Author(s): Brittainy C. Cherry
Narrator(s): Jordan Cobb, James Shippy
Published by Brilliance Audio on July 1, 2021
Length: 10 hrs 30 mins
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Netgalley
Format: Audiobook, eArc
Since the death of his twin brother, Oliver’s caught between pleasing his fans and finding himself. Emery finds him first.
Emery has never felt more alone. Raising her daughter is both her pleasure and her pain as she struggles to hold on to her job as a bartender and keep a roof over their heads. With no one to help them - no support system - any unexpected expense or late bill could turn their whole world upside down.
Reeling from the death of his twin brother and bandmate, rock star Oliver Smith is trying to drink his problems away. Apparently he isn’t very good at it; they follow him wherever he goes. Also in hot pursuit are the paparazzi, who catch Oliver at his lowest low.
He could have walked into any bar in California, but he walked into hers. Emery helps Oliver lose the crowd, and they find themselves alone: two people whose paths are marked with loss and pain. However, they hold an unshakable hope for healing. They find solace together, but can their love withstand the world?
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Each time I pick up a book by Brittainy Cherry, I expect an engaging and emotional read. She did not disappoint with her latest, The Mixtape. It follows a struggling single mother, and a broken musician on their journey of self-discovery, healing and love.
I was eager to read this latest offering from the offer, so I was glad for the opportunity to take part in the blog tour. I had a good time with the story from start to finish.
The story introduces Oliver, a talented, introverted and shy singer. He lost his twin brother, Alex, the other half of their music duo, in a tragic accident. The fans and the media blamed him despite him not being responsible. Since that terrible night, he spiraled into a state of depression with alcohol as his crutch.
Emery, a single mom to precocious five-year-old, is struggling to make ends meet. To her, Alex and Oliver’s music was her saving grace. Their music got her through some difficult moments in her life. Oliver played the leading role in most of her fantasies, but never did she dream that one day she would be the one to rescue him from the well of despair.
Emery was such a great character. Strong, independent and determined. Despite the struggles she faced, she never gave hope for a better life for her and her daughter. I loved how she always put her daughter first. My heart ached for Oliver as I watched him struggled to come to terms with the loss of his twin. I felt every ounce of his pain, fears, despair and loneliness. It didn’t help that he lived with a soul sucking leech, who only dated him because of what he could do for her career. Emery’s daughter Reece brought lightness to the story with her sass. Her interactions with her mom made me smile, but what had me laughing were the conversations between her and Oliver.
I loved the friendship which developed between Oliver and Emery and their falling in love was the icing on the cake. However, their journey towards love and healing had its fair share of challenges. I have to admit I wanted more of the romance. Drama and angst overshadowed it.
I had my suspicions about some events concerning Emery’s family, so the revelations came as no surprise. I won’t go into the details, but one thing I will say is that I am glad she escaped that toxic environment. The story addressed some heavy topics, but Cherry balanced it out with humour and a slow burning romance. Overall, a wonderful story and one I recommend without hesitation.
When I discovered that the audio version was available through Kindle Unlimited , I chose to listen. This was my first experience with the narrators, Jordan Cobb, James Shippy, They both did a great job, but for me Jordan was the shining star. The narration enhanced my enjoyment of the story.
Author Brittainy Cherry Writes Her Own Mixtape
Hi, Everyone! I’m Brittainy Cherry, author of The Mixtape, a contemporary romance novel. I am so excited to share Oliver and Emery’s story with you all. These two characters are both struggling through life in their own ways, and it is through music and love that they find their way back to themselves and each other.
The Mixtape could’ve never come together without my own mixtape of sorts to help guide the way to this novel. Music not only plays a huge role in the story, but also in my personal life, so of course I had to whip up my own mixtape as I wrote this story. For example, my playlist began with “Godspeed” by the extremely talented James Blake that set the mood of the story. His tones and lyrics wrapped me up into a warm hug and I allowed the song to move me as I crafted Oliver’s character.
Then, we moved into “Soldiers” by Rachel Platten which is a powerful song about taking moments to breathe in order to move forward for another day, like soldiers in the night. It’s a song that showcases the strength of our heroine, Emery, who is a single mother, trying her best to create a better life for her young daughter.
I had the best time tying in songs like “Slow Dance” by AJ Mitchell (feat. Ava Max) to show the slow burn between Emery and Oliver falling together, followed by their first kiss being written to the song, “Can I Kiss You?” by Dahl.
The whole story was wrapped up with a classic, “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love” by the Spinners, which sums up what I hope you experience reading this novel: a mixtape of emotions which lead to you falling in love with the love story of Emery and Oliver. I hope this novel heals you the same way music soothes my soul.
The Mixtape Excerpt
Sometimes the world didn’t make sense. No parent should’ve ever had to bury their own child. I couldn’t even imagine that kind of pain that raced through her heartbeats on a daily basis. If I could offer up only one set of prayers for the remainder of my life, it would be for the parents who had to say goodbye too early on to their own.
Those hearts would always beat a little slower in my mind.
“I’m so sorry, Michelle.”
“Thank you, sweetheart.” She reached out and patted my hand, and I knew it was because she needed a hand to hold. So, I wrapped both of mine around hers. “The mourning doesn’t get easier. It just get quieter. Some days, I still cannot get out of bed, but I’m blessed. Because Richard stays in bed with me and my quietness. Then, when it’s time for me to get up, he pulls me to my feet, and we dance. A piece of advice—find yourself a man who would dance with you even when your heart is broken.” Her eyes flashed with tears and she held my hands tighter. “You want to know a secret?”
“I thought I was going to lose Oliver, too. He kept everyone so far away. So, when I flew out here, I prepared myself for the worst. I thought he’d be in a drunken slumber or, worse…so much worse. Last time I came a few weeks ago, he wasn’t doing too well. But this time? This time I came back and he’s smiling.”
“That’s so good.”
She smiled brightly up at me as tears freely danced down her cheekbones. “So thank you.”
“I didn’t do anything,” I swore.
“You’re the only difference in his life since I came back. Plus, there’s the way he looks at you when you’re not looking. Now, sweetheart, I don’t know what you did, but I’m almost positive that you helped bring my son back to life after he was holding death’s hand. Call it my mother’s intuition. So, thank you for helping him. Even if it’s just by being his friend.”
Now I was tearing up, and I pulled her into a tight hug. “You’re an amazing mother,” I whispered, and she began to cry harder.
“You have no clue how hard it is to believe that each day.”
I think all mothers thought that. The ones who doubted her mothering skills, were sometimes the ones who were trying their best day in and day out. I didn’t expect the conversation with Michelle to go the direction that it had, but I was glad it had taken that path, because it was clear we both had some healing corners of our heart that had to be touched that evening.
“Oh, don’t tell me you two are wine drunk and emotion,” Richard cut in, walking in our direction. “We were just picking out a song for two seconds and we turn around to find you both moping.”
“Oh hush, Richard. Can’t us girls have a moment every now and again?” Michelle remarked, standing to her feet.
“Yes, but for now, we dance to The Spinners, my lady.” Richard reached out for his wife and took her into his arms as they began swaying to the song, Could It Be I’m Falling In Love. Richard serenaded Michelle as she smiled and melted into him like a perfectly fit puzzle piece.
Oliver came to stand beside me as we both watched his parents fall more and more in love with one another.
“This was their wedding song,” Oliver mentioned. “Dad recorded it, and they danced to it for their first dance.”
“Oh my gosh, how sweet is that,” I swooned. True romance.
“They dance to it every single night. On the good days and bad days. Especially on the bad days.”
“They’re what I want my love to look like,” I confessed. Oliver gave me a tight smile but didn’t say anything. I shifted around for a minute before looking toward him once more. “Do you want to dance with me?”
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2021 Audio Book Challenge
- 2021 Kindle Unlimited Challenge
- 2021 Netgalley and Edelweiss Challenge
- 2021 New Release Challenge
- Coyer 2021
I’m okay these days with books that are light on the romance front, but I so love a meaty tale with deep characters and a riveting storyline. Definitely sounds like this fits the bill. Great review as always. Hugs, RO
This looks tasty – I entered the giveaway. Greedy fingers are crossed.
Nice to hear that you enjoyed the story from start to finish. I love it when KU offers “read & listen for free” options!
Yes that is one of my favourite thing with KU.
I really like the sound of this. Two people who need someone to lean on and it turns to romance. I like that.
I agree. A great premise for a romance.
Great review. Glad you enjoyed it, even without the heat!! Sounds good.
It goes to show heat is not needed to make a romance novel enjoyable.?
Oh Nadene she’s a new to me author but I do adore rock-n-roll star romance books and this one sounds like it’s racing up the charts! Thanks for sharing and for the fab giveaway too
You are welcome Debbie. I highly recommend her books.
I love that their relationship started as being friends. Big yes for me!
Normally I stay away from stories with angst, but this one is hard to ignore. I’ll definitely check this one out. Awesome review Nadene!
Thanks Vanessa. The Mixtape was wonderful story and I think you would enjoy it. The angst did not overshadow the story.
I was curious about this, so I am glad to see you enjoyed it. This is an author I want to try.
I loved everyone of her books I have read so far. I do hope you get the chance to read her work, Kim.
I love books that have introverts as main characters. This one sounds amazing! Great review 🙂
Thanks. It was a wonderful story.
You have such a lovely review here. I am so happy to see that it worked out so well for you. I have really enjoyed what I have read so far from this author, She has such a beautiful writing style. I really need to explore more of her work. So happy to see how much this one worked out for you.
Yes she does. I loved each of her books I have read so far.
I’ve seen this one around and thought it sounded really good, but your review has convinced me even more. Their situations and how they are there for each other through the tough stuff sounds amazing.
Yes it was amazing, Sophia I am sure you would enjoy it.