From the author of the “real page-turner” (Seventeen) Such a Rush comes an unforgettable new drama that follows friends-turned-lovers as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame. Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away. Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 16th 2013 by MTV Books
Source: Publisher for an honest review
Two and a half stars: A book that fizzles with unlikable characters.
Bailey checks the mirror one more time before heading to the mall. Her dyed black hair, heavy makeup and goth clothes are an attempt to hide the hurt she has experienced over the last year. She moved in with her grandpa last week at the request of her parents. Bailey's younger sister, Julie, is about to hit it big with a record release, and the record company and Bailey's parents want her to sit quietly and do nothing that could damage her sister's image. They even expect her to give up her own music career. Thankfully, Bailey's grandpa disagrees and gets her a gig playing in the mall. Bailey soon meets a handsome young man, Sam, who insists she join his band. Quickly, the two find they have chemistry, but can they overcome they own hurt and heartache?
What I Liked:
- This is my first Jennifer Echol's book, though I was hoping for something better, I did find that I enjoyed several things about this book. First and foremost, I appreciate that Ms. Echols brings us a book brimming with all things music set in Nashville. I could tell that Ms. Echols knows music as there are plenty of discussions on playing music, writing music and everything else. I loved learning more about Nashville and what it takes to make it in Country music. I think the Nashville setting was my favorite part of the book!
- Bailey was a difficult character to get to know. In the beginning she is angry, looking for attention. I didn't know why she was so hurt, but once I found out I applauded her efforts to go against her parent's wishes and fight for her own musical career. Bailey is a talented musician and I admired her spark and determination.
- I was relieved that this book didn't buy into the current trend of heavy drama and character's who are broken and carrying around heavy baggage. Yes, both of the main characters do have some problems, but nothing that is gut wrenching or heart breaking. For the most part, this is a lighter contemporary romance.
- The romance in this one is fast and full of heat. It begins with an immediate attraction, but you learn there is a little history as well which I thought was so sweet. It does move very quickly, but I was fine with that as I remembered how easy it is to fall in love as a teenager. Even though it starts out hot, there are plenty of stumbling blocks along the way, but in the end, it leaves you satisfied.
And The Not So Much:
- My biggest irritation with this book was Bailey's parents. Granted, they are absent for most of the book and it is evident that they have been neglecting Bailey. Once I learned the reason why Bailey was so hurt and angry I was completely disgusted. Then when the mother actually appears in the book, she is the biggest bitch. I couldn't stand her. Without going into spoilers, I will tell you this. Bailey's parents decided to jump at the promise of fortune and fame even if it meant sacrificing one daughter's happiness. As a parent, I could never do that to my children. It is cruel and not right how they choose to pretty much shove one daughter under the carpet.
- Sam, the love interest, was not my favorite male character. He is difficult, a bit of a womanizer and he certainly has issues. I was also disappointed with many of his actions. At times, he could be so sweet and he would melt my heart, then in the next chapter he would do something that would just make me angry. Especially when he wanted Bailey to try and get him a record deal, and if not then he threatened to leave her. Seriously, who wants a guy like that? Then there is this reveal at the end that supposedly explains why he has been through a string of girls, and I thought it was a bit forced. He does sort of redeem himself at the end, but I cant' say that he is a boy I would want to date despite his good looks and talent.
- The supporting cast of characters were weak and underdeveloped. I thought in the beginning, that the grandfather was going to be an interesting and entertaining addition, but he fades into the background and ends up taking on the absentee parent role. Ace and Charlotte, the two additional band members, were also a bit flat. Charlotte was certainly more developed than anyone else but I still didn't really get to know her. Ace seemed like a stand up guy, but when I thought about it, I really knew nothing about him aside from the fact that he played football, was handsome and Sam's friend. Then finally Bailey's family, Julie and her parents are absent most of the book and we know nothing about them. When they do finally make their appearances and when it is revealed what happened to tear the family a part, I could have cared less about them. Julie especially irritated me. She should have stuck up for Bailey.
In the end, Dirty Little Secret was not a good fit for me. The irritating plot, weak characters and frustrating male lead put me off. I was hoping for so much more for my first Echol's book, but I got a fizzle. After I finished, I wanted to feel a bright spot with the happily ever after, but then I thought about all the other stuff and I just felt disgusted. I still plan on trying another book by this author, but it will be awhile.
"On Tuesday I was in a band with Elvis. Lucky for me, he wasn't the overweight Elvis from the 1970s, eating a peanut-butter-and-banana-sandwich and wearing a sequined jumpsuit, the version most impersonators go for."
"A boy should not be this handsome when a girl wanted desperately to keep her boots on the ground."
"At eighteen you can see over some walls into other rooms, and you start to wonder whether the adults were right all along. It's disorienting."
"You find that person at eighteen and you lose yourself. And the tragedy is, it's the person who's completely opposed to everything you've ever wanted. You bond with that person, and that person breaks your heart. I'm that tragedy for you, and you're mine."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and was not compensated for this review.