Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
“You naive little fool. He’d replaced one addiction for another. I’d become his fix.”
I was hoping. I had faith that Rebecca Yarros would craft a story that would slay our hearts as her portion of the Hush Note series. And this book did not disappoint in the least. With very strong showings from Sarina Bowen’s Lies & Lullabies along with Devney Perry’s Riffs & Refrains, Yarros had a tall order to fill. And fill it she did.
I am a personal fan of the hate-to-love romance trope. It’s my favorite. For me, it builds tension and chemistry in a way that other traditional romantic tropes struggle to develop. From the start of this book, Yarros shows us that her hero, Nixon, and her heroine, Zoe “Shannon” have the makings of combustible chemistry. Every turn of the page lights a deeper fire. There are moments in this story that are brilliant in their elaboration of Zoe and Nixon’s chemistry. It’s palpable and visceral, and you know that the chemistry will burn them up and potentially derail them. When you read a story like that, you can’t help but be drawn into it. Yarros deftly leads us through it, showing her readers her capacity for drawing out her characters’ chemistry through to the end. I was rooting hard for Nixon and Zoe even when her hero was sabotaging a potential future.
Out of the three Hush Notes bandmates, I knew Nixon would be my favorite. Just as I’m a sucker for the hate-to-love romance trope, I am also a huge fan of a broken hero. Yarros illustrates the gravity of addiction and past trauma in Nixon’s depiction. This man makes you pine for his secrets. And carefully, Yarros makes you wait for it. Oftentimes, there are romance writers who reveal a character’s secrets too early. Not Rebecca Yarros. She builds your curiosity to almost a fever pitch that its revelation feels monumental. It’s ugly and horrible. However, it’s aftermath is the part of the story that slays you. Yarros’s brilliant development of Nixon’s character is the emotional conduit for this story. She breaks your heart over his story and his pain.
Because Nixon’s portrayal is the juggernaut for the emotional upheaval of this story, Yarros is careful in drawing a heroine who has the capacity to shoulder the depth and breadth of Nixon. With just a little spoiler, other than a past ex and a hunger for her career, Zoe Shannon is stalwart. Yarros needs her heroine to be so because her hero requires it. These two are the yin and yang to each other, and that is the kindling for their chemistry. I loved buttoned-up, fierce womanhood Zoe. She balances moody, inconsistent Nixon, which makes for a deliciously emotional, sensual romance.
I don’t want to say that Bowen, Perry, and Yarros saved the best for last. I adored Jonah and Kira and Quinn and Graham. Yet, it’s the sharp-edged Nixon coupled with the tenacious Zoe that won my heart. Their story is the one that romance dreams are made of, and Rebecca Yarros takes this delicious trope with these edible characters, and she has concocted a romance in Muses & Melodies that satiates your cravings for a forever kind of love. The epilogue for this book is quite glorious.
In love and romance,