Leaving AmarilloSeries: Neon Dreams #1
by Caisey Quinn
Published by HarperCollins, William Morrow on March 17th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Dixie Lark hasn’t had it easy. She lost her parents in an accident when she was young and grew up in a ramshackle house on a dirt road in Amarillo with her ailing grandparents and overprotective older brother. Thanks to her grandfather, Dixie learned to play a mean fiddle, inspired by the sounds of the greats—Johnny and June, Waylon, and Hank. Her grandfather’s fiddle changed Dixie’s life forever, giving her an outlet for the turmoil of her broken heart and inspiring a daring dream.
Ten years later, Dixie and her brother, Dallas, are creating the music they love and chasing fame with their hot band, Leaving Amarillo. But Dixie isn’t enjoying the ride. All she can think about is Gavin, the band’s tattooed, tortured drummer who she’s loved since they were kids. She knows he feels the connection between them, but he refuses see her as more than his best friend’s little sister.
Convinced that one night with Gavin will get him out of her system, Dixie devises a plan. She doesn’t know that her brother has forbidden Gavin from making a move on her-a promise he swore he’d always keep . . . a promise that once broken will unexpectedly change the future for Dixie, Gavin and the band.
Ever feel like you’re the last to know? That’s seems to be me lately. I don’t know if it is because of the blogging break I took a while back or it’s because I just don’t have the right connections. Either way, I keep hearing about these awesome series and authors and then I’m starting them waaaay after everyone has moved onto book three or four. Case in point…
Leaving Amarillo is one of those books that makes you want to plug into music and never leave. I’m a huge audiophile, or at least I used to be, and there is nothing better than going to a concert and hearing the fresh, clean sound of a band that has their shit together. The blending of instruments with the driving drums and bass in the background… nothing better. I think I get music.
That’s why I enjoyed this tale of brother, sister, and best friend in a band that’s just about to make it big time.
Dixie and Dallas, two orphans raised by their music loving grandparents, learned to play at a young age. Gavin has been their third wheel and best friend since he showed up on their doorstep the day of their parent’s funeral. He’s the broody, hot drummer in their band… and the love of Dixie’s life. She’s been in love with Gavin ever since she laid eyes on him at her parents’ funeral. But he’s nothing but a friend or a big brother around her.
Eventually though, Dixie starts picking up this “chemistry” or vibe from Gavin that tells her that Gavin might just be interested in more than BFF status with her. But Dixie has no idea about the promise Gavin made to Dallas years ago. It’s the typical, “Don’t touch my baby sister or I’ll have to kill you” threat from Dallas.
To say this story was typical is soooo very wrong! Yes, you’ve heard the trope before about the big brother threatening his best friend to keep his eyes, hands, lips, etc, off the younger sister. And I’m sure you’ve seen a movie or two about the local band making it big despite infighting (or in-LOVING as the case may be). But Ms. Quinn was able to bring a fresh, romantic spin on the melding of these two tropes that had me invested and caring more for the lead characters than I typically do in most books.
How do I know I liked this book so much? Weeks after reading it, I still get “swoony” thinking about the subtleties of the plot and, when you come right down to it, Dixie and Gavin’s passion filled sex scenes. Ms. Quinn, you my dear, can write good romance!!
One negative to the story is that I did not like Dallas in this book. What do I mean by “in this book”? Since I’ve read the entire series at the time I’m writing this review, he’s since won his way into my heart. Maybe not my mind because he still does dickish moves. But hey, characters that don’t make you feel things when that is clearly their role are just filling space on the pages and failures in my book. Ms. Quinn is so much better than that. I believe she wrote Dallas to be the dickish big brother 🙂
So, other than my review not being quoted in any literary journal any time soon, I hope you’ve at least figured out that I will have this book on my Top Ten Books of 2015 when we close out this year. At least I won’t be behind everyone else on getting that news out…