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Book Review: Set to Music by Negeen Papehn

***Kindle e-copy won in a Goodreads giveaway listed by Entangled Publishing.***

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, Music
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Dr. Darya Zameeni doesn’t have time for interruptions—in her ER, or in her life. Especially not from the gorgeous man pacing in her waiting room. With mountains of student debt, an ailing single mother, and a younger sister to support, Darya can’t afford to get sidetracked, even though they can’t take their eyes off each other.

Disillusioned Grammy-winning rock star Anthony Castillo’s night wasn’t supposed to end like this—in the ER, panicked after his little brother’s sudden collapse on stage. The band cannot go back on tour without Carlos, but his brother needs constant medical attention. When the beautiful, no-nonsense Dr. Zameeni treating Carlos shows no interest in their fame, he decides she is the perfect candidate for the job. If only he can convince her—and himself—that he wants nothing more.

Darya can’t imagine leaving her job, even temporarily, to follow a rock star around the globe. She’s expected to be the perfect Iranian daughter, after all. But Anthony’s offer comes right as she needs the money and she cannot deny their attraction.

Family is everything to them both. With so much to lose, the smart thing would be to go back to their lives and forget they’d ever met. But doing the smart thing has never seemed so wrong…

 

My Review: Set to Music was sooooo good with a superb, diverse cast of lovable characters. The romance between Darya and Anthony was super sweet with sizzling chemistry. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the swoon-worthy cover? Stunning!

Family is everything and it’s a huge part of what drives Darya, Anthony, and the story. I can’t speak to what being in an Iranian household is like, but the author makes it easy to understand how Darya’s culture and her mother’s expectations dictate the decisions she makes even if they’re not what she truly wants. I do love how close she is to Maman (her mother) and little sister, Niloo. She also has her bffs as coworkers, so she is surrounded by a small group of family. Anthony has his little brother and guitarist, Carlos, his other bandmates, the crew, and his other family members. Within both circles are beautifully flawed relationships that have been through hell and back and still come out closer and stronger than ever.

Darya and Anthony were fantastic main characters and the conflicts they face are heavy-hitting kickboxes to the feels. Anthony isn’t your typical rock star. To the public, he is the bad boy lead singer of Tenura. In private, he is loyal, lives for the music and not the fame, and does what he does for his brother and family’s well-being. He’s a charming introvert. Darya is fun to be around and has worked hard to get to where she is professionally because that is what’s expected of a good daughter. Still emotionally recovering from a bad breakup, she takes a chance she wouldn’t normally take by helping Tenura and in turn help her family financially after discovering her mother is diagnosed with cancer. It’s not easy for Darya to make certain decisions (professionally and romantically) because her mother’s wishes and expectations are so ingrained that to do something else – i.e., give in to her attraction to Anthony – is illogical. Not to mention that Niloo isn’t coping well with the diagnosis.

I admire Anthony and Darya’s strength when at times they wanted nothing more than to crumble. They sacrifice a lot to go above and beyond for those they love most. The two lovebirds have a lot in common, which is why they fit so perfectly together in one sugary-sweet package.

I liked the sub-story lines as much as the main story line. All of the other characters made this story fun to read. This is a standalone novel, but I would love to read a book featuring Carlos and another featuring Niloo. These two need their own stories (post events of Set to Music).

Set to Music was joyous, captivating, emotional, and heart-wrenching. I highly recommend this if you love music and/or emergency service romances. This lovely story ranks high in favorite reads of 2021. So much to love and so many feels!

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