Review: Just a Girl by Ellie Cahill and Liz Czukas

Title: Just a Girl
Author: Ellie Cahill and Liz Czukas
Series: standalone
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance

In this pitch-perfect novel from the author of When Joss Met Matt (“One of those books that make you forget everything around you.”—Sophie Jordan), a rock ’n’ roll diva must choose between her career and her heart.

After getting kicked out of her own band—by her own boyfriend—Presley Mason finds herself back in Wisconsin, helping her parents run their renowned music store. Instead of belting out powerhouse vocals to sold-out crowds in L.A., she’s stocking shelves and inspecting rental violins. But the shop isn’t all bad: When she’s vacuuming up late one night, she bumps into the guitar teacher with the smoldering amber eyes and the killer tattoo. And that’s when things take an interesting turn.

Presley soon finds that Paul Kellerman is as good in bed as he is on guitar. So why isn’t he stoked to share his band, Jukebox Bleu, with her? Turns out Paul has crippling stage fright, which he’s been self-medicating without much success. But when Jukebox Bleu’s lead singer gets called for military service, the other members beg Presley to front them. Even though she swore never to mix men with music again, the temptation to perform is almost as intense as her chemistry with Paul. Now Presley must decide what’s more important: a second chance at love . . . or rock stardom.

My Review:
I adore books set within the music industry, and I read another one of Ellie’s books recently (Call Me Maybe) which I enjoyed, so I jumped at the chance to read her latest release.

Just a Girl is a mostly-sweet read about finding your true path in life and marrying personal and professional commitments. We meet Presley as she’s being dumped by Luminous 6, the band she co-founded with her boyfriend Brendan. Presley’s star shines bright and they are clearly jealous. She’s distraught and at a loss what to do with herself so she says goodbye to LA and heads home to live with Mom and Dad again.

Presley’s parents are famous musicians in their own right and they run an iconic music emporium in town. After a period of moping, she is cajoled into returning to the store and there she bumps into Paul. Paul is one of the guitar teachers and they are instantly attracted to one another.

I adored the romance between our couple and though it moved quite quickly it was realistic. Paul is a refreshingly different male lead, and I enjoyed how he was written. Paul suffers from crippling performance anxiety, and I really felt for him. He has tried various methods to overcome it but it still devastates him. This is a sensitive subject, and to give this trait to the leading male could have been risky. But Ellie carries it off with aplomb. I never felt that Paul was weak or anything less than strong and swoon-worthy, and if anything it endeared me to him more.

Presley is a great character. She has her flaws but she is also a fun, kooky sort and she was the perfect complement to Paul.

I loved the way this book was written with playlists and twitter threads. It really fit the world and the style of writing and it added an extra special dimension. All the secondary characters were great too and the plot moved along at a great pace.

At times, it lacked a little emotional depth, and I hated the decision Presley made toward the end. I also felt the last few chapters were rushed and a little abrupt.

But overall this was a great read. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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