First, all the linky goodness and art work you will eventually want, then on to the review.
We start the review with some more inside baseball stuff. There is a great risk of corrupting your integrity in the writing world when you swap fan letters with other authors. There is an expectation that when you give your manuscript to another author, especially one from your own agency, that they will say nice things about it on the internet. I can gleefully report that I’m not that guy. I’ve read lots of really crappy books that friends and associates have written. You will find me strangely mute when it comes to discussing them on this blog. I only review the ones that amuse me greatly. That doesn’t mean that my silence means a bad thing about another author. It means that I haven’t read the book, it wasn’t a story that caught me, it was badly written, it would be unfair to print what I thought. I reserve that critique for their ears only, and so you will be getting just the cream of the crop here. Nothing but four and five star reviews. And, since my silence includes stuff I haven’t read yet, you’ll never know how I feel about what you don’t read about. Donald Rumsfield put it well when he said “there are things we do not know we don’t know.”
That said, let’s review the book.
It’s funny, has great dialogue, an engaging story, and it’s a page-turner in every respect.
On the negative side, that Amy woman stole a whole scene from my novel and now I have to rewrite it or look like a copycat. I hate it when a kindred soul reads my mind and does the same, terribly original, thing that I’ve done but not yet published. Knock it off, Amy. That is all I’ll say about her using my clever ideas to make her book even more unforgettable.
I’m a fanboy. Let’s be honest. I used to say that I don’t read “Chick Lit” but that’s become so patently untrue that I can no longer even hint at it. It will require a trip to the pistol range on Friday with my trusty .45 automatic and some zombie targets to make sure that my man card is safe for another month. Amy has started my decline and I’m enjoying it more than I should.
The story, the second in her not-quite-a-series of books about reality television contestants, involves a young woman who strikes off to the Alaskan wilderness in pursuit of her personal worth. She’s the daughter of a presidential contender who has some control issues – she’d best obey is the prime directive. Winning this wilderness competition might just allow her to be her own person, and give her some self respect before she settles into a dreary-but-inevitable marriage to her father’s protege.
Like real life, things don’t work out the way she plans. Great hilarity ensues. And drama. And tragedy. And scares. And some of the best comedic dialogue you’ll ever read. Amy has truly got the hang of that whole “it’s real” thing. Sometimes that means you question the dialogue, as it’s redundant. But the way she uses it enforces the idea that these are real people talking – we do it in every day dialogue. Her use of this trick is sparing but quite effective.
The biggest difference that I noted between this book and her first, The Wedding Game, is that there’s more of an emphasis on the hugging and smooching/girly/romance element. Well done, definitely more to the female audience interest, but enjoyable. I did wonder, intermittently, if it was okay for me to enjoy this kind of thing or if I needed to go wrestle a calf or something to get my testosterone levels up. I suffered through it – it is fun to read and if you have the guts to admit it, she captures the emotional feelings of falling in love at an elemental and fresh level.
I liked the characters. I liked the story. I liked the dialogue. I did not like the fact that the book ended. I wanted more. I guess I’ll just have to wait for her next book. Get writing, Amy, your fans are waiting.