📖Lyrical (Academy of Stardom Book 2) by Bea Paige

Dance is in my blood.
Once upon a time it ran through their veins too. Xeno, York, Zayn, and Dax.
The Breakers and I were a crew until bad decisions and circumstance ripped us apart.
Now the Breakers are back.
And they’ve brought trouble.
They’re not here at the Stardom Academy to dance.
They’re here on a mission for Jeb, the leader of the Skins.
He wants something, and me…? I’m just a pawn in their game.
To make matters worse, my psychotic brother wants something too.
I must befriend the Breakers and find out what they’re up to.
If I refuse, my brother will hurt the one person I love more than life itself.
I cannot allow that to happen.
Dance was always the cure to our pain, the foundations of our friendship and love.
It brought us together once before.
Can I go through the cycle of friendship, love, and heartache all over again?
Will I survive the Breakers a second time? Will they survive me?

Let me start by saying the only way I could control myself through reading this book without letting my emotions get away from me was by listening to ‘peaceful Christmas piano’ music. I’m not ashamed of that. Some books take your breath away. I usually have to listen to calming music when I read a particularly gripping crime thriller – so this was a new challenge for me, genre wise.

I read this in three hours. I don’t think I could have put it down if I tried. I needed the toilet so bad after I finished reading this!!

Book 2 follows on from the cliffhanger of book one. The book answers to no-one but its own plotline and that line flourished in ways I wasn’t anticipating. The enemies-friends-lovers timeline is like fine wine. It can’t be rushed; it can’t be saved. It needs to be just right. I really felt like the right balance was achieved here.

What I’m enjoying about this series is how much depth there is below the romance plot. These characters have so many layers and you all know I’m someone who craves character development. The dynamics between Pen, Zayn, York, Dax, and Xeno change once again but it’s not a change that gives in within the first couple of pages. This change fights tooth and nail throughout the entirety of this second book.

There’s power and passion, violence and compassion, the book is charged with energy. I needed that calming music to get me through the read because in all honestly, I generally thought my heart might explode from my chest. I could practically hear it beating in time with the pages turning.

Pen is, as I accurately said in the previous review a feisty fighter. She may talk about weakness, but she has a strength I’ve only really seen within the female leads of sci-fi / fantasy books. We are always looking for a character who we can connect with, a character who feels raw, a character who’s realistic.

I feel like I’m looking for a fight. I need a character who can give as much as they take. I need to see them at their weakest and see them at their strongest to understand their bones. Pen is the type of character I’ve seen explored through various fan fictions. She can show every emotion of the rainbow and still remain powerful for it.

The layers start to unravel in this book. There is clearly more going on than the pleasant view of a dance academy. This book delves a little into the criminal underbelly that the characters are involve in but like the book before it, this one also ends on a cliffhanger. The cliffhanger itself suggests that a deeper dive into the criminal underbelly might be coming in book 3 – but I’m just guessing.

There is so much heat between the characters in this book, far more than the first book but it’s not all sexual. Of course, the sexual aspect is what makes this a ‘smutty romance’, the number of males a ‘harem’ but there was a lot of emotional heat between the characters that needed to be explored and revealed.

This glimpse into – shall we say ‘behind the curtain of the characters – was definitely needed. As the reader it allowed me to view the characters in three dimension and helped lift them off the page. It gave me a better understanding of where the individual characters may develop and evolve to.

Zayn, York, Dax, and Xeno are changing around Pen and Pen is changing around them. In this book we finally get the truth of the past, but I don’t think that honesty will make anything easier for the group going forward.

Bea Paige had a perfectly blended cocktail right here for the taking. She clearly knows what she’s doing when it comes to her area of writing. She even has spotify playlists to accompany the novels which I enjoy because it adds another element when reading.

Out of all the main characters, this book shows Xeno as the rawest and he was the source of much of the emotion I had while reading. I am interested / intrigued / obsessed / dying to know what happens next!

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