After Xander Thorne’s unsolicited critique of Gwen Jackson’s performance at his friend’s wedding, she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. Unfortunately for her, the two play in the same orchestra and things get even more uncomfortable when Gwen is offered the position of First Chair, a position that Xander has been secretly coveting for years. Despite some initial animosity, the pair find themselves drawn together for more reasons than their musical prowess.

Who knew that the cello was so freaking hot? Definitely not me! I will probably never be able to look at a cello or a violin without blushing ever again. I have played piano since I was kid, but I never felt the way about music that Xander and Gwen do; however, Soto builds such a beautiful and immersive world from these characters and drew me in so deeply that I could feel the the emotions jump off the page.

Somehow, Soto manages to make the relationship feel like it develops too quickly and too slowly at the same time which amps up the tension beautifully. The way the Xander is clearly gone for Gwen, but she is completely oblivious made me absolutely insane—in the absolute best way! Soto built so much into the backstory of each character that the evolution of the characters and their relationship feels incredibly believable and natural.

Not only does Soto evoke all the emotions when it comes to music and a strong loving relationship, but she also demonstrates predatory relationships to avoid. It’s subtle at first and then builds up as the book continues, climaxing around the same time we hit the climax of the relationship. Soto is perfectly able to show how trauma and our pasts are able to negatively affect our present and how to find your voice to break the cycle.

And listen, I have never been a Reylo girlie. To be fair, I’ve never been a Star Wars girlie so there’s not really been an opportunity to be a Reylo girlie. But the way that Soto writes Xander makes me want to explore more of the Reylo fanfiction that has found its way into published media. That man is feral for Gwen and it makes me feral for him and that’s everything I could ever want in a book boyfriend.

As a side note, the amount of times the word fingering is used in this book and it NOT be related to adult activities is actually criminal and Julie Soto needs to be directed straight to jail. As long as she can continue publishing books from there because, as I knew after I read her debut, she is an author to watch and I can’t wait for whatever she has coming next.

NOT ANOTHER LOVE SONG by Julie Soto hits shelves on July 16 and you can get a regular copy for yourself here or preorder here to get a signed copy that comes with a page overlay featuring gorgeous artwork by Nikita Jobson (while supplies last)!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores like my local fave Linden Tree Books! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2024 Book Recommendations."