In the Band by Jean Haus
New Adult contemporary*e-book, 306 pages
Date Published: 10/19/2012
When family problems push Riley Middleton into giving up a percussion scholarship in another state and attending college from home, her friends push her to try out for a local rock band. Of course, Riley makes the band. She rules at the drums.
Riley soon finds out rock bands have a different dynamic than marching bands, especially when each of her male band mates has a major ego and is a major player. Two of them relentlessly flirt with her. The other—a dark, sexy rock god she can’t help being attracted to— is a total jerk and pushes her to quit. She becomes determined to ignore his rudeness and his hotness. Even if she was interested in jerks, a hook up would probably get her booted out of the ego-ridden band, and playing keeps her sane. Behind the drums, the world and its troubles evaporate.
If she wants to stay in the band, Riley needs to ignore the growing sparks between her and her band enemy. But as she gets to know the man behind the stage persona, ignoring him proves to be more difficult than flowing through a time sig shift.
*New Adult/Mature YA for language and sexual situations.
“We’re going to get started.”
I look up to find the guitar player standing in front of Marcus. He’s wearing a dark t-shirt and jeans. Nothing that screams hot. But he somehow does with that angle of hair across his face, the muscles noticeable under his shirt, and those full lips. My heart rate matches the jerking rhythm of my nerves. The guitarist nods toward me but his dark eyes stay on Marcus. “Sorry but your girlfriend can’t stay.”
Ah, bingo. He does think I’m a groupie.
Marcus grins and pulls me closer until the side of my face is smashed against the Pinterest across his chest. “She’s trying out, not me.”
An eyebrow arches. Otherwise, the angles of his face remain stoic. “Then I guess you need to leave.”
“Come on,” Marcus says. “I know Justin.”
His placid expression doesn’t change. “I don’t give a s*** if you’re his long lost brother.”
Marcus’s lips form a tight line as the guitar player stares him down. Luckily, the singer comes over and gives Marcus a fist pump. “Dude, you trying out?”
“I wish. But no.” He turns to me, smiling wide. “Justin, this is Riley.”
Justin looks me up and down. His gaze pauses two seconds too long on my cleavage. “You play?”
Marcus laughs. “She was supposed to play at—”
I nudge him in the ribs and nod.
“Cool.” Justin grins and dimples groove his cheeks. “We’ve never had anyone so hot audition before.”
The guitar player’s eyes roll. “We’ve never had a girl audition so who exactly are you referring to?”
Justin’s dimples disappear as he scowls at his band mate before looking back to me. “We’re waiting for at least one more guy, but we’re going to start without him.”
The guitar player nails me with a narrowed look and crosses his arms over his plain t-shirt. “Why don’t you go first, Riley?” His tone is smooth but I catch the undertone of sarcasm in his voice. He doesn’t think I can play. Because I’m a girl?
About the Author:
Jean Haus lives in Michigan with her wonderful husband and son who, other than cooking, have taken over homemaking duties since she started writing more. When Jean isn’t writing, she’s usually reading. Anything from young adult to historical fiction as long as there is a bit a romance, she’ll load it on her Kindle. She loves to cook, and someday she will create the world’s best potsticker.
I'm a sucker for a contemporary romance featuring music or musicians. There's something about the power of music and a couple falling in love which calls to me. In the Band drummed a steady beat straight into my heart and I really liked Riley and Romeo.
Riley can be tough, has a passion for drumming, and loves her family. Her dad left her mom and Riley has stepped up to help out watching over and caring for her eight year old sister, Jamie. This college freshman gives up her scholarship and chance in the marching band to stay home and go local. When her close friend Marcus tells her to audition for a rock band, she scoffs at him until he takes her to see the band. She likes their energy, their cover song selections and original material, and the dark haired guitarist is smoking. After a tense audition, Riley finds herself the female drummer of a male rock band. But with her mom escalating into depression as the divorce is finalized, Riley finds herself falling--in love with the hot Romeo and falling farther away from her own self as the pressures of family life take over.
Talk about powerful situations! Turbulent family problems, acting as guardian for a sibling, accepting her father's soon to be new wife, college, playing in a popular band and falling for a dynamic guy all kept me glued to Jean Haus' In the Band. Riley's strong voice grabbed me from the get go. I loved her passion for drumming, her unselfish compassion for others (ex. her consideration for ex-boyfriend Aaron), she is such a likable character. There were times I wanted to hit her with her own drumsticks and repeat what her friend Chloe told her when she told her to stop being a martyr.
Alongside all the parental drama and music is a love story. Guitarist Romeo is a take charge type of guy and his rough demeanor during Riley's audition only strengthens her conviction to blow the band away with her talent and ability. She does and unknowingly takes Romeo's heart as well. In other stories, lust comes before love and here it was nice to see two wounded souls with a shared love of music become friends as they fall for each other. Heartbreak ensues and the author handled the subject of depression with grace.
I thought Romeo was trying out for Mr. Perfect until his revealing scene with Riley and his character clicked for me. I liked him. I did find Marcus and Chloe's storyline a bit unconvincing at times, though I liked them as well. Music, swoon-inducing guys, and an admirable young woman make In the Band the unforgettable and engrossing novel it is. Recommended.
Cover comment: Unforgettable story, forgettable cover. Don't like it at all.
Book source: I received a promotional copy from the author in return for my honest review during a blog tour.
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