Cover Image: Songs in Ursa Major

Songs in Ursa Major

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Member Reviews

I’ve had a difficult few months. And a reading slump to boot. 

As such, I have to DNF this book because I’m really struggling to get into it. 
The writing is fantastic, and I wish that perhaps I was reading this in a year’s time. 

Maybe one day I’ll pick it up again, but for now I’m going into self-care mode and setting it aside. 

My apologies to all.
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This was an interesting book set at the end of the 1960's and the beginning of the 70's and follows singer song writer Jane Quinn. 

I found this book enjoyable as I love music and it just took me on a journey.

A great summer read. Quite a slow book but not difficult to read.
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This is a book for long, hot summer days when you can let your imagination run and pretend you are a singer in the hey day of free love. Jane Quinn was a great character to follow and get to know. I thoroughly enjoyed every page and detail that Emma Brodie wove together and felt fully transported to the time and vibe of 1969 and  beyond. I loved the concept of basing this on the real-life relationship of Joni Mitchell and James Taylor but felt that Brodie fully made it her own. Fantastic book. 

Thank you for the ARC!
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I really enjoyed this story it was so different to anything I have read before and it kept me hooked throughout. I loved the setting the music everything! Highly recommend and will be keeping a lookout for this author in the future.
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Loved reading about Jane Quinn - a talented young woman facing some incredible challenges to share her music with her fans. The book features music, friendship, romance, family issues and strong women. Would love to see this turned into a film.
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"Songs in Ursa Major" is absolutely my jam and really burrowed under my skin. Emma Brodie has given us a snapshot of a place, time and vibe - think Laurel Canyon in the late 60s/early 70s. The book coincides with the 50th anniversary of Joni Mitchell's "Blue" and the forthcoming release of "The Reprise Albums (1968-1971)". In fact, Jane and Jesse's relationship draws inspiration from that of Joni and James Taylor. 

Hot guitar boys are my Achilles' heel. Hot guitar boys who are a bit broken are my downfall, so I loved the fiery passion between our star couple. But did their spark burn too brightly in the end? I highly recommend reading to find out! Themes also include mental health, addiction and the cycle of shame, family ties and creative freedom.

Brodie provides insight into the music industry, or certainly how it used to be - especially for women. I enjoyed the technical descriptions of the mechanics of song composition. As an added bonus, the author has compiled an accompanying playlist on Spotify and you can find it here:

"Songs in Ursa Major" is the perfect book for summer. You know what else would be perfect for summer? "No Pain, No Jane'' t-shirts! If you know, you know. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am gutted that it's finished, so I shall reflect on the wisdom of Jane Quinn… 

"When I'm sad, it's usually because I was happy first."
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Set in the late 60s/early 70s, Songs in Ursa Major follows the breakout music career - and love story - of singersongwriter Jane Quinn. I thought she was an amazing protagonist that I was really rooting for throughout the book. Jane is headstrong, talented, and knows exactly what she wants, although sometimes her feelings get in the way. 
The exploration of the music industry at the time was really interesting to read about and the book features a really varied plot which didn’t feel predictable at all. I am a sucker for a good love story and I was so invested in Jane’s relationship with Jesse. The relationships in the book were messy and real, and the inclusion of the song lyrics throughout really added to the emotions. 
I really did enjoy reading about all the characters and I adored Jane’s family full of strong females. There were also some dreamy settings featured, including sunny California and Greece which makes it the perfect summer read. 
I’ve already seen a few comparisons to Taylor Jenkins Reid, especially since Daisy Jones is also set in the music world, and I do think fans of hers will enjoy Songs in Ursa Major - but Brodie does have her own signature style.
I personally loved the writing and how she layered the different themes and developed the characters. There was so much more to this story than I expected from reading the blurb and I really did enjoy every second of reading it. 
An amazing debut novel - I will definitely read whatever Emma Brodie writes next!
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If you’re a fan of Taylor Jenkins-Reid then you should try this debut novel by Emma Brodie.
The novel follows the musical career of protagonist Jane Quinn.  Jane is kickass and strong but she also has built a strong emotional wall which is stopping her from being truly honest with both herself and those she loves.  Jane’s story puts an interesting spotlight on what it is like to be a female lead in a male dominated music industry. It also evaluates how the industry is now too focused on profit and commercialisation of a product rather than true musical talent and artistry.
Apparently Brodie based parts of the book on the real life love story between Joni Mitchell and James Taylor.  Which was interesting as I know that Joni had a rocky start to her career and had a lot of support from record producer David Geffen which few artists would enjoy today.  Like a TJR novel the love story is more adult in theme and shows that you should only stay with someone if it is also right for you.
It was one of those books that I kept on having to pick-up again as I wanted to know what would happen to Jane. 

Thanks to @harpercollinsuk for gifting me advance ebook access.
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I read this one after a Taylor Jenkins Reid book and - whilst it did have a similar tone - it wasn’t EXACTLY the same (so don’t let any “this is a similar/ the same book” reviews put you off from reading this one!).

This book is a good exploration of family, fame and figuring out the rock scene in the ‘60s and ‘70s. I wanted this to be a sweet romance but it wasn’t, it was a real one. Sometimes a romance is beautiful but it isn’t right, and that’s exactly what the ‘relationship’ between Jesse and Jane is. They’re not romantically compatible but what they are are two people trying their best to save each other.

I LOVE music and this book was full of it. Concerts, song creating, even behind the scenes..all got a look in. It was very interesting to read about this kind of thing, especially about a woman making it in a male industry. More of this in fiction please!

My only gripe was the fact that the ending was a bit anticlimactic
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This is a brilliant debut novel which would be perfect for fans of Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell. 

Set in the late 60s and early 70s, Brodie perfectly captures the music scene of the era, seen through the eyes of our protagonist Jane Quinn, a talented singer songwriter looking for her big break and a music deal for her band The Breakers. I really liked Jane as a character and felt her frustration as she encounters the sexism of the music industry at that time and struggles to be taken seriously and have her voice heard. 

I admired Brodie's inclusion of lyrics for the songs written and performed by Jane and her love interest Jesse and these were crucial to getting inside the heads of these characters as music is their way of expressing themselves. I really liked the relationship between Jane and Jesse as it was believable, messy and complicated and didn't try to gloss over the difficulties and challenges they face together and separately. 

The book has an interesting and varied cast of characters and a lot of threads to the plot which kept me engaged throughout. A really enjoyable read and an author I will be keeping an eye on for their next release. 

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK for the ARC.
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Jane Quinn and her band are called upon to stand in for an injured Jesse Read at a folk festival. Set in the late 60’s and 70’s. 
Jane and her band get to know Jesse and we travel on a journey of Discovery. With her relationship with Jesse and her rise to fame. Also her journey through the music industry good and bad.
Personally it wasn’t for me but a readable book.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an ARC
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I found this book really difficult possibly because although born in the early 60s l found the story difficult to identify with plus I am not a huge fan of the music scene from that era. I daresay it depicts the music scene well for that time and definitely shows the strength of a very matriarchal household this shines through in the novel. Not one for me this time sorry but thanks to Katy and Harper Collins for the chance to read
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Have you ever wanted to forget everything you just read so you could enjoy it all over again for the first time? I just want to devour this book over and over again.

If you’re looking to be swept off your feet and transported back to the music scene of the 70’s then this is the book for you!

There’s just something about the rock and roll lifestyle of bands and singers in the 70’s that I seem to adore reading about. This pulled in me in from the very first page and what started off as just your average story suddenly transformed into this musical delight.

Throughout the story you are treated to snippets of song lyrics that Jane and her band the Breakers come up with and I felt like I was right there with them.

Jane was a formidable woman and I was fully invested in her story. Her story with Jesse was just wonderful, even if it was full of heartbreak. The story follows Jane and her rise to fame as her band go on tour with Jesse and I loved how the author managed to bring all this to life so vividly on the pages. Not only did we get to experience the usual after parties and drug taking but the book also touches on the inner workings of music labels and the sexism that Jane has to experience.

As mentioned though Jane is such a strong character who does what she wants and I adored her for that – she stood up to these powerful men in the best way she knows how….through her music. Whilst music is at the heart of the book, I also loved how it explored mental health issues and I liked how this was worked into the story with a little mini twist that linked back to some of the lyrics.

Overall I completely fell in love with this story and the characters. It was beautifully written and even though layered with heartbreak it was still so much fun to read – I will 100% be reading this again as I already miss it. If like me you loved Daisy Jones and the Six then I guarantee you will love this!
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Absolutely loved this book and everything it offered!! I was hooked in each page and so invested in Jane and her journey. 

Only thing that let it down was that I couldn't hear the music as so wanted to listen to every moment!!
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I was so invested in the story, I loved Jane’s character and her development. She had to fight her own battles and discover who she is all under the harsh light of fame and the media. I wanted to see what would become of her and her career, and if/how she would overcome her demons and setbacks. We see her fight for her own artistry in a time where music labels literally controlled what to release and what songs to sing, and Jane was not taking shit from anyone. Some may think that was really naïve and reckless of her, some may think it was very courageous and strong-willed. Either way you couldn’t deny her determination and resilience. She went through some bad choices, mistakes, conflicts, etc but she managed to hold to her own and come out the other side stronger.
I loved the family relationships and their challenges; the Quinn family had been holding on to a secret which caused complications and strains on each of their lives. Seeing Jane’s Aunts practically raise her with her cousin and grandmother was so lovely, especially the bond between Grace and Jane. The relationship between Jane and Jesse was quite interesting to witness, what started off as a whirlwind romance then became a will-they-won’t-they throughout the rest of the book. Their relationship was heavily influenced by the plans of the record label, hoping a blossoming romance would help boost sales, and when Jane did not want that (and wanted to be known for her music, instead of Jesse’s girlfriend) they literally replaced her with another upcoming female artist which was clearly for publicity’s sake. I didn’t know it was loosely based on the rumoured affair between James Taylor and Joni Mitchell, and I only looked further into it once I finished the book as I didn’t want anything to potentially spoil me.
We see how all of this takes its toll on Jesse, as we clearly see how he is a troubled, flawed character with loads of personal issues that he hadn’t been able to handle. On top of that he has to deal with the stress of stardom and the feeling of being trapped in the system, literally being told what to do. Of course, with a lot of artists struggling under fames pressure, Jesse ended up developing a drug addiction which was also a catalyst for the breakdown of his relationships with Jane and with Morgan. Seeing the mental illness of addiction right there was really terrifying when he was found after overdosing, and thus seeing Grace save his life so quickly and urgently. I guess most would’ve found that scene too disturbing, but it’s a reality for me and I thought it was done really well, and I thought it was interesting to also describe the gruelling procedure of stomach pumping – which we hear about a lot and never really consider what it actually involves. We also see how an addiction could also affect their loved ones, when Morgan claims to be exhausted and terrified, of being aware of the looming destruction yet unable to deal with the inevitable.
There was also a lot of discussion around music labels and the politics that still goes on today this really reminded me of the issues surrounding Taylor Swift and her masters recently. Straight from the beginning we see a music mogul stereotype Jane and her band, The Breakers, however she held her ground against him. I was so interested in the production side of making an album and seeing the lyrics throughout the book. I just wish it were a real album so I could listen to it! Music production was really fascinating to me, which I hadn’t realised until now. Strategic and unforgiving industry which tears the passion from some upcoming artists, and the difficulties of trying to climb the hierarchy and balancing a desire for success but also the burdens of fame and stardom, especially as a woman in a male dominated industry. Jane has to battle with this and decide whether it is worth it in the end, whether success was what she really wanted and whether the sacrifices are worth it.
For a debut novel, this tackled a lot of issues and many things inside an industry we actually don’t really know about, especially during the 70’s. She managed to blend two of my favourite books, Daisy Jones and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. It was clear that Emma Brodie has a passion for the music industry, and she portrayed everything so well and woven a beautiful story of two artists in the 70’s. I very much look forward to her other works and what else she has in store.
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I would like to extend my gratitude to the author, publisher and NetGalley for sending me this advanced reader’s copy in return for a fair, frank, and honest review.

It was hard to get into this book for me. I kept going as I love music of all genres and times and thought that it would carry it through form me, but sadly it did not. It was dual timeline and I found that difficult to follow. It reminded me of a similar book that was released last yet but that one had plot and good characters and sadly, this one did not.
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Based in the music business in LA in the late 60's early 70's. Jane Quinn cover a top spot at a festival when the headliner hasn't turned up. 
The narrative and dialogue did not sit well for me, so was hard to read. Although well observed, and knowledgeable in the industry of that time, I did not find it believable or want to be involved with the characters. 
Disappointing for me as I had great hopes!
Thank you for the opportunity to read early NetGalley
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Jane Quinn is a singer of the unsigned folk rock band The Breakers. When they receive their big break, filling in for injured up and coming musician Jesse Reid at Bayleen Island Folk Festival in the summer of 69, life drastically changes. Jane and Jessie are drawn together as he recovers from his accident and form a friendship based on their similar traumatic pasts and their love of music, but is this something that can survive fame and all of the pressures that come with it. 

There are obvious comparisons that could be drawn between Songs in Irsa Major and Daisy Jones and the Six due to the type of music and the era in which this is set but that is really where it ends. This book touches on sexism in the music industry (are you one of the groupies? 🙄), addiction, and mental health. Although some of the lyrics are really cringy, this is a great summer read. 

With many thanks to Harpercollins UK, Harper Fiction for their invite to view an early copy of this book on Netgalley. #SONGSINURSAMAJOR #NetGalley
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An interesting debut, based on the music scene of the 60s and 70s.  The ending was a bit choppy I thought.

This will appeal more I think to people who are interested in music and the pop culture of that era. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my review.
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I love music and I love books about music, and the past couple of years have seen a rise in books about the glorious 70s and 80s in the music industry. Songs in Ursa Major grabbed my attention thanks to its really nice cover and intriguing story - I can’t lie, it reminded me of Daisy Jones & the Six, one of my favourite books of all time.

To be completely honest, I’m very torn about Songs in Ursa Major. I liked some parts (especially Jane standing up for herself and her band) but some others left me on the edge of bored. The plot is intriguing and definitely gives you the vibe the 70s music scene had, but there was a little something missing for me to truly enjoy it. It is still an enjoyable read, especially perfect for the summer (read it on a beach if you can! I wish I could have).
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