Thursday, March 26, 2015

**BookSlapped Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway** LEAVING AMARILLO (Neon Dreams #1) by Caisey Quinn


Dixie Lark hasn’t had it easy. She lost her parents in an accident when she was young and grew up in a ramshackle house on a dirt road in Amarillo with her ailing grandparents and overprotective older brother. Thanks to her grandfather, Dixie learned to play a mean fiddle, inspired by the sounds of the greats—Johnny and June, Waylon, and Hank. Her grandfather’s fiddle changed Dixie’s life forever, giving her an outlet for the turmoil of her broken heart and inspiring a daring dream.

Ten years later, Dixie and her brother Dallas are creating the music they love and chasing fame with their hot band, LEAVING AMARILLO. But Dixie isn’t enjoying the ride. All she can think about is Gavin Garrison, the band’s tattooed, tortured drummer who she’s loved since they were kids. She knows he feels the connection between them, but he refuses see her as more than his best friend’s little sister.

Convinced that one night with Gavin will get him out of her system, Dixie devises a plan. She doesn’t know that her brother has forbidden Gavin from making a move on her—a promise he swore he’d always keep—a promise that once broken will unexpectedly change the future for Dixie, Gavin and the band. Will Dixie and Gavin risk it all for a possible love neither has ever thought possible? 

Complex and full of emotion, Quinn’s beautifully crafted novel perfectly interweaves a mix of engaging characters, a heartfelt love story, and an incredible tribute to musicians—their ambition, dreams, and love of music. LEAVING AMARILLO will have readers eager to turn the next page and root for Dixie and the band as success and fame are only a few steps away. 


Caisey Quinn’s Inspiration for the Neon Dreams series  

Not too long ago (barely over a year), I took a trip to Nashville with some friends. It was one of those last minute “oh my gosh, we have to see this super big artist doing a concert in a tiny venue because they just Tweeted that they’ll be there” type road trips. Unplanned, beef jerky, big gulps, and random road mix cd style adventure. My favorite kind.

However, by the time we arrived at the venue it was packed. Literally. Wall to wall crammed, people spilling out onto the sidewalk, full to maximum capacity packed. Apparently we weren’t the only ones who caught word that a big name artist was going to be there. 


We decided to just check out a few local spots instead. In a bar called Crossroads we got comfy, ordered drinks, and started chatting about how bummed we were that we didn’t get to see the original artist we intended to. I can’t even remember now who it was. Here’s why. 

As we’re ordering a second—okay, maybe a third—round and deciding if we’re going to just call it a night and get a hotel room or head home (Birmingham is only about three hours away), this glorious sound fills the air. No, it pierces the air, rips through it and grabs everyone in hearing range by the eardrums. 

Our conversation—along with many others—ceased instantly. Chill bumps ran up my arms even though it was quite warm and I was wearing a jacket. 

Most of the patrons gaped in awe as this young woman played the fiddle as if she’d been born to do that and only that. It was the solo from “Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels band and she was rocking it beyond comprehension. Pretty sure even the bartenders stopped what they were doing. The rest of the night was a little blurry, but I know we didn’t leave until that band had played their entire set. 

We ended up getting a hotel room but none of us slept. All we could talk about was that band and how amazing they were and how we were kicking ourselves that we didn’t get their name so we could check them out online and hear more. I still look for them when I’m in Nashville and one day I fully expect to hear them on the radio. Whoever they are, they will forever be the band that inspired the Neon Dreams series. 



I fell in love with Caisey Quinn two years ago when I opened Girl with Guitar (the Kylie Ryans series) and was instantly addicted.  If you follow me on this blog (or anywhere else), you know my love of Caisey Quinn and her writing, so getting my hands on Leaving Amarillo was like my birthday coming 6 months early!  I have a big soft spot for Kylie Ryans (from Girl with Guitar) but I have to say I think Dixie Lark is my new favorite character!  I don't have the words for how much I loved Dixie and her fiddle but I will try, because Leaving Amarillo is a book you MUST read!

Caisey Quinn makes everything she writes seem so real, from being a struggling musician to a young girl who just can't take the wanting any longer and lays out what she wants from the boy she has loved for years.  I was fascinated from the first chapter and I was addicted.  I was sneaking in reading Leaving Amarillo in the carpool lanes, while waiting for dinner to cook, while my kids were doing homework; if I had a free minute my eyes were gobbling this story up!  Then at 80% I stopped reading.  Follow me here for a minute...  Have you ever read a book so good that you were afraid for it to end?  You are watching the percent left get smaller and you just know that there is no way all that you need from this story is going to get done?  I had this moment and I stopped reading for 3 days because I didn't want to be done with these characters.  I knew going in this was a series, and knowing Caisey, I knew there would be questions left to be answered for the next installment, but with this book it was like saying goodbye to friends.  (Yes.  I am a big dork).  However, I got over myself and devoured the last 20% and cried, had my heart broken and my spirits lifted.  Damn, this was an excellent start to a series!  Caisey Quinn is magical; her lyrics and creativity are simply amazing.

While Dixie stole the show, the characters in this book were so rich and layered.  Gavin!  Ugh.  I just want to hug Gavin and mother him to death.  Gavin is a character I can't wait to get more from, I loved how he was loyal and struggled with what he really wanted and what he craved because of a promise.  Caisey Quinn does such a excellent job creating characters that are bent (not broken) angsty, and slightly tortured.  Her characters come off as genuine, real and people you could actually run across in real life.  I loved the cast of Leaving Amarillo, and while I can't wait to get to know Dallas (Dixie's brother) better in book 2, I really need to check in with my girl Dixie too.

Leaving Amarillo is brilliant.  The plot was different that what you expect from a "band/rocker" book and the writing is phenomenal.  Caisey Quinn knows how to pull on your heartstrings, heat up your Kindle, make you wish you had musical talent and effortlessly has you fall in love with this cast of characters.  If you have never read Caisey Quinn then you are in for such a treat!  (and after you devour Leaving Amarillo, I HIGHLY suggest the Kylie Ryan books too).  Fans of Caisey Quinn, you know you are getting a good book when you pick this up but, Leaving Amarillo is special.  There is just something about Dixie Lark that will stay with me until the next book and probably longer, this story resonates inside you.  Basically, Caisey Quinn nailed it!  

Stop whatever you are reading/doing and go 1-click Leaving Amarillo.  You are going to love Dixie, Gavin and Dallas.  Leaving Amarillo is one of the BEST books I have read this year, I promise you won't be disappointed!



Caisey Quinn lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She is the bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series as well as several New Adult and Contemporary Romance novels featuring Southern girls finding love in unexpected places.


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