Music City Madness
Inspired by true events, Music City Madness tells the story of Nashville singer-songwriter, Leland Presley, who finds his quest for superstardom hindered by unforeseen tragedy and a passionate romance that follows. As the poignant novel unfolds, Leland evokes a range of emotions through a dozen songs written and performed by himself—each timely composition more powerful, and relevant, than the one before, until a vulnerable Leland must confront a life-altering decision to follow his dream or follow his heart.
What readers say...
- FrancineGreat read... Within the first few paragraphs of Music City Madness, I had a good idea that I would enjoy the book. I was hesitant about whether the story would interest me because the music industry doesn’t hold any attraction for me whatsoever and most definitely not the country music genre. Also, the cover isn’t an attention grabber, in my opinion. Then I started to read it and the book opened with Abby starting yet another school and coming out with these humorous quips and I knew I would give the book a decent chance. I’m so glad I did because the story is excellent. There’s action, romance, humour and even some mystery. Leland is a down on his luck musician who can’t seem to catch a break…or a job…no matter what he tries. His girlfriend works at McDonald’s just so they can pay the rent while Leland pursues his dream. His thirteen year old daughter, Abby, is starting a new school, trying to deal with puberty and trying to fit in. Then there is Melissa, a once hot country music star who needs to make some money quickly so that she and her two boys can keep living the fancy lifestyle that they have become used to. However, Melissa had an accident a few years ago and is now hooked on opiates. There are numerous other characters that all combine to make a really well written, fast-paced story. The characters are well developed and Abby was the most believable thirteen year old on paper that I have read in a long time. The style of writing makes the book easy to read and it really takes the reader into the story. There is one section about a storm that left me not wanting to put the book down until I found out what happened to each character involved. One particularly sad event was very touching because the author managed to make me really care about the character. As well, even though I have no interest in country music or the business, I did find myself enjoying some of the information about how the industry works. This book is well worth reading, even if you don’t like country music or know anything about how record labels work. I read this in digital format and it worked perfectly. As I said above, I didn’t really find the cover to be particularly enticing.read moreread lessMeredith89At first I was not sure if I would enjoy this book because I don't have much interest in ... At first I was not sure if I would enjoy this book because I don't have much interest in country music, but I quickly got absorbed into the characters' struggles. There is a lot to relate to, and I love music in general, so it was easy to care about the artistic struggle even if I'm not the biggest Nashville follower. If you do love country music, then I think you'll especially enjoy this book, but anyone who is looking for personal struggle, organic character development, and a book that is extremely hard to put down, definitely give this a try.read moreread lessAmanda DawnPlot Full Of Twists and Excitement In a fast paced and twisting plot, Music City Madness by Jason Melby is a story about two singers in Nashville; one whose career hasn’t taken off and one whose career has seemingly flown the coop. The two meet and seem to find love together until their lives fill up with endless problems that threaten their way of life and the things they hold dear. You won’t find out until the very end if they can find a way to be together. This book was almost a thriller novel to me instead of a romance because it is absolutely jammed pack full of action! There is a natural disaster that reeks havoc on Nashville during the course of the book with lasting effects. Both Leland and Melissa, the main characters, deal with an onslaught of personal issues that would leave anyone in the throws of depression, and finally there are major events with both characters’ recording contracts. And of course there is the romance that develops between Leland and Melissa that is fragile as both characters begin to deal with ex husbands, wives, and girlfriends. The main characters’ children also add some excitement to the equation with antics at school that keep them in detention the entire school year. The plot was full of twists and turns that you will never see coming which serves to keep the pages turning for this novel! The characters were also well developed and easy to fall in love with. I’m not sure I could pick a favorite but Abby was definitely one of them. She is Leland’s daughter and a perfect snapshot of a 13 year old girl. She has her own style and flare. She has lost her arm due to a childhood incident when her mother tried to kill her. Her first act of misconduct involves smacking a girl with her prosthetic arm at school and I knew I was going to enjoy her from that moment on. I also really enjoyed the character of Sid who is the agent for both Melissa and Leland. Without being able to relate my favorite scene without spoiling the end of the book, I absolutely loved how he solved Leland and Melissa’s problems with their ex’s. It was almost hilarious to envision him orchestrating the scene. I also really liked Leland and his connection with his daughter and identified a lot with the personality of Melissa. The one part I didn’t care for were the songs throughout the book. They were sweet but they read more as poetry to me instead of a marketable song that you would hear on the radio. There weren’t chorus’ for most of them and some were even written in couplets which read a lot more like poetry to me. They were really beautiful poetry for the most part but it just didn’t seem to fit the bill for me. I think anyone who likes adventure, romance, and an unique plot would really enjoy this book. It is not a typical romance book in that there is a lot of adventure and multifaceted problems that the characters have to solve but still has those feel good romance moments that romance readers will love.read moreread less
- Crossroad Reviewswas great. Music City Madness by Jason Melby was great. It felt like I was watching a movie and I think this one would work out as such. I love movies and books about music and this one didn’t disappoint. I couldn’t put did down once I started it and I finished in just under 5 hours. (Adulting sucks when you want to read). I really loved how this one is based on true events not many books do that these days. It was a joy to follow Nashville singer-songwriter Leland Presley on her journey. As a lover of music I could feel myself hearing the music come out of this book and I enjoyed every second of it. The characters are all well rounded and the story was well paced. I will be picking up more from this author soon. If you are looking for a book that deals with music and you want to feel the character’s struggles along with them check this one out and hear the music!read moreread lessStefanie ChavezI liked the story it read like a movie and I ... Music City Madness is a story about the country music business and follows Leland (who is an aspiring up and comer) and Melissa (who is a previous star who wants back in the spotlight), and the people around then including their agent, and their children. It touches on how music is something that takes root in your heart and even when things get tough you have to be able to make sacrifices if you believe in what you do, and also when you should stop and focus on whats important. Their children certainly feel the effects of their success and failures, it was interesting to hear the story from their perspectives. You feel for everyone involved and you really root for the characters to make the right decisions. I liked the story it read like a movie and I was happy with the ending. The only thing is I wish it had a different cover picture. I dont think that it suits the story.read moreread lessStephanieLove this This is a really fun and lighthearted romance with a few twists and turns along the way to make it dramatic enough. It was quick and easy for me to read and I really enjoyed the characters and the personality of each one. It wasn't what I thought it was going to be, and in fact, it turned out to be much better than I anticipated. I wish there was a sequel to it because there are so many different ways the characters could go from here, but at the same time it's not a cliffhanger. If you enjoy lighthearted romances with a music twist this book is definitely for you. It was a very quick read and I really enjoyed every turn of the page. There is a lot of chapters which scared me at first because I thought it would take much longer to read, but I was wrong. The chapters fly by so quickly that you don't even realize you have finished the book when you hit the last page. All in all, I would give this book 5 stars and I really hope that there is a sequel in the future.read moreread less
- cdjrhA little different from all the others The first few chapters are a little difficult to get into. The book goes back and forth through many different character stories. The depth that it goes into each character and the constant character swapping make it difficult for the book to pull you in. As soon as the characters begin meshing into one story the book has you and you can’t put it down. The natural disaster is not what you expect when starting this book and it is not something you’re used to reading in this genre which makes it even more enthralling. The story isn’t just a love story, it’s more of a life story which makes the reader feel like they can relate to the mane decisions the characters face. The book is a great story that pulls you in without irrelevant drama written in many love stories. I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants a love story that is a little different from all the others.read moreread lessJennEntertaining Romance I really enjoyed reading Music City Madness. I've watched a lot of tv shows and movies dealing with the inner workings of the country music scene in Nashville and this book fit right in with what I already learned from those. A struggling singer songwriter and a washed up diva. You just know there are going to be sparks when you put those two characters together. Leland and Melissa's relationship was interesting to see progress and I loved the subplot that had their children going to school with each other and becoming friends. One plot that I could have done without with the one involving the character of Nicole. I didn't really feel like she added anything important to the story and she just didn't fit in well with the narrative. At one point she left and I was really hoping she didn't show up again because I just didn't see her purpose to start with. The biggest action sequence of the book happened about half way through and put a lot of the main characters in some very serious danger. I couldn't put it down at that point! I was devouring each page trying to find out what everyone's fates were going to be. It was dramatic, heart wrenching, and exciting. The last ten percent or so of the book felt a bit rushed. It was a rather long book and everything had been progressing at a normal pace, and all of a sudden it felt like twenty things happened over the course of a few pages. I still really liked it, but I was a little disappointed in the pace of the ending. I recommend this book, especially if you're a country music fan. It was good and definitely worth the read!read moreread lessnannaleigh1110While I do not prefer reading life story books I felt the author did an excellent job of weaving the story This book takes on a journey through the life of Leland Presley. Leland is a singer and songwriter who wants to make it to stardom in the country music world. He also has a troubled teen daughter with a prosthetic arm who really needs a father but he is too engrossed in his music to give her the attention she desires. Melissa Hamilton was once a prosperous singer but must go through her own trials. Her two sons, ages 11 and 12, are spoiled and don't always deal with their mother's hardships very well. Melissa becomes Lelands voice coach and when their lives come together sparks fly. This story is filled with characters that add depth and meaning. While I do not prefer reading life story books I felt the author did an excellent job of weaving the story. As a reader you felt right there experiencing everything as well as the characters. Their search for love and fame become yours.read moreread less
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Music City Madness
Thirteen-year-old Abigail Presley tapped her lilac, high top sneakers on the wet pavement outside an East Nashville rambler with a U-Haul trailer in the driveway. Her left arm hung awkwardly at her side in a long-sleeve top while she held an open golf umbrella in her right hand with her backpack slung over her right shoulder. She wore her strawberry hair in a ponytail with low-cut jeans that barely hugged her lanky hips. Mascara with black eye liner and a dark plum lipstick brought a measure of sophistication to her youthful appearance.
She collapsed the umbrella in light drizzle and stepped toward the brown two-door Stanza rolling up to the driveway. She shifted her backpack off her shoulder and opened the passenger door to hear the thumping bass from an Eminem track. “What took you so long?” she asked the driver, a petite platinum blonde in a white McDonald’s uniform with Nicole imprinted on a bronze name tag.
“I had to open this morning. Then I had to take an unscheduled break to come get you.”
Abby pulled the door shut with her floral print backpack on her lap and the wet umbrella wedged beside her seat. “I think the fast food gods will survive without you.”
Nicole adjusted the radio volume and drove away. “I can’t always leave work to come get you.”
“I can’t walk to school from here.”
“You could have taken the bus.”
Abby unzipped a side compartment on her backpack. “Not on my first day. My dad should have taken me.”
“He has an audition this morning.”
Abby gazed through her window with tranquil blue eyes the color of a Colorado sky. “I know,” she said assertively. She rubbed her hand on her damp pant leg.
Nicole shifted the Stanza into fourth with a noticeable clunk. “Are those my jeans?”
“Mine were dirty.”
“Where did you get the makeup?”
Abby twirled the end of her ponytail between her fingers. “I’m going to be late for school.”
“I don’t mind if you borrow my stuff, but your dad doesn’t want you to wear it.”
“My dad doesn’t get to choose my clothes anymore.”
Nicole checked her mirrors and changed lanes. In some ways, she saw her former self in Abby’s skin—young, naïve, and always mad about something. Cute boys were the center of her universe, and no one understood her problems. “I wasn’t talking about the clothes.”
“The makeup makes me look older.”
Nicole spied Abby reaching for a pack of cigarettes crammed inside a zippered compartment. “Don’t let your dad find those.”
Nicole pointed to the red Marlboros.
“They aren’t mine.”
“You’re just holding them for a friend?”
“I’m thirteen. I’m not a kid anymore.”
“How’s your arm?”
Abby adjusted her position. “It’s fine.”
“I remember thirteen,” Nicole empathized. “Don’t be so quick to grow up.”
“You sound like my dad.”
“Your dad’s a great guy.”
“When he’s around.”
“He works hard for you.”
“He works hard for his music.”
“He loves you more.”
Abby curled her hand around the pack of cigarettes and stuffed them in her jeans. “Drop me off before we get there.”
“I can hold the umbrella.”
Nicole slowed near the school zone. “Are you sure?”
Abby waited for the car to stop and got out. “I’m good,” she said, leaning left to shift the backpack on her right shoulder before she deployed her umbrella with the same arm.
“Your dad will pick you up,” Nicole offered as Abby kicked the door shut.
* * *
Abby plodded toward the school’s main entrance and shook her collapsed umbrella above a non-slip mat inside. She wiped the rain off her face with her forearm and observed the thinning herd of students scrambling to beat the final bell. A moment later, a towering, full-figured woman with a cinnamon complexion, braided hair, and a look to suggest she knew bullshit when she heard it, rolled up like a tank on enemy patrol.
“You must be Miss Presley,” the woman greeted Abby. “I’m Principal Hendrix. Glad you could make it this morning.”
“My ride was late.”
Principal Hendrix extended her left hand, which Abby grabbed awkwardly with her right as the final bell rang out.
“I’m new,” Abby stated flatly.
“My dad’s going to pick me up this afternoon.”
Principal Hendrix pointed to the clock on the wall. “Let’s get through this morning, first.”
“I don’t know where to go.”
Abby feigned a polite smile. She hated the new kid in school label—one she’d worn more times than she deserved. She trailed her new principal through a labyrinth of hallways with dented lockers and cinder-block walls painted dark brown to hide graffiti. A resource officer roamed outside the empty cafeteria decked with spirit banners. The school looked old. It smelled old, too, like the basement in the house she used to live in.
“You’ve been assigned to Mrs. Dotti’s homeroom,” Principal Hendrix instructed Abby outside a class full of seventh grade students. “She’ll have a copy of your schedule. She can show you to your locker and answer any questions you have. Your lunch rotation starts at 12:15. Good luck today. I suspect we’ll see more of each other soon.”
Abby took a hesitant step toward the hangman’s gallows, where rows of curious students stared in her direction. She kept a laser focus on the teacher at the front of the room with an open textbook in her hand. “Welcome,” she heard Mrs. Dotti greet her, followed by, “Take any open seat you like.“
Abby loped along the perimeter toward a spot near the back of the class, her adrenaline pumping as she avoided eye contact with everyone in the room. She hated Nicole for making her late. She hated her dad for making her move again. She missed her school in Tulsa, and most of all, she missed her friends in her old neighborhood.
She set her backpack on the floor and leaned her dripping umbrella against the back wall. She shuffled between two desks, her sense of anonymity returning when the class faced forward again. But as she maneuvered to take her seat, she slipped on a patch of wet tile and fell sideways toward a student who pushed off to help break her fall, inadvertently dislodging Abby’s prosthetic forearm from the socket in her sleeve.
© 2017, Jason Melby. All Rights Reserved.