As many of you already know, I am running a series on my blog where each month I will pick one of my favourite indie books to recommend.

Here are my picks so far:

January: The Day the Flowers Died by Ami Blackwelder historical romance
February: Caviar Dreams by Judy Nichols murder/mystery
March: Horse Latitudes by Quentin R. Bufogle humour
April: Into The Light by Darcia Helle supernatural/suspense

This month will be slightly different, as I will be recommending 5 books that all have a similar theme.

I read a lot of books that have been inspired in some way by music. I am quite obsessed with music :) I don't necessarily seek out books to read that have music as a theme but somehow I end up reading a lot of them. I have read many outstanding books by indie writers recently that have musical themes, so I thought it would make sense to recommend them together.

Firstly, I would like to recommend Metallic Dreams by Mark Rice

This one is simply a must read if you're a heavy metal or rock fan. This is one of my all time favourite books. The humour is wonderful and will have you laughing out loud. I'd recommend it to any music fan actually. Of course, this book can only be read by those with an open mind as there is some controversial content that may offend if taken out of context. One for the over 18s.

Here's the review I wrote when I read the book:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end. It's about a young man, Spark, who always dreamt of becoming a big name in heavy metal music. In his late teens he was part of a band 'Blood Brothers' who went their separate ways before they could make it into the big time. Some years later, Spark has a life changing experience and as a consequence he becomes determined to put his old band back together and live his dream. His belief is that the band will become successful, and he doesn't want to live his life in a dead end job when his passion lies in music. At its core, Metallic Dreams is about finding the courage to follow your dream, no matter how difficult it might seem to be. It is also about the power of love. It is indie fiction at its best, breaking out of the boundaries set by genre, and experimenting with new and exciting ways to write a story. It is extremely funny; hilarious in parts. I almost laughed out loud in public a few times whilst reading it. It does contain some controversial topics and taboo subjects, but those topics are skillfully woven into the story making them a realistic portrayal of very vivid characters' lives and experiences. This book is very original and entertaining. I would recommend Metallic Dreams to music fans, especially rock and heavy metal fans, as you will find much to relate to in the book. Due to some of the content in this book I would say it is only suitable for over 18s. I am looking forward to more books by this talented writer.

If you'd like to find out a bit more about the book, and the fabulous writer, here's a link to a recent radio interview where he talks about his writing journey and reads an excerpt from the book: Melissa Craig and Charity Parkerson Show. It's a very entertaining interview. (I was honoured to have been mentioned by the author in this interview!)

The next book, I would like to recommend is 33 Days: Touring In A Van. Sleeping On Floors. Chasing A Dream. by Bill See

Bill was the lead singer of the '80s rock band Divine Weeks, and this book is a memoir. It is a diary of a 33 day tour by the band. It's in essence a book about following your dream.

Here's my review:

‘It’s not about the having and the getting, it’s about the being and becoming.’

The story of a 33 day tour by the band Divine Weeks. Bill See, the author, was the lead singer of the L.A. band who enjoyed some notoriety in the ‘80s.
In this memoir, See has collected together journal entries and memories to create much more than just a tour diary. He documents the tour with a great descriptive narrative that really captures the moment and brings his memories to life. He also talks about his own dysfunctional home life, which in some ways spurred him on to chase his dream.

See is a talented writer, who is able to impart wisdom and knowledge through his prose.

I enjoyed reading about the band’s progression from an unknown group who played only weekday gigs in their home town, to a successful band touring nationwide. But this is not just a story about the band’s journey, it’s also about the individual band members’ personal journeys along the way. See’s introspective and thought-provoking prose make the book a compulsive and insightful read.
We follow the band on their first real tour, across the US and Canada in 1987, where they play small venues, often to a handful of people. But the band’s passion is such that they are determined to do anything to reach their dream of one day becoming real rock stars. They survive with hardly any money and sleep in a van and cheap hotels, or even on friends’ floors. There is a lot of humour sprinkled throughout the book which makes it an enjoyable read. I liked the fact that the author has included photographs of memorable parts of the tour and his life in the book. It gives an extra dimension to the story.

As well as being an enthralling tour diary, this book deals with such subjects as family life, alcoholism, racism, dysfunctional families, relationships, friendship, loyalty, and the power of dreams.
Divine Weeks’s story is an inspirational one that shows what someone can achieve if they follow their dream. The author captures the essence of the book best, when he says: ‘This book is for everyone who’s stood at their crossroads with a dream screaming inside wondering whether to choose the road that goes off the map or fold up their tent and head back home.’

Highly recommended.

The great thing about this book is that it is about a real band with real music. After reading the book, I looked up some of their music on YouTube and really like it. That makes the book extra special. Here's a link to the book trailer that also includes clips of their music. 33 Days Book Trailer

Bill See has an exceptional gift for writing and getting his message across. He comes across as very wise; a true artist.
33 Days is another must read for music fans, and for anyone who has ever had a dream. It's one of those books that stays with you long after you've read it. A permanent favourite.

Thirdly, I am recommending a wonderful novel, B-Sides and Broken Hearts by Caryn Rose

This one had me hooked from the start. I could relate to the main character, a music lover to whom music is like a lifeline.

Here's the review I wrote when I read the book:

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.

This is a novel but reads almost like a memoir. Again it's a must read for music lovers. I found it hard to put down, and really wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters.

The next book I'm recommending is by wonderfully talented musician and writer, who is also very friendly and supportive of fellow artists.

Pixels of Young Mueller by Jerry Schwartz is a coming of age story about a boy who always dreamed of becoming a rock star.

It's about how life can get in the way of our dreams. In a similar way to B-Sides and Broken Hearts, it reads almost like a memoir. And, like 33 Days, it has the added bonus of being based on an actual band. Jerry is the lead singer/musician behind the band The Jerrys whose music is mentioned in the book. Here's a link to the band website: The Jerrys

Here's my review:

"My life is a movie in which the main character spends his life running from one dumb job to another" Klaus Mueller.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a breath of fresh air in respect of the honesty of the lead character's thoughts within the pages. At times I was questioning whether this is in fact a memoir or a fictional story, and perhaps the author would like us to wonder about that.
Klaus Mueller is a young boy when we meet him, he has dreams of becoming a rock star. This entertaining story is written in chapters relating to different stages of Mueller's life as he grows from a boy to a man, becomes a husband and a father.
Anyone who has ever wanted to break free from the confines of a 9-5 job will relate to young Mueller; anyone who has ever dreamed to making a living from their artistic endeavours will also relate; anyone who has ever loved music to such a degree that it became all encompassing will relate; and anyone who has just stopped to look around and questioned that there must be more to life than the life they are living will relate to this young man's story. I think that just about covers everyone.
This is a story of an ordinary man who does not live blindly but questions everything around him. It's an entertaining look at life. I found myself agreeing with a lot of the character's opinions about things, and I could relate to the struggles of an artist trying to fit into 'normal' routine existence.
Well written, insightful and thought provoking, with some laugh-out-loud moments, I would recommend this book to everyone. It's also almost a social history book, as notorious events from the past 5 decades are scattered throughout the story. Anyone who grew up in the '60s or '70s will no doubt enjoy this trip down memory lane.

Finally, I'd like to recommend Ladies and Gentlemen...The Redeemers by Michael Scott Miller.

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Here's my review:

This is a wonderful book, well written and entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ladies and Gentlemen... The Redeemers, tells the story of Bert Ingram, a once successful music rep who worked for a major record company. Now facing middle-age, he finds himself destitute with nothing to show for the years he spent following his dream and the passion he has for music and spotting great talent. His former colleagues have given up on him and he seems destined to spend the rest of his life as an outcast. Bert has something to prove, so he makes it his mission to find raw talent among the down and outs in San Francisco; the musicians who play music on the streets. He has already set his sights on a singer he has spotted at Montgomery Street BART Station. We follow Bert as he tries to put together a band of musicians and lead them to super stardom, to prove to his former associates that he is still a major player.

The characters are introduced by the author in individual chapters, where we learn about their backgrounds and lives. Although they are all quite different, they are brought together by one man who has seen something in them. Bert Ingram prides himself on being able to spot talent when he sees it. I liked the interaction between the band members and between Bert and the individuals in the band. It is a very realistic portrayal of a band and all of the behind the scenes aspects of that. I recently read an excellent memoir about the life of a touring band 33 Days by Bill See, and I was reminded of certain parts of that book when I was reading Ladies and Gentlemen... The Redeemers.

The story of The Redeemers teaches us that everyone can learn something from another person, no matter who that person is. It also shows that it is possible for people of different social classes and backgrounds to come together and get along with each other when ignorance and prejudice are set aside.

Ladies and Gentlemen... The Redeemers, reminds us that following our dreams is important, and listening to those who have experience is an important part of the journey.

Highly recommended. A book that music fans will love.

I love the characters in this book, they are so realistic. It's fiction, but you would be mistaken for thinking that the author is writing about real people, real band members. Another book that music lovers will enjoy.

Well, that's all for now. I hope you'll try the books.

Look out for next month's pick!
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message 1: by Darcia (new)

Darcia Helle Great selection of books this month, Maria! And, fortunately for me, nothing I have to add to my to-read list! I haven't read 33 Days, yet, but it's already on my list. I loved the others!

message 2: by Maria (new)

Maria Thanks, Darcia.
33 Days is amazing, you have to read it! :)

message 3: by Darcia (new)

Darcia Helle Maria, you are such a troublemaker!

message 4: by Maria (new)

Maria lol ;) It has been said before.

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