Songs by Heart by Hollis Shiloh ~ Review by Marc

Hi guys, I have another highly recommended read for you <3 Hollis Shiloh is really turning out to be my favorite new discovery (and damn, isn’t she generous? Offering an eBook to so many ppl who commented on her guest post on V-Day <3!) I read “Song By Heart” because the GORGEOUS cover intrigued me, but wow – such a great book. It’s a contemporary with a music theme, a controlling mother, flawed but sympathetic characters and you really should check it out!!! <3

: Songs by Heart

Author: Hollis Shiloh

Publisher: Spare Words Press

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the Publisher:

Music. It brought them together, and it might just tear them apart.

When Mike met Harry, he knew this sweet, insecure, and musically talented guy was going places. What he didn’t know was how hard it would be to stand back and let him.

It seems to take forever before skittish Harry–who works as a part-time waiter and plays guitar in the park–will even consider dating handsome, musical, and geeky Mike, especially when Harry feels betrayed by circumstances beyond Mike’s control.

But once they start dating, they’re so happy together. Apparently two ordinary guys can find love.

Then their relationship is tested by each man’s insecurities, and by Harry’s unexpected chance in the music industry. When he ends up on a reality TV show for singer/songwriters, the enforced distance (and the media outing Mike) almost destroys their relationship.

With all these changes, do they still have room in their lives for each other?

My View

The Cover: Well, as I said above, this cover is simply, stunningly drool-worthy! Something I would love to display as paperback in my room. Seriously, this is one of my alltime-favorite covers. You might not know this, but I’m an artist and that color combination works so well. Really put me in the mood for reading this book!!! <3 I don’t always need naked male bodies on my books. This is awesome!

The Title: The guitar on the cover works well with this title 🙂 I love that the songs you know by heart are those you are usually most passionate about. And seeing that Harry is able to sing with great passion, directly from the heart, I think the title is very fitting!

The Story: This is Hollis Shiloh’s first full-length novel. After reading “Always Saying Goodbye” and LOVING the historical, I really wanted to check out this book and was delighted when the author offered my a RC copy (Thank you, Hollis 😉 )

I loved how honest these characters were portrayed. Sure, they are fictional – but when fictional characters only have one heroic an utterly positive side, I have trouble to identify with them. “Cause I’m not perfect and no one I know is perfect. Sowing all sides of her characters, Hollis Shiloh makes them into real characters, makes them human. They made mistakes, acted like jerks, were vulnerable, love-struck, felt like real people. I so wanted them to be happy and was rooting for them the whole time!

From the beginning when they met, they had such a connection – but it was easy to see how the relationship could have ended many times before it really started! But needed to put in effort, make compromises, be brave, take risks. I love how it wasn’t easy – there was real life with a lot of stuff that didn’t have to do with them that came in between. There were arguments and mistakes – and pride – but they never let it go to a point where there was no going back!

This persistence to try to make everything work, showed me that they really cared for each other. It is easy to be together when everything is great, but to work against the odds and to try to fix things when everything seems hard, one has to realize that there is something special that would otherwise be lost.

Mike and Harry have an incredible chemistry and are very likable on their own, but together their tenderness and love melt my heart. Scenes like Mike meeting Harry’s mother and listening to her version of Harry’s life and then getting to hear Harry’s own, incredibly honest and vulnerable version absolutely killed me and are among my favorite scenes in this genre!

I’m definitively going to look out for more of her books, so glad I found her!!! Don’t you guys just love when you discover a new, really awesome author, who writes stories that you think about long after finishing the book?


“Salt. Pepper. Ketchup. Mustard.” Harry put down the different packets and paper cups of sauce with a look of satisfied concentration. He ripped open a salt packet and spilled it over his fries. “Here, you can have some if you want.”

“After you put a Mt. Kilimanjaro of salt on top? No thanks!”

“Oh, watching your blood pressure, Old Timer?” He popped two more fries in his mouth and kicked Mike lightly under the table with his shoe.

“You know, I can’t figure you out.” Mike leaned his elbows on the table and leaned forward. “One minute you’re happy as a clam, the next you’re—”

“That’s a cliché.”


“‘As a clam.’ How do we know if clams are happy or not? I think if I was a clam, I wouldn’t be happy at all. There’s an awful lot of chowder going around these days.”

Mike snorted in laughter. “All right.” He sat back with a smile, surrendering. “I’ll stop. Enough with the ‘Twenty Questions.'”

“Thanks,” said Harry more seriously. He had a slightly more contented look about him now, as he stuffed another fry in his cheek, and then began to open his salad and burger. “Seriously, I could eat these things all night. Is it wrong to admit that?”

“No, but it’s wrong not to share.” Mike reached across and snagged a couple of fries.

“Hey! What happened to Mt. Killawatt? If that’s the way it is, I’m taking—”

He reached across and grabbed the chicken sandwich.

“My whole sandwich! That’s hardly fair! Give it—” He reached across, but not very seriously.

Harry took one big bite and handed it back, eyes flashing. “Just a bite,” he said indistinctly. Mike saw the laughing challenge in those eyes. For some reason, Harry wanted to push him. It was teasing, and it wasn’t, too. It was like Harry needed Mike to prove himself or something.

With a scolding look, Mike accepted the sandwich back, snagged a few more fries, and sat back to eat. The edge was soon off his hunger, but Harry continued to eat steadily, with concentration.

“Don’t they feed you at the diner?”

Harry shook his head. “Don’t get many breaks either.”

“And why don’t you have a website?”

Harry shot him a hard look, almost a glare. “I thought you were done with questions? All right. I’m bad with computers. Don’t have one at home, and I can’t afford my own. Why would I want one? I’m bad with them. I could use the library’s, I guess, or—”

“Mine,” said Mike. “I’ll help you set up a website.” What was a little website between friends?

Harry looked troubled. “Thanks, but I don’t…I don’t know anything about it. And I can’t afford—”

“For free, of course.”

“Well, even so, I’m really bad at computers, Mike.” Harry leaned forward. “You say you’ll help, but you’d really have to do, well, all of it. One time in computer science, I almost blew one of the monitors up. Hand on my heart, it was freaky. They didn’t let me touch anything with a cord”.

Buy Links:


I would like to thank Hollis Shiloh for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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5 thoughts on “Songs by Heart by Hollis Shiloh ~ Review by Marc

  1. I also received this as my gift from Hollis – I hope to find time this weekend to read it. It was incredibly generous of her to give all of us a choice of her backlist. I chose this one for much of the reasons you did – cover, music & length of story. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. I received a different book from Hollis, and look forward to reading that book and others by her. It’s wonderful to find out about new or different authors through this site.

  3. I also picked this book as a gift from Hollis. I’m hoping I’ll have time to read it soon too. Like you and probably other I chose the book for the cover and the music aspect.

  4. I know it has taken me absolutely AGES to respond here but I just wanted to say a belated THANK YOU!!! I am blown away by your review. <3

    "Scenes like Mike meeting Harry’s mother and listening to her version of Harry’s life and then getting to hear Harry’s own, incredibly honest and vulnerable version absolutely killed me and are among my favorite scenes in this genre!"

    That…means so much to me! That was pretty much the hardest scene in the whole book to write! 🙂

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