Book Review – Louder Than Love by Jessica Topper

by Maryse on December 9, 2013 · 10 comments

in My Book Reviews

Louder Than Love
*sigh* I’m grinning ear to ear!! That was just one of the sweetest, most well-rounded books I’ve read in awhile.

Claudia: I just finished “Louder than Love” by Jessica Topper and I totally loved!!!!!

Louise: I have almost finished Louder Than Love and I loved it! It was definitely a 5 star for me thanks for the recommandation!

Maryse: I know!!!! OMG SO good it’s just… almost perfect for me. That one gave me “that” feeling when I was done. Just wait until the last line…There’s just *something* about it that had me beaming by the end… As Kandace (and crew) would say… it gave me the “feels”

Angela: I finished this today!! It was an easy read. I enjoyed it! I gave it a 4.5, too!

Yanira: This sounds awesome, just what I’m needing right now.

Tracie: Maryse I stayed up till 2am last night to finish. It was so so good. The writing was just so natural, I could feel everything, like it was happening to me. 5 stars for me as well. I could gush over this for days. … Even though it wasn’t steamy, the feels were off the charts.

Jennifer T: Reading it right now and love it!!!

Jennifer: Such an awesome read. Hit all the right notes for me.

Agreed!! I loved it, too, and Jennifer —> “hit all the right notes” is perfectly said. Exactly!

I dunno, I mean… it was nothing crazy, you know? But just enough of everything, in the right order, pacing, and in the right amount for me to believe it. It was just… GREAT. Sweet, touching, and clever! Clever? Well, not in the way of genius “twists and turns” that had me gasping or anything like that, but clever in a gentler, “feel good” way.

It came around full circle. Bits from the beginning that were already so well detailed, and touching and gave so much personality to these characters… and then… *boom* back around again, things that I recognized, but in a different context that had me just beaming. This one IS your traditional contemporary romance (nothing too out of the ordinary), but it just… had the works.

So what’s it about?

Newly married Katrina lost her husband in a tragic accident. Or as she calls it… a wreck.

Accidents can be apologized for, smoothed over, explained away.

A wreck is different.

A wreck… does just that. It damaged beyond repair.

He was the love of her life, and I totally believed it. The pain she suffers as a result of his death… FIVE stars just for how the author dealt with that, alone.

The funeral played out like a wedding in reverse. Instead of eagerly searching around town for weeks like I did before the wedding to find the perfect shows in the exact cream hue to compliment my gown, I listlessly hunted around in my closet on the morning of the service to find black pumps to go with my black dress, black mood, black soul. Abbey and I were picked up in a limo, although there was no champagne chilling like there had been when Pete and I jumped into ours on our way from ceremony to reception. Best man and matron of honor had caroused across town with us that night; on the day of the funeral, Luke and Marissa sat on either side of me, squeezing my hands. Both sets of parents rode silently across from us.

My groom was already at the altar awaiting our arrival in his best suit.

In a closed casket.

I swear the lump in my throat is back. This whole entire section… had me reading through blurry eyes.

… the realization that life goes on was still a bitter pill to swallow. It was hard to believe the whole world wasn’t sticking around to mourn in unison with me. Didn’t they know? My whole world had come crashing down, after all.

A new mother to an infant, she can’t deal with the memories at every turn, and moves back to live with her parents.

Four years later, and still with no intention (or interest) in finding someone else, she has thrown herself, instead, into her work. A career librarian, she sets up a children’s program at the library where she works, and hires the reclusive musician of her daughter’s favorite cartoon show to play for them one afternoon. Adrian is reluctant, shows up slightly drunk,

“You are drunk.”

“And you” – he popped two of the curiously strong mints into his mouth – “are beautiful.”

… but soon has the children singing, dancing and laughing and her initial negative impression of him changes. And a friendship is struck.

Her amazing support system (her best friends – that I suspect will also get stories – YAY!), insist she needs to get back in the “dating” game, and her attraction to Adrian spurs her into action.

Fun “getting to know you” stuff!

“Wait a sec, doesn’t he live just a few blocks from there? Why would he spend several hundred bucks on an afternoon delight there and not take you back to his place?

“I don’t know. The topic never came up. We were working off the spontaneity, you know?”

Leanne licked a bit of sale from her glass. “You don’t think he has a wife hidden away or some torsos in his freezer, do you?”

“Uh… I do now, Leanna! Thanks a lot.” I laughed, but I felt a tiny nagging seed of doubt burrow it’s way into the back of my brain. Was he hiding something?

Hehe. Yep!!

But, you see… both Katrina and Adrian have ghosts from their pasts. Well, SHE has ghosts (her deceased husband that she still misses like crazy), HE has skeletons in his closet. Unbeknownst to her, he’s an ex-famous-metal rock star that was once at the top of his game, and began falling from grace the more popular he became. Circumstances forced him to leave his past (and his glory) behind. Yet he still suffers over the fallout and guilt.

And that is where the drama begins.

Let me tell you, this author has an amazing writing style. She gave everyone a personality and let them live through their daily, common (yet endearing) actions. Here’s an example. Her four year old daughter, digging through her tiny purse as they drive around, taking “inventory” of her “stuff”:

I glanced in the rearview mirror as she brought out a Pez dispenser of a kitty cat and a sparkly green guitar pick Adrian had given her. Next came a pair of glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs waiting for her mouth to grow into. She carefully stuffed them between her lips and did a chomp test; no, still too big. She placed them on her lap as well.

Hehe. Awwwwwww!! See what I mean? That made me chuckle, ’cause I could see this teeny-tiny thing just occupying herself quietly in her booster-seat, as her mom focused on driving. And this book is chock-full of perfect detail, that gives the story (and the characters) life, like that.

Cozy, witty, modern and yet poetic at times. Breathtaking in it’s imagery. At times heartbreaking but relief is always near, delivered in it’s uplifting narration and healing life lessons.

And WHAT an incredible ending! I mean… not just how it ends, but the whole process to the end. Almost perfect, and so well explored and detailed that even though I was so near “the end” I didn’t feel like anything was rushing by. I couldn’t believe how much detail (those little touches and personal actions), feeling and emotion (and fun excitement) I was experiencing with only a few percent of the book left to go.

And I will admit, while I enjoyed the first half, I was able to put it down. I liked the whole premise, but I couldn’t foresee any “crazy” happening other than the normal “new couple with bad memories” issues coming into play, so I wasn’t devouring it. It was… slow-ish going. ;)  My heart wasn’t racing and my mind wasn’t guessing, there was nothing taboo, and I wasn’t freaking out (other than how impressed I was with the author’s writing). I was just enjoying the more laid back intimate yet cozy feel of the story as a whole.

But something in me clicked hard in the second half.

That’s when the emotions (theirs and mine) started running high, and the sweetness and my love for them as a whole, became… whole. Mind you, yes, there was a moment of that “possibly unnecessary drama due to lack of communication”, yes… but then again, who am I to say how one would react after the tragic loss of her husband, when faced with a new man?

The less he knew at this point, the less likely I would become his charity case. Or scare him away. Keep the moment beautiful, as he had said about keeping his scars covered. The same could be said for mine, lying below the surface.

Still, though. Wow.

And you know, where there is book-drama, there is angst and book-heartache, and unavoidable reader-reactions. A few eye rolls from me on both their behalves, sure. I was irritated with her. I was irritated with him. I was angry at them both. I was angry that I was angry (’cause to me, the obvious was so obvious, and I was a tad disappointed that the story took that easy-ish route to kick it’s drama into action). And yet, I could no longer put it down. Because no matter “what” caused the emotional turmoil, it was now in motion and I was feeling it.

Yep. It may not be our usual “crazy-angst”, but it has it’s angst in very specific moments, nonetheless (and many a time, I believed it, wholeheartedly).

But lemme tell you… the last 10-20%? I just LOVED!! To me, it made the book, and turned this cozy (yet slightly vanilla) read into something I fell in love with! Changed my opinion from a 4 star to 4.5 star read, with the last line bringing tears to my eyes and making my cheeks hurt, I was so affected.

Now remember, I’m not saying that the end gets all-out crazy like some of our past favorite reads (don’t go into this thinking shock and awe awaits you). It’s not that kind of book. BUT!!! There was just something about that ending that won me over. Big time!

A terrific, more “conventional” contemporary romance, but with a rock star as our potential (yet reluctant) hero. In reverse. Or… maybe not. You’ll see. ;)

Either way, if you’re in the mood for a sweet, sexy, fun and conservatively angsty romance read (without all of the over-the-top angst and soul-ripping drama), then this is for you! Well done!!! I loved it!!!

4.5 stars! (4 stars for the most part, and 5 stars for the last part and ending).

P.S. I LOVE that title. Reminds me of Soundgarden. :D

P.P.S. This is another that I had a chance to read back in the “review copy” days, but I managed to miss getting a copy (during my after-Book-Bash recovery coma :P ). But it was worth every penny I purchased it for! And it’s bargain priced, so YAY!!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie December 9, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Is it a stand alone?

Maryse December 9, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Yes this one is a standalone. But I am hoping her other characters will also get a few books.

Shirley December 9, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Maryse, Have you read Back Up by A.M. Madden? I am 25% in and LOVE it!! Its about a back up singer (Leila) that has just started with this up and coming band. Im in Love with the lead singer Jack! Lots of sexual tension! Check it out, I think you will like it! P.S. This is going to be a series-her next book Front and Center will be out the first of the year.

Erin December 9, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Great review!! I am buying it. Sometimes we need a feel good story that is well written.

Elizabeth at HEAs Are Us December 9, 2013 at 6:47 PM

I absolutely loved the book! I was so lucky to be granted an interview with the man himself, Adrian “Digger” Graves. You can view it here:

Debra D December 9, 2013 at 10:51 PM

Great review, thanks, Its joined the others on my wish list!!!!

Nadia S December 9, 2013 at 11:08 PM

So glad you loved jt. I have been stuck in a book rut since making faces by Amy Harmlon and this one sounds right up my alley. Starting it right now!!

Marylene December 12, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Remember me Maryse, I said your recommendation made me 1 click? Well,I finished the book, and it was all you mentioned in your review. Thanks again for your post!

Maryse December 12, 2013 at 9:05 PM

YAY!!! I’m so glad you loved it too Marylene. I’m getting some great feedback about it now on our Facebook page, too. What’s not to love, right? ;)

Lauren December 20, 2013 at 1:49 AM

I just finished last night! I loved it, great find!!!

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