Book Review & Giveaway: Leaving Amarillo

Leaving Amarillo (Neon Dreams #1)
Published By: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: March 17, 2015
Page Count: 352
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: New Adult - Contemporary

Dixie Lark, is a nineteen year old, who has her heart set on making it big in the music industry. Dixie loves playing her fiddle, Oz, more than pretty much everything else in life - except Gavin Garrison. The problem is Gavin has always been an older brother figure in her life. He never seems to notice that she is all grown up, but she can't help hoping that one day he will open his eyes to the possibility of them together. Things start to look up for Dixie when the band, Leaving Amarillo, which consists of her, Gavin, and her older brother, Dallas, land a spot to play in a week long music festival in Austin. 

The driving tension point in this one is the relationship between Dixie and Gavin. She wants him regardless of how it will affect the band or change their friendship, but he is more hesitant. Gavin worries that if he allows himself to look at Dixie for too long he'll tumble down an abyss he isn't quite ready for - relationships and feelings aren't really his thing. To make matter worse, Gavin has promised Dallas that he'd never lay a hand on Dixie. That means that the blossoming attraction between the two of them must be squelched before things get out of hand.

While I liked Dixie - she's stubborn, talented, and tenacious - I had more trouble liking Gavin and Dallas. Gavin eventually grew on me once I started to realize what was happening beneath the surface, but his tortured soul act was a bit predictable. He's the bad boy with a heart of gold stereotype that runs throughout romance. There is some more depth to him which is how he redeemed himself in my eyes, but despite his hotness, he didn't win me over quickly. Dallas, on the other hand, never won me over. I felt like he was controlling and self centered. He also said that he cared about Dixie and wanted her to be happy, but he constantly holds her back both professionally and in her relationships. I'm not a huge fan of the overprotective, guard dog sort of brother. I'm hoping that I like Dallas better in book two.

It should be noted that because this is a New Adult title, there is quite a bit of steam. I found some of these moments to be pretty cheesy. Again, I fully admit that the steam is not what draws me to a novel so others will love these elements. I'm more of a leave something to the imagination girl. I've just learned that if I'm going to read New Adult titles, I'll have to wade through some blush inducing passages.

There is a lot about the country music industry in this one that will appeal to fans of that musical genre and those who enjoy the tv show, Nashville. Sadly, I do not fit the bill for either of these groups. I decided to give this one a go anyway because I was interested in branching out beyond my favorite New Adult authors. The characters are what kept me reading, but I honestly could have cared less about the music industry aspect. I did enjoy the personal connection that Dixie had with her music, but the commercialized aspects didn't appeal to me. I know many readers will gravitate to this one because of the music (and the hot musicians), but I found the relationships and Dixie's quest for independence to be the true merit of Leaving Amarillo.

One Last Gripe: This one ends with so many unresolved issues. I know it's a series, but I wanted more resolution. I will pick up the rest of the novels to find out how it all works out.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The relationship between Dixie and her grandfather

First Sentence: It's times like this, times when I'm on, giving it all my all as my bow dances across the  strings like it has a mind of its own, that I feel like I can fly.

Favorite Character: Dixie

Least Favorite Character: Mandy

Nashville meets New Adult in Neon Dreams, a dramatic, sexy series from bestselling author Caisey Quinn, about a country band’s rocky road to fame—and the ambition, dreams, and love of the people who make the music.

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, 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.

I have an extra paperback copy of Leaving Amarillo to give away to our readers. This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada. You must be 18+ years of age to win.

The giveaway runs from June 5-12. Winner will be notified via email on June 13.


  1. I got a copy of this book at RT in May. I will keep this in mind for when I want something fun. I like NA, but have grown a little restless with it.


Post a Comment

We love your comments!