Cover Image: The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes

The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Antonia "Toni" Bennett has always loved playing guitar and making music but she has never desired the spot light so she works as a session musician for a local recording studio and playing a few nights a week at a local bar.  Toni's mother always wanted to make it big so she and Toni would go to club after cub until she turned 12 and her mother left her with a father she has never known.  Years later Toni gets an opportunity to audition for upcoming rock band The Lilly's to fill in temporarily while the lead guitarist has a small break.  Toni decides to take the offer and finds out that her best growing up who ended up leaving her without a goodbye, is the band's manager Seb.  

Growing up both Seb and Toni didn't have a great family so the two made one together so it was really and when Seb left Toni with no warning.   At first I was not on board with Seb trying to get back into Toni's good graces, it was hard to tell what his intentions were but by the end I really liked him.  They both had things from their pasts that they needed to go through and I enjoyed them both.

This book was a fun journey for Toni as she struggles with trying to decide what she really wants out of her music career, does she just want to make music or does she want to be a part of something bigger?  I really enjoyed this book and the girls in The Lilly's were amazing and I am so glad that this is a series so we get stories for each of them.  There is one character that I really did not like at all and I really don't want to get a redemption story for them because I don't want them to end with who I think they will!  Also I really want a story about Zeph, they were not a main character and was only in for like 2 pages but I need more about them!  Highly recommend this one especially if you love books that have a. musical element in them.
Was this review helpful?
I received an ARC of this novel from Sourcebooks through Netgalley in exchange for my review.  If you were a fan of Daisy Jones and the Six, you will love The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes!  Antonia "Tony" Bennett has had a tough life.  When Toni is barely a teen, her wanna-be-famous mother drops her off at her dad's bar, a man she barely knows.   Toni really feels as if she will never be able to pursue her dream of a music career-until she meets her neighbor, and new best friend, Sebastian.  Suddenly, she feels brave enough to open up to Sebastian about her dream of becoming a writer and producer- a dream she felt they would accomplish together.  But one day Toni discovers that Sebastian is gone without so much as a good-bye and she knows she has to make it on her own.

Flash forward a few years, and Toni is on the cusp of being able to become a partner in a friend's music studio if she can come up with some cash.  She hears about a rock group called, The Lilly's and decides to try out as their guitarist to make some quick cash.  The problem?  Sebastian is the manager of The Lilly's.  Can Toni bury her feelings about Sebastian long enough to make the money she needs?

This story was terrific!  It was fast-paced, great plot twists and if you love the behind-the-scenes look at the music world, this book is a  can't miss!
Was this review helpful?
Big fan of Ms. Axelrod’s writing so when I saw this ARC I requested it. Whatever a writer is supposed to understand about telling a story she seems to get inherently; all her books that I’ve read share a wholehearted and confident approach to giving the reader what will inevitably be a good and intelligently written story.

This book starts in the past with the formative years of one Antonia Bennett aka Toni B. aka Nia. This woman of many names and phenomenal talents is easy to root for. In fact, her character who must contend with an enormous amount of emotional baggage from a young age was one of the highlights in this book for me. She manages through parental abandonment, meanness, and neglect, then heartbreak, loss, and the vagaries of male-patterned stupidity and knee jerk gender discrimination to be true to herself and the music always. It’s admirable and makes you want things to turn out okay for her.

I can’t say I felt a similar admiration for Antonia’s green eyed love interest Sebastion Quigley, aka Seb Quick. He’s clearly a nice, conflicted guy, “who cares”, and he may even be sexy, but compared to the love of his life he’s a little cowardly for my tastes. There’s hope for him though, and I suspect (hope) he’ll grow into a character whose complexities are far more interesting in the Lilies books to come.

This book suffers occasionally because it’s very obviously the beginning of a series and lays out an often rudimentary idea of each character who might play a significant role in the books to come. The underdeveloped aspects of some characters were frustrating though -- not because they weren’t interesting, but because they were. I definitely wanted to know more about Lily, the leader of the band, who made a habit of being quietly fascinating and while one or two characters felt one dimensional or clichéd, there was a minor one scene character who was so memorable that I wanted a whole lot more story just from him/her.

The book was also about music and the horrors of fame that celebrated artists have to deal with in order to develop their craft and careers. It would be great if future books delve more into the former than the latter, but I also get that’s the trappings of being famous are a natural source of conflict for talented people and worthy book fodder. This is definitely a solid setup to what will be a far reaching number of good stories and in this author’s capable hands a very cool trip indeed.
Was this review helpful?
An ode to music and childhood friendship, this book hit the spot. Antonia (henceforth called Toni) was dumped in middle of nowhere Pennsylvania by her musician mother at age 12. The only good thing about the podunk town was that she met her best friend (and first love, though neither admitted it) Seb. 

Flash forward and Toni is working behind the scenes in music and filling in during studio sessions. When she gets a chance to work with a rock band for 6 weeks- for a nice chunk of change that she desperately needs- everything changes. Seb is part of their team, and she finds herself falling in line with the band and wanting something she’s always avoided: a position that would put her on stage and in the limelight. 

The author’s musical knowledge and passion rang clear and enhanced the story. Flashbacks to Toni’s childhood- with her mother and in small town Pennsylvania- also added to the backstory. The secondary characters- The Lillys band members, as well as Richie and Yvette- had amusing interactions, enriched the storyline, and kept things moving. I do wish that Seb could had been a little more fleshed out, though.  

Still, this was a fresh take on the musical/rock (gotta love women who rock!) and second-chance/childhood friend (who randomly reappears) genres. It’s clear that the author poured her heart and soul into this, and I look forward to getting to know the other Lillys band members in subsequent books.
Was this review helpful?
This book was so good! I loved Toni! She was such an amazing character. Strong, and independent but also vulnerable and dealing with tough issues. I really enjoyed the weaving of the story from past and present. The switching perspectives from Toni to Seb was well done and didn’t take away from the story at all. I enjoyed the love story, but I most of all I enjoyed seeing Toni come into her own. The only thing I felt was missing was an explanation on why she didn’t like being touched. I kept thinking we would get a flashback to her childhood to explain what happened, but there never was.
Was this review helpful?
I am a sucker for books about musicians. I don't know why, but there's something raw and vulnerable about musicians and telling stories about them sort of mimics the artistry of writing lyrics and making the music itself. In this story, Axelrod has two characters who are easy to love and they have one of the sweetest meet-cutes I've read. Additionally, we get a great view of the many sides of the music industry, including the challenges of not only "making it" as a woman in the industry, but being a woman of color, as well as the behind-the-scenes aspects of recording. Axelrod keeps you rooting for each of the characters individually as well as for them together with their great chemistry.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Sourcebooks Casa & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: If you were in a rock band what would you want to play? Or would you rather be the lead singer?

Xio Axelrod’s The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes is fantastic storytelling plain & simple.

Second chance-ish romance; a searingly good rock band; female empowerment: it’s all here. I was completely immersed in this story about a woman who takes chances, who feels music in a way that leaps off the pages.

Antonia Bennette, stage name Toni B, was best friends with Sebastian Quigley growing up. She had unexpressed romantic feelings for him but one day he just left. Town; her.

Despite all the grand plans they made, they haven’t talked in almost a decade, both keenly aware of his betrayal. But the rock band that he manages, The Lillys, is looking for a temporary guitarist replacement & Toni gets the job, only realizing later that she’ll be working in close contact with the man who broke her heart.

The language used for music in this romance is sensational; you can hear the mesmerizing notes of the singer; you can see Toni B totally lighting up the stage in one of her many stellar displays of talent. It’s charismatic. Toni has to deal with the stigma that women can’t rock but every time she & The Lillys take the stage they’re thundering proof of the opposite.

Though this book is more about Toni’s journey for me, the slow burn romance between Toni & Sebastian is overall satisfying. Despite the fact that I don’t swoon *completely* for Sebastian —he does something that bothers me in the present-day—there is eventual combustion & I really like their dynamic at the end.

Featuring complicated characters who make mistakes; who are trying to find their way & sometimes stumble, but in Toni’s case, majorly shine too, The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes is a romance that feels almost cinematic to me. Though the hero is a *bit* of a disappointment in my eyes, Toni is all that & more (& so are the rest of The Lillys!).

4.5 ⭐️. Release date: May 4, 2021

CW:


parental abuse & neglect; drug abuse
Was this review helpful?
This book tells the story of 2 childhood friends, each individually plucked from obscurity and placed in the limelight. I loved how she described music, both in the sound itself and the process of playing it, within the book. Adding in the slow burn romance with the telltale sexism of the music industry really made this a book to remember. I loved the flashbacks, the gigs, the characters, and of course THE SOUNDTRACK! This is a perfect book for fans of Taylor Jones & The Six and Almost Famous.

*Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the ARC in exchange for my honest review*
Was this review helpful?
I had a lot of fun with this book! It is all about music, and it is so much fun. 

I loved every moment, and it was such a good read. This is a complex story about life. music, and love. It was much more than the romance I thought it was going to be. 

Reunited childhood friends trope. That was so awesome. I loved it so much.
Was this review helpful?
This book was so entertaining. I was drawn into the story from the beginning and was involved until the end. The characters were complex and interesting. I found the story to be well paced and engrossing throughout the whole book. This was set in the music industry and it was fascinating to see an intro through the eyes of a young women. I loved the idea of a female band as well. All the characters in the book were well written and complex. I was invested in the couple throughout the book and felt all the emotions through both the highs and lows of the story. If you want an entertaining and well written book this is it for you.
Was this review helpful?
This is a fun setup to a series set in the world of the music industry. I enjoyed that it showed various parts of the music industry, not just stars on stage, and how the characters navigated the entire business as they got their one chance to make it. I'd read additional books in this series.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the gifted book @sourcebookscasa and @netgalley!

As soon as this book appeared as my ‘wish has been granted’ on Netgalley, I dropped everything I was doing to start! And there were no complaints over here!

This book was not only well written but incredibly difficult to put down. It is emotional, heartbreaking, and uplifting all in one. It’s not just a romance novel but a book about perseverance and overcoming obstacles. I was rooting for Toni from page one!

You’ll become immersed in the background story of music, forming of a band, as well as production behind the scenes. You’ll also meet Seb, Toni’s long lost best friend from her childhood. The book will walk you through their reunion and the ups and downs that befall them.

If you loved Daisy Jones and the Six - this book is for you!! I was yearning to look up the band’s music online, despite knowing they weren’t real! I can guarantee you’ll feel all the feels while reading.
Was this review helpful?
Perfect! Just perfect!!

I remember seeing this one & knowing I wanted to read it ASAP, & it was so much more than I expected! The characters, the setting, the environments, their experiences, everything worked together & made this book everything it was. Which was AMAZING 💖💖

Toni, Antonia Bennett, was an amazingly strong person who knew what she wanted in life, & wasn't going to settle for anything less. And that was exactly what I wanted to see! Same goes with Seb. He needed a little reminder sometimes, but Toni & him balanced each other out. They were everything the other needed & seeing how their relationship developed over so many years was heartwarming.

I am a lover of multiple POVs in a book & this story did it really well. Adding in the odd flashback to childhood was also great! It didn't take away from anything, only added more context in order to understand the characters even more. The writing was great, easy to follow, & I couldn't put it down. I also loved how the concept of women in a male dominated workplace was a large aspect of these characters stories. That is something important to discuss, & I enjoyed seeing the women not allowing it to tear them down, as well as having multiple male characters supporting the women & their amazing work 💖

I cannot recommend this story enough, & I look forward to more by this author 🥰 well done!
Was this review helpful?
To read this book is to take a master class in how to describe sounds. Add to that an amazing plot with well-developed characters who will play on your heartstrings with the same virtuoso skill as the main character, phenomenal Antonia "Toni" Bennette, strums her guitar and you'll understand why I read this book in one sitting. I can't wait for the rest of the books in this series!
Was this review helpful?
The girl with stars in her eyes is a really engaging and heartfelt romance. The writing is also stellar, I love how Ms. Axelrod manages to flip the musician romance trope on it’s head and make Toni (our heroine) the musician. That was truly a refreshing change of pace. From the very first page I was hooked by the story and already rooting for Toni. Her perseverance and determination throughout the book despite constant obstacles really touched me. I, also, loved that she had her doubts and insecurities. This made her feel like a real and fully fleshed out character, especially with who her parents were and the relationship she had with them. 

However, nuanced Toni as a character felt her relationship with Seb did not feel the same. At times it all felt so underdeveloped and I understand that is partly the reason we got the exerts from the past to help develop their relationship but it wasn’t enough for me to truly feel the gravity of their connection to one another. Which leads me to the pacing of this novel. This book is very fast paced which makes for a quick and entertaining read but it also felt like the characters and their relationships did have enough time for development. Seb and Toni’s dynamic was interesting but I felt like there wasn’t enough time given to building the relationship with Seb; so that when his betrayal is discovered we as readers felt the gravity of it, Toni’ s rightful anger and hurt was also not given enough time. 

Overall, this was a fun read. The behind the scenes look at some of the things that go on in the music industry was enlightening and I really enjoyed the ending. I would definitely read more from this author in the future.
Was this review helpful?
Toni had a lonely childhood, until she met Seb. As teenagers they were more than best friends, they were family. Until Seb turned 18 and left town. Now, as an adult, Toni is rocking it out in Philly’s music scene  when she gets an incredible opportunity to join an up and coming band. When she gets to the audition, guess who is there...Seb, working as a manager for the band. Can Toni get past that? Will Seb ruin her shot at fame? Can she ignore her feelings for him and focus on the music?

Yes, this book has a romance at the center but it is so much more than that. First of all, I adored that so much of this story focused not on the romance, but on a badass group of female musicians. These strong women were at the center of the story and I was here for it. I would 100% be fans of the Lillies if they were a band IRL. Toni was an incredible protagonist who I was rooting for the whole time. I was in awe of her strength and her tenacity. Truly one of my favorite romance MCs. And of course the love story. I love Seb and Toni. I cannot wait for everyone to read this book, I just know it’s going to be a huge hit!

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Girl with Stars In Her Eyes will be available on May 4th.
Was this review helpful?
The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes felt like a love letter to music.

After an opportunity arises for Toni's mother, Toni is  sent to live with the father she never met the day after her 12th birthday. What a great gift. There she meets Seb with whom she becomes fast friends. They plan to leave the small town behind together, but then Seb leaves when he turns 18 and never looks back. Now Toni is on the cusp of greatness with her music career. She’s filling in for a female rock band that’s on the rise. But when Toni finds out that Seb is involved how will she handle it? After all these years will she trust him enough to help her career?

I was rooting for Toni from page one. My heart broke for the little girl who had to grow up fast and that felt abandoned. I loved her strength. I wanted to shake Seb and help him not leave Toni behind. Their journey is one that will stay with me.

If you’re looking for a rock-star second chance romance, you do not want to miss this.
Was this review helpful?
The girl with stars in her eyes is a really engaging and heartfelt romance. The writing is also stellar,  I love how Ms. Axelrod manages to flip the musician romance trope on it’s head and make Toni (our heroine) the musician. That was truly a refreshing change of pace. From the very first page I was hooked by the story and already rooting for Toni. Her perseverance and determination throughout the book despite constant obstacles really touched me. I, also, loved that she had her doubts and insecurities. This made her feel like a real and fully fleshed out character, especially with who her parents were and the relationship she had with them. 

However, nuanced Toni as a character felt her relationship with Seb did not feel the same.  At times it all felt so underdeveloped and I understand that is partly the reason we got the exerts from the past to help develop their relationship but it wasn’t enough for me to truly feel the gravity of their connection to one another. Which leads me to the pacing of this novel. This book is very fast paced which makes for a quick and entertaining read but it also felt like the characters and their relationships did have enough time for development. Seb and Toni’s dynamic was interesting but I felt like there wasn’t enough time given to building the relationship with Seb; so that when his betrayal is discovered we as readers felt the gravity of it, Toni’ s rightful anger and hurt was also not given enough time. 

Overall, this was a fun read. The behind the scenes look at some of the things that go on in the music industry was enlightening and I really enjoyed the ending. I would definitely read more from this author in the future. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for allowing me to read and early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Antonia is a music afficionado, who has a less than ideal childhood. Her mom, Mar, was always chasing her big break. Maurice/Mo is a man who didn't possess the affectionate skills to be a father to a tween. Antonia's glimmer of hope was her best friend, Sebastian Quigley. The best friends grow apart when Sebastian leaves abruptly. Antonia, now rebranded as Toni B still loves music, but producing it as her focus. A series of lucky chances has her becoming a fill in for an emerging female rock group, The Lillys. Their road 'manager' is Sebastian 'Seb' Quick -- who just happens to be Toni's old BFF. Now as adults, they teeter over past misunderstandings, emerging feelings, and Toni's chance to be a co-owner of a local recording studio. This is a BIPOC title, which is appealing to readers like myself, who want more representation in the Romance world. I think there could have been more character development with Sebastian and his family, and providing more detail into Antonia and her parents. Readers get glimpses into what happens between Seb and Antonia, but it would have been great to have more details into their backstory -- leading to the decisions they make as adults.
Was this review helpful?
5 Stars in Her Eyes!

I usually review ARCs of mysteries and thrillers, and only rarely review Women's Fiction/Romance, since I'm also published in that genre, but I had to know what lay behind the fabulous cover of The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod. The cover art of her novel is breathtaking. One of the best I've seen. It calls to you like a Siren Song to open the book.

Fortunately, for this reviewer, the story behind the cover is a stellar read that kept me turning the pages until its satisfying conclusion. Toni Bennette (Yes, she's heard the jokes about her name a million times) takes a journey from shy but talented musician to self-actualized music insider who finds love on her path to success.

Sometimes gritty, sometimes tender, but always well-written, The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes has a young, fresh Philly vibe. I'm a Philadelphia native, and enjoyed the many references to the City of Brotherly Love. Those who have an aversion to F-Bombs, beware, because the language in this book is like a NetFlix movie, but let's face it, that's how people talk these days. I needed a cigarette after reading Toni and Seb's first kiss, and a cigarette *and* a glass of wine after they finally make love, the writing is that good.

Many thanks to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for providing an ARC for review and my honest opinion. 
*NetGalley Top Reviewer.*
Was this review helpful?