The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley

There are books out there that you love, 5 stars all the way, you read the book, you love it and depending if you are like me you will most likely read them again. There are some books though and these are the truly great ones. You know these books, The Blind Side of Love, How Sweet It Is, and And Playing the Role of Herself. The books that are truly in another realm of greatness. Outstanding books that pull emotion from you, that the story wraps you in a cocoon and all you see and hear is the characters on your page. Those books are the ones when you find them you treasure them forever. I found one!

The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley isn’t good, it isn’t great, its next level amazing. This book is exceptional in every single way. No flaws, no lags, no character misses. Nope, it is phenomenal. Yes, I used my thesaurus for adjectives. You cannot just say awesome eleventy billion times, come on now.

Anna Gale is a new dancer at the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. She has been a ballet dancer all her life, she lives and breathes it. Coming to New York from Dubuque, Iowa to studying and dance under the greatest ballet dancer of the modern era is her dream come true. Anna embodies this wholesome rock solid nature. She’s one of these really good people that others cannot dislike because she is just a noble person. She cares for others, even when it’s in her best interest not too. She works harder than everyone else without complaint and eager to do so. Ballet literally fuels her soul.

Victoria Ford is known as the greatest ballet dancer in modern times. When she danced audiences were captivated by her skill and artistry. An injury to her knee has sidelined her from dancing so now she choreographs and runs the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. Victoria is not an easy woman to please, she is beyond tough, she expects excellence from everyone around her and when it’s less than that you can expect biting, caustic remarks intended to sting. She is truly the emotionally detached ice queen.

This is a dialogue-heavy book, with lots of exchanges between characters. Lola Keeley takes her story and layers it. There is no skipping ahead or fast-forwarding through life moments, hell no. This author takes her time and draws out the story and the tension The sub-plots are done with craftsmanship and skill. She creates supporting characters that are distinct and authentic. The banter between Anna and Victoria, oh the banter, well its legendary and they talk like real honest to god people. The key to real-life characters is nuance. Lola Keeley could teach a class on it because her characters have it and it is glorious. As the reader I thank you.

It’s bittersweet when this book ends. This is a story that I adored, absolutely cherished. I miss it already, but know without a doubt will visit many times again. Lola Keeley made true love jump off a page like a ballerina in a Grande Jeté. Her first book by the way. Yeah, WOW and that wow is the understatement of the year.

All the stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • To Purchase: https://www.ylva-publishing.com/product/the-music-and-the-mirror-by-lola-keeley/

36475556

First Position by Melissa Brayden

So you go about your days reading books, thinking oh yes this one is good, that one over there is so good, and then a Melissa Brayden comes along making everything else seem. . . well just less than. Dancing is an art form, one I was not blessed with. Don’t you snicker now, I have moves, as a matter a fact I can do the can do the Shopping Cart and the Lawnmower like a badass, but that isn’t going to land me on the big stage, there is always hope for America’s Funniest Videos though.  Dancing, real dancing, like in First Position is heart stopping beautiful, a vivacious combination of living breathing art and absolute athleticism. Now throw in a heart stopping, angsty, sexy romance with some pirouettes. What do you get, well I’ll tell you, in my opinion you have Melissa Brayden’s best one yet! Bold statement right?

Anastasia “Ana” Mikhelson is all business, all the time. Ballet, ballet and more ballet, there is nothing else in her life literally. She is the product of two famous Russian ballet superstars, her father arguably being the most famous danseur in the world. For Ana life is about living up to her father’s fame, finding his acceptance through her hard work and flawless technical ability. What she lacks and what is holding her from being the best, passion. Ana for the life of her cannot figure out how to capture that fire that she has been told that she is missing. This all changes when a cocky rival, Natalie Frederico shows up to dance with Ana’s company, the New York City Ballet.

Natalie Frederico was a ballet child prodigy. Out of nowhere she was accepted into one of the world’s most prestigious schools. The thing was ballet was too rigid for this free spirit, so she left and headed out to LA to find her own expression of her art. Barely making it, a chance opportunity arrives year’s later for her to dance as a soloist in a new production for the New York City Ballet. While her fire is there and passion exudes from her very pores as she dances, she needs help refining her technique. Who can she turn to for help? You guessed it, the Ice Queen Ana Mikhelson. Watch out for the sparks!

These two have banter, they are competitive as hell with each other, and the whole time you have that great push-pull that really holds your attention and grabs at those little heartstrings. So many times you just catch yourself smiling through the book, almost wanting to lose your page and start from the beginning all over again. It’s sexy, it’s hot, it’s funny, it’s witty, it’s angsty. . .it’s just damn good reading (I have more adjectives, but I stopped myself). This is arguably Melissa Brayden’s best work. Bold statement yes, but I’m sticking by it. Easily one of the top five books I have read this year, easily.

Eleventy billion stars out of 5

I was given this book by Bold Strokes Books in return for an honest review.

First Position
by Melissa Brayden
Link: https://amzn.com/1626396027

27248383