Falling Stars by Ashlyne Huff Revelette
Review by Lauren
Source: copy from author; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: At 12 years old, Lily Black was the biggest name in country music. She hobnobbed with Faith Hill and opened for the Dixie Chicks while riding around in her own custom tour bus. But tastes are fickle, and she soon found herself going from epically famous to a total nobody in a few short months. Fast forward five years: while Lily was once the star (and the stage name), real life Lilah Carson was content to leave the music industry behind forever and live life as a dutiful preacher’s daughter in Mobile, Alabama, until a second chance made her realize her love of performing wasn’t dead, just dormant. Determined to make it in Nashville again, Lilah sets off to find her old manager. Armed with only her Bible, innate talent, and trusty best friend, what seems like the perfect plan suddenly begins to crumble. It turns out some people are not who you think they are. Backstabbing, cheating, and a tragic illness all stand in her way as she strives for success. This is certainly not the Nashville she left behind. Does Lilah have what it takes to make it again? Or was she really just a one hit wonder?
Review: Falling Stars was a fun book about grown up Lily Black, who used to be a country music star when she was 12 year old. Lily is now 17 and using her real name, Lilah Carson, for the most part. After her stardom went down hill, she decided to be a normal teenager, go to school, and make friends. Things have been working out well for Lilah, but she soon realizes that music is in her heart and she can't just ignore that. Along with her best friend JoBeth, she heads back to Nashville to see if her old manager can help her once again.
I loved how realistic Lilah felt. She might have experienced life on the road and a huge hit back when she was younger, but nowadays, it's almost like starting over again. She's not sure anyone will take her seriously or help her along the way. It's easy to understand where Lilah is coming from and you definitely root for her to make her dreams come true.
At the same time, Lilah can't just leave the real world behind. A family member is diagnosed with cancer, and she thinks about leaving Nashville to help. Her friend JoBeth starts exhibiting a lot of signs of jealousy and anger over Lilah's new life, and she has to decide what to do. There is also plenty of romance and boy troubles. Lilah is mourning an ex who cheated on her, when she meets a really great guy in Nashville. She keeps him secret from almost everyone, though, trying to enjoy the new found excitement on her own. This results in some serious drama and heartache in the future.
Overall, I thought Falling Stars was done really well. The author knows the music scene personally so everything felt realistic and understandable. I can't wait to read more about JoBeth in Huff's next novel!
Interview with Ashlyne
1. As a professional singer, how much did you take from your personal life to create Lilah and her experiences in Nashville?
I would say 50/50. 50% from my life as a singer and a songwriter and 50% from my life as a musician’s daughter. The latter: I grew up on Music Row doing my homework in the studios I mention in the book while my dad produced artists like Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, etc. As a Daddy’s Girl, I just wanted to be around him and go wherever he went. That’s when I developed a love for music production and learned how everything in the studio worked. Now that I think about it, I’ve been researching for Lilah’s experiences since I was about five years old. The former: as a performer and a songwriter on my own, I got to be in the actual driver’s seat rather than a wallflower in the background. I got to go on the tours, play the same venues, write with all kinds of songwriters. Oh, and I know how it feels to live on a bus and not have any time of your own. The only difference in us besides genre: I was an adult when I got my record deal, and she was in elementary school.
2. Lilah's best friend JoBeth causes a lot of drama in this book. I saw at the end of Falling Stars that she'll be getting her own story. What can readers expect from this, and do you know when it will be released?
Broken Pieces will be JoBeth’s side of the story, and I am happy to say I’m rounding the corner on the first draft. I started it a bunch of times while still editing Falling Stars this past year, but as the first one changed, the sequel did too. That said, I’m finalllllly getting there! Woo hoo! Readers can expect, what else, DRAMA. It’s all that girl can give! As far as timing, I’m not entirely sure about release dates, but I’m going to be ready! If readers finish Falling Stars and want to go ahead and get a taste of it, I’ve uploaded the first chapter already on Ashlyne.Co (in Books section). And since I draw/design my own covers, I am planning on having readers pick the Broken Pieces cover after I design a few options. Maybe a contest to win a CD in there, too. All this will be on Ashlyne.Co and across social media (www.facebook.com/fallingstarsnovel, www.facebook.com/ashlynehuffrevelette, Twitter: ashlynehuff and Instagram: AshlyneHuffRevelette.
3. You have recorded two of the big songs in Falling Stars. Is there a way for readers to hear these? Are they available on iTunes?
Most definitely! Ashlyne.Co (in the BOOKS section, sub menu “Songs of Lilah”) has the two major songs “Burning Blue” and “Falling Stars” as well as “Always Never Enough”. You can listen to them as much as you like! But they are also on iTunes!
4. Do you want to continue writing about the music world or do you have other book ideas?
All my books are set in Nashville, but not all of them have to be about music. I like to weave it in here and there to show a true day in the life of a Nashville resident, but it will not always be my character’s dream. I do, however, always want to write original songs for the books, sort of a little soundtrack. For Falling Stars, the songs are “by Lilah”, but in the future, they may just go along with the book, telling a little piece of the story in music form. An example of an idea I have for a series: It’s set in a Brentwood (suburb of Nashville) high school with some of the kids having parents in the music business. It’s there in some of the kids’ lives, but it’s not the point.
5. Since Lilah is part of the country music scene, what country artists do you think she would be listening to today?
I see Lilah loving a little bit of everything right now. I see her being friends with The Voice winners Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbury, and Maddie and Tae. I see her calling Martina McBride and Reba McEntire for career advice and tips. I see her rocking out to Hunter Hayes and Keith Urban. I also see her branching out into the pop world, looking to crossover stars like Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum. Lilah wouldn’t be afraid to step out of her comfort zone, not after all she goes through.