Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Blog Tour: Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols (Review + Excerpt)

Title: Dirty Little Secret
Author: Jennifer Echols
Expected Publication: July 16th 2013
Publisher: MTV Books
My rating: 4 stars
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…
While I have read a number of Jennifer Echols' books before, they're usually either a hit or miss for me. So whenever I picked a book of hers there's always this little cautiousness that comes with it. Yet when I picked Dirty Little Secret, for some reason, I actually felt quite sure that I would enjoy it. Maybe because it was music-themed? Or because the main protag is a fiddle/violin player? (I have serious soft spot for violin players, i.e. Virtuosity)Or maybe because it was just really good? Oh well, whatever it was I'm just glad to say that Dirty Little Secret is definitely a hit for me! It certainly is one of my favorite Jennifer Echols' books.

Bailey Mayfield was a character I easily felt for even from the very start. The emotional baggage she was carrying was something I had easily understood. I could not entirely fault her for her past unwise actions because I can clearly see where it all came from. Instead, I blamed it all to her selfish, unfeeling parents! Bailey was a very likable character; she was a very good sister, daughter and musician. That's why I just couldn't fathom how her parents could easily disregard her like that. So I was really glad when she met Sam Handiman and his band. 

So onto Sam, this guy was someone you could so effortlessly fall into but just as easily you could get pissed off. YET, for some reason, it was hard not to remain too angry with him. This guy is very charming, talented, sweet and so so adorable (although he does carry some pretty intense emotional baggage too). But even with that I like how it was showed how flawed he is too. His strong drive and determination to reach his dream was admirable but sometimes it gets a little too much that he consciously/unconsciously ends up disregarding some other people's feelings. In the end though he learned that there are things or person that is much more important than what he think is.  

Although I don't know much about country music I actually still enjoyed exploring it through here. The dynamic between the band too was amazing. I love how they could easily work and produce a really wonderful music together. 

I'm not sure if this is the kind of book that would work for almost everybody. I admit there are moments that I get a little lost and disoriented in this one, especially with Sam, although I still always found my way back (to him) eventually. Lol! But there are a lot of good and great things that definitely make up for that. In the end, I still end up having a lot of fun reading this. I recommend this book.

Thank you MTV Books for providing a copy of this book.


“We’ll see about that,” I grumbled. With my circle skirt sweeping behind me, I spun in Ms. Lottie’s chair and stepped out of her hair-and-makeup alcove. I opened my fiddle case on an abandoned bookcase with a “Romance” sign on top. Better that than “Addiction” or “Family Planning,” which was where my parents thought I was parking my fiddle these days. I ran the bow across the strings, making minor adjustments with the tuning pegs. I didn’t need a tuning fork. I could tune my instrument by ear and I was always right. Other people didn’t believe me, though, and I often spent a whole set of songs gritting my teeth and playing A at a fourth of a step up or down from 440 hertz.

Determined not to let that happen this time, I marched across the bookstore with a smile on my face, which seemed a lot more natural while I was in costume. Mr. Cash and his son sat in chairs on opposite ends of the lounge area, playing their guitars. I would charm them into doing things the way I wanted. I watched them as I walked closer. Johnny Cash was a man about my dad’s age with his dark hair greased and combed into a pompadour. He wore a dark suit with a white shirt and a bolo tie, which worked fine for Mr. Cash but also wouldn’t have turned heads anywhere in Nashville. People around here were a little eccentric about bolo ties.

Ms. Lottie had coaxed his son’s hair into the same glossy pompadour, but his clothes could have passed for current, too, part of the Buddy Holly aesthetic so popular right now at Vanderbilt. He wore low-top black Chuck Taylors, black jeans folded up a few turns like greasers wore them in the 1950s, and a plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up above the elbows. The material stretched tight across his chest and biceps. He was big enough to have played football.

As I approached, Mr. Cash never looked up. There was no reason for him to. The lounge area was always busy at this time of the afternoon with musicians milling back and forth between the couches and Ms. Lottie’s area. A 1950s fiddle player coming closer shouldn’t have been an unusual sight.

But his son looked up. I was watching them, listening to the cacophony as they played two different songs in two different keys. I saw the exact moment when Cash Jr. realized someone was making a beeline for him. His dark eyes widened at me, his stare so unabashed and his expression so intent, as if reading my face that I felt myself blushing in response.

And then he grinned at me. His eyes sparkled. The corners of his mouth lifted through a day’s worth of dark stubble, which didn’t quite jive with the pompadour. He definitely was only a few years older than me, and so handsome that I wished for the millionth time I’d never cut my blond hair off and dyed it black. Then I remembered I was wearing my red ponytail wig, which was even worse.

Now I knew what Ms. Lottie had meant when she said he was a heartbreaker. And he hadn’t spoken one word to me yet.


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  1. I also posted my review for this, Eunice, but I was one of those readers who couldn't forgive Sam easily, because of his a-hole behavior.
    I'm glad that you enjoyed it though. I liked Bailey's character and I really sympathized with her situation. Poor girl had so much going on.
    Anyways, lovely review, Eunice! :)

  2. I love book with something doing with music too. I like the sound of the two flawed main characters, especially Sam. Fantastic review Eunice!

  3. It seems like Jennifer Echols' books are generally quite hit and miss for most people. I haven't actually tried anything of hers before, but I think I might start elsewhere. Although I like the sound of the music theme in this one, I get the feeling that I might have some trouble with the rest of it. I'm glad you enjoyed it overall though, Eunice. Really lovely review! :)

  4. Great review & excerpt. Thanks for participating :)

  5. I think I'd hate these parents, Eunice! I have the same experience with Jennifer Echols. I have some hits and misses so I'm nervous when I pick up one of her books. This one sounds like a hit! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  6. I've heard so many mixed things about this book, Eunice, and I've struggled with some of Echols' work before. I'm not sure I'll pick it up, but I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed it, lady! Wonderful review :)

  7. I'm excited to read about the family dynamic - although, I've heard that it's not as detailed as it could be. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book, but i love Jennifer Echols books (haven't had a bad experience yet), so I'm willing to give this one a try!

    - Tabitha @ Tabitha's Book Blog

  8. I haven't read any Jennifer Echols book, but I do want to start! I have heard many mixed reviews for this one though.. Though Bailey's parents sound like people I'd hate to read about it!!! Pretty annoying! Great review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  9. I'm actually a closet country music fan, so this book really piqued my interest when I first heard about it. I love the idea behind the story and Sam's the kind of boy that I always end up falling for. Great insight!

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

  10. To be honest, I'd give up reading Dirty Little Secrets since the majority of reviews I'd read were 1 star reviews :( But I'm so thrilled you liked this! While I'm not a huge music geek, I do enjoy the occasional book centred around music :))

    Lovely review, Eunice<3

  11. I like the cast of characters - they are imperfect but very believable - I like the excerpt that you shared :)


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