Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols + Featured Freebie

Dirty Little SecretFrom 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…

My Rating: 2/5

I had really hoped to like this book. I loved a couple of this author's books, so I hoped that I would like this book just as much. But, I had one major issue that ruined the book for me.

I thought Bailey was a very realistic character and I really liked her. It was easy to sympathize with her. Her family has tossed her dreams away in favor of supporting her sister's dreams. And, to add insult to injury, the record label that signed Julie has demanded that Bailey be hushed up like a dirty secret because it would be bad publicity if fans found out that Julie's sister and co-performer had been left behind. Her anger and hurt were well portrayed and understandable. In fact, she handled them better than I would have. If I were her, I would probably refuse to talk to my family until they apologized. She was a great character and I felt genuinely happy for her when she got the possibility of a happy ending.

Sam was my major problem. He wasn't very nice. Scratch that, he was a total jerk. I'm okay with the love interest in the book being a bit of an anit-hero, but this was too far. Sam was unabashedly manipulative and willing to do whatever he had to in order to get what he wanted, even if it hurt others. Everything in his life came secondary to hitting it big with his band. After liking Bailey so much, I resented that he would manipulate, guilt trip, and force her to play in the band when she kept saying she didn't want to. But, I could have forgiven all that. The icing on the cake happened toward the end, when Sam found out about Julie and her fame. He knew what Bailey's family had done and said that he agreed with Bailey and disapproved of their disregard for her dreams. Fast forward a couple of pages until Sam finds out that Julie is Bailey's sister. He immediately tried to bully Bailey into talking to Julie to get the band their big break. Then he yelled at her, as did his too bandmates, for refusing. And this is after her knew what had happened. He expected her to go crawling back to her family, who more or less abandoned her, and kiss their butts to get a record deal. After all that happened between them and what he knew, it should have clear that that was out of the question. And then, he refused to have any relationship with her after that. What the hell? That is totally not okay. He was so mean. I don't know how Bailey forgave him. If it was me, I totally wouldn't have.
He was such a jerk. And, not liking him ruined the book for me, which made me even more upset with him because I liked everything else about the book.

I liked the uniqueness of the setting, in the middle of Nashville, where the musicians go in hopes of making it big. It was well done and I felt like I was there as I read the book.

I also loved the how the emotions were portrayed in the book. They were conveyed well, so that I could feel the emotions of the characters.

The plot moved quickly. I was kept interested in the story as a whole, but I had to take a break a few times after Sam made me too angry. I really liked the ending and how it left an opening of possibility for Bailey to achieve her dreams.

I wish I had been able to like Dirty Little Secret. I liked almost everything about it, but Sam kept me from truly enjoying the book. If you want a nice light read, I would recommend this book, but I would have to tell you to proceed with caution. Who knows?  maybe you will like Sam and end up loving the book.

*Thanks to Edelweiss and MTV Books for a copy!
Featured Freebie:
Today, I have a New Adult book that sounds interesting: The Seven Devils by Sara Danvers. Go forth and get it for free!

After nearly being drowned by her alcoholic father, 17-year-old Ellen, her mother, and her brother move across the state to start over. Ellen soon meets Neil, a gorgeous loner with a bad reputation. Her classmates warn her to stay away, but he seems to be the only one who understands her. Besides, the rumors about Neil are too far-fetched to be believed. When she is threatened by Derrick (a jealous classmate) it becomes clear that there is more to Neil than meets the eye. In this sexy page turner, Ellen must discover Neil's dark secrets and learn to stand up for herself before the plot hatched against her unfolds.

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