Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
ARC received from Jennifer
On Shelves Now
Reviewed by Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Great setting with heartfelt characters, but slow with the plot line
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…

I am a huge fan of Jennifer Echols books.  I love how much life she brings into her characters, and I love that she doesn’t shy away from the darker side of some characters.  Dirty Little Secret had an amazing setting and some amazingly broken characters; however, because the plot was very slow, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I have her other books.

I loved the setting—Nashville.  The lights, the music, the energy was portrayed perfectly by Jennifer.  I couldn’t get enough of the bar scenes and gigs that Bailey and Sam played.  I felt like I was there and could hear the music pumping up the crowd.  This was definitely the best part of the book.   The description of the music and beat really brought the scenes to life.

The characters were hit and miss for me because they were so hot and cold.  Sam was so sweet and great one minute, but the next he was a raging jerk.  This doesn’t bother me too much usually, but I just felt like, while his temper could turn on and off, his feelings for Bailey shouldn’t.  I wanted to see a more passionate, more truthful relationship emerge from them.  Bailey just broke my heart.  I hate the position her parents have put her in, and I understand that she got in lots of trouble in the past.  However, that shouldn’t give her parents permission to treat her like she doesn’t exist.  And furthermore, if they are going to treat her like she doesn’t exist, then they shouldn’t regulate what she can and can’t do.  I wanted Bailey to give them the finger and just walk off!  I had one of the most extreme angry reactions to her parents that I have ever had in any book.

As I said before, though, the plot was  extremely slow.  I was 120 pages in, and I felt like nothing had really happened.  There was so much detail in the people that Bailey sees day to day that I felt like that’s all the book was at points.  It definitely needed more action to keep me more interested.  Perhaps if the romance was less broken, I would have had a better time with the progression.

While this wasn’t my favorite of Jennifer’s books, I still look forward to her next project.  She is such an amazing writer, and even now, I find myself wanting to go back and re-read her past books.  In fact, I just bought a hardback of Such A Rush—I think I might restart it today!