July 11, 2023

Book Review: How (Not) to Date a Pop Star

Before starting this book, I made the mistake of looking at its reviews on GoodReads-  where it had 2 stars.  The book hadn’t been released yet when I read it and most of the complaints were that it was “obviously a book from WattPad”, I’m not really sure how to tell (aside from it saying so on the cover) but I’m not sure the harsh reviews were warranted.  There were some timeline issues and I had a bit of confusion if it was taking place in present day or not based on some of the slang used (“Go Home Roger” screams 90s Sister/Sister to me?) but nothing that I couldn’t end up working out.

Obviously as a pop music fan the goal was *always* to date a Pop Star.  This story is about Aaliyah and her best friend Tyler.  They were best friends growing up – Tyler a singer, Aaliyah a dancer.  Tyler ended up going off and becoming a popstar leaving Aaliyah behind.  Tyler ends up coming home for a visit, reconnecting with Aaliyah and interrupting her life completely.

It’s not a good book without some drama, right?  So add in some Russian mobsters who are trying to shake down Tyler’s Dad for some money and Aaliyah gets all wrapped up in their mess.

Tyler just wants to get back to a normal life and doesn’t really want to disrupt Aaliyah’s life, but a lot of things end up getting turned upside down and the two have to decide if they want each other or their careers.  Add in some high school mean girls…

It was a cute book and a quick read I enjoyed.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Aaliyah Preston and Tyler Moore were best friends growing up. Tyler played and wrote music, and Aaliyah brought that music to life through dance. They were convinced their lives would change forever after entering a TV talent show, but when Aliyah’s mom ended up in hospital, Tyler had to go alone–and won. Suddenly, he was thrust into the spotlight while she was left behind in their small, seaside town.

Several years later, Tyler is the hottest pop star on the planet, and Aaliyah has her heart set on following in her mom’s footsteps and attending the Boston Conservatory to study dance. However, her future becomes hazy when Tyler suddenly comes back home, and wants to make up for all the years they lost–and even plan a future that includes the two of them together.

While Tyler may have a lavish lifestyle and fans all the world over, he isn’t happy. What he really wants is a chance at a normal life, and he wants Aaliyah to be part of that life. However, family drama, including long buried secrets about both of their fathers, threaten any plans for their futures. But like the best pop songs, when the music and the lyrics come together everything works in perfect harmony. Tyler and Aaliyah will need to write a new duet without giving up on their dreams.

Hot Springs, AR July 2023

At the end of 2021, I decided to go to Arkansas to see Kris Allen thinking that since Hanson had never done a proper show in Arkansas before, it wasn’t likely they would.  However in February they announced a July 1 show in Hot Springs, AR at a water park.  It seemed like a fun idea at the time, I snagged some tickets before my friends could even agree to going or not as I was in whether they were or not.  Of course once the time rolled around we realized the temperatures were high and we would be in for a H-O-T weekend.

I headed up to the airport at 2:30am, only for the valet staff to welcome me back and comment that I was there all the time and offer me a VIP parking spot for my next time there lol (Which actually won’t be until November, as of right now anyway, so I’m sure they will forget!)  The airport seemed especially busy for 4am, but I made it to my gate and to Charlotte without a hitch. There was no wheelchair in Charlotte but fortunately the gates were close so I didn’t need to flag anyone down and I made it to Little Rock on time.  My friend’s flight was supposed to be coming in a bit later and ended up slightly delayed, so I waited in bag claim for her to show up. We teased we should stay there all day instead of out in the heat (It was “feels like” 114!) and see if we could spot a Hanson, but opted to get the rental car and find a quick bite to eat in Little Rock before we headed to Hot Springs.  (Funnily enough they posted a video of them arriving taken not too far from where I was stationed waiting for my friend to arrive.)

We ended up going to Freddy’s, which had a sign on the door that said “Just so you know, we have no soda”, we went in anyway to find a sticky note over the lemonade that said “Don’t Work” and tried to get Diet Dr Pepper and it worked, so just so you know, you do have some soda.  The bathroom was also barricaded off, but once we finished eating it no longer was so we tried to go down the hallway to use it only to be told it wasn’t actually able to be used. Get it together, Freddy’s!

There was no real plan for the day, but we had a list of a few things we might like to check out so we started with driving by Bill Clinton’s childhood home which was not too far out of the way from where we were going.  My friend asked if Spotify had a playlist of Bill Clinton playing Saxophone, but when I went to search I instead found a playlist called “Songs Bill Clinton would bop to” that we found to be a pretty decent playlist that we used for the weekend. (We also tried “Songs Bill Clinton listens to in the bath” but couldn’t get into it)  We did end up finding the childhood home pretty easily.  It’s a cute Tudor house.  The neighborhood was strange as some houses were gorgeous and some were boarded up and then there were some adorable cottages too.  There’s one main drag in Hot Springs that has all the bath houses and tourist attractions.  We drove down it a few times but parking was scarce and walking in 100+ degree temps didn’t sound like any fun.  We ended up going to the Mountain Tower next and despite the heat went up to the top.  Fortunately up so high there were some winds which made it seem not as bad as it really was and we were able to scope out the theme park from up above. I also got myself some pennies.  When we were leaving we spotted someone left their wallet outside, so my friend ran it back in and we joked that was our good deed for the day and hopefully it would get us some good karma.  Leaving the mountain tower and on our way to the hotel we spotted one of the fountains to get spring water from, which were incredibly popular and we figured we had to try the water. The fountains filled the bottles VERY fast and the water wasn’t really anything to write home about.  Once we got to the hotel room I ended up shooting it out my nose.  Do not recommend.  After settling in a bit and decided we’d go try to find a few murals (there was a baseball one and also some wings – as much as I’d have liked to be in the one with the wings, it was on the side of the building on a steep hill so we opted to just take a photo out the car window instead.)  We then decided depending on parking we would either go to an Ecuadorian restaurant to see my friend’s friend performing or we’d go to a brewery in one of the the bathhouses, because where else could you do that?  The Ecuadorian restaurant won, but once we arrived we realized it was up a ton of stairs.  One of the guys working sent us to a different set of stairs that weren’t quite as scary and when we made it to the top, he was performing a Taylor Swift song.  The trifecta was complete – hot hot heat, tons of stairs and Taylor Swift – welcome to HELL.  (I did enjoy the rest of his set a lot though, it was mostly 90s covers)

The next day we got up and got ready for the park and headed down to the breakfast area. We didn’t realize that we probably should have lined up earlier for the omelet station as it ended up taking nearly an hour.  Magic Springs was not far away, we parked, made it inside and were able to rent a scooter.  We started to do a loop of the park and decided to ride whatever we saw on the way.  First was The Gauntlet – a roller coaster.  We got the scooter inside and were told to stay there as the exit was stairs.  My friend helped me into the seat and we were off.  This was one that you knock your head around on a lot which wasn’t fun, but I was glad that the motion sickness medicine did work and the ride was fun.  But when we got off I could barely stand up I was so dizzy!  Next up we drove the old timey cars because they were shaded and then we ended up riding on a train roller coaster called Big Bad John.  Even though we took a shaded water break (where I ended up caving to peer pressure from American Airlines and paying to change my flight from a layover in Charlotte to a layover in Dallas) the heat was getting to us.  At this point we decided to take a break and hit up the ice cream shop that was airconditioned and get a dole whip.  I think we waited too long to take this break and after we finished our dole whip we decided our next stop would be the air conditioned Mexican restaurant which we ended up staying in for most of the day as once that peak afternoon sun hit we were miserable.  At 3 we ended up getting VIP passes to enter the concert area early but they weren’t giving away any more M&Gs and then we decided it was time for icees.  (I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so many ice cream and frozen treats in one day before and it was not at all how young me would have envisioned it)  We ended up heading back to the Mexican restaurant for a snack and to have our icees until it was time to head to the concert area.

I was surprised when I showed up with the scooter no one had any idea what to do with it.  Surely I wasn’t the first person to ever show up for the show in one?!  But we got that settled and got to our seats and not so patiently waited for the opening band Huckleberry Jam to take the stage.  We were so miserable this was going to break or break the evening, but they were decent which was a plus.  Before Hanson even took the stage, we were wanting the show to be over because we were just DONE which had absolutely never happened to either of us before.  Several times I counted how many songs they had done to figure out when they would be finishing up and was disappointed when I only counted 10 meaning we were only about halfway through the set.  Will I say no to outdoor summer festival type shows in the future? Probably not.  Should I?  Probably.  Also it is worth noting that somehow Isaac wore a denim jacket the entire show.  I had a fan blowing on my face for half the show and was still overheating. How did he do it?!  The only time I ended up standing for the show was when they appropriately did “Roller Coaster Love” for the encore.  Yes, I did feel the heat on the rise and I didn’t love any part of that.

After the show we wanted nothing more than to get back to the hotel.  We ended up hitting up the gift shop and getting some vitamin water (needed to hydrate!) and some Reeses’s ice cream only to be pleasantly surprised while we were snacking to see Zac walk in! He gave us a wave and then other fans went to talk to him before he went upstairs.  Isaac came through next and we debated going to try and get a photo with him but we weren’t sure he actually saw us.  Taylor ended up coming in last and so we did end up getting a photo with him and chatting for a bit about how miserable the heat was.  Guess we did get some good karma from returning that wallet? Also thank you to that hotel for being the only one that wasn’t off the wall expensive that had an ADA room available!

The next day we were going to take the Trolley tour, but since I now had an earlier flight out that got scrapped and we got breakfast and headed to Little Rock to the airport.  I got to Dallas without any issue and found out that my flight to Charlotte from Little Rock had been delayed by 1 hour so I thought I had made the right choice, but once I got to Dallas and started tracking the incoming plane I realized it kept getting more and more delayed.  We ended up delayed about 30 minutes and then the time we were taking off and the time the incoming plane was coming in was getting to be very far apart.  When we had a gate change from A to D I realized they must have snagged us a different plane but getting assistance from A to D was difficult and fortunately I had several hours to get there because the cart drivers didn’t really care at ALL that people had places they needed to be and were just doing whatever they wanted despite being asked several times to take the people waiting.  In the end, we were delayed leaving about an hour and I ended up landing about 15 minutes before the flight from Charlotte would have so it was fine except that I was out the extra money I had to pay to change the flight because it was only free to switch if I stayed in Arkansas an extra 2 days which I was definitely not going to be doing.

In the end I didn’t get a new overall state but I did get Hanson state #31. And we survived, but only just.  And now I bet they’ll add Arkansas as an indoor venue on their next tour, right? That’s how it always seems to go. (But if you’re going to do that, please add Montana too?)



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