Customer Reviews for

Vixen (The Flappers Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

LOVED this book!

Set in 1920's Chicago, Jillian Larkin tells a story of love, jealousy, secrets and revenge, all woven together masterfully. Her novel, Vixen, starts with a short & sweet prologue at only 169 words long. Jillian left me thinking to myself, "Ooh, this is going to be good"...
Set in 1920's Chicago, Jillian Larkin tells a story of love, jealousy, secrets and revenge, all woven together masterfully. Her novel, Vixen, starts with a short & sweet prologue at only 169 words long. Jillian left me thinking to myself, "Ooh, this is going to be good" Here is the two sentences hook that got me: "And then, before snapping her bag closed, she added the small black handgun. Now she was ready." Who's she gonna kill? I don't care! She's gonna look HOT doing it.

Vixen is the first in The Flapper series following Gloria Carmody during the 1920's in Chicago. She's a rich white socialite engaged to the very eligible bachelor, Sebastian Grey. Gloria thinks she loves him, but when she takes one last foray as a bachelorette, she isn't so sure.

The story is told from alternating points of view of Gloria, her cousin Clara Knowles, and her best friend Lorraine Dyer. Each girl has a secret to hide and will do anything to keep them that way.

Gloria is in love with another man-a black jazz piano player from the local speakeasy, Green Hill, named Jerome Johnson.

Lorraine is hiding her midnight tryst with Gloria's fiancé.

Country Clara is hiding her Flapper past in New York after she had been sent home after a serious scandal broke out around her.

Each girl is tied to the other in their secrets, new friendships are formed, and old ones lost, as each has to deal with the decisions they make and their repercussions they create.

Everything Larkin gave me was real and tangible. I could taste descriptions of the clothes, and hair, and atmosphere. From the dark and smoke-filled Speakeasies to the cheap liquor during Prohibition. I felt the jealousy that Lorraine had every moment she was with Gloria, but also the love she held for her best friend and her unreturned feelings towards Marcus who will never look at her that same way. I think that's the character I could relate to the most, because everything about her was so real. Clara is relatable, as well. Everyone has secrets they want to hide away from the world and try to make a new start somewhere else.

One thing I really liked about this storyline is the fact that Marcus and Gloria are best friends. That's it. End of story. There isn't some secret crush or love triangle involving-and it's not because Marcus is gay. It's because the author has seen that that's been overdone and that maybe a girl and guy are just friends, darn it!

Despite the lack of romance between those two characters, there is still A LOT of PG-rated sexual tension throughout the story and for each of the characters-from unreturned, reluctant, forbidden, and false love-it's all there and in spades, and I fell for it all.

This is a great novel from a debut author. So many times I see superficial writing and simple stories, especially in YA-it's almost like new authors are scared of going 'too deep'. But not so with Larkin. Her novel is intricate and detailed, exciting and interesting. When people say that a
book is "character driven", this is what they mean. The story is there, and it is strong, but it comes secondary to the characters and their arcs-their story. The characters move the plot. And it moves so smoothly. I can't say enough how much I loved this book. It was a little over 400 pages, but it felt like a walk in the park, it went so fast. I can't wait to get my hands on number two in the series.

posted by RaeLynn_Fry13 on December 14, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

fun YA novel set in the 1920s

Vixen is a fun young adult novel set in the 1920s. There is enough action and suspense to make it a quick, entertaining read, yet the plot and characterizations are hackneyed enough that I had to knock it down to three stars (tilting toward four). This is nothing you ha...
Vixen is a fun young adult novel set in the 1920s. There is enough action and suspense to make it a quick, entertaining read, yet the plot and characterizations are hackneyed enough that I had to knock it down to three stars (tilting toward four). This is nothing you haven't read before, though the 1920s setting is fun.

There are three main characters--the first is Gloria, a young socialite about to get married to the "perfect" man. But the "perfect" life she has been groomed for is, unfortunately, not what she really wants. She wants the flapper lifestyle, to sing jazz, and Jerome, the jazz pianist she meets in a speakeasy.

The second main character is Lorraine, Gloria's best friend and a bit of a flapper. She's feeling somewhat left behind due to Gloria's impending nuptials. She's also upset when Gloria starts to attract more attention than she does in the world of the speakeasies. She sets out to attract some attention, but mostly ends up attracting trouble.

Finally, there is Clara, Gloria's cousin, who comes to visit Gloria's family ostensibly to help with the wedding. In reality, she's been sent into exile there by her parents after she ran into some trouble in New York. Clara is committed to reforming--or at least putting on an act that's good enough to fool her aunt.

Vixen is, on the whole, an enjoyable read. I found a lot of similarities between Vixen and The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen, so I'd recommend Vixen to Luxe readers and vice versa.

posted by heatburg on November 15, 2010

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  • Posted April 22, 2011

    Sure.

    Honestly I think most people will enjoy this book but dont get me wrong at one point I totally forgot they were in the twenties because of how modern the characters speak, occasionally the author will throw in an old phrase but the setting just doesnt feel old. I keep picturing these kids with cell phones and laptops. It also got boring after awhile, I would suggest Bright Young Things, feels a lot more into that time period and has a stronger story line.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    fun YA novel set in the 1920s

    Vixen is a fun young adult novel set in the 1920s. There is enough action and suspense to make it a quick, entertaining read, yet the plot and characterizations are hackneyed enough that I had to knock it down to three stars (tilting toward four). This is nothing you haven't read before, though the 1920s setting is fun.

    There are three main characters--the first is Gloria, a young socialite about to get married to the "perfect" man. But the "perfect" life she has been groomed for is, unfortunately, not what she really wants. She wants the flapper lifestyle, to sing jazz, and Jerome, the jazz pianist she meets in a speakeasy.

    The second main character is Lorraine, Gloria's best friend and a bit of a flapper. She's feeling somewhat left behind due to Gloria's impending nuptials. She's also upset when Gloria starts to attract more attention than she does in the world of the speakeasies. She sets out to attract some attention, but mostly ends up attracting trouble.

    Finally, there is Clara, Gloria's cousin, who comes to visit Gloria's family ostensibly to help with the wedding. In reality, she's been sent into exile there by her parents after she ran into some trouble in New York. Clara is committed to reforming--or at least putting on an act that's good enough to fool her aunt.

    Vixen is, on the whole, an enjoyable read. I found a lot of similarities between Vixen and The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen, so I'd recommend Vixen to Luxe readers and vice versa.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    It's alright.

    I love the 1920's era and any literature associated with it. Even though the author spoke about Prohibition, speakeasies, the short hair, lipstick, etc...the author didn't make me feel like I was reading the atmosphere of the 1920's. Gloria was the main character and I found her to be the most boring. Lorraine was the best because of her jealousy and deviousness. Clara had a nice backstory that I enjoyed. I'll probably check out the second novel sometime later this year, just to see what happened to Lorraine and Clara.
    It's just one of those novels where you get to the middle and everything is pretty much figured out.

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  • Posted February 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    review taken from One Book At A Time

    For the most part this story was ok. I'm not familiar with the roaring 20's and such, so that was an interesting aspect of the story for me.

    The characters are what I had the most trouble with. Gloria was ok, and since most of the story seems to be about here, the book wasn't as exciting as I think it could have been. I didn't really understand her fascination with the speakeasy's. Was it the environment, the singing, or something else? I got the impression that it was all about Jerome. He became an obsession for her that she couldn't let go.

    I actually liked Clara best. I enjoyed that she had done the whole flappers scene and was trying to make the best of her life by moving on. I think she enjoyed proving to herself and her family (the ones who knew) that she was ready for her change. I also liked how she enjoyed watching Gloria cut lose.

    I was most surprised by Lorraine. I could see the jealousy building in her, but I had no idea that she would take it as far as she did. I would be curious to see were the series takes her character next. She's going to become more wrapped up with people she shouldn't I think.

    The story felt a lot like The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen. So many of the elements are very similar just set in a different time period. Which I find also ironic when you think about the fact that Godbersen has a new series set in the 20s as well. Overall, I liked the story but there was just some things off for me. I will probably read the next one though just to see what happens with the characters.

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  • Posted January 4, 2011

    Predictable Plot with some insight into the 1920's

    I was excited to read the book because I love teen historical romance fiction. However, the story was similar to many others I have read just set in the different time frame of the 1920's. The plot of this novel seems similar to the plot of the Luxe series written by Anne Godbersenin 2008. The Luxe series takes place in 1899 while this one is set in the 1920's however both involve a main character (girl #1)in love with an inappropriate boy but engaged to someone else at the insistence of her family, a "friend" (girl #2) jealous of girl #1 who tries to destroy the the 1st girl and another girl (#3) in love with a boy but has a dark secret. Although it is a predictable plot it was a somewhat enjoyable read (at times it seemed a little slow), but the book does give some historical perspective to the 1920's.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Read for Heartbreak, Action, Romance + Speakeasys

    "Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It's a dangerous combination." The synopsis had it right.

    In a time where Flappers were part of an underground community of cool jazz, mobster suits and fringed dresses we were introduced to three girls and their journey into the dangerous and social damaging environment. Gloria, Clara and Lorraine behold three very strong and different personalities with prominent upbringings which shaped them greatly.

    I adored the concept of this book and in most situations it would have had me from the go, but with Vixen, the first of in its series, it seemed to lack a little something. Character development and ability to like those characters was one of the aspects I felt this story lacked. I was given enough of the character's actions to build their personalities with but in the end it just wasn't enough for me. I felt little connection where the girls were concerned and personally would never befriend any of them. In their own right they were all very selfish and slightly screwed up individuals. Clara seemed the most real to me and the most likable but her story, of the three we were told, wasn't the story we were truly reading. Nevertheless, it may have been my inability to connect with the characters that kept me interested, I kept looking for that common ground.

    The lingo that was spoken to us in Vixen was confusing at times. I began to wonder if these girls were just playing pretend or if we were truly back when code words were the only way into these uber-secret, side door, clubs. At times the book sounded accurate and at others it sounded too current.

    Beyond my issues with the characters and the lingo, Vixen really was an action packed read. It showed us the racy side, and perhaps a little extreme, behavior of teenagers and their decisions. I didn't feel like Gloria's actions were ever really explained to us beyond her mother's lack of true interest in her heart and only in their name and pocket book, but her journey was an interesting one full of hidden agenda's, a sultry voice, heartbreak and the hope for true love and romance and acceptance.

    Jillian Larkin's take on the roaring 20's gives it a glamor that no one can resist. Vixen is well written and has all the makings of a great read- coming of age, the losing of innocence, heartbreak, action, romance and truth paired with the dark world of speakeasys.

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  • Posted November 12, 2010

    Mom Approved

    This book was quite good, especially as I as a 40+ mom was reading a young adult book. I actually quite enjoyed it! The characters really resonated with me. The issues they faced - drinking, slipping off without parents' consent, boyfriends, guys who just want sex - are all faced by teen girls today.

    I would much, much rather my daughter read this than the vampire books. Hope this takes off as a series!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2010

    Vixen

    Vixen. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says that a "vixen" is "a sexually attractive woman; a fox; a shrewish, ill-tempered woman." This simple, one-word title certainly says it all about this book. Filled with sex and dog-eat-dog ambition, this novel is nonstop action and insults and passion, but I wondered as I read it, whether or not it was appropriate for young adults. I suppose that is a personal decision.

    This story takes place in the roaring twenties, during a time of change and open-mindedness following the First World War. Drinking was at its peak during this time of prohibition, and jazz rose in popularity, being the perfect background for the popular speak easies. Many girls of this time dreamed of being a flapper, a free-spirited, chain-smoking, jazz-loving, sexually-liberated woman. The flapper, also known for her bobbed hair, heavy makeup, and short skirts, spent her time dancing and openly parading her disdain for the accepted norm. Her "haunt" was the speak easy, and she lived a dangerous life of violence and free sex. And this is what this book is about.

    The story is about three girls, each with her own agenda. Gloria is, in my opinion, the most likeable character. She is a sheltered high-society teenager who is engaged to a fiancé arranged for her by her family. It goes without saying that Gloria would want the excitement and freedom and experiences of a flapper. So she bobs her hair and enters the speak easy. That's when her life changes.

    Clara, Gloria's cousin, enters the storyline when she comes to town under the pretence that she will help with the wedding. But, she has many secrets to hide, and she is not what she seems.

    Lorraine is the story's agitator. Consistently maneuvering her way through life, constantly striving for her own end result, nothing turns out right. In trying to destroy others, she destroys herself.

    This story is a good exposition of this historical period. It discusses the gangsters and lawlessness, Prohibition, jazz, and racial inequality. It showcases the discrepancies between the highly restricted life led by the women up to this time, and the rising importance and popularity of her complete opposite, the flapper. The storyline seems to mirror these historical extremes between two opposite poles, as it shows us, through the lives of these three girls, that neither extreme is best. The optimum turns out to be some middle ground.

    There is a lot of manipulation, sex, violence, and deceit in this story. But there is a wonderfully tender love story that is sure to warm the heart of every reader.

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  • Posted October 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not my typical book, overall good.

    I had the chance to read this book by B&N's First Look & my friend telling me about it. This is not the typical book I would pick out to read, but it sounded interesting. The first 50-100 pages was hard for me to read & I had to push on to keep reading it. I found it boring, predictable, overly dramatic, etc. A lot like if there was a 1920's version of Degrassi. I did notice one or two typo's also. I would NOT recommend it for a 12 yr. old! It was interesting how she kept changing the 'voice' of the story with multiple characters. Sometimes that added interest & other times it was frustrating. The book was about growing up, love, making choices, the good & bad of people, jealousy, greed, self-discovery, etc. The author picked it up toward the end a notch & I like the way it ended.

    ***&it also makes me want to google everything 1920's & flappers

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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