Good Morning, Love
- Author: Ashley M. Coleman
- Genre: Romance
- Publication Date: June 21, 2022
- Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
CONTENT WARNING: unwanted sexual attention, violence, mention of police violence
FAME ALWAYS COMES AT A PRICE.
A thrilling romance set in New York City’s music industry about an aspiring musician who would do anything to have the world singing her lyrics—or so she thought.
Carisa “Carli” Henton is a musician and songwriter with her father’s talent and her mother’s Latin flair pumping through her veins. But until she makes it big in the music industry, she’s stuck working as an account manager in an illustrious media agency to cover her New York City rent. Proud to have escaped her sleepy Maryland town, Carli meticulously balances her work with her musical endeavors as a songwriter.
Carli continues her balancing act until a chance meeting with Tau Anderson, a rising star reminiscent of a young Usher, sends her calculated life into a frenzy. Their worlds collide and quickly blur the strict lines Carli has drawn between her business and personal life, putting both her reputation and her burgeoning songwriting career in danger.
But Carli can’t deny the perks that come with being in a pop star’s orbit. Spending time with Tau is thrilling, and not just because industry doors that were locked are suddenly thrown open.
With every flash of the camera, Carli is reminded that her flirtation with Tau is dangerous, and will likely not end well. When a once-in-a-lifetime chance presents itself, she must decide if she’s willing to risk everything to see her name in lights.
I had never heard about this book until a copy arrived in the mail one day. And I was super excited to read a book set in one of my favorite cities, immersed in the music industry, which I know literally nothing about.
This book shines in its diversity. Nearly every major character is a POC, and it was beautiful to see this. Carli herself is the daughter of a Black American and an Afro-Latina, and while there wasn’t a heavy religious element to the story, there is explicit discussion about how many singers got their start in church choirs, and the MC attends church regularly with her friend.
Carli is a relatively likable character, right from the start. She’s young, ambitious, focused, and driven, and that is a combination that basically sets her up to be successful at whatever she sets her mind to. While she keeps her private and professional life separate, by day she works for a successful music agent, and in her free time she writes songs and performs with her friends. And while she’s killing it at her job, she starts to realize that she has been putting off living her life in favor of hustling as hard as she can to make her dreams come true.
“Being onstage is a natural high a nonperformer may never understand. It’s a conversation between my guitar and me and the audience.”
When she encounters Tau, everything in her life gets turned upside down. I struggled with Tau’s character a little—he’s a known player, didn’t totally respect boundaries, and wouldn’t accept no for an answer. Not in a predatory way, but I couldn’t completely fault him for everything, since Carli wasn’t very firm in her boundaries. Either way, I didn’t fully get invested in the “romance,” and parts of it felt somewhat forced, especially in the beginning.
But I did love the connections between the characters—between Carli and her best friend Talia, Carli and her family, Tau and his family, and even Tau with his friends. I especially enjoyed the heavy and realistic NY vibes that came through loud and clear in this book, and even the slang felt fairly realistic. And one of my favorite parts of the story was getting to learn more about the music industry, from the inside as well as the outside. Like many other industries, it’s not just what you know, but also who you know, and this book was a cute, fluffy read with surprising depths at unexpected times.
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