Title: Shotgun Angels: My Story of Broken Roads and Unshakeable Hope Author: Jay Demarcus Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one) My Bookshelves:Biographies, Memoirs, Music Pace: Slow Format: Novel Year: 2019
I absolutely love the music by Rascal Flatts. So I was excited to know a little bit more about their history and the journey to becoming a band. This really wasn’t about that. It was more about Demarcus’ faith. Which is fine, but definitely not my cup of tea.
I’m really funny about anything that is a little too Bible heavy. Again, just not my cup of tea. And although this was a sweet journey, it is incredibly obvious that this is a HUGE aspect of Demarcus’ life. It literally permeates everything in this story. And whilst I can see how a lot of people would find this incredibly uplifting, I just felt incredibly uncomfortable.
Because I did enjoy this, but also felt uncomfortable, I’m going to write a short review here. This was good and interesting. Definitely not too pushy with the belief. But also, not what I was expecting, anticipating and looking forward to reading.
Two words reading this: HOLY CRAP. I know next to nothing about blues and jazz. In both the best and worst ways possible. I mean, the holy crap meant that it was impossible for me to put this book down. In a bad way, it was just a horrible life for someone to live. And, all that much sadder to know that Holiday passed away only a few years after this book was first published.
I loved the style and tone of voice throughout this biography. Holiday is immediately relatable and totally foreign. She has such a distinct voice and refuses to shy away from the reality of the world and herself. In fact, there are some truly and deeply horrifying moments recounted in this, but it’s not done in a woes-me way.
This is a seriously dark biography. There are very few moments throughout that I would consider to be a bright moment. It was horrifyingly dark and, even a few days later, sitting here to write a review… I’m in awe of all of the feelings this inspired. And, the strength of a woman who was able to overcome unimaginable odds.
A seriously brilliant and intense biography. One that I will pick up again in the future to totally destroy my emotions all over again.
Title: The Kingdom of Back Author: Marie Lu Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Historical fiction, Magical realism, Music Dates read: 22nd August 2021 Pace: Fast Format: Novel Publisher: Putnam Year: 2020 5th sentence, 74th page: “Like this.”
Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish: to be remembered forever But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in eighteenth-century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age – her tyrannical father has made that much clear
As Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true – but his help may cost her everything.
In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and a sister.
It’s not often that I finish a book and experience a book hangover. There’s many that will leave thoughts and feelings lingering long after I finish them? But actual difficulty in picking up the next book? Not a common occurrence for me. It didn’t QUITE happen this time either. But its the closest I’ve come in a very long time.
Recently I’ve heard of Nannerl Mozart due to the Enola Holmes movie and the statues going up in response to this. However, beyond her existence and levels of talent similar to her brother, I knew pretty much nothing. Including the fact that she was a celebrated progidy just like her brother. The mix of reality and fantasy in the book helped to make me feel a lot more educated about such an amazing woman.
Honestly, my heart hurt throughout this story. Knowing how quickly woman are and were swept under the rug is one thing. But the way that Lu emphasises this in Nannerl’s voice… it left me feeling physically uncomfortable. Which I think was incredibly important to the tone and message of this story. Being ignored because of your gender is not a comfortable thing and Lu was able to perfectly emphasise this.
I’ve read a few historical fictions lately. But this is the first that intertwines this so strongly with fantasy. There are elements of the fae and fairy tales. And just a hint of familiarity to the fantasy story line that I just can’t place. But, alongside this you have the reality of being a woman in the time of Marie Antoinette, Nannerl and Wolfgang. With all of the challenges that that entails.
Title: Rock Wedding Author: Nalini Singh Series: Rock Kiss #4 Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Music Dates read: 16th August 2020 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Nalini Singh Year: 2016 5th sentence, 74th page: “Sparrow” wasn’t a song for keyboards or fancy arrangements.
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Rock Kiss series with a hot, sweet, emotional contemporary romance about love and forgiveness…
After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought sh’ed finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellam, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.
Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love… even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.
But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?
This was such a perfect ending to the Rock Kiss quartet. It managed to not only be incredibly cute and sweet. But it rounded out the stories of the other three band members and just gave this great feeling of happily ever after. The fact that it didn’t just feature one wedding (expected from the title), but FOUR… well, that just hit me in ALL of my happy literary places.
From Sarah’s appearance in Rock Redemption, I was quite keen to see what her journey and experiences were all about. But I didn’t expect to feel so keenly for her so damn quickly. The journey that she goes on and the tragedies that she’s faced… they were completely heart rending and, honestly, some of it was exactly what my nightmares are made of. It was seriously tragic and difficult to read in moments.
What I think I loved most about this novel is the fact that Abe took responsibility for his own actions. Not many characters tend to do that in stories. At least, not to this degree, and not when they’re an alpha male. Less so in real life, but still… just having a literary character that is able to go “Yup. I fucked up. And I’m going to fix it.” That was weirdly important and made me seriously love him as a character (particularly one that you don’t really get to know throughout the rest of the series).
Both Abe and Sarah have kind of tragic and seriously tough backstories. Yet, even though there was knowledge of these throughout the novel. It was a story that was more about moving on and forgiving one another the past. Finding a way to be happy and finding a bright and cheerful future. Which is probably why I found this book pretty much impossible to put down and seriously, seriously fun and enjoyable.
Title: A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing Author: Jessie Tu Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:Australian authors, Mental health, Music Dates read: 11th – 22nd June 2020 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Allen & Unwin Year: 2020 5th sentence, 74th page: He smiles and opens it.
Jena Chung plays the violin. She was once a child prodigy and is now addicted to sex. She’s struggling a little. Her professional life comprises rehearsals, concerts, auditions and relentless practice; her personal life is spent managing family demands, those of her creative friends, and lots of sex. Jena is selfish, impulsive and often behaves badly, though mostly only to her own detriment. And then she meets Mark – much older and worldly-wise – who bewitches her. Could this be love?
When Jena wins an internship with the New York Philharmonic, she thinks the life she has dreamed of is about to begin. But when Trump is elected New York changes irrevocably, and Jena along with it. Is the dream over? With echoes of Frances Ha, Jena’s favourite film, truths are gradually revealed to her. Jena comes to learn that there are many different ways to live and love and that no one has the how-to guide for any of it – not even her indomitable mother.
A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing unflinchingly explores the confusion of having expectations upturned, and the awkwardness and pain of being human in our increasingly dislocated world – and how, in spite of all this, we still try to become the person we want to be. It is a dazzling, original and astounding debut from a young writer with a fierce, intelligent and fearless new voice.
I was expecting a bit more of an uplifting journey when I read the blurb for this book. It’s not a happy book. It’s not uplifting and it probably won’t help you find meaning in your life. What this book is – is amazing. It is impossible to forget, impossible to put down and very, very difficult to get out of your mind. Tumanages to take you on a journey that will have you squirming and questioning all of your assumptions. It will make you seriously think about not only our own actions, but the actions of others. And it will make you reflect on your own relationships and childhood, and the scars that have been left behind…
About halfway through this book, I had to pause and take a breath, put it aside for a little while. There were a few emotions that Jen experienced that were just a little too close to home. And a few moments when I was genuinely fearful for her surviving into the future. I was so quickly attached to this character, that eve though she makes multiple bad decisions throughout this story, I really, really couldn’t handle the idea of anything bad actually happening to her. Hence, the having to take a break a few times and pick up a lighter, fluffier book. It’s been a very long time since a book has had the ability to make me feel this strongly. This quickly.
Although I was constantly fearful for Jen throughout this story, it did end in a much better place than I had expected. It wasn’t a happily ever after moment, which I really don’t think would have suited this story in the slightest, but it was a great, optimistic for the future ending. You finish with hope that the future will be better and that Jena would be able to find her own Zen and happily ever after moment. It creates a great coming-of-age story that happens a little later in life and is a little darker than you would normally expect. But that ending… if just gives you so much hope. Even for all of the tragedies that you experience in your own life.
This may not be a happy, chirpy coming of age story. But it is one that we all need to read. It is powerful, intense and fills your head and heart with information and feelings. Feelings that I really wasn’t expecting. Tuhas managed to create a world that we all know on some level, a lead character who is drastically flawed, but impossible not to get attached to. And a narrative that will leave you in awe. Definitely a book that I will be suggesting to others and rereading.
Title: Rock Redemption Author: Nalini Singh Series: Rock Kiss #3 Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Music Dates read: 16th June 2020 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Nalini Singh Year: 2015 5th sentence, 74th page: No photographers, no stalkers, nothing but a wild beauty that would suit Kit’s grounded nature.
From New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh comes the next contemporary romance in the Rock Kiss series…
Kit Devigny could have loved rock guitarist Noah St. John. Their friendship burned with the promise of intense passion and searing tenderness… until the night Noah deliberately shattered her heart.
Noah knows he destroyed something precious the night he chose to betray Kit, but he’d rather she hate him than learn his darkest secret. All he has left is his music. It’s his saving grace, but it doesn’t silence the voices that keep him up at night. Chasing oblivion through endless one-night-stands, he earns a few hours’ sleep and his bad boy reputation.
When a media error sees Noah and Kit dubbed the new “it” couple, Kit discovers her chance at the role of a lifetime hinges on riding the media wave. Wanting – needing – to give Kit this, even if he can’t give her everything, Noah agrees to play the adoring boyfriend. Only the illusion is suddenly too real, too painful, too beautiful… and it may be too late for the redemption of Noah St. John.
Even when I sit down to write this review a few days after I finished reading Rock Redemption, I still don’t quite have the words for the absolute awesomeness that is this novel. I loved the first three Rock Kiss stories, but there was just something… extra wow about this novel. It is brilliant, complex and kind of beautiful. But also incredibly heart-rending and serious. A perfect mix in a contemporary romance novel if you ask me (which you probably didn’t, but I’m still going to give you my opinion…).
Throughout this story, my heart broke multiple times. Not just because of Kit and Noah’s different issues, but there were moments I wasn’t even sure if a happily ever after was going to be reached. Although Kit’s issues were there… it was, in particular, Noah’s that were really tragic. I kept guessing and hoping I was wrong about his past (I wasn’t). But even that moment of reveal made me gasp out loud and cover my mouth with my hand. Even when expected… that moment of reveal was so heart breaking and tragic. And enough that you truly wondered whether or not they would actually get the happy ending…
The first three Rock Kiss books have got much smaller stakes compared to this one. Not only is Noah’s past WAY more screwed up and dark, but Kit also has to contend with a stalker and someone threatening her very life. The raising of the stakes is intense and made it completely impossible to remove my nose from this book. It also made my heart palpitate in ways that I wasn’t quite expecting. But, honestly, that is just what made this story so damn good… the stakes were raised, but the eventual happily ever after moment was just that much sweeter.
One of my favourite aspects of this novel was the way in which Kit figures out how to help Noah sleep at night. The construction of the outside bed is such a great, picturesque detail. And it kind of made me want an outside bed too…
Title: Rock Courtship Author: Nalini Singh Series: Rock Kiss #1.5 Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Music Dates read: 15th – 16th June 2020 Pace: Fast Format: Novella Publisher: Nalini Singh Year: 2014 5th sentence, 74th page: I’ll be your wingman.
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s new contemporary romance novella is pure hard rock and scorching heat…
What happens when the Gentleman of Rock decides to play dirty?
A drummer for the hottest rock band on the planet, David has a single, powerful weakness: Thea, the band’s publicist and the woman who steals his breath away with her every move.
Only problem is, Thea doesn’t date clients–or musicians. Emotionally scarred by a cheating ex, she’s not about to risk her heart with a man who has groupies buzzing around him like flies. Even if his sexy smile ties her up in knots.
What she doesn’t know is that David is a one-woman man…and he’s madly in love with her. David’s determined to prove he’s worth the risk, and willing to court her, step by exquisite step. Thea’s about to discover just how long and hard this handsome drummer can play.
David and Thea’s relationship begins to blossom and be heavily hinted at throughout Rock Addiction. But it isn’t until this novella that you get to find out the truth. Mostly, I was seriously curious about the “bad thing” that happened at some point in the timeline and their need to be together, alone for a while. Now I know. And it was a brilliant little side point in the story line.
This novella, like the first novel in this series was seriously just so damn sweet! My heart completely skipped a beat while reading this. It made me all gushy and melting-in-a-puddle. Which is exactly why I love Singh’swriting. Although, her contemporary romances are a little less conspiracy-driven (at least thus far) and the sweetness just exudes from the pages of my Kobo in this novella.
In Rock Addiction, Molly suggests to David that he use a memo to get Thea’s attention. I laughed at the idea, but honestly, wasn’t really sure how it would work out… but now… now, I also want to be seduced by a memo. They were professional, cute, and seriously hot and steamy. Exactly what I would love in a seduction… even though I can’t imagine my other half being able to write that professionally…
Alongside a great romance, this novella shows you wonderful aspects of both David and Thea’s pasts. They don’t have the issues that the other couples in this series have, but they do have a number of little hang ups that they need to get over. And that they find a great way to overcome. It’s sweet, it’s beautiful and it will definitely make you believe in true love.
Title: Rock Addiction Author: Nalini Singh Series: Rock Kiss #1 Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Music Dates read: 13th – 14th June 2020 Pace: Fast Format: Novel Publisher: Nalini Singh Year: 2014 5th sentence, 74th page: Knuckling it away, she got up and found the phone as well as the chocolate-fudge icecream and took both back to the couch.
A bad boy wrapped in a sexy, muscled, grown-up package might be worth a little risk…
Molly Webster has always followed the rules. After an ugly scandal tore apart her childhood and made her the focus of the media’s harsh spotlight, she vowed to live an ordinary life. No fame. No impropriety. No pain. Then she meets Zachary Fox, a tattooed bad boy rocker with a voice like whiskey and sin, and a touch that could become an addiction.
A one-night stand with the hottest rock star on the planet, that’s all it was meant to be…
Fox promises scorching heat and dangerous pleasure, coaxing Molly to extend their one-night stand into a one-month fling. After that, he’ll be gone forever, his life never again intersecting with her own. Sex and sin and sensual indulgence, all with an expiration date. No ties, no regrets. Too late, Molly realizes it isn’t only her body that’s become addicted to Fox, but her heart…
There are certain authors that every time I pick up one of their books, I genuinely wonder how I forgot how damn good their writing is. And Singh is definitely one of these authors! I walk away from her books for a little while, but then I pick up the next one in my pile… and WA BAM! I just can’t forget about the story. And it makes me want to scour my shelves for all the other Singh books so that I can have that enjoyment again and again and again.
This is the first contemporary romance of Singh’s that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. It is very different from her other two series; Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter. Yet, there is still that same sweetness and simplicity to the storyline that I absolutely adore. The fact that it was contemporary mostly just made it feel all that much more realistic and likely. Alright, it’s still a romance and that doesn’t mean that this is actually going to happen. But it’s still a little easier and nicer to imagine…
I love that this story combines the horrors of the past with issues in the present. That even though at the beginning it’s Molly’s issues that you think could cause issues, Fox’s also play a pretty major part in their relationship. It’s a great reminder that even if you are knee-deep, drowning in your own issues… a happily ever after is, in fact possible. And something that it is worth aspiring to. And I also love how they accept each other for those issues, and find ways to work with each other and around them. To me, that’s what true love is all about.
I’m now hanging out for the rest of these stories. I just can’t wait for the other band members to start falling head over heels in love! Actually, the moment I write the last letter of this review… I’m going to grab my Kobo and get started on Rock Courtship. Because I just have to know what happens to David and Thea…
In a time and place not so different to our own, an Indigenous activist find that maybe her life and that of her lover are about to be irrevocably changed.
It turns out that I accidentally picked this up to read at a kind of perfect time – a time when the world is seriously starting to think (hopefully) about Black Lives Matter. So, reading a short story in which the focus in the lives and importance of equality and an acknowledgement of our privilege sat perfectly with me. Granted, this is in a world that is somewhat ahead of our time, and there are certain aspect which are both terrifying and intriguing. But definitely the perfect time for short stories like this to take centre stage.
This was a very powerful short story. It actually made me want to cry towards the end. I’m not entirely sure why, because it wasn’t as tragic as some of the other stories that I’ve read that have actually made me cry. It was powerful and intense. A reminder that it would be so easy to further marginalise those who are already living on the margins. And the traumas that this can inflict. Not just being part of a minority, but also the ways in which people can be governed due to this fact.
To further that feeling of wow and power that this short story lends, I found that the first person POV worked perfectly. It sunk you into the understanding and experiences of the narrative. You didn’t have to wonder about the feelings of marginalisation and fear that were being experienced – you experienced them alongside the narrative voice. Leaving you with this amazing, powerful and just… wow feeling once you turn that final page.
They’re a surprising music group. One which will take all of the competitors by surprise.
I didn’t get hugely into this short story, but it was quaintly enjoyable. There was just something about it that felt comfortable and familiar. Although, I’m still not quite sure which fairy tale this was based on…
I love the idea of the saw boys as musicians. That the underdogs and those whom are generally considered as “tough” are the men who make some really nice music and ?I think? win the day. Like I said, I didn’t hugely get into this story, so it’s hard to recall the details when I’m writing this review.
As a short, nice little break from life. This is a great break. As something that I will read again. Maybe not. It’s the kind of story that you enjoy while reading it, but don’t really remember afterwards. And honesty, there is nothing wrong with that.