Tag Archives: Choir

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill | Book Recs for Music Nerds

Welcome to the blog tour for THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY by Lauren Morrill! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be on this blog tour because I get to talk allll about music! THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY is the story of Liza, the band’s drum major (for those of you non-band/music nerds, the drum major is essentially the band’s conductor and responsible for/assists with leadership responsibilities) and her mission to save her school’s band program from being cut. I immediately latched onto this concept because A) I’m a total music nerd (I was a choir-fanatic in high school… and college… and I still am) and B) because it’s Lauren Morrill! For my stop on the blog tour, Lauren (and I) are sharing some favorite book recs for fellow music nerds and I am so excited!

Before we get into the post itself, here’s a bit more about THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY for you to get more acquainted with the book!

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill | Book Recs for Music NerdsTitle: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill
Publishing Info: December 8, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Music
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 15, 2015
Related Posts: Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.
But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.

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ABOUT LAUREN MORRILL

Lauren Elizabeth Morrill is many things, including, but not limited to, a writer, an educator, a badass roller derby skater, a former band nerd, an aggressive driver, and a die-hard Mac person. She also watches a lot of TV, eats a lot of junk food, and drinks a lot of Coke. It’s a wonder her brain and teeth haven’t rotted out of her head.

Lauren is the author of Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny, and the forthcoming My Unscripted Life (October 2016), all from Random House.

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ON BEING A CHOIR NERD

Music nerds come in all forms — from classical to contemporary, performance to listening, there are all sorts of ways to get involved in a musical passion. Personally, I was a huge choir nerd in high school and I was totally obsessed. I started my choir experience my freshman year of high school, mostly because my sister had and she absolutely loved her teacher and the subject itself. (I went to a private school for pre-8th grade so we didn’t really have a “music program”.) I immediately fell in love and it also happened to be something that I was good at picking up so that just fed into my love of choir. I had always wanted to play an instrument because I just loved music but instruments were expensive and my parents didn’t want to purchase one for me on the chance that I would get frustrated and not practice (by the way, there were totally right on that. I tend to practice the things that I’m good at and give up on the things that I’m not haha!) and choir was a much more reasonable option — no instruments required!

Singing was an instant hit with me and I loved being a part of a group where my voice got to blend in with others, including different harmonies! It was also a great option for chickens like me who had little confidence to sing in front of others, though I did conquer that fear a bit more as the years went on! I continued with choir all throughout high school, made it into Madrigals (a Renaissance-style singing group, smaller ensemble), and even picked up a few solos along the way. My junior and senior year, I gave up basketball in order to participate it the spring musicals (though I probably would have dropped basketball anyway, but it gave me a good excuse). I didn’t land any major roles since I had little to no action experience but every minute was just a blast and I was just happy to be a part of them!

choir nerd

Even in college, music was important to me. I remained a part of choral groups throughout my time in college and it was always something I had so much fun with! To this day, I still look back on those memories as some of my fondest. I’m not in any groups now because I really don’t have the time but it’s something I always miss and really hope I can do again someday!

THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY actually hits a little soft spot in my heart as well because I just found out that my old high school’s Madrigal group is no longer doing their annual Madrigal dinner. Each year the Madrigals put on an entire performance for an audience of friends, family, and fellow students and it always felt so prestigious and it was so incredibly fun. Granted, I’m not still in school with this announcement of no more Madrigal dinner so it’s definitely not the same as Liza’s situation but it does make me sad to think that there won’t ever be another one (for our school anyway) and that this is my very last chance to go back to the dinner as an alum! I’ve been putting it off for years but now I feel the pull to go back one last time and revisit one of the most fun times in my high school career.

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MUSIC NERDS

And now the fun part! I know you’re here for the book recs so let’s get to it! Lauren Morrill put together a list of her Top Ten favorite books for music nerds and I couldn’t resist adding some of my own as well! If you’re a music fan, you definitely need to check out these book recs!

top books for music lovers

  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: Leila’s books are always incredible, but I especially loved this one, about a teen misfit DJ. 
  • Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway: I love this book SO MUCH, and if you haven’t read it, you need to fix that NOW! 
  • Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker: Another book you have to read—it will make you want to visit Austin and binge on some music.
  • The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding: Funny and fresh, for your inner music-theater nerd. 
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan: Two words: Tiny. Cooper. Need I say more?
  • If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman: This duology is a punch to the gut, but it gets so much right about music being your life.
  • The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: Another punch to the gut, but Jandy writes so beautifully about music.
  • Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle: You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to hug Nate.
  • Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg: Fame meets Step Up in YA? Yes, please! 
  • This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen: I can’t make a top-ten list without a Dessen book on it. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. And this one is just perfect.

I couldn’t resist sharing some of my own favorites too! Here are some of my picks:

  • Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: I’m not even a country music fan but I was so into the whole scene with this book! I loved the music aspect and how it was a main focus of the book (the country-wide tour).
  • Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols: This was another country music book that had me craving a trip to Nashville. Again, I don’t even like country but I could just picture myself in each scene and I wanted to be there!
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: This isn’t a traditional go-to for a music theme but I love how much music means to Kvothe and how his lute is really an extension of himself. Even when he loses everything, he can’t bear to part with his lute. I also want a set of talent pipes… but I’m not that talented.
  • Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke: This is a sci-fi novel about parallel worlds but I totally geeked out over all of the musical ties. The different worlds have different pitches and so there’s tons of music theory in this book which was SO much fun to see.
  • The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay: Nastya is a musical prodigy and her world changes when she loses her ability to play piano. There’s actually not a ton of music directly involved in the book since she can’t play but there’s that grief that the readers also experience for her loss of connection to her passion.
  • Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith: A musical genius and a rock band make up quite a bit of this whirlwind of a book!

TOUR STOPS

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GIVEAWAY

Of course we can’t let you go without a giveaway! Random House is offerring a Lauren Morrill prize pack of signed copies of all Lauren’s books and swag for one lucky winner! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter form below! US residents only, please! Must be 13 years of age or older to win. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Reece Malcolm List – Amy Spalding

The Reece Malcolm List – Amy SpaldingTitle: The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
Publishing Info: February 5, 2013 by Entangled
Genres: Contemporary, Music, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 5, 2013

bookreview1I have to admit that THE REECE MALCOLM LIST didn’t quite impress me as I’d hoped. I was expecting a cute contemporary, which yes it was, but I had heard so many different reviews about how this book was about a choir/musical nerd and I was like “NERDVANA! I will love this!!!” See, if you didn’t already know, now you do. I am a choir geek. Hardcore. I adore musicals as well, so I was banking on being BFFs with our MC, Devan. Only… that never happened.

Okay, I feel like I have to dissect THE REECE MALCOLM list in parts in order to get my thoughts out there:

1. The Reece Malcolm part: So Devan is “shipped” to L.A. after her father dies to live with the mother she never knew: famous writer Reece Malcolm. I gotta say… I kind of loved Reece. I love that she was figuring out how to be a good mother to this teenager that was dropped in her lap and awkward as she normally is with adults, trying to adjust to even figure out how to TALK to her teenage daughter. Reece was definitely my favorite part of the book! I liked the storyline too. It was really interesting to see these two characters try to figure each other out after barely knowing about each other their whole lives.

2. The choir/musical part: This is the part where I burst into song and flail some jazz hands at you *JAZZ HANDS!* (Okay, we didn’t have a show choir, but I can pretend) I really did love the musical aspect of this book! I really felt like I was reliving some of my own high school experiences through the descriptions of the choir classes and the excitement of waiting behind the curtain while the overture plays… The excitement of the very beginning of the production! It was a ton of fun to read about all those events which were really the best times of my high school career. Amy Spalding really nailed the specifics and I absolutely loved it! The only downside? I’m sure she picked Merrily for the musical either because it’s not well-known (aka overdone) and/or because of a personal connection to it, but I felt like a lot of the specific scene references/character names/costumes were lost on me whereas if it were a production I was a bit more familiar with, I could have had a better connection with the book. Maybe I wasn’t geeky enough to get there! Ha.

3. The romance part: Say what you will, but I never came around to liking Sai. I don’t know what it was! Maybe because he was kind of blowing Devan off and leading her on all at the same time throughout most of the book? His character always felt a little slimy to me and I felt like he was hanging out with Devan for the wrong reasons. I actually was NOT rooting for Devan to end up with her crush.

4. Devan’s singing talents: Devan was an awkward main character for me. There were so many times that she was timid, shy, soft-spoken, humble, etc – You name it, but when it came to singing, it was the thing she excelled at so naturally she was confident, right? Right! Buuuut… There were so many times that I felt like she was being boastful about her talent. From personal experience (I mean, my high school wasn’t anything flipping fascinating or anything but) EVERY kid had to work really hard to be as good as they were. My parents never wanted to shell out the money for voice lessons (I don’t really blame them, but still wish I could have taken them), but that was THE THING to do if you were serious about music. I felt like Devan’s talent was TOO perfect. She never did anything wrong as far as singing/acting goes in the whole book. Not even during auditions, which yes, okay… Some people thrive in auditions instead of choke (like I do), but not even a hint of nerves. It didn’t come off as confident to me – It came off as bragging and I just didn’t like it one bit.

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Devan: I really was not a fan of Devan. Sigh. She wasn’t terrible by any means but she really wasn’t an enjoyable main character for me either. I felt like she was too timid in most of the book and it kind of shut me out of getting to know her. Once she started standing up for herself, I actually started to like her a little more! (Also, see notes about regarding Devan’s all-too-convenient amazing singing talent — I think too much of it was too easy and perfectly neat.)
Reece: I actually really loved Reece. She made the book enjoyable for me! Her awkward parenting is more like just talking to an adult since she’s not really sure how to do it and I felt like I not only got a real personality from her, but I also saw a lot of changes. She was definitely my favorite character of the book!
SaI: I guess I just never trusted Sai in the long run. There was never anything really specific for me to be so wary of him, but I just got that vibe, ya know? I really wasn’t rooting for him to warm up to Devan and I felt like he abused their friendship a little bit. That’s happened to me too many times in my long-gone past, but I guess I’m still a little sore about it haha!

addiction_factor1Try it

Lots of people enjoyed this book more than I did, but I just couldn’t get on board with Devan. When I don’t connect with a character, it really affects how I see the book overall. It’s worth a try, though! We all relate to characters in different ways.

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