Tag Archives: MTV Books

Dirty Little Secret – Jennifer Echols
Book Reviews
July 1, 2013 posted by Nichole

Dirty Little Secret – Jennifer Echols

16058488From the author of the “real page-turner” (SeventeenSuch 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…

 

As someone who used to claim that she hated contemporary books, I have read SO many of them this year. And it just so happens that it was Jennifer Echols that made me fall in love with contemporary. I remember reading Such a Rush last year, and all the feels that it made me have. It is probably one of my top ten favorite books. So, obviously, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her upcoming book, Dirty Little Secret.

Dirty Little Secret is about a fiddle player named Bailey. Since she was just a little girl, her parents have dragged her and her sister, Julie, around to gigs in the hopes that they would get noticed and get a record deal. And one day that does happen….but only for Julie. Bailey has been excluded from the record deal, and her parents have demanded that she quit music altogether so that she does not mess up Julie’s career.

Since Julie got her record deal, Bailey has spent the last year screwing up and doing everything in her power to disappoint her parents. But after a car crash that involved drugs, Bailey has been cast out of the family to live with her grandfather. And if she messes up just one more time, her parents won’t pay for her college tuition.

Bailey’s grandfather gets her a gig at a mall, where she ends up meeting Sam. Convinced of her talent, Sam persuades Bailey to join his band on some gigs. Afraid of her parents threat, Bailey is terrified to perform with the band, but her love for music and her new found feelings for Sam convince her to live just a little. But with everything that’s going on in her life lately, Bailey isn’t quite ready to allow Sam in her life once and for all.

 

Jennifer Echols’s writing style is so freaking beautiful. This is the second book of hers that I’ve read, and every single time she makes me feel so many damn feels. Whether it be crying over Such a Rush or screaming at the stupid parents in Dirty Little Secret, I always have so many emotions going through me. I don’t think that I could ever DISlike a book by Jennifer Echols. I don’t even think that it is physically possible. However, I will say that this book pissed me off probably more than it should have.

My first issue with Dirty Little Secret was the stupid ass parents in the book. I hated them so much that it made it really difficult to enjoy the book at times. Seriously….what kind of parents ditch one kid to fawn over another? WHO DOES THAT?! They treated Bailey like absolute shit. They told her to give up her music…something that she loved more than anything!…and then they threatened not to pay for her college tuition if she didn’t listen to them. Now….not that my parents can afford to pay for my college tuition. I mean…most parents can’t, and I have a pretty decent chunk of student loans, but they would NEVER do that to me. I mean…maybe I had so many issues with the parents, because I’m freakishly close with my mother, but I HATED THEM. I would scream at my book, I would slam it shut and refuse to read any more of it for awhile, I would vent. I would just get so damn mad at this book because of the stupid parents. I have to stress that this is NOT bad writing! I mean….I think that it’s pretty amazing writing to get me so damn upset over a character. But they just made me so mad!

Another thing is that I hated…hated hated HATED Sam. I found him to have very abusive behavior. Abuse isn’t always physical, and I just found him to be a crybaby who was emotionally screwing up Bailey to get his own way. Bailey went along with it, too, which upset me even more. So the romance in the book was a major miss for me. It’s really hard when I find myself not enjoying several characters. Loved the writing……wanted to bash in several faces.

There were some negatives in the book for me, but there were also several positives. First, I LOVED that this book was set in Nashville. I don’t know if any of you have watched the television show, Nashville, that premiered this year. I love it. It’s probably my favorite television show this year…if not one of my top favorite shows ever. I’ve never been a huge fan of country until Nashville, and now I can’t get enough of it. Dirty Little Secret had the perfect setting. The perfect atmosphere. The perfect music. The perfect everything. I was in love with what this book was about. And Bailey’s a freakin FIDDLE player! How cool is that?

Although I didn’t enjoy some of Bailey’s decisions, I actually really liked Bailey herself. She was very laid back, and she was very easy to follow and get along with. It was a bit difficult at times, because I really hated Sam, but I enjoyed her throughout the whole book.

Dirty Little Secret is the first New Adult book that I’ve read all the way through. I’ve been seeing some crazy talk out there about new adult books, and I don’t really understand the issue. I mean…yes…there were some more advanced romance scenes…but it’s a new adult book. It wasn’t porn or erotica. Maybe not something you would want your little kid reading, but nothing too major or that any teenager hasn’t heard of already. I actually enjoyed the more advanced scenes, probably because I’m almost 23 and it’s nothing I haven’t heard of before. Personally, I wasn’t offended, and I think that a lot of people are going to enjoy the new adult genre.

Overall, I would recommend this book to everyone. I am a huge Jennifer Echols fan, and I’m going to read every single book that she writes. Even though I had some problems with this book, I still liked it. Yes, I hated the parents, Sam, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending of the book, but I love her writing. Definitely read this one once it comes out!

 

Pages: 288

Publication Date: July 16th, 2013

Publisher: MTV Books

Rating: : ★★★½☆

 

Teaser Quote: ” I sidled forward and put my hand in the pocket of his jeans. Feeling warm as his eyes widened, I shoved my fingers as far down as they could reach into his tight jeans and fished out his guitar slide. I placed in on his middle finger and lifted his hand to my eye level so I could see my tiny, rounded reflection, then brought my lipstick out of my own pocket and reapplied it.

He laughed. “You have style, Bailey.”

“I ain’t nothing but class,” I agreed.

 

Such a Rush Giveaway
Book of the Month
August 8, 2012 posted by Nichole

Such a Rush Giveaway

Such a Rush, by Jennifer Echols, is our book of the month for August. I fell in LOVE with this book, and I want everyone to have the chance to read it. Thanks to MTV books, we’re able to offer one of you a finished copy of Such a Rush. To enter, fill out the form below.

A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.

 

Nitty Gritty:

Open to US residents only

Giveaway will run from August 8th, 2012 to  August 31st, 2012

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contests
December 3, 2009 posted by Nikki

Ballads of Suburbia Giveaway Winners

And the winners of this fabulous, compelling read are…

Patrick M from the USA

and

Deedles from the USA

Congrats guys. There should be an email coming your way requesting your postage details today. Make sure you respond promply so we can organize your prize!

Book Reviews
November 10, 2009 posted by Nikki

Ballads of Suburbia – Stephanie Kuehnert

Kara hasn’t been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad-boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park….

Amid the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

The blurb featured above doesn’t even come close to doing Ballads of Suburbia justice. This is not your regular dose of girl-meets-bad boy-but-finds-her-way-back-to-the-right-side-of-the-tracks kind of YA fiction. There is nothing censored, dusted over, or left out of this novel. I’m not even really sure you could classify this one as YA. Having said that, I think its something all angsty teens should read, and not because it has a ‘drugs are bad’ message, although it does, in a round about kind of way. Mostly, because it’s so real and I reckon there is a whole bunch of teens wandering around suburbs just like Oak Park, feeling just like Kara does, thinking there’s no escape. Ballads is a tale about choices and how those choices can affect us for the rest of our days.

Kara’s decent into darkness essentially starts when her parents split up. They moved to the suburbs so they could live out their happy all-American fantasy of being a perfect family, only it didn’t quite work out that way. Not even close.

Kara is hurting and she’s looking for someone, something to make it all stop. Her quest takes her to fairly innocent places at first. Alcohol, cigarettes, a bit of pot. And it works, for a while, but soon enough, the pain starts to push through the mask and she knows she’s going to need something new.

Enter Adrian. Who needs drugs when you’ve got Adrian? He’s sexy, badass, and he likes Kara. No one has ever liked her before, not in that way. Who wouldn’t be pulled in by his trance? Before long, though, it becomes obvious that Adrian is bad news. He’s into hard drugs and he’s unapologetic about it. Soon the high of being around him isn’t enough either, and Kara jumps on the junkie wagon.

What I loved about Ballads is that the narrative does not, in any way, lay blame on Adrian for Kara’s drug use. Although she goes through some seriously messed stuff, Kara makes a choice, a whole bunch of them actually, and the narrative recognises that the reason Kara becomes addicted to heroine is because she allowed herself to. She didn’t need Adrian’s influence – hell some could argue that he didn’t ever actually influence her to use, but he certainly never tried to stop her – her pain and despair was so great that if she hadn’t gotten it from Adrian, I’m certain she would have found it elsewhere.

Kara’s problems essentially started at home, though I don’t entirely believe its fair to blame her problems on her parents, either. For me, it seemed that Kara is the kind of girl that was always going to at least dabble in illicit substances. Would she have taken it to such extremes if her family life had been more stable? Who knows. It’s impossible to say, but there are plenty of kids from well adjusted families that end up as heroine junkies. For some, I think it comes from within. Ballads acknowledges this and lays it all out on the table, judgment free. I bet that every single person will take something different from this novel, and that’s why I think everyone should read it.

This one comes with one hell of a warning folks. If you’re looking for something warm and fuzzy, don’t read this book. If you’re looking for a teen romance that takes a walk on the wild side, don’t read this book. If you’re looking for something that ends up all good and well in the end, then don’t read this book. If what you’re looking for is a real life read that will break your heart, fill your eyes with tears, and force you to face the hard questions head on, then this is absolutely, most definitely the book for you. If you’re looking for a book with complex and deep characters, then this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a read that will keep you thinking long after you finish the last word, then Ballads of Suburbia is a must-read for you.

Kara’s tale is a raw, hard-hitting lesson on just how much guts it takes to fight your way from the dark side into the light. Stephanie Kuehnert’s effortless prose and outstanding imagery will leave you standing front and center, right in the middle of all Kara’s chaos.

Be prepared to have your beating heart ripped right out of your chest.

Rating:: ★★★★★

P.S – If you’ve never known someone that’s affected by drugs the way Kara and some of her friends in this book are, I hope that you can look upon her story in a non-judging way. And if you, or someone you love has been kissed by drugs, then I hope you can take something of Kara with you into your days. Her story is more than just a fictional tale.

Ballads of Suburbia Giveaway
Contests
November 1, 2009 posted by Nikki

Ballads of Suburbia Giveaway

Stephanie Kuehnert’s new novel, Ballads of Suburbia, is our Book of the Month during the month of November. As part of this promotion, Stephanie has kindly offered two copies of the book to give away to the yaReads community.

Never heard of Ballads of Suburbia? Here’s a synopsis for you…

Kara hasn’t been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad-boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park….

Amid the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

To win, all you need to do is leave your name and your country of origin at the bottom of this post.

Happy reading!