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Songs of Sadness, Songs of Love by Larry Andrews left me with mixed feelings. 

Ryan Graves is the main character and very likeable.  He was struck with an illness when he was a child that left him disabled - his right arm just quit growing.  So as he got older,  he had this short arm that he was always trying to hide and very self conscious of,  sometimes it was too much self consciousness. 

When he enters into middle school,  he is surrounded by new people and he is very aware that his arm may be a hindrance.  This is where the story starts,  and takes us through Ryan's first days as he transforms to his new surroundings,  disturbing teachers,  and a new love interest.  This is where it gets a little hairy for me.  The story jumps around a bit going from Ryan's home life to school to a band that he becomes the lead singer in.  Then we are introduced to Haley Foster,  Ryan's new love interest,  who actually likes him in return.  Haley is a shy girl and seems very confused.  One minute she really likes Ryan,  the next she is brushing him off like she would never want to speak to him again.  The relationship just bounces around a bit with no real detail or transgression at all.  It's there,  then it's not.  We are left wondering why she runs so hot and cold.  There was no chance to see it develop or flourish,  which being a romance novel,  this would have been the thing to see.

Ryan becomes a hit in school when his band plays during an assembly,  and this is where he meets Brooke Kennedy and his future wife.  Still again,  there was no real detailed development of this relationship,  no real connection to these two as a couple.  They dated,  were married,  and then they were off to college where both became teachers.

After college,  the story goes more in depth on Ryan's accomplishments and his intelligence,  and this is where I found the most detail in the story.  When Brooke becomes sick,  I found myself saying,  "Okay,  we're going to a different twist and maybe it will be good,"  but again it fell short of detail and connection.  Ryan is no longer concerned with his arm like he was in middle and high school,  he becomes an accomplished PHD Scholar,  and his marriage falls apart only to be introduced to another love interest,  with no real easing into the relationship.

For me,  a romance novel should introduce a couple or prospective couple and we should be able to watch their relationship grow and feel something for the couple.  I didn't find this with Songs of Sadness,  Songs of Love,  and though this may not have been my cup of tea,  it could very well have been yours.  To me it was okay,  and I give it *** (3) Stars.  ~BK Walker



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