Cover Image: Songs in Ursa Major

Songs in Ursa Major

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Member Reviews

I loved Jane and her story and journey. I thought it was a well-depicted portrayal of the music scene in the 1970s without being overly descriptive and slow.  While different, if you enjoyed Daisy Jones, I highly recommend checking this book out.
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Emma Brodie is a new to me author and i loved Songs in Ursa Major!!!! I loook forward to reading more by Emma Brodie.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my digital copy in exchange for an honest review...I requested this book because I really liked the title and the cover...I didn't even read the synopsis, I just knew I wanted it. :) Fortunately I was not at all disappointed in my choice...I was drawn in from the very first chapter and I stayed interested the entire way through...I loved the storyline, I loved the characters, and I loved the setting. What I didn't love so much? The ending...I was so surprised by what was even happening that I made a little note to myself that says "WTF was that ending?!?!? It didn't take away from the rest of the book but I felt a little letdown...
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#Emma Brodie will delight readers with her novel # Songs in Ursa Major. With the romantic longing and dreams. And the question of what are we willing to sacrifice for our dreams?
Taking place at the Bayleen Island Folk Fest. Featuring Jesse Reid, on his way he crashes his motorcycle. Local Jane Quinn and her band mates are asked to play in his place. A star is born......

Thank you for the advance copy,
#Netgalley, # Emma Brodie, and #Knopf Doubleday Publishing
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I absolutely loved this book!!

A transporting love story of music, stardom, heartbreak, and a gifted young singer-songwriter who must find her own voice: “In the vein of Daisy Jones and the Six and The Final Revival of Opal and Nev, [this] is an intoxicating chronicle of the music industry, inspired largely by the love affair between artists Joni Mitchell and James Taylor” (Elle)."

The year is 1969, and the Bayleen Island Folk Fest is abuzz with one name: Jesse Reid. Tall and soft-spoken, with eyes blue as stone-washed denim, Jesse Reid’s intricate guitar riffs and supple baritone are poised to tip from fame to legend with this one headlining performance. That is, until his motorcycle crashes on the way to the show.

Jane Quinn is a Bayleen Island local whose music flows as naturally as her long blond hair. When she and her bandmates are asked to play in Jesse Reid’s place at the festival, it almost doesn’t seem real. But Jane plants her bare feet on the Main Stage and delivers the performance of a lifetime, stopping Jesse’s disappointed fans in their tracks: A star is born.
Jesse stays on the island to recover from his near-fatal accident and he strikes up a friendship with Jane, coaching her through the production of her first record. As Jane contends with the music industry’s sexism, Jesse becomes her advocate, and what starts as a shared calling soon becomes a passionate love affair. On tour with Jesse, Jane is so captivated by the giant stadiums, the late nights, the wild parties, and the media attention, that she is blind-sided when she stumbles on the dark secret beneath Jesse’s music. With nowhere to turn, Jane must reckon with the shadows of her own past; what follows is the birth of one of most iconic albums of all time.  
Shot through with the lyrics, the icons, the lore, the adrenaline of the early 70s music scene, Songs in Ursa Major pulses with romantic longing and asks the question so many female artists must face: What are we willing to sacrifice for our dreams?
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Songs in Ursa Minor was a fun read! It has a Daisy Jones feel to it and a strong story. You will root for Jane as she rebels against the patriarchal music system but she certainly pays a price. The story of her family was woven in and provided depth to the novel. I will definitely keep this author on my radar!
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In this novel, Brodie combines all the essences of coming of age in that pivotal year of 1969.  Sex, drugs, and rock and roll all take center stage with the additional plot line of A Star Is Born.  The writing is excellent and the characters are real without without wild drama tainting the story.  Highly recommended for book groups.  Read a-likes include Daisy Jones and the Six (Taylor Jenkins Reid) and Girls Like Us (Sheila Weller).
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Songs in Ursa Major was the perfect mix of my love for reading and appreciation for music. This book transported me to its setting of Bayleen Island, and I felt immersed in Jane's story of rock and roll and the lifestyle that accompanies it. 

Throughout the novel, I enjoyed Emma Brodie's writing style as well. Highly recommend for music lovers!
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I love stories where the music is basically a supporting character, and I really liked how the book shows the ups and downs and all the confusion in between in the music industry., and "Songs in Ursa Major" wasn't different. I wish I liked better the romance portrayed in this book.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this e-galley.
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In a question regarding the seed of her debut novel, Emma Brodie writes: “I was reading Carly Simon’s autobiography, and at one point, she mentions meeting James Taylor backstage at a concert with Joni Mitchell … his then girlfriend … I could not believe that James and Joni had dated. Both of them have always been a part of my pantheon – how could I not know this?” …” So, her book is partly inspired by Joni Mitchell and James Taylor’s romance and creative collaboration.

“Songs in Ursa Major” has been at the top of my “to be read” list for so long. I knew I would love it but it exceeded even my expectations. I was so sad when I finished reading the eARC that I had to buy a copy for my bookshelf. If you love novels about up-and-coming singer-songwriters, touring bands, sleazy, sexist record companies and the dark underbelly of stardom, this is for you. It’s a superbly crafted novel. I shall definitely be reading any future Emma Brodie novels.

A huge thank you to @NetGalley and @aaknopf for the eARC of “Songs in Ursa Major”.
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This started strong, but then it just meandered. It was trying to tell too many stories and in 3rd person, it just wasn’t impactful. The “love” story was unbelievable. I didn’t know enough about the characters to understand why they fell so hard for each other, and I never felt the spark. This could have been a love story or this could have been a story about mental health and addiction or it could have been a story about how women are treated in the music industry. Trying to tell all three of these stories  at once was too much for the reader to get invested in any one of them.
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SONGS IN URSA MAJOR by Emma Brodie is loosely based on the relationship between James Taylor and Joni Mitchell.  As a huge fan of 70’s music I was anxious to read this book.

Jesse Reid is set to headline The Bayleen island Fold Festival in 1969, he crashes his motorcycle on the way to the show and is replaced by Jane Quinn and her band the Breakers.  Jane is Bayleen Island’s hometown girl but virtually unknown elsewhere. Jane and The Breakers steal the show and get a record deal.  Jesse Reid mentors Jane Quinn and their relationship grows into a tumultuous love affair full of sex, drugs and rock and roll; the elements of a 70’s rock novel.  Jesse and Jane have secrets; secrets that threaten to destroy their relationship.

This book was a slow read and didn’t really resonate with the rock and roll theme for me.  I needed more 70s references, more character development., just more.  I found myself more interested in Jane’s matriarchal family, the Quinn ladies are an interesting bunch. 

I do believe this book will be a good beach read and feel it will find its audience.
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The music scene of the late sixties, full of creativity and rampant with drug use was the backdrop of this great novel sharing the experience of fictional singer Jane and her band who wind up debuting at a local music festival when another performer can't perform. When a music producer hears the band they are offered their first contract and they begin the wild ride in the spotlight. Jane, the main character, insists on doing things her own way, even when it might harm her burgeoning career.  Jane falls for Jessie, the hottest new singer in the country, but Jessie has a drug problem the begins to tear them apart.   The characters are both likable and incredibly frustrating, just like I assume many people were at that time. This novel is perfect for fans of historical fiction.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the advance copy of the book.
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Amazing Loved, loved, LOVED this book. I immediately fell in love with Jane, the Breakers and the story as it unfolded. I do wish the ending was slightly different but I loved the flash forward to see where everyone wound up.
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Musical novels are having their moment in the spotlight.  Taylor Jenkins Reid's Daisy Jones and the Six was the trailblazer, and now books featuring soulful storylines are finding their way into the hands and hearts of readers.  Combining both riveting narratives and magical melodies, these reads are often packed with intrigue and drama, and are positively unforgettable.  Some of these novels, such as Daisy Jones, are even inspired on real musical acts, as is Emma Brodie's debut, Songs in Ursa Major, which is loosely based on the short-lived relationship of folk singers James Taylor and Joni Mitchell.  

Jane Quinn and her band The Breakers are not on anyone's radar to make it big on the music scene.  However, when they are a last-minute replacement at a local Folk Festival for superstar Jesse Reid, who crashes his motorcycle on the way to the venue, they find their star steady on the rise.  Jane and Jesse grew up on Bayleen Island together, but they come from different worlds, never intersecting or coming in contact, but that is quick to change when Jane and The Breakers are given the incredible opportunity to record an album under the same label as Jesse.

As Jane helps nurse Jesse back to health after his near-fatal accident, he assists her with her album and navigating the industry, and the two soon form a bond that transcends their shared passion of music.  But as their ardor for each other grows and their bands head out together on a head-spinning tour full of shared moments in the spotlight and plenty of boozy late nights, they find themselves dancing too close to the sun, sure to be burnt.  When things come to a head and life-altering secrets are revealed, no one will walk away unscathed or the same.

The late 60s and early 70s were such an iconic time in history, and especially in music, making it the perfect backdrop for Brodie's folk music-inspired novel.  Trailing Jane as she contends with standing up for herself as a woman in a world that caters to men, while also coming to terms with the fact that she became a star by riding Jesse Reid's coattails, Songs in Ursa Major shines a spotlight on the hoops women have to jump through to be taken seriously in the music industry.  Readers will root for Jane as she grapples to find footing as a musician in her own right, and fights to take control of her life and career.

Also tantalizing is Brodie's use of music and lyrics throughout this euphonic novel.  Interweaving songwriting and lyrics with narrative, Songs in Ursa Major envelops readers with the music of Jane Quinn and Jesse Reid, providing for an immersive, reflective reading experience.  Brodie captures a moment, a place, a person in Songs in Ursa Major, and has created a resounding tale of the music scene.

Where Songs in Ursa Major falters is in Jane's connection with readers.  By telling this story in third person, Brodie misses an opportunity to allow readers to really associate with Jane on an intimate level and fall in love with her, which happens to be my biggest issue with this book.  I did not like Jane.  I feel like Brodie only gave us what Jane would want us to see of her, and because we are not let in, it is difficult to elicit feelings of endearment or sympathy towards her as she struggles to find her way.

Soon to be a motion picture, Songs in Ursa Major will most appeal to readers who enjoy books about the music industry.  While this novel has a different feel and story structure from Daisy Jones and the Six, readers who enjoyed the musical aspects of that novel will also find much to love about Songs in Ursa Major.
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I very much enjoyed this story. It was wonderfully written. I look forward to the author’s next book!
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Is there a genre of fiction books about fictitious rock bands/singers with a behind-the-scenes feels? I really hope there is. After reading The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa Sloan, and Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, I fell in love with reading about the going-ons of these bands. I can add Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie to this list, as I fell in love with Janie Q and The Breakers!

This book is Emma Brodie's debut novel, and it was an amazing read. From meeting the Breakers, and learning about Jane's rise within the music industry in the late 60's and 70's was so interesting to me, I could not stop turning the pages. We get to see Jane's struggles with her getting to know Jesse Reid and how it impacts her place in the biz. As she rises to a level of superstardom, we are there when all of her relationships change, and how she handles them.

Every now and again, the POV of the story would change, and we would see an incident from the POV of a music producer, or a photographer. These instances worked very well in the story and really enhanced what was going on in the story. A few trigger warnings: drug use, addiction and mental health concerns. 

I have read that this story is loosely based on the love affair between James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. If this is true, then I need to look up more about this! My only complaint about this book was that the ending wrapped everything up to where there will never be a sequel. That made me sad, as I would love to visit this world again!

If this is Emma Brodie's debut novel, I cannot wait to see what else can come from her!
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Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. I loved the characters, the scenery of the Island, the story, it just ticked every box. The musical nostalgia took on a character of it own! I highly recommend this debut book!
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This took a little while for me to get into the story.
This is 3rd person POV. Jane, the heroine and Jesse the hero.
The story starts off in 1969. There are a lot of characters to keep up with.
Each characters has their faults and vices. It really was trying my patience. It did had some realism to the era.
I liked Jane and I really was pulling for her. I wish that this would have been 1st person.
This was a fun area to go through.
I would love to read more by this author. I'm ok, if it's not about the music world.
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Jane Quinn has just gotten the opportunit of a lifetime. Jesse Reid, a very popular singer, is supposed to appear in a music festival but he is now injured and can’t be on the stage. Jane is asked to step in for Jesse. The crowd is restless but she manages to still perform and get noticed. 

After, Jesse and Jane start becoming close. Her band is even chosen to open for Jesse’s upcoming tour. Things don’t turn out as expected but she is inspired to be able to write Songs in Ursa Major. 

This debut was fantastic! As an artist, Jane uses inspiration from her life to be able to create something amazing. You get a glimpse on how the music industry treated women and how double standards were normal at that time. It has been compared to Daisy Jones and the Six but they are both different. This book is definitely worth the read.
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