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Paisley Tillery is the drummer for a country rock band. If they can make it to the stage at the Texapalooza music fest, then Paisley will be closer to her dream of a career in music and a ticket out of her small Texas town. Drumming and music are what Paisley has always wanted. Until the band gets a new lead singer, the boy from Paradise, Texas. With Paradise in her life, w Paisley Tillery is the drummer for a country rock band. If they can make it to the stage at the Texapalooza music fest, then Paisley will be closer to her dream of a career in music and a ticket out of her small Texas town. Drumming and music are what Paisley has always wanted. Until the band gets a new lead singer, the boy from Paradise, Texas. With Paradise in her life, what Paisley wants, and what she needs, complicate her dreams coming true.


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Paisley Tillery is the drummer for a country rock band. If they can make it to the stage at the Texapalooza music fest, then Paisley will be closer to her dream of a career in music and a ticket out of her small Texas town. Drumming and music are what Paisley has always wanted. Until the band gets a new lead singer, the boy from Paradise, Texas. With Paradise in her life, w Paisley Tillery is the drummer for a country rock band. If they can make it to the stage at the Texapalooza music fest, then Paisley will be closer to her dream of a career in music and a ticket out of her small Texas town. Drumming and music are what Paisley has always wanted. Until the band gets a new lead singer, the boy from Paradise, Texas. With Paradise in her life, what Paisley wants, and what she needs, complicate her dreams coming true.

30 review for Paradise

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jasprit

    Covers can be so deceiving at times; in the last few weeks I have come across several gorgeous covers, but the story hasn’t been worthwhile at all. I had my doubts when picking up Paradise, thinking it may be some light easy going read full with sexual banter, but the saying never judge a book by its cover could never have been more true than for this book. Paisley has wanted to be a drummer for as long as she can remember, she’s always busting out beats on anything her hands can find, always car Covers can be so deceiving at times; in the last few weeks I have come across several gorgeous covers, but the story hasn’t been worthwhile at all. I had my doubts when picking up Paradise, thinking it may be some light easy going read full with sexual banter, but the saying never judge a book by its cover could never have been more true than for this book. Paisley has wanted to be a drummer for as long as she can remember, she’s always busting out beats on anything her hands can find, always carries her drumsticks everywhere and when she gets a chance on the drums, it’s easy to see that she is one talented drummer. It’s their band the Waylon Slider’s band dream to make it to Texapalooza; an amateur band contest where big scouts come and watch. However first they need to find a singer and practice, practice practice. The only thing that is holding Paisley back is her mother, she isn’t aware that Paisley has been playing in a band, especially in a band with Waylon (the band leader). Paisley’s mother has never really gotten along with Waylon’s family. But also Paisleys mum wants much more for her daughters, she doesn’t want them stuck with a kid by graduation, stuck with a dead end job and no career like she was. She wants them to go for the best opportunities in life and grab them with both hands. So Paisleys dream of becoming a drummer and Lacey her sister’s dream of becoming a beautician, they have to try and achieve in secret. Paradise was such a gut wrenching story; about having dreams but not being able to grasp them because there’s always something or someone holding you back. Gabe/Paradise was the only real character whose mere presence made such an impact on the other characters around him; he gave Paisley the confidence to believe in herself, make her want to stand up to her mother and reach for her dreams; helped Waylon break out of his shell; a shell which he was smothered with because of his talented families expectations, and so he always he expected himself to fail. Paradise encouraged the group to go forward, to actually to believe they had a chance at Texapalooza. Paradise was such a talented lovable character, he easily brought a smile to my face, he had such a huge impact on me on an emotional level; had me bawling like a baby and just broke my heart. I really enjoy music themed books, sometimes it’s hard to find the balance; a book which focuses on the music aspect and brings out a story strongly too, Paradise does just that; the detail in which Alexander goes into the practice sessions I felt like I was actually there with the bass pumping and the drums pounding a steady beat, the atmosphere at times was electric, I was so caught up in the moment, it really got me in the mood for a music concert. “When Waylon turned the song over to him, Paradise growled out Waylon’s lyrics in his velvety bass. The more he sang, the more his voice melted with the whining guitars, the more the deep drum tones seemed to sink like an anchor in a dark sea” The music theme was matched well with all the characters battling with their own problems, and the music; practising with the band being their only means of output of coping with it all. One of my favourite parts of this book was the lyrics we got to the songs in between the chapters, they had an essence of yearning, they were raw and just so heartfelt. “We’re heading back home, but it won’t be the same Me and my boys, only a mention of your name It would’ve have been sweet to have you along But when he took your hand, I knew you were gone Some place away from the crowd and the noise I should tell you I love care, but I can’t find the voice So this is how I do Six strings and a heart for you.” Paradise was a tender, poignant novel which definitely over-whelmed me in so many ways. I’m actually kicking myself for not picking it up sooner. This review and more can also be found on my blog: The Readers Den

  2. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    I’ve heard a lot of rocking things about this book and LOTS of complaints about the ending, which I think sort of made the book. The ending made the book's message stronger and I liked it; I realise I am in the minority however. A lot of people have raved about the romance aspect of this book, but I think the characterisations were the strongest part of this book. I loved the little details that made up each individual; Paisley’s family were so clearly depicted in my mind that I could imagine the I’ve heard a lot of rocking things about this book and LOTS of complaints about the ending, which I think sort of made the book. The ending made the book's message stronger and I liked it; I realise I am in the minority however. A lot of people have raved about the romance aspect of this book, but I think the characterisations were the strongest part of this book. I loved the little details that made up each individual; Paisley’s family were so clearly depicted in my mind that I could imagine them standing right in front of me, cooking dinner or mowing the lawn. The familial relationships were interesting, complex and easy to relate to. Paisley’s mom is a great example of this: with her bespangled jeans, desperation to get the best for her girls and 'I know best' attitude. Paisley wants to be a drummer, please her parents and have it all. She doesn’t want to drink or do drugs and be a bad girl. She knows who she is, or thinks that she does, but she’s still learning about life and her place in it. (That's a refreshing kind of main character, when compared with other teen characters.) This book is about a stage in her life that matures her; there may even one day be a sequel to this novel. One of the things that I loved about this novel was the description. From cloud formations, to the smell of freshly cut grass, there was a poetic bent to this novel. Ms Alexander puts you in the moment with her characters through her prose... you also get a sense that each moment is special. That each scene means more than what you might notice on the TV or on an ordinary day. There’s a wonderful, observant sentimentality to this novel. I liked Paradise, he was an interesting character. His feelings for Paisley were never fully justified though and the reader was often left to guess about his motivations (not a bad thing). Because Paisley and Paradise seldom shared extended conversations, although this story was full of tension and awesomeness, this wasn’t so much a romance novel as puppy love. Which is why I think this story is a ‘coming of age’ tale, with some wise and witty observations, not an ‘all-time-greatest-love’ story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Donna {Book Passion For Life}

    1.5 Stars Paradise has been sitting on my shelf for a while so; I thought I’d include it in my TBR Reading Challenge so I could finally read it. I hadn’t really looked at any other people’s reviews beforehand, but I really wish I had. I believe Paradise is going to be book that you either like or dislike and honestly – I really disliked it. The story is based in Texas, where Paisley will do anything to try and become a star drummer. She’s joined a band made up of some guys from her school – howev 1.5 Stars Paradise has been sitting on my shelf for a while so; I thought I’d include it in my TBR Reading Challenge so I could finally read it. I hadn’t really looked at any other people’s reviews beforehand, but I really wish I had. I believe Paradise is going to be book that you either like or dislike and honestly – I really disliked it. The story is based in Texas, where Paisley will do anything to try and become a star drummer. She’s joined a band made up of some guys from her school – however, she has to keep this a secret from her mother, as she would not approve. Paisley’s mother tries to shelter her and her sister, to stop them making the same mistakes that she did, leaving Paisley feeling like she can’t have the future she really wants in Drumming. Paradise started off really well, I enjoyed the first few chapters and one of the things I admire about the author’s writing is how well she captured Texas and made it out to be as I imagine it to be. Bull riding, singing contests, town parties and church etc…. reading about this made me feel as though I was living every moment with the characters. With the author being able to draw me in as much as she did, I loved that she could do that. However, that’s the only thing about this book that I actually liked. I really felt the whole story was really unnecessary and it’s one of them books that I wish I hadn’t of wasted my time reading. It was pointless! Usually when I finish a book I’m left satisfied and this just didn’t do it for me. The characters were pretty boring and that’s including Paisley and her sister. And then we have Gabe aka Paradise, who is the main love interest but came across big-headed and creepy. He tried to push people into coming out of their shells but while doing that, he as a character just looked like a jerk. One thing that really ticked me off was that Paisley wears a purity ring, given to her by her mother and even though Paradise knows she has the ring because he teases her about it, he still tries to push her into having sex with him – not very heroic in my book. Usually a love interest is caring and sweet but not once did I get this impression from Paradise. Yes, there was a clear attraction between the two characters but I’d say that’s about it. It’s pretty clear Paradise failed to win me over. Usually in at least one book I read there is one character that really annoys me and in Paradise it was Paisley and Lacey’s mother. She had good intentions but completely did it in all the wrong way. Instead of supporting and listening to her girls, she put them down and made them hide their own dreams. They couldn’t talk to her or trust her. She bad mouths everyone else in the little town they lived it and literally run boys off from going anywhere near her girls. Even though she does redeem herself towards the end of the book, it still wasn’t enough for me to forgive her. And I’m going to end my little rant on the ending. Oh that ending! How completely unnecessary and rushed it was. It was emotionless and not very clear. I actually had to re-read the chapter to see if what I think I was seeing was actually real. And maybe, If I’d cared about a certain character more than I did, maybe I would have actually felt something about the ‘event’ happening, but I didn’t and it made this story even more unnecessary than it was. All in all as a story, everything about Paradise failed to win me over but that’s that to say you won’t enjoy it too. I hope you read it for yourself and find out.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jess (Gone with the Words)

    Read my review here! --> http://www.gonewiththewords.com/2011/05/review-paradise-by-jill-s-alexander.html Paradise had me completely engrossed from the start. It actually reminded me a lot of the movie Whip It , except, swap the skating with drumming and the roller derby with playing at Texapolooza. Paisley’s parents really reminded me of the parents in that movie. Paisley’s mom wants her to have opportunities that stretch beyond their small town. Her dad supports this idea, if not a little mo Read my review here! --> http://www.gonewiththewords.com/2011/05/review-paradise-by-jill-s-alexander.html Paradise had me completely engrossed from the start. It actually reminded me a lot of the movie Whip It , except, swap the skating with drumming and the roller derby with playing at Texapolooza. Paisley’s parents really reminded me of the parents in that movie. Paisley’s mom wants her to have opportunities that stretch beyond their small town. Her dad supports this idea, if not a little more leniently than her mom, but backs her all the same. I loved the way Jill S. Alexander wrote the music parts in this book. Reading about the sounds and how Paisley heard and experienced all of it felt like I was actually hearing and experiencing it all myself…it was practically tangible! The Waylon Slider Band, of which Paisley’s the drummer, is comprised of her friends Michael Waylon, Levi, and Cal. Michael is from a family of musicians and is trying to come out from under their shadow. He is AMAZING on guitar, as is Cal and Levi is great on bass. All they needed was a singer. Enter Paradise, whose actual name is Gabe but is given this nickname because he comes from Paradise, TX. The boy is beautiful and he knows it. Tall, broad, dark hair, green eyes, half Colombian. Oh, and let’s not forget his deep, sensual voice. Paradise can sing. Most importantly, especially to himself, is that he can play the accordion like no other. He is slated to become the next accordion king. His style is Vallenato though, which I was totally floored to read about in this book, especially when Paradise mentions Carlos Vives to Paisley. (If you want to hear what it’s like, watch the music video below!) Being Hispanic, I grew up listening to a few Colombian artists, such as Shakira, Juanes, and Carlos Vives, so reading that was beyond cool. There’s an instant attraction between Paradise and Paisley, and she doesn’t really know what to make of it. Until he came in the picture, her focus was solely on drumming. She tries to ignore him, but he makes it pretty difficult, teasing and flirting with her any chance he gets. However, his whole attitude changes after he lets the band down at a barn party where he took over the stage and basically left them in the dust. Paisley and the rest of the band were through with him after that. That was the moment he made a total turnaround. He becomes this thoughtful, sweet, sexy guy and Paisley was a goner. Their relationship was sweet but also steamy, and it was nice seeing them open up to each other and share their dreams and ambitions. I was a goner myself. Completely invested in these characters and their aspirations. Then, when I was at a complete high right along with them…the unimaginable happens. It’s safe to say I was shattered by the end of this book. I still don’t want to believe that’s how it really ended. I want to rewind however many pages it is to the part where my heart was walking on cloud nine and pretend it ended there. Hey, a girl can dream, right? Call me a masochist, but I’m SO going to buy this book when it’s released. Despite of how the ending affected me, I loved the story and all the relationships in this book. To some, hearing about the ending might discourage them from picking up this book, to others it might intrigue them enough to pick it up. To the ones on the fence: this book is great, don’t let my sensitive heart scare you away. (Thanks to Jen from I Read Banned Books for the opportunity to read and review this book as part of her book tours. :))

  5. 4 out of 5

    Missie

    I wish I had better things to say about Paradise, but unfortunately, I don't. I really just didn't see much point in the story. The Waylon Slider band is in desperate search of a new lead singer. Believing that playing at Texapalooza is their ticket to making a name for themselves and finally getting the recognition they deserve, they're all to eager to accept Gabe, from Paradise, TX, as their new vocalist. Thing is, Gabe comes with a smoking hot squeezebox, and he ain't about to give it up. Paisl I wish I had better things to say about Paradise, but unfortunately, I don't. I really just didn't see much point in the story. The Waylon Slider band is in desperate search of a new lead singer. Believing that playing at Texapalooza is their ticket to making a name for themselves and finally getting the recognition they deserve, they're all to eager to accept Gabe, from Paradise, TX, as their new vocalist. Thing is, Gabe comes with a smoking hot squeezebox, and he ain't about to give it up. Paisley's got a one track mind. She is convinced that it is her destiny to become a professional drummer. Nevermind that her momma don't approve or that she has to keep her involvement in the band a secret, she is determined to play at Texapolooza to show the world that she can keep time with the best of them. She never expected to swoon over a cocky cowboy who plays accordion, much less fall head over bootheels in love with him. As far as whirlwind romances go, the one between Paisley and Gabe (Paradise) was pretty typical. Their lust/love at first sight set the tone for the story the minute they met and didn't really offer anything unique to trope. In fact, I couldn't understand Paisley's "deep" feelings for Paradise since they really never had any meaningful conversations. I felt like they never got to know much more about one another other that what was on the surface. Yes, Paradise had his swagger and charm, but he also came off as kind of creepy when he tried pushing Paisley into having sex despite the fact that she wore a purity ring. I also didn't think the narrative flowed very well. It was very repetitious and disjointed. I read the ARC so hopefully edits will eliminate those repeated phrases. It just seemed like too much time was spent describing events rather than on character development. The conclusion completely did me in. I couldn't support it at all. I guess it was supposed to be the teen version of La Bamba, but it was so derived and emotionless. There was some small town Texas charm that I appreciated in the setting and song lyric inserts between chapters told a parallel story that was fun to read, but it wasn't enough to pull me out of the feeling that the characters and the story-arc stayed on a superficial level when it could have dug deeper. More than likely I'm missing something, so if you give Paradise a go, please let me know your thoughts.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    This was my first time reading a book by Alexander and I assure you it will not be the last! First off... is that cover not HOT! Whew... somebody turn down the smolder! I was a little unsure about the cover while reading the story because... well I was wondering if it had any relevance BUT after reading about Paisley & Paradise's relationship, it couldn't be more accurate. So. Close. This was definitely a character driven novel, I loved them... all of them. Paisley's sister, the members of the ba This was my first time reading a book by Alexander and I assure you it will not be the last! First off... is that cover not HOT! Whew... somebody turn down the smolder! I was a little unsure about the cover while reading the story because... well I was wondering if it had any relevance BUT after reading about Paisley & Paradise's relationship, it couldn't be more accurate. So. Close. This was definitely a character driven novel, I loved them... all of them. Paisley's sister, the members of the band... her mom and dad, even her uncle... They were so well written, it almost felt like you were there in this small Texas town with them. Paisley was an extraordinary character.... one that you will respect and admire. And the musical aspect, no pun intended, but it ROCKED! There are lyrics throughout the novel written by one of the bandmates, Cal. And although he doesn't say much at all in the novel, you truly feel like you know him and feel what he's feeling through his lyrics, I loved that rawness with his character. The ending... killed me. What the heck was up with that! Seriously? You're going to do that to me? Totally did not expect that. And honestly, I'm not at all sure how I feel about it, and I've had plenty of time to digest. Can't wait to see what Alexander has for us next!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner

    This is not just a book about music. It is also about standing up for yourself and going for your dreams. It had a bitter-sweet ending but that only made me love this book even more. Why did it took me so long to finish it? I have no idea because once I dived into the story I couldn't put it down. This is not just a book about music. It is also about standing up for yourself and going for your dreams. It had a bitter-sweet ending but that only made me love this book even more. Why did it took me so long to finish it? I have no idea because once I dived into the story I couldn't put it down.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joy (joyous reads)

    I promised myself that when I eventually got up the nerve to start up a book blog, I would not resort to adding graphics and or videos to express how a book affected me. Good or bad, I’d rather articulate it into words. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with adding graphics, it’s just my preference. But let me tell you, I was so tempted to do that here. This book had me by the throat from page one. Engrossing characters with equally absorbing plot lines made it difficult to put it down. I found m I promised myself that when I eventually got up the nerve to start up a book blog, I would not resort to adding graphics and or videos to express how a book affected me. Good or bad, I’d rather articulate it into words. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with adding graphics, it’s just my preference. But let me tell you, I was so tempted to do that here. This book had me by the throat from page one. Engrossing characters with equally absorbing plot lines made it difficult to put it down. I found myself reading every chance I got – even when the car was idling at a stoplight. There were so many things that made me fall in love with this book. First of all, I’m a sucker for Latino men (I blame Simone Elkeles for this!). Gabe was a mixed Colombian blood, musically inclined, cowboy, handsome – just your good old recipe for a hot tamale. And Paisley was no chopped liver either. The girl can hold her own as a drummer for an all guys band. Everyone in this book pulled their weight and didn’t read like they were fillers. I really liked reading Cal’s lyrics, which showed a good portion of who he was even though he barely said a word throughout the book. I’d go on with accolades about everyone but there isn’t much room in this review. With that being said, I just wished Paisley’s mother wasn’t made out to be such a b*tch, when she really wasn’t. What was frustrating was the fact that everyone seemed to have this phantom fear to voice out their dreams in front of her when, there wasn’t anything to be worried about. Perhaps the author just didn’t do a good job with convincing me that their fears were founded. Anyway, this brings me to the painful point of the review. Try to imagine this: You’re in a meadow full of sweet-smelling flowers. Sun is shining upon your face. Birds are chirping, the wind is singing a gentle song in your ears. Nice imagery, yeah? And then…just when you’re getting comfortable and nature is about to lull you to sleep… A LOUD FRIGGIN’ TRAIN CHUGS out of nowhere, destroying your meadow, decimating the quiet and flattening you into a pancake. Good golly, Miss Molly. I will never, EVER, let my guard down ever again. Where the author took this book made me want to give it a one star rating but I can’t. Because the fact of the matter is, I enjoyed the majority of this book. I loved the writing, I loved the flow. I’m just bitter because the book was short and where she put the epic twist of all twists didn’t leave much room for me to recover. A few pages later, while I stared at the very last period of the last sentence in this book, I sat there reeling. Screaming in my head. Why? Why? Why? Le sigh. You want to know what Ms. Alexander did? READ.THE.BOOK.

  9. 5 out of 5

    BOOK BUTTERFLY

    Paradise is the story of a small-town country rock band. It conjures up images of pasture parties, country-fried cooking, sweet summer nights and Southern romance. For Paisley, the band's drummer, Texaspalooza could be just what she's been waiting for- a one way ticket to country super stardom. But when she develops a romance with the group's fiery lead singer, Paisley must decide if what she wants is really what she needs. Okay, I must admit, I was a little worried about taking on a book like th Paradise is the story of a small-town country rock band. It conjures up images of pasture parties, country-fried cooking, sweet summer nights and Southern romance. For Paisley, the band's drummer, Texaspalooza could be just what she's been waiting for- a one way ticket to country super stardom. But when she develops a romance with the group's fiery lead singer, Paisley must decide if what she wants is really what she needs. Okay, I must admit, I was a little worried about taking on a book like this. I don't gravitate toward "realistic fiction" very much. If it doesn't have supernatural creatures, it's usually not on my radar. But I wanted to branch out and try something new. It took me a chapter or two to get hooked on Paradise, but then before I knew it, I was completely caught up in Paisley's life- her highs were my highs and her lows were my lows. I loved Paisley. Being a city girl myself, Jill Alexander's Paradise opened up a completely different world for me. The way the characters spoke, their manner of dress and even the things they did for entertainment- it all had a laid-back kind of charm that immediately captured my interest. There are creative song lyrics interspersed between the chapters which also helped to capture the mood of certain events transpiring in the book at that particular moment. I thought this was a nice touch as well. I enjoy music like most everyone but I don't live and breathe it. The characters in Paradise did though and once I got to know them, I felt their passion. Moved by the music, I wanted to pick up Paisley's drumsticks and play along with the band, caught up in the magic of a perfect set. I even found myself googling Vallento accordion style music. (Who knew accordion playing could be cool, or better yet--sexy?!). But the characterization in Paradise is what really stood out to me, It was thoughtful and full of emotion. Paisley's long-suffering sister Lacey, her well-meaning but overbearing mother and amiable father all captured my heart. I felt like I knew them intimately. I understood why her mother was the way she was and why her sister was afraid to do anything about it. The way the family evolved and eventually became stronger was meaningful for me as well. I loved Paisley's character most of all, but I know I fell a little bit in love with Gabe too. Be prepared to walk away from Paradise wiping away a few tears. The ending is incredibly shocking and unexpected. I can't say I'm thrilled with how Jill Alexander ended the book, but it definitely left an emotional punch that I thought about for days. And shouldn't a good book do just that?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jacinda

    Awhile back, I saw some early buzz about Paradise on Twitter, in reviews, and such. The talk was mainly about the ending. I had to read Paradise for the book itself (of course) and to see what happens at the end. Oh yeah, and for the cowboys! Who doesn’t love a hunky cowboy…or a whole story full of ‘em? Jill S. Alexander can tell herself a story! I’m not a music fan myself, which I speak of all the time, but I was really engrossed in this story which is based on Paisley, Paradise (a gorgeous boy) Awhile back, I saw some early buzz about Paradise on Twitter, in reviews, and such. The talk was mainly about the ending. I had to read Paradise for the book itself (of course) and to see what happens at the end. Oh yeah, and for the cowboys! Who doesn’t love a hunky cowboy…or a whole story full of ‘em? Jill S. Alexander can tell herself a story! I’m not a music fan myself, which I speak of all the time, but I was really engrossed in this story which is based on Paisley, Paradise (a gorgeous boy), and a band. I really felt like I was in Texas and in the band. Jill is descriptive with her writing, but not overly so, which can be a pet-peeve of mine. I enjoyed read the song lyrics and how they coincided with the context of book. Paisley I loved as a character. She’s strong, but still wants to be loved and accepted like the rest of us. Huge parts of Paradise (the book, not the boy) involve Paisley’s mother and her acceptance into the band and with playing drums. I initially disliked Paisley’s mom, but she redeemed herself eventually. I also can understand where she is coming from. If you’re a fan of cowboys like myself, I would really recommend this book to you. Paradise or Gabriela (a boy, not a girl) is described to be a super duper gorgeous boy! He’s super talented with singing and playing the accordion, yep an accordion…first time I’ve seen that. He also wears cowboy hats and boots, has gold hoops in is ears, and the whole bit! I’ll be honest. When I put Paradise down after reading the entire thing, all I could think was…WHY?! I don’t understand the need to have the book end that way. Maybe I was missing something. I’m sure Jill S. Alexander had a reason for her ending, but I personally didn’t see it. I will be looking out for more books from Jill S. Alexander because I adore her writing style.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ginger at GReadsBooks

    This book was going to be a strong 4 for me, but then the last 15 pages just ruined it. I really, really wanted to give it 4 stars, but I just couldn't. Still a very well written novel, just unsure of that ending. This book was going to be a strong 4 for me, but then the last 15 pages just ruined it. I really, really wanted to give it 4 stars, but I just couldn't. Still a very well written novel, just unsure of that ending.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Originally reviewed on my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing. Paradise by Jill Alexander is a book I'm really torn on. I've had a hard time deciding how I felt about this book overall because I felt so different when I finished from when I started. I asked on Twitter if my review could just be- "I loved this book. Until the end. When I didn't..."- I know it's not really enough to be a review on it's own, but it actually sums up how I felt about this book quite nicely. So, I'm saying it. Originally reviewed on my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing. Paradise by Jill Alexander is a book I'm really torn on. I've had a hard time deciding how I felt about this book overall because I felt so different when I finished from when I started. I asked on Twitter if my review could just be- "I loved this book. Until the end. When I didn't..."- I know it's not really enough to be a review on it's own, but it actually sums up how I felt about this book quite nicely. So, I'm saying it. This is a book about so many things- music, passion, first love, parents, family, life, trust, pain, hope, etc. But at it's core, it's the story of a young girl, filled with more than she knows what to do with, trying to figure out who she is, and where she belongs. I think the strongest part of this book is the characterization. Alexander has created such a strong and unique cast of characters and each character has their own very distinct voice. I was amazed at how much Alexander was able to convey about each character with so little. Cal is the perfect example of this. The only time we hear his thoughts is through the lyrics he writes in his song journal and yet those few lyrics tell us so much about him and how he feels and how he views life. It's amazing. But, all of the characters are full and whole and so well developed. I could go on and on and each has something unique to bring to the story that no one else would be able to offer. I also loved Paisley's character. She's fierce and strong and a little unsure of herself at times. Gabriela is a completely new experience for Paisley. He comes from Paradise, Texas, so that's what she starts calling him and it seems to fit him really well. He's good looking, confident (or cocky, depending on the day and who you ask) and he's into her. Like, really into her. But Paisley has an interesting mom. One who has drilled and drilled and drilled it into her that she is not to get pregnant and stuck in their small town. So, Paisley has worn an abstinence ring for years and because she is so focused on her music, boys have never really been a priority before, so it isn't a big deal to her. But Paradise makes her starting thinking about things and makes her wonder how she really feels about it. I loved this part of Paisley's character. I know that teens have sex. Really, I do. I promise. I know that it happens. But I also know that it doesn't happen as often as media makes us think it does. There are teens out there who have never had sex and don't feel ready for it as teenagers, and that's okay! So, Paisley is working out for herself whether or not she is ready to make that choice. And she thinks about it. A lot. Which I thought was incredible. It's a huge choice and it is one that, once made, you cannot take back. I loved the line where Paisley and Paradise are making out and Paradise tries to go farther than she is ready for. She backs away and he tells her that she doesn't have to be afraid to say yes to him. She replies with something along the lines of, I know. I'm not afraid to say yes, but I'm also not afraid to say no. I think more teens need to realize this. Especially if they are feeling under pressure to make a choice they aren't sure they are ready for. Be sure. And if you are not, there is nothing wrong with saying no. I also thought it was very interesting to watch Paisley's interaction with her mother and the ways that Paisley and Lacey (her older sister) both handled their mother's controlling nature. She's so worried that they are going to end up like her- stuck in a tiny town because they got pregnant in high school (even though she is still married to their dad and he is awesome!) so she takes the extreme on everything. Boys are terrible and forbidden, as is anything she doesn't believe will help them leave the town. So Paisley hides the fact that she's in a band, hides a huge part of her true self from her mother and you definitely feel the strain of that begin to weigh in throughout the book. It's such a strong book. It's a realistic story full of believable characters, people that I would love to know in real life. This book is an example of Contemporary YA at it's finest and a great example of why I love Contemporary. Why it's always my favorite genre. Or, at least it was... Until that ending... I don't want to say to much about the ending of this book, because not only has every review I've read for this book talked about the ending, but also because it is something that really should be experienced for yourself and I really don't want to spoil it for anyone. I knew when I started the book that the ending was going to be shocking and huge, but I didn't know anything more than that. To be honest, it gave me serious anxiety when I reached the part of the book where I knew the shocking moment was close. I stalled myself at those last chapters for a long time because I was afraid to see what happened. And the thing is, I didn't like it. It was shocking, it was a big thing, but I felt like it was there just to be shocking. Not because it really added to the story, not because it was necessarily the best place for the story to go, but because it made for some awesome drama. Maybe that's not really fair of me to say, or to assume. But it's how I felt reading it, and what you take away as the reader is ultimately what the story becomes. To me, the ending is one of the absolute most important parts of a book. An ending can turn a really great book into something terrible (I'm looking at you, Julie of the Wolves) or it can take a book I'm fairly lukewarm about and make it into something really special (mad props to The Bronze Bow). Unfortunately, this book was more of the former. While the ending didn't completely ruin the book for me, it definitely changed (and lowered) my overall feelings for the book. Even though the ending was a disappointment, this is still a book that I would recommend to people, and I'd actually even recommend it strongly to most people. Alexander is a great writer. She writes strong characters and I'm amazed by how much she's able to convey with this story. I just wish that it had remained that way through to the end.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I was completely taken by Jill S. Alexander's sophomore novel. With likable characters, a charming setting, and an inspiring plot I was soon caught up in Paisley's story. All Paisley has ever wanted to do was live her dream- play the drums. And by being the drummer of the Waylon Slider Band, which is well on its way to being in the Texapalooza, she will be that much closer to escaping her little town. Until Paradise shows up, with his sexy hat, sweet singing voice, and charming smile, Paisley su I was completely taken by Jill S. Alexander's sophomore novel. With likable characters, a charming setting, and an inspiring plot I was soon caught up in Paisley's story. All Paisley has ever wanted to do was live her dream- play the drums. And by being the drummer of the Waylon Slider Band, which is well on its way to being in the Texapalooza, she will be that much closer to escaping her little town. Until Paradise shows up, with his sexy hat, sweet singing voice, and charming smile, Paisley suddenly isn’t sure drumming is the only thing she wants. Paradise was a novel filled with so much heart. It will inspire readers to want to live their dream and have them rooting for Paisley and the rest until the last page. Paisley was a feisty main character, but she had heart. I didn’t really know anything about drumming and this is the first novel I’ve read that focused on the drummer (and female, at that!) of a small rock band. I enjoyed getting to know the different members of the band- they each had something unique about them. Levi, Cal, and Waylon were a great group of guys and together with Paisley and Paradise they were going to get to Austin to play on the big stage at the Texapalooza. Their ride wasn’t all smooth sailing though and the band faced a lot of ups and downs as a group and separately as well. Family is such an important aspect often overlooked in YA novels and I loved getting to know Paisley’s parents and her sister, Lacey. Over the course of the story Paisley hid a lot from her mother, but learned that sometimes honesty is the best course to take. Her family members were each very developed and I was rooting for the Anderson’s from the start. After almost every chapter was a song written by Cal and it expanded on his character so much, since he didn’t say much during the actual story. The lyrics were beautiful and heartbreaking and inspiring all at once. The setting of this story was a character in itself and I liked getting to see the different sights through Paisley’s eyes. Paradise- wow, what a guy. He was cool and collected and knew where he was headed, but at the same time had so much more to him than met the eye. I really liked the scenes with him and Paisley and watching their relationship develop. The ending was definitely surprising and tugged my heartstrings. I may have even shed a few tears! Jill S. Alexander completely emerged me in the story of everyone in Paradise and by the end I felt like I knew them all personally. This was a fantastic, contemporary read that I hope won’t be overlooked. Definitely check this out! I can’t wait to read Jill’s debut, The Sweetheart of Prosper County, and to see what other sweet, Texas tales she writes next. Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andi (Andi's ABCs)

    Why it took me so long to read this book I have no idea. I remember when it came out I was dying to get my hands on it. I even went to Borders(may they rest in peace) to buy a copy and they didn't have it. Between then and now more books just got in the way so it took way too long for me to actually get to this. With that said I'm so happy I finally made the time and read it. Paradise was just a great book with a strong story. It was straightforward and honest and had a twist that really shook m Why it took me so long to read this book I have no idea. I remember when it came out I was dying to get my hands on it. I even went to Borders(may they rest in peace) to buy a copy and they didn't have it. Between then and now more books just got in the way so it took way too long for me to actually get to this. With that said I'm so happy I finally made the time and read it. Paradise was just a great book with a strong story. It was straightforward and honest and had a twist that really shook me for a loop. Paradise was the story of Paisley(love the name by the way) a small town Texas girl with big dreams. All Paisley wants is to be a drummer. She eats, breathes, sleeps drumming. Her dream is to get out of Prosper County and make something of herself and the Texapalooza is her ticket to that dream. There is only two problems; Paradise, the new lead singer of her band The Waylon Sliders and her overbearing mother who refuses to accept drumming as a future. With her dreams on the line Paisley has to decide just how important lying to her family is over telling her mother what she really wants and how Paradise can fit into her dreams. First I have to say that I hated the mother. She was a little over the top and just too much all around. I didn't find her believable at any part of the book. She was way too controlling to be likable and for her beliefs to be swayed the way they were so easily. That's way this book is a 4 starer and not 5. Because honestly other then her I lived everything else Paradise had to offer. I loved that Cal was a man of so few words but we got to know him and his feelings by his lyrics. I loved that Waylon acted all tough and strong but was deep down terrified of ruining his family's reputation. I loved Levi and the way he looked out for Paisley and her sister and how he finally got tired of hiding and admitted what he wanted. I loved Paradise and his unwavering confidence and how he managed to bring the bet out in everyone, but especially in Waylon and Paisley. And I just flat out loved Paisley. I wasn't always crazy about her methods and not telling her parents what she wanted, but I could understand her motivations behind it. It was better to keep it hidden then to lose it. I loved watching her grow as a character and her relationship with Paradise blossom. There was one part that was so unexpected. I should ave seen it coming but it devastated me when it did. But I think that is what made this book so great, the unexpected. Because Paradise was about living your life and that is exactly what life is, unexpected and devastating at times. Brava to Alexander for showing that and for doing a remarkable job at the same time. Definitely a keeper.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sara Grochowski

    It isn't easy for me to coherently explain my feelings about Jill S. Alexander's sophomore novel, PARADISE. I really enjoyed Alexander's first novel, THE SWEETHEART OF PROSPER COUNTY, but I wasn't at all prepared for how much I would adore PARADISE. Not only does PARADISE feature a fantastic plot and engaging setting, the characters are phenomenal. The main character, Paisley, caught me off guard... The name Paisley seemed a bit pink to me. I literally pictured a pink paisley pattern when I firs It isn't easy for me to coherently explain my feelings about Jill S. Alexander's sophomore novel, PARADISE. I really enjoyed Alexander's first novel, THE SWEETHEART OF PROSPER COUNTY, but I wasn't at all prepared for how much I would adore PARADISE. Not only does PARADISE feature a fantastic plot and engaging setting, the characters are phenomenal. The main character, Paisley, caught me off guard... The name Paisley seemed a bit pink to me. I literally pictured a pink paisley pattern when I first saw her name and that didn't seem all that appealing at the time. (Okay, I never find pink paisley appealing... I'll admit it.) Eventually I stopped picturing her as a pink psychedelic pattern and accepted her for the badass she is. I think her parents really wanted her to be a Paisley, she just refused to be one... She's spunky, direct, and a drummer. And the fact that she's a drummer was, in my mind, a key part of her being a legitimate badass. She wasn't up on stage do wear skimpy clothes and dance around, she was behind an entire drum set rocking out and being awesome. Love it! And then there's Paradise. Not only was he an interesting character on his own, he was a great match for Paisley. I liked that they challenged one another and didn't immediately fall madly in love. Paisley may have acknowledged his good looks early on, but she didn't fall for him for shallow, physical reasons, which sometimes happens and leaves the reader perturbed and not at all supportive of the relationship. I appreciated the banter between the two and the small moments that eventually led them to develop feelings for one another. And the ending... oh my goodness. I definitely didn't see it coming at all. Since I read this novel in one sitting, I actually reread the ending a couple times just to make sure I wasn't just getting a bit loopy and imagining things. After becoming so invested in PARADISE's characters, I may have cried a bit to see it end, especially so surprisingly. Okay, I'm lying, I cried a lot. Sobbed really. This isn't a bad thing though: if I hadn't cared about the characters, I wouldn't have been moved to tears... Especially not big, sloppy tears. I won't be forgetting about Paisley and Paradise any time soon. Alexander is one of those authors whose books are, for me, an automatic buy. I highly, highly recommend both her debut and sophomore novels.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I've read this story before, and I found myself not caring about the characters in this one, unfortunately. The writing felt like it tried a little too hard to be edgy when I think the story at hand lent itself to that. I've read this story before, and I found myself not caring about the characters in this one, unfortunately. The writing felt like it tried a little too hard to be edgy when I think the story at hand lent itself to that.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Allison Brunskill

    The unthinkable happened, I read a book about country music that I didn't like. Apparently even I have some standards. The unthinkable happened, I read a book about country music that I didn't like. Apparently even I have some standards.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 stars. I LOVED this book and was all ready to give it at least 4 stars. Until the ending. I loved how music played such a large part in the story, and how all of the characters developed throughout the course of the novel. This really gave the reader a chance to connect with them, which turns out to be for the worse when Paradise (very suddenly) dies. :( All in all, a superb book with great characters and an intriguing storyline. Just don't forget to have a box of tissues on hand when you get 3.5 stars. I LOVED this book and was all ready to give it at least 4 stars. Until the ending. I loved how music played such a large part in the story, and how all of the characters developed throughout the course of the novel. This really gave the reader a chance to connect with them, which turns out to be for the worse when Paradise (very suddenly) dies. :( All in all, a superb book with great characters and an intriguing storyline. Just don't forget to have a box of tissues on hand when you get near the ending.

  19. 5 out of 5

    beautyliterate

    1/5 stars Not the book for me. The characters annoyed me, the plot was boring, and the ending left me completely unsatisfied. Personally would not recommend this book!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. this was so sad, wish it had ended differently.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Estelle

    Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading Blog I’m pretty much convinced that in some past life I was in love with a cowboy. Because I find them so attractive. (Like, I may drool a little bit.) And I’m from New Jersey! There are no cowboys in Jersey, friends. (In case, you didn’t know.) And the only one I know if in New York is the Naked Cowboy and he just does not do it for me. But oh gosh, when they can sing. I’m a goner. Paradise (real name: Gabriela) embodies the spirit of country music and Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading Blog I’m pretty much convinced that in some past life I was in love with a cowboy. Because I find them so attractive. (Like, I may drool a little bit.) And I’m from New Jersey! There are no cowboys in Jersey, friends. (In case, you didn’t know.) And the only one I know if in New York is the Naked Cowboy and he just does not do it for me. But oh gosh, when they can sing. I’m a goner. Paradise (real name: Gabriela) embodies the spirit of country music and every single reason why cowboys are such a prize. He’s tough, he’s teasing, and this one plays a mean accordion. Yep, you heard me right. When Paradise shows up to try out for the band, the other members are not so sure it’s going to work out. But he has the voice and he brings a unique edge, and Paisley can’t keep her eyes off of him. For Paisley, being into something (someone?) else is a surprise because her life is drumming. A passion she has to keep a secret from her parents because they would never approve of her acting so un-ladylike or hanging out with losers like Michael Waylon. Actually, it’s only Paisley’s mom that feels that way. Her dad is pretty laidback, but pretty much lets his wife call the shots. Not in an absent way either… he tries to maintain the peace and is probably a lot more intuitive than everyone gives him credit for. Paisley’s mom is pretty controlling of her and her sister, Lacey. Both girls were given purity rings at a young age, and Lacey is being forced to try out for various song choirs even though all she wants to do is open a beauty salon. This parental pressure, this close-mindedness does come from a genuine place but it makes it tough for both girls to embrace who they really are. They are forced to lie and sneak around to be happy, and that’s starting to get very tough to continue. So while Paisley’s attraction to Paradise does heat up many passages in the book, the biggest conflict in Paradise is these two sisters finding the strength to stand up for what they want without hurting anyone in the process. Paradise doesn’t only offer his warm embrace, but is a huge influence on Paisley as he encourages her to be “wide open” with her life and work hardest on what’s best for her. Interlaced through the story are lyrics from Cal, a shy guitarist, and I liked this breakup between chapters because we got to learn about his character and also get an outsider’s view on some of the events that occur throughout the story. Lacey and Paisley also have a feisty and fresh relationship for sisters, and I enjoyed the scenes shared between the two. But warning, warning! There is a curveball of an ending, like oh-gee did that really just happen? I don’t recall ever being that blindsided in a book, and after thinking about it pretty obsessively, I’m still unsure of the author’s choice. Had it been me, I would have ended things a little differently. I wish I could tell you more, but instead, I’m going to urge you to pick this one up. It’s not every day that a young adult book features a book with such Southern roots (with some Latin flair)… it’s a fresh and different and, even though, the fears and conclusions Paisley must come to within her family unit and for herself are nothing ground-breaking, Alexander makes them approachable and as accurate as possible.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    Review Posted @ She Reads Things http://shereadsthings.blogspot.com/20... First off, I really think a different cover would have been better. I suppose there's romance in this book, but the main theme is music. Obviously there's the romantic subject of Paradise, whose real name is Gabriela (which to be honest, I found kind of funny, oops), but it's not the main thing. So, onto the actual book. I had been looking forward to reading this book for awhile because what's not to look forward to? Strong Review Posted @ She Reads Things http://shereadsthings.blogspot.com/20... First off, I really think a different cover would have been better. I suppose there's romance in this book, but the main theme is music. Obviously there's the romantic subject of Paradise, whose real name is Gabriela (which to be honest, I found kind of funny, oops), but it's not the main thing. So, onto the actual book. I had been looking forward to reading this book for awhile because what's not to look forward to? Strong female character? Music? Cute guy enters scene? Intriguing storyline? Check, check, check, check. But when I read the actual book, it wasn't quite the same as what I had expected. It was a bit too fast paced. It was hard to follow at some points. I thought that some of the characters were somewhat underdeveloped. I would have loved to know more about Waylon, since he plays a big role. After all, Paisley is the drummer for the Waylon Slider Band. Besides that, Paradise wasn't bad. But then again, it wasn't exactly all that great. I was drawn to the sister duo of Paisley and Lacey. Right from the start, they both had to hide their true passions. Lacey was singing, following her mother's dream, and Paisley couldn't even tell her parents that she was a drummer in a band. Both of them struggled to find who they were and dealt with trust issues. I liked that I was able to see into Paisley's mind to find out that she truly did care about her parents' feelings, but just felt that she couldn't risk telling them the truth just yet. All the inner turmoil between both girls was a great conflict for this book because it was all part of finding who they were and discovering how to muster the courage to stand up for their true passions. Obviously there's the band. This story starts right off the bat with a scene with the band—the audition with Paradise. The relationship with the band gets kind of shaky when Paradise becomes the lead singer for many reasons, but in the end, they're a unit. Their camaraderie had its ups and downs, but that's what made it so real and so likable. And of course, there's Gabriela, better known as Paradise, the book's hunky country guy who has the voice of an angel, and possesses enough confidence to rock a man purse (aka a murse) and play an accordion of all things. In regards to him, I thought he was the character with the weird mood swings. He could be rude, cocky, careless, and intense at some points. But mostly, he was sweet, kind, and most importantly, caring towards Paisley. While Paradise has a great plot line, I don't think it was carried out to its full potential. There were too many characters to fully keep track of and really get attached to. Many places felt rushed to me, yet other parts flowed just right. It was a bumpy road to the finish line, but it was still good enough that I retained interest to the very end. However, I absolutely hated the ending. It was incredibly random, and completely unnecessary. Out of everything in this book, what I disliked the most was the ending. I mean, come on, really now? So not cool. All in all, Paradise was just okay for me. I probably won't ever be reading this again, but it really is a hit or miss kind of book. If you like fast paced books, this is the one for you. But if you are like me and like fully developed plot lines and characters, I'd say to pass on this one. Grace @ She Reads Things :)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Gonzalez

    Well, let me just start off by saying, I really, really, wanted to love Paradise. The description made it sound like something that would be right up my alley – a music obsessed, strong willed teenage girl pursuing her dreams to make it big. Plus, it had a cowboy. Sounds great, right? If only. First of all, Paisley didn’t exactly jump off the page for me. I loved the setting of the book (rural Texas) and I enjoyed the idea of the characters, but I struggled to connect with them – especially Pais Well, let me just start off by saying, I really, really, wanted to love Paradise. The description made it sound like something that would be right up my alley – a music obsessed, strong willed teenage girl pursuing her dreams to make it big. Plus, it had a cowboy. Sounds great, right? If only. First of all, Paisley didn’t exactly jump off the page for me. I loved the setting of the book (rural Texas) and I enjoyed the idea of the characters, but I struggled to connect with them – especially Paisley. She was so overtaken with the idea of playing at Texapalooza, that her character was utterly consumed by it. She came across as incredibly one dimensional and her relationships with other people suffered. I did however enjoy her narrative. Alexander does an excellent job giving Paisley a distinctive and undeniably entertaining voice. I honestly, did not see much chemistry between Paisley and Gabe (aka Paradise). The squeezebox playing cowboy instantly had a thing for our leading lady and she eventually admitted her feelings for him. That being said, I did not really feel like they were good together. First of all, Gabe could be rather pushy. While I was trying to sort out my feelings on Paradise, I looked at some other reviews. Nobody else seemed to be bothered by his character, but he certainly riled up my feathers a few times. There is a scene in which Paisley and Paradise are getting cozy in the back of his pickup and he keeps pestering her about going further. Paisley, for her part plays the “not now” and he gets irritable with her. Now, maybe this doesn’t seem like a big deal to others out there, but you have to look at the context. I am not one of those people who flinches at sex in young adult books, but this particular scene got to me. At this point, Paisley and Paradise weren’t even together. Does he really expect her to give in? Is it really okay that he pressures her like this? Is that just how things work in rural Texas? Look, I don’t know, the extent of my knowledge can be summed up by what I’ve seen on Friday Night Lights. But, I cannot imagine this sort of behavior would fly anywhere. Needless to say, his character certainly fell a few notches for me. Now, let’s talk about the sucker punch of an ending. Look, I’m not the kind of person who needs a book to end with a “happily ever after”. But, at the same time, I cannot stand it when books have unnecessarily depressing endings either. Unfortunately, I feel like the ending of Paradise was incredibly unnecessary. I am not saying things had to be all sunshine and rainbows, but it certainly didn’t need to be hurricanes and hailstorms either. In theory, Paradise sounded like a great idea. I love myself some cowboys, I am a huge music buff and I enjoy strong female leads. Unfortunately, the book itself just did not work for me. I could not connect to the characters, the leading man didn’t do it for me and the ending made me want to completely jump ship. However, I seem to be in the minority here. So my advice to you (if Paradise sounds like something you would like) is to check out some other reviews on the book -tons of people really seemed to enjoy it. I however, am just not one of them.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Hammons

    The book Paradise by Jill S. Alexander is a drama filled story that brings you in and doesn’t let you go. The book is about a drummer named Paisley Tillery. She is the drummer for a country rock band. They want to make it on stage at the Texapalooza music fest. Paisley’s dream has always been to make a career out of her music and buy a one way ticket out of her small town in Texas. The band gets a new lead singer from Paradise, Texas. Paisley’s dreams then become cloudy because this new guy in h The book Paradise by Jill S. Alexander is a drama filled story that brings you in and doesn’t let you go. The book is about a drummer named Paisley Tillery. She is the drummer for a country rock band. They want to make it on stage at the Texapalooza music fest. Paisley’s dream has always been to make a career out of her music and buy a one way ticket out of her small town in Texas. The band gets a new lead singer from Paradise, Texas. Paisley’s dreams then become cloudy because this new guy in her life is trying to take it over by getting her to fall for him. Paisley first says that she loathed Paradise because she did not want him getting in the way of her dreams. But, that did not last for long. Paisley then begins to start hating him less and less each day. Finally, she admits that she has feelings for him. This book kind of relates to me in a way. When I have my mind set out for something, I try to not let anything get in the way of that happening. Unless, it is a guy. My weaknesses has always been guys getting in the way of what I want. I can relate to Paisley because she is having the same problems that I have always had. I almost feel that as I was reading this book, I was giving Paisley advice on what to do about Paradise. I like the author’s style of writing this book. It is almost like she is writing to all of the teenage girls in the world. She had me hooked from the first page until the last. I like the way she does not use very sophisticated words when writing this novel because then I don’t think I would have followed along as well. I also like the way that she showed us what was happening instead of telling us. She really made me picture what was going on and picture what was going to happen next. I really liked the fact that she related the book to every teenage girl’s problems. BOYS. Even though she probably wanted a lot of girl readers for her book, I think some guys would have liked it too because it had a boys point of view to it too. She kind of told this story inside of a story. Even though the story is told from Paisley’s point of view, she also told paradise’s story as well. I think that some guys would have liked that. My favorite part of the book is when Paisley is talking about how much she wants to get into this music festival. For example, in the book it says, “All it took to find Paradise was a five dollar bill and an ad in the Thrifty Nickel” (Alexander 1). This quote really spoke to me because as I was growing up, I was taught that money can’t buy happiness and being in Paradise is supposed to make you happy. I just didn’t get that, so this line from the book is definitely my favorite. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read it. It will keep you entertained to the point where you never want to put it down. I loved almost everything about this book. The only thing that I did not like about it was that the author didn’t really talk about Paisley’s feelings that much. I would have liked to know what she was feeling more often. Otherwise, this book was terrific I would also recommend this to some boys who like to read about love stories because this novel is truly a teenage love story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Jill Alexander completely blew me out of the water with Paradise. Was expecting your typical quick, fun summer read. Something I could read in a day, be satisfied with, and not dwell over for long. However, that is not something that happened. Yes, Paradise started out as a cute summer romance with the mysterious and insanely attractive newcomer and the girl with a secret dream, but then it changed into something more. Paradise centers around Paisley, a girl who secretly wants to be a musician. Jill Alexander completely blew me out of the water with Paradise. Was expecting your typical quick, fun summer read. Something I could read in a day, be satisfied with, and not dwell over for long. However, that is not something that happened. Yes, Paradise started out as a cute summer romance with the mysterious and insanely attractive newcomer and the girl with a secret dream, but then it changed into something more. Paradise centers around Paisley, a girl who secretly wants to be a musician. However, she has to play in a secret band with some of the people her Mom disapproves most of, because her mother has very specific plans for her future. That is where she meets Paradise, the insanely sexy accordion player and singer who has Paisley and the rest of the band questioning the way they do things. I thought Paradise was only going to be important to Paisley, but instead he serves as sort of a driving force and a trigger to everyone else making changes for the better. Not only does he bring sexy vocals and a new twist to the band with his accordion, but he slowly pushes everyone else to be more confident and go for what they believe in. Over the course of the novel Jill Alexander uses Paradise to push Paisley and her sister to stand up to her parents, Waylon, the band leader, to grow more confident in his music, and several other big changes throughout the novel. Alexander does a great job of using all of the characters different problems to weave a storyline about dreams, perseverance, and independence. She also adds several different little spins on the story to make it even better than it was already. She adds spunky characters like Paisley's uncle who provides an interesting adult POV, and incorporates lyrics from one of the band members, Cal, into the story giving you a view from the outside. Overall, I really liked this book. It told a great story about going for your dreams and keeping your goals in mind. However, there is a reason I only gave it 4 stars. Jill Alexander completely throws you through a loop at the end of the novel. I still can't decide whether or not the plot twist at the end added to the story or just didn't make sense. I don't want to spoil anything, but at the end of the story Alexander pulls the story in a U turn, changes the plot entirely, and leaves you wondering why the heck she just did that. So... the story was fantastic. Heartwarming, enlightening, and extremely romantic, but I will give you fair warning that you might not like the ending. However, if you're feeling brave and also sort of romantic, give Paradise by Jill Alexander a try.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This is a sweet, coming of age story about Paisley, a girl drummer in the Waylon Slider Band, an otherwise all boy southern rock band from Texas. All Paisley's ever wanted to do is to play the drums and get out of her small town. She and her band mates have one shot to make it at Texapalooza in Austin but there's just one problem...they don't have a lead singer. Well, that and Paisley can't let her mother know she's the band's drummer. To say that Paisley's mom is a control freak is an understat This is a sweet, coming of age story about Paisley, a girl drummer in the Waylon Slider Band, an otherwise all boy southern rock band from Texas. All Paisley's ever wanted to do is to play the drums and get out of her small town. She and her band mates have one shot to make it at Texapalooza in Austin but there's just one problem...they don't have a lead singer. Well, that and Paisley can't let her mother know she's the band's drummer. To say that Paisley's mom is a control freak is an understatement. (Nightmare is more like it.) She would go ballistic if she new about Paisley's involvement with the band. She knows she plays in the school band but there's no way any daughter of hers would be allowed to hang out with people who play in bands. (They're nothing but good fer nuthin', beer drinkin' white trash.) Mom claims she doesn't want her daughter's making the same mistakes she made, having to give up on their dreams and getting stuck in the same town for the rest of their lives, all because of "some boy." Nevermind, that her "some boy" is Paisley's Dad and a good husband and father. The sad thing is that Paisley's mother doesn't have a clue about what she and her sister, Lacey's dreams really are. Lacey has a decent singing voice and her mother has made it her life's ambition to make a singing career for her not realizing that's the last thing Lacey wants. It's what Mother wants and that's all that matters. The boys in the band are decent guys all with dreams too but without the egos. Waylon, the band's namesake, comes from a famous music family and feels the pressure to make the band a success. Levi enjoys playing guitar but has dreams of playing baseball at college and Cal, the bands main songwriter is into skateboards and harbors a secret crush on Paisley. Then there's the newcomer, Paradise...he's the hot, new lead singer with the smokin' squeezebox. (Squeezebox = accordian, in case you didn't know, like me.) When Paradise shows up on the scene, everything changes, from the band's sound, vocals and pretty much life in general as Paisley's known it. The band stands to learn a lot from him, as does Paisley, the most important being how to live life "wide-open". He learns from them that living fearless means not being afraid to say "no" when you need too. Paisley's journey to achieve her dreams could take her to places she never though possible but dreams are also not without hard work and sacrifice and she'll have to decide just how much is she willing to give up? She'll also discover that paradise isn't always where you end up, but where you left.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nath

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5/5 (B-) What did I like? Overall, I thought Paradise was a nice read. The reason the book is titled Paradise is because Gabe comes from Paradise, Texas and therefore, Paisley calls him Paradise. I liked Paisley, she was portrayed quite realistically. Her desire and determination to be a drummer, to make it work even if that meant going around her mother's back. The family dynamics also felt very realistic to me. I enjoyed the complicity between the two sisters and with their dad. He's the buff 3.5/5 (B-) What did I like? Overall, I thought Paradise was a nice read. The reason the book is titled Paradise is because Gabe comes from Paradise, Texas and therefore, Paisley calls him Paradise. I liked Paisley, she was portrayed quite realistically. Her desire and determination to be a drummer, to make it work even if that meant going around her mother's back. The family dynamics also felt very realistic to me. I enjoyed the complicity between the two sisters and with their dad. He's the buffer zone between the daughters and their mother's autocratic ways. While the mother had to be a certain way for the book to work, I have to say, I did not like her at all ^_^; She was looking down on people and I didn't really get why. I mean, seriously, you are not better than them... and she was so focused on climbing to the next class level that she was blind to her daughters' wishes. It's a balance thing really. Still, that's a part of Paisley's family and Ms Alexander didn't shy away from it, didn't try to make it better or as if it didn't matter. I think what's most commendable about Paradise is how real it felt and also, how it wasn't all pink and rosy. The ending is not tied up all nice and neat, the relationship between Paisley and Gabe was not perfect... The rock band members were friends, but not BFFs... What didn't work for me? I think I went into Paradise with expectations that were a bit too high. All in all, Paisley and Gabe's characters were nice, but they did not stand out for me. I also expected a lot more from the ending. I was hoping for it to be more poignant... Perhaps because I knew the ending already, so it ruined it for me ^_^; One thing about Paisley and Gabe's relationship... I liked that Gabe understood the meaning of "no." Paisley wears a purity ring and part of it, is to please her mother... but she's not ready to have sex. So Gabe would stop whenever she'd tell him. However, every time, it felt like the making out was initiated by Gabe. I feel if he really understood and respected Paisley, he wouldn't... Another thing that bothers me a bit about the whole book is that all the events felt like a dream. Because the timeline was so fast, I didn't feel the depth of their relationship. Also, throughout the book,Paisley called Gabe Paradise. The whole thing makes it feels transient, no permanence, like a dream. Perhaps it was done on purpose... My Grade? 3.5/5 (B-). I don't regret reading Paradise and the realness of it was really nice, but I have to say I was expecting more.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carla ♥

    WHAT WAS THAT??? OMG! THE ENDING! I CAN'T EVEN! WHAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTT???? i'm crying so much right now, i don't understand what's happening??? i thought everything's gonna be alright .. i have my hopes high that before the ending, Paradise will show up and he's alive after all .. but ACKNOWLEDGEMENT came, and then nothing .. my hopes were crushed .. and i just can't do anything but cry .. gosh! :( --------------------------- on the other side, this book is super sa-woooooooon!! made me swoon all the time WHAT WAS THAT??? OMG! THE ENDING! I CAN'T EVEN! WHAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTT???? i'm crying so much right now, i don't understand what's happening??? i thought everything's gonna be alright .. i have my hopes high that before the ending, Paradise will show up and he's alive after all .. but ACKNOWLEDGEMENT came, and then nothing .. my hopes were crushed .. and i just can't do anything but cry .. gosh! :( --------------------------- on the other side, this book is super sa-woooooooon!! made me swoon all the time .. God! Paradise (Gabe) is super hot! i love band-dudes .. anyway, first time i cried when i was reading Cal's Lyric Journal: WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS .. God! i feel sorry for Cal, he has feeling for Paisley after all, but was not able to tell her, and then Gabe came, and he missed his chance .. but i hope, Cal would eventually find the courage to tell Paisley how he feels and when Paisley is all healed and has moved on, maybe he'll give Cal a chance .. i hope so .. :) i want to give this only 4 stars because of the ending .. it doesn't suck but it was not the ending i was expecting .. which was a good thing anyway .. it was unpredictable .. i'm gonna give it 5 stars 'cause, HELL YEAH! it made me cry .. ^^ CAL’S LYRIC JOURNAL WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS I’m stuck throwing rocks at this campfire tonight Watching the sparks fly and the embers smolder You’re down the hill with him I should be stronger and put up a fight I guess I failed to mention I’ve been trying to get your attention. Throwing rocks at the flame I can’t compete with his game He’s all hard muscle and heartbreak and swagger Yeah, I’m not much of a threat with just a skateboard and ink dagger. But when the smoke clears I’ll still be here. I’ve been on the outskirts all my life The edge of this fire ain’t nothing new So I don’t have the ride or the hat or the boots Those things don’t make me less of a man They don’t make me feel less than It’s only your indifference that can. He’s your white hot flame Styled hair, exotic name Me, I’m just a slow burning ember He may forget your face, but I’ll always remember And when the fire dies down Look around The smoke will clear And you’ll find me here.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eilonwy

    I have mixed feelings about this book. Overall, I liked it very much. The writing is beautiful, with a strong Texas accent and a strong voice for Paisley, and set a vivid mood throughout the story. The narrative really pulled me in, and the balance between Paisley's dedication to her band and her devotion to her family, crazy though her mother might be, was very well done. Paisley's relationship with her sister was sweet and realistic; her parents' love for each other despite how they ended up t I have mixed feelings about this book. Overall, I liked it very much. The writing is beautiful, with a strong Texas accent and a strong voice for Paisley, and set a vivid mood throughout the story. The narrative really pulled me in, and the balance between Paisley's dedication to her band and her devotion to her family, crazy though her mother might be, was very well done. Paisley's relationship with her sister was sweet and realistic; her parents' love for each other despite how they ended up together was portrayed believably; and Paisley's view of her bandmates as too-familiar, and the shock of her attraction to the new boy, read true to me. By the end of the story, all of the characters seemed to be complete and mostly sympathetic, although the mother was still a bit overdone as a hyper-controlling tiger so determined to keep her daughters from repeating her own mistakes that she can't see them as people. On the minus side, ironically, some of the time I found the beautiful writing distancing me from the story a bit, and keeping me from connecting with Paisley as much as I would have liked. This is a fairly minor complaint. Also, there is a subplot told through song lyrics written by another character, which IMO had no place in a first person story -- Paisley would not have been privy to them. So this annoyed me in principle, even though the lyrics were some of the best I've seen used this way. A much bigger complaint is: The ending. If you decide to read this book, take my advice and, when you get to the bottom of Page 231, put the book down and walk away. THAT IS THE END. It is followed by another ending which (a) ruins the whole entire story for no good reason, and (b) is not very well done, and I'm not sure what the heck point the author is trying to make with it. It didn't add any additional depth, or provide any additional insight into the characters or into the world in general, either, at least not that I saw. YMMV, but really, I highly recommend not even finding out what it is. It comes out of nowhere and sucks. It might just be me, but if anyone else has ever seen the Reese Witherspoon movie, "The Man in the Moon"? This book felt like that movie to me ... and was possibly influenced by it a bit (only a very teeny bit -- it was mood more than action that brought it to mind). So, kind of recommended ... but STOP READING AT THE BOTTOM OF PAGE 231. You have been warned!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Britta

    Before I start, let me just say that I am definitely a country girl at heart. The fact that I live in the northeast has no effect on me dreaming about cowboys and listening to country music exclusively. So a book about a country band was basically made for me. Especially one that has a boy with a mighty fine profile (I mean tell me he doesn't look gorgeous from the side!) Bias aside, this was a unique and fun read. Paisley has always known that she wants to be a drummer, and she's on her way to m Before I start, let me just say that I am definitely a country girl at heart. The fact that I live in the northeast has no effect on me dreaming about cowboys and listening to country music exclusively. So a book about a country band was basically made for me. Especially one that has a boy with a mighty fine profile (I mean tell me he doesn't look gorgeous from the side!) Bias aside, this was a unique and fun read. Paisley has always known that she wants to be a drummer, and she's on her way to making those dreams come true by rocking out in a country-rock band heading for Texapalooza. The only problem is that her mother disapproves of everything in Prosper County, and certainly wouldn't approve of Paisley's dreams... which is why she hides them. When Gabe, a boy from Paradise, Texas, comes along as the band's new lead singer, everything starts to change. All of a sudden Paisley's dreams aren't too clear anymore. I liked many aspects of this book. One thing that I really liked is that when the boy comes to town, not everything just stops. Paisley's feelings for him progress and change drastically. It seemed much more real and likely to happen than alot of love-at-first-sight types of relationships often found in YA. I also really enjoyed that throughout the novel, after every few chapters, there would be song lyrics. It was as if Paisley was living in a country song (which if you appreciate country music, you would understand how cool this is). The lyrics would reflect on what had recently happened or what the characters were feeling in a new and interesting way. I found myself trying to put music to the words (didn't really work out for me) and I'd be really eager to hear those preformed. I liked how I didn't really see where the book was going. I mean on a really broad spectrum, maybe, but the details were not so easy to pick out. Paisley is a strong girl, and I appreciated that, she kept things interesting. One thing that I definitely did not see coming was the end, oh my goodness. If you're like me and you love everything country, you'd definitely like this book. The characters were funny, strong and real - making their story seem like it was really going on. Nothing was far fetched, and that was okay because the story was presented in a new way.

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