Title: More Than Music (Chasing the Dream #1)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Date of Publication: June 17, 2014
Genre: contemporary NA romance
Music major Maddie Taylor just finished her junior year of college and has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, yet every night she practices guitar and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don't get to be rock stars. That is, until tattooed singer Jared Cross catches her playing guitar and invites her to join his band on The Sound, a reality TV show competition.
Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared than his flirty smile and bad boy reputation – and that he’s just as big a geek as she is. With each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore, but when the show pressures them to stay single they’re forced to keep their relationship secret.
As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.
Maddie Taylor was a serious musician who knows her instruments and can play a music by ear. She’s too talented that upon finishing her junior year of college, she was lined up for an internship with the LA Philharmonic. She loves her instruments, but guitar was her guilty pleasure. She loves playing it and even bought the instrument with her own money. But geek girls like her isn’t fit for a life of a rock star, or she’d like to think so until one evening, HOT rock star Jared Cross caught her playing his guitar and invited her to join the band, since they were short one person. The band, Villain Complex couldn’t join a reality TV show called THE SOUND, if they’re group wasn’t complete.
Against her better judgment, and perhaps her little infatuation with Jared, Maddie decided to join them, leaving her internship with Philharmonic. Being with Jared and the rest of the band, Maddie discovered there was more to the boys, most especially Jared than what they would show to the world. What I love about this guys is that they too were geeks and comic fanatics. Because of the previous mishap with the band’s bassist, Jared was warned to stay away from Maddie. But with each performance, as they day goes along, their attraction was just too impossible to ignore. But the pressure from the band, the producers, the show, and the online community, they tried to make their relationship a secret.
As the competition comes to a close, Jared will do everything for the Villain Complex to win, at the expense of sacrificing their relationship. Maddie will soon decide if the fame and her dreams was all worth the heartache. Watching them together was just perfect, and I hope Jared comes into his senses and see Maddie is the girl for him. They were more electrifying than seeing the band perform on stage.
The band was pretty much amazing, and I could picture them on the stage performing for the audience. Even when Maddie got hurt in the middle of the performance, she still wowed me when she stood up and continued to play. Maddie may have started out as a serious performer, and wasn’t fit to be in the band. But as the days goes on, you can see the change in her, and by the end of the novel, it is safe to say that she fits right in.
I may have love their ‘geekiness’, but Jared did something which placed him on my HATE list for a while. How can he be so rude? How can he say those things and act as if she was nothing to him? I couldn’t blame Maddie for getting hurt or for running off. It was great that she came back after brooding, and decided to fight – not just for Jared but for the bad. For me, whatever happens, they have already won the contest.
The music, the plot, the setting and the characters were pretty much amazing. You can feel the tension and the stiff competition, and it’s like being in backstage of a reality show, and even though the fame was really tempting, some things were just not worth it. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading the novel, I could almost hear the music being played right in front of me. You will cheer for the band, for Maddie and Jared, you will fall in love, you will feel your heart breaking and finally, you will feel the rush of the competition, of winning, and the dread of losing.
Now, who do you think won the competition?
*Complimentary Copy given in exchange for an honest review*
Jared’s guitar was beautiful, with a smooth white faceplate, gleaming struts, and a shiny fingerboard. My fingers itched to touch the silvery strings, to form a chord and let it ring out through the amp, to hear what it sounded like without all the other instruments accompanying it. And if I was honest, I wanted to close my eyes and pretend I was on stage, playing for a crowd, hearing them scream for me. The longing I felt every time I went to a concert stirred up in me again. It wouldn’t hurt if I played one chord, right? That was it. One chord, and I’d put it back. No one would ever know.
Before I could stop myself, I picked up the guitar and threw the strap over my head. It settled against my shoulder, and with one hand on the fret board and the other on the strings, I was home. I closed my eyes, picturing Jared when he was on stage and how his talented fingers had moved across the guitar. I imagined him singing my favorite song of theirs, “Behind the Mask,” and the words and notes melted together in my head. I strummed the guitar, the sound ringing from the amp, the vibrations traveling up the ground and into my feet. God, I loved this guitar. It sounded just as good as my own, if not better.
Now that I had the guitar in my hands, the compulsion to play was irresistible. What was one more chord, right? I was alone and the room was soundproof. The door had locked behind me. Kyle was dealing with Becca, and he’d given me permission to come in here anyway.
I knew it was a bad idea. I knew I should put the guitar down and walk out of the room. But I started strumming anyway.
I was hesitant at first, but once I started, I couldn’t stop. My hands found the chords automatically, and the words flowed out of me with the music. Exhilaration swept through me with each note, and I closed my eyes and let the song take me away. Soon I was belting out the words, shredding the guitar like I was on stage playing for a massive crowd. I’d never do this in front of anyone else, but here, alone with this guitar, I could pretend. I could let myself go.
And then I opened my eyes and wanted to die. Jared stood in front of me, his eyes wide and mouth open slightly. He must have come in while I was playing. How much did he hear? Or worse, see?
My fingers slipped off the strings with a screech, and I nearly dropped the guitar. Thank god for the strap. “I’m so sorry. Kyle gave me the key and I was just—”
There was no way to explain what was going on, so I shut up. I’d been singing his lyrics, playing the song he’d written. Not to mention, I’d been using his guitar. That was like wearing someone else’s underwear. You didn’t just play another person’s guitar without their permission.
I yanked the guitar off and tried to put it back, but knocked the stand over instead. Hands shaking, it took me two tries to right it again, all while Jared stood there, gaping at me. Why didn’t he say anything? Was he so angry he couldn’t speak? I set the guitar down carefully, then backed away like it was on fire—and ran straight into the drum set. Cymbals crashed as I fell against it, knocking the equipment all over the floor. Great, now he must think I’m a stalker and a complete klutz. I jumped up too fast, and my legs were so unsteady I started to topple over toward the table. Jared caught me before we had another disaster, his hands gripping my arms to balance me.
“You okay?” he asked, his blue eyes holding mine and making my heart pound even faster. If I stared into those eyes too long, I’d fall into them completely.
Elizabeth Briggs is a Young Adult and New Adult author who lives in Los Angeles with her British husband and a bunch of fluffy white rescue dogs. She's a guitar-playing geek who loves books, rock music, and video games, goes to Comic Con every year, and is still hoping to be a Jedi when she grows up.
Elizabeth currently works with WriteGirl to mentor at-risk or pregnant teen girls in writing, to help them get through high school and into college. She also volunteers with Bichon FurKids to help rescued dogs find a new, loving home. She previously worked as an intern for literary agent Jill Corcoran of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency, an intern for Entangled Publishing, and an editor for Curiosity Quills Press.
Elizabeth is represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of KT Literary and is a member of SCBWI and RWA.