Monday, July 8, 2013

Dirty Little Secret Blog Tour: review and giveaway

We have a true treat for our readers today. We are one of the stops on the Dirty Little Secrets Blog Tour hosted by Itching for Books Book Tours. We are sharing our favorite quote and our review. Thanks for stopping by today.

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

Young Adult contemporary romance
Hardcover/eBook, 288 pages
Expected publication: July 16th 2013 by MTV Books 

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…


Jennifer Echols
About the Author:

Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.
Okay, here's an admission: I've loved Jennifer Echols' books ever since I fell in love with the characters in Going Too Far. Since then, I always try to read her latest books and today I get to participate in a book tour for her newest YA. Such a treat for a fan like me. And in true Echols fashion, the author delivered exactly what I expected: a compelling story of angst, drama, love, with lots of music.

Wow, where do I begin? Dirty Little Secret didn't grab me from the first page but I trust the author and somewhere along the first chapter, I easily fell into Bailey's story. I couldn't believe what her parents did to her. Raising two daughters to play instruments, sing and perform together in shows and when a record company exec comes along dangling a contract and lots of money, they easily split the duo up so Julie could be become the next Taylor Swift. This was one YA book where I detested the parents. No wonder Bailey acted up afterwards. What did they expect her to do when they tossed her to the curb like garbage? 

But Bailey is a true musician, a professional fiddler and aspiring songwriter. Sent to live with her grandfather, he procures a job for her in a local mall performing with musicians who dress up like musical icons. Bailey walks around, playing with the likes of 'Elvis,' 'Dolly Parton' and 'Willie Nelson.' Dressed and made up by Miss Lottie, Bailey's musings and experiences made me laugh. When she performs with 'Johnny Cash' and his son, she immediately remembers the young guy from her childhood. With so many memories, this one moment stood out in her mind. It was sweet how she relived meeting Sam at a festival and the way she felt.

Sam, what a character. Part cad, part gentleman, pure musician and damaged guy. He has a dream to make it big with a band and performs with his friends, Ace and Charlotte, but to land gigs playing in the places where they'll be noticed, they need one more person. They need Bailey. Unfortunately, Bailey is forbidden to perform since she might draw attention to herself and hinder her younger sister's debut at the Grand Ole Opry and album release. Telling Bailey she can't play is like telling a person they can't breathe. Ludicrous. Bailey wants to play, needs to play, and so she does.  Performing isn't the only thing going on as she's sucked into Sam's world of flirting, drama, turbulent home life and friendships. As a huge fan of the show, Nashville, I quickly related characters from that show to this story.

Being a music fan, I'm sometimes frustrated when a story featuring a musician or singer glosses over the aspect of their actual performing. Not showing us the passion behind the talent takes away from the reading experience so I was stoked that Dirty Little Secrets spends so much time on Bailey's fiddling, her fingering, live performances and her songwriting. I believed her. As for her relationship with Sam, there is that dreaded "insta-love" going on, and yet I understand why. Being such a passionate musician, she saw in Sam a kindred spirit (from their past 'moment' from her childhood when he stirred something inside her). Sam is an intense individual. There were times I didn't like him and times when I liked him, but I always felt as though I knew him/where he was coming from. 

Echols has a way of drawing out her characters through their thoughts, musings or dialogue and we don't know it. Bailey became my favorite character despite her allowing her parents to run/ruin her life. With Sam and his band she found redemption, acceptance, camaraderie, and love. They became her family and Sam her lifeline. The story isn't perfect and that's why I liked it. Love isn't perfect. Want fairy tales? Read a book. Real life is crazy, filled with angst, tears, laughs and loves and this is where the author excels in her storytelling--she shows us individuals in all of their messy glory and we instantly relate. 

Bailey may have been her parents' Dirty Little Secret but for fans of Jennifer Echols, her story is an affirmation of the power of music and love. I really liked it.

Favorite quote:
"Two stories below, gravel popped in the driveway. Someone was coming. Much as I loved being in love, I wished my heart didn't race into overdrive at the very thought that I might catch a glimpse of Sam. There was no reason for him to be driving up to my house this morning. It was probably the mailman.

But sure enough, glancing out the window, I saw Sam's truck parked in the driveway, dust settling around it. He got out of the cab and glanced toward the window where I stood, like he knew I was there."

Rating: 4
Cover comment: 
I had to look at the cover a few times before I caught all of the images I like it and I'm glad the fiddle is there. I would have liked to see a corner of her notebook captured in the cover somehow.

Book source:
Edelweiss.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

6 comments:

  1. Very good review. Glad you liked it :)

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  2. Interesting. Thanks for the great review.

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  3. LOVE Jennifer Echols! She's awesome at romance. LOVE how this one is about a behind-the-scenes plot:)

    Thank you:)

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  4. This sounds like a great book and I love the cover!

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  5. Thanks for this great giveaway!!

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  6. I love when music is used in novels and this looks very interesting, taking in to account Bailey's background. Thank you for the giveaway!!
    Bonnie Hilligoss - bonhill@speakeasy.net

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