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20 May 2015

Review & Guest Post: 'How to Catch a (Rock) Star' by Gabrielle Aquilina

Aspiring singer Lillie and American rock star Jed seem like the perfect fit from the moment they meet. The pair are inseparable, but Jed’s jet-set schedule of shows and after-parties limits the amount they can see each other. So when Jed invites Lillie to sing with his band on their tour, she says yes. Yes with some hesitation, that is. After finding out that her ex-boyfriend was hiding away a wife and child when they were dating, Lillie’s trust in men is fragile and she also suffers from severe stage fright. As the tour progresses, Jed and Lillie are fast becoming rock’s hottest couple but with obsessive fan girls, a claustrophobic tour bus and a resentful guitarist, things start taking a turn for the worse. Lillie’s dream of singing may have finally become a reality, but can it last? The odds are stacking up against them and then the unthinkable happens…

I've had the pleasure of reading several releases by publisher So Vain Books over the past couple of months, and I've really enjoyed the novels of theirs I've read so far. So, when I was contacted about being up for reviewing another one of their releases, namely Gabrielle Aquilina's 'How to Catch a (Rock) Star', I straight away hoped for another entertaining read. 'How to Catch a (Rock) Star' was released on the 13th of May and follows the quite popular storyline of an average girl falling in love with the handsome singer of a rock band. I looked forward to discovering what author Gabrielle Aquilina would do with this storyline to make it her own, and I'm happy to have a special guest post from her on the blog today to tell us all a bit more about the characters in her novel. Be sure to scroll down to read it!

Lillie is an aspiring singer from London who is still recovering from the break-up with her ex-boyfriend of two years, who suddenly turned out to be married to another woman and a father. When Lillie meets Jed, the handsome lead singer of up-and-coming American rock band The Dead Hour, on a night out, she can't ignore the obvious chemistry between them. The two fall for each other, hard, but the fact that they live on different continents and lead different lives has Lillie wondering whether they will be able to make it work. To her surprise, Jed invites her to sing with his band and join them on tour so they can spend more time together and see if their relationship can really go somewhere. Yet, when some secrets start to come to the surface, Lillie and Jed's relationship will really be tested...

'How to Catch a (Rock) Star' is one of those novels that is really easy to get into and a great read to pick up if you're looking for something not too complicated and light. The storyline is not an incredibly original one (girl who is an aspiring singer likes famous singer of a band and they fall in love) but author Gabrielle Aquilina managed to give it her own twist and turned it into an entertaining story. Especially readers of fan-fiction will be able to enjoy this, I think, because it has all the elements of a fan-fic and the author has a pleasant and well-paced writing style, suitable to the story.

For me personally it took a bit of time to really warm to the characters. Jed and Lillie have chemistry together and I was curious to see whether they would manage to overcome the obstacles that are thrown their way. It's a shame not too much background information is given on the secondary characters. Lillie's best friend Kate, her younger sister Tess, and Jed's band mates Chris, Eddie and Johnny all take on an important role in the novel, but as a reader we don't really get to know them. I would have loved it if more details had been shared, and perhaps even an extra storyline focusing on some of these other characters instead of just Lillie and Jed. The novel definitely has a good basis, but certain things seemed to be missing, which has made it an enjoyable read for me, but not a brilliant one. 'How to Catch a (Rock) Star' is an entertaining, light-hearted and well-paced read about a rock star falling in love with an aspiring singer; good for a lazy afternoon or day at the beach!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Guest post by Gabrielle Aquilina!

I'm really excited to have a special guest post from Gabrielle Aquilina herself on the blog today to share with all of you, so be sure to scroll down and have a read!

Since I began writing ‘How to Catch a (Rock) Star’, a fair few years ago now (!), Jed, Lillie and their friends have never really left me. I love them so much that I’m writing a book about Johnny (he seems to be getting a fair bit of love in the reviews) and plan on writing a third book, probably about Kate. It only seems right that Lillie and Jed’s best friends get a book each! 

So, let’s start with Jed, He’s based a lot on your typical rock star; sexy as hell, slightly damaged with his own issues, but in touch with his emotions (I think you need to be to be a good songwriter). However, unlike most men I know, he’s not afraid to show those emotions and tell Lillie how he feels about her, even if he knows it might scare her off because it’s so early on in their relationship. 

He’s known Johnny his whole life and they’ve always been there for each other, sometimes to the exclusion of others… At school, they didn’t care what anyone else thought of them and were kind of loners, skipping class to sit under the bleachers and read comics or write songs. 

As well as being a singer, he’s also a talented painter, something he inherited from his mum who also paints and is a pretty decent photographer. His dad is a quiet man and we don’t hear much from him in the book as his wife tends to take over – not in a bolshy way, she just has a big personality! 

Jed is extremely loyal and, despite the fact that girls are constantly throwing themselves at him, he has a healthy respect for women, something instilled in him by his mum and older sister, Kristen. He’s definitely the monogamous type and hates the groupie scene - the complete opposite of Johnny! 

Things you won’t know about him from the book are: he plays the piano better than he plays the guitar, he loves watching trashy reality TV, his musical guilty pleasure is early Britney Spears and he hates peas. 

When I started writing Lillie, I knew I wanted her to be one of those girls who are beautiful but unaware of just how gorgeous they are. In my head, she looks a lot like Liv Tyler crossed with Kristen Stewart - pale skin, dark hair, beautiful eyes but with a fragility and vulnerability to her that draws people to her. 

One of the reasons I gave her an amazing singing voice is because I cannot sing at all. I give it a pretty good go when I’m on my own, dancing round my front room with my daughter and, obviously, in the shower (my neighbours must hate me) but I really am pretty tone deaf. Being able to sing is something I have always wanted to be able to do and I am crazy jealous of anyone who can hold a tune!

She’s quite a shy person and definitely a people pleaser and is in a bit of a limbo when she meets Jed. Having gone to university, as her parents wanted her to, she’s stuck in an office job she hates and is more than ready for an adventure. 

Against her better judgement, she falls hard for Jed even though her instinct is telling her that something isn’t right. After her last relationship, she’s pretty jaded and more than a little cynical about men but Jed manages to change her mind and persuade her to take a chance on him. 

Lillie loves food but is a terrible cook and nearly burnt her uni halls down attempting to make a birthday cake for Kate once. She hates having her feet touched, loves spicy food and when she was little, she wanted to grow up to be a unicorn.

Both Jed and Lillie have some serious issues, whether that be drug addiction, a profound disappointment in life or a terrible betrayal, but neither of them allow those issues to prevent them from giving themselves to each other completely and I think that takes courage and strength of character. 

The secondary characters are led by Johnny, who was so much fun to write he’s getting his own book, and Kate, Lillie’s steadfast and artistically talented best friend. They both become incredibly frustrated with their respective best friends but persevere with supporting them as they each go through their heartbreak. 

It’s always been my aim to create characters who are realistic, and that means including their flaws and annoying traits and habits as well as all the really good things about them. We get to see Jed being grumpy with Lillie, Lillie doing that awful thing of ignoring her friend so that she can be with her boyfriend (everyone complains about this when it happens to them, but then turns around and does it too!) and Johnny being a bit of a man whore. 

My thought is that I want to read about characters I can relate to, people that could be my friends and aren’t perfect or always wonderful to everyone else. Even the nicest person has a little bit of a selfish streak or sharp tongue on occasion, so why should fictional characters be any different?

Thanks so much, Gabrielle!

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