Blog Tour: Louder Than Love: Jessica Topper

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Release Date September 17, 2013

In this powerful debut novel, a young librarian grieves the loss of her husband...and discovers a love that defies classification.

It's been over three years since a train accident made a widow of Katrina Lewis, sending her and her young daughter Abbey back to the suburban town of her youth...the only place that still makes sense. Lauder Lake is the perfect place to hide and heal.

Recluse rocker Adrian "Digger" Graves survived the implosion of his music career, but his muse has long lain dormant. Until Kat hires him to play at her library—not on the basis of his hard rock credentials but rather, because of the obscure kids' TV jingle he wrote years ago. In a case of mistaken identity, Adrian stumbles into the lives of Kat and her comically lovable daughter.

Using tattoos as a timeline, Adrian unfurls his life for Kat. But as the courtship intensifies, it's unclear whose past looms larger: the widow's or the rocker's. Will their demons ever rest, or will they break these soul mates apart?

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"You've got all this...this love--no, it's louder than love. It's passion and beauty built up inside you that deserves to burst out."

This is not the typical rock star story...it is actually almost the typical rock story in reverse.

Katrina/Tree is a young widow living a quiet existence with her four and a half year old daughter back in her small home town. She has been through the unthinkable, and now surrounds herself with the love of friends and her daughter. 

She reaches out to the musician who recorded the theme song for her daughter Abbey's favorite PBS kids cartoon show and convinces him to do a show for children at their local library. So Adrian surprisingly finds himself performing at the library and then having an interesting night with Kat. Various circumstances have them spending more time together and slowly opening up. They both had issues in their past that marked them and were hard to share. 

Adrian was a Brit/New York hybrid. He was cheeky, flirty, funny, and a bit mysterious. He is a fallen eighties heavy metal rock star so is more mature, broken, and damaged. He did not advertise his previous life, in face he avoided it. But his past was slowly revealed as the story went on in increments. His past was a mess and he was not proud of it. And he had many damaged friend and family relationships to prove it. 

"I'm trying to figure out where you fit into the order." Was there a place for reclusive rock stars? For a heavy metal hero with a heart of gold? "You...you are glorious chaos."

Kat/Tree was sassy, sweet, and loving. She was a wonderful mom and friend. Adrian really took her by surprise and shook up her stable little life. But she still had issues dealing with her husband's tragic death and opening up. 

"You know, I wish someone would write a bloody book about you. I can't crack you, Kat. Hard as I try, I can't crack you."

There was a crazy cast of supportive friends and family that added humor and honesty. I really loved the abbreviated story with Kat's brother, Kev and think he could have his own story. And little Abbey was adorable and precocious. She stole most scenes she was in. 

This book was a slow build for me. It spent a while explaining Kat's issues, but did so with real emotion and heartbreaking detail. And even once Adrian arrived,  it took me a bit to get a handle on his personality and his British vocabulary. But as the story unfolded and his layers were peeled back, I really came to like him. And I liked them together as a couple. They had good chemistry and rapport. Although there were times I became frustrated with them both due to communication issues. But they were two people that seemed  to be an unlikely pairing, but at the same time fit together perfectly and balanced each other out.  And I loved Adrian with Abbey. He was so affectionate and down to Earth when dealing with her. 

"You are the best thing to happen to me, bar none. You, Abbey...all of this. You both walked into my life and...I never knew what I wanted until you did."

"Don't try to retrace steps. We'll find new ones."

I ended up getting involved in it and staying up way past bedtime to finish it. As their pasts were revealed and they became more entangled in each other's lives, it became more complicated, angsty, dramatic, and emotional. It was painful, sweet, heart warming, and inspiring.  And there was humor too. It also became a story of self forgiveness, redemption and hope. The characters were well developed and had strong connections. I loved seeing the growth and change in the characters. It was a different rock star read that dealt with more serious subject matter and was a second chance story at life and love. So when all was said and done, Adrian, Kat and Abbey found a way into my heart and I ended up enjoying their story. 

Thanks to Jessica Topper, Netgalley, and  PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Jessica Topper is an ex-librarian turned rock n' roll number cruncher. She can trace her love for the written word back to age three, when she memorized Maurice Sendak's "Chicken Soup with Rice" in its entirety.

After her daughter was born, Jessica left the Manhattan library world and began working for her husband's music management company. He offered her a part-time bookkeeping job so she could "stay home for the baby's first year" and pursue her dream of writing.

The baby is now eleven, and Jessica has been working her full-time, sold-her-soul-for-rock-n-roll job as Office Manager for veteran jam band moe. ever since. She may have traded in books for bookkeeping, but the written word is never far from her mind, or her heart.

Jessica lives in upstate New York with her husband, daughter and one ancient cat.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I absolutely loved this book too! I am praying the publisher will print this wonderful book!!


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