Review: Sound Bites by Rachel K Burke

Posted: September 5, 2014 in Reviews
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This review was originally posted at West of Mars. It is being posted here, at its new permanent home.

Renee and Dylan. He’s the reluctant musician. She’s the woman who supports him, loves him, and finds her way to peace in Rachel K. Burke’s cute novel.

Renee has, in a huff, moved back home to Boston after finding her best friend in bed with her man. Her reaction seems a bit extreme since she says she knows she didn’t love the guy, but the hurt she suffers is terribly real. This is a horrible way to end a friendship, folks. Don’t be a Justine.

Living upstairs from Renee’s new digs is the ultra cool Dylan. By night, he picks up a guitar and strums the music of the one musician who can break through Renee’s fun: Jeff Buckley. It turns out this is only one of the things they have in common, including a mutual attraction.

Dylan’s got some issues: he’s caught up in a parade of bimbos, and he’s also got the world’s worst stage fright. It’s up to Renee to fix it all – and, of course, it doesn’t go well. This is a romance, after all, which means there have be obstacles, misunderstandings, break-ups, and reconciliations.

Burke moves us around, lets us share in Dylan’s success – okay, maybe his comfort in front of a crowd happens too fast and too easily, but again, this is a fun read. It’s not meant to be a meditation on stage fright – and most definitely lets us see Renee, warts and all. She’s not perfect, which is exactly what makes her worth spending the time with. The secondary characters are all very real, as well, and well-drawn.

The book’s biggest flaw is that there’s too much telling – something often hard to avoid in a first-person novel – and the backstory could have been incorporated into the tale a bit more masterfully.

I’m going to remind you again, though: this is about fun, and that is something Burke delivers in spades. She knows music and she knows the world of it, two qualities that need to be present in the best Rock Fiction.

For those looking for a quick, light beach read, Sound Bites delivers.

Rachel was kind enough to contact me and provide a review copy. As always, I’m being brutally honest in how I felt about the book. Check out the quote on page 41 about music people if you think there’s even an INKLING that I’m not being honest.

  1. […] seen the shy frontman trope before. Not often; Burke’s book is the only other one Susan and I can remember. And here, it […]

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