Tag Archives: Music

Book of the Month
May 26, 2016 posted by Nichole

Book of the Month: Playlist for Vernal by Randi Cooley Wilson

Book of the Month

randiRandi Cooley Wilson is a “New Adult” Paranormal/Fantasy and Contemporary Romance author. A resident of Massachusetts, she makes stuff up, devours romance books, drinks lots of wine and coffee, and has a slight addiction to bracelets. For more information visit:http://randicooleywilson.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/R_CooleyWilson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorrandicooleywilson




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.


If I Stay – Gayle Forman
Book Reviews
July 8, 2010 posted by Christina

If I Stay – Gayle Forman

“Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left – the most important decision she’ll ever make.”

If I Stay is without a doubt one of the most powerful books you’ll ever read. At just 17 years old, Mia’s life is only just beginning. She has a beautiful and loving family, a great boyfriend, a caring best friend, as well as being a talented cellist who is on the verge of being accepted into the prestigious Julliard. On a day that started out as an innocent family outing, a car accident brings her life to a grinding halt as just about everything she cares about is taken away from her.

Stuck in a limbo state, her spirit looks on as doctors struggle to put the pieces of her battered body together. With only the ability to helplessly look on as the news of the accident gets around, Mia is left with one choice: should she live or die?

To say this book is a page turner or unputdownable is not really enough. This book is both heartbreaking and moving, but above all, beautiful. It’s one of those stories that has the unique ability to transcend above the YA category to speak to readers of all ages.

If I Stay reveals human nature when it’s struck by one of the most crippling emotions: grief. It shows how grief affects people differently and can bring people together when your world has been taken apart. This grief is demonstrated by two sides – by Mia as she comes to terms what has happened to her family, as well as when she contemplates death, she grieves for her own life and the possibilities that seem lost to her now. Grief and worry is also shown by Mia’s relatives, some are reduced to tears, others stay strong while some opt for distraction and denial.

The story is skillfully written, really gripping you with Mia’s progress while also taking you back to Mia’s memories and we slowly get to know more about her and how much she’d be leaving behind if she decides to go.

All the themes and issues in If I Stay all come back to one main point – love, in its many forms. The love between family, the love Mia has for her boyfriend, best friend and the love she has for music. This love is what makes the difference when deciding on choosing life – can you still love after you’ve lost? Is it enough and is there love in places and in people right there where you never thought to look? On top of all this, not once do you feel the story is getting melodramatic or sappy.

The characters are incredible in If I Stay and what makes some of them so powerful is their subtleties in the way they convey their thoughts and emotions. One of the stand out was Mia’s Grandpa, he was a strong silent man but in a few lines and simple gestures he could melt your heart. Mia’s brother Teddy had a sweetness that only comes with being so young while her parents and boyfriend, Adam showed depth not only in their love for Mia but also in their way of thinking. Her best friend Kim had such great wit and humor that helped to lighten the story.

Can I say anything bad about this book? Not really, other than it’ll make you cry, no, ball your eyes out, so I’d suggest arming yourself with a box of tissues.

If I Stay is the type of book that will linger in your heart and long after you turn the last page it will make you ask, if you had the choice, would you stay?

Pages: 259
Publication Date: April 2009
Rating: : ★★★★★

Teaser quote: “Stay.” With that one word, Adam’s voice catches, but he swallows the emotion and pushes forward. “There’s no word for what happened to you. There’s no good side of it. But there is something to live for. And I’m not just talking about me.”

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone – Stephanie Kuehnert
Book Reviews
December 17, 2008 posted by Nikki

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone – Stephanie Kuehnert

Being a novel about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone comes with an explicit content warning, as all good rock ‘n’ roll stories should. It is the tale of Emily Black, a messed up teenager from Carlisle that channels herself through her guitar.

Emily is one of those tortured artist types. When she was just a baby, her mother left her with her father to ‘follow the dream’ and chase the punk scene around the country. Now Emily is a teenager and her mother still has not returned. Although she won’t admit it, Emily is hurting and she’s angry – very angry. She is feisty, cold, incapable of loving, and charged with way too much self-confidence. She’s got a vile mouth and she’s one of those teenagers that get involved in adult things way too early. She lost her virginity at fourteen, she first got drunk at twelve, she smokes, takes drugs and sleeps around.

Emily’s life goal is to make music. She doesn’t have a backup plan because she doesn’t need one; she’s going to make it as a rock star and that’s all there is to it. Luckily her best friend is the best drummer Emily has ever met, and together they’re practically unstoppable. They recruit Tom – a kid from the school band – to play bass and before they know it they’ve got interstate gigs, and people are calling out their names on the street.

Sounds very glamorous and feel-good, right? Wrong. There is nothing feel-good about this novel. Its edgy, hard and I squirmed uncomfortably as I flipped through the pages. As painstaking as that was, I was unable to stop reading. Emily is such an emotionally closed character and her pain weighed heavily on my heart all the way through.

The novel also follows Louisa – Emily’s mother – on her journeys around the country. The victim of a horrible crime, Louisa runs far and wide so she doesn’t have to emotionally process what happened to her. I’m sure many readers will feel sorry for Louisa as they engage in her story, yet I found myself unable to do so. She’s weak, whiny, and cowardly. Her reasons for leaving her family behind are a little pathetic and completely unforgivable.

Kuehnert’s love for music bleeds from the pages of this book. Her knowledge is extensive and her passion is blindingly obvious. As far as debut novels go, this one is pretty spectacular. Kuehnert’s prose is strong and she manipulates the English language like Emily manipulates her guitar: perfectly and poetically. Her characters are vibrant, three dimensional, and complex; and they prove that even bad girls make for excellent literary reads. Relating to Emily was difficult, but empathising with her was not.

If you love music, if you like your books a little on the rusty, edgy side, if you enjoy reading about strong, angsty female characters, then I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is the novel for you. We give it two very big thumbs up here at yaReads and we can’t wait for whatever comes next from Stephanie Kuehnert.

Rating: : ★★★★☆