Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Romantic Suspense
Max Barlow has never thought too much about the future, because her father has always had things mapped out for her. She’s going to be one of the first girls in the country to play for a college baseball team. But all that changes the day Armitage High’s rock star offers her guitar lessons.
Cairo Hale is used to being flirted with and hit on. Never in his life has a girl run away from him, which is why he’s so fascinated by the new tomboy in town. He’s convinced Max wants to learn guitar as much as he wants to teach her; so when the opportunity arises for him to offer her guitar lessons, he jumps at the chance. But something’s holding her back, and she’ll only say yes if they keep it a secret. Cairo reluctantly agrees and so begins a clandestine relationship that slowly grows into something more.
But how can they be together when Max is hiding everything from her family? Fear of the truth will soon lead to complications that try to drive them apart, just when they need each other the most.
Can Max find the courage to fight for the things she wants? Or is her heart yearning for something it shouldn’t?
I received a free copy from the author and voluntarily reviewed it.
I really enjoyed book 1 in this series, so I couldn’t start book 2 soon enough. And book 2 was even better. I really liked the topic this book dealt with and I got sucked into the story from the start. Max’s future is all planned out, she’s a great baseball player and her father hopes she can get a scholarship. But Max isn’t as into baseball as everyone think she is, she would love to learn how to play music. And that’s the chance she gets in this book.
I liked the set-up and I could really connect with these character on certain points. It deals with the topics of expectations, pressure and following your dreams. The struggle between doing what people expect and what you really want. I enjoyed seeing Max discover music and her struggle on how to handle it felt very believable. I did agree with Cairo that she shouldn’t keep it a secret, but on the other hand I could also understand her fear and how tough it was to admit say she didn’t want the future her father had planned out for her.
Max and Cairo are so perfect together. I liked how Cairo helped Max discover the beauty of music. Seeing them grow closer and try and figure things out was awesome to read about. They were just so fun to read about and I liked how their romance build slowly at first with them getting to know each other through the music lessons. And while Max had difficulties with her parents at times, Cairo had the most awesome parents. I liked reading about Cairo’s interactions with his parents, they might’ve been a bit too perfect, but it sure made for some great scenes.
I also liked how the romance wasn’t filled with drama but there are some complications and things they struggle with, which fit this book well. I also like books with drama now and then, but the low drama thing really works here and I liked how any miscommunications got cleared up pretty fast. They really listened to each other and found a way to make things work.
It mostly reads like a contemporary romance book until a bit of suspense later on. To be honest I found the suspense better interwoven into the story in book 1, here it felt a bit too sudden. I did like the plot line with her uncle and how that tied into things, but it just felt a tad off how the suspense went from none to suddenly a very suspenseful scene.
Another thing I have to mention about this book is when it takes place. At first I was a tad confused as this book start on their first school day in their new town, which is what we already read in book 1. But once I read further my impression gradually changed into being impressed by how well the author handled it. Yes parts of this story overlap with the timeline of book 1, but you get to see different events and things from another point of view and it didn’t feel at all like we got to see the same things again as it was very well written. And we get these small hints of what happened in Maddie’s story so you can tie things together with when everything’s happening.
We also get to see a little bit more of Maddie and Chloe. For about 50% of the book it takes place during Maddie’s story and then the later half takes place after book 1 ended. And we get to see Maddie’s reaction when Max tells her what’s going on with her and we see some glimpses of her and Holden, which was fun. There’s also the set-up for Chloe’s story in this book, with some small hints that something is up with her and then that ending has me so curious about Chloe’s story. I wish I already had the last book.
To summarize: I enjoyed this book even more than book 1. Cairo and Max are great couple. The romance is low on the drama, but there are some struggles and complications, it was the perfect balance. It also deals with topics like expectations and following your dreams, which I really enjoyed reading about. I was so fun to see Max discover her passion and figure out how to fit that into her life. It also was very well done how this book half took place during the timeline of book 1, but it never felt like events of book 1 got repeated, but we did get to some bits so you know where in events of book 1 it took place. I wasn’t sure if I would like this why of telling the story when I started reading, but it really worked out. And in this book we get some hints about what’s up with Chloe and I can’t wait to read book 3!