Cover Image: Charm City Rocks

Charm City Rocks

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Member Reviews

This was indeed, quite a charming book! I liked the characters and how they developed and the story, though somewhat predictable, kept me entertained. Fun weekend reading!

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While I am extraordinarily late to reviewing this ARC (sorry, sorry), it feels like a boon to have read it post-publication, since I can now press it into as many people's hands as possible. Charm City Rocks is perfectly titled, as every sentence here oozes genuine, warm-hearted charm. Norman brings humor and deep feeling to his characters and setting alike, and really, who among us doesn't need deeper feelings about Baltimore?

There are some wonderful celebrity/civilian romances out there by Elissa Sussman, Katie Cotugno, Olivia Dade, Erin Hahn, Allison Cochrun and more -- and Charm City Rocks deserves a spot among the best. Alongside the sweet romance here, you'll find a nontraditional family, strong parent/child bonds, well-drawn secondary characters, and meditations on art and artistry that resonate with a lot of truth.

Rock on.

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I love a good romance with a rockstar main character. This was so entertaining I could hardly put it down!

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I loved this rom-com. SIngle father, Billy, a music teacher meets the former rock star of his dreams. Loved all three of the main characters, Billy, his son Caleb and Margot. Heartwarming and a good read.

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Charm City Rocks by Matthew Norman is the story of Billy Perkins, a single dad who is happy. He really is, he is an independent music teacher and has a great apartment. He lives over a record store called Charm City Rocks. He is just living the dream when he meets Margot Hammer.
Margot is not happy with life. She was a drummer in a famous rock band Burnt Flowers and now has become a recluse. She lives in NY and until a documentary comes out about her and the band, she doesn’t realize how much she missed that life. How much music and the band meant to her, how could she have forgotten that.
It’s funny Billy always had a crush on Margot back in the day. Caleb, Billy’s son knows that and makes a plan to get Margot to come down and sing at Charm City Rocks. It is a long shot but this would make Billy’s day and Caleb would love that. Margot gets the invitation and wants to decline but her record label wants any publicity they can get. Caleb just wants to give his dad a fun experience, make him happy.
Well it works and the two meet. But what happens when they do meet? Can two people from totally different worlds connect? How does Billy and Caleb handle the attention that comes with their new friend? This was a very cute story of fame and real life. Of thinking you have it all and realizing you don’t.. how does Margot’s life change from this chance meeting? The author does a very good job of showing how both sides react. Overall this was a 4 star read for me. I want to thank Netgalley and the author for my copy for an honest review. It was my pleasure to read and review this book. I hope you enjoy it too.

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Charm City Rocks is a novel about a forty-something piano teacher and single dad who meets his rock star crush decades after she left the public eye.

After rock drummer Margot Hammer’s career and marriage imploded she left fame behind and lives quietly in her apartment in Chelsea. But when a well-meaning teenager in Baltimore devises a way fix her up with his piano teacher father (Billy Perkins) she is thrust into back into the limelight as people watch their romance unfold in real time on social media. Their relationship will be challenged by the various things older couples encounter (moves, careers, children and exes) plus the complications of fame.

I really enjoyed this “Notting Hill” style romance of the unassuming local good guy who falls for the famous rock star. Baltimore makes a fantastic backdrop for their love story especially for those of us that learned everything about the city from five seasons of The Wire. Now I really want to check out Billy’s neighborhood and go to an Oriole’s game. I loved the humorous banter and affection between parents, children, neighbors, friends and exes. This made for a fun but realistic romance that had me rooting for Billy and Margot from beginning to end (although I may have a small crush on Margot’s philandering ex-husband Lawson Daniels).

I highly recommend Charm City Rocks!

Five stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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"When a single dad meets the former rock-star crush of his youth, everything they thought they knew about happiness and love is thrown into chaos in this hopeful, heartwarming romantic comedy."

I wanted to like this one. I really did. Unfortunately, it missed the mark. The characters just felt flat and I had trouble connecting with any of them. I also thought the romance felt flat and I didn't feel that spark I want to see.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Charm City Rocks by Matthew Norman is quite the charming romcom of my dreams. I loved Billy, Margot, and Caleb - Billy’s teen son - the single dad with teenage son and rockstar trope certainly is written so fabulously. I really enjoyed this one a lot.

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This was just the sweetest book ever. All of people in it (except two) were just so nice -- Billy, Margot, Caleb, Robyn, Aaron, Gustavo, Gordon, Poppy, even Lawson. Genuinely good people and I wanted nothing but the best for them. Everyone except Axl and Nikki. Caleb's mistake and Billy & Margot's story was just believable enough that I was swept away in their story. The only think that would make it better would be a soundtrack to go along with the book. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a sweet, feel-good romance.

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Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for this ARC for an exchange for an honest review.

Interesting book, recommend it.

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I will read anything and everything Matthew Norman writes forever. Charm City Rocks, was, well, CHARMING. I loved it. I loved the characters and loved the way a child was integrated-I feel like children as real characters in adult fiction can often fall flat, but this worked! I often buy Norman’s books for the men in my life who think they don’t like fiction and it’s always a hit. If this is your first MN book, read Last Couple Standing next-it’s my fav :)

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I love a good single dad music filled romance and this fit the bill. I loved that it was fluffy and swoony and no unnecessary drama.

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I hardly ever give a romance 5 stars, but this just hit all the buttons with me. The main characters are in their 40s, and have balanced, ok lives. But they are so much better together! And that happens, when Billy's son Caleb gets stoned and catfishes Margot's record label, setting up a meeting between the two.

Some of the things I loved most:
Billy rocking out on his Steinway at night to the neighborhood
Margot talking to her daughter Poppy
Billy's talks about being a man to Caleb
Margot's ex-husband the rockstar
Caleb, the sweet, sensitive tall son
Baltimore - and the baseball games

Now off to recommend this to some family/friends :)

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So it is possible for the female MC to be the grumpy one and not the guy?? Finally I can have representation for being the grump while my partner is the golden retriever. This was a super cute read with a great setting in Baltimore. I loved the music theme as well. Margot and Billy were great characters!

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC

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A cute, feel-good love story with nice representation you might not always see (ie, why are all contemporary romance novels about 29-year-old women?).

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I was intrigued by the premise because I love music-all music, and it is a big part of my life and my children's lives. I think I was hoping for this one to be a little different-something it wasn't. I still think the story and the romance, especially reuniting old flames, was well done.

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🎶 This is a cute, clean, later-in-life romance that includes family drama, music nostalgia, and the public spotlight.

🎶 I enjoyed the story overall, but I did feel like the romance was WAY too fast and it lacked spark. I do prefer clean romances, but I do want a little bit of spark at least! Margot (FMC) and Billy (MMC) felt more like old friends than lovers. And Margot was written a bit oddly in my opinion. Something about her character felt off to me, and a tad unrealistic.

🎶 The best part of the book was the family dynamics – that felt genuine to me, and it was great reading about a family who worked things out rather than fought.

🎶 If you like cinnamon roll guys, Steinway pianos, music stores, female drummers, Baltimore, second chance romances, and interesting family dynamics, you will probably enjoy this book.

Thank you @netgalley and @randomhouse Ballantine for an eARC of this book, which I have read and reviewed voluntarily.

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This is my first Matthew Norman novel and it won’t be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was a charming love story between a music teacher and a former drummer of an all-girl band. Both were in their 40’s and had pasts. The characters were likeable and relatable. As someone who lived in Maryland for 35+ years, I enjoyed the Baltimore setting.

Charm City Rocks rocked! I highly recommend it!

Thank you to Netgalley and to the publisher for providing me with an advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I received an advanced copy of Charm City Rocks by Matthew Norman from the publisher Random House Ballantine via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What It’s About: Billy Perkins is very happy, he has a fabulous apartment above Baltimore’s famed record shop, a wonderful job, and the coolest kid in his brainy son, Caleb. But he hasn’t really sought out the romance, but when a new documentary about his celebrity crush, Margot Hammer’s band appears on Netflix documentary, and he explains his crush to his son, his life starts to change. See, Caleb on his way to college worries his dad is lonely and decides to take action. Margot Hammer is far from happy, her famous rock band Burnt Flowers is defunct and she’s been living off the grid. When a request comes in from Baltimore for her to rock out with some little girls in a band, she takes the chance to get back out there and from there our beautiful romance.

What I Loved: Matthew Norman writes really good books. They always make me laugh and smile. The characters are always likable even when they have problems. I really connected with these characters and found them super compelling. The writing is just so lighthearted and feel with heart and seeing a rom-com from him was a special kind of delight. I really loved this sweet and thoughtful book.

What I Didn’t Like: The side story about Billy moving in with his ex-partner and her husband was a little weird and felt unnecessary but otherwise I got nothing, this book was a delight!

Who Should Read It: People who love a book with wonderful characters that feel like your friends.

Summary: A man gets a chance with his celebrity crush and it’s charming as heck.

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I chose not to finish this book. Charm City Rocks features a clever premise and an intriguing inciting incident. The writer's voice is fresh and unique. His descriptions of life in Baltimore show a true appreciation for the city and made me feel like I was a part of the neighborhood. However, the excessive profanity detracts from the story, so I stopped reading. Thank you for the opportunity to read an early copy. Sadly, this book is not for me.

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