Friday, October 7, 2011

ARC Review: Virtuosity

Title: Virtuosity
Author: Jessica Martinez
Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 18th

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot...what if Jeremy is better?

Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her--and riles her up--like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what's expected.
Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall.... --Goodreads

I admit now that I haven’t read a lot of contemporary romance in my lifetime, YA or Adult. I tend to lean toward the fantasy side and always have-- perhaps because I like the world building authors create for that material. We all have our preferences, right?

It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy something different on occasion, though, and I certainly enjoyed Virtuosity on levels that surprised me since it was outside my usual reading genre. Before I continue, I should tell you that I do have favorite books that I will reread countless times in my lifetime that aren’t fantasy in the slightest, so this isn’t a first reading a contemporary anyway.

I loved the musical theme behind Virtuosity. As a fan of classical music myself, it was nice reading of a character who centered around that interest. The violin is a beautiful instrument to listen to, although I’m preferential to piano as cliché as that may be. It was interesting following her path. I never realized how strenuous classical training could be if one was extremely serious in the lifestyle and the author shows the reader this. Martinez creates a believable story with real characters and problems in an everyday world.

So, what was my problem?

The romance. Once again, I’m faced with a potential excellent piece that can blow me away, but the romance almost kills it for me. I didn’t find it satisfying or realistic in this aspect of the story. It happened all too quickly as is often the case in a lot of the literature these days unfortunately, and I only wished these two main characters would have progressed a bit more slowly in their affections toward each other. However, I’m at a crossroads at the same time since they both had a common ground and he brought on a lot of self-awareness for Carmen.

The ending almost sets a tone for a sequel, but I hope not. This was just fine as a stand-alone and I really don’t see a need for a sequel at all. It would only drag out.

Good writing and it kept me engaged throughout. I must say that at least it may get me into more contemporaries in the near future so that is a bonus.

3.5 stars!



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