Monday, January 27, 2020


Written in her wonderfully honest, edgy, passionate and often hilarious voice, Tiffanie DeBartolo tells the story of Eliza Caelum, a young music journalist, and Paul Hudson, a talented songwriter and lead singer of the band Bananafish. Eliza's reverence for rock is equaled only by Paul's, and the two fall wildly in love. 

When Bananafish is signed by a big corporate label, and Paul is on his way to becoming a major rock star, Eliza must make a heartbreaking decision that leads to Paul's sudden disappearance and a surprise knock-your-socks-off ending.

Paperback417 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Sourcebooks Landmark

OUR REVIEW: (ETA: this review has been sitting in our drafts folder for FIVE YEARS!!! Oops!)

I read this novel after God Shaped Hole and I'd highly recommend that you follow the same order. Why? It's a lighter read than God Shaped Hole, even with its angsty moments it's not quite as heavy as GSH--it's really quite different. In this novel rather than explore the relationship of two people working through issues of love and family and living in the world, we explore the unnecessarily complicated love affair of Eliza and Paul and their place in the world of music. 

Unnecessarily complicated? Yes, though if it hadn't been complicated I guess we wouldn't have had quite the story we did. Why do I think it was "unnecessarily complicated"? Because Eliza made decisions for people in this novel without fully thinking about what they would want or like or ...ugh. Do I think her heart was in the right place? Yes, but good lord...what a CF. What Eliza intended to do was selfless but controlling and the consequences were far and wide reaching. I know I'm making Eliza seem ...well, not great..but I did like her, even when I wanted to shake her, and I know that she was trying to do the right thing. Speaking of trying to do the right thing, Paul made decisions with that same desire to "do the right thing" in mind. He ignores his instincts and allows himself to be pressured into things he truly didn't want because he thought it would be right for his band and the impact of his decisions resulted in a craptastic results, ultimately. I know you're thinking..WHY WOULD I WANT TO READ THIS NOVEL, THEN?


Even though Eliza and Paul are a hot mess, I liked them. They're funny and observant and flawed. 

I also loved Tiffanie DeBartolo's fears and observations on the state of music/America/pop culture, as seen through her characters, and I found myself nodding my head a lot at what Paul said (especially the younger, more idealistic version of me) while appreciating the more mellow and accepting/resigned position of Loring. I can easily see these concerns about art and artistry existing as long as humans exist. It's that push/pull of wanting to express and evoke emotion and wanting to stay true to your art versus needing to afford to live versus commercialism versus fame versus industry machines controlling the manifest destiny of EVERYTHING. oh my gosh. Let me just stop now.


 If Tiffanie DeBartolo ever writes anything else, I wouldn't even have to think about it, I'd snatch it up immediately. I love her prose, the observations her characters make, and the obvious care she takes in crafting her works of fiction. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

REVIEW: A Lie for a Lie by Helena Hunting


I read the first two books in this series back to back and it was interesting to see how different they were in some ways and yet how very Helena Hunting they were in others.

In A Lie for a Lie, the narrative was told partially in the present and partially in the past. Initially I was admittedly a little put off by the flashback because I was eager to get into the 'now' part of the story but that was dumb on my part. Having the context and the background helped establish RJ and Lainey's history and connection and had that been glossed over, I definitely would've felt like the novel was missing something. That being said, I was impatient to get to see how RJ and Lainey would work out once they reconnected and let's just say it didn't go as smoothly as RJ would've liked; Lainey really made him work for every ounce of attention she gave him and even though how they initially remained separated was really neither of their faults, I understood why she was so pissed and hurt.

What made A Lie for a Lie different was that the big reveal and conflict seemed to happen earlier than I expected and so it made the aftermath and resolution really feel developed and concluded by the end. I enjoyed the heart of RJ and the quirks of Lainey and immediately jumped into A Favor for a Favor to see which characters would get the Helena Hunting treatment next.



Sometimes I need an escape from the demands, the puck bunnies, and the notoriety that come with being an NHL team captain. I just want to be a normal guy for a few weeks. So when I leave Chicago for some peace and quiet, the last thing I expect is for a gorgeous woman to literally fall into my lap on a flight to Alaska. Even better, she has absolutely no idea who I am.
Lainey is the perfect escape from my life. My plan for seclusion becomes a monthlong sex fest punctuated with domestic bliss. But it ends just as abruptly as it began. When I’m called away on a family emergency, I realize too late that I have no way to contact Lainey.
A year later, a chance encounter throws Lainey and me together again. But I still have a lie hanging over my head, and Lainey’s keeping secrets of her own. With more than lust at stake, the truth may be our game changer.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

REVIEW: Blitzed by Alexa Martin


Go ahead and sign me up for every single thing that Alexa Martin does.
Writing another book in this series? I'm there.
Writing a new series? Sign me up.
Writing the back of a shampoo bottle. Yes. Give it to me.

What can I say? I've really enjoyed everything Alexa Martin has done, including the newest book in this series of stand alones, Blitzed. Brynn is funny and strong and her counterpart, Maxwell, is sweet and attentive and together they make for a fun and swoony read.

The standout thing for me is how Blitzed shows us how empowered women empower women. Brynn is a woman's woman. She's supportive and encouraging to her girlfriends and clients and even strangers. She's exactly as awesome as I hoped she'd be when we met her two books ago...maybe even more so because in those books she was so put together and in this one we get to see her clumsy self, her interior monologue, and that even she has moments of failure. And while we never get to be in Maxwell's head, he's doing all the right things, saying all the right things, and I will happily volunteer as tribute should he ever need a fictional best friend.

Finally, we can't talk about these novels without talking about the absolutely hilarious Lady Mustangs. These women are the kind of women we all need in our lives--they call you on your shit, they support you no matter what, and they do it with humor, kindness, fierceness, and style. Damn what I wouldn't give to be their newest friend.

Y'all don't skip this series. Every book is entertaining as hell--lots of heart, romance, and laughs. Please, Alexa Martin, get to writing; we need more!



Maxwell Lewis has to make the play of his life in order to breach the woman of his dream’s defenses in this new football romance from the author of Fumbled.
Brynn Larson owes a lot to reality television and professional athletes. Her bar hit new heights of success after becoming a local haunt for the Denver Mustangs players and their WAGs. But although she’s grateful, that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. And that’s exactly what she would be to ever consider dating a professional athlete. Even if it’s Maxwell Lewis, whose shy smile makes her wonder what going on behind those beautiful brown eyes. 

Maxwell knew from the moment he met Brynn that she was going to change his life. It was only a matter of time. But when he finally makes a move, fate conspires against him and everything goes wrong. Now he has to show her that their potential is real. Too bad for him, Brynn isn’t fooled by his glamorous NFL life, and when ghosts from both their pasts make a sudden reappearance, she must decide who she can trust. But when the person she’s most afraid of is herself, navigating life’s tackles is harder than anticipated.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Headliners by Lucy Parker


The London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker has consistently been one of my favorite series; the characters never fail to interest and entertain me and I just love feeling like I'm behind the scenes of broadcast or play productions. In the case of Headliners I really enjoyed the enemies to lovers tension between Sabrina and Nick. Their snark and sniping at each other was hilarious and made their falling for each other that much more fun to read. Throw in all the shenanigans happening on their live broadcast and their future contracts connected to their mutual success and I just could not get enough of them. I have no idea if there are more couples to explore in this romcom series but if this is it, sign me up for whatever Lucy Parker is writing next because I have a feeling I'll love it.


Sparks fly when two feuding TV presenters are thrown together to host a live morning show in Lucy Parker’s latest enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance.

He might be the sexiest man in London, according to his fan site (which he definitely writes himself), but he’s also the most arrogant man she’s ever met.

She might have the longest legs he’s ever seen, but she also has the sharpest tongue.

For years, rival TV presenters Sabrina Carlton and Nick Davenport have traded barbs on their respective shows. The public can’t get enough of their feud, but after Nick airs Sabrina’s family scandals to all of Britain, the gloves are off. They can barely be in the same room together—but these longtime enemies are about to become the unlikeliest of cohosts.

With their reputations on the rocks, Sabrina and Nick have one last chance to save their careers. If they can resurrect a sinking morning show, they’ll still have a future in television. But with ratings at an all-time low and a Christmas Eve deadline to win back the nation’s favor, the clock is ticking—and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed.

Small mishaps on set start adding up, and Sabrina and Nick find themselves—quelle horreur—working together to hunt down the saboteur…and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant cohosts are secretly lusting after one another.

The public might not be wrong.

Their chemistry has always been explosive, but with hate turning to love, the stakes are rising and everything is on the line. Neither is sure if they can trust these new feelings…or if they’ll still have a job in the New Year.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

REVIEW: The Fight for Forever by Meghan March


At the end of the second book in this trilogy, House of Scarlett, all hell had broken loose and that's exactly were The Fight for Forever picked up--hell breaking loose in Gabriel Legend's office and let me tell you that those first pages set a tone. A tone of me fighting a desire to flip to the last pages of the book to find out what happened. I was a hot mess--what was going to happen next, how would it happen, and who would be behind it--but once I decided not to spoil the ending for myself, I settled in for a fun ride. Gabriel and Scarlett are such a force to be reckoned with--completely enamored with each other, supportive of each other, and a power couple not to be effed with. I liked how it was them against the world, instead of them against each other, and I liked that Meghan March made the source of conflict and tension one that came at them instead of one that came from them. Their romance was so much sweeter than I anticipated --an unexpected treat. If I could offer one wish, it would be to see Scarlett's dickish dad and her ex really get what's coming to them. Maybe Flynn or Q or one of the other secondary characters will nudge Meghan March's writer brain and we'll get to see that happen? In the meantime, if you've been holding out to read this series until all the books are released, now's your chance. We think you'll enjoy this sweet and sexy romance.


Google Play:


Making the jump from corporate lawyer to romance author was a leap of faith that New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Meghan March will never regret.

With over thirty titles published, she has sold millions of books in nearly a dozen languages to fellow romance-lovers around the world.

A nomad at heart, she can currently be found in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, living her happily ever after with her real-life alpha hero.

She loves hearing from her readers at

Meghan is represented by Bookcase Literary Agency.

© Must Read Books or Die. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.