My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lisa Reynolds is an Irish blogger I follow. I read one of her books last year and was entertained by the wit and character relationships she created. Before continuing with that series, I wanted to try another one of her series to see which I preferred. While on vacation last week, I read the first book in the One Step Closer collection. Although the same tone and style were present in both books, this is a vastly different type of story but also one I enjoyed very much. I think I like this one slightly more…
One Step Closer is a televised music competition along the lines of American Idol and The Voice. It takes place in the UK and puts the contestants and the judges much closer together than I thought ever happened (could just be my ignorance of reality). When that happens, the plot becomes ripe with conflict and tension — both emotional and sexual. Wow, what a crazy dynamic went on behind the scenes and during the competition’s live performances.
We get to know all 5 judges and about 10 of the contestants, some more than others, as we get glimpses of those who fall out of the competition early and details of those who make it to the top 5. A few of the judges were monsters, of course, and Reynolds does a wonderful job making us dislike them. Near the end, a few have minor redemption points, but overall, the characterizations are strong and keep you interested in the action.
Relationships were key. Judges slept with contestants. Contestants slept with each other. Fights broke out. Contracts were signed. Blackmail happened. Secrets were unearthed. So much drama in such a short time period — I wouldn’t have survived, as if the producers asked me to spice it up for TV, I would’ve said ‘No thanks, this is me. Take it or leave it.’ Luckily, one contestant did just that, and so, Gavin was my favorite. That said, he made far too many snap judgments about the people around him, as did some of the others. Oddly enough, that’s probably a very accurate depiction of people despite my inclination to think it was too much to handle.
What it did was make for fantastic drama! Reynolds draws you in with the smoldering tensions and silly crushes until you can’t help but start to pair off characters. There are a lot to keep track of (each one has a voice and tells their story in alternating chapters), all with different personalities, but it’s a great start to the series. In the first 1/3, I struggled to keep everyone clear / straight, but Reynolds manages them well as the chapters unfold and we see which are the important ones to truly pay attention to. I’m very curious to see if the next book in the series focuses on a different group of contestants or the same group of people post contest. I could see it going in both directions, or even a combo.
I’d recommend this for anyone looking for a fun and indulgent read where you can get all angst-ridden about whether things like this really happen or not. I’m confident they do, but being removed from the industry, it feels shocking. Good drama – exactly what I like to read among my mysteries. Kudos to the author for showing such range in her writing style and genres.
View all my reviews
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.
Defensive: (1) very anxious to challenge or avoid criticism, or (2) used or intended to defend or protect
The best explanation I could give for how I have been known to be defensive is a work-related situation. One of my mentors, who knew me quite well, once pulled me out of a meeting, to highlight an example of how I was being defensive. This is where it gets funny… when you hear the word defensive, you likely think argumentative, disruptive and generally annoying. For me, it was quite the opposite. Apparently, and I don’t like admitting this, if a decision was made in a meeting that I didn’t like or support, my body language gave me away. I might have thrown out my opinion, and sometimes I didn’t weigh in if I knew I hadn’t a snowball’s chance in… never mind… point being… I apparently shut down. My expression went sour. My arms folded themselves across my chest. I sat back in the chair at the conference table. And I didn’t speak for the rest of the meeting. It was a silent defense system, more commonly known as pouting!
For the record, I respect Annalise Keating!
You’re thinking… that’s silly. Nothing you’ve said in the last 31 posts seems like you could have done that. Oh, but I did. And I fully admit it. I am a very defensive person, but I work on it regularly to try and let it dissipate. When my mentor (and boss) pulled me out the meeting, (s)he explained what (s)he saw, told me I’d never move up if I couldn’t learn to interact more professionally, and that it was immature.
I wonder which one I am in this little video…
My immediate reaction: “You’re wrong!” No, I didn’t say that… I accepted the feedback, returned to the room… (s)he told everyone there was a confidential production emergency and that’s why (s)he called me out to ask me to get someone to fix it, as (s)he was a very caring boss… From that moment on, I’ve been super conscious of my external behavior and how I’m being seen.
For that matter, I can also admit I was a defensive child, too. I never liked to be told I was wrong. Being wrong and me in the same sentence didn’t make much sense. I’d run off and hide if that ever happened. As I get older, I find myself seeing lots of situations where my facts or opinion are wrong or insufficient. I deal with it in a healthy way these days. I grab a drink and then go hide. Then everyone just thinks I’m thirsty. 😛
But it’s still lingering there on the surface. I don’t like being this way, but I know that I am. I attribute it to my father. He’s very defensive too. So I know I inherited the behavior, through either DNA or learned actions. Never in a horrible or mean way… just enough that it made me a bit more human. I’ve often been called robotic, so I suppose, this is a sign that I, too, have faults. Yuck. I hate saying that aloud.
But being defensive means you have passion. And passion can be healthy. It’s all a matter of perspective and control. If you’re defensive, you care about something strongly. Perhaps you want to protect it. It’s not always a bad thing.
Though I’m not a big sports guy, there’s always the offense and the defense within a game. Defense is there for a reason: to protect something and help ensure it is either given the path it needs or able to contain something long enough for the win.
I wonder what that guy was trying to defend?
Being defensive as a person should be a sign that you have something worth protecting. Then it’s just a matter of how to handle it professionally, with a courteous and considerate approach. At this point in my life and career, it’s really a very minimal issue… in fact, I’m more concerned about people seeing it, so I almost never let it show or happen. And that’s progress!
Any other defensive folks out there? How do you help keep it in check?
About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”
I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.
The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.
Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.