Genre: New Adult & College, Romance
Publication Date: June 21, 2016
Formats Available: Kindle
After getting kicked out of her own band—by her own boyfriend—Presley Mason finds herself back in Wisconsin, helping her parents run their renowned music store. Instead of belting out powerhouse vocals to sold-out crowds in L.A., she’s stocking shelves and inspecting rental violins. But the shop isn’t all bad: When she’s vacuuming up late one night, she bumps into the guitar teacher with the smoldering amber eyes and the killer tattoo. And that’s when things take an interesting turn.
Presley soon finds that Paul Kellerman is as good in bed as he is on guitar. So why isn’t he stoked to share his band, Jukebox Bleu, with her? Turns out Paul has crippling stage fright, which he’s been self-medicating without much success. But when Jukebox Bleu’s lead singer gets called for military service, the other members beg Presley to front them. Even though she swore never to mix men with music again, the temptation to perform is almost as intense as her chemistry with Paul. Now Presley must decide what’s more important: a second chance at love . . . or rock stardom.
This is my second brush with Ellie Cahill, having read Call Me, Maybe last December. I have to say, I enjoyed Just a Girl much more. Placing the story in the music industry, rather than the world of shy bookish bloggers, provided more of an escape for me. The writing here is excellent, which didn’t surprise me a bit since the writing was one of my favorite parts of Call Me, Maybe. The characters are quirky, well-developed, and unique, which is not always the case for a cute new adult romance these days.
Ms. Cahill handles pretty serious issues, such as mental illness and substance abuse, with a careful hand. Speaking as a female who has an anxiety disorder, it was refreshing to see a male character struggling with panic attacks. I understand why anxiety is usually foisted on female characters, since significantly more women are diagnosed with anxiety disorders, but it was nice to show that we’re not the only ones who struggle.
The only reason I’m deducting a star is personal preference with regards to sex and language. Ms. Cahill tends to write romances that go from zero to “let’s take off our clothes” pretty quickly, and that’s just not something I find realistic or fulfilling as a reader. I did enjoy the relationship aspect of this story more than that of Call Me, Maybe, but I’d rather get to know the characters a bit more before things get physical. It’s hard for me to root for two people to be together if I don’t know them yet. As far as language goes, cursing doesn’t bother me, but there were parts in the story where it felt like the author chose strong language for shock value rather than actually enhancing the story. Moments like that don’t offend me, but they do tend to pull me out of the reading experience, which is the reason for the one-star deduction.
Despite the issues I’ve had with both books of hers I’ve read, I am eagerly anticipating new reads from Ellie Cahill. Star deductions aside, her books are always a quick and heartwarming experience.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.