Saturday, 24 May 2014

Review: Girl with Guitar by Caisey Quinn

Girl With Guitar book cover image

Title: Girl with Guitar
Author: Caisey Quinn
Series: Kylie Ryans, #1
Format: Kindle, owned
My rating: 1 / 5

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New Adult. MA 17+ Content.

After Kylie’s dad dies in a freak accident, he leaves her with nothing other than her crazy step-mother, Darla, and the ability to play guitar. When Darla kicks Kylie out and she loses her job all in the same day, she hops a bus to Nashville determined to make her late father’s dreams come true. Waitressing and saving her pennies to record a demo, her big break comes when she’s asked to join a tour going down the tubes with once platinum album-selling country music superstar Trace Corbin. But touring with Trace is hardly a dream come true since he’s pretty much drinking his career down the drain. If Kylie can’t pull Trace out of his rut, he’ll pull her and her dreams down with him.

My Thoughts

I’ve seen Girl with Guitar floating around for a while now, with lots of praise attached. So, I was expecting a really good NA read for a change. Unfortunately, I didn’t work for me. At all! I feel like I’ve read a completely different book to everyone else.

Things started out really well, and I could see where all the praise was coming from. Kylie has lost her job and got kicked out of her step-mothers home on the same day. She has dreams of becoming a country singer, and she has signed up for an open mic night taking place in a bar in Nashville. She makes her way to the city, and is at the right place at the right time to land a waitressing job in the bar hosting the show. After her performance, she gets an offer to go on tour with Trace Corbin, an established country star who is singing in the bar the same night.

I was rooting for Kylie at this stage. She had personality, fight and backbone, and I wanted to see her journey into the limelight. I wanted to experience the highs, lows and the struggles of getting up on stage the first time and life on the road… But we didn’t. All of that was skipped! I really, really, really, don’t understand why! Isn’t that the point to reading a book involving music, bands etc? Well, it’s certainly one of the things I look for anyway.

All of this was before the 20% mark, and I rapidly lost interest. I will be the first to admit country music is not very high on my loves list, but I’ve read country music books before and liked them enough, so I didn’t see any reason why the music genre would be a negative. And it wasn’t. With NA books, I need to connect with the characters very quickly, and have some sort of empathy with them. I did like Kylie in the beginning, until she regressed and became a whiny, immature, dependent little girl. It came out of nowhere! She got on my nerves suddenly and I wasn’t expecting it.

I disliked Trace from the start, and he didn’t regain any favour whatsoever over the course of the book. He’s an arrogant, alcoholic asshole that treated Kylie and everyone around him like crap, yet thinks he can tell her what to do! This is a no-go for me. I can’t take anyone telling me what to do in real life, so I don’t like reading it in book form either.

“As much as she didn’t want to concern herself about him, she was still feeling pretty grateful that he’d cared enough to punch a guy out on her behalf . Even if it was totally unnecessary.”

This quote pretty much sums up what I found hard to digest. Overreactions are one thing, and yes people overreact all the time. But to actually feel grateful for Trace punching an innocent guy for no reason is another thing altogether! I can’t accept or like it. Also, maybe I’m weird, but alcoholism is not sexy. Personally, someone smelling like they’ve been fermented in a distillery isn’t attractive to me. *shrugs*

Everything was so tame! If you are going to have a bad boy, make him really bad! It’s all about the delivery, look at comedians. They get away with so much, and it’s HOW they say things, not WHAT they say. Apply the same thing to bad boys. Here, what the characters say completely irked me. The way things are approached, I didn’t find it appealing, interesting or attractive in any way. It swung from creepy, to annoying to corny.

With fantasy or sci-fi books, I tend to be a bit more open minded with the way things are described. In contemporary books, especially books involving music, bands and touring, I expect some sort of believability. Ok, the characters live in a tour bus: they have everything you would expect to find on a tour bus, and three bedrooms. Huh? THREE. BEDROOMS. On a tour bus?? That seems a little unrealistic to me. Bunks, yes, they are a tour bus staple. I can’t suspend disbelief enough in contemporary to accept how some things are described. This is not the only thing that bothered me, but it was the one that annoyed me most. Little things like this, as well as disliking the characters, jumbled together to put me off the story.

On the surface, Girl with Guitar should have been a book I liked, but it ended up being not right for me at all. I held great hopes for the first 20%, after that I really should have just given up, but I held onto hope that things would improve.

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