Simply Nicollette reviews - books, movies, television shows, etc. with slight spoilers. I try my best to review without giving away too much of the story.

Melody's Key by Dallas Coryell
Release Date: June 24, 2016
AsherRain Publications

"His eyes settled on her. . . piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him."

Tegan Lockwood's dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappearing into the abyss of apathy as she labored her days away keeping her family's struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no color, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.

We are first introduced to our main character, Tegan, as her family is preparing their family estate to host guests for the holiday season. I immediately connected to Tegan because of how creative she was. She seemed to view the world in a way I could appreciate, like she couldn't get enough of everything around her. I loved that.

Melody's Key delivers as a romantic story, and the thing that set it apart from others I have read were these letters Tegan found in her attic. They were love letters from her great-grandmother's true love and they were incredibly romantic.. I didn't blame Tegan for allowing her heart to hope that there was that type of love in the world because of those letters. Like the songs written throughout the story, they felt like the heart of this book for me.

Which brings me to Mason who is a popular American singer. He is staying at the estate for the summer in order to get a much needed rest from his busy career. Tegan is not happy about this, which brings a lot banter between the two characters.. And you guys know how much I love banter! So, I was instantly rooting for them until the very end.

Her relationship between Mason isn't the only important one to this story though. I enjoyed reading about Tegan's family and her relationships with each of them, especially her little sister. The family interactions made me feel at home with them, and there was one chapter where I desperately wanted some pancakes! There was also Tegan's best friend, Simon, who I just adored! I wish we saw a little more of him and his story though.. Through her relationships, it was easy to relate to the way Tegan loved and appreciated the people in her life.

Everything flowed together nicely and the world building was fantastic. I think Dallas Coryell did a great job at capturing the voices of his characters. His writing was great throughout the whole book. Although, I may be getting a little too old for all the extreme feelings that go into reading romance novels.. There are times where I just don't feel like that's what really happens between people, but it wasn't a complete downfall for me.

We eventually learn more about both Tegan and Mason's past, and how it has shaped them into who they now are. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but I will tell you that their relationship did develop in a natural way that fit who they were as individuals, and I appreciated that.

The story wraps up in a beautiful way. I enjoyed seeing Tegan and Mason's development by the end. They were two lost souls who found their way back to hope, light, and love through one another.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I wish there was a little more with Simon's storyline, but that's just a personal preference. It's captivating, romantic, and sweet in every way! Coryell is a great writer, especially loved the romantic songs that were written! If you are looking for a great romance novel then I suggest reading this book.


4 out of 5 stars

Meet Dallas Coryell

Dallas Coryell is a musician and author residing deep in the untamed wilds of Michigan, USA, where he desperately attempts to assign meaning to his world through bouts of maniacal creative catharsis and pitifully doomed hopeless romantic fantasies. All of the songs written by the characters in this novel are real and can be viewed on the author's fledging YouTube channel. Selfies and other assorted randomness can be found on the author's Instagram.

Read an Excerpt Here!

"It's just an expression, I assume you have those in America?" This time Tegan completely intended the playful sarcasm that dripped from the comment. She even ventured a slight grin to put him on the defensive a little, but Mason was quick with his reply.

"Yes, we have them. For example, don't judge a book by its cover."

Mason had smiled disarmingly when he said it, but the underlying message to her was clear. Considering what happened at the pub, perhaps she had been a tad hasty in her judgment of his character. Tegan bundled the tolls she had been cleaning and attempted to pick them up all at once in order to move them into the shed, but before she could take two steps they began slipping from her hands. Just as she expected to see the entire bunch go crashing to the ground, Mason's hands appeared and encircled hers, stabilizing the load. His hands were strong, but soft, and their sudden steadying warmth took her completely off guard.

She had been careful to avoid looking directly at him during their entire exchange so far, but her discipline wavered for one instant and she allowed herself to meet his gaze. She immediately regretted it. His eyes were two fiery emeralds that seemed to have already been waiting millennia for her to find them. The depth they held was something she had not expected; there was profound suffering there, but also something wild and passionate and unbridled... like the feeling she got while walking through the estate gardens after a summer storm.

Somehow his eyes burned through the walls of her meticulously constructed defenses as if they were flash paper. She felt as though he was somehow seeing her... the real her, instead of the protective facade she normally projected to people she didn't know. In that instant of unexpected vulnerability Tegan was surprised to find she was capable of anything. She felt the boundaries and inhibitions that normally constrained her fading like a winter sunset.

A moment after Tegan felt the hurricane begin to stir within her, she smothered it for fear of being consumed. Where in the world is this coming from? She had only been looking at him for a moment, but it felt as though they had been staring at each other for hours. She abruptly pulled her hands free, which sent the tools clattering loudly into the dirt. In truth, she had forgotten they were suspended between their interlocked hands. Grateful for the distraction, she kneeled down and began gathering the fallen load, which he immediately assisted her with. Between them, they got all the tools to the shed in one trip. As the electricity of the moment faded, Tegan began feeling silly for even thinking such ridiculous things. I know nothing about him. She made a mental note not to look into his eyes again. There was a reason so many girls went crazy over him, and he probably knew exactly what he was doing with those eyes... and that crooked smile.

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Thanks to Dallas for providing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review! That in no way had any influence on my personal thoughts.


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