AUTHOR:  Stacy Kestwick

GENRE:  Romance

RELEASE DATE:  September 5, 2017

Available @ AMAZON

REVIEWER:  Pistol Annie

RATING:  5 Stars


Traditions are important.  Especially in the South.

College football.  Rivalries.  Tailgating.  Halftime shows.

Some things just don’t change.

Until Reese Holland shows up with her long legs and no-bullshit attitude to audition for the prestigious all-male Rodner University snare line.  

It doesn’t matter how much hazing she has to endure from Laird Bronson, with his narrowed green eyes and arrogant smirk.  She wants that damn spot, and she’s more than good enough to earn it.

She expects there to be tension.  Even friction.

But not sparks hot enough to burn the entire campus down.

********************RELEASE DAY REVIEW********************

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!  So many of these NA/YA storylines (sports-related, forbidden professor/student scenarios) set on college campuses are so similar to near mirror images of one another that they seem to run right over the other in my mind.  I’m not saying I’m not enjoying reading a ton of them but still yet . . . just sayin’.  So, when I do find one that deviates from the cookie-cutter mold, it is indeed a rare and special gem.   Drumline is a totally distinctive reading experience – original, refreshing and unique.

I started the new school year reading romance with quarterbacks and football, and now I’m back on the gridiron marching with the band — but these band geeks are unlike any I crossed paths with in high school many, many years ago.  A unexpected surprise and one that I absolutely enjoyed from cover to cover.

Laird Bronson, captain of the drumline, could easily play starting quarterback on any team, but instead he handles the sticks like a pro!  This guy will kick the tempo of your heartbeat up into overdrive.  The relationship between Laird and his father is strained to say the least.  Dear old dad wasn’t a favorite character and it saddened me to watch as he hurt his son so badly.  From his first eye contact with the only girl trying out in an all-male drumline, Captain Laird knows he’ll do his best to test her staying power, all the while the instant attraction building into an intense desire.  He’s a strong, but soft-hearted, alpha male.  And just the description alone of those Irish green eyes had me falling at his feet.  And the more you get to know him, he’s doesn’t fit the usual bad boy image either.

Reese Holland marches to the beat of her own drum — Laird’s not into marching to the beat of a different drum.  She’s into being different and he’s comfortable with tradition.  She’s willing to do whatever it takes to earn one of the few open slots in the drumline.  And with the pop of a pink bubble gum bubble, Reese issues a challenge of her own.  How could I not love this girl — and double that feeling when I find out that she’s a Cherry Coke Zero addict, too!  And just wait until you read Reese’s “Dear” prayers!  Laugh-out-loud and such a clever and adorable insight into this girl’s personality.  Our girl is no shrinking violet.  Don’t you worry ’bout little ol’ Reese — she’ll see you at the finish line!

The chemistry between these two is explosive on and off the drumline.  And there’s no doubt that Stacy Kestwick can write the hot scenes with the best of them.  Holy Smoke!  They singed the pages.  But it’s not all steam and sex, there are some really heart-filled moments, tender affection and caring between the two of them.  Their relationship packs a punch and it’s a fun and interesting ride, too.  

Told from the perspectives of both Laird and Reese — just the way I like ’em.  Both have strong voices, and one is just as stubborn as the other.  And they both leave their personal marks.  They share the commonality of childhood cancer affecting both their lives and both actively volunteer in the pediatrics oncology department at the local hospital.  Maybe that has something to do with the fact that they act more mature than their age — more responsible and stronger in a lot of ways.  Kestwick has done a great job in fully developing these characters.     

Along with our protagonists, a full panoply of supporting characters take on roles of a sidekick who plays Robin to Reese’s Batman, parents who are troublesome and overbearing, friends who share the best and worst of times, a sweet and funny pet pooch, and, of course, the evil tormentor.  And then there’s Eli, who holds his own special place of honor.  That little guy stole my heart immediately, and I promise that he will yours as well.  Variety is the spice of the plot, and these characters offer it up in spades — yet they don’t hog the spotlight either.

The story unfolds timely, the writing is masterful, and the words perfectly chosen, in a well-balanced plot filled with a multitude of emotion including all those extra special feel goods romance readers crave.  The college life is realistically highlighted.  Every single person on this planet sees their share of personal struggles, and our main characters do not go untouched.  

And, Oh God — 86% in and my Kindle kicked me in the gut hard, tore my heart in two, and the tears spilled.  I really was not expecting this turn of events — I had high hopes for that Starbuck’s double date with cake pops.  Grape flavored lollipops go to this author for giving this event the significance and meaning it so deserved.   

These are the things that make us fall in love with a story.  We are addicted to these emotions.  You know the ones you get when you open a book and read a few words, a few sentences.  The arrow goes straight to you heart and you just know . . . there’s a zing and a pulse of excitement.  Right away, you can sense that there is something special ahead, and it’s going to be one that explores what it means to be human, to love, to grieve, and why we scrabble to hold on to anything that is lasting and true.

“Figure out what makes her smile, then keep doing it.

Remember what worked, and find new ways to earn one.

Big smiles, little ones, all the kinds in between. Each one is its own victory.

If she’s smiling, you’re doing something right.”

HOLY DRUM STICKS!  Absolute perfection!! There’s just so much of everything amazing and delightful on every page.!!!  You do NOT want to miss this fantastic-as-heck-to-read manna-fest!!!!









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