More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs
Chasing the Dream #1
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Music major Maddie Taylor just finished her junior year of college and has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, yet every night she practices guitar and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don’t get to be rock stars. That is, until tattooed singer Jared Cross catches her playing guitar and invites her to join his band on The Sound, a reality TV show competition.
Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared than his flirty smile and bad boy reputation – and that he’s just as big a geek as she is. With each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore, but when the show pressures them to stay single they’re forced to keep their relationship secret.
As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.
The crowd’s cheering took on more of a screaming sound, and one girl even yelled, “Jared, I love you!” I rolled my eyes. Not that I blamed the girl. With dark hair that always stuck up like he’d just gotten out of bed, a perpetual five o’clock shadow, and blue eyes that could charm any girl into giving him his phone number, Jared was impossible to resist. I wanted to, believe me, but every time he opened his mouth and sang it was all over.
Jared gave the audience a wicked grin while he grabbed his guitar, a black Fender Stratocaster almost identical to my own except for the color. Like Kyle, he had tattoos running up and down his toned arms, and I couldn’t help but wonder if they continued under his shirt.
The entire club buzzed with excitement, every one of us poised on the edge, holding our breaths and waiting for the plunge. In this moment, right before the music started, it felt like anything could happen—and I was ready.
Hector yelled out, “One, two, three, four,” and the band launched into their first song. Jared’s hard guitar riffs filled the small club, matched with the deep pulse of the bass, the fierce beat of the drums, and the eerie moan from Kyle’s keyboard. The music ripped through me, touching the wild, dark part of my soul I kept locked away. My fingers itched to form the chords myself and play along, but I kept my hands in fists at my sides. Instead I nodded my head to the music, picking out each note Jared played and feeling it in a way only another musician could.
When Jared leaned into the mic and sang, his smooth voice washed over me like a soft caress. It was like the last, decadent bite of a chocolate-covered strawberry. The smoky burn of whiskey as it slipped down your throat. The final night of passion before your lover left forever. I sang along to the words, feeling each line strike me deep inside. I understood exactly what he was saying, like he’d written every word just for me, like somehow he understood me in a way no one else did. Of course, every other girl in the club probably felt the same way I did. And a few guys, too.
Book Review ~ ‘More Than Music’ by Elizabeth Briggs ~ 5 Stars!
To say I was excited at the prospect of reading ‘More than Music’ would be an understatement. The television show ‘The Voice’ had recently finished in the UK, and I was having serious withdrawal symptoms from having no decent music competitions on a Saturday night. ‘More Than Music’ more than fit the bill, and not only was it a brilliant escape from the real world, it was written in such a refreshingly honest way that I really connected with the characters, their hopes and desires in the music industry, and the price of pain and heartbreak that comes with having such big dreams.
Maddie was such a great heroine. Her dilemma of whether or not to sacrifice her dream for the opportunity to have a more stable occupation was something that I think many young readers will connect with. The way that her less than stellar relationship with her mother factored into this was really interesting to see, especially when their relationship developed slightly throughout the novel, and Maddie and her mother were able to see that there was more to life when you could take a risk. I really admired Maddie as a young girl for giving up something she’d worked for, not only to help her friends, but also to help her experience more of what life has to offer.
Jared was a character that I really empathised with. It was heartbreaking to see how much he was willing to give up to achieve his dream. I never felt angry with him, even when I probably should have, because it was always clear that Jared’s hopes for the future were one-directional, and that to succeed with his music, the strongest relationship he has with anything, was to show that he didn’t destroy everything he touched. It was a heartbreaking read to see how his drive and utmost focus on winning instead made him push away those closest to him.
The reality TV show aspect of the book was written to perfection. I felt every moment of fear, heart-palpitating nerves, celebration and loss as the bands battled for the win, and I loved reading about the inner workings with the mentors and how they differed in their approaches. It also highlighted the things that are hidden from the audiences eyes, such as how the contestants are treated, the favouritism, the vendettas and the masks that some of the famous mentors put on for the world, only to reveal a monster beneath when working behind the scenes.
This was a heart-pounding, romantic and rocking novel which just gripped me from start to finish. I will definitely be reading more in the ‘Chasing the Dream’ series.
Elizabeth Briggs is a Young Adult and New Adult author who lives in Los Angeles with her British husband and a bunch of fluffy white rescue dogs. She’s a guitar-playing geek who loves books, rock music, and video games, goes to Comic Con every year, and is still hoping to be a Jedi when she grows up.
Elizabeth currently works with WriteGirl to mentor at-risk or pregnant teen girls in writing, to help them get through high school and into college. She also volunteers with Bichon FurKids to help rescued dogs find a new, loving home. She previously worked as an intern for literary agent Jill Corcoran of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency, an intern for Entangled Publishing, and an editor for Curiosity Quills Press.
Elizabeth is represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of KT Literary and is a member of SCBWI and RWA.
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