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The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes: A Story of Love, Loss, and Rock-And-Roll

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They say the road to stardom is paved with broken dreams. Growing up, Antonia "Toni" Bennett's guitar was her only companion...until she met Sebastian Quick. Seb was a little older, a lot wiser, and he became Toni's way out, promising they'd escape their small town together. Then Seb turned eighteen and split without looking back. Now, Toni B is all grown up and making a nam They say the road to stardom is paved with broken dreams. Growing up, Antonia "Toni" Bennett's guitar was her only companion...until she met Sebastian Quick. Seb was a little older, a lot wiser, and he became Toni's way out, promising they'd escape their small town together. Then Seb turned eighteen and split without looking back. Now, Toni B is all grown up and making a name for herself in Philadelphia's indie rock scene. When a friend suggests she try out for the hottest new band in the country, she decides to take a chance. She's in for a surprise when one of the decision-makers turns out to be none other than Seb. Toni can handle it. No problem. Or it wouldn't be if Seb didn't still hold a piece of her heart, not to mention the key to her future.


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They say the road to stardom is paved with broken dreams. Growing up, Antonia "Toni" Bennett's guitar was her only companion...until she met Sebastian Quick. Seb was a little older, a lot wiser, and he became Toni's way out, promising they'd escape their small town together. Then Seb turned eighteen and split without looking back. Now, Toni B is all grown up and making a nam They say the road to stardom is paved with broken dreams. Growing up, Antonia "Toni" Bennett's guitar was her only companion...until she met Sebastian Quick. Seb was a little older, a lot wiser, and he became Toni's way out, promising they'd escape their small town together. Then Seb turned eighteen and split without looking back. Now, Toni B is all grown up and making a name for herself in Philadelphia's indie rock scene. When a friend suggests she try out for the hottest new band in the country, she decides to take a chance. She's in for a surprise when one of the decision-makers turns out to be none other than Seb. Toni can handle it. No problem. Or it wouldn't be if Seb didn't still hold a piece of her heart, not to mention the key to her future.

30 review for The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes: A Story of Love, Loss, and Rock-And-Roll

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Wow! This book ripped my heart out! It truly sledgehammered and broke it into million pieces! My face stained with tears! They still drip, they won’t stop! This is heartfelt, real tear jerker, poignant story of Antonia Bennett: a musical prodigy, a unique, outstanding talent who could captivate your heart and enchant your soul with her powerful voice! She’s extraordinary! But she’s also insecure, hiding at your comfort zone! Her mother abandoned her. Her father mistreated her and her love of her Wow! This book ripped my heart out! It truly sledgehammered and broke it into million pieces! My face stained with tears! They still drip, they won’t stop! This is heartfelt, real tear jerker, poignant story of Antonia Bennett: a musical prodigy, a unique, outstanding talent who could captivate your heart and enchant your soul with her powerful voice! She’s extraordinary! But she’s also insecure, hiding at your comfort zone! Her mother abandoned her. Her father mistreated her and her love of her life left her without explanation! She ached a lot. Her heart bled, her soul crushed, her resilience tested several times. But she survived, she’s tough, she’s talented, she’s good hearted, she’s fighter! Now it’s time for her to shine. She deserved the all spotlight, applause, appreciation even though she’s afraid of being trapped by the power and ecstasy of fame! She’s on the verge of big breakthrough but unfortunately the man broke her, betrayed her trust, her one and only love is back! Seb is at her band but she doesn’t want him back! She’s tarnished but she survived. She still tries to gather the pieces of her broken heart. How will she work with him? How will she protect her heart? This is emotional, well written, genuine, unputdownable, amazing indie novel that I truly enjoyed and engaged with the characters. Toni’s heartbreaking, compelling story conquered my heart! I’m rounding up my 4.5 stars to 5 well deserved, power of music, self discovery, a star is born stars! Special thanks to Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  2. 5 out of 5

    chan ☆

    lots of conflicting feelings here i adored the set up for this book and really liked toni's character, but i really didn't like the romance element in the story. i think a big part of that was the way the story was told. this book imo leans into the ~emotions~ (think Brittainy Cherry) and relies on you buying into the characters feelings rather than any concrete attraction/similarities/common interests. and i think i could have overlooked that had this book not been a second chance romance. they'r lots of conflicting feelings here i adored the set up for this book and really liked toni's character, but i really didn't like the romance element in the story. i think a big part of that was the way the story was told. this book imo leans into the ~emotions~ (think Brittainy Cherry) and relies on you buying into the characters feelings rather than any concrete attraction/similarities/common interests. and i think i could have overlooked that had this book not been a second chance romance. they're incredibly hard to pull off but almost impossible when we're supposed to believe, with very little context, that these childhood friends are meant to be together. we get a small handful of flashbacks but nothing substantial enough to build buy in. i'm super particular, which i think is evident if you've read any of my reviews. but if you like emotional romances and don't have beef with second chance romances you might enjoy this. i think i just wanted more girl-band-rising-star-ness and less "romance."

  3. 5 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    A rock band romance, very much not my usual reading but I wanted to try this and was rewarded because it's lovely. Toni is a great central character, quite reserved and dealing with a lot from her neglectful parents. Seb is also fairly screwed up from his abusive father. The flashbacks to their childhood together are really well done, limning it in without going on at length. And the music milieu is terrific--author obviously knows her stuff and it's both convincing and engaging, sweeping you in A rock band romance, very much not my usual reading but I wanted to try this and was rewarded because it's lovely. Toni is a great central character, quite reserved and dealing with a lot from her neglectful parents. Seb is also fairly screwed up from his abusive father. The flashbacks to their childhood together are really well done, limning it in without going on at length. And the music milieu is terrific--author obviously knows her stuff and it's both convincing and engaging, sweeping you into this world. It's a very slow burn romance, which worked for me: both MCs are trying to make good decisions. The rest of the band are lightly sketched except for the bad-girl character, but I liked how she's screwed up and entitled rather than evil. I hope she gets her redemption and I definitely hope the English lawyer guy gets to be an MC in due course. Yes, I will be following this series. Lightly, fluently written in that one-more-chapter way that makes you suddenly realise a book ate your evening, and highly enjoyable all round.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    3.5 stars I love a good rockstar romance and I thought it was great that The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes focused on a female rocker instead of a male. Toni was awesome and there was a lot to love about this book. Toni and Seb are friends as kids. When they had no one else, they had each other. When Seb turns 18 he leaves town and leaves 16 year old Toni behind. Fast forward 8 or 9 years and Toni hasn't seen Seb since. She's now pursing her dream of playing music and happens to run into Seb out of 3.5 stars I love a good rockstar romance and I thought it was great that The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes focused on a female rocker instead of a male. Toni was awesome and there was a lot to love about this book. Toni and Seb are friends as kids. When they had no one else, they had each other. When Seb turns 18 he leaves town and leaves 16 year old Toni behind. Fast forward 8 or 9 years and Toni hasn't seen Seb since. She's now pursing her dream of playing music and happens to run into Seb out of nowhere. This story focuses on Toni and Seb some, and there is definitely some romantic elements, but I think the band, the music, and the friendship took the primary focus. I enjoyed reading about the band members in the The Lilly's and hope their stories get told as well. I'll be honest, there was a character in this one I couldn't stand and every scene she was in just had me... ugh. And it personally felt a little too long for me, especially at the start. Overall, I found this one enjoyable and will definitely check out more from this author! I'm always happy to find a new author to read and recommend this for anyone looking for a rockstar romance with an amazingly strong female lead! Audio book source: Hoopla (library borrow) Story Rating: 3.5 stars Narrators: Alexander Cendese and Tamika Simone Narration Rating: 4 stars Genre: Contemporary romance (rockstar/childhood friends/second chance) Length: 13 hours and 2 minutes

  5. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    So I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. to finish Xio Axelrod's The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes . Just. So. Amazing! Toni Bennette (yes, she’s heard the jokes) was the daughter of a musician mother who left her behind to pursue fame. She grew up in a small town with a father who gave her nothing and never treated her as anything more than a burden. Her only salvations during those days were making music and spending time with her best friend, Sebastian. Toni and Seb dream of getting away from their town So I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. to finish Xio Axelrod's The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes . Just. So. Amazing! Toni Bennette (yes, she’s heard the jokes) was the daughter of a musician mother who left her behind to pursue fame. She grew up in a small town with a father who gave her nothing and never treated her as anything more than a burden. Her only salvations during those days were making music and spending time with her best friend, Sebastian. Toni and Seb dream of getting away from their town and their parents, and pursuing their musical dreams. They even save money to help them make their escape. But the day Seb turns 18, he takes his share of the money and leaves without a trace. Years later, Toni is a successful session artist and a musician-in-residence at a small club in Philadelphia. Her talent is evident and exceptional but she lacks the belief in herself and the desire to pursue fame. When she unexpectedly runs into Seb, it reopens old wounds and awakens feelings neither acknowledged as teenagers. But Toni isn’t willing to let herself get hurt again or get drawn in by him. When an immense career opportunity comes Toni’s way, she’s unsure what to do. A band on the verge of stardom needs at least a temporary guitarist to replace their current one, who is a mercurial, talented trainwreck. It may never amount to anything, but it could change her life completely. Is she ready for the possibility of fame? And what does Seb have to do with the band? The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes was such a great, emotional story about pursuing your dreams, finding your way, and trying to move beyond old hurts and resentments. I loved these characters and was so impressed with Axelrod’s storytelling choices, because there definitely were places where things could have veered into melodrama. (I have seen it happen too many times, y'all.) I’ve been reading a lot of books lately where music factors into the plot and this is definitely a favorite among them. What an exceptional book! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    A ROCK ‘N’ ROLL FAIRYTALE I was fortunate enough to get to host an IG live with Xio Axelrod, she told me her friend describe the book as a rock ‘n’ roll fairytale so I decided I was going to steal it! It is a perfect description of this fabulous story!A sweet second chance romance set in the music world. Xio’s Love and knowledge of music really came through on the pages of this book. I’d venture to say it was almost a love story to music and the second chance romance took a backseat to that. Ton A ROCK ‘N’ ROLL FAIRYTALE I was fortunate enough to get to host an IG live with Xio Axelrod, she told me her friend describe the book as a rock ‘n’ roll fairytale so I decided I was going to steal it! It is a perfect description of this fabulous story!A sweet second chance romance set in the music world. Xio’s Love and knowledge of music really came through on the pages of this book. I’d venture to say it was almost a love story to music and the second chance romance took a backseat to that. Toni had a tough childhood, a mother who was obsessed with fame and a father who didn’t know how to deal with a teenage daughter. The one bright spot in her teenage years was her best friend Seb. Seb and Toni shared a passion for music and were planning to get out of the small town where they lived as soon as they could. But then Seb up and left without a word and Toni was left picking up the pieces. Years later Toni is working as a studio musician and performing in small venues when she once again crosses paths with Seb. If you love music and love strong female characters then you’re going to love this book! Toni finds herself temporarily filling playing guitar in an all girls band and this was a major focus of the book. This also was probably my favorite part of the story. I really loved the dynamics and banter between the bandmembers. And I am super excited that this is part of a series and all the other band members will be getting their own stories! The audiobook was narrated by Alexander Cendese and Tamika Simone. I loved the dual narration and thought they did A fabulous job. I particularly loved Alexander’s version of Candy’s voice. This was a fabulous story with a lot of heart! *** Big thank you to Sourcebooks Casa & Dreamscape Media for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

  7. 5 out of 5

    Korrie’s Korner

    “I’m off the deep end..watch as I dive in.” This book🥺. The ache in my chest will not be soothed at the moment. I don’t know how I’m supposed to review this masterpiece of a book. Why is my face so wet? This book is the reason y’all. Have mercy! This book is beyond girl power. Antonia Bennet is such a force to be reckoned with. How do you guard your heart around the one that broke it several years ago? This book is all heart, and soul. I can’t tell you the feeling of seeing this fierce, bad ass, m “I’m off the deep end..watch as I dive in.” This book🥺. The ache in my chest will not be soothed at the moment. I don’t know how I’m supposed to review this masterpiece of a book. Why is my face so wet? This book is the reason y’all. Have mercy! This book is beyond girl power. Antonia Bennet is such a force to be reckoned with. How do you guard your heart around the one that broke it several years ago? This book is all heart, and soul. I can’t tell you the feeling of seeing this fierce, bad ass, mega talented, black woman with the power of Prince or Lenny Kravitz on the guitar. Toni has been through so much! From a mother that abandoned her, to a father who treated her like sh*t, to a guy she loved that left without even a backward glance. I get chills just thinking about how this should be on the big screen. THIS is why I love indie romance! Xio dug deep, and spared us nothing. We aren’t worthy of her amazing talent! I knew this book would be huge when I first started seeing the buzz about it last year. I’m so glad that it didn’t disappoint. I loved the differences, and complexities of all the women in The Lilly’s. They were KILLER BAD ASS WOMEN WITH MADDD SKILLS. What musicians they all were, but Toni stole it. Toni & Seb..even better! Just trust me when I say, you need this book in your life! So, in a nutshell: One of my very top reads of the year This needs to be on the big screen I need all the music on a soundtrack Please, and thank you. Xo

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes is where slow-burn romance meets a story about a young woman finding herself and coming to terms with how her past affects her present as a musician. Childhood crush gets a second chance and our heroine who has never sought fame despite her talent get the opportunity to play with an up and coming female rock band. This is a more character driven story and I think what made me like it is how the characters felt real and relatable. That doesn’t always happen when yo The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes is where slow-burn romance meets a story about a young woman finding herself and coming to terms with how her past affects her present as a musician. Childhood crush gets a second chance and our heroine who has never sought fame despite her talent get the opportunity to play with an up and coming female rock band. This is a more character driven story and I think what made me like it is how the characters felt real and relatable. That doesn’t always happen when you pick up rock star romances but it might help that the author has firsthand experience of the music industry. This is a really solid debut novel and I’m interested to read more from this author. One small annoyance that I couldn’t unsee once I noticed it was that the word nonplussed was used incorrectly several times. She isn’t the only author to do this but PSA for everyone, nonplussed means surprised and confused. It doesn’t mean unbothered or not fazed, which is how it’s used in this book. Copy editors, I’m looking at you!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Milena

    The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod is an angsty second-chance romance set in the music world. Antonia "Toni" Bennette and Sebastian Quick grew up together in a destitute town in Pennsylvania. Neglected by their parents, they became best friends and each other solace. They planned to leave the town together, but when Sebastian turned eighteen, he left town and Toni behind without a backward glance. Eight years later fate brings them back together, when Toni, a talented musician, gets The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod is an angsty second-chance romance set in the music world. Antonia "Toni" Bennette and Sebastian Quick grew up together in a destitute town in Pennsylvania. Neglected by their parents, they became best friends and each other solace. They planned to leave the town together, but when Sebastian turned eighteen, he left town and Toni behind without a backward glance. Eight years later fate brings them back together, when Toni, a talented musician, gets a chance to join an up-and-coming band, the Lillys. Sebastian is the band's manager and all-around fixer. They will have to work together despite their unresolved issues, and Seb's complicated relationship with the band's members. Second-chance romance is my favorite trope, and I really liked Toni and Seb'd love story, but Seb annoyed me repeatedly. He had a very toxic relationship/friendship with one of the band members, which he would not break, even when it was making him miserable and affecting the whole band. I would've enjoyed the book a little more if this toxic relationship wasn't so drawn out. I did like all other members of the Lillys and the band's dynamic. I think we will be getting more books in the series featuring other characters, and I am very much looking forward to reading their stories. I would recommend The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes, especially to readers who like rock-star and second-chance romance *ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Woc Reader

    Indie rock artist Antonia "Toni B" Bennett gets a chance to fill in as the guitarist in a hot new girl band signed to a major label when there's problems with their main guitarist. This might finally be her ticket out of PA to chase her dreams. Sebastian Quick aka Seb is managing The Lilly's and tired of playing babysitter to the train wreck that is Candy. Things are further complicated when the girl that got away is back in his life. At first I wasn't really sure what to make of this book. It's Indie rock artist Antonia "Toni B" Bennett gets a chance to fill in as the guitarist in a hot new girl band signed to a major label when there's problems with their main guitarist. This might finally be her ticket out of PA to chase her dreams. Sebastian Quick aka Seb is managing The Lilly's and tired of playing babysitter to the train wreck that is Candy. Things are further complicated when the girl that got away is back in his life. At first I wasn't really sure what to make of this book. It's labelled a romance and there is a romance in it that's like a second chance friends to lovers type. But for a chunk of the book it didn't feel like a priority. So it took me longer to get behind them and root for them to be together. Plus much of their relationship relied on flashbacks to their childhood. It felt like not much happened in this story. Toni has a complicated relationship dynamic with her parents that was interesting but not enough to sustain this story. It was an easy listen but overall it wasn't a particularly memorable one.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Madison Mary

    "She had the crowd in the palm of her hand but didn't seem to realize it." This book is pitched as DAISY JONES & THE SIX meets A STAR IS BORN, and that is very accurate. 4 stars -- ARC received from publisher for an honest review. Featured on my YouTube channel in a May 4th ARC reading vlog: https://youtu.be/yShogJjMCTE REVIEW I had so much fun reading this book and diving into the world of The Lillys--and all-female rock band. There are multiple conversations in this book about the innate sexis "She had the crowd in the palm of her hand but didn't seem to realize it." This book is pitched as DAISY JONES & THE SIX meets A STAR IS BORN, and that is very accurate. 4 stars -- ARC received from publisher for an honest review. Featured on my YouTube channel in a May 4th ARC reading vlog: https://youtu.be/yShogJjMCTE REVIEW I had so much fun reading this book and diving into the world of The Lillys--and all-female rock band. There are multiple conversations in this book about the innate sexism of the rock music industry and it was refreshing to see such an honest take on the situation. I loved learning about The Lillys and am so happy that each member is getting their own romance. Each character is so well flushed out and I became extremely invested in everyone's story. Axelrod's writing will have you feeling like you are a fly-on-wall because it is so immersive. While there is an angsty, second-chance romance between Toni and Sebastian, it isn't the main plot of the story. I really appreciated that because we got to focus more on Toni's emotional journey. She is an extremely complex character with a heavy backstory and a lot of trauma--especially pertaining to her parents. Toni has a lot of trust issues, and watching her finding a family in The Lillys was a beautiful experience. I really loved her progression and felt her pain. While I enjoyed getting Seb's POV, I became frustrated at times with his character. This isn't his fault, but Candi's fault. I hated her. I hated her from the moment I met her and knew that you couldn't trust her as far as you could throw her. She is manipulative, selfish, and egotistical. At the beginning Seb is under her thumb--and as the "peace-maker" of the group, it is his job to reel her in because of her drug/alcohol problem. It was a long journey, but Seb eventually comes to realise how toxic Candi is--and I was so happy to see this growth. Back to the romance. Oh my god. When things started to heat up between them? It was SO hot. I really enjoyed the few steamy scenes and they were really well written. I also loved the progression of their romance. As a second-chance romance, there is a lot of history and hurt. I am really picky about my second-chance romances because I never feel like we understand their connection. But Alexrod uses flashbacks to show their childhood together, while also taking the time to show their reconnection present day. Toni doesn't trust Seb and is really hurt by his past actions. I appreciated that it took some time for her to let him back in to her life, that she was reluctant to open old wounds. I really adored their romance. While I really loved this book, I didn't emotionally connect with the characters like I wanted to. For a book to be five-stars, there has to be that extra something that really pulls at my core. So, I am giving the book a solid four-stars. If you are looking for a romance heavy book, this isn't it. Please go into knowing it focuses more on the music industry and Toni's journey within it. If you understand that, I think you will really love and appreciate this book. CW: parental abandonment, parental abuse (physical and mental), addition (drugs and alcohol), toxic relationships

  12. 4 out of 5

    VB Book Reviews

    3.5 Stars Total A Star is Born vibes here! This was a good read but I wouldn't classify it as a Romance read. I would classify this as Fiction and/or Women's Fiction. I think above all else, this book was about relationships and they were written so beautifully - between Toni and her parents, Toni and her bandmates, Toni and Seb. The imagery was incredible! I felt like I was in the book watching everything happen in real time. The story focuses on Toni and Seb some, and while there were is definit 3.5 Stars Total A Star is Born vibes here! This was a good read but I wouldn't classify it as a Romance read. I would classify this as Fiction and/or Women's Fiction. I think above all else, this book was about relationships and they were written so beautifully - between Toni and her parents, Toni and her bandmates, Toni and Seb. The imagery was incredible! I felt like I was in the book watching everything happen in real time. The story focuses on Toni and Seb some, and while there were is definitely some romantic elements, the band, the music, and the friendship were the main focuses. I did enjoy reading about the band members in the The Lilly's and hope their stories get told, as this looks like it will be book 1 of a series. I'll be honest, there was a character in this story I couldn't stand, and every scene she was in just had me about to blow up. Also, it felt a little too long for me, especially in the beginning. Overall, I found this book to be fairly enjoyable and will definitely check this author out again! I love finding a new author to read, and I'd recommend this for anyone looking for a Rockstar romance with a fierce female lead. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for my advanced review copy, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristan Higgins

    Written with an easy grace and vivid style, this story follows Toni Bennett (pun intended), an indie rock singer and guitarist. With abandonment issues thanks to a careless mother and nearly nonexistent father, Toni is careful in both her career and her personal life, facing the innate sexism of the rock music industry and maintaining a careful distance even with her friends. When she has the chance to audition with The Lillies, a hot new all-female band, she gives it a try. Ms. Axelrod weaves i Written with an easy grace and vivid style, this story follows Toni Bennett (pun intended), an indie rock singer and guitarist. With abandonment issues thanks to a careless mother and nearly nonexistent father, Toni is careful in both her career and her personal life, facing the innate sexism of the rock music industry and maintaining a careful distance even with her friends. When she has the chance to audition with The Lillies, a hot new all-female band, she gives it a try. Ms. Axelrod weaves in a love story between Toni and Sebastian, her first love, also a musician, with the kind of angsty conflict I love. I was fascinated with the music scene, something I know nothing about, but which was brought to bright life in this engaging, vivid page-turner.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alexa Martin

    Loved, loved, loved… then loved some more! I could it get enough of this story! I have struggled to keep my focus on any book these last few months (year!) but I couldn’t put this down. I adored Toni and her journey to be her authentic self. The flash backs with Seb we’re sweet and added so much, but were never overpowering. I would say if you are looking for a straight romance, this might leave you wanting, but it was the perfect level for me. I loved watching their relationship grow along with Loved, loved, loved… then loved some more! I could it get enough of this story! I have struggled to keep my focus on any book these last few months (year!) but I couldn’t put this down. I adored Toni and her journey to be her authentic self. The flash backs with Seb we’re sweet and added so much, but were never overpowering. I would say if you are looking for a straight romance, this might leave you wanting, but it was the perfect level for me. I loved watching their relationship grow along with Toni, never over her. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series! Give me ALL the Lilly’s content!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nanette

    Some may find this story a bit detailed, some may find it a bit long winded, not me. I thoroughly enjoyed this part rock-and-roll, part romance story, written by a true musician. Having the beginning start when Antonia was a pre-teen and moving quickly into adulthood worked. I liked getting the background of she and her friend, Sebastian, interspersed amongst the present day, it didn't dwell too much on the past or the present. I look forward to reading book number 2. Some may find this story a bit detailed, some may find it a bit long winded, not me. I thoroughly enjoyed this part rock-and-roll, part romance story, written by a true musician. Having the beginning start when Antonia was a pre-teen and moving quickly into adulthood worked. I liked getting the background of she and her friend, Sebastian, interspersed amongst the present day, it didn't dwell too much on the past or the present. I look forward to reading book number 2.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    I completely fell in love with Toni & Seb's story. This author has some serious talent. Antonia (Toni) and Sebastian (Seb) were childhood friends until the day he left her behind. Now, years later, fate brings them back into one another's orbit and Toni is still quite bitter....to say the least. Seb has his work cut out for him trying to explain to Toni why he had to leave. Can they find their way back to their friendship? Can they possibly be more? Meanwhile, I also really enjoyed the side charac I completely fell in love with Toni & Seb's story. This author has some serious talent. Antonia (Toni) and Sebastian (Seb) were childhood friends until the day he left her behind. Now, years later, fate brings them back into one another's orbit and Toni is still quite bitter....to say the least. Seb has his work cut out for him trying to explain to Toni why he had to leave. Can they find their way back to their friendship? Can they possibly be more? Meanwhile, I also really enjoyed the side characters that Ms. Axelrod created. From each of the Lilly's band members to Toni's other friends, the characters all felt fleshed out and real. In addition, the author's knowledge about the music industry felt personal and extensive. She shared musical information in a way that enriched the story and made it feel like a character all its own. I simply liked everything about this book and cannot wait to read more about the Lillys. I went back and forth between the ebook and the audiobook. The audiobook was quite enjoyable. I thought the narrators' voices were perfect for these characters. For me, they really captured their personalities and emotions. Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. I voluntarily chose to review it and the opinions contained within are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    ReadingTilTheBreakOfDawn

    I'm going to try and keep this review on the shorter side (for me...and it didn’t happen....) If you're a music lover (especially rock of the 90's), this book is for you. If you like a rock band that consists of talented women, this book is for you. If you like second chance romances, this book is for you. If you like a story that combines a flawed childhood with finding ones path into adulthood, this book is for you. I honestly picked this book up originally because of the gorgeous cover (I'm a cove I'm going to try and keep this review on the shorter side (for me...and it didn’t happen....) If you're a music lover (especially rock of the 90's), this book is for you. If you like a rock band that consists of talented women, this book is for you. If you like second chance romances, this book is for you. If you like a story that combines a flawed childhood with finding ones path into adulthood, this book is for you. I honestly picked this book up originally because of the gorgeous cover (I'm a cover lover, what can I say?), but ended up LOVING the story within the pages. Toni was my girl! A girl that grew up in messed up and broken homes, but ended up making something of herself on her own terms. The girl could rock and play music like no one's business. But she wanted to stay behind the scenes, even though you could tell she is meant for more. And then there was Seb. Someone that was her safe place when they were kids. But he left their small, no nothing town and with that, left Toni behind to fend for herself. What happens when they run into one another under circumstances beyond their control? This story is one of music, redemption and second chances and it was done with such musical precision. You can tell Ms Axelrod has a love and knowledge of music and it really shines through in this story and the characters. I loved Toni, her talent, her vision and her journey. I liked being able to step back in time and see her and Seb as kids and what they endured. Getting their past is what made any future for them believable. I enjoyed seeing Seb and his broken self. Even when he keeps trying to help others that are beyond help, it shows the kind of man he is. Then there is the Lilly's. The band that rocks and is ready to hit the big time. Each band member held a piece to the story and did it with a quiet, yet powerful reverence. From beginning to end, the book held a pulse. I could feel the rhythm and notes of the heart of the book. The main characters as well as the supporting characters really held the group and the plot together and let us focus on the journey of Toni and her future. It's unusual to get a book focused on women in rock bands and I loved that Xio Axelrod gave it to us and did it with finesse. She showed the sex, drugs and rock n roll right along with the sexism that is very much a part of show business, but she also gave us talented musicians that rocked the pages right out of this book. Be prepared for music, drama and a side of romance. The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes won't disappoint.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amy | Foxy Blogs

    THREE POINT FIVE STARS THE GIRL WITH STARS IN HER EYES ♦ rock-n-roll ♦ second chance romance ♦ slow burn ♦ dual pov ♦ standaloneAudiobook source: Hoopla Narrator: Alexander Cendese & Tamika Simone Length: 13H 02M

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    My second book about a rock band in as many weeks. Antonia "Toni" Bennett is a talented guitarist with an aversion to the limelight. She just dreams of a life behind the scenes as a session musician or running a recording studio. Then she gets an invite to audition for the spot of temporary replacement guitarist for a hot new pop-rock girl group called The Lillys. Their regular guitarist, Candy, has gone off the rails with drinking and drugs and the band is asking her to get sober. Toni lands th My second book about a rock band in as many weeks. Antonia "Toni" Bennett is a talented guitarist with an aversion to the limelight. She just dreams of a life behind the scenes as a session musician or running a recording studio. Then she gets an invite to audition for the spot of temporary replacement guitarist for a hot new pop-rock girl group called The Lillys. Their regular guitarist, Candy, has gone off the rails with drinking and drugs and the band is asking her to get sober. Toni lands the gig but it turns out her high school bestie and secret crush Sebastian works with the band. They left off on a bad note when Sebastian disappeared after high school. What I loved: a strong but kind of shy BIPOC protagonist who is proud but humble. Toni is estranged from her parents but has a small circle of friends who have her back. There are definitely messages of female empowerment in here. And, as always, I love all of the music references. Alternating perspectives between Toni and Sebastian gave us multiple ways of digesting what was going on. What missed a bit for me: Some of Toni and Sebastian's backstory fell a bit into the "huh" category for me. I was able to get over it and go along for the fun musical ride. I listened to the audiobook which had different narrators for the parts of Toni and Sebastian. The narrators seemed to have a lot of fun with it. What to listen to while reading... Here's a playlist created by the author: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6CA... 3.5 stars Thank you to the publisher for the audiobook!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    *IT’S LIVE!!!* An ode to music and childhood friendship, this book hit the spot. Antonia (henceforth called Toni) was dumped in middle of nowhere Pennsylvania by her musician mother at age 12. The only good thing about the podunk town was that she met her best friend (and first love, though neither admitted it) Seb. Flash forward and Toni is working behind the scenes in music and filling in during studio sessions. When she gets a chance to work with a rock band for 6 weeks- for a nice chunk of ch *IT’S LIVE!!!* An ode to music and childhood friendship, this book hit the spot. Antonia (henceforth called Toni) was dumped in middle of nowhere Pennsylvania by her musician mother at age 12. The only good thing about the podunk town was that she met her best friend (and first love, though neither admitted it) Seb. Flash forward and Toni is working behind the scenes in music and filling in during studio sessions. When she gets a chance to work with a rock band for 6 weeks- for a nice chunk of change that she desperately needs- everything changes. Seb is part of their team, and she finds herself falling in line with the band and wanting something she’s always avoided: a position that would put her on stage and in the limelight. The author’s musical knowledge and passion rang clear and enhanced the story. Flashbacks to Toni’s childhood- with her mother and in small town Pennsylvania- also added to the backstory. The secondary characters- The Lillys band members, as well as Richie and Yvette- had amusing interactions, enriched the storyline, and kept things moving. I do wish that Seb could had been a little more fleshed out, though. Still, this was a fresh take on the musical/rock (gotta love women who rock!) and second-chance/childhood friend (who randomly reappears) genres. It’s clear that the author poured her heart and soul into this, and I look forward to getting to know the other Lillys band members in subsequent books. 4.5 stars from my prickly, picky, annoying self.

  21. 5 out of 5

    b.andherbooks

    I read The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes on my little getaway, and the author's knowledge of the music industry and love of music is a standout here, and the writing makes you hear music. I personally wanted the romance arc to be more central but that's typical for me. I would definitely say this story is more about Toni's journey towards actualizing dreams she didn't even know she had than about the romance and HEA she finds with her childhood friend and crush. The romance is definitely there but I read The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes on my little getaway, and the author's knowledge of the music industry and love of music is a standout here, and the writing makes you hear music. I personally wanted the romance arc to be more central but that's typical for me. I would definitely say this story is more about Toni's journey towards actualizing dreams she didn't even know she had than about the romance and HEA she finds with her childhood friend and crush. The romance is definitely there but it is an ultimate slow-burn (the first 100 pages the two aren't even on page together except in flashback). But if you love stories with complicated relationships to fame, found family, messy characters who are not villainized, and poetic language - snap this one up. I'd love to know if anyone listened on audio once the book is released. Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for the arc

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    ❐ Overall Rating 4¼⭐ | Narration 😀 = Good ❐ Narrated by Tamika Simone & Alexander Cendese ❐ Listening Length: 13H 5M ❐ Contemporary Romance ❐ Musically Influenced ❐ Rock N Roll Tamika Simone gave a fairly decent performance but Alexander Cendese, his own voice was decent….but his female voices…are...ugh...super whiny mixed with nasally and basically quite irksome. The romance was very good in this story...angsty without having over-the-top drama. Although the self-doubt that is always ever-present ❐ Overall Rating 4¼⭐ | Narration 😀 = Good ❐ Narrated by Tamika Simone & Alexander Cendese ❐ Listening Length: 13H 5M ❐ Contemporary Romance ❐ Musically Influenced ❐ Rock N Roll Tamika Simone gave a fairly decent performance but Alexander Cendese, his own voice was decent….but his female voices…are...ugh...super whiny mixed with nasally and basically quite irksome. The romance was very good in this story...angsty without having over-the-top drama. Although the self-doubt that is always ever-present in romance novels did make an appearance, it was, at least not excessive. I also loved that the heroine was a rocker chick...who could shred...very cool. The Hero left a lot to be desired but he did have his moments. 🅒🅐🅦🅟🅘🅛🅔 8.29/❿ 🅒haracters → 8.5 🅐tmosphere → 9.5 🅦riting → 7.5 🅟lot → 8 🅘ntrigue → 7.5 🅛ogic → 8.5 🅔njoyment → 8.5

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    I really enjoyed this book and the glimpse into the life of a musician, how difficult it can be to try and make it, as well as how hard it can be once you’ve made it as well. They childhood trauma was sad though. But overall, fascinating.

  24. 5 out of 5

    thebilingualbookclub

    I liked the characters, especially the Lilly’s but the romantic part of this story just confused the hell out of me

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stacie

    4 1/2 "Rocking Out!" Stars! Great story! Rtc... 4 1/2 "Rocking Out!" Stars! Great story! Rtc...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Hmmm. I read three quarters of the book in one day, then took four days to finish the rest, and I have very mixed feelings about it. Will I be able to properly put my thoughts into words? Let's find out, shall we? Full review at A Book Shrew Right off the bat I need to clarify that this review is based off the audiobook. The publisher was kind enough to allow me to listen-read early, and the narration is the first point upon which I have mixed feelings. I listened to the three minute narration sam Hmmm. I read three quarters of the book in one day, then took four days to finish the rest, and I have very mixed feelings about it. Will I be able to properly put my thoughts into words? Let's find out, shall we? Full review at A Book Shrew Right off the bat I need to clarify that this review is based off the audiobook. The publisher was kind enough to allow me to listen-read early, and the narration is the first point upon which I have mixed feelings. I listened to the three minute narration sample before requesting, and Tamika Simone was perfect as Toni. Hearing Alexander Cendese as Seb? Not so much. Where Tamika has a fabulous voice to listen to, every time Alex spoke I imagined myself in a dramatic movie trailer. You know, "In a world far, far away, one man stands alone against a terrible evil." It was a poor fit for the character and made it difficult to take his chapters serious. Worse still was every female voice from him was pitched to have an odd nasally, valley girl accent. Toni and Seb's story is deeply entrenched in the rock music industry. From record labels to recording studios, to band dynamics and live shows, and the sheer passion for that world shines through in the writing. The experiences from both characters come across as realistic and genuine, and I believe that is because the author herself has that same experience. While I am not a fan of the rock music that is referenced, I was entranced right from the start. Especially by Toni's view of the industry. It's a tough business to crack into, harder still as a woman, but the way she saw her career rolling was very relatable. Honestly, Toni's journey with the Lillies, an all-female rock band breaking onto the scene, is really what made this an enjoyable book. I have nothing but praise for Toni Bennett (no, not that one). She is a tough as nails and fierce woman who knows what she wants and will do what it takes to do right by herself. If that means sacrificing a little bit of her career plan by stepping into the spotlight to get that career in the end, then so be it. She always lands on her feet, even after getting knocked over by people in the industry, her family, and those she's come to love. I really admired her and adored her as a main character. Seb on the other hand didn't stand out to me. I couldn't connect with him and felt like I knew so little about him. What he wanted for himself, what his motivations were--in hindsight everything about him seemed to revolve around Toni and Candy. There is a reveal about his character where he's just like someone in his past, but not once did I see him act that way, so I just didn't get him. Enemies-to-lovers is my favourite romance trope, and when second chance romances like this draw from a similar well it can be just as fun, if not more so. Sadly, this fell short for me and kind of gave me whiplash? Toni and Seb grew up together and made all sorts of plans before Seb bailed, leaving Toni behind. They clearly have feelings for each other, but it didn't see it shine on page. Their relationship lacked tension once they reunited and what was there barely got off the ground to cause any angst. They sort of revolved around each other with zero spice. In fact, after reading 3/4 in one day, my biggest takeaway was there was nothing ... hot. I fully expected this to be a fade-to-black type of book, so imagine my confusion when I came back the next day to d*cks being whipped out of pants? Truly went from zero to 100 in one chapter. I've heard this might be a series with each book focusing on a different member of the band. If that's the case, I think I'll check it out! Toni really was the star of this book for me, and I'd love to know more about the other Lillies.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kim Villines Martin

    While it did start a little slowly for me, The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes quickly turned into a page turner. This novel is drawing some comparisons to Daisy Jones & the Six; however, I found it much more enjoyable. It is like peeking behind the curtain of the music industry which is a fascinating view alone, but the characters are also well-written and relatable. There is a romance component but it is only one small part of the story. I am not the biggest fan of romance and can be pretty critic While it did start a little slowly for me, The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes quickly turned into a page turner. This novel is drawing some comparisons to Daisy Jones & the Six; however, I found it much more enjoyable. It is like peeking behind the curtain of the music industry which is a fascinating view alone, but the characters are also well-written and relatable. There is a romance component but it is only one small part of the story. I am not the biggest fan of romance and can be pretty critical, but I found it definitely added to this novel. The author plans 3 more books, has at least one song recorded for the band, and has even started an Instagram page for the band! This could potentially make for a very immersive series reading experience- one that I wish I could have immediately. SOOO, I will be impatiently waiting for The Lilys #2.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sonia

    This was really sweet, with a group of badass girl rockers that I liked a lot - more than the love interest Sebastian, to be honest. Still, love a good second chance romance, friends-to-lovers plus fun Philly stuff and hot ladies playing guitars.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emilie

    THIS WAS SO GOOD IN ALL WAYS

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod is such a fun read that really pulled me in! The story follows Toni and Seb, who were once close childhood friends who bonded over music and troubled families. Eight years later, they meet again, each pursuing professional music careers. They reunite when Toni auditions for The Lillys, an all-female rock band, Seb manages. I ended up loving the story and learning about Toni and Seb and their shared history. It was well-paced and I really liked the m The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod is such a fun read that really pulled me in! The story follows Toni and Seb, who were once close childhood friends who bonded over music and troubled families. Eight years later, they meet again, each pursuing professional music careers. They reunite when Toni auditions for The Lillys, an all-female rock band, Seb manages. I ended up loving the story and learning about Toni and Seb and their shared history. It was well-paced and I really liked the music plot line. I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by Tamika Simone and Alexander Cendese. I loved Simone as Toni and thought Cendese was okay as Seb. A perfect beach read and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series! Thank you Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for providing this audiobook ARC.

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