Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

ARC Review: Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

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Dirty Little Secret
    by: Jennifer Echols

Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: MTV Books
Genre: Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review
Page Count: 288 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3/5 stars


Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…
                                                                        -goodreads.com description

After having a not so great first start with a Jennifer Echols book (Levitating Las Vegas) I am pleased to say I enjoyed this one a lot more. However, I definitely had my hang ups with this book. And unfortunately one of the biggest ones came in the form of the love interest, Sam. I'll get to that later.

First of all, I really enjoyed the storyline. The book did start on the slower side and I felt myself really pushing through the beginning of the book. However, it did end up picking up and I found myself enjoying reading about the performing aspect of the book. Living in Music City myself, I loved reading about their gigs and watching how they would do less than desirable ones just for the chance to be noticed. I see so many performers downtown who long to make it big just like they do and know how even the smallest opportunity could be the big one.

Which brings us to the characters. I really liked Bailey, our main character. She has a lot of spunk and I really liked that about her. She is in a really crummy predicament and I really felt for her. Her parents have basically abandoned her to focus on the career of her younger sister, Julie, who was offered a record contract. That's not the bad part though. Julie and Bailey used to play and perform together. But the record contractors didn't want Bailey. So now, to avoid the fans and press getting wind of Julie's talented fiddler sister, Bailey is not allowed to perform or draw attention to herself in any way. However, Bailey doesn't take it laying down. What do teenagers do when told NOT to do something? They rebel, of course! Bailey hacks off her blond hair, dyes it black, layers on the make up and hangs out with the wrong crowd. After a recent incident, Julie is no longer speaking to Bailey because she is afraid her older sister will ruin her perfect image. Bailey is living with her grandfather who has managed to swipe her a gig fiddling doing the mall circuit.

It's through this that Bailey meets Sam. The good-looking guitar playing son of 'Johnny Cash', the two are instantly impressed with each others' musical talents. Sam is in a band with two friends and after hearing Bailey fiddle wants her to come perform with them. Bailey, of course is hesitant, because she knows she can't do anything to jeopardize her sister's career. (Yeah, her parents threatened to not pay for her schooling if she screwed up.)  At first, I really liked Sam. He was cute, charming, and I was definitely rooting for a relationship with him and Bailey. And then as the book goes on, I found myself really distrusting Sam's intentions towards her and then my distrust turned into overall disgust. First of all, I think they moved wayyyy too fast. I mean, I'm definitely not a prude or anything, but the whole thing just seemed to happen too quick. Again, I believe in instantly being attracted to someone, but professions of love after such a short amount of time? And the way it came about? I was not a fan. Sam was just too wishy-washy for me. One minute he'd act like Bailey was special and he did care about her, but the next you have to wonder- was it just a ploy to get her to stay in the band? After Charlotte, their drummer and one of Sam's many exes, tells Bailey that he's spouting the same crap he did to her to get her to join the band, you really have to wonder about his motives. But then he'll do something really sweet and will really make you think: maybe she's different. However, Sam says and does some things that are pretty unforgiveable in my book. I won't spoil it and say what, but after that, Sam was lost to me. Even at the end, I couldn't overlook his words and actions. If I had been Bailey, and I had received that ultimatum after what had just occurred between us, I would not have been so quick to forgive.

I gave this one 3 stars because as I said I really did enjoy the storyline and the musical aspect of this book. However, when I can't stand my love interest because he acts like a straight up douche, it's pretty hard for me to love a book. If you're a fan of country music, like a musical backdrop, and can deal with a love interest like Sam- then go ahead and give this one a shot.

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18 comments

  1. I have heard very mixed things about this one. Also this Sam guy sounds like a royal jerk and idk if I can handle that. I can only take so much. I have to trust the guy. Great review!

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    1. Yeah, he definitely didn't rock my boat. I was just too angry at what he did later in the book that I couldn't get over it.

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  2. I actually liked Sam & Bailey, my issue with this one was that this book is supposed to be a story about family (because they are mentioned a whole lot) but we get very little of them. I think they're needed more to do the story justice. I feel like this was supposed to be a story about dealing with her family issues that found love, not a love story with a girl who has some family issues. I hope that made sense!

    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

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    1. That completely made sense Aly! And now that you say that- I couldn't agree more!

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  3. Still need to read this one. I need my romance though! I've heard pretty much the same thing in the reviews I've read about Sam. Crap. -_- Great review!
    Jackie

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    1. Thanks Jackie! I agree- I need a good solid romance in my books and this just didn't cut it for me.

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  4. I enjoyed this book alright. It was certainly a quick read and I liked Bailey's character, but I'm with you on Sam. As much as I was rooting for them, he's actions and motivations were so sketchy sometimes. The family aspect was my least favorite part, though. I really wanted Bailey to grow a backbone and stand up to her parents and I wish that we would have seen more of Julie and their relationship. I think I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if Julie and Bailey would have been co-narrators. We could have seen how Julie felt, plus the dueling sides of trying to make it and about to hit big. Great review!

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    1. I agree with you Natalie. Thinking back I definitely would have liked more with Julie. And I agree- I would have told her parents exactly where to go! Who does that to their kid?! Ooh, that would have been really cool to see them both narrate!! I like how you think girl!

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  5. Not sure, I know 3 stars means you liked it. However with a long list to read, I need flat out love for a book before I add anymore! And Sam sounds like a pain and a half. Disappointing as I love the sound of the setting.

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    1. I agree Trish. Lately my 3 stars have been, yes I liked it, but I wouldn't run out and grab it. For my ratings, 4 stars and higher means the book was worth reading and definitely worth my time. Again, I loved the setting- the music scene was awesome. But if my love interest is an asshat, I can't deal.

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  6. Sam does sound like a straight up douche! I'm not sure about this for myself, but I did enjoy your review!!!

    Great review! :)

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    1. Thanks Magen! He totally was! Yeah, I don't know that I'd go out of my way to recommend this one.

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  7. I feel like I've seen a lot of disappointment with this one. The setting still sounds nice and it might be okay for a quick read sometime knowing what I'm going into! Great review!

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    1. I went into it knowing about the mixed reviews and I was really hoping I'd be the different one. No such luck this time around. I definitely don't hate that I read it by any means- just didn't quite meet my expectations.

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  8. Ohh that's too bad! I had been eyeing this one because it sounded really good! But usually if I really dislike a main character, I don't care about their story as much. Especially if it's a love interest!

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    1. Yeah, that was one of my biggest hangups sadly! If he were different, I probably would have bumped the rating to 4 stars!

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  9. I felt the exact same way about Sam and his relationship with Bailey. And I agree, it was an enjoyable book once the story got going!

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    1. Right? I was so disappointed with their relationship. It just wasn't for me.

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