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

2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Teenaged DANGEROUS LIAISONS in the Roaring 20's

I am very picky about my young adult fiction. I'm always looking for books in this genre that are original and don't speak down to their readers. I was intrigued by this new Flapper series because I loved the idea of looking at the lives of young adults in the 1920's. ...
I am very picky about my young adult fiction. I'm always looking for books in this genre that are original and don't speak down to their readers. I was intrigued by this new Flapper series because I loved the idea of looking at the lives of young adults in the 1920's. It is such a fascinating era of change and liberation, especially for women.


In the first book of the series, VIXEN, we are introduced to several young flapper wannabes. Gloria Carmody is a coddled 17-yr-old socialite who is engaged to be married to prominent young bachelor Sebastian Grey. Gloria is unsure about her life and marriage and starts dabbling in the world of speakeasies. Her friend, Lorraine Dyer, is envious of Gloria and always seeking to get attention and climb out of Gloria's shadow. Gloria's cousin, Clara Knowles, arrives to help keep Gloria in check and make sure she marries Sebastian but Gloria has a secret wild flapper past of her own. These three women get caught up in Chicago's underground world of speakeasies and flappers with mixed results.


I love the use of 1920's slang and detail in the book. Larkin is very good at setting the tone. She reveals how even 80 years ago, young adults were dealing with the same sorts of issues that we struggle with today. These women wrestle with sex, alcohol and rock 'n' roll. (only in the form of jazz at this time) One of my problems with the novel, however, is that the only likeable character is Clara. Clara is seeking to overcome her past and start over. She is flawed but genuine. Gloria is just annoying and thoughtless. Lorraine is a rotten friend and her constant need for attention is tiresome. The men in the book don't fare any better. Sebastian is a jerk. Gloria's friend Marcus is a spoiled brat. Even Gloria's secret lover comes off as too cliched. The book felt very much to me like a teenaged version of DANGEROUS LIAISONS set in the Roaring 20's. But it fails to reach any real depth.


*PARENTAL ADVISORY*--The young people in the book are in their late teens and early twenties. They drink heavily, they are disrepectful to their parents, they have illicit sex and smoke like chimneys. It is naive to think that young people don't struggle with these issues today and I don't think a book should be written off because they depict these things. However, none of the characters seem to really learn anything except for Clara. They just continue on with their irresponsible behaviors.


BOTTOM LINE: Recommended with reservations. I think this series is original but the whole thing fell flat for me. The characters are wooden and boring and not likeable. However, I would be interested in reading more and seeing how the series develops.

posted by bibanon1 on November 18, 2010

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  • Posted December 14, 2010

    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" 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.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    Fabulous book!

    The Roaring 20's, radically different from today. Really? Are people or their choices really different today, or is it the day in which we are living. Seventeen seems to be the age of stretching and reaching beyond the bounds, and that is true for Gloria Carmody, Lorraine Dyer, and Clara Knowles. While Gloria and Lorraine come from the privileged life of Chicago, Lorraine grew up in PA, but ran away to NYC. The three are brought together for the upcoming wedding of Gloria to Sebastian Grey. But when illegal activities like drinking and the speakeasy life beckon; or unheard of relationships like those between a black man and a white woman or the opportunity for a relationship with a gangster come into focus, what will their choices be? "Vixen" will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you wanting more!

    I had the privilege to read "Vixen" as part of Barnes & Noble's First Look Group. Jillian Larkin has a hit on her hands with this YA novel, a novel that will appeal to readers of all ages. Her study of the time period and attention to detail transported me to the time of flappers and speakeasies. Her characters are real, as are the situations they find themselves in. I found myself cheering, booing, and becoming teary-eyed while reading. This is a great book for young adults, as well as those not quite "young" anymore, and for reading/discussion groups. There are three promised in The Flappers series, with "Ingenue" coming out in August 2011, and after that "Diva." Not only will it be difficult to wait for "Ingenue" to come out, but I hope there will be more than three in the series! Well done, Jillian!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Vixen

    Let's go back to the 1920's, to the days of flappers and prohibition, and young lady's trying to make their mark on the world. Gloria Carmody seems to have everything...the money, the boy, the lifestyle, and friends. But she's just not quite happy with any of it. One night she sneaks out with her best friends, Lorraine and Marcus, into the biggest speak easy in town. She falls in love with the music, the atmosphere, and the people.

    Lorraine has always been jealous of Gloria. She had everything, the perfect life, but at least she could tag along and absorb part of the glory as her best friends. Then one day she finds out that Gloria is hiding a secret from her, a big secret. She holds Gloria's future in her hands - what will she do with it?

    Gloria's cousin, Clara, has come to town to help Gloria plan for her upcoming wedding. She also comes to escape a wild lifestyle back home and get back on track the way a proper society girl should. Little does she know that all her secrets are at risk of spilling out and ruining her new life.

    This book in one of the memorable reads for 2010. The characters were developed perfectly and the story was captivating. I don't think I've ever read a novel about the 20's and it was fascinating to read about the time period. Jillina Larken is going on my watch list for authors, I can't wait until she releases the next in the series.

    5/5

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A compelling new YA series!

    As a reader of YA lit and a fan of the 1920s, I was thrilled to see Vixen, the first book in a new YA series about several girls in the 1920s. The book is great, with compelling characters and story, and the promise of more of the same in the second book. The setting feels realistic and well-researched, which is exciting for anyone who really loves the 1920s! The book also has some feminist undertones, as the main characters test the limits of society's expectations for them. In a genre that is currently overrun with Twilight-esque series, The Flappers offers something different. Don't get me wrong, I love those books, but it's refreshing to finally see a compelling teen series set in my favorite period in history!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    One of the Best Books Ever!!!

    You can not help but fall in love with this book. At frust I thought I might not like it given that it is a book set in the 1920's, but after I read the prologue (now seriously I am a MAJOR critic when it comes to books, but i could'nt help it) I was hooked. Oh and by the way reading the second now; I haven't finished yet, but I already love it...LOVING IT!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2010

    A Great Read!

    Don't miss this exciting YA book set in Chicago in the Roaring '20's! Featuring three young women teetering on the brink of adulthood and following their adventures (and misadventures) outside of the confines and protection of their privileged world, Vixen is a coming of age story with a strong historical element, providing a glimpse into speakeasies, jazz, flappers, and gangsters. A must read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Vixen is catalogued as YA, but will appeal to adults. Vixen is the first of Ms. Larkin's Flapper series.

    The 1920's brought about all kinds of change for the US, some bad like speak easies, the mob and prohibition, and some good things like women deciding they wanted to be more than chattel, wanted the right to vote. The term Flapper was created and applied to a "new breed" of western women, who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair and listened to jazz among other things contrary to acceptable behavior.
    Meet Gloria, a Chicago socialite in training, engaged to the "right" man, going to the "right" school, getting ready to live the "right" life.
    Lorraine, Gloria's BFF who's tired of living in her shadow and takes huge steps to change it.
    Clara, Gloria's cousin sent to Chicago after disgracing herself in NY
    These three young women will make some life changing decisions between the pages of this novel. Some you'll expect and some you won't believe. So let me invite you on a journey back in time where Billy Holliday will be heard belting out her blues in the background.
    Ms. Larkin used her own time machine in the creation of this imaginative, colorful and slightly noir look at the "Roaring Twenties" through the eyes of our young characters just peeking around the corner to adulthood. She leaves behind the glossy and shows her audience the underbelly of Chicago society in the smoky and illegal basement rooms known as speakeasies, gets us up close and personal with the Chicago Mob and introduces us to an up and coming Black Jazz musician. But more that that she uses her knowledge of the era to literally paint it in her readers minds as we absorb the culture and counter culture of the 1920's through her words. She gives us over the top characters that if we didn't know it would think were much older than the 17 year olds they are. She gives us life lessons about love found and love lost and forbidden love. She makes us ask the question is love enough and what would we do for love.
    If you're ready for a slightly darker look at life in the Flapper era then Vixen is for you, if you're looking for a coming of age read where the prices are high then Vixen is for you. If you're a great lover of a wonderful story and great characters look no farther. And be sure to check out the sequel Ingenue due out in 2011.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    AMAZING! Read in one day!

    Started reading late Saturday night and got about 10 pages in. Picked it back up Sunday a.m. and read it all! Outstanding! In my opinion, Larkin goes beyond 'chick lit' with an intertwining mystery that drew me in. Telling the story of 3 individual ladies who aren't who they first appear and ending the story with me wanting more. Can't wait for the next The Flappers installment. EXCELLENT!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2012

    Great book.

    I love this series. Really good storyline.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    I LOVE this book

    I absolutly love this book! The chapters are all from the characters point of views which makes it a great read. You can see how all the chatacters feel and their direct thoughts, which makes the storyline better. I am also a huge fan of the time period this book takes place in. This book series is a must read! Once you buy the first book, you will not be able to wait for the next!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    in love with this series

    i couldnt put this book down! as soon as i finished it i whad to read on to the second. It depicts a crazy time in our history and apply scandal, murder amd romance into one thrilling novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    Great

    Great read if you like reading about the flapper days. Startig the second book hope it is as good as the first.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    Unce

    Hi :)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    from missprint DOT wordpress DOT com

    Gloria Carmody thought she had everything she could want: the big diamond, the handsome fiance, the promise of a secure, respectable life among Chicago's high society. But as her wedding looms ever nearer all Gloria can think of is a notorious speakeasy and the piano player who intrigues her more than her fiance ever has. Or will.

    Lorraine Dyer doesn't understand the sudden change in her best friend, but if Gloria wants to release her inner flapper, why not? After all Lorraine is known for innovating the flapper style among their circle of friends. She's also known for some less flattering attributes like being brash. And perhaps being a bit indiscreet with her flask. But isn't that what the Roaring Twenties are all about? Maybe Gloria's dive into the world of flappers and speakeasies will mean Lorraine can finally shine on her own.

    Gloria's cousin, Clara Knowles, knows more than her share about being a flapper. A lot more. But with the threat of reform school and her reputation in tatters, Clara is sent to Chicago to help plan Gloria's wedding. It isn't glamorous or particularly fun. But maybe starting over in a new city is just what she needs to leave her sordid past far behind for once and for all.

    It's 1923. Prohibition has driven drinking underground, women are cutting their hair and raising their hemlines, life is a party and everyone is ready to have some fun. For three young women in Chicago the world is full of possibilities if they're ready to take a chance in Vixen (2010) by Jillian Larkin.

    Vixen is the first book in Larkin's series The Flappers.

    Published in December 2010, it will inevitably be compared to Anna Godbersen's widely anticipated Bright Young Things released in October 2010. Don't let the similarities fool you, Vixen stands on its own two feet.

    The story is told in chapters alternating viewpoints between Gloria, Lorraine and Clara. The narratives shift and twist with each character's experiences but ultimately come together to create a poignant, exciting story. The combined perspectives add depth to the story, especially for Lorraine and Clara who spend most of the story tragically misunderstood by a lot of the other characters, not to mention by each other.

    Here is an effervescent story that captures essence of the 1920s in book form. Larkin blends fashion, historical detail and vivid writing to create an original story that evokes not only the exuberance of life in the 1920s but also the confusion felt by women, particularly her three heroines, as they struggle with what it means to be a free-spirited flapper after growing up in the straight-laced world of the 1910s.

    Vixen is strikingly authentic with fun slang, engaging characters and an exciting story that will leave readers guessing until the sensational conclusion. This book also has a stunning cover by Zhang Jingna.

    Gloria, Lorraine and Clara's story continues in Ingenue.

    Possible Pairings: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell, Flappers and Philosophers by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher, Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen, The Luxe by Anna Godbersen, The Sheik by Edith Hull, Bowery Girl by Kim Taylor, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, Heroes and Thieves by Vanessa Carlton (CD)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    LOVE these books!

    I have readd the first two in the series and am anxiously awaiting July 10, for the third. Great writing, couldnt put the books down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012

    How many....

    How many pages i need a long book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Loved!

    Thus book was amzing!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2011

    Can't wait to read the next one!!

    Incredible book! Keeps you on edge from beginning to end!! Definitely five stars.

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  • Posted October 18, 2011

    Wow!

    This book is absolutely amazing. Sometimes with books told like this from multiple POV's the characters are underdeveloped, but not with Vixen. The characters are well developed and interesting but what amazed me the most was how each characters situation was so easily woven into the stories of the other characters. The book flows so seemlessly. The drama, the romance, the conflict! I got this book because the cover looked cool and because I'd never read a book about flappers before.I am an avid reader I probably read at least 5 books a month and it has been a while since I've got my hands on a book that I absolutely did not want to put down. I bought this book without ever hearing about it or reading a review about it and I'm glad to say that my gamble was worth every single penny! Vixen will keep you on the edge of your seat, your bed, or wherever you like to read lol. I highly recommend it. I will definitely be buying the sequel and I look forward to more books in this series.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    Can you say awesome Can you say awesome?

    Sooooo good!!! If you like this, read the Bright Young Things series

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