Dirty Little Secret ARC Review

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
Expected Release Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: MTV Books
Age: Mature YA, New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Music, Drama, Family
Format: ebook
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Preorder it: Amazon
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 books have always been an escape for me, she has an uncanny ability to create likable characters and page turning plots. Dirty Little Secret, while a good read, wasn't quite what I was expecting. It is a novel filled with music, romance, and family drama. There were parts I loved, like when Bailey shows her raw talent, and parts that I didn't enjoy as much.

Bailey made me think of Rowen from Nicole Williams' Lost and Found. She's in a dark place in her life and she's hiding behind a mask, a shell of the girl she once was. She's left feeling betrayed by those closest to her and betrayed, in a way, by herself. In the book she is secretly pursuing her love of music in any way she can and trying to stay out of the publics eye as her sister chases fame and hits it big. She's given up on the life-long dream she's had, but is awoken by a chance encounter. The opportunity she gets when she meets Sam is all it takes to help her follow her dreams again.

Sam is one of those characters that is fun and endearing, easy to fall in love with. But, just when I thought I had him figured out he became this heartless mess. In his defense he makes his intentions to get stardom in anyway he can clear, but he ends up hurting Bailey in the process. When he turns back into his charming self I had myself doing double-takes, like, what just happened? I don't know what it was about him, but I found myself wishing Bailey would move on. He adds a great element to the story but I wish his character was a little different.

Bailey, from the beginning, was hard for me to reach and identify with. Her parents are awful and have no regard for her happiness or well being. She's not a strong character or a likable one. She's dark and moody, and really has every right to be.

I don't listen to country music, at all, but Jennifer left me fascinated. Her musical knowledge and obvious research (or experience) made her an expert on guitar chords and pitch. The book is very well rounded and well put together, fueled by family drama and enhanced by an interesting background rags to riches story, it is a book I couldn't put down and had to know the ending.

The thing that this book lacked for me, don't throw anything at me, was heart. I didn't connect with these characters like I wanted to, the plot was not executed like I was expecting; it's a Jennifer Echol's novel and I was looking for more. I am still a huge fan of hers but this one book fell a little flat for me. That's not to say that it isn't good, but it wasn't all-that for me, maybe for the next person.

The next Echols book on my list is Such a Rush. I purchased a copy a few months back and I plan on picking it up soon and checking it out!


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