This post may contain affiliate links or I may be reviewing a book that I have received for free as part of a review program or as an advanced reader copy. That being said, all opinions are my own. The book cover, author photo, author biography, and plot summary for Only The Beginning are courtesy of laramiebriscoe.net.
Welcome to the world of Laramie Briscoe and her two favorite stars, Reaper and Harmony. With those names and an ironically hilarious series title like Rockin’ Country, what could go wrong? Only the Beginning is, in fact, the first book in the series 4.5 books. Better yet, the first book is absolutely free, so there’s no risk in diving headfirst into their world. Actually, after reading it, I can definitely say you’ll be doing all the winning if you choose to take the plunge.
Only The Beginning in 85 Characters or Less
Music stars of clashing genres fight insecurities and strains of travel to find love
Full Plot Summary
When Rock’s bad boy meets Country’s good girl – sparks aren’t the only things flying….
Princess of Country Music
Survivor of the scrutiny that comes with it all
Hannah “Harmony” Stewart has lived most of her adult life in the spotlight. It hasn’t always been easy. One heartbreak almost ruined her. Some days it’s hard to keep a smile on her face and stay positive, but there are a lot of people counting on her to keep it together. Just when it seems like she’s at the pinnacle of her career, her life takes a turn. She meets a man who challenges everything she knows about herself and makes her question if the life she’s living is for her or for the Nashville machine.
Heavy Metal’s bad boy
Hair trigger temper
Struggling to deal with pressure of the industry
Garrett “Reaper” Thompson is tired. Touring and keeping up appearances with his band “Black Friday” is beginning to wear him out. He’s ready for a change, ready for something different. When he meets Hannah at an awards show, he knows that she’s the one, he knows that he can’t live without her.
Their own insecurities, their fans, her ex-boyfriend, and the media themselves. Can they look past it all and come through on the other side? For their story – this is only the beginning.
A Vulnerable Male Lead
YES! I’m always happy when I crack open the cover of a book and come to find that the male lead character has a few more issues than drinking too much and bedding too many women. That doesn’t mean I’m not down to read about an honest-to-God bad boy, but I do like myself some tenderhearted souls, too. Garrett has both of those characteristics; I mean, who wouldn’t expect a heavy metal star to be a little bad. Did I mention he blushes, too?
Though Briscoe did a good job of not overstating Garrett’s vulnerability – he was definitely still your stereotypical man – I believe books that show men’s softer side are so critically important in today’s society. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s a world out there where guys are seen as weak or “feminine” if they cry of if they have insecurities. That’s so far from the truth; guys are humans, too, as alien as they seem sometimes (love y’all, really do), and they have the same level of feeling and emotion that we girls do. Why can’t they show it? That stereotype that I mentioned Briscoe still upheld is a great and sexy one to upkeep, as long as everyone knows that there’s more underneath that. Briscoe did a fantastic job at chipping away at that shell with Garrett.
But You’re Famous… How Can You Be Unsatisfied?
I don’t know any celebrities personally and I’m not sure if Briscoe did when she wrote this book, but from our perspective, they seem to have it all. They get to travel, party, eat amazing food, and perform their art all the time. What’s to complain about with that? Not to steal my own line from above, but everyone is human. Just because you’re rich or smart or incredibly talented at sports doesn’t mean that your head is always in the right place, and I think it’s high time that society realizes that, too.
Garrett, Harmony, and even Jared express that their lives have been unsatisfying, that they feel they’re missing something in their careers. Jared and Garrett’s first conversation on the topic addresses the belief in bold above perfectly, and it’s great to see Jared’s transformation later on in the book. The satisfaction that all the characters find throughout the story also helps to point that people and the memories you make with them are what give you the purpose in life and the smile on your face at the end of the day. Well done throwing a bunch of hidden life lessons into this book, Briscoe. I approve.
The Culture of the Music Was Underplayed
Country and heavy metal are two genres that we can all agree don’t mesh that well. Briscoe admits that, but all her characters really do is say that. There aren’t any huge conflicts between the two genres or adjustments that have to be made, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, the oxymoronic series title and the plot summary of Only The Beginning implied that there’d be more of it.
Though I still felt the characters were adequately developed and the plotline was great, the addition of more of the music genres’ respective cultures into the story would have added another layer of depth and further enforced the personalities and backgrounds of Hannah and Garrett.
So Many Romantic Moments
There are going to be so many moments in this story that you get this little smile on your face (like I’m wearing writing this review right now…) and squirm and gush a little because Garett and Hannah are just too freakin’ cute! I don’t want to say too much more on the specifics because I don’t want to give the plot away, but trust me. You’ll love them.
Besides the enjoyment factor, these moments both play perfectly into their lifestyles, further showing that celebrities love normally, too, and add emotional depth to the story. They’re funny, they’re adorable, and they’re the type of moments you either shove in your boyfriend’s face as an example of what he should be doing or daydream about if you’re single. It’s not overpowering by any means, so when thinking back on this book, it’s the romance and not the sex that stands out in my mind, and I love it.
Where to Buy
Laramie Briscoe is the best-selling author of the Heaven Hill Series & the Rockin’ Country Series. Since self-publishing her first book in May of 2013, Laramie Briscoe has published over 10 books. She’s appeared on the Top 100 Bestselling E-books Lists on iBooks, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. She’s been called “a very young Maya Banks” (Amazon reviewer) and her books have been accused of being “sexy, family-oriented, romances with heart”.
When she’s not writing alpha males who seriously love their women, she loves spending time with friends, reading, and marathoning shows on her DVR. Married to her high school sweetheart, Laramie lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband (the Travel Coordinator) and a sometimes crazy cat named Beau.