Review: Drummer Girl (Ginger Scott)

Drummer Girl
Author: Ginger Scott
Publication Date:
Genre: Mature Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC from WordSmith Publicity and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He was the words.
She was the rhythm.
Together, the told one hell of a story.

Drummer Girl is a mature YA/New Adult romance by Ginger Scott. This book
features garage bands, drug use, sexual situations, and honest talk
about mental health. Full blurb to come.


I like to read Ginger Scott’s books because I never know what she’s going to throw at me. Each book is something new and completely different. Her writing is always amazing, but it’s her stories that hit me hard.

Drummer Girl surprised me in more than one way. I knew it was going to be about music, but I didn’t realize it was going to deal with mental health. The combination of the two made for an explosive story. I liked the narrative Ginger Scott created around it. Some parts were brutally honest, while others almost secretive. There were things I didn’t see coming, but probably should have.

I have to admit that while I really liked Drummer Girl, I wasn’t 100% sold on Jesse and Arizona’s relationship. I wasn’t sure whether or not it was a healthy relationship for either of them. I was surprised by how accepting their parents were of it. That being said, I loved how they communicated. They didn’t hold back. Plus, they truly supported each other.

One of my favorite things about Drummer Girl were the friendships. Ari and her best friend reminded me a bit of the relationship I had with one of my closest growing up. We were different in some of the same ways, but had that same close connection. I also really liked Jesse’s friendship with Rag. Rag had Jesse’s back when others wouldn’t have.

Another great thing about this book was that both Jesse and Arizona’s parents were involved. Since this story was in Arizona’s POV, we mostly saw her parents. I didn’t like how they were at first. I understood their protectiveness, but thought they were a little too overbearing. By the end, they had won me over — especially her dad.

Drummer Girl is one of those books I like even more the longer I think about it. When I was wrapped up in the story, I felt a little off-balance and not sure what to think about it. Having finished it, I know that was the genius of Ginger Scott’s writing. She made me feel Arizona’s feelings and I didn’t always realize it right away.

EXCERPT:

Drummer Girl, Copyright Ginger Scott 2019

“That’s the first time I’ve played that song. I like it. We should add it to our set,” he says, pulling the strap from around his neck before setting his guitar at the foot of his bed. “What do you think?”

He twists so our knees are touching and our shoulders are squared.
“I think you’re a showoff, one. And two…I totally think we should close with that at our gig. People love retro shit like that at shows.” I don’t really know what people like at shows because the only kinds I’ve ever been to have been for high school marching nerds or jazz geeks. I probably don’t even deserve to utter the word gig yet. I’m a gig virgin. I do know movies, though, and if this life was a movie, our band would close with that.
Jesse’s eyes linger on my face, making me warm.
“Okay then,” he says, finally. “And I’m not a showoff.”
His lips pucker with his smirk and mine follow suit until a laugh seeps through.
“You so are!” I shove at him playfully, and his hands wrap around my wrists and shove back gently but don’t let go.
“No, I’m a great example. That’s a totally different thing,” he says, pulling me toward his chest until my fingertips meet the hard surface of his pecs under a well-worn white T-shirt.
“I’m pretty sure it’s just a synonym for showoff how you’re using it. In fact, now you’re just being arrogant!” I gripe back through laughter, a wry smile playing at one side of my mouth. Jesse remains quiet, though. His head leaned a tick to the right. My lips vibrate with this sudden change in atmosphere, and without even helping myself, I bite my bottom lip. There is just enough light in the room to see these small things we’re doing, these…signs. At least, I’m giving a sign. I hope I’m not imagining Jesse’s.
At least three full breaths pass between us without words. I count mine, and I guess how many he takes because really, I can’t see much beyond the dark centers of his eyes and the top curl of his lip. I wait for him. Even though I’m dizzy and happy and excited, I don’t want to be eager and desperate. I wait for him to move closer…to do something.
I wish for him.
“Would it be okay if I kissed you now?”

About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, and A Boy Like You.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GingerScottAuthor
Twitter: @TheGingerScott
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thegingerscott/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GingerScottAuthor
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GingerScottAuthor/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/GingerScott
Website: http://www.littlemisswrite.com

Review: Daisy Jones & The Six (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

Daisy Jones & The Six
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Narrators:
Jennifer Beals, Pablo Schreiber, Benjamin Bratt, Fred Berman, Ari Fliakos, Judy Greer, January LaVoy, Robinne Lee, Julia Whelan, Jonathan Davis, Henry Leyva, Oliver Wyman, Nancy Wu,  P.J. Ochlan, Arthur Bishop, Holter Graham, Brendan Wayne, Pete Larkin, Alex Jenkins Reid, Robert Petkoff, Sara Arrington
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Publisher: Random House Audio
Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.


Prepare yourself. This is one of those reviews that is probably going to ramble and make little sense. I can’t help it. I’m completely overwhelmed by my feelings for this book — in a good way.

Daisy Jones & The Six is officially my favorite audiobook I have ever listened to. I cannot even begin to explain how amazing listening to this book was. I’ll start with the writing. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a freaking genius. There’s no other way to say it. Listening to Daisy Jones & The Six felt like listening to a memoir of a real live band. I had to stop myself from Googling the band and its members. That’s how real this story felt. Heck, I wish it was real so I could do that. That’s how much I loved this band. A band I have never even heard. How crazy is that? I also have to comment on how deep and moving this book was. That’s something normal for a TJR book, but I didn’t think this particular format would be able to show the depth of emotion it did. It was impressive.

I think what made the audiobook format so priceless was the narration. People, this is the way you MUST experience this book. I am sure reading it is good, too, but the narration was top-notch. I don’t think I have listened to a book with quite so many cast members before. Each narrator was perfect for the portrayal of their character. The textures of their voices layered in the best way and added even more emotion to the story. It also made keeping each character straight easy. Their voices made the band feel all the more real. I was mesmerized by it all.

As for the actual story… It was brilliant. I loved how it started with the history of Daisy Jones, switched to the history of Billy and Graham Dunn and their band The Six, and then the combination of them both. I can’t think of a way to describe it other than a beautiful, unexpected build up. It’s truly the story of a band making it big with little surprised along the way. The story almost feels like it could go on forever until suddenly it’s almost over and I had no idea where it was really leading until I was at the end.

And that end. Man, I still haven’t recovered. It was utter perfection. The best and worst surprise. I don’t cry that often while reading book, but it hit me hard. I was sobbing in those last moments I spent with Daisy Jones & The Six. It’s not like it was the saddest book I’ve read or anything. I just connected with something special in those last moments.

I haven’t really said much about the characters themselves. There are so many of them, it’s hard to know where to start. Maybe with Daisy Jones herself. She was beautifully imperfect. I both loved and hated her. Billy Dunn was the same. Although, I loved him more than hated him. Daisy might have brought on the opposite feelings. I felt the same about all the characters. They were flawed in that real sort of way. That was made me love this book. Flawed characters figuring things out. The magic was in the way they fit together. Does that even make sense? The funny thing is I’m trying to tell you about the characters and the band and they weren’t my favorite character in this book. My favorite character was Camila Dunn. That woman had a strength I could only strive to have. Her truths and actions impressed me. She’s going on my list of all time favorite characters ever.

Everything about this book’s journey was utter perfection and I just can’t get over it. It’s rare for me to buy a book I’ve already read, but I think I am going to need a copy of this one on my shelf. I already want to experience Daisy Jones & The Six all over again. If I didn’t have to return the audiobook to my library, I would listen to it all over again right now. I’m that obsessed with it.

Okay, enough rambling.

Review: Hollywood Princess (Natasha Madison)

Hollywood Princess
Series: Hollywood Royalty, #2
Author: Natasha Madison
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Behind the “lights, camera, action” of Hollywood lies a world of deception, love, and seduction.

Are you ready for Hollywood Royalty?

Kellie

An Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy, a Grammy—she has them all.
She’s the most sought-after woman in Hollywood.
Even if her rise to fame was a fluke, you can’t deny the camera loves her.
The problem is, so does everyone else, and she’s about to leave on the biggest concert tour of her life.
Headlining for the first time in five years.

Around the world in ninety days. Should be a piece of cake.
Until her new security detail walks in the room and she’s looking into the eyes of the only man who didn’t fall for her charm.

It’s only a matter of time until he falls for Hollywood’s Princess.


Do you like books about celebrities? How about books about celebrities and their bodyguards? If you do, then I highly recommend Hollywood Princess. I have read quite a few bodyguard romances and Hollywood Princess is one of my new favorites.

Kellie is a country music superstar who is about to embark on a huge tour. Due to some recent threats, her security needs to be beefed up. She’s assign a personal bodyguard, one she knows from previous experiences. One Kellie hit on and was turned down by. Brian’s presence is sure to make things all awkward for her on tour. Kellie isn’t the only who finds things awkward. Brian may not have accepted Kellie’s advances in the past, but that doesn’t mean he was immune to them. Spending night and day with her will take all his willpower.

Hollywoood Princess was just as good, if not better than, Hollywood Playboy. Brian and Kellie were so much fun. Brian was this serious man who did things by the books. He didn’t mix work and play. That didn’t work for a celebrity who was used to getting what she wants, so Kellie was constantly pushing them. The push and pull of the situation made Brian and Kellie’s chemistry sizzle. I loved how they both tried to get their way and how their relationship evolved. It was very sweet.

The only thing I wasn’t completely sold on in Hollywood Princess was the suspense plot. I knew who the person intent on getting Kellie’s attention was from the get go. That didn’t really bother me. It was more the reasoning behind it all. It was just too much of a stretch, but I guess the person was kind of crazy…

Hollywood Princess was a great celebrity/bodyguard romance. It was filled with so many entertaining moments and a romance that made me swoon. I’m excited to find out what Natasha Madison has in store for me next with Hollywood Prince. I hope it will be just as good as the first two books in the Hollywood Royalty series.

Review: The Girl in the Painting

The Girl in the Painting
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: February 28, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Ansel Bray, an artist known around the world for his tragic hiatus from the canvas.
Ansel Bray, a broody, handsome man not known by me, at all.

Long dark hair, blue eyes, and dimpled cheeks. I’ve never met her, but her image is imprinted in my mind. An angel muse who inspires me to paint again.

There is something about him. Something that spurs a need to be as close to him as possible. A need to find out why.
There is something about her. Something that draws me in. Something that urges me to find out what her presence means.

Why does the girl in his painting look so much like me?
Who is this girl, and why can I see her so vividly?

I shouldn’t fall in love with him.
I shouldn’t fall in love at all.

But fate plays her hand.
But fate has other plans.

The lines of my life will blur.
The needs of my heart will change.

What a beautiful mess we’ve made.


Just when I think I know Max Monroe’s writing, they go and change things up again. I have always been a fan of their contemporary romances. When they released the Stone Cold Fox trilogy I was shocked at how versatile their writing was. It blew my mind how well they did both romantic comedy and romantic suspense. With The Girl in the Painting they have gone in another direction that has me marveling at their writing talent. This book was more emotional that anything I have read of theirs before. I loved that. Is there anything they can’t write? I doubt it.

The Girl in the Painting is one of those books you have to experience for yourself. There was a touching and addictive plot. I guessed some of the things that happened, but other parts were a shock. Everything was so well executed. The characters were so colorful. Ansel came across loud and clear as the tortured artist. His story was both heartbreaking and inspiring. Indy was a woman who thought she was living until she met Ansel. Their connection to each other was palpable. I got lost in their story and the emotion of it.

I was so impressed by A Girl in the Painting. It wasn’t what I have come to expect from Max Monroe, but I loved it as much as I have loved some of my favorite books of theirs. I hope we get more emotional tales from this duo. I wouldn’t mind a book about some of the side characters from this story.

Review: Cold Day in the Sun (Sara Biren)

Cold Day in the Sun
Author: Sara Biren
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Holland Delviss wants to be known for her talent as a hockey player, not a hockey player who happens to be a girl. But when her school team is selected to be featured and televised as part of HockeyFest, her status as the only girl on the boys’ team makes her the lead story. Not everyone is thrilled with Holland’s new fame, but there’s one person who fiercely supports her, and it’s the last person she expects (and definitely the last person she should be falling for): her bossy team captain, Wes.


The Last Thing You Said is a story that revolves around high school hockey. Our main character, Holland, is the only girl on the varsity boys’ team. She works her butt off every day to prove that she’s worthy of competing with the boys because not everyone believes she deserves to be on the team. The pressure to perform becomes even greater when her hockey team is selected to be spotlighted in HockeyFest. One person who supports Holland is her team captain, Wes. He’s the last person Holland expects to support her. Wes is also the last person Holland thinks would ever be interested in dating her, but he is. Holland shouldn’t be interested in Wes — she has a no dating teammates policy — but she can’t help the attraction that is starting to build between them.

I have been waiting for Sara Biren’s sophomore novel to be released ever since I finished reading her début novel, The Last Thing You Said. Her writing was so emotional and touched me in ways I wanted to experience again.

I found Cold Day in the Sun to be just as emotional and amazing as The Last Thing You Said. I loved the girl on a boys’ team theme. How Holland had to deal with her insecurities of being “the girl” was and all the issues that brought up were relevant to some of the situations going on in society today. The way her relationship with Wes wove into everything she was dealing with was a perfect. It wasn’t just her reactions to everything that made a big impact, but what others did and said about her spot on the team. There was a lot to think about it all — it made me wonder how I would react if my daughter was in the same situation or how I would feel if I was in Holland’s situation. I really loved how everything played out.

Oh, wait! I can’t leave out the music! If you read the blurb, you probably noticed the mention of glam rock. Let me just tell you that if you’re a fan of glam bands like Poison, you’re going to love this book. So many amazing songs are worked into the story in very fun ways. I loved how music was just as important to Holland and Wes’ relationship as hockey was.

Cold Day in the Sun was such a great book. It was one of those books I think everyone would benefit from reading. Sara Biren tackled a tough topic but mixed it with the sweetest romance to make it an emotional and fun read. I highly recommend Cold Day in the Sun. I think fans of Katie McGarry, Julie Cross, Ginger Scott, Sarah Dessen, or Morgan Matson would love this book.

Mini Review: The Duet (R.S. Grey)

The Duet
Series: A Heart Novel, #1
Author: R.S. Grey
Publication Date: October 25, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction, New Adult, Music

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

When 27-year-old pop sensation Brooklyn Heart steps in front of a microphone, her love songs enchant audiences worldwide. But when it comes to her own love life, the only spell she’s under is a dry one.

So when her label slots her for a Grammy performance with the sexy and soulful Jason Monroe, she can’t help but entertain certain fantasies… those in which her G-string gets more play than her guitars’.

Only one problem. Jason is a lyrical lone wolf that isn’t happy about sharing the stage—nor his ranch—with the sassy singer. But while it may seem like a song entitled ‘Jason Monroe Is an Arrogant Ho’ basically writes itself, their label and their millions of fans are expecting recording gold…

They’re expecting The Duet.


The Duet is my new favorite R.S. Grey novel. It’s also my new favorite rock star romance. I loved everything about it. Brooklyn and Jason start as musicians forced to work together. Their relationship starts off roughly and morphs into something hot and complicated as the book goes on. I really loved how everything was set up. I adored feisty Brooklyn and silent, secretive Jason. They had a chemistry that worked perfectly with their music. I really, really loved the lyrics R.S. Grey included. I wish they were real songs… I could totally imagine this book as a movie!

Review: A Wish for Us by Tillie Cole

From the author who brought you A Thousand Boy Kisses comes the new emotional novel, A Wish For Us.
A story of music. A story of healing. A story of love conquering all.

Nineteen-year-old Cromwell Dean is the rising star of electronic dance music. Thousands of people adore him. But no one knows him. No one sees the color of his heart.

Until the girl in the purple dress. She sees through the walls he has built to the empty darkness within.

When Cromwell leaves behind the gray skies of England to study music in the South Carolina heat, the last thing he expects is to see her again. And he certainly doesn’t expect that she’ll stay in his head like a song on repeat.

Bonnie Farraday lives for music. She lets every note into her heart, and she doesn’t understand how someone as talented as Cromwell can avoid doing the same. He’s hiding from his past, and she knows it. She tries to stay away from him, but something keeps calling her back.

Bonnie is the burst of color in Cromwell’s darkness. He’s the beat that makes her heart skip.

But when a shadow falls over Bonnie, it’s up to Cromwell to be her light, in the only way he knows how. He must help her find the lost song in her fragile heart. He must keep her strong with a symphony only he can compose.

A symphony of hope.
A symphony of love.
A symphony of them.

Review:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

It’s been a while since a book has made me feel the way A Wish for Us did. A Wish for Us was one of those emotionally raw books. (I am admitting to tears with this book, folks. It takes a lot to make me cry while reading.) There were elements to the story that weren’t exactly new and that I could see coming, but those were eclipsed by the beauty of the story and the surprises it had in store.

I was completely entranced by Cromwell Dean and Bonnie Farraday. They were so different, yet perfect for each other. Cromwell and Bonnie truly saw and understood each other. It’s one of my favorite things when a book can bring a connection like theirs to life. I loved how they were bound together by music, and how music was brought to life in this book.

Now that I’ve mentioned the music piece, I have to talk more about it. I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced music quite like the way Tillie Cole used it in A Wish for Us. It was pure genius. This definitely wasn’t a regular rock star/musician romance. A Wish for Us had something amazing and extra special that made it stand out.

I absolutely loved A Wish for Us. It was beautifully written. I don’t want to say too much more about it. I don’t want to give anything away. It’s truly one of those books you have to experience for yourself, and one I’ll be thinking about a long time to come.

I let the rush of nicotine fill my lungs and closed my eyes. As my eyelids shut, I heard quiet music playing somewhere nearby. Classical. Mozart. My drunken mind immediately drifted off to when I was a little kid . . . “What do you hear, Cromwell?” my father asked. I closed my eyes and listened to the piece of music. Colors danced before my eyes. “Piano. Violins. Cellos . . .” I took a deep breath. “I can hear reds and greens and pinks.” I opened my eyes and looked up at my father as he sat on my bed. He was staring down at me. There was a funny expression on his face. “You hear colors?” he said. But he didn’t sound surprised. My face set on fire. I ducked my head under my duvet. My father pulled it down from my eyes. He stroked my hair. “That’s good,” he said, his voice kind of deep. “That’s very good . . .” My eyes snapped open. My hand started to ache. I looked at the bottle in my hand; my fingers were white as they gripped the neck. I sat up, my head spinning from the mass of whiskey in my body. My temples throbbed. I realized it wasn’t from the Jack, but from the music coming from further down the beach. I pushed my hair back from my face then looked to my right. Someone was only a few feet away. I squinted into the lightening night, summer’s early rising sun making it possible to make out the features of whoever the hell it was. It was a girl. A girl wrapped in a blanket. Her phone sat beside her, a Mozart piano concerto drifting quietly from the speaker. She must have felt me looking at her, because she turned her head. I frowned, wondering why I knew her face, but then—“You’re the DJ,” she said. Recognition dawned. It was the girl in the purple dress. She clutched her blanket closer around her as I replayed her accent in my head. American. Bible Belt was my guess, by her thick twang. She sounded like my mum. A smile tugged at her lips as I stayed mute. I wasn’t much of a talker. Especially when my gut was full of Jack and I had zero interest in making small talk with some girl I didn’t know at four in the morning on a cold beach in Brighton. “I’d heard of you,” she said. I stared back out over the sea. Ships sailed in the distance, their lights like tiny fireflies, bobbing up and down. I huffed a humorless laugh. Great. Another girl who wanted to screw the DJ. “Good for you,” I muttered and took a drink of my Jack, feeling the addictive burn slide down my throat. I hoped she’d piss off, or at least stop trying to talk to me. My head couldn’t take any more noise. “Not really,” she shot back. I looked over at her, eyebrows pulled down in confusion. She was looking out over the sea, her chin resting on her folded arms that lay over her bent knees. The blanket had fallen off her shoulders, revealing the purple dress I’d noticed from the podium. She turned to face me, cheek now on her arms. Heat zipped through me. She was pretty. “I’ve heard of you, Cromwell Dean.” She shrugged. “Decided to get a ticket to see you before I left for home tomorrow.” I lit up another cigarette. Her nose wrinkled. She clearly didn’t like the smell. Tough luck. She could move. Last time I checked, England was a free country. She went quiet. I caught her looking at me. Her brown eyes were narrowed, like she was scrutinizing me. Reading something in me that I didn’t want anyone to see. No one ever looked at me closely. I never gave them the chance. I thrived on the podium at clubs because it kept everyone far away, down on the dancefloor where no one ever saw the real me. The way she was looking at me now made nervous shivers break out over my skin. I didn’t need this kind of crap. “Already had my dick sucked tonight, love. Not looking for a second round.” She blinked, and even in the rising sun, I could see her cheeks redden. “Your music has no soul,” she blurted. My cigarette paused halfway to my mouth. Something managed to stab through my stomach at her words. I shoved it back down until I felt my usual sensation of numbness. I sucked on my cigarette. “Yeah? Well, them’s the breaks.” “I’d heard you were some messiah or something on that podium. But all your music comprised was synthetic beats and forced repetitive bursts of unoriginal tempo.” I laughed and shook my head. The girl met my eyes head-on. “It’s called electronic dance music. Not a fifty-piece orchestra.” I held out my arms. “You’ve heard of me. Said so yourself. You know what tunes I spin. What were you expecting? Mozart?” I glared at her phone, which was still playing that damn concerto. I sat back, surprised at myself. I hadn’t talked that much to anyone in . . . I didn’t know how long. I took in a drag, breathing out the smoke that was trapped in my chest. “And turn that thing off, will you? Who the hell goes to hear a dance DJ spin, then comes to a beach to listen to classical music?” The girl frowned but turned off the music. I lay back on the cold sand, closing my eyes. I heard the soft waves lapping the shore. My head filled with pale green. I heard the girl moving. I prayed she was leaving. But I felt her drop beside me. My world darkened as the whiskey and the usual lack of sleep started to pull me under. “What do you feel when you mix your music?” she asked. How the hell she thought her little interview was a good idea right now was beyond me. Yet, surprisingly, I found myself answering her question. “I don’t feel.” I cracked one eye open when she didn’t say anything. She was looking down at me. She had the biggest brown eyes I’d ever seen. Dark hair pulled off her face in a ponytail. Full lips and smooth skin. “Then that’s the problem.” She smiled, but the smile looked nothing but sad. Pitying. “The best music must be felt. By the creator. By the listener. Every part of it from creation to ear must be wrapped in nothing but feelings.” Some weird expression crossed over her face, but hell if I knew what it meant. Her words were a blade to my chest. I hadn’t expected her harsh comment. And I hadn’t expected the blunt trauma that she seemed to deliver right to my heart. Like she’d taken a butcher’s knife and sliced her way through my soul. My body itched to get up and run. To pluck out her assessment of my music from my memory. But instead I forced a laugh, and spat, “Go back home, little Dorothy. Back to where music means something. Where it’s felt.” “Dorothy was from Kansas.” She glanced away. “I’m not.” “Then go back to wherever the hell you’re from,” I snapped. Crossing my arms over my chest, I hunkered down into the sand and shut my eyes, trying to block out the cold wind that was picking up and slapping my skin, and her words that were still stabbing at my heart. I never let anything get to me like this. Not anymore. I just needed some sleep. I didn’t want to go back to my mum’s house here in Brighton, and my flat in London was too far away. So hopefully the cops wouldn’t find me here and kick me off the beach. With my eyes closed, I said, “Thanks for the midnight critique, but as the fastest-rising DJ in Europe, with the best clubs in the world begging for me to spin at their decks—all at nineteen—I think I’ll ignore your extensive notes and just keep on living my sweet as fuck life.”

Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

Author Links

 

 

Mini Reviews: Salt to the Sea & More Than Word

Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Narrators: Jorgeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, Michael Crouch
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war’s most devastating yet unknown tragedies.

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view, and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning , Erik Larson’s critically acclaimed #1 New York Times bestseller Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff–the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray,, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

Review:

Salt to the Sea is my first Ruta Sepetys novel. I was so very impressed by it. It was such a heartbreaking, beautiful story. I loved the way it switched back and forth between the characters. The way their sad stories intertwined was special. I truly loved listening to the way the narrators brought life to the story. Whether you read or listen to this book, you’re in for an amazing book.


More Than Words
Author: Mia Sheridan
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The moment she met Callen Hayes, eleven-year-old Jessica Creswell knew he was a broken prince. Her prince. They became each other’s refuge, a safe and magical place far from their troubled lives. Until the day Callen kissed herJessica’s first real, dreamy kiss—and then disappeared from her life without a word.

Years later, everyone knows who Callen Hayes is. Famous composer. Infamous bad boy. What no one knows is that Callen’s music is now locked deep inside, trapped behind his own inner demons. It’s only when he withdraws to France to drink his way through the darkness that Callen stumbles into the one person who makes the music return. Jessica. His Jessie. And she still tastes of fresh, sweet innocence . . . even as she sets his blood on fire.

But they don’t belong in each other’s worlds anymore. There are too many mistakes. Too many secrets. Too many lies. All they have is that instinctive longing, that need—and something that looks dangerously like love.

Review:

Years ago, I read Archer’s Voice. That book broke me. I have several other of Mia Sheridan’s books, but have yet to read them. I guess I’ve been scared of the emotional impact. I decided to brave her writing again with More Than Words. There were several things I loved about this book. That initial connection between Jessie and Callie was so sweet. I loved that fate brought them back together, and that they got more than one chance to be together. I also loved how Jessie’s job and her interpretations paralleled with her relationship with Callen. The only thing I wasn’t a big fan of was Callen’s womanizing and drinking. I guess I’m just over that in romances right now. It made it harder for me to emotionally connect to Jessie and Callen’s relationship. Other than, I enjoyed reading More Than Words.

Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Roomies
Author: Christina Lauren
Narrator: K.C. Sheridan
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Simon Schuster Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From subway to Broadway to happily ever after. Modern love in all its thrill, hilarity, and uncertainty has never been so enjoyable as in New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren’s (Beautiful Bastard, Dating You / Hating You) new romance.

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions.

Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago.

Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?


This book was utterly addictive. I couldn’t stop listening to it. This is only the second book I’ve read by Christina Lauren, but I can already tell she is going to be one of my new-to-me favorite writers this year. The stories she spins and the way she writes are amazing. I loved pretty much everything about Roomies.

Let me start with Holland. I haven’t been through any of the things she went through in this book, but I identified with her. Holland came to a realization that she was a secondary character in her own life. That hit home with me. Being a stay at home mom for years, I have felt like that so many times. My life revolves around everyone else. It’s their show, and I’m just part of it. It’s a weird feeling to have, and Christina Lauren put it into words with Holland. I was so impressed by that! I mean, I loved pretty much everything about Holland, but that stood out to me so much.

Holland’s fake relationship with Calvin was simply magical. There was humor in the way she practically stalked him and then ended up his wife. (Stalking isn’t cool, but it wasn’t her intent to stalk him so this didn’t bug me.) I loved the way they quickly got to know each other, and how the spark between them grew. They may have done things out-of-order, but it was the perfect order for them.

I feel like I should say more about Calvin, but all I can think of is that I loved the dude. Really, he was perfect. He’s bound to be everyone’s book boyfriend. I only wish I had gotten his point of view. That would have made this story even better than it already was.

My one teeny tiny complaint is that I felt like the last big problem in this story went on a lot longer than it needed to. Holland was strengthening herself in so many ways, but in this one way she fell flat. She was so passive about something I thought she would be more aggressive about.

Since I listened to Roomies rather than read it, I need to tell you about the narrator. K.C. Sheridan was amazing! I loved the sound of her voice and how she voiced the characters. I especially loved her portrayal of Calvin and his Irish accent. It was so good!

As you can tell, I enjoyed Roomies a great deal. I highly recommend reading or listening to it if you enjoy contemporary romances, especially those with fake relationships.

Review: Emerald by Elle Casey

Emerald
Series: Red Hot Love, #2
Author: Elle Casey
Publication Date: April 12, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

A million reasons to go home. One hot reason to stay.

Emerald Collins is nothing like her strong-willed sister Amber. When she found out her father was a member of the legendary rock group Red Hot, sensitive Em was determined to carry on as normal—she had no interest in finding out more about her dad or leaving her quiet sanctuary in Maine.

But while visiting Amber in New York, Em meets Sam, a tortured, sexy, and utterly unsuitable musician. Sam and Em are used to life behind the scenes but their undeniable attraction is about to put them right in the spotlight.

When Sam reveals a shocking secret about his past, Emerald has to make a choice. Will she follow her head and return home or is the magnetism between them and the excitement of the big city enough for her to follow her heart?


Emerald is not happy with her sister Amber for moving to New York to work for the band her father is in. They had an agreement not to let the band into their lives, but that’s something Amber seems to have forgotten now that she’s in a relationship with the band’s new guitar player Ty. Emerald is determined to avoid anything to do with the band. She’s able to do just that until Amber forces her to visit New York.

In New York, Emerald meet’s Ty’s brother Sam and they instantly hit it off. They have a lot in common, and Emerald decides Sam might just make this trip to New York worth it. Things are going perfectly until Sam’s secret calls him back to Los Angeles. Emerald has to decide if his secret is too much for her and the short time she’s had with Sam is over, or if she can open her heart to new adventures.

I have to admit that I didn’t love Amber. I liked it, but her personality really put me off. I was curious as to where the series would continue to go, so I wanted to read Emerald. I was hoping I would enjoy this sister’s personality and therefore the book more.

Emerald was easier to digest than Amber. Her personality was quieter, less in your face. I loved that she felt such a deep connection to her upbringing, and wasn’t so quickly swayed from that way of life. I did get frustrated with her stubbornness at times, but I understood it. I felt she had a genuine connection with Sam. I enjoyed how their love bloomed.

Sam was a surprise. I don’t know what I expected from his character, but it wasn’t what I got. He was a really great guy. Sadie proved that. The whole story around Sam and Sadie was sad, but sweet. I really liked it, and I liked how it fit with Sam and Emerald’s story. It made me like Emerald even more.

I do have a couple of complaints about Emerald. One was the insta-love. Everything happened within a week or two, and it felt too fast for me. I needed more time for Sam and Emerald’s love to grow. I guess I sort of got that with the epilogue, but I needed more. The other thing that bugged me a bit was the father storyline. I don’t want to give it away, but I still feel unresolved with it. I’m scared Rose’s book won’t give me what I want.

Emerald was a fun, fast paced romance. I had some frustrations with it, but overall I enjoyed reading it. It continued to keep me interested in the series storyline, and I am very interested to find out what comes next.