Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Los Angeles-based stylist Nico Takahashi loves his job—or at least, he used to. Feeling fed up and exhausted from the cutthroat, gossip-fueled business of Hollywood, Nico daydreams about packing it all in and leaving for good. So when Grady Dawson—sexy country music star and rumored playboy—asks Nico to style him, Nico is reluctant. But after styling a career-changing photo-shoot, Nico follows Grady to Nashville where he finds it increasingly difficult to resist Grady’s charms. Can Nico make peace with show business and all its trappings, or will Grady’s public persona get in the way of their private attraction to each other?
Book One in Lilah Suzanne’s “Spotlight” series.
Broken Records (Spotlight #1) by Lilah Suzanne is one of those books and series I ended up backing into by mistakenly starting at the end of the series. Without realizing it was part of a trilogy, I picked up and read (and reviewed) Suzanne’s Blended Notes, the story the concludes the Spotlight trilogy. It’s a wonderful story but as I mentioned in my review, I absolutely felt of lack of backhistory that reading the previous stories might have provided. And I was going to rectify that.
Wow, am I glad I did!
I love, love Broken Records. Yes, it absolutely gave me the missing foundation and history I needed to give heft and depth to Nico and Grady’s relationship in Blended Notes. Here I get to watch it all begin. I have the joy of watching the characters, meet, mesh, love, laugh, have hot sex (fans self) and decide, that they are it for each other, no matter what.
Lilah Suzanne introduces both characters, supplies them with their history, supporting cast of characters and businesses so each remains fiercely independent financially of each other for better or worse. Nico Takahashi has a little bit more in his support section. ( I don’t consider people with a financial hook in you a support system, plus I read book three.) There’s Nico’s partner Gwen Pasternak and her wife, as well as Nico’s family. On Grady’s side? Well, it’s much smaller and sadder. How each other navigates the perils and trust issues between them is a realistic element here along with the whole music/style side of the business. All of this was hinted at in Blended Notes but to read/experience here? Amazing!
Yes, there are moments I laughed out loud. And some I sniffled. Suzanne takes the believable approach that love isn’t just romance, that a relationship is communication and sometimes hard work. Between Nico and Grady, fear of the spotlight and fear of being left behind, the work is constant even if the love is always present.
I loved all the characters here, including Gwen, her wife, and others that keep popping up throughout the story to add in wisdom, levity, strength and support.
Yes, I wish I had read this story first.
But coming at it backwards somehow works too. I have an appreciation for the timeline, I can get a real free for the character growth and the relationship dynamics that play out over the course of three stories (yes I’ve read the second as well). I’ve fallen in love with the entire trilogy and every single character in it. You really need to put Spotlight the trilogy on your must read series list. But read them in order! I highly recommend them all…second book review coming up.
Cover art brands the series and works for the storyline as well.
Kindle Edition, 280 pages
Published December 17th 2015 by Interlude Press