Straight from the Heart
Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance
Number of pages: 338
Word Count: 68,000
Cover Artist: Madelene Martin
This is a story about a girl discovering and experiencing life for the first time.
Bryn Schaefler grew up rich. Her parents expected the best out of her, picked her boyfriend for her, and groomed her to be the next trophy wife fresh out of High School.
But when they discover she wants to pursue music instead of following in her mothers footsteps, they wanted to hear nothing about it.
That was when Bryn left for good.
By chance, she auditioned for main stream rock band Everlasting. Never in a million years did she think she would make it.
Cale Pelton knew it was his fault for the band scrambling around to find a new guitarist. Once he saw Bryn audition, he knew he had to have her. Not just in the band, but in his mind, body and soul.
The sound of heavy metal music filled my ears. I watched a guy up on the small stage pounding away at the drums, sounding like a heartbeat pulsing a mile a minute. To anyone else this would be garbage, but to me it’s fuel. I love it. The way his arms moved like lighting, hitting the symbols and feet pounding on the bass. I watched from the back wall where no one could see me. From the rhythm, I could tell it was “Beast and the Harlow” by Avenged Sevenfold, one of my favorites. I envied how Synyster Gates could shred, and play guitar so effortlessly, moving his fingers up and down the guitar as if it was child’s play. I wasn’t that good, since I didn’t have much time to practice due to hiding my passion from my parent’s eyes
I watched a couple of more people playing the drums, some played bass, and another girl came in with her electric guitar absolutely killing it. Was I in over my head? I didn’t see the band members’ faces yet, but the guy on the far right stood up and scanned the venue.
“Anyone else?” The guy cupped his hands around his mouth and announced to everyone that were still there. Now or never, I thought.
Taking a couple of steps forward I waved my hand high enough to be noticed while not seeming too childish. “Me.” I called, staggering all the way up to the side of the long table where four guys sat with pen and paper in their hands. I couldn’t tell whether they were taking notes or just doodling.
All of them eyed me up and down as I set my guitar case down to get it strapped up. It was that moment when I felt their stares burning through my back, leaving a hole.
“You play guitar at all?” The man sitting in the middle questioned me. He ran a hand through his messy dark brown hair and didn’t smile. He sounded like he just got out of bed from the way his voice slurred. My eyes were immediately drawn to the tattoo that was on his left shoulder. It looked like a bald eagle with quotation underneath it. I couldn’t open my mouth to speak. Ethan was good looking in his own way but this guy, I didn’t know his name and my skin already felt tingly just from him staring at me. “Stupid question. Obviously if you’re holding one you must play.”
“Yes.” I mouthed quietly. “Almost every day.” Which wasn’t entirely true, but I played as much as I could, whenever I could.
“Great, that’s what we’re looking for.” I swore I saw the corner of his lips tip up and smile, catching my nervousness. “I’m Cale. These are the rest of the guys in the band: Raptor, Vince and Luke.” I firmly shook all of the guy’s hands and when I grasped Cale’s hand, our fingers stayed locked for a little too long. “And you are?”
“Bryn Schaefler,” I replied, letting his hand fall. I didn’t want to let go. He must’ve played guitar too. Or did something part-time to where his hands felt rough. I could tell from the way there were calluses spread throughout his palm and how rough his fingers felt. Kind of like mine. Damn I could get used to this view of him. His amber colored eyes drew me in right away. This ‘audition’ was going to be all for him.
He cocked his head to the side. “Looks like by the way you’re gripping that damn thing you paid a lot of money for it?”
“Yeah, this is my baby. I stored away a lot of money for it.” I replied honestly, and the rest of the guys shifted their eyes to the guitar, checking it out.
“Alright. So here is how it’s going to go Miss Schaefler. You can set up your guitar up there on that stage and sit anywhere on it, as long as you face us, because I want to see if you can fit in.” Cale gestured towards the stage and the other equipment that lay in front of me. I took a deep breath. This won’t be so bad. I stuck with my original song choice “Demons” by Imagine Dragons. Walking to the stage, I scooted my butt onto a wooden stool that looked like it belonged in the bar area.
One note played and I was off and running. During the first couple of seconds into the song I was rusty, but I wasn’t going to let them know it. To them, I would be a guitar pro, an expert per say. Throwing the vocals into the mix, I was picking up on it pretty quick. Towards the last chorus, I was plucking out those notes with everything I had and singing my heart out. I never thought I was the greatest singer either, even though I had taken vocal lessons since I was eight.
By the time I was done with my audition, I felt sweat dripping on my face. I wiped the hair out of my face and set the Dreadnaught down. Standing up, I readjusted my tank top and -picked the guitar up so I could put nestle it back into its case.
Cale strolled from his seat over to me and leaned his body against the table. Behind him, the others were whispering about me. Folding his arms over his chest, he smirked again, never showing off his teeth. “That was absolutely fucking amazing Bryn. Your voice was like an angel, and I normally don’t think anyone else can sing, so take that as a compliment.” Then he gave me a card with the band’s name and apparently his phone number. “We’ll be in touch hopefully by tomorrow.”
Review - 3.5 Stars!
The cover and blurb both pulled me in, after all, rock band with a female guitarist? Yeah, I was all for that. I did finish it in one day - I was sick though, so I can't say one sitting or that it kept me up - and I did enjoy the read.
The plot was about what you'd expect from a story like this, although it was a bit more dangerous than the normal bad boy rock band member danger. I like that addition, though. It kept it a bit different than just drugs, sex, and rock and roll. I did have some issues about how the overall story played out however, but without giving away spoilers I can't say much. Just that, I think if Bryn's parents were that well off, I think they might have a better option that what they supposedly did.
Bryn left home at 18 to pursue a dream her parents strongly disapproved of and joined a band called Everlasting. I liked Bryn, even if she did do some amazingly dumb things at certain times, but honestly, at 18 and as sheltered as she had been, I might have done the same things. Or been too scared to do anything. Cale I also liked, especially because he was so moody and temperamental sometimes. Their relationship felt a tad bit off to me, the lack of tangible heat in some places I guess? I'm not sure, it was just... missing. His protectiveness and anger didn't exactly show as well as I would have liked.
I did like most of the other characters of this story as well, which is nice. Breigh Forstner did not go the usual route of making Cale's ex a screaming bitch to Bryn or anyone else. Damon was pretty nice, although if a *I* wouldn't have been caught dead again in a situation alone with him again.
The writing was pretty decent. I did have some issues with dialog awkwardness or characters saying things that were a bit redundant, but it wasn't anything bad enough to make me throw up my hands in despair. It could have used a tad more work, but no real grammar errors. So that's always nice.
The only reason I didn't give a full four stars is because the cliffhanger was seriously cliffhanger-y. Like really? I've done that in one of my stories once and I think I had a riot on my hands, and I got cussed out. It was fun to do to others. But admittedly, I do not much like it done to me. I want to read more! So 3.5 stars! And I will be checking out book two!
Guest Blog - The Good and Bad of the Romance Genre
There are lots of goods and bads of the romance genre today, especially different trends that are emerging. I’ll start with the bad first! One thing I’ve noticed when reading some romance books is that the female characters are strong. Where’s the females that they don’t let a guy bring them down or they do what they want? Independant is what I’m trying to say.
But the good traits that I’ve seen in the genre is I like happy endings. Majority of the books I have read usually have a happy ending, or at least an ending and not a cliffhanger (which there is one in Straight from the Heart.) I like the feeling that the main characters will either have a happily ever after or are on the track to a happy ever after.
One trend I’ve noticed also while reviewing ARC’s and reading books is there are a lot of serial novels and BDSM. For example like The Arrangement by H.M Ward. There have been at least 16 or 17 books in the series and no end! But a lot of authors have been doing 4 or 5 small novels to tell their story. I’ve also seen a lot more dominant men in books but that’s not a bad thing!
About the Author:
Breigh Forstner currently resides in her home town in south east Michigan with her two daughters. While she works full-time during the week, at night she spends time with her kids and writes until her fingers can’t type anymore. Her goal is to make it onto a best sellers list at some point in her career, and writes any chance she can get. She is a lover of all types of music and is a sucker for rock bands and tattooed bad boys.
5 Ebook copies
5 Paperback copies open to US Shipping