In the early nineties, Scarlet, a painter and high fashion model, finds herself working in some of the world’s most famous fashion capitals. As her adventure continues, she meets Johnny of The Westies, an up-and-coming band on the cusp of superstardom. What ensues is an unhinged ride of a novel following the audacious lead female protagonist as she navigates her life through fame, addiction, infidelity, and all the ups and downs of dating a legendary musician from one of the biggest rock bands in history. A riveting and heartfelt journey of figuring out one’s own path and championing that aspect to finding their dreams. Rich in spirit and relatable for all those who have ever had the courage to chase their dreams and pursue an unconventional path in this glorious world. A page-turner, frequently injected with laugh-out-loud humor, front row seat of fun debut that is being heralded as the earnest generation of authenticity of a nineties voyage, Susan Holmes McKagan shines in The Velvet Rose .
I wanted to like this, I really wanted to. As a person, I think Susan Holmes McKagan is awesome. But this book... it's awful. Couldn't get past the first chapter. This is a total vanity project; there are far better 'fluff' novels out there.
While reading Susan's book, it felt a lot like I was reading a fanfiction - except I have read far more exciting fanfiction before.
Anyway, this one is an easy and quick read - and I mean that literally, you can skip pages in every chapter and feel like you haven't missed anything.
I don't want to sound like a complete book trasher, because not all things are bad in this book! So before anything else, let me mention the only good aspect of the book, which I have to give credit to Susan for:
1) Rich descriptions. Reading just a few pages in, you can tell that the author is very familiar with the 90s scene, which I assume is because the author literally lived a similar life to what she described in the book. Hence the rich and clear description of the surroundings and situations (if only the author could have described the characters' in the same depth too... *sigh*). At some points I could totally envision myself living the 90s rockstar and fame life with the characters. Good job on that, Susan! However, there are certain chapters in which the description gets so over-detailed that it takes the focus away from whatever situation is happening. So, my advice would be to tone it down just a tiny bit.
Now, on to the not so good aspects:
1) As I've mentioned above, the plot is incredibly boring to the point where you skip a lot of pages and you haven't missed anything important. It had its interesting and exciting moments, but they were so rare that it doesn't make it even worth it to read the book until the end.
2) We need to talk about Johnny and Scarlett. When I picked up the book, I expected a solid development of the main characters' romantic relationship (I mean, that's pretty much what the book summary makes you think!). Of course, I didn't want them to meet and become a thing in the first chapter! I also didn't want their relationship to be perfect all the time... However, most of the book is just Johnny and Scarlett living their own lives apart, barely interacting. Only halfway through the book do they start hanging out more in person... And still the relationship seems so empty. Which leads me to the next aspect:
3) What are these characters? None of the characters have any depth to themselves, they seem so shallow (all of them, not only the protagonists) and they're all driven by vain and cliché-ed purposes. I seriously wanted to like Scarlett and Johnny, but it's impossible. No character can seem remotely relatable. Plus, it almost seems like every female character is against one another by the most irrelevant and stupid reasons. Scarlett is the best at everything: she is breathtakingly beautiful, famous and successful, hangs out with the LA/Beverly Hills elite, designs the best clothes, steals hearts, is the spotlight of every reporter and paparazzi... Vain, vain, vain! Ugh.
4) Just do a self-insert Guns N' Roses/Velvet Revolver fanfic, Susan! It's okay! I'm very aware that Susan was once a famous supermodel, and her musician husband, Duff Mckagan, was in both the above-mentioned bands. Why is this relevant? Well, the book is filled with references to Duff's bands, to the point where, as I've mentioned, it looks like it was first written as a fanfiction and later edited to an "original” story! Even Scarlett's world seems 90% based on Susan's experience as a fashion model... I have nothing against it, though! I'm just mentioning this because it makes me think that the author only got around writing this book because it is completely set in her comfort zone. If Susan releases more books, will she be able to write about something other than rock bands and models? If that happens, however, I will gladly take these words back.
5) If you have to write sentences in foreign languages, please DO NOT use Google Translate. PLEASE. US Frontier does not translate to "frontera con nosotros" in Spanish, Susan. That literally means "frontier with us", us being understood as me and a group of people, not the United States, darling. You might’ve wanted to write something like "frontera con Estados Unidos". Being so famous and having so many friends (given the long list of famous people in the Acknowledgements), I'm sure at least one of them knows a little Spanish that can help you.
In conclusion, if you want to read a similar book with a similar plot, just go to Wattpad, search for "Guns N' Roses" and click on a random story. It saves you 18 bucks, and you'll thank me in the end.
A supermodel and wife of a rock ‘n’ roll musician, Susan Holmes McKagan has lived through much of the madness. In The Velvet Rose, her first novel, she writes about Scarlet, a model living in New York City in the ’90s who dates the singer from an up-and-coming band, The Westies. What follows is her messy days of dating a rock star, partying every day, and also furthering her fashion career. It’s a fun page-turner about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll… and fancy clothes.
It reads as though it's been edited on a train en route to the publisher. Gushy prose that bores the reader, characters who change their names without explanation, very boring descriptions of things that should be EXCITING! For someone who literally lived the experience she's writing about (for the uninitiated, Susan is the wife of Duff McKagan, he of Guns and Roses mega fame) the reader is not drawn into believing it whatsoever. Yes, it's "full of laugh out loud moments", Susan, but probably not for the reasons you were hoping for.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This was so bad....it was good. Like a marathon of bad reality TV. You know you should walk away, and do something more productive, but there you sit...episode after episode. That was me with this book. I just couldn't walk away.