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 clo3.75 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 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* (view 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 (hide 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.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
That was my initial thought after turning the final page of Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later.
As a pre-teen, I was add"What a stupid book."
That was my initial thought after turning the final page of Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later.
As a pre-teen, I was addicted to the Sweet Valley High series, and then later, the Sweet Valley University series as well. Before that even, I had read some of the Twins and Kids series, so when I heard this was coming out last year, I just knew I had to read it. I was excited beyond compare and went into full geek-out mode. Where are the perfect size-six Wakefield twins, and their friends and enemies, now? What are their occupations? Who are they dating or who'd they marry? And my questions kept going on and on. What has inspired this obsession? It's not like these books were high literature, but somehow they became ingrained into my life to this very day and I cannot help but remember SVH fondly.
It is nearly impossible to review the story within the covers without spoilers, but I am going to try my darnedest. Some cursing may or may not be involved.
Short synopsis (snarky comments in parentheses ;P): Jessica has betrayed Elizabeth. (Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what she did. Anyone who's read the books could make an accurate guess.) The Ultimate Betrayal. (Oooooh!) Elizabeth flees to New York. Elizabeth is a slightly sympathetic bitter victim/martyr who craves revenge throughout the book. Jessica is supposed to be a sympathetic betrayer/victim who's heartsick at destroying her sister. (I don't buy it.) Tons of reminiscing flashbacks ensue throughout the book, sometimes the same ones told by different characters, and take up about half of it, so there's barely any plot. Book ends with a thirteen-page Where Are They Now?-type epilogue that tells old fans what has happened to many major supporting characters from the original high school series. (Apparently no one is allowed to be happy. And anyone you may have originally liked from SVH has turned into a big dick. WTF?)
I expected to enjoy this as the usual over-the-top, soap opera stories I remember, but revamped a bit. Sadly, I was left feeling underwhelmed, disappointed, annoyed, and rather pissed off. For one thing, I could not buy the main betrayal -- (view spoiler)[Jessica and Todd?! In love!!?? Really? In what surreal dimension does that make any kind of sense? This broke the book for me. How can I believe anything else if this doesn't ring true. A passionate affair, sure. A one-night stand, why not? But actual 'til death do us part nonsense? Bull. Not when it's almost always been the Elizabeth and Todd, "made-for-each-other" type of thing. I actually wouldn't have minded if E & T hadn't ended up together, but for Todd to be with Jessica, that's just madness, plain and simple. (hide spoiler)] -- it was just so unbelievable. And I mean that in a Sweet Valley way, which we all know is not steeped in any form of actual reality, so my standards are quite low and I expect the extraordinary and overwrought. So from this point on, which is within the first two chapters, I struggled, but somehow managed to read on. I admit, I gagged more than few times throughout the book. Who wouldn't when faced with passages such as this one,
"And what faces they were.
Gorgeous. Absolutely amazing. The kind you couldn't stop looking at. Their eyes were shades of aqua that danced in the light like shards of precious stones, oval and fringed with thick, light brown lashes long enough to cast a shadow on their cheeks. Their silky blond hair, the cascading kind, fell just below their shoulders. And to complete the perfection, their rosy lips looked as if they were penciled on. There wasn't a thing wrong with their figures, either. It was if billions of possibilities all fell together perfectly.
Twice." -page 9/10
I hope you managed to hold onto your last meal. I barely did. I also had to endure "his beloved," "his love," and other similar nauseating descriptions.
This is not the PG-rated books from the past, the word "orgasm" is actually used. So is the F-bomb and other expletives. *gasp* Seriously, it does push the boundaries more than the innocent SVH series, but it's not very shocking by today's standards. Except that it does involve the Wakefield Twins, which was strange at first. Of course, current trends had to pop up, like Twitter and Facebook, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce, which always makes a book better and doesn't date it in the least. (That was heavy sarcasm in case you weren't sure.) The book does refer to some incidents and people from the SVU series, but only certain elements, otherwise it's mainly a continuation of high school and no one from the university days actually appears in the book.
Neither Elizabeth nor Jessica felt true to form, especially Jessica, and in fact, none of the characters, whether seen or just talked about, were right. Sure, some people change and some don't, but not a one was recognizable. Where did these strangers with the same names come from? Why couldn't there have been some semblance of the original shining through? Again, I have a hard time with the basis of the book, so that has severely colored my view of the entire thing, but as it stands, it was a complete waste of a good idea. I'd be willing to bet that any fan of SVH could come up with something a million times better than this dreck. Wasn't there an original ghostwriter available? You know, someone who might actually know the world and characters, and have the skill to develop them both in a believable manner?
The writing is rather clunky and purple-ly, often managing both at the same time. Redundancy abounds, editing mistakes, including wrong names and inconsistencies to previous events in SVH-iverse, and lots of use of the words "like" and "so", more-so in Jessica's narrative than anywhere else, which was really, really, so, like, irritating. Like, really. Ms. Pascal must have had a thesaurus at the ready, because there were big words awkwardly thrown into the narrative. While I appreciate authors utilizing lesser known or used words, some just don't blend well with the rest of the text and they pop-out unflatteringly. The structure needed fine-tuning and tenses were oddly used to differentiate the flashbacks from present day.
To put it succinctly, the writing isn't great and neither is the storyline, what there is of it. This was a bizarre read even by Sweet Valley standards and an insult to fans. Seriously, does Francine Pascal hate this universe and its readers? I think I'll stick to the Sweet Valley High series and make up my own stories about what happened afterward.
Second lesson learned: Everything always turns up fucking sunshine and roses and unicorns and lollipops for the worst person (or people) in the end.
I'd like to leave you with another winning description,
"There were no tears, but her mouth was twisted in a silent sob." -page 17
A thought a few hours after having finished this book: Maybe another "sequel" will eventually come out and it'll begin with Elizabeth waking up from the nightmare that is this book and we'll get the real ten years later story. Ahh, sweet dreams.
Update: April 26, 2011: Oh yes, always good to blame the fans/readers for not liking their terrible book. By pointing out minor, petty reasons, I might add. Warning: book spoilers in article. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/bus...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Not totally romance, not exactly chick-lit, not altogether a mystery, so what is it? A bit of all of the above really. ALL ABOUT EVIE is a fluffy readNot totally romance, not exactly chick-lit, not altogether a mystery, so what is it? A bit of all of the above really. ALL ABOUT EVIE is a fluffy read that's fairly quick and utterly harmless. Evie, at 41, is a nice change from the 23-year-olds that run rampant in lighter fiction. Yes, her age does come into play since she's an old geezer in the world of show business, but it never became overbearing or unnecessary and added another dimension to her character. Evie narrates in first person, while when it cuts to another character it is written in third person, a bit jarring at first, but I didn't have any problems with it. The plot was fine, as was the pace, there's not much to rave or quibble about, the book was just nice. I think the most irritating thing about the book was the excessive mentioning of Evie's TMJ (temporomandibular joint, which should actually really be called TMD - temporomandibular joint disorder/dysfunction), I really got sick of her bringing it up and then confusing it with lockjaw. We got it, you have a problem with your jaw, move on. But on the whole, I wouldn't say there was anything earth-shattering about the book but it's a perfectly good beach read. One thing, this is the first of three books (not sure if they'll be more), so it's not a standalone, which was unfortunate for me. At this time I'm not sure if I'll be on the look-out for the other two....more
Horror, Romance, Mystery, Urban Fantasy? None of those really, though it falls under the UF genre.
I'm not quite sure why TEMPEST RISING is categorizedHorror, Romance, Mystery, Urban Fantasy? None of those really, though it falls under the UF genre.
I'm not quite sure why TEMPEST RISING is categorized as horror (fantasy - yes, horror - no), as there is nothing horrific at all about the book, except maybe a little bit of violence. The book was slow to start and, sadly, it never really got very far, and ended up more boring than not. The world building was good, and learning about the different species was interesting, but most of it was, at best, just okay.
The character development was next to nil. Jane starts off decent enough, could be fairly witty, but as the book progressed she became less likeable and her inner monologue started to grate on my nerves. Even though she's had some tough experiences, overall she came across as rather juvenile and I wasn't very impressed with her. And how many 'duh' moments could one person possibly have? Yes, she's new to the 'supe' world, yes, she doesn't know all there is to it, but c'mon, use some smarts girl, it's not that hard to put two and two together. So now it comes to Ryu. Oh, Ryu, ye of no personality. You may be hot, but that's all you have going for you. Talk about a flat character, he was pretty darn boring, which was unfortunate because he took up a big part of the book, and I just plain didn't like him. I got pretty sick of Jane and Ryu going at it like rabbits all the time, which would have been better used by giving him some much needed personality. Along with that, maybe an explanation of how Ryu's Japanese (I'm guessing because of his first name and almond eyes) and who also just happens to be a baobhan sith, which is a type of female vampire, from Scotland at that. The most interesting characters were Anyan, and the town pariah's (that's Jane) many friends, both human and non. How a social outcast has so many friends is beyond me, but you know Jane is despised by her woe-is-me attitude and the two people who hate her. Despite what she thinks, I highly doubt the town revolves around her.
Some of the author's descriptions are confusing and I had to reread them to 'get' it. How can something be both squat and tall (pg. 216), pray tell? I'm still pondering that one. Also, the descriptions and analogies could be really odd, and not in a good way, more in a 'where in the world did that come from?' and 'what the heck?' sorta ways. Like what was up with Ryu's laugh? Barking like a seal, giggling like a choking Pomeranian, and whatever other weird ways he laughed. I'm sorry, but that's not very attractive, but I guess it was supposed to be funny and endearing. Editing problems arose when I couldn't figure out if a certain creature was a goblin or gremlin (there is a difference). I finally figured it out when goblin edged out gremlin for the lead. A mistake dealing with the Porsche's trunk was another minor detail that I picked up on, but most people would probably miss it. I only noticed because I've wanted a Porsche since I was ten. :P
The end does show some promise that Jane might actually get some grit, being a half-selkie is a nice change from the supernatural usual after all, and Ryu just might not be featured as much. So, even with all the problems I had with the book, which did unfortunately top what I did like about the book, I probably will check out the next book in the series....more
TRULY, MADLY is mystery, romance, chick-lit and a bit of paranormal all wrapped up in one delightful little package. Lucy Valentine is a nice, normal,TRULY, MADLY is mystery, romance, chick-lit and a bit of paranormal all wrapped up in one delightful little package. Lucy Valentine is a nice, normal, and a little bit quirky protagonist who never got on my nerves. It's nice to have a main character who isn't totally self-absorbed, ditzy, neurotic, clumsy and just plain irritating, basically just about every female you run across in lighter fiction books these days. All the other characters added to the story seamlessly and there wasn't one who was unnecessary. I enjoyed the psychic angle and thought that it was used in a fresh and interesting way. The plot was engaging and moved swiftly, and everything was well-written in an easy and smooth manner. I don't really have any major complaints and look forward to the next in the series.
The best word to use in describing this book is cute. So if you like cute, check it out, it's a nice piece of brain candy that won't offend your intelligence....more
At first, I couldn't get too into this because I was ambivalent about Bronwyn. I had to get used to her crude way of thinking, but it did get better (At first, I couldn't get too into this because I was ambivalent about Bronwyn. I had to get used to her crude way of thinking, but it did get better (or I got used to it) as the book went along. This book was perfect for what I needed, since classes pretty much take up all my brain power, even if I didn't think it was too well-written. :P The ending was a cliff-hanger so I do think I will get the next book to find out what happens. I also think the cover is misleading; the book isn't as innocent (ha!) as the cover implies that it is....more
I was really excited to read this book because I love the Psychic Eye Mysteries Victoria Laurie also writes. I'm not a picky reader, but I'm sorry, thI was really excited to read this book because I love the Psychic Eye Mysteries Victoria Laurie also writes. I'm not a picky reader, but I'm sorry, this didn't quite do it for me and I ended up very disappointed.
I was hoping they'd be different from the P. E. Mysteries, but still have similar elements of style. Even though I like romance, this book was supposed to be a mystery, hence A Ghost Hunter Mystery on the cover, but the mystery is thrown in around the rather awkwardly written romance between M. J. and Steven. I did think the first chapter was good because I thought M. J. would be different than Abby and more antisocial and a bit cranky (at least that's what I got from the first chapter), but then she ended up giggling throughout the whole book (seriously). What I like about the P. E. Mysteries are that they are fresh, fun, very well written, and the characters are (for the most part) believable. Not to mention, I got extremely tired of reading Steven's choppy English ('what do you say...?', 'Yes, that too', etc.), which made the dialogue even choppier and flatter than it already was, not to mention irritating as all get out. I don't know why V. L. couldn't have made him more fluent in English, especially since he was so well educated, it would only have been a small tweak in the plot. But I've noticed Ms. Laurie has a bit of a redundancy problem in her books, even if I do love Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye, which has the 'liar, liar, pants on fire' repetition, where when someone lies, Abby's 'inborn lie detector' goes off with that chant.
Overall, the dialogue was choppy, the plot and mystery were subpar, the characters were clichés and unbelievable (Doc was a nice addition though), and the whole book badly needed editing. I would not recommend this, although I'm sure many (as seen in the numerous four and five star ratings) would like this as it's not completely horrible; it's just not very fresh even if the subject is interesting. I haven't quite made up my mind if I'll pick up the next in the series....more
I had picked this up because it sounded like a cute plot, too bad I was let down. When I first started reading this I liked Haley, but as I read more,I had picked this up because it sounded like a cute plot, too bad I was let down. When I first started reading this I liked Haley, but as I read more, especially towards the end, she got on my nerves. She was so judgmental and annoying. I got to the point that I wished Rick wouldn't get with her, even though I knew that was pointless and of course he'd end up with her. Oh well, you can't win them all. Maybe if the author had made Haley a little realistic and maybe some minor changes to the plot, it would have been a better (and funnier) book for me. Rick was a great character though, if not a little too perfect. That's the only reason I'm raising my rating. :) 2.5 stars...more