Member Reviews

This was an interesting take on an American Idol-like reality singing competition. Hazel hides her true identity and tries to win the singing competition based on her talent to live her life how she wants and escape her past. Eventually, her past catches up to her, and she starts a relationship with the last person she should have been interested in. It's an entertaining read and an interesting take on reality television.

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This book felt exactly like watching a reality TV show, which made it fun. Hazel is not always likable but she is a realistic character that is trying to find her way.

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This was a okay read for me
Nothing special
Just a average 3 stars read
Thanks to netgalley for this book

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Music and romance, my two favorite things, combined into a book. I’m always a sucker for a fun romance and this did the trick for me. The only thing I would’ve liked more was a bigger feeling of chemistry between the main characters, but overal definitely an enjoyable enough read for me!

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The story revolves around these amazing singers and musicians, pouring their hearts out through their lyrics and melodies. Hazel, the main character, is a force to be reckoned with, and I couldn't help but root for her every step of the way. Her journey through the ups and downs of the music industry felt like a wild rollercoaster ride, but it was so worth it!

“And then she sang as if her life depended on it. Because it did”

One thing that really stood out to me was how the book emphasized the importance of respecting women and not letting anyone take advantage of their position. It's a message that hit home and added depth to the story. And let's not forget Nick – if you know, you know! He brings a whole new level of charm to the mix. Overall, I enjoyed the vibes this book gave off – it's all about self-discovery, determination, and embracing your true self.

“That was me, claiming my crown as the queen of self-sabotage”

So, if you're into talent shows like American Idol or The Voice, or if you're just curious about the music industry's behind-the-scenes drama, this book is definitely worth a read. It's a delightful journey that'll have you cheering for Hazel and claiming your own crown in no time!

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Ugh! I hate when I don’t like a book because I like to commit to a story and enjoy it! This book was not it! I understand this was a singing competition but it really felt like a childish and cheap reality tv!

The behaviour of Somme of the character was questionable and let know even talk about the FMC! It was really hard to like her, sure she had her goals that she wanted to achieve but she wasn’t nice and I hated all the lies!

No just not my type of book!

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Amazing fun gorgeous 😍

Thank you soooooo much netgalley, the author and the publisher for the advanced review copy if this book💗
"I voluntarily read and reviewed the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

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I love the premise of this, but there was too much going on. There were too many sideplots I struggled to follow. I ended up DNFing.

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I enjoyed this book. I didn't like that there was so much backstabbing and drama between the show contestants, but maybe that is the reality behind TV series that is not shown. I loved how the main characters all made it to the end, and am happy for Benji's win, especially since Hazel is happy with her second place, regaining her and Benji's friendship, and making up with Nick. I would have liked to know a bit more what happened to Georgia and Nick post the story about Martin, and if he actually had consequences for his actions. I think another chapter or two, or an epilogue could have revealed all of that. In addition, more information of what Hazel did post win, how things went with her parol officer etc would have been nice. I enjoyed the story and the ending with Nick, but I feel there are details left unfinished. Overall, I thought it was a 3.5/5!

Thank you Netgalley and Wattpad Webtoon Book Group for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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"Hazel knew life was like that sometimes - things you didn't know you wanted showed up unexpectedly."

We're here with another WATTPAD story😍😍😍 Hazel Fine is doing everything she can to avoid her past. A young girl with a big voice, Hazel is determined to make her mark with her music. So, when she gets the chance to audition for the popular talent show, The Sing Along, her plan is to win the show so that she can go from living in cheap hotel rooms to killing it in the music industry. After killing her audition, Hazel's up against 15 other contestants. But...these other contestants all have the "it" factor when it comes to superstardom. Talk about a FIERCE competition. Along with all the competitiveness, what else happens on a singing/reality show? DRAMA. We've got Bella, Hollywood's favourite chic, and Zoey, the outgoing country star. We've also got Benji the tiktok star (he was kind of annoying tbh, but I low-key still found him attractive😳). We've got love triangles, scandals, and an issue with a judge who likes to hit on contestants🤢 I like how this book touches on behind the scenes of stardom. It sucks that the highest people in the music industry are able to get away with inappropriate behaviour🤦‍♀️ ALSO, need to give a shoutout to the best friend of the book: AMBER. She's a single mom and A TOTAL BADDIE, and the way she's there for Hazel through it all shows what an awesome person she is. I also like how the book features a small romance between a contestant and a musical director (I see you Nick😏). A book with a lot of chaos that will keep you on your toes😍😍😍 I LOVED IT!

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this book.

The plot of this book was chef’s kiss. I loved Hazel and Nick and will ship them forever. I feel that this book was perfect for the times and I would love to reread it again.

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Katie Wicks is the pseudonym adopted by bestselling novelist Catherine McKenzie for her new venture as the author of romantic comedies. McKenzie considers herself an “amateur” guitar and tennis player, and says she has “always loved reality singing shows,” although, “unfortunately, my voice isn't good enough” to audition. Having always wanted to have a competition show serve as the setting for a novel because “there's something so fun about the thrill of the competition mixed in with all the emotions,” she employs the premise in Hazel Fine Sings Along.

Hazel Fine is determined to secure a spot on The Sing Along, an American Idol-esque televised singing competition. “Sing along if you know the words,” the audience shouts with the long-time host, Keshawn Jackson. As the story opens, Hazel has been waitressing and is leaving her room in the sleazy Motel California and her best friend, Amber, a sex worker, to audition. When that goes well, she checks into the much nicer hotel in Universal City that will be her temporary home, along with the other contestants', as their performances are judged by Georgia Hayes, an iconic country music star with a drinking problem, and Martin Taylor, who is one of the industry's most successful music producers. He also produces and owns the show.

Hazel is harboring secrets that, if discovered by the network and producers, could get her ejected from the competition before it even gets started. She is twenty-eight years old, but has produced identification indicating she is only twenty-two. Hazel Fine is not her real name, although she has truthfully stated that she is from Austin, Texas. She has withheld pertinent details about her background and will surely be evicted from the hotel if it is discovered that she is harboring her pet rabbit, Checkers, in her room.

Hazel isn't just talented. She's determined to forge a career in the music business . . . and do so on her own. She loves singing her own compositions, accompanying herself on the guitar she purchased in a pawn shop six months ago by working double shifts to scrape together the purchase price. At the audition, she “sang as if her life depended on it. Because it did.” She's tired of living in a dumpy motel room she can barely afford, working long shifts in a diner. “She shouldn't feel this old at her age, whatever it was. Her life was supposed to be more than this. She deserved more than this.” She had to “reach out and seize” the chance that felt like her last one. And she did.

But surviving the initial audition was just the beginning of a fraught journey to being crowned the winner of the competition. First, she has to get through more grueling individual and group competitions and, hopefully, be among the select group of competitors who will perform on the televised shows. And when she accomplishes that, she must navigate around numerous roadblocks that stand between her and victory.

Hazel encounters sexual harassment from the show's powerful head judge. Martin Taylor holds the power to thwart Hazel's trajectory to musical stardom, but he makes inappropriate advances, demanding that Hazel capitulate or face expulsion from the competition. Hazel contemplates lodging a complaint. But how? To whom? Taylor literally controls nearly every aspect of the show and there are no witnesses to his quid pro quo propositions. Who will believe her? It is a compelling component of the story that is both contemporary and timeless, and accurately demonstrates the real conundrum that victims too-often confront.

There is also the delicate matter of forming collegial relationships with the other contestants, with whom Hazel is required to perform on the show. Hazel immediately bonds with her roommate, Zoey, a Black country musician who agrees to keep Checkers' presence a secret and talks incessantly about missing her girlfriend. But there are mean girls competing, including beautiful Bella Moore, whose mother was a cast member on one of the housewives reality shows. Her father is wealthy, and Bella has over two million Instagram followers. And the show's producers insist that Hazel play along as they invent and publicize a fake romance between her and Benji Suzuki, a talented singer who has already curated a large online following by posting videos on TikTok.

As if that weren't enough, the contestants must collaborate with other musical artists, and Hazel is paired with Georgia Hayes. Keeping her sober long enough to prepare proves challenging and, in the process, Hazel gets an up-close glimpse into the stressors that plague artists as they establish and strive to maintain a successful career in music. Georgia proves to be as vulnerable and damaged as she is famous and revered by her fans.

And of course, there is Hazel's burgeoning attraction to Nick Barnes, the show's musical director. He is handsome, charismatic, and off-limits except in a solely professional capacity. Inappropriate fraternization could also result in Hazel being dismissed from the competition and cost Nick his job. But Hazel and Nick turn out to be inspired collaborators – musically and personally. McKenzie, aka Wicks, says her favorite part of writing is crafting dialogue, noting that the romantic comedy genre is “very dialogue driven. You need the conversations between the romantic interests to sparkle and getting to see that form on the page is very satisfying. If I pulled it off, that is.” She did. The relationship between Hazel and Nick is punctuated not only with witty banter, but believable and emotionally resonant conversations as they get to know each other and recognize their deepening feelings, as well as the myriad reasons why they must proceed cautiously.

As the story progresses, Wicks convincingly illustrates the pressures the contestants endure in order to remain in the competition, including the believable politics, machinations, and backstabbing in which some competitors engage, and the crushing disappointment that befalls some of them. But for Hazel, failure simply isn't an option. She has burned bridges and nearly emptied her bank account. The prospect of having to pawn her beloved guitarto buy a bus ticket back to Austin with her proverbial tale between her legs is unthinkable. Wicks gradually reveals exactly why Hazel is so driven to succeed and determined to keep her secrets from coming to light. Hazel is endearing from the outset, feisty and surprisingly principled, despite the lies she has told to get accepted into the competition. And as readers learn about her childhood, her past experiences as a performer, and the betrayal that caused her to become estranged from her parents, she grows increasingly sympathetic and likable.

Hazel Fine Sings Along is an entertaining and charmingly enjoyable first foray into the crowded romantic comedy genre. It's a nearly perfect beach read that will have readers rooting for Hazel to win both prizes: the talent competition championship and the guy. And looking forward to the next book from the multi-talented McKenzie/Wicks.

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So I got to about 75% of this book absolutely loving it, thinking it was definitely going to be at least a 4 star read for me. Then I got to the end and just felt like it fell a bit flat. I don't know if it's just because I have been reading a lot of dark romances and fantasies lately, but I felt like the ending was so unrealistic. I feel like the author tried to tie everything up at the end with a pretty bow and call it a day.

The book started so well, and I felt like the characters had very deep back stories, and instead of seeing a lot of growth, it was more like, and then everyone lived happily ever after.

I absolutely hated Zoey and Brooke's relationship. Zoey constantly talked about how she lied to her girlfriend about her opinions on tough topics, but then held Hazel to these super high standards. Hazel and her parents' relationship was so cringey to read. I felt horrible for her and what she went through and when they try to apologize it seems so forced and fake, and why did you have to do it right before one of the biggest moments of her life?

Look, I really wanted to like this book. And for the most part, I did, but there were a lot of inconsistencies, weird and awkward banter, and horrible characters.

I would still give it a chance, just be wary!

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I have a high expectations of this book after reading the blurb, it has many potential but I ended up disappointed because there's a lot of things going on (sub-plot) that's just hanging around or getting too long.and not executed well yet I love the idea of having an insight on the begins the scenes of audition program like this, but somehow I can't relate nor rooting for the MC.

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Many, many moons ago, I discovered a novel titled Arranged by a Canadian author by the name of Catherine McKenzie. I loved it. So very much. I continued to read everything McKenzie wrote, even when she started writing more thrillers, which, as you know, aren’t always my cup of tea. Imagine my immense delight when I find out that she was writing a rom com under the pseudonym Katie Wicks. Yippee! Hazel Fine Sings Along was published earlier this month and I really enjoyed it!

Here’s the book’s description:
When your voice is all that matters―sing loud.
As Hazel Fine steps out of her crummy hotel room into the bright LA sunshine, she knows she’s got one, and only one, chance. Her audition for the massive talent show, The Sing Along, could change her life forever. She has the skills, what she needs now is a bit of luck.
Soon Hazel finds herself alongside fifteen other contestants who all have the same superstardom. There’s the beautiful Hollywood golden child, Bella. The bright, bubbly country singer, Zoey. The extraordinarily handsome surfer/influencer, Benji. And Hazel, who has more to hide than her past. She’s got the chops, but can she handle the pressure without self-combusting?

Add in an undeniable attraction to the show’s talented yet brooding musical director, Nick, and the lecherous tactics of one of the judges, Hazel soon finds herself in over her head. But with her guitar strapped to her shoulder, she’s going to sing her heart out―and maybe open herself up to love at the same time. Who says you can’t have it all . . .
This novel is, at its core, a romance. I knew there would be a Happily Ever After (more about that later) but there’s so much more to this story than just will they-won’t they. Romances are so much better when they have some substance to them, which this one does. Maybe that could potentially be attributed to the thrillers that Wicks writes as McKenzie. They’re wildly different genres but I feel like a good story means more than just a love story or a suspenseful act etc. In this romance, there’s a thread of Me Too and how there are still issues within the entertainment industry. Wicks does a great job of showing all the nuances involved when someone comes forward with allegations of abuse and I thought it was quite well done and realistic.

The secondary characters in this book really help round out the story. I hadn’t realized how much I appreciated them until I listened to an online chat between Wicks and Romance by the Book last week. Wicks said that, while Bella is the “villain” in Hazel’s story, the whole narrative could have been flipped on its head and, if told from Bella’s point of view, Hazel would be the villain and you’d be rooting for Bella the entire time. It was a really interesting way to put it and made me appreciate all the characters - and the way Wicks wrote them - so much more.

OK. I gotta mention the rabbit. I was thrilled to be introduced to Checkers the rabbit because I’m a rabbit owner myself. I know what it’s like to have a small, furry creature who loves to chew things and poop everywhere (truthfully, Tonks is very good about using her litter box but she’s an old girl now and sometimes I find myself asking her, “Why is there a poop over here?”). I know how to care for a rabbit. So, I was very concerned for Checkers on a number of occasions and, honestly, don’t know if the poor guy would have survived. Is it dumb that this affected me so much that I was almost shouting at the book for Hazel to do something differently? Perhaps. I was rooting for Hazel but I was also very much Team Checkers!

I don’t watch singing competitions but I really enjoyed that part of the story (which is good because it’s a huge part of the book!). It added the drama needed for the book instead of forcing drama between the love interests that doesn’t need to be there.

Now, about those love interests! Nick was very swoon-worthy and it took awhile for Hazel to realize that and that, duh, he totally has feelings for her. She had trouble reading him, not because she didn’t understand him, I don’t think, but because he was keeping himself very guarded. As was she. She had a big secret and wasn’t looking to open herself up to scrutiny. That makes it hard to get a relationship started, especially when the plan was to win a singing competition, not get a boyfriend. The tension between the two was delightful and I was rooting for them to end up together every step of the way. I absolutely love how Wicks wrapped up their story.

Hazel Fine Sings Along was an immensely enjoyable rom com romp that is a must read for anyone who enjoys their romances with laughs and drama. This debut from Katie Wicks is a solid one and I cannot wait for her next!

*An egalley of this novel was provided by the publisher, Wattpad Books, via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

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I was so excited for this book but I ended up being disappointed. I think it’s marketed incorrectly as a rom com. The romance is dull. And Checkers was absolutely obnoxious.

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Setting a romance against the backdrop of a music competition show, such as The Voice, American Idol, or The Masked Singer has the potential for an entertaining story, but this novel struggles with too many plot lines. Having the story set behind the scenes is a unique angle, but the reader struggles to feel invested in protagonist Hazel Fine, as the story meanders across a multitude of situations - she's down on her luck and unable to pay her seedy landlord so she borrows money from her sex worker friend, she's sharing a room with a queer, black country singer and annoying her with her pet rabbit that she's smuggled into the competition's housing, she's faking a romance with a social media star, she's frenemies with another contestant named Bella, and let's not forget the Me Too movement! Add in a potential romance with someone who works on the show and her own mysterious past and estranged relationship with her parents - it's just too much. Simplifying the story would have made for a more enjoyable read.

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I was a little reluctant with this one because it did not scale on my reader so was hard to read, and then I read reviews that painted Hazel to be a very hard to like character. So, I wasn't sure if I would give it a chance. I don't DNF books, so it was a matter of whether I would read it despite the things pushing me to set it aside before I even started. But I decided to give it a try irrespective because, well, opinions are totally subjective. The first few pages did not do anything to convince me that the other reviewers were wrong, because Hazel seems very focused on herself and doing what she wants. Evidence = Checkers. But really, as the book progressed, I started to like her. I didn't think she was using people and I think she was harder on herself than she had to be. Sure, she lied but they were lies for a reason and not really hurtful to anyone but herself. The book did give the impression it was a romance which may have contributed to the dislike, because in the end, it wasn't really about her romantic relationships. It was truly a book about a woman finding her voice through a singing show and coming to terms with her past. I genuinely liked Hazel. Sure, maybe the book could have been a bit shorter, but that's a bias I have as I tend to tap out at 300 pages. All in all, it worked. The characters were likeable. The reality show drama wasn't overdone. And the writing was decent tool.

All in all, a good book for someone looking to get a window on singing competitions from behind the scenes - and yes it's fiction but probably has some basis in fact - and to just sit down and follow one of the competitors on her ride. Plus, there's a bunny rabbit named Checkers. Who poops a lot. Also, does rabbit poop really smell? Urine yes, but their poop doesn't unless I'm recalling it wrong from when my friend had rabbits and I visited.

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This was not great. The plot was there! But the execution was lacking. This book really could have used another round of edits to fix the clunky prose and dialog.

The characters were all also pretty flat. Only Hazel and Benji had fully fleshed out backstories that explained their behavior.

I wanted to see this through to see the plot resolved, but I almost DNF’d a quarter of the way through.

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Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks was a cute, drama filled read. This story made me feel like I was in the middle of a reality singing show competition and all the drama behind the scenes. I loved the characters especially Hazel and Nick and the way their relationship developed. It was a slow burn but adorable story.

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