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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Play For Me by Celine Keating (Book Review)

In association with Premier Virtual Author Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Play For Me by author Celine Keating!

Book Review

Play For Me by Celine Keating
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Format: Paperback - 217 pages
               Kindle - 1699 KB
               Nook - 3 MB
ISBN: 978-1631529726
BNID: 978-1631529733
Genre: Literary Fiction / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Premier Virtual Author Book Tours. 

Book Description:

It happens without warning: At a folk-rock show at her son’s college, Lily becomes transfixed by the guitarist’s unassuming onstage presence and beautiful playing—and with his final note, something within her breaks loose.

After the concert, Lily returns to her comfortable life—an Upper West Side apartment, a job as a videographer, and a kind if distracted husband—but she can’t stop thinking about the music, or about the duo’s guitarist, JJ. Unable to resist the pull of either one, she rashly offers to make a film about the band in order to gain a place with them on tour. But when Lily dares to step out from behind her camera, she falls deep into JJ’s world—upsetting the tenuous balance between him and his bandmate, and filling a chasm of need she didn’t know she had.

Captivating and provocative, Play for Me captures the thrill and heartbreak of deciding to leave behind what you love to follow what you desire.

Praise For Play For Me by Céline Keating 

“The author’s writing is exquisite and she was able to put together the story of a woman’s search for self and purpose, one with depth and complexity.”- Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous Blog

“With a background as a music reviewer, Keating combines the soul-searching of Eat, Pray, Love with the rock ’n’ roll fable of Almost Famous to create a novel of midlife crisis with music at its core.”-Booklist

“Play for Me: “A best story of love, lust, and forgiveness.”- The Culturalist

“Play for Me is a serious, moving, and utterly delightful portrait of a woman wavering between the bonds of fidelity and the pull of desire. Céline Keating knows as much about the world of folk/rock music as she does about the workings of the heart.”- Hilma Wolitzer, author Summer Reading and An Available Man

Book Excerpt:

You can read the first part of this excerpt at
Chapter One: Excerpt Three
           “A digital video cam!” Stephen removed the camera from the box. “It’s not top-of-the-line, but for what you’d use it for, I thought this was just about perfect.”
           “Wow, incredible!” Why would he think she’d want a camera when she could borrow one anytime?
           “You haven’t been able to do anything artistic all these years. I think you’ve been a bit bored. Unchallenged.”
           Lily knew anyone with a real creative drive would have managed to find time.
           “Now’s your chance, with Colby gone.”
           “I don’t know what to say. I’m just stunned.”
           “I knew you’d be overwhelmed!” He pulled out the manual. “Let me show you a few things.”
Lily had been a film student in college, but that was because it had been such a cool major. She hadn’t truly been serious, had she? She couldn’t remember the last time she had even thought about making her own films. She should tell him they should return it.
           “Lily?” His voice had a plea in it; his face had lost some of his animation. “I don’t mean to pressure you to be arty. You can just have fun.”
           She moved the camera out of the way and wrapped her arms around him. “It’s an amazing gift. So incredibly thoughtful of you.” She wouldn’t suggest they return it after all.
           So here she was, two weeks later, lugging the camera along with her suitcase, going to visit Colby while Stephen stayed home and worked on a grant proposal. She assumed Stephen had instigated the invitation from Colby by letting on that she’d been depressed since he’d left home. The train ride was pleasant, the Hudson playing peekaboo out the window, small towns and suburbs whizzing by, and Colby at the end, reaching for her suitcase, giving her a hug, already looking more mature than when he’d left only three weeks before. He even tolerated it when she smoothed a curl from his forehead.
           “There’s this cool bookstore-café I thought we’d have lunch. I borrowed a friend’s car.” He loped ahead to a beat-up Volvo; the inside stank of sweat and corn chips. They drove past boarded-up storefronts and along a thread of river lined with spunky trees. In the bookstore, filled with chic, intense young people, lunch was a shared platter of hummus and vegetables and pita and olives and a slice of scrumptious spinach pie. Even the coffee was good.
           Afterward, they walked around campus and Colby pointed out where he had classes. “Mom, you wouldn’t believe how challenging and interesting the courses are. Not like high school. And get this—when the weather’s good, we do classes outside!”
           His face—like his father’s, normally pale beneath his freckles—was flushed. He had always been shy, but he had found his niche, she thought. One day some perceptive girl would fall madly in love with him. With him, at least, she had done a job she could be proud of.
           He shoved her gently onto a bench and handed her a card. “Happy birthday!”
           She opened the card and a ticket fell out. “What’s this?”
           “My surprise. Tonight, this very night, James Taylor is playing—the school is honoring him. Another band opening.”
           Lily had played James Taylor songs for Colby as far back as the cradle. He liked sharing music with her, even through adolescence, when he introduced her to progressive folk singers like Dar Williams. Lily thought his taste was unusual for a boy his age, but he told her this was what the “alt” types were into.
           At her motel, just a few blocks from campus, she found herself humming “Carolina in My Mind” as she showered, remembering singing it as she pushed Colby’s baby carrier with her foot. She’d had an OK voice once; she’d sung in her high school choir. But when she became pregnant she began to get winded, her voice hoarse and wheezy. “Your body is going through changes,” her obstetrician explained. “After you give birth it might reverse itself, but right now you have asthma.”
           Asthma? From pregnancy? But the asthma never went away. The medication affected her vocal chords, and she was left with a limited range. It was a range that James Taylor’s songs fell into, so she sang to Colby and rocked away. She joked that she had lost a voice and gained a son. It was a trade she never regretted.
           When was the last time she’d gone to a rock concert? she wondered, as she walked through campus to meet Colby. Ten years earlier? Twenty? There had been a time when concerts were the high point of her life—when had that changed? She hardly listened to the radio anymore.
*   *   *
           The auditorium was packed, loud, buzzing, working up a head of steam. Lily was suddenly aware of how much older she was than most of the audience. Not that anyone noticed or cared; she was clearly invisible. Still, she wished she had packed something dressier than her black pullover and pants, or at least brought some funky jewelry. The boys all looked so young, so . . . raw, somehow. She could almost smell the testosterone. And the girls—so pretty, so confident in their bodies. Why was it that when she was their age, slender and pretty herself, she hadn’t felt that way? She slid lower in her seat.
This excerpt continues on May 23 at

My Book Review:

Play For Me is a compelling women's fiction story that easily draws the reader into the drama and emotions that come with the complexity of life, the dynamics of relationships, learning to confront one's past, making choices, and moving forward. Set in New York City, the reader can't help but get drawn into Lily's story as she discovers that the empty nest lifestyle is not what she wants, so she embarks on a personal midlife journey of self-discovery and a chance to follow her desire and find happiness.

Author Celine Keating weaves an intriguing women's fiction story that will easily keep the reader engaged and turning the pages. This wonderfully realistic story provides much food for thought as Lily has choices to make, and tries to figure out what she really wants in life in order to fulfill her desire and find happiness. Lily's story has a great mixture of humor, drama, angst, heartbreak, and crazy trials and tribulations, but her journey of personal discovery is realistic, compelling, and very empowering, it is the kind of story that anyone can relate to, and you can't help but cheer Lily on as she finds her way and embraces her true self.

Play For Me is a wonderful women's fiction story of personal self-discovery, and learning to make difficult choices in order to move forward in one's life.


About The Author

Céline Keating is the author of novels Layla (2011) and Play for Me (2015), which was a finalist in the International Book Awards, the Indie Excellence Awards, and the USA Book Awards. Céline is also the co-editor of On Montauk: A Literary Celebration (2016).

Her short fiction has been published in many literary magazines, including Appearances, Echoes, Emry’s Journal, Mount Hope, The North Stone Review, Prairie Schooner, and the Santa Clara Review. Céline’s short story “Home” received the first-place 2014 Hackney Award for Short Fiction. Céline is also a music journalist whose work has appeared in, Guitar World, and Acoustic Guitar magazines.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page
Book Buzz Promo Page

Virtual Book Tour Event

Tour Schedule:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Apr 7 Kickoff & Giveaway

Infinite House of Books Apr 10 Interview & Excerpt

Indie Review Behind the Scenes Apr 21 Video Interview

Second Book to the Right Apr 24 Excerpt

Jersey Girl Book Reviews May 3 Review & Excerpt

Totally Addicted to Reading May 5 Review & Guest Post

Urban Book Reviews May 8 Review & Interview

Jean Amazon Reviewer May 10 Review

Nanja Amazon Reviewer May 11 Review

Turning The Pages May 15 Review & Giveaway

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus May 16 Review

Precisely Mine May 18 Review

Celticlady’s Reviews May 23 Excerpt & Giveaway

Lisa Amazon Reviewer May 31 Review


  1. Life presents some difficult choices and this story sounds very realistic.
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. Hi Sherry! Thank you for stopping by my blog, I appreciate it. Hope you get a chance to read the book.

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed 'Play For Me'!

    1. Hi Teddy Rose! Thank you for the opportunity to host Play For Me, loved the book! :)