Today I have a review of Striking Out by Australian author Scarlet Bennett. Check out the tour page all the rest of the goings-on for the tour.
Title: Striking Out
Author: Scarlet Bennett
Publisher: Firefield Press
Release Date: July 2015
Length: 272 pages
Series?: Sharon Jackson #1
Sharon Jackson is a small-town girl with big-city dreams. Forced out of her home in regional Western Australia with her singing career in ruins, she hits the big smoke in search of stardom. After signing with a sleazy agent who wants more than a ten percent cut of her earnings, she struggles to earn a place in the macho world of rock-‘n-roll, encountering a series of colourful characters along the way – like Todd, the sexy, brooding muso with a dragon tattoo and Kevin, the whip-smart fighter with some hidden demons of his own.
But when her troubled past follows her to the city, Shazza’s dreams begin to unravel. With no home to go back to and a past that won’t stay buried, everything she has worked for is on the line. Shazza must make a decision that will define the course of her future, and time is running out.
***** Review *****
Shazza has left town under a black cloud. She wants nothing more than to be a rock-n-roll star, so she signs on with a seedy agent but struggles to make her way. Shazza meets some fascinating friends along the way, including a music teacher and a dojo owner. Shazza thinks she’s making progress with her music when a blast from the past appears in Perth. Shazza has some serious thinking to do and choices to make for herself and her future.
Shazza – a young rock-n-roll musician
Des – a very egotistical musical/talent agent; Shazza and Todd’s agent
Todd – frontman for Des’ best band; helps Shazza with her career
Jillian – Des’ girlfriend; befriends Shazza
Kevin – dojo owner; offers Shazza a teaching position
The cover is pink with a rocker girl on it. I was pretty sure I knew what to expect with a more adult coming-of-age and self-discovery type of storyline.
At first I wasn’t sure I would finish this book, but I still have a personal stigma about DNFing books. As I started reading I quickly found that my initial dislike of the book was misplaced. I don’t know if it was the cover or the synopsis.
The cover is very appealing to young girls, but this is definitely an adult read. The first thing I noticed was the language. Right from the start and throughout there is quite a bit of language. As the plot progresses, there is also some sexual content to the book. It is sparse and sprinkled in at just the right moments.
From the very beginning, with everything in the world against Shazza, I couldn’t help but be on her side. She wanted so desperately to make her way, and I couldn’t help but want all the pieces to fall into place perfectly for her.
I liked the fact that Shazza was exactly what she presented herself to be. She didn’t put on a front of who she was for readers or for other characters, even though she was the small fish in a big pond. That scored big points with me because she was a genuine character in a world of not so genuine characters.
Shazza has many talents. She is musically inclined with both instruments and voice, and she discovers she has a range of vocal talent with the help of her vocal teacher, Roderick. Shazza also has quite a talent with her body – as a taekwondo guru. Her musical talents score her Des as an agent, although he doesn’t seem to be up to snuff, and her taekwondo experience earns her a teaching position at Kevin’s dojo for some extra money that she desperately needs.
Roderick and Bobby, the duo whom are responsible for the broadening of Shazza’s vocal range and abilities, are a hilarious and comforting pair of friends for Shazza. In the rocky world of a new town, they are a safe place for her to land, as is Kevin’s dojo.
I wasn’t sure where Shazza’s story was going, and I wasn’t so sure she knew either, until things just kind of fell into her lap. She reaches a point where she must make several choices about her future and how she wants to continue in life.
The book is relatively fast-paced and the situations Shazza finds herself in kept me turning pages. I would definitely recommend this as a great read!
***** About the Author *****
Scarlet Bennett spent her formative years in regional Western Australia, and it shows. Years of city living have softened her broad accent, but the slang she’s stuck with. After earning a Masters degree in Psychology, the colourful characters of her childhood – and that irrepressible Aussie spirit – found their way onto the page. She is a graduate of Allaboutwriting’s mentoring program, and lives in Canberra with her husband, kids, and far more animals than can reasonably fit on a suburban plot.
***** Giveaway *****
10 sets of earrings handmade by the author (INT)
Ends September 2nd
All earrings are made with sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones. The gemstones included are turquoise, rose quartz, red agate, freshwater pearls and amethyst.
Prizing provided by the author, hosts are in no way responsible.