Cover Image: The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes

The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes

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I really enjoyed this one! I had read a couple of heavy ones so this was a good escape. You can't help but root for Toni and Seb to make it, and a glimpse into what the music industry might really be like was interesting. I recommend!
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Thank you to Netgalley, Sourcebooks, and Dreamscape for the ARC in exchange for an honest review

CW: parental abandonment, addiction, parental abuse (physical) 

I am honestly struggling with how to rate this one.  First this is not a romance, but a great fiction read with a romance subplot. It ends ambiguously, at best a happy for now.  

This was a book you could just feel the passion for music in.  It was so beautifully written.  As a story about women struggling in music and their own identities, this was a beautiful story.  Honestly this was truly Toni's story and I honestly wish it had been single POV to bring that point home.  The flashbacks were about her childhood, her abandonment issues.  Her journey from dreading the spotting to finding a found family.

But the romance, I struggled.  I just did not like Seb.  His abandonment (with all of the freaking money).  His POV had no backstory, and I understood for plot, but to understood him it was hard.  He was a pushover, but also trying to save someone.  His intense loyalty to Candy frustrated me.  I love a hero gone on his love interest, here he was trying to save everyone else and Toni was a second thought.  I just never felt that he cared about her.  She forgave him too quickly, suddenly forgetting her abandonment issues.  We barely saw them together until more than 50% through the book.  I love second chance romances, but this one missed the mark for me.  

I enjoyed both audio voices however it got frustrating that the male voice kept doing a valley girl impression anytime he tried to do a woman's voice.  For a book about music I honestly wanted more musical undertones in the audiobook or at least singing rather than saying the musical lines.  I would recommend reading this one rather than listening.  

Rating: 3
Steam: 3
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Thank you to Dreamscape Media and Netgalley for an advanced copy.  All opinions are my own.

Toni B has lived anything but a charmed life.  Immersed in the music scene literally since birth, she grew up in clubs and bars while her mother performed.  But Toni wanted nothing to do with the spotlight.  At 12, Toni is sent to live with her father and meets Seb.  The two become fast friends and make plans to run away together.  They never get the chance when Seb disappears with half the money they've been saving up.

Fast-forward 8 years and Toni is still in the music scene, but has aims to produce.  When Toni nails an audition for an up and coming band, not only is she unexpectedly thrusted into the spotlight, she's also placed back into Seb's orbit and he holds the key to her future.

The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes is a love letter to music.  You can hear and feel the music through the pages.  You can tell that the author has spent significant time in the music industry, because every scene feels so real.  I also loved the then and now time that slowly reveals the intricacies of Seb and Toni's tangled past.  And some of the twists blew me away.  There are complicated connections between characters and events that I did not see coming.  

Both characters are deeply flawed and dealing with the remnants of the painful childhoods.  But still, Seb and Toni how to help each other heal and their easy chemistry lept off the page.  I loved the slow burn romance and I enjoyed seeing their childhood crush develop into a more adult relationship as the book progressed.  

My only complaint about the book is that I felt it was a tad slow at the beginning and I had a hard time getting into the story quickly.  The middle plot really pulled me in, but by the time we got to the ending, it felt a tad rushed.  I still really enjoyed the book!  This was just my small sticking point.

Audiobook wise, the app was difficult to navigate.  If you speed up the sound, there is a terrible echo that takes some time to get used to.  The app would also crash constantly or stop playing when heading into a new chapter.  I would have to exit out of the app completely to get the sound to work again.  It did not make the listening experience the most smooth or enjoyable at times.  

I did, however, love the dual narrators.  This is my first audiobook that has done that and I thought it added to the story, hearing different voices.

4.5 stars
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The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod 

A modern music romance! 

Synopsis: 
Antonia "Toni" Bennette grew up with a mother as an aspiring musician who shipped her off to live with her dad to chase her music dreams. This is when she met Sebastian Quick. The two made plans to leave their small town together and never look back when they turned of age. However, Seb left without her. 

Now, Toni is a grown-up, aspiring musician herself. She doesn't want to chase the spotlight like her mother, but when she is given the chance to play in a popular band, she decided to take the opportunity to make a name for herself! This is when she ran back into adult Sebastian. Even though Toni holds resentment for Seb, she realizes he could be the key to her career, and love life. 

Thoughts: 
I really enjoyed this story and the lost friend/enemy to love troupe. 
I loved the music scene plot as well! 

I think I should have read the book because I think I would have enjoyed it more! 
I don't listen to a lot of fictional audiobooks, For this book, there was both a male and female narrator for Seb and Antonia. While they narrated the thoughts of that character, they altered their voice when reading quotes from the other character not currently talking. I'm not sure why, but I didn't love it... 

Botton Line: I really enjoyed the story, and I think I would have liked it more if I had read it instead of listened to it! 

Thank you to #NetGalley and #DreamscapeMedia for the eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Pub Date: May 4, 2021
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Thank you Net Galley for a chance to listen to The Girl With Stars In Her Eyes. 

This was a second chance romance centered around music.   This one fell a little flat for me.   I didn't get into the romance.   The other story line was okay though.    3 stars.
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Thank you, Net Galley and Sourcebooks for the opportunity to listen to this ARC on audio book.
The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes was a very cute and fun book to listen to. Knowing almost nothing about the dynamics of being a musician or being in a band, I absolutely enjoyed all of the technical details that were included throughout the story. I feel like they helped me to connect even more to the characters and the plot, while also instilling a whole new appreciation for bands. Many times while listening, I found myself googling different songs and artists, and I must say that within it self was fun as heck! Lol
Though the story is a romance novel, for me, it was so much more. The story was told from the POV of 2 different character, Antonia and Seb, however, however the supporting characters also had a place and a bit of character development that helped to breathe more life and depth to the story. It wasn’t just about love or the loss of love. The story is about family, both biological and chosen. It’s about loss. And, It’s about dealing with past traumas. 
I noticed that the author has a few books listed as #1 but no follow ups yet, while I think this makes a good stand alone, I would not be disappointed in book 2, as I would love to see how all of the characters are doing and how some unresolved plot lines re appear.
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Reviewing
The Girl With The Stars In Her Eyes
By Xio Axelrod 
Narrated by Kathleen MaInerney

Honestly, LOVE is not strong enough to express my feeling for this radiant 2021 romantic release from the author of “When Frankie Meets Johnny,” Xio Axelrod. 

This unique, second chance, childhood romance takes place in the cutthroat world of the music industry. Axelrod utilizes her firsthand knowledge to add depth to the The Lillys, and all female band, journey to stardom. 

Every character is dramatically intriguing but the powerful connection between Toni and Seb takes center stage in The Girl With The Stars In Her Eyes. Toni and sent forged a bond years ago as they struggled through similar circumstances. They share a love of music, abusive fathers, unreliable living circumstances, and a need to break free. Will these two finally get a chance at happiness?!?

I think I’ve made it pretty obvious that you all HAVE to read this one to find out!!! Publication date is May 4th but preorders are open now! 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 shiny stars to Xio Axelrod the this absolute gift to book and music lovers alike.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this story, as it follows Toni Bennett from displaced young girl to budding musical talent. Toni has had a lot of people walk out on her, including her own mother and her best friend, Seb. However her talent and tenacity earns her a 6-week trial run with The Lily’s, the hottest all female band of the moment. This story is full of many strong young female voices and a budding romance. Also, I loved the narrator of the audiobook. So engaging and dynamic. 

Sincere thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a great book for music lovers. “The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes” takes us behind-the-scenes of what it takes to “make it.” From writing and producing to dealing with the drama that comes with creating a successful girl band.

This is dubbed a romance novel, but that’s not really the main theme. It’s more about Antonia "Toni" Bennette who has a rough upbringing. Then, because she has immense talent, gets a life-changing opportunity to join the up-and-coming girl band, the Lillys. 

This is the first book in a new series by the bestselling author Xio Axelrod who grew up in the music industry. So she knows what she’s talking about. According to Google, “When [Xio] isn't writing stories, she can be found in the studio, writing songs, or performing on international stages.”

I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed the narrators, Tamika Simone and Alexander Cendese. Thanks to Dreamscape Media for the advanced listener copy, via NetGalley. This is my honest review.
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I enjoyed this book but for me, it was a very traditional romance. Boy and girl meet as kids, lose touch, run into each other later in life and connect again. The side story about Toni was my favorite, she was able to learn that in addition to playing music she loved performing. I loved her personal transition in the storyline!
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Thanks so much to NetGalley for this audiobook arc!

I’m a huge music fan & live outside of Philadelphia, PA so the description of this book instantly sold me. 

It took me a little while to get into the story. The main character, Toni Bennett, had a difficult childhood and we follow her journey as an up & coming musician. She’s a talented musician and has the chance to part own her favorite studio. She ends up replacing “Candy” is a very popular girl band. Twist is that the band is managed by Seb, aka Sebastian, who was her best friend up until he disappeared from her life. Candy is a bit of a mess so she has no trouble causing drama throughout the story. Deep down Toni loves Sebastian, and always has. He feels the same way, even though the band has rules against this. We learn about Toni & Sebs childhood throughout the story and how they really feel for each other. Will they act on it? How will things play out for Toni being in Candy’s place in the band? 

I enjoyed the dual narration. I love when a story is told from two different characters going back and forth. I loved that this was narrated by a woman and man (makes listening much more enjoyable!) the narrators also gave the other characters different voices which was entertaining. I didn’t enjoy the male narrator’s voice for Candy. It was whiney (which I’m sure was the point) but it drove me nuts. 

I had no idea there was a romance element in this book but it just wasn’t enough for me. I read another romance right before this so I may be biased. The characters lacked a little passion. I enjoyed learning of the ins & outs of a band. I love the idea of a rekindled childhood friendship turned love story. There was just something missing for me.
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“Don't be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.” -Roy T. Bennett 
 
A romance of second chances and two people succeeding in there dreams with or without each other. This was light and fun with some steamy parts. I sometimes wanted a lot more background on their past and somethings were hard to believe. But overall I enjoyed it. 
The narrators were good and I’d definitely listen to them again. 
Thanks Dreamscape Media via Netgalley for this audiobook. I’m voluntarily leaving my review.
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This book was fabulous! Written by a musician and it shows. I loved the music, the romance, cover songs, stage performances and description of the waves of sound and process of writing music. A book for music and concert lovers, these characters were amazing and the storyline was fast and fun to follow. Thanks, Netgalley for this copy!
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for both ALC and ARC for this book.   This was a great second chance romance focused on the music industry. I love the music aspect and how it shows women still struggles in the Industry and facing sexism. The history between Seb and Toni - I was vested in hearing what happened with them. I enjoyed the dual narration of Seb and Toni and seeing their perspectives.
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This was a surprise for me. I had no expectations on this book, and when i got the ARC of the audiobook, i started without knowing where it was going to go. It was a very positive surprise. The story was deep, characters had a strong backstory and i really enjoyed the musical aspect of it. It sounds weird to say but i felt the musical energy, I was totally engaged, unlike some other books about musical acts that i've just not felt the passion. This is the type of book that I feel would be perfectly adaptable to TV. 
Only thing i really didnt get is the title. For me, Toni was the girl with no stars in her eyes, the title i felt was the complete opposite of how i interpreted the character. Also I would have liked more high school rememberances, a little bit more about what made Seb and Toni so connected.
Thouhts on the audiobook per se, although i really enjoyed that the toni narration was done by a woman and seb's ny a man, the males other voices whilst reading were a bit weird. However the dual narrator helps much more with the storyline than when two narrators are read by the same person.
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I loved this book! I could see this being a book club pick. I wanted Toni to happy, I wanted her to keep that guitar and find love. I will being suggestion this book to a book group and anyone who loved daisy jones and the six. 
Loved that there was 2 narrators. I just dont like when men try to do a female voice in audiobooks. But I know they need to so it follows the book.
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O.M.G. This book just blew me away! I had no idea what to expect, but if I had any expectations, it exceeded them! This book is a romcom, but is so intertwined wit the music and story of the band, it's perfect for fans of Daisy Jones and The Six, Twice in a Blue Moon, and romcoms alike!

Toni and Seb had been best friends as kids, after Toni's mom dumped her in small town PA to chase her dreams of stardom. But when Seb left town without a word, despite their promises they would escape and makes names for themselves in music together, Toni was shell-shocked. Now, nearly a decade later, Toni is working as a session musician when Seb reenters her life. Toni has the opportunity of a lifetime--to play guitar for a girl group with amazing potential--and it's unclear whether Seb will be an asset or a hinderance. 

I listened to this book on audio, and I especially enjoyed the female narrator. I actually didn't realize the book was dual POV until I got to the third chapter and heard a male voice, startling me. The male narrator does a pretty poor job with women's voices (especially Candy's), but it's not the worst I've heard, and I still think the audio was pretty stellar overall. It was a little awkward when lyrics/singing was done, because the narrator reads it a little bit like spoken word, but it's unavoidable. 

I think this book has everything you could ask for--second chance romance, girl rock band power, crazy antics, lovable characters, and characters with depth and history. There's a sub-issue of a non-fraternization clause included in some of the character's contracts, which I think could have been dropped from the storyline and not really changed anything, but I overall loved this book. Would definitely recommend, especially for music lovers! 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casa and Dreamscape Media for my eARC and ALC of this book! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

5 stars - 9/10
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This was an interesting listen. I enjoyed the female narration more than the male one who kind of droned on at times especially if listening to this at regular speed. I spent a lot of this story simple confused about my thoughts on this book. It wasn't bad but it also wasn't a must listen story that I was fully engaged throughout. At times I just felt like I was along for the journey.
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CW: child abuse, drug/alcohol addiction and abuse

If I hadn’t committed to writing this review, I likely wouldn’t have finished this book. I was really intrigued by the cover, by the tropes - second chance! childhood best friends! - and by the fact that the author of this book is herself a musician, so I could trust that the industry as portrayed in the book would be accurate and exciting.

However, I felt like the romance got muddled down in the plot of the book and was ultimately underdeveloped, leaving me unsatisfied. The romance didn't read as central to the plot - we didn't even really get to see the characters interact substantively until over 25% of the way through the book. And even then, the characters weren't particularly likeable. Now, I understand the virtue of an "unlikeable" heroine/hero, however there was nothing particularly endearing, relatable, or even interestingly flawed about these characters.

As far as the audio is concerned, I love a dual narration. However, I had a few issues with both sides of this narration. I had to listen on 2x speed t0 get the pacing that worked best for me (which isn't raree for me). There were times when her audio had a tinny quality to it, and his narration felt overperformed at points. All things being equal for you, I'd recommend reading the book over listening to it.

I did find the ultimate climax of the plot compelling, cinematic, and gripping,  and the resolution of the external conflict to be oh so satisfying.

It is clear that Xio Axelrod knows what she’s talking about (even if I don’t!). This book is perfect for music lovers with a sneak peak into the inside of the music industry. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for the ARC.
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