Tag Archives: Jennifer Echols

Dirty Little Secret – Jennifer Echols

Dirty Little Secret – Jennifer EcholsTitle: Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
Publishing Info: July 16, 2013 by MTV Books
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Contemporary, Music, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 20, 2013

    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…

bookreview1

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET was just the contemporary I needed! A super cute guy, a swoony romance, family drama and MUSIC were the perfect recipe to create just the contemporary I was craving! Don’t be fooled by the title — First, this is not about The All-American Rejects (I honestly cannot get that song out of my head when I see this title) and this isn’t a romance novel (Bailey is actually more of the “dirty little secret”, not her having one).

The book starts off with an angsty Bailey living with her grandfather after her parents have left with her younger sister Julie who is working on a record deal and nation-wide tour. Bailey essentially becomes the family’s “dirty little secret” when her parents force her to stay out of the spotlight and essentially forbid her from performing — which she and Julie used to do together — for fear that the media will find out that she and Julie used to be a duet and now are not OR that Bailey will go off the deep end and ruin Julie’s image by being the crazy sister. But when Bailey meets Sam at a mall performance that her grandfather hooked her up with… Things all start to change.

Sam was a major swoon-factor in this book for me. He just oozes that kind of confidence that makes you want to drop whatever you’re doing and follow him to the ends of the earth… You know, the dangerous kind of confidence. He seems like he could be a lady slayer which is something Bailey has to be cautious about, but he says all the right things and flashes that gorgeous smile (Well, at least how I’m picturing this in my head…) and I’ll tell ya, I totally fell for him. Things get difficult for Bailey when she has to decide whether to play music with Sam — or even trust him in the first place — or to stay quiet and keep her head down until college. I really liked Bailey’s character because as rough of a time as she’s having now, you can tell that she really did respect her parents before things started going south so it really is a hard decision to obey their somewhat unreasonable wishes or to do what she really has a passion for in life. (Music… not Sam. Haha!)

I really enjoyed the romance that developed between the two characters. It was an instant attraction and yes, things technically moved quickly but it really didn’t feel like any kind of insta-love or anything. Sometimes you just meet someone and you’re instantly crushing; the more you get to know them, the more you like, and that’s exactly what this felt like. It wasn’t exactly a slow burn, but it wasn’t jumping in too quickly either so it was a nice balance, in my opinion!

I. Loved. The music aspect. The book takes place in Tennessee, specifically Nashville so we’ve got country music galore in this book. I actually really don’t like country music, but that never fazed me once while reading — In fact, the ambience of the book actually made me want to go to Nashville! Bailey is a fiddle player (which is awesome) and she’s an extremely talented musician in part because she has perfect pitch. I was no music major or anything, but being a huge choir nerd in high school and college, I took Music Theory so it was fun just seeing some of the more technical terms that Bailey used to talk about music, chords, and tuning (which I’m sure most musicians will easily identify with as well).
Besides that, I just loved all the performance scenes in the book. Seriously, Jennifer Echols made me want to go to Nashville and see these cover bands play in a bar. I love seeing any band play live — I love the feel of being there, watching the musicians play & really enjoy what they’re doing, and sharing it with other people. I really felt like I was THERE by reading this book and it was just so much fun to live that without actually being there.

The only small complaint I have about the book was the very end — It wasn’t bad at all, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes books wrap up just a little too neatly… I actually really liked the way it wrapped up in the end, but for the amount of back and forth and conflict in the novel, parts of it felt just too sunshine-and-rainbows and it was a little TOO nice. I just wanted the end to be a touch more realistic where not everything works out perfectly. Other than that, I loved the romance, loved the music, and really enjoyed the characters as well!

character_breakdown1

Bailey: I really felt for Bailey. I was so incredibly curious in the beginning of the book to find out how she ended up so broken and self-destructive… But as the book goes along, Bailey opens up (to the reader first and then to Sam) and we find out what really happened to her… Honestly, I was expecting something much worse, but I’m also not diminishing her pain! I really enjoyed digging into that emotion with her and I can understand why she feels bad. I really liked seeing her come out her shell and I LOVED her musical ability!
Sam: Sam was super duper swoony in the beginning… and then he did ONE thing that almost made me strangle him. I understood it though — even if I didn’t agree — and regardless he was still swoony. THOSE KISSING SCENES. Omg. He stole my heart.
addiction_factor1

Buy it!

I really, really enjoyed this one. It totally surprised me since for some reason I didn’t think I’d get into the country scene but it was fantastic! I just really connected.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE DIRTY LITTLE SECRET

     Such a Rush           Just One Day

Such a Rush – Jennifer Echols

Completed: August 5, 2012

Source: Won in a giveaway from Lucy @ The Reading Date

Book Synopsis: A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.
High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.
But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.(Courtesy of GoodReads.com)

Breaking It Down Further: All of her life, Leah and her mother have lived in various trailer parks which always sat near airports. In the small town of Heaven Beach, SC, Leah gets one step closer to her dream of becoming a pilot when she begins working for a small banner advertising business and gets the courage to approach the owner, Mr. Hall, for flying lessons. Years later, after hundreds of hours in the air, Mr. Hall dies suddenly and his two sons Grayson and Alec come back from North Carolina to resume the family business. When Grayson blackmails her into not only flying for him but dating his brother, Leah has no choice but to stay with the Halls or else her life could be easily shredded to pieces.

Review: Well, I actually thought the beginning was just a liiiittle bit slow. I really did like how it started in pieces though. We got to go back to when Leah was 14 and just starts her job at the tiny airport and we get to know her and pieces of the Hall family. Mr. Hall was hands down one of my favorite characters, even in the wake of his death because his presence remains constant throughout the novel. He just seemed like such a positive force for Leah as well as the two Hall brothers (although not everyone comes to this conclusion at the same time) and we still see that even though we know he’s a flawed man.

I really liked how Leah wasn’t turned into “stereotypical trailer park” in the sense that she didn’t have to get saved by someone and pulled up out of poverty. The reason they were so poor was because of her mother, so I loved seeing how strong Leah is and the way she finds ways to live almost normally either with or without her mother. She really begins to create a life for herself and hates taking charity and will do so only when it’s no obvious or if she’s really in dire need. It would have been easy to set her character back even further than she already was so I’m glad the way everything turned out.

I was really hoping for Leah and Grayson’s relationship to pick up sooner than it did… I was really excited to see their whirlwind romance and it really didn’t come until later in the book. There were a lot of conflicting emotions and motives before either of them could come to terms with how they felt about each other so it took them a long time to finally confess everything and just be together already.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book! It was a very touching story, really memorable. I absolutely loved the plane/pilot/flying aspects of the story. It was really refreshing and something you just don’t see in a lot of YA lit or contemporary literature for that matter (at least what I’ve come across). It’s clear that Jennifer Echols really did her homework on how all the mechanics of flying worked. It was so enjoyable and I think that’s something that really held the book together so tightly as well.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Really, really great story. I actually felt kind of like I was watching a movie instead of reading. I think almost anyone will read this and really enjoy it.

If You Liked This, You Might Like…
Where She Went by Gayle Forman- (My review here) This is actually the sequel to If I Stay (so read that one first!), but I love the way Adam and Mia reunite and it’s so familiar but so painful at the same time. That’s a little how I felt with Such a Rush. Loved the romances in both of these!
…OR…
Delirium by Lauren Oliver – I would hope fans of Delirium would feel the same longing pull of the relationship between Alex and Lena as Leah and Grayson. Delirium is another book that I just fell in love with the romance!