Books & Brews: Jagged Hearts / Starr Hill Double Platinum

Two of my favorite things in the world are books and craft beer.  Out of this grew the idea that maybe pairings aren’t just for the table anymore; perhaps there is a perfect beer for every book . . .

This is an especially exciting installment of Books & Brews because it’s about not only beer and books, but also rock n’ roll.  I recently read the first installment in Lashell Collins’ Jagged Ivory series, Jagged Hearts.  The series follows the lives (and loves) of each member of the rock band Jagged Ivory.  The first book is the story of front man, Noah Ivory and the band manager’s daughter, Mercy.  Mercy has just finished college and is interning with her father’s music management company, shadowing the band’s summer tour.  A Jagged Ivory fan since her early days in college, when they were playing any dive bar they could — this is her dream job.  Except for that whole thing about that one night in college with Noah that she’s certain he doesn’t remember and the pressure from her Dad to apply to law school when the summer is over . . .

Collins’ writing really captures the excitement and pulse of a rock show with the energy of a young heroine searching for her own place in the crowd.  It was impossible to read without feeling swept up in the world that the author created.  I’ve chosen Starr Hill’s Double Platinum IPA as this book’s perfect pair.  The name alone makes it a perfect tie in for the music theme of the book.  It’s got a lot of hop up front, so it comes on strong, just like Noah Ivory does on stage.  Then the beer mellows out nicely in the finish, just as we discover the layers to Noah’s personality through his relationship with Mercy.  It’s a strong, nicely balanced beer to compliment a novel that balances spicy romance with vividly drawn characters.


Lashell was nice enough to answer a few questions about music and writing and favorite beverages for me to include with this post (think of it as a bonus track!):

You did a great job making me feel like I was behind the scenes with the band. How did you research this?

Well, first, thank you for saying that; that makes me happy. To answer your question, I’m actually a fan of reading the autobiographies of rock stars, and I enjoy reading the behind­ the ­scenes accounts of the people who work on the crew and on the backline. You know, the roadies who build the stage, the instrument techs who set up and take care of the gear. The lighting and sound people. That kind of thing fascinates me. So, for research, I read a few different biographies of some of my favorite rock stars, paying close attention to their accounts of actually being onstage. And I did a lot of the crew research online, watching videos of what the roadies and the technicians do before, during and after a show. I also watched a lot of concerts online. Because, you know, when you’re actually at a concert, you’re too busy having the time of your life to do much research!

Is there a band that you follow religiously? One that you have to see every time their tour stops near you?

Yeah, my bio on my website mentions that I’m obsessed with Slash, and that’s pretty accurate. I’ve loved Slash since his Guns N Roses days, but his current band, The Conspirators Featuring Myles Kennedy, is AWESOME! I do follow them religiously in terms of obsessing over the music and stalking them through social media. But I haven’t actually seen them in concert yet (and yes, I’m pouting about that!). But it’s because by the time I went online looking for tickets, they had already been to my area and moved on. But the next tour – I am there!!

Favorite song of all time?

You know … I don’t know how any true music lover can answer this question with any kind of finality to it. There is just so much amazing music out there, it’s impossible to settle on just one song. And it changes according to my mood and what’s going on in my life. But I can give you a short, completely random list. And I say random because my musical tastes are very unapologetically all over the place! They have never been defined by genre or generation. Here it goes:

  • Dream On by Aerosmith
  • Anastasia by Slash
  • Rock With You by Michael Jackson
  • Dance With Me by Orleans
  • Nothing Really Matters by Madonna
  • King of Rock by Run DMC
  • Call Me When You Get This by Corrine Bailey Rae
  • I Love Rock and Roll by Joan Jett
  • Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata by Richard Goode
  • Ribbon in the Sky by Stevie Wonder
  • Let’s Groove by Earth Wind & Fire
  • Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars

Okay, I’m going to stop there or else I’ll just keep going and going and going!

Favorite brew? 

Well, I’m not really an alcoholic beverage type of girl, but my favorite drink is Izze Sparkling Fruit Juice. They have many yummy flavors, and they have bubbles. Which is always fun!

Be sure to check out the whole Jagged Ivory series, available at your online bookstore of choice.  Once you’ve devoured all those, make sure to mark your calendar for the release of the first four installments of her new series The Kelly Family, due out April 30 (with pre-orders starting as early as next week).

Want more awesome-ness about music and writing?  Check out the First Draught chat next Tuesday (April 1, no foolin’).

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