Review: Sam Burns – Strike Up the Band


Author: Sam Burns
Reviewer: Natalie
Publisher: Self  published
Genre: MM, Contemporary

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Summary: Jake McKenna doesn’t want to be here. He doesn’t want to be on tour, he doesn’t want to be playing guitar, and he definitely doesn’t want anything to do with Brian Mulholland. He’s biding his time until the tour is over so that he can walk away from his music career for good.

Brian didn’t ask to be here. Okay, maybe he did. Fine, you know what? He wanted this. He may not like the circumstances that have landed him in his dream job, but he’s not going to let anyone ruin it for him, even if it’s the insanely hot guitarist he’s had a crush on since the first time he saw the band play. He will win over Jake McKenna if it’s the last thing he ever does.

Review: Third in a series, this story stands alone most easily, although the character of Alex is the subject of book one. This is Jake’s story and follows changes to the band with the addition of Brian, former boy band star. Their initial meetings don’t go well, since Jake resents Brian needing to join his band and with good reason. Thereafter it relates the progress of a band tour, growing friendships and the budding attraction between Jake and Brian. I would say this is probably the most solidly written of the three stories, as far as progressing logically and following through with a specific plot and resolution.
While it touched on some excellent themes, there just wasn’t enough meat on the bones of the story. I’m trying not to add spoilers to my review, nothing that wasn’t contained in the blurb, but several other reviews mention the subjects covered. Kudos to the author for writing about a diverse character but I really wanted more depth to the narrative and some expanded character interactions. It’s a subject that many readers might find hard to relate to and offering some extended scenes with substantive dialogue would have held my interest. I like to empathize with characters when I read but the depiction here was too facile and glossed over. I felt no connection to them as a couple since there was no real emotional conflict and little thoughtful discussion of their future.
It was really a problem with the entire story for me, it wasn’t really bad but never achieved above average, since the characters lack dimension. I can’t say I’d recommend it but it’s nothing I’d warn someone away from either, I will say that I will likely wait for some time before trying this author again. There is promise in their writing but I’ll hope for greater substance in the future.

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