Monday, September 2, 2013

Nocturne Review and Promo with Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Review and Promo
by: Andrea Randall and Charles Sheehan-Miles
Release Date: September 1, 2013
3.5 Stars 

From the bestselling authors of In The Stillness and The Last Hour, a new story of forbidden love and second chances.
Savannah Marshall is a gifted flutist and daughter of musical royalty when she enrolls in the elite New England Conservatory of Music. Brilliant, eclectic and passionate, she lives music, but struggles with her plans for the future.
Gregory Fitzgerald is one of the most renowned cellists of his generation. A member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and professor at the Conservatory, he is laser focused on his career to the exclusion of friends, family and especially romance.
When Gregory and Savannah's paths cross in the classroom, it threatens to challenge more than their wildly differing beliefs on music. Friendships, ethics, and careers are put on the line as Gregory and Savannah play a symphony of passion and heartbreak.
In the final movement, Gregory and Savannah are handed their greatest challenge, as the loss of absolutely everything they've held as truths hangs in the balance.

Author Bios:
Andrea Randall:
I started writing poetry long before writing fiction. I firmly believe Poetry is a solid foundation for all other forms of writing. It taught me that a single word can make or break the world.
I write fiction because my characters have a story and they want me to tell it.
I hope you enjoy the pieces of my soul that I share with you.

Charles Sheehan-Miles
Sheehan-Miles has been a soldier, computer programmer, short-order cook and non-profit executive, and is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books, including the indie bestsellers Just Remember to Breathe and Republic: A Novel of America's Future.


My Review ~ 3.5 Stars ☆ ~ August 25. 2013
*ARC provided by Authors for Honest Review*

So I’m sad to admit I wasn’t a fan of Nocturne. Not to the point that I couldn’t finish the book but I found it extremely hard to like Gregory or even enjoy reading about him. There were just too many character flaws that I normally don’t enjoy all thrown together and Gregory’s weakness was too much for me. I can handle a weak heroine but when a male musical prodigy in the academic world can’t grow up, I draw the line.
The chemistry between the characters is intense; I’ll give it that. I can't argue that every step of the way their relationship or lack there of is off the charts dysfunctional. Though, I kept getting thrown off when years would pass at a time. It was at first the first 1/3 of the book was a flashback and I was so angry and separated that I found it hard to get back in. When I did all I got was whiplash, as these characters may live in an inferno of passion they can’t help but make life more difficult and crazy for everyone involved.

I’ll admit some of my dislike from the story can stem from my non-passionate side relating to symphonies and orchestras. This is Gregory and Savannah’s lives. Thus much of the story revolves around performing, hitting notes I know nothing about and all various sorts of musical lingo. All of it was well written and explained in an understanding way but personally this is not my sort of thing so it wasn’t as gripping.
I was disappointed with many things in the novel. However I cannot help but admit how lifelike the storyline is. Real life truly sucks and nothing comes easy. These characters are proof of that. Between hours of practicing their craft and hiding their feelings, it’s hard to imagine them having time even live.

Savannah was a very likable character. She helped saved the story for me. How she didn’t give up on Gregory or even knee him in the balls is beyond me, but I give her credit. She is a musical prodigy in her own right, trying to BE her own person. Not hiding behind the skirts of her famous mother.

The end made me mad as well. I wanted a more concise wrap-up at least for some of the other characters like her best friend, Nathan. He grew on me in a way Gregory did not, honestly, I kept hoping Savannah would ditch Gregory and all his broodiness and give Nathan a chance.

Overall Nocturne was okay. If you’re a musical fan and don’t mind a few large-scale time jumps in your novel, this may be for you. There are some heavy issues occurring within, many heartbreaking and hard to handle, so you've been warned. 

I don’t know why the hell Gregory Fitzgerald got under my skin.
Yes, I do. He was an arrogant, snobby musical stereotype of the worst kind. He barely looked out into the class when he was talking, and when he did, his clear blue eyes shot through me like ice. He was only ten years or so older than me. His thick, black hair and fairly tight physique spoke to that. But the grim, smug expression he plastered on his face aged him another ten. Easily.
Seeing him at Murphy’s with James Mahone that day caught me off guard. I wanted to blow him off, ignore him the way he ignores all of us when we’re out in public. But, he wasn’t ignoring me. I’d caught him staring at me, and it didn’t infuriate me. It excited me. I felt his eyes on me as I took off my coat, and when I turned toward him, those blue eyes pulled a juvenile hi from me before I could filter it. He grinned back, returned the greeting, and I wanted to melt. He might be human after all, I thought.
Before I knew it, I stumbled across a string of notes that should have been an easy run.
Shit, see what happens? Focus. He’s still awful, even if his smile did that to your insides.
I took a deep breath, exhaling all thoughts of the annoying, lifeless professor, and started the piece over again. This time, it was good. Not ideal—I had to slow down a few times over some of the runs, and my throat was definitely going to be sore in the morning, but it was good. I groaned at the thought of the exercises I’d have to get back into doing to pull off this, and other pieces, with solid tone.
“You know,” Nathan startled me as he walked into my dorm room, “they have soundproof practice rooms so you can grumble in private.” He sat next to me on my bed as I put my flute away.
“I know, jerk,” I teased, “I just wanted to get one last go at this piece before quiet hours. How many pieces are you playing for your recital?”
Nathan ran a hand through his thick, dark curls as he sighed. “Three.”
“Don’t sound too excited, or anything,” I toned out sarcastically. He didn’t laugh. “Hey,” I put my case away and placed my hand on his leg, “you okay?”
He stared at my hand for a second before shaking his head. “Yeah, I’m fine. You ready to go out?” He stood and held out his hand for me. I took it.
“Absolutely. Just don’t drink as much as you did last time. You got all weird.”
Nathan stopped at the door, dropping his hand from mine. “What do you mean?”
I shrugged. “You just drank a ton and then got all … I don’t know … sad.” I shrugged again, indicating I had no idea what he was going to say that night.
“Sorry…” he trailed off, running both hands through his hair.
“Don’t be. Just don’t drink all the liquor at the bar tonight.” I giggled and took his hand again. An easy smile spread across his face as he followed me down the hall.
“So,” he seemed eager to change the subject, “that piece you were playing when I walked in requires a cellist.”
“Uh-huh, I’m going to ask Marcia to do it, I think.”
“What?” Nathan asked as he held the main door open for me. “You don’t want the dashing professor to do it?”
I let out a full-throated laugh. “Yeah, can you imagine? I’m going to have a hard enough time passing the newest assignment.”
“I don't understand why you keep poking the lion. You deserved a way better grade on your canon, it was brilliant.”
“I know," I said. “But I’m excited about it, because I think I can turn the piece into something really exciting—”
“He’ll fail it,” Nathan cut in.
I nodded. “I’m sure of it,” I said with a smile.
I knew what Fitzgerald was looking for when he gave us those assignments. He wanted us to play by all the rules that held his brain in his head. Rules that would make our compositions indistinguishable from the composer at hand. As much fun as that sounded, I was determined to breathe new life into old music. To keep it alive and fluid and moving. Snobby professor-be-damned.

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