Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Review: Steel Strings by Alex Hayes with Giveaway!

Steel Strings
by Alex Hayes
YA Contemporary Romance
 December 3rd 2019

Compelled to silence, Brianna is like a cello without strings and must fight to reclaim her voice through the instruments she creates.

Brianna Jones is a nerdy, biracial teen who dreams of bringing music to the world via orchestral instruments fashioned out of recycled materials. But she must keep her project secret from her half sister, whose mission in life is to destroy everything Brianna holds dear.

Marek Lakewood is one of the few guys who sees Brianna for whom she really is and has admired her from afar for years, but he’s never been a risk-taker, not since his father was killed on a black diamond ski slope.

When a physics project lands Marek in Brianna’s sphere, he finds himself taking bigger and bigger risks, and discovers Brianna’s life and aspirations are far more complicated than he ever imagined

Steel Strings is a contemporary romance and companion novel to the Chameleon Effect Series.

Steel Strings is available on Amazon and KU. Here is a universal link: 


Romance receives a shot of tension with a dash of thriller to form an exciting read with more than a couple twists and turns.

 Brianna has quite a few things going for her. She's pretty, one of the smartest kids in her class and has a talent for music and instruments. But few know the secrets she harbors, ones that she avoids fairly well until her sister returns for a visit from college. Even her so-called boyfriend doesn't know the true her, but he's being held at bay anyway thanks to their strange relationship. But even that's about to change as a boy she's had an interest on for years suddenly seems to turn her way.

This book starts with a bang for an opening scene, but it's importance doesn't really become clear until later on in the book. Not that this is a problem because there are quite a few surprises in these pages. Although it's sold as a contemporary romance, the story skirts along the edge of being a suspense/thriller. Brianna's life might appear blessed, but there are some very dark shadows behind her life's perfect facade. The author keeps these nicely at bay, letting them leak little by little to make the tension rise as the story unfolds. It made the book hard to put down as I was curious what would happen next. 

The characters are nicely done and for the most part, come across well. Brianna's and her father's reactions did surprise me a little, especially since both are considered intelligent and/or well situated. Otherwise, Brianna was easy to like and definitely had a situation which made her a person to root for until the very end.

The romance has a natural flow. The teen angst of approaching someone and figuring out their feelings as well as battling ones own insecurities comes across well and builds a believable setting. This isn't a 'love-at-first-sight' but a romance that builds slowly with all of the hurdles and self-made obstacles along the way. It was sweet and both sides came across believable.

Fans of teen romance, who like a bit of suspense and hint of danger along the way, are sure to enjoy this one.

Physics book unearthed, I drop it on the round table, along with a notebook containing my short list of topics. My eyes stray to the doorway, anticipation pushing up my pulse.
Will she show? What will I say when she does?
The dating advice I read drifts through my mind… Compliment her. Act natural. Be confident. Focus on her. Be yourself. Flirt…
Jeez. How am I going to do all that?
Stop trying so hard.
Yeah, okay. Sound advice. I seriously need to chill.
The door swings open. The flash of a silver jacket captures my gaze. And holds it.
Brianna weaves through the café, eyes searching. For me.
I unfreeze and lift a hand.
She notices the movement, and her inquisitive frown morphs into a heart-stopping smile.
This could be really bad. In a really good way. As in I could get used to seeing that smile.
But I’m not going anywhere with this girl unless I make use of at least six of those twelve steps. With Jacob Flinn still owning the field, I’m going to have to make damn good use of them too.
When Brianna reaches the table, I stand. “Hey…uh, have a seat.”
Her smile gets even brighter. “Thanks.” She inhales deeply as she sits. “It sure smells good in here.”
Focus on her. No problem. All sensory organs are one hundred percent homed in on the girl in front of me.
But there’s something I’ve missed, something she just said about the smell of coffee.
“Can I get you something to drink?”
She blinks. “Um, sure.”
I grin, when I never grin. All because of this girl.

And here she is...
Alex Hayes wrote her first fiction story when she was twelve. Inspired by her mother’s storytelling, she began work on her first novel, Ice Cracks, at eighteen.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. In her twenties, she moved from Marin County, California to Boston, Massachusetts, where she built a career as an IT professional in database engineering. In 2004, she self-published Ice Cracks, which became a semi-finalist in the 2005 IPPY Awards.

Alex splits her time between Grand Junction, Colorado and Guanajuato, Mexico. When she isn’t writing, she’s helping her partner, Lee, renovate a 450 year old hacienda. She is mother to one beautiful daughter and many wonderful cats.


Judy Thomas said...

It sounds like a great read.

katieoscarlet said...

Interesting premise. This has a unique cover as well.

sfzphd said...

This sounds like an excellent book. I'm excited to read this.

Veronica Lee said...

Sounds like an amazing read with interesting characters.