50 Shades of Asparagus, a bizarre book blurb

In response to this contest, where the name of the game was to create a book blurb based on Crayola crayon colors, this is the twisted thing I submitted (note: I edited a bit). Unfortunately I didn’t come close to winning (see winners here), but I did actually get some likes, which is more than I thought this blurb would get due to how warped my imagination is. And no, I don’t plan to write a short story or book based on this cockamamie idea. I have no interest in writing what-so-ever. I’m a reader, not a writer.

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Fifty Shades of Asparagus

Of all the book stores in the world, he had to wander into mine….

Book shop proprietor Lemon is tired of all the same boring men she’s been going out with: jocks, geeks, freaks, drummers, your average joe, they’re all the same after a while. She wants someone different, something different….

Asparagus, or Gus as he’s known, wants a woman, but not just any woman. She has to be smart and funny and kind, but more than that, she has blend well with him. Finding someone like that is an insurmountable feat. It’s not easy being green after all. Or a six-foot tall walking, talking vegetable. Trying to get someone to look past his appearance to the person, so to speak, he is inside has been impossible. It doesn’t help that after Gus’ buds open, his shoot quickly become woody. Talk about embarrassing!

On a miserably rainy evening, feeling down in the dumps after a blind date that ended before it ever began, Gus wanders into Lemon’s bookstore in the hopes of finding a book to take his mind off his troubles. What he finds instead is the zesty morsel he’s been dreaming of all his life. Although he mills between the bookshelves, he can’t keep his mind off the lady of his dreams and wonders futilely what he can do to make her his. Luckily for the morose Gus, he has nothing to worry about, he doesn’t have to do a thing. Yet. When Lemon catches sight of her lone customer, she doesn’t believe what she’s seeing! Her secret fantasy has come to life! She’ll stop at nothing to have….

Fifty Shades of Asparagus

©satilanna
Cross-posted to Repo! The Genetic Blog.

Kindle Review: Alien Invasion of the Zombie Apocalypse

Alien Invasion of the Zombie ApocalypseAlien Invasion of the Zombie Apocalypse by Ford Forkum

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An amusingly abnormal apocalyptic alien adventure awaits!

Alien Invasion of the Zombie Apocalypse tells the tale of a species of bored aliens who spin a wheel to decide which planet they want to invade. Well, guess what lucky planet the wheel landed on this time. Yup, good ol’ Earth. Unfortunately for the Zyrplexians, they pick the wrong day to pick onon the third rock from the Sun and their plans go awry, to say the least, and that’s all I have to say about that. For more, read the story, it’s much more fun that way.

This is goofy, humorous, absurd satiric short story that doesn’t require any deep thinking to read. The ragtag group of characters aren’t written about in any great depth and the plot might rocket by, but that’s part of the story’s charm; there’s no reason these need to be more fully explored (unless it ever expands into a full-length book, naturally). Besides aliens, zombies, and humans, vampires also poke their non-sparkly heads into the fray too. It’s a silly bit of fun that I had a great time reading, with the occasional guffaw bursting forth at a one-liner or nutty situation.

If you like passages such as these:

From inside the warship, they hardly looked like a rabble of troublemaking thugs. They appeared more like a bunch of uniformed teddy bears on a cheer-up mission to planet Lollipop, where they would launch an attack of hugs.

or

“I never would have imagined that if vampires turned out to be real, I’d be more repelled by their personalities than their appetite for human blood.”

…enjoy B-movies, and adore alliterations (all of which are right up my alley), then you might enjoy this off the wall story and the harmless, campy entertainment value it provides.

A bit of trivia: This is the first book I read on my Kindle Touch. I so happy I got a tear in me eye. ;P

Originally Reviewed: September 10, 2012
Received: Kindle freebie

ARC Review: The Wicked and the Just

The Wicked and the JustThe Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wicked and the Just doesn’t have much in the way of a plot, it more focuses on the everyday lives of two very different girls in 13th century Wales, one who’s English and lives inside the walls of Caernarvon, the other a Welsh servant, who lives outside the walls, than on any particular focal point. This changes in the latter part of the book when an event that has been gnawing at the fringes suddenly erupts.

My first impression of Cecily is that she’s a colossal brat. She’s English, thinks she’s better than the Welsh (while also fearing they’re going to kill her) and her so-called “betters” as well, pouts and connives to get her father to do as she wants, complains…a lot, and doesn’t seem to like anyone other than the friends she was forced to leave behind, her father (sometimes), and her dog. But can you blame her if that’s how she was raised and didn’t know any better? My feelings about her ran the gamut, as did her behavior, it had its ups and downs as does just about anyone. She can be quite funny with her sly remarks or thoughts, but she can also be cruel, kind, loathsome, understanding, and pathetic. Everytime I thought I was about to like her, she’d do something terrible and I thought her lower than dirt, then she’d have her eyes opened to see her surroundings and then she didn’t seem so bad. It went like that quite a lot, and by the end, I felt quite bad for her. Gwinny, on the other hand, though while I didn’t like her exactly, I understood her right away and sympathized with her position. She is one angry and vengeful person, who through sheer willpower, somehow manages to hold most of it back. The sections told through her eyes are usually shorter than Cecily’s, but they get right to the point and have enough information that I didn’t feel anything necessary was excluded. The interactions between the two girls are fraught with dislike, loathing, and begrudging understanding, before it all starts over again. Until the last section the characters are the main plot, where after that point the story really explodes into a fast-paced, suspenseful read, which I’ll not spoil if you’re not familiar with that part of history (I wasn’t). You couldn’t tear this book from my hand during these last sixty pages if you tried, I was absolutely riveted. The emotions were high, the situations scary, and more than anything it made me grateful. Grateful to have a roof over my head, grateful for the food I can afford to eat, just grateful all around that I don’t have to live as the Welsh did, as many others did in the course of history. A word of warning, as with changing circumstances in life there is no concrete ending to the story, which suits the book well. It ends while just beginning and I can’t think of a more fitting finish to the story. A good, solid, thought-provoking novel that has a possible crossover appeal to both history-loving teens and adults.

Originally reviewed: September 10
Received: Amazon Vine

Archived Review: Vesper (Deviants, Book One)

Vesper (Deviants, #1)Vesper by Jeff Sampson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The start of VESPERS immediately caught my attention with the transcript of an interview with Emily Webb, the protagonist, and an agent of the mysterious Vesper Company. This led to the first chapter where no time is wasted getting straight to the story. Emily is every introverted, insecure, don’t-make-a-scene-or-stand-out girl out there, which made her very relatable to me; as a teen, I was just like her. Her transformations into Nighttime Emily, as she called herself, were well-done but I felt the author could have stretched a little further than the “wild child” persona he gave Emily during those times. I got a bit bored when she was in that stage and liked when she went back to Daytime Emily, her normal self, much better. At first, I was a little disappointed in where the story actually went, mainly what Emily ended up being (and that’s all I’m saying, no spoilers here), but I accepted and enjoyed it anyway. The middle of the book lagged and I was afraid it would end up an average read, with too much wild behavior and not as much development as I would have liked. However, toward the end the story picked up and kept me riveted; it’s always a good thing for an author to end his or her book on a high note. This isn’t a YA book with romance as its central focus, but it does have its place in the story and doesn’t overwhelm the main plot. The book as a whole could have been deeper than it was, but it’s still a good start to the Deviants series and opened up numerous possibilities, with many unanswered questions for future endeavors. The use of six or so transcripts interspersed throughout the book was a nice element and I quite enjoyed them; the entire book could have easily been written this way. This would probably appeal more to teenagers but some adults would enjoy it as well. I did. THE VESPERS is a breeze to read, briskly-paced, and has a few snicker-worthy moments; maybe it’s not perfect, but it’s far from bad and I had a good time reading it.
3.5 stars

Note: There is some graphic violence, only one scene really, but it’s there.

Originally reviewed: December 10, 2011
Received: Amazon Vine

Archived Review: Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick (Perry & Gobi, #1)Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

My rating: 4 of 5 *****

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is a pure adrenaline rush from start to finish, never letting up for a moment. The tagline: “Ferris Bueller Meets La Femme Nikita in this funny, action-packed young adult novel” pretty much describes it to a T (though I’m sure there are other influences involved too), except in this case the main character, Perry, is closer to Alan Ruck‘s Cameron than Ferris himself. While reading, I couldn’t help but visualize this as a movie, as it’d work very well developed for the big screen. This is definitely a plot-driven book, with less characterization than action, though the author gives just enough to get a sense of who both Perry and the pseudo-foreign-exchange-student-but-in-reality-assassin, Gobi, are that goes beyond two-dimensional. If you’re looking for a realistic book, this isn’t it, but if you’re looking for a wild ride filled with death, violence, rock ‘n’ roll, humor, mystery, and a main character who grows as the night unfolds, give this a shot, it’s loads for fun. A very short book (190 pages), ARCEC is a fast, non-stop action read that would be perfect entertainment if your brain is overworked from work, school, or just every day worries and should appeal to both males and females who enjoy light YA novels.

Originally reviewed: November 7, 2011
Received: Amazon Vine

ARC Review: Unraveling

Unraveling (Unraveling, #1)Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Within the first ten pages of Unraveling, the main character, Janelle Tenner, dies from a runaway pick-up. A fellow student from her school, Ben Michaels, revives her and then runs off before she fully awakens. Convinced there’s more than meets the eye with Ben, Janelle won’t give up trying to figure out how and what he did to her and why she isn’t dead, even facing her best friend’s refusal to believe she died and Ben’s denial of ever resurrecting her. As she pieces together that puzzle, Janelle plays detective on a case her F.B.I. agent father is working on, by rifling through top secret files and eavesdropping, that involves a mysterious countdown and people dying of radiation poisoning, which are somehow connected to the man behind the wheel of the vehicle that hit her and possibly even to Ben as well.

The author did a great job setting up the story with a slow build that introduces Janelle’s life, both at home and at school, along with any free time she may have, and accelerates once it hits the halfway point until it reaches the book’s climactic ending. In particular, the development of her home life was interesting and had depth. She has a mother who’s bi-polar and not “there” most of the time and a father who seemingly avoids dealing with the realities of his wife’s mental illness by being a workaholic, so all the household responsibilities fall on Janelle’s shoulders. She takes care of her family and does the majority of the cleaning, cooking, laundry, and most importantly of all, being a mother to her younger brother, Jared. She makes sure he does his homework, has meals, and gets to school on time. What’s nice about their relationship is that he actually respects his sister and there isn’t much in the way of petty arguments, which was refreshing. I liked the whole interrelationships of the core family: Janelle, Jared, and their father. They all loved each other, faults and all, and even adding in the situation that Janelle’s mother is in, they felt like a genuine family. Adding to that, both Alex (Janelle’s best friend and my favorite character) and Struz (her dad’s partner/friend) were a part of the family too. If there was anything that stood out in the book for me, it was how people related to each other in it, for good or ill. I loved Alex and Janelle’s friendship, again it was really authentic, and they were just that, best friends. No romantic agenda going on, no secret one-sided yearning, only true friendship where they looked out for one another.

Janelle herself was a strong character, but not so strong she never showed her feelings. She could be quick-tempered, but usually for good reason, she stood up for herself when necessary, and was sensible, so while she could be judgmental and at times conceited, those flaws made her realistic. Nobody’s perfect. The experiences she’s had to live through have molded her, so every action and reaction she made made perfect sense to who she is, whether it’s flying off the handle or falling into pieces. While I can’t say I ever totally liked her, I understood and respected her; there aren’t many YA characters I can say that about. Every character in the book had their own identity, whether they had a small role to play or a bigger one, so there was no confusion to who they were. Ben, the mysterious “stoner”, is of course the love interest. He could have been more fully fleshed out, but I still got a basic idea of who he was and he’s at least a nice guy, which is a novel idea these days. The love story between Janelle and Ben felt like it could actually happen that way. The chemistry between the two was well-written so the magnetic attraction between them is palpable. I remember how it is to be a teenager (scary but true), and I hate to be such a broken record, but it felt realistic. Do I think it was love? No, not yet, but they have a connection and it’s a start towards something serious.

The plot is intriguing and has a lot of good ideas that generally mesh well together. Each short chapter, some less than a page long, features numbers counting down to the big event that’s at the core of the novel. I’m not going to go into details since it’d be too hard to do without giving anything away, but I will say that I enjoyed how the story was told and how it unfolded. While this is sci-fi, it’s light on the ‘sci’ part and not everything is explained as well as it could be, but hopefully the sequel will tackle some of the bigger components. Most of my complaints are trivial: the ending was rushed for an almost 450 page book, there was a passing comment about AAA that wasn’t right, the phrase ‘junior detective’ was used just a little too much, an info dump that would have worked better as dialogue, and a couple of other inconsistencies that hopefully were caught before the final copy was printed. However, I admit to some ire at an event that happened at the end, I just didn’t feel there was any need for it plot-wise and thought it total overkill. That was unfortunate but overall I still enjoyed the book cover to cover. A solid four-star book that’s a cut above the rest and left me looking forward to the sequel.

Originally reviewed: August 15
Received: Amazon Vine

ARC Review: The Titanic for Dummies

The Titanic for DummiesThe Titanic for Dummies by Stephen Spignesi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars
Chock-full of facts that range from the building of the Titanic to the 1985 expedition when it was finally found to why the ship’s legacy still lives on, THE TITANIC FOR DUMMIES is a nicely arranged, easy to read history for those who either have a passing interest or intermediate knowledge of the Titanic. Although aficionados on the infamous ocean liner most likely won’t find anything new between the covers.

The author wrote this with the intent that each section could be read both straight-through or out of order, which can make it slightly repetitive if read front to back (as I did) or too quickly. I found that reading only a chapter or two at a time was a more enjoyable experience overall and kept me from getting overwhelmed by all the information. The writing is clear, easy to understand, and all encompassing to anything related to the Titanic. I enjoyed reading about some of the ludicrous myths, in which the author debunks most of them, the list of recommended documentaries to see, and well, most everything. I only noticed a few minuscule errors, most of which did not involve Titanic history and were mainly grammar, but nothing worth mentioning. The only negative I can find to the book is the lack of pictures, it only features three pages of color photographs, and a few more added diagrams of the ship. Throughout the book’s text there also could have been more black and white photos included. The most glaring exclusion from the book is that there is no picture of the “Big Piece”, a 15×25 foot, 20-ton piece of the hull that had been salvaged from the wreck site and was mentioned extensively throughout the book. I would have welcomed the addition instead of hopping online to see a picture of the famous piece. Also, at one time there was a table of Titanic’s ten decks, with descriptions and what rooms were on those decks, that would have been better served with a diagram of the ship to help those of us who are more visually-inclined. Those are fairly minor complaints in comparison to the breadth of material this book covers however.

Highly informative, concise, and written for anyone of any age, I would recommend The Titanic for Dummies to anyone interested in learning more about the Titanic, it’s a great primer that has left me more knowledgeable about a subject I’ve always been fascinated by.

Click here for some great photographs taken by passenger, Father Francis Browne, who disembarked from the Titanic when it docked in Cobh (then Queenstown), Ireland.

Originally reviewed: June 28
Received: Amazon Vine

ARC Review: The Taken (Celestial Blues, No. 1)

The Taken (Celestial Blues, #1)The Taken by Vicki Pettersson

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Even though I’m not especially fond of angels, I decided to try out this new series based on my previous experiences with Vicki Pettersson’s work. Sadly, after an intriguing first chapter, any enjoyment I may have expected never came knocking (guess it was too busy knockin’ on heaven’s door).

Meet one of the two main characters, rockabilly girl Katherine “Kit” Craig. She’s an eternally optimistic and peppy reporter whose best friend and co-worker, Nicole, was just murdered while following a lead. Our other MC is a haunted Centurion angel named Griffin Shaw who ushers the newly murdered into the afterlife, otherwise known as the Everlast, while bemoaning the murders of both himself and his wife Evie back in 1960. After making a mistake concerning Nicole, he’s been sent back to earth as a human with some angelic senses still intact. Kit and Grif soon meet up and begin investigating the circumstances around Nicole’s death, whilst Griffin seeks out any details involving his own.


Problem Number One

The Cardboard Characters
Character development is supposed to unfold over the course of a book, in this case it actually appeared to deteriorate as the book went on. Kit never developed into anything but one of those annoyingly chipper people you just want to hit with a sledgehammer, while Grif started promisingly enough but then stagnated. They were both very shallow characterizations, and on top of that, I never understood Kit’s actions or reactions to just about anything. I never felt her sadness about her best friend’s death, whom she rarely gave a passing thought, believed she was smart (by the end, I thought her a dolt), or seem in any way human with nary a rational thought in her head. About mid-way through the book, Grif tells her he’s an angel after they kiss, so what does she do? Does she a) run away screaming, b) think he’s a few feathers short of a goose and tell him to get hell out of her house and life, or c) have a calm Q&A session followed by giving him a whatfor that consists of “I won’t kiss you again” and “you’re watching me walk out that door (in her own house) because you can’t handle any emotion blah, blah, blah by pretending you’re an angel” and then proceed to attend a charity event wherein she acts and converses normally, like nothing happened? If you picked “c” *ding ding ding*, you’re a winner! Because as we all know, any sensible guy will pull out the “I’m an angel” trick and expect a woman to believe him. *rolls eyes* Never was it ever crystal clear if Kit thought Grif was either crazy or a liar. It was all a bit hazy, but what can you expect from someone we’re never allowed to know? All we discern is she dresses and lives (somewhat) rockabilly, but it’s all a veneer to her hollowness inside, which led me to dub her Rockabilly Barbie.

Because that’s all she is and nothing more. The only character that I found a little more well-rounded was the secondary character Bridget Moore and the two Centurions introduced close to the end. Everyone else was either forgettably two-dimensional or they were a caricature, a la Caleb Chambers and Paul Raggio.


Problem Number Two:

The Relationship(s)
I’m expected to believe in a possible relationship between Grif and Rockabilly Barbie Kit, but there’s not much there to believe in. Like the characters, it was shallow with the same descriptions reiterated over and over again. Basically it’s a case of telling instead of showing. I felt no love, maybe some attraction, but that’s all she wrote. Likewise I never bought that Kit and Paul could ever have gotten far enough to be married, they were just too different. Most people don’t do a 180 after they get married, the seed of who Paul really was deep down inside would have already been there and if Kit was even a fraction astute, she should have caught that. All this served was to be a plot point in the book.


Problem Number Three:

The Plot(s)
The main plot involving Nicole’s death and Chambers had a “been there, done that” quality to it. The plot didn’t shock me or seem like anything new, I’ve come across the same before or at least plots that were very close, and it wasn’t even told in a fresh way. So I wasn’t as affected by anything in the book as I probably should have been, partially due to the indifference I felt and the fact that I figured out everything long before the author dropped, what I guess she thought, were informational bombshells.
The book had three major plotlines: Grif and Evie’s deaths, Nicole’s death/prostitution ring, and Grif and the Pure Anas’ philosophical moments. They weren’t juggled well at all. Ms. Pettersson should have picked only one and paid more attention to developing that specific plot and the characters. The scenes with Anas (or Anne) especially didn’t mesh with the other stories and felt as if the author was overreaching the boundaries set up by the book. One scene in particular was extremely bizarre and pointless to the book as a whole.
Where was the noir? I’ve seen enough film noirs to know it ain’t here.


Problem Number Four

The Ending
What happened at the end is what I’d expect in a book that’s exclusively romance and not in a mystery/urban fantasy hybrid, which made the rushed ending seem even more ridiculous and sappy. It was incredibly unbelievable to the story and didn’t seem to set up the next book in any way. Also, one of the plotlines was all but left dangling with no foreshadowing or anything. Poor, poor, poor execution. Don’t expound on a storyline if you’re not going to finish it up or at least leave it dangling in a way that makes the reader want to come back. All that boring set-up for a completely stupid and cheesy ending. I expected rainbows and unicorns to pop out at any moment.

Overall the book felt more like a rough copy than a finished one and definitely could have used a few more goings over. Several descriptions were rushed and chaotic or simply poorly done so that I was scrambling to picture what was going on. The book is almost 400 pages and it is simply too long. With so many storylines, I’m not sure how they managed to both crawl and have very little action at the same time. I was going to give this two stars because I didn’t hate the book, that would imply that it elicited any feelings what-so-ever, but the truth of the matter is that there isn’t one thing I really liked about the book either. The only way I’d read a sequel to the bafflingly-named Celestial Blues series is if it featured different leads like the aforementioned Centurions, and even then I’d cautiously dip my toes into the book.

Originally reviewed: June 29
Received: Amazon Vine

Review: Vixen (Flappers, No. 1)

Vixen (Flappers, #1)Vixen by Jillian Larkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.75 stars

Once upon a time there were three beautiful girls who went to the best schools (and speakeasies), and they were each assigned booze and clothes that are the cat’s meow. But the flapper lifestyle took them into different directions and now they work to find out who they are and what makes them truly happy. My name is Vixen.

And so you’ve been introduced to the first installment of The Flappers series Charlie’s Angels’ style (the best I was able to come up with anyway).

Meet our Angels Vixens:

Gloria
She’s the one who has it all: the name, riches, looks, clothes, a handsome fiancee, everything comes easily to her, and everybody seemingly loves her. But this poor little rich girl isn’t so happy after all and so she begins to rebel.

Clara
Burned by her former flapper lifestyle, she’s now trying to start over as “Country Clara” without her sordid past coming to light. So has she turned into a goody-two shoes or is it just part of a grander scheme? Only time will tell.

Lorraine
Jealous of best friend, Gloria, she’s desperate to step out of Glo’s shadow to become the center of attention as an individual.

Before getting to my review, there are a few questions that should be addressed:
Is this great literature? No.
Will this book change your life? No.
Will you learn anything from reading this book? No. Well, maybe some twenties’ slang.
Is this book accurate to the period. No, there are some liberties, but it’s good enough as wallpaper to the players and scenes.
Is this book entertaining beyond belief? A resounding YES!

VIXEN is very easy to read and captured my attention from the first page, and while it may not be the best book ever, I had a lot of fun reading it. While there’s nothing glaringly obvious anachronism-wise, I did question some word choices, phrases, and actions, but overall they were easy to overlook and I likened it to watching A Knight’s Tale starring Heath Ledger. Written in third-person, each chapter focuses on one the three girls’ point-of-view, starting with Gloria and continuing with Clara and then Lorraine, throughout the book until the end.

As for the characters, Clara (named after Ms. Clara Bow?) was definitely my favorite to read about, she’s recovering from the aftereffects of her life in New York City (which includes a boy of course), and is trying her best to leave the past behind her and move on with her life. Her story had a lot to offer and she felt like a real person who had made mistakes and was now left dealing with the repercussions. Lorraine was a trainwreck you can’t take your eyes off of, and while I can’t say I liked her, I felt sorry for her. She tries way too hard to stand out and ends up making herself look pathetic; if she keeps it up she’ll turn into a very ugly person whom everyone hates. Forget Gloria, Lorraine is the “real” poor little rich girl of the book. She’s in the middle of making all the wrong decisions and we’re along for the journey, which made her multidimensional and interesting to read about as well. Gloria was my least favorite, mainly because I don’t think the author knew quite how to write her. At one moment Gloria seemed like a good girl rebelling, but then there would be moments where she was a real bitch and those two aspects just didn’t gel into a cohesive whole. Now if she was seemingly sweet on the outside and really was a conniving bitch underneath, then I’d be on board or at least would get it. But she wasn’t that type of bitch and she wasn’t Alexis Carrington-bitchy (or insert less-dated reference here) either. How she was written made her look more like Sybil and didn’t render me to sympathize with her at all. It didn’t help that I felt she was too close to a Mary-Sue for my liking. I don’t like perfect or near-perfect characters, they’re boring and so was she. What was her motivation for anything, such as singing? Was that always a dream or did it just now come about? Is her recent behavior only happening because she’s unhappy? Sorry, but there’s just not enough there to make me care about this character. Gloria needed to be more fleshed out to make her feel like a real human, with real thoughts in her head and real feelings, and not a cliched cardboard cut-out.

The love aspects of the novel were fairly glossed over, mainly Gloria and Jerome’s story, and felt more like teenage hormones than actual real love.
“I don’t know you but you’re hot and I love you.”
“Nothing will keep us apart!”
“We’ll be together forever!”

Which is too bad because I like the idea of an interracial romance taking place in the 1920’s, it could have been fantastic, but instead was tepid and generally unromantic. It didn’t help that half the duo was boring old Gloria and the other half never developed beyond the fact that he’s a black musician who’s forbidden to her due to the color of his skin. I wished for more impact and still hope for that in the next installment of the series. Clara’s budding relationship with Marcus was far more realistic because they actually had conversations *gasp* and was well-paced. The relationships between the girls were touch and go, sometimes they felt authentic, then at other times interactions appeared too advanced to where the relationship had last left off; it was like there were scenes edited out in chunks. The same could be said of the developing romance between Gloria and Jerome.

So a few things bothered me in the book, such as the issue I had with every girl who wasn’t one of the main trio being cattily described, i.e. eyes are close together, that color makes her look sallow, etc. Can we get over doing that already? That’s not encouraging good behavior. A little more positivity would be a refreshing change. Another thing that annoyed me was at one point, the crap hit the fan and *minor spoiler* Gloria’s career as a torch singer, which she’s naturally perfect at (of course), came out into the open. So who does she immediately blame? Her best friend, Lorraine of course, whom she slaps! And who to this point Gloria had no provocation to even think it’d be her who had spilled the beans. Lorraine had not done anything to deserve Gloria’s wrath, or at least nothing she knew about yet, so I don’t know if the author had forgotten that fact or what. It did not make any kind of sense because there were other people who knew what Gloria was up to and others who could have easily found out. To me it was sloppy writing. What kind of friend does that make Gloria anyway? Not one I’d like, who always thinks the worst of her best friend without any miniscule proof of guilt. Told ya she was a bitch. **END SPOILER** There were some minor editing inaccuracies, such as when Gloria’s dress goes from gold sequined to red in less than a page (pages 74-5) but nothing too overt to jar me out of the book altogether. Lastly, perhaps there was a bit too much twenties’ slang that wasn’t always incorporated into the text as smoothly as possible.

Overall, the plots were well-done and moved along at a brisk enough pace that I never got bored. The ending unfolded so that it tied up the multiple plotlines while still keeping plenty of loose ends for the sequel. So, a lot of the book is superficial, in some cases there are caricatures instead of characters, and it is a shallow interpretation of the Roaring Twenties, I don’t care, the book is just plain fun and sometimes that’s all I need. And while I can’t say I loved this book and it totally lived up to its beautiful cover (seriously that dress is gorgeous, though I could do without the pit shot), I was suitably entertained and will read the sequels to find out what happens next, while I keep up the hope that Gloria will turn into a real, live girl.
Originally reviewed: July 8
Received: Local library