Thursday, September 24, 2015

More Than Music - Elizabeth Briggs (Chasing The Dream #1)

If there is one thing I love more the books, it is music. Music speaks to me when I need it to and speaks for me when I can't for myself. I read music blogs, stay up to date on the newest released songs in several genres, and follow my favorite bands religiously. More Than Music is a book that was going to work for me from the moment I read the synopsis on Netgalley. Not only did it feature a female protagonist, but followed her as she took a leap to help her friends on a reality tv show similar to American Idol and X Factor. As I read I listened to the songs mentioned and really tried to hear them how the character's band, Villain Complex, would have actually sounded. It's an incredibly good book, great for YA/NA readers alike and especially good for those readers with a soft spot for music. If you decide you want to move forward with More Than Music, definitely get your hands on a copy of the prequel, More Than Exes, to really immerse yourself into the series.

Rating: 4 stars
Published: June 2014
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for my review.

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Maddie is the good girl musician, she's classically trained and has big dreams for her music career. Those big dreams don't include playing guitar in front of everyone, joining Villain Complex for the TV reality show The Sound, or falling for the bad boy lead singer, Jared Cross. Jared is more than meets the eye and as Maddie finds herself in the music, she considers this life a real possibility. Jared is determined to win The Sound, he'll follow every guideline and advice given to him by the producers and the band's mentor. Maddie must decide if her new dream is worth it if it means she'd be giving up the guy she wants.

I thought I had attachment issues to the main characters in More Than Exes, but that was nothing compared to this. Maddie is incredibly well written, I don't think Elizabeth Briggs could have done a better job. She'll speak to every girl at that turning point in her life, to follow the rules or follow your dreams. She's beautiful, quirky, smart, and has an inner monologue that sounds just like mine did for a while. The relationship and how it plays out with Jared and Maddie is believable, very close to the kind you see on reality tv shows. They're a couple you both root for and kind of want to see separate, they're both impressive, standalone characters that bring a lot of good and bad into the story. While many people don't ever get an opportunity to be on reality tv, let alone as a musician, Briggs helps you understand the process, from playing music to interviews and how a night on the cutting block in front of thousands of people really feels. I am a reality tv fanatic and I could see every band, every mentor, and every musical performance in my mind. It's a solid storyline, with just enough background to help you understand everyone's role in the band, and twists that almost make you second-guess your predictions for the ending. I really enjoyed how the characters expressed themselves through songs, plus I liked looking up the songs and listening as I read.

While I loved More Than Music and I highly suggest you check it out, I must warn my readers of some of the cliches that seem to happen in every NA book. Whether it is from the transition from Young Adult or something else that does it, the romance portions often seem to have that same feeling of secrecy between couples. Maddie and Jared are easily a likable couple, Briggs explains the secrecy very well, but the storyline was flat for me. I wanted to believe the secrecy, but really, most of the scenes would be dead giveaways if they happened in real life. However, the overall plot is new, it is fun to read and the characters are incredibly relatable.

I am definitely going to be finishing the rest of the Chasing The Dream series. It's rare that I enjoy a series with changing protagonists, the main character is hard to nail once, let alone several times, but Elizabeth Briggs does it well. I wish I could see Villain Complex in concert, because they seem like my kind of band. Who doesn't love bad, nerdy boys? I also can't wait to see where the main characters from More Than Exes and More Than Music end up, because you know they'll be found in the rest of the series. There's some really positive writing in these books, just the right amount of New Adult angst, and a lot of pop culture references that help create the setting.

As a bonus, if you head to Elizabeth Brigg's site and sign up for her newsletter, you'll receive an e-copy of More Than Exes free. If Chasing The Dream sounds like the kind of series for you, definitely start with this prequel novella. My review for More Than Exes can be found at Goodreads.

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