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on 4 June 2015
Because this is the fiction book for you!

Perfect. That's what this book is. While I'm not a huge romance fan, the music side of this book was what really called to me. I'd been looking for a book that explored music fandom for a long time and found it all wrapped up in this one. What made it an even sweeter find is that the story is told from the female perspective. Don't let that put you off because this is one hell of a kick ass female character. Often, whenever a female turns up in any kind of music orientated story, they're very... well, Mary-Sue-like (for use of a better term). But that perception is completely blown out of the water in B-Sides and Broken Hearts.

The passion for music rings from every page of the story, drawing you in. After every chapter, you find yourself running for your music collection and pulling every favourite song from the shelves. The author's talents definitely lie in talking about bands and music and travelling dark and winding roads to see your favourite band. And I really hope that she'll bring out another in the same vein as this one. This is the perfect read for any music junkie. While the band at the heart of the book are fictional there are references to many bands that came from the Seattle area, some of which will have any 1990's music fan squealing with joy. So find your favourite album, put on your headphones, and enjoy a few chapters of this while you listen.
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on 10 November 2011
B-Sides and Broken Hearts is the story of 37 year-old Lisa, who is finding it hard coming to terms with the death of Joey Ramone, one of her favourite musicians. His death forces her to think about her life and she finds that she is not happy. Her relationship with the predictable, Ian, is not the type of relationship she had envisaged for herself when she was young. The death of Joey Ramone leads to a torrent of emails from Lisa's music-loving friends, and puts her back in touch with Jake, the singer with a successful band, Blue Electric. Lisa had been there with Jake and the rest of the band right from the start when they were unknown and penniless. She watched them grow into a band that could fill arenas. However, for the past 5 years her relationship with the band has been overshadowed by the fact that her boyfriend shows little interest in getting to know them. From the outside, all of Lisa's friends have always thought she should have ended up with Jake. None of her friends like Ian. After Joey Ramone's death, when Ian fails to understand why she is so upset, Lisa makes the decision to visit her old friends in LA. She packs some belongings, mainly CDs for the journey, and drives all night to revisit her past. Lisa goes on a journey in this novel, to find the person she really is. After a tragic relationship when she was younger, she had lost her way. Will her old friends in LA help her reconnect with the real Lisa?

This book is about dreams, friends, love, relationships, and above all it is about music and how music can have a profound influence on our lives.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt that the world had ended because their favourite band split up, anyone who obsessively waited for new albums to be released by their favourite bands and spent their last pennies on gigs and records, anyone who has ever screamed the lyrics to their favourite songs while driving in their car... This is a book for dreamers, and reaffirms the importance of believing in your dreams, and following your heart.
It is well written and engaging. I found myself feeling sad when I knew that the story would soon end. The ending is poignant and uplifting at the same time. This is a must read for music lovers.

Reviewed by Maria Savva as a reviewer for Bookpleasures.
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on 1 November 2011
"B-Sides and Broken Hearts" should have universal appeal for its main story line, with the protagonist, Lisa, faced with a major life decision, and forced to decide what is important to her. While the specifics may be different, the struggle is one most of us have faced.

However, for me, the most significant message is the power of music. If you're like me, there are songs that can lift you up and those that will put you into a funk, while others take you back to a specific time, place, or person. An idea epitomized midway through the book by this paragraph:

"How can this happen? How can a song that meant so much to me when I first heard it at fourteen, a song about dreams and hope, suddenly mean just as much right now, suddenly the words apply exactly to my life twenty-two years later? And how can it affect me in the same way, how can it lift me up, transport me, elevate me, inspire me, give me meaning and, well, hope?"

On her website Rose says her goal was to "write the woman's version of 'High Fidelity.'" (A book by Nick Hornby, later made into a movie starring John Cusack.) Rose said she, "wanted to read a book where a woman could like music as much as a guy and not be called a groupie or be told that she sure knew a lot about music for a girl." I think she did it. Rose knows a lot about music for anyone, regardless of gender, and this knowledge permeates the pages of "B-Sides and Broken Hearts." The music geek will love this book for that reason as it smoothly integrates mentions of songs and bands from big (The Rolling Stones) to relatively obscure (I've heard of Eddie Spaghetti and his band, The Supersuckers, have you?) If you're not a music fan, "B-Sides and Broken Hearts" is still a good story, but if you are, it is a can't miss.

**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
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on 9 October 2011
Caryn Rose's "B-Sides and Broken Hearts" is an excellent snapshot of a world that quite possibly doesn't exist anymore. Or if it does then sadly there's all too little evidence of it doing so. In this case, familiarity does not breed contempt other than the fact that whenever these kind of obsessions are covered in print they seem to be compared to "High Fidelity".

Dunno about you but I always preferred the film which is sacrilege in some quarters. I can reason this not least because it starts out with "You're Gonna Miss Me" and MX-80 Sound's "Hard Attack" appears in the front of one of the shop racks. We know these people is what I'm trying to say.

And I know exactly when I got the news about Joey and that sets the scene for this entire thing. Luckily I was with people that did understand the enormity. Lisa Simon wasn't so lucky. Some of this is pretty moving. I'm less inclined to go along with the premise that Pearl Jam ever made a listenable record. But hell, she even includes references to The Replacements version of "Black Diamond". "B-Sides..." really is a superb haven and I wouldn't be surprised if Santa is toting a number of these for lucky girls and boys that might enjoy a stay in this particular kind of universe.

It's all about the passion that somehow seems to have gotten lost in recent times. The best book about music since JD King's as yet criminally unpublished "Like A 45 at 33".
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on 1 August 2011
Given that (rock) music is such an intrinsic part of popular culture it is a shame that there have been so few good novels based around the impact music can have on our lives.

This book does just that in an intelligent and at times profoundly moving way and is a brilliant exploration of how music can and does change lives.

Caryn Rose's knowledge and research is amazing and has had me searching Google and playlists since I finished her novel. On top of that it is a great story that had me page turning in the wee small hours to find out what happened next.

Anyone will enjoy this book regardless of their knowledge of rock music. Those of you who understand the thrill of getting those tickets, going to the gig, meeting up with friends who 'get it' and being there as the stage darkens and a band you love are about to be in front of you will feel that at last someone has articulated it for you!

A great read.
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on 6 August 2011
Have you ever had a band where only you got how good they were, or a particular album, Tunnel of Love for me!!. This book is for all the people who go to a gig and think the band is singing to them, the fans who queue to get to the front, who search out the bootlegs of the rare shows, who were there at the start, full of brilliant music references, all in a story featuring a main character who is so easy to fall for, so much so that within a few pages you will want to know everything about her life, which we do in the book.Recommended without reservation, do yourself a favour and buy the book but make sure you have the time to read as you wont put it down.
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on 27 September 2012
This captures the thrill of being in and around bands, the excitement of being there, and also has a beautifully told love story.
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on 26 July 2015
For anyone who loves music, live shows and whose diary of life is marked by musical events this is a fantastic read.
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