Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review: Amplified

"When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it. . .

In this fresh new novel by critically acclaimed author Tara Kelly, Jasmine finds out what happens when her life gets Amplified."-

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release date: Oct. 25, 2011
Page count: 293
Would appeal to: If I Stay/Where She Went fans, music lovers, Audrey Wait! fans
 Favorite Quotes:
"I hope they didn't expect me to dance. Jason told me I dance like a cat with Scotch tape on its paws."
"A solo without a story was like a singer with perfect pitch but a dead voice. Technique got a musician only so far."
"Unveven bits of stubble ran along his jaw, as if he'd rushed shaving. It made him seem less together, more human."
There's also one about Veta trying to forklift information from Jasmine's mind, but I can't find it at the moment.

So you know when you read those books that have some sort of technical jargon, and you think, "Man, this author seriously did her research" or "Man, this author must have lived this because it's so detailed"? The second is true for Tara Kelly in her book, Amplified. She knows her equipment and does a good job having the characters explain it (not everyone in the band is familiar with some of the guitar aides Jasmine uses). The author describes music effortlessly. I've never read a story about music that puts me right there in the audience listening while the singer riffs and the guitarist changes frets and the keyboard player rolls an underwater synth bass. I finished this book in less than a day. It helped that the author's own passion shined through her words.

What, besides the music, makes this book a great read?
-The romance: It's gritty and awkward with the right mix of argumentative moments. There's the guy you love to hate, even more so when you fall for him. But Sean is so three dimensional. He paints, studies marine biology, and works on cars. He's heartbroken over an ex who cheated on him, but she keeps trying to come back and restart their relationship. But every time this punk of a girl with a guitar, Jasmine, says something idiotic, he's there to smirk or call her out. They have amazing back and forth moments.

-The characters: Veta is great. She speaks her mind, will go to bat for those she loves, and takes Jasmine in like she's a lost puppy. Felix has blue hair he likes to wear in pigtails. They do makeup together. Bryn is bullheaded and arrogant with a soft side. Sean, Veta, Felix, and Bryn make an awesome team, each bringing something different to the band, but Jasmine adds a whole new level of professionalism with her guitar playing. I also liked Zoe, Veta's little sister, and their mom, psychic Tina. A Spanish family that only half believes in ghosts. Their family almost made me forget how angry I was with Jasmine's father for kicking her out and not calling.

-The dialogue: Real conversations. Hilarious moments. I smiled and laughed out loud.

-Lots of parties. And not the cliched red Solo cups overflowing with beer ones.

-The message: Obvious but not preachy. You can get mistakes, live through screw-ups. The important part is that you live doing what makes you happy.

This is a fun read to get lost in. I haven't read a whole lot of contemporary lately, but this put me in a great summer mood! Thank you, Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves for recommending this one! It didn't disappoint, and I appreciated the ending.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Free Book!

Marina's Tales is a series of four books following a teenage girl named Marina who discovers a mermaid and begins to have strange experiences involving the ocean.  I have read and reviewed the first three (Between The Land And The Sea, The Moon And The Tide, and The Fate Of The Muse) but haven't had a chance to read the final one, The Turning Tides, yet (I'm excited about it though!).  The author, Derrolyn Anderson, has decided to give away her first book in the series for FREE!  You can read my review of Between The Land And The Sea here.  

Download the book at: 
code # FM28V

Check it out- you won't be sorry!  And a big thanks to Derrolyn!