blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Burning Bright – Michelle Kwasniewski

Read my review of book one – Rising Star

Fresh off the debut of her EP, sixteen year old Dani Truehart is flying high on a string of number one hits.  After locking down her first full-length album in record time and furiously preparing for her world tour, Dani is torn between leaving her loved ones behind and embracing her burgeoning stardom.

Dani’s fame and fortune, along with her ego, explode as her tour moves across the globe.  Elated when two of Hollywood’s hottest young actors, Kayla Spencer and Trey Connors, befriend her, Dani finds herself living life in the fast lane and recording her second album as she tours. Constantly dogged by the paparazzi, Dani basks in the adoration of The TrueHart Nation, her loyal super-fans who are ready to follow her around the world and go to war with anyone who dares dis their favorite pop star whom they’ve dubbed The Queen of Harts.

But with her mother’s desperate attempts to cash in on her fame getting bolder, a public drunken scandal and her inability to connect with her boyfriend Sean and her best friend Lauren, Dani relies on her guardian Martin Fox and manager Jenner Redman to clean up her messes.  She also increasingly depends on the drinks tour dancer Beau slips her to cope with her overwhelming life.  Between juggling her drinking on the sly, the pressures of her public image and her ever-increasing fame, Dani and Beau wind up cornered in a huge lie in order to keep her secrets under wraps.  The pressure crescendos when Dani’s mother blackmails her about her drinking and best friend Lauren catches Trey kissing Dani at the launch of her third album.  Desperate to keep Lauren from telling Sean and Kayla about the kiss, Dani makes a choice that threatens not only to take her down, but everyone who has made her a star.

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Looking like a carbon copy of last night but feeling like a shadow of myself, I sit on a huge gold and red throne backstage, waiting for the video package to roll. “Sounds like you had quite the adventure last night, rock star?” Beau elbows me playfully. I wince, grateful for the darkness that hides my burning cheeks.
“You wouldn’t have thrown up on my watch. I’d never let you get that sloppy.” He winks.
“Uh, thanks, I guess. But trust me, that whole scene won’t be happening again. Jenner and Martin have me on lockdown, and my parents are threatening to pull me off tour if it does.”
“Yeah, right. Like MEGA’s going to let your mom and dad kill the cash cow that’s raking in millions of dollars.” He gives me a wry look, his features eerily highlighted by the dim blue stage safety light. “Not likely. They might talk a big game, but trust me, you could steal a car, rob a bank or slap the president of the United States and you’d still find yourself on stage at curtain time.”

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My thoughts: I’m not entirely sure that any 16 year old should be famous, let alone as famous as Dani Truehart, and so quickly. Her debut album is out and there’s a world tour on the go. But it isn’t a very healthy world for a somewhat naive teen, away from home, friends, family, everything normal. Thrust on to the world stage, she thinks she’s ready, but can she ever be? And once you reach the top, the only way is down. A rollercoaster ride for Dani and readers, this chronicles the rush and stardust of fame and its pitfalls. Dani stops being true to herself and starts to slide into being someone else, and at 16 develops a taste for the booze. A cautionary tale ensues and the sweet girl of the first book is growing into a bit of a monster.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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