Cover Image: The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes

The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes

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Toni is an amazing character I loved her! There's a romance that will pull on your strings while you fall in love with these awesome characters! 
This is an emotional, well written, amazing read! I couldn't stop listening to it!
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I enjoyed this book a lot! I was expecting a fun, fluffy band romance, and there was some of that, but there was more than that, too. This book also involved topics of addiction, trauma, and family (biological and chosen). There was also a really good steamy scene that I was not expecting! I think this is a series that could get even better after the first book as we get to know the characters in the present as much as the first book addresses the past. 

Thank you NetGalley, author and publisher for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
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I was very excited for this but I have some very mixed feelings about it. 

First off, I love Toni. She's tough and works hard for what she wants. She's been knocked down by people in the industry but she's always managed to get back up. This story is very much Toni's story and because of that, I wish there wasn't two POVs. I typically really like dual POVs but this is one case where I just wanted more Toni. 

You could feel the love of music in the story. I really enjoyed everything about the industry and her struggles in breaking into the rock world. Her journey with the Lillys is my favourite. I would love more of their dynamics and to see what comes next for this band. 

The second POV comes from Seb and I could never get on board with him. I didn't like him as a character and didn't ever learn enough about him to come around. His character seemed to revolve around Toni and Candy. I didn't feel the connection between him and Toni or how it could have still had such a hold on them both. 

Tamika Simone's narration was great and was perfect for Toni. Alexander Cendese was not my favourite, I especially didn't care for how he did female voices. Part of my dislike of his performance may be my dislike of Seb and not liking the dual POV though.  

I'd give 5 stars to Toni and the Lillys and maybe 2 to Seb. 
3.5 stars
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This was a great read - a romance, yes, but so much more than that. I loved the focus on a female rock band and its talented musicians. You get an inside look at what it takes to work in the pop/rock music business (and yes, it’s a business, as a couple of characters point out). The backstory of both Toni (Antonia) and Seb (Sebastian) were heartbreaking in their own ways (neither had what anyone would call a typical childhood) and their connection felt so real. The story was a combo of second-chance love and enemies-to-lovers tropes. The audiobook was excellent, with one female narrator (Tamika Simone) and one male narrator (Alexander Cendese), reading different chapters, depending on whether that chapter was being told from Toni’s point of view or Seb’s. Also really enjoyed the love sent out to Philadelphia throughout the story!

Thank you to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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Hmmm. I read three quarters of the book in one day, then took four days to finish the rest, and I have very mixed feelings about it. Will I be able to properly put my thoughts into words? Let's find out, shall we?

Right off the bat I need to clarify that this review is based off the audiobook. The publisher was kind enough to allow me to listen-read early, and the narration is the first point upon which I have mixed feelings. I listened to the three minute narration sample before requesting, and Tamika Simone was perfect as Toni. Hearing Alexander Cendese as Seb? Not so much. Where Tamika has a fabulous voice to listen to, every time Alex spoke I imagined myself in a dramatic movie trailer. You know, "In a world far, far away, one man stands alone against a terrible evil." It was a poor fit for the character and made it difficult to take his chapters serious. Worse still was every female voice from him was pitched to have an odd nasally, valley girl accent.

Toni and Seb's story is deeply entrenched in the rock music industry. From record labels to recording studios, to band dynamics and live shows, and the sheer passion for that world shines through in the writing. The experiences from both characters come across as realistic and genuine, and I believe that is because the author herself has that same experience. While I am not a fan of the rock music that is referenced, I was entranced right from the start. Especially by Toni's view of the industry. It's a tough business to crack into, harder still as a woman, but the way she saw her career rolling was very relatable. Honestly, Toni's journey with the Lillies, an all-female rock band breaking onto the scene, is really what made this an enjoyable book.

I have nothing but praise for Toni Bennett (no, not that one). She is a tough as nails and fierce woman who knows what she wants and will do what it takes to do right by herself. If that means sacrificing a little bit of her career plan by stepping into the spotlight to get that career in the end, then so be it. She always lands on her feet, even after getting knocked over by people in the industry, her family, and those she's come to love. I really admired her and adored her as a main character. Seb on the other hand didn't stand out to me. I couldn't connect with him and felt like I knew so little about him. What he wanted for himself, what his motivations were--in hindsight everything about him seemed to revolve around Toni and Candy. There is a reveal about his character where he's just like someone in his past, but not once did I see him act that way, so I just didn't get him.

Enemies-to-lovers is my favourite romance trope, and when second chance romances like this draw from a similar well it can be just as fun, if not more so. Sadly, this fell short for me and kind of gave me whiplash? Toni and Seb grew up together and made all sorts of plans before Seb bailed, leaving Toni behind. They clearly have feelings for each other, but it didn't see it shine on page. Their relationship lacked tension once they reunited and what was there barely got off the ground to cause any angst. They sort of revolved around each other with zero spice. In fact, after reading 3/4 in one day, my biggest takeaway was there was nothing ... hot. I fully expected this to be a fade-to-black type of book, so imagine my confusion when I came back the next day to d*cks being whipped out of pants? Truly went from zero to 100 in one chapter.

I've heard this might be a series with each book focusing on a different member of the band. If that's the case, I think I'll check it out! Toni really was the star of this book for me, and I'd love to know more about the other Lillies.
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This is a review of the audiobook:  I thought the narrators' voices were perfect for these characters.  For me, they really captured their personalities and emotions.  I would recommend the audio version as I found it quite enjoyable.

I completely fell in love with Toni & Seb's story.  This author has some serious talent.

Antonia (Toni) and Sebastian (Seb) were childhood friends until the day he left her behind.  Now, years later, fate brings them back into one another's orbit and Toni is still quite say the least.  Seb has his work cut out for him trying to explain to Toni why he had to leave.  Can they find their way back to their friendship?  Can they possibly be more?

Meanwhile, I also really enjoyed the side characters that Ms. Axelrod created.  From each of the Lilly's band members to Toni's other friends, the characters all felt fleshed out and real.  In addition, the author's knowledge about the music industry felt personal and extensive.  She shared musical information in a way that enriched the story and made it feel like a character all its own.  

I simply liked everything about this book and cannot wait to read more about the Lillys.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.  I voluntarily chose to review it and the opinions contained within are my own.
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I went back and forth between reading this and listening to the audiobook. The narration was FANTASTIC! Both the female and male narrators brought such life to this story. ⁣
I really enjoyed this story. I loved Toni’s drive, strength, and ambition. She always followed her dreams and did everything she could to be the best she could be in a “boys club world.”⁣
Learning about the band, really feeling like you were there during their rehearsals and gigs was so much fun and filled with energy. The banter between the band members was hilarious at times and they were just a vibe.⁣
The second chance friendship to relationship between Seb and Toni was truly heartfelt, raw, real, and at times I was smiling so big I felt like hearts were popping out of my eyes. ⁣
If you love music, second chance romances, and the underdog beating all the odds- this book is for you!⁣
Thank you @sourcebookscasa for an ARC for my honest review!
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Young, lonely, and feeling abandoned, a 12-year-old Toni finds comfort and true companionship for the first time when she gets plopped down in a small town to be raised by her father. Seb, slightly older and similarly talented, is not only her closest friend, he is her way out – until he leaves her behind without a word. Years later, Toni is an up-and-coming indie rocker and Seb is managing a band in need of a guitarist – as it turns out, she’s a perfect fit in more ways than one.  

This romance is not your typical romance. There is a depth to the slow burn of connection that pulls a deep thread of shared history, deep trauma, and pure passion. This isn’t just a love story about childhood friends reconnecting – this is a story of finding love of one’s self and trusting one’s talents, to making big leaps, and honoring one’s experience. We don’t see Toni and Seb as silhouettes of whole people, shown only in full light together. We see them brightly in the context of friendship, career, and family. 

Not only is the story compelling, the writing is captivating, the pacing even, and flow graceful. We are left wanting to know even more about our cast of characters – which is a good thing given this is the start of a series. 

I personally can’t wait to get my hands on a print copy and recommend this my fellow readers who enjoyed Daisy Jones & The Six, The Rhythm of Blues, or any of Talia Hibbert’s Brown sisters series.

I enjoyed this book on audio thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for the advanced copy! The audio narratives were stellar though they have a slow, deliberate pace so you may opt to listen at a modified speed.
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How I wish GoodReads allowed half stars in their ratings system - I want to give this 3.5 stars! A good love story with the backdrop of the music industry - the pair were close friends as teens and secretly in love with each other and are unexpectedly reunited when she is hired to play with the band he manages. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies but it is a nice romantic escape in these weird times we live in!
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced audio book in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book! Toni B is a brilliant guitarist in the Philly music scene with a lot of childhood abandonment issues. She gets an opportunity to fill in for an all woman’s band—The Lillys—as a guitarist but the band’s manager is her teenage BFF who left town without a goodbye eight years ago.

The narrators did an excellent job.

Much to the frustration of my family, I am not into music but I love audiobooks. The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes does a great job of telling the background of what it takes to be a professional musicians and all of the hard work behind the scenes. I found it all very interesting.

I can’t wait for the next book in the series and I hope future books go into each of the other band members.
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I loved this story! Toni and Seb had an amazing relationship. I love how they both come with baggage but can see the best in each other. I loved the other relationships developed in the book too. Kayla, Tiff, Lily and Toni created their own bond. I’d love to see all of the band members get their own books!
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This book was everything that I needed and love in a book! It had a strong female lead, a trope that I loved, the perfect amount of romance, multiple points of view, and really really did give me Daisy Jones vibes. 

The thing that I loved the most about this book though was that Toni stayed true to herself. It was refreshing to see a main character stand firm and still have everything fall in place. 

Thank you NetGalley, Dreamscape Media, and Xio Axelrod, for the advanced listening copy in return for an honest review. I cannot wait for the release next month!!
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This book is very cute - it does two things which can be tricky to do well - alternating POVs and flashbacks, but the author balances it well enough that I didn’t have a huge preference for one character. The flashbacks are rare enough that they feel unnecessary though, and ultimately the plots with Toni’s parents just feel unresolved. 

I did listen to the audiobook version - the reader for Toni is very good! The reader for Seb is good but not on the same level.

*I received a galley of this audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review
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Toni knows cute, curvy girls are a dime a dozen in the music industry.  Cute, curvy Black women like her who can play the guitar like Prince and know the difference between Matchbox 20 and 21 Pilots aren’t.  Despite her talent, Toni wants to remain in the background; she fears seeking fame after what it did to her mother.  But she can’t pass up the opportunity when The Lillys ask her to audition to replace one of its members temporarily.  Could this be the start of something that changes Toni’s life?

With Toni joining the band,  she reconnects with her childhood friend, Seb, who manages the band.  The two ease back into their old familiarity. The pull between them is reignited. Theirs is a story of healing from troubled childhoods and forgiveness. I liked the romance between Toni and Seb but would have liked to see it developed more.  Their romance takes a backseat to the story of the band. 

The Lillys are on the verge of becoming big.  However, the band has a lot of complicated relationships that are holding it back.  While this book is definitely Toni's story, it is heavy on the band's backstory.  I'm curious to see what's next for this all-girl rock band!  

I listened to The Girl With Stars In Her Eyes.  Narrator Tamika Simone voices Toni's perspective and narrator 
Alexander Cendese takes the chapters from Seb's point of view. Simone brings Toni's mix of desire to achieve big dreams and her hesitancy to seek fame to life.  I enjoyed the parts that she narrated.  Cendese is best when portraying emotionally wounded Seb, but he struggles with the female voices. I found his high-pitched (and sometimes whiny) voices for the women annoying to listen to at times.  Thankfully, most of the story is told from Toni's point of view, so Simone handles the bulk of the narration.   

Thank you to NetGalley and Dreamscape for the early listening copy.  This voluntary review reflects my honest and unbiased opinions.
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I received an audio ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Toni Bennette and Sebastian Quigley grew up in the same small Pennsylvania town.  Best friends, they dreams of getting out of that town as soon as they could.  When Seb left town without her, Toni had to move on without him.  Now, Toni is grown and working in Philadelphia as a gig artist.  When Toni gets the chance to audition with the up and coming girl rock group the Lillies, she jumps at the chance.  Toni is offered a temporarly contract with the band, but there is just one problem.  Seb is now serving as the Lillies' manager.  She can handle being around him again to live her dream, though, right?

Toni was definitely the star of this book!  She is an incredible woman, and I am so happy to hear this book is the first in a series about the Lillies.  I can't wait to see where the band goes from here as they truly break out into stardom.  Tamika Simone did a great job with her half of the narration.  Alexander Cendese was OK, but I did not like how whiny he made Candy's voice.  I am not sure how much my opinions of the narrators swayed my opinions of the characters, but I definitely felt Toni's parts were stronger than Seb's.  Nonetheless, this was overall a great book!
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Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Rating: 9/10

The Girl With Stars In Her Eyes was a musical love letter, and I loved every moment. The narration switches between the POV of Toni and Seb. They were best friends growing up, but that all ends when Seb leaves Toni behind in their small town in Pennsylvania. Toni and Seb’s paths cross again in the future for this second-chance trope. This romcom contained depth and authentic characters who aim for their dreams no matter what life dissonance they are given. I laughed so many times at the witty banter between the characters and band members. I loved Daisy Jones & The Six, and now Toni B is one of my favorite rockstar characters!

Thank you, Sourcebooks Casablanca, for this gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.
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"Once she was under the lights, it was too easy to get caught up in it, too easy to accept the adoration"

Growing up Antonia has only her guitar until she meets Sebastian. They had a plan to escape their small town together but when Seb turned eighteen he left her behind without looking back. Now all grown up they reunite when she gets the opportunity to join the indie rock scene. 

I didn't like this as much as I wanted to but did think this book did a good job at touching on serious topics like trauma and abuse, and how that was able to bring Seb and Toni closer. Sadly I didn't really like Seb's character or the romance. I felt like their relationship was moving too fast since most of their connection was made in the past, which you see a few time through flashbacks. What kept me interested in this book was Toni and her complicated life and relationships. Overall think this book was okay, it was a quick and unique listen.  

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this arc in exchange for an honest review.
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A huge thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this early release in exchange for my honest review.

I enjoyed this book.. But I listened to the audiobook version and I did finish it, but one of the audiobook readers is just terrible,Alexander Cendese sounds like he swallowed a bunch of glass and is trying to talk.. I have listened to other things that he has done and I can barely stand it, I don't understand how anyone with ears hire this man.. yuck!

Now, On to the book.. This is heartfelt, real tear jerker, poignant story of Antonia Bennett: a musical prodigy.. She is just astonishing, I loved her so much.

The issue is she's also insecure, Her mother abandoned her. Her father mistreated her and her love of her life left her without explanation! You really feel her pain and I just loved it.
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I enjoyed this book. The beginning moved a little slowly and almost lost me for a bit but then it picked up and I was hooked. Tony is a great character who is strong although a few times she was annoying. Seb is a bit ridiculous in his waffling back and forth and blaming himself for things he had no control over. Overall a good and fun read!
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The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod follows Antonia "Toni" Bennett who is making a name for herself in Philadelphia's indie rock scene. When a friend suggests she try out for the hottest new band in the country, she decides to take a chance. She's in for a surprise when one of the decision-makers turns out to be none other than Sebastian who grew up with her and left her heartbroken years ago. 

While I loved the music aspect of this book I just couldn't get into the romance. The biggest problem of this romance was Seb. I could never find him likable even after revealing his reasons for leaving Toni. I also think that Candy's portrayal was extremely over the top and cartoonish. If the book focused more on Toni or the Lillies I would have enjoyed it a lot more. 

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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