a rock star romance, but that the FMC is the "rock star" in the couple. Usually in those it is the guy who is a huge celebrity, so this was a nice spin on the trope. In this book Van, short for Vanessa, is a pop star/reality tv show celebrity sensation in her mid 20s. After being assaulted by someone close to her she flees LA for her hometown in Kansas. The timing couldn't be mo
I really enjoyed the characters and the story line, but I had a difficult time with the book being written in third person when the chapters alternated between the h and H. It was difficult to keep track of which characters each chapter was following. I also felt like there wasn't enough interaction between Van and Clay, almost not enough dialogue.

Arc received in exchange for an honest review.
Daisy F.
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! Read this book in 3 days, 300 pages of it in one day. Don't let this cover fool you. This book is not all fluffy romance novel trash. It deals with sexual assault and victim blaming, too, but there is a sweet romance at the center of the story and you'll fall in love the characters. I can't wait for the next two novels in this series! ...more
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This story was phenomenal. Complex, heartrending and holding no punches about the way claims of sexual assault are handled by the media and society as a whole. All laid over multiple deep and challenging romantic relationships, Van and Clay’s at the forefront in this story. It was all beautifully woven together and I can’t wait for the next one!
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Marla Holt believes in second chances, romance, and the radical notion that everyone deserves a happily every after. She's living her own fairy tale, writing contemporary romance novels in her Kansas farmhouse with her husband, three boys, three cats, and flock of imaginary sheep. Follow her at or on Instagram as @marlaholtauthor ...more

Other books in the series

The Incident Series (3 books)
  • The Deception Incident (The Incident Series, #2)
  • The Betrayal Incident (Incident, #3)

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