Title: Strike Up the Band (Wilde Love: Book Three)
Author: Sam Burns
Publisher: Self-Published/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 210 Pages
At a Glance: Out of all the books thus far, I have to say I connected to this one the most. Strike Up the Band is a game changer for the series, and I can’t wait to see what is in store next.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Jake McKenna doesn’t want to be here. He doesn’t want to be on tour, he doesn’t want to be playing guitar, and he definitely doesn’t want anything to do with Brian Mulholland. He’s biding his time until the tour is over so that he can walk away from his music career for good.
Brian didn’t ask to be here. Okay, maybe he did. Fine, you know what? He wanted this. He may not like the circumstances that have landed him in his dream job, but he’s not going to let anyone ruin it for him, even if it’s the insanely hot guitarist he’s had a crush on since the first time he saw the band play. He will win over Jake McKenna if it’s the last thing he ever does.
**This book has a heat rating of ZERO**
Review: I had the pleasure to review the prior two books in this series, Straight from the Heart and Sins of the Father. If you have read those reviews, I hope my love for the characters, and mostly cheerful character driven stories, made itself known. So, when Strike Up the Band was made available, you can probably guess I was all over it like a morning cup of coffee or a glass of wine after a hard day.
I had come to expect a certain tone from the previous two books, so imagine my surprise when Sam Burns throws a whopper out there in the first three pages, in an astonishing plot development I never in a million years would have even considered. From the beginning I could already tell this particular book was going to have an entirely different tone than the prior installments. Honestly, it was a complete game changer, so startling I could even say I was gobsmacked, as it was so at odds with everything I had come to expect.
I’ll admit I was a little worried. I didn’t know if this book would deliver that feel-good emotion I have come to rely on. What I found is that somehow, despite the more serious beginning with a somber undercurrent, the author achieved a balance with humorous banter and sweet slow-burn of a relationship forming. After finishing the story, I have to admit everything happened the way it needed to, even if I was internally screaming “Why??!!!” in the beginning. The circumstances gave this particular installment its own voice, and made Strike Up the Band stand out above the others with all the feels I was having.
Intrigued yet? You should be.
For those of you who were captured by the previous book’s storyline, just know this book doesn’t follow the same trope. I found it to be much more realistic and relatable. Remember Jake? Often grumpy best friend to Alex (book one), and musical genius behind the band FRED? Well, we start the book with quite a time lapse from where we ended book two, and FRED has a hit single and is becoming a popular band. Some stuff happens, which would be totally spoilery, so I won’t tell you, and their label imposes some contractual obligations on FRED. Enter boy-bander and all around good-guy “Brian Mulholland (sigh)”.
Jake being the grumpy introvert that he is, is already on a downward spiral. Adding Brian to this mix only exacerbates everything he is feeling. Naturally, he acts out and treats Brian like garbage. Brian, though, is such an empathetic individual. He tries to see the situation from everyone in FRED’s perspective, and tries his hardest to make the best of the situation. He wants to be a part of a real band, one that allows him to be creative and not just a puppet.
Jake and Brian’s relationship, I am not sure how to classify it other than it is more of a slow-simmer. There is definitely a romance, but there is a reason for the ZERO heat rating. If you have read the prior stories, it shouldn’t be a shock to know Jake identifies as homoromantic asexual, with no desire for sexual intercourse. I appreciate the fact the author stayed true and consistent with Jake, and didn’t all the sudden change him into someone he previously hadn’t been. He is blunt, to the point of being mean, he has little interaction with those around him, and is slow at warming up to anyone. Because Jake remains how Jake has always been, another thing that set this story apart was there was no insta-anything. I applaud the change, as I definitely don’t want to read the same regurgitated story over and over again. It was delightful to experience something new in the Wilde Love universe.
The relationship really evolves from being stuck with each other, to friendship, then grows from there. Staying true to the series, this book is more than just about the MCs. It’s about all the band members, and friendship. I love, love, love that about this series, and it played a big role in what hooked me. The supporting characters contribute to the plot in a way that makes the story richer—the banter between the long-time friends, the tentative moments as the band tries to mesh and figure out Brian’s role, the struggle as they all figure out what the future holds, and all the memories they make together.
Sam Burns is not afraid to change things up, and it paid off. Out of all the books thus far, I have to say I connected to this one the most. Strike Up the Band is a game changer for the series and I can’t wait to see what is in store next. Bravo for another great addition to what is quickly becoming one of comfort reads.
You can buy Strike Up the Band here: