Vixen (The Flappers Series #1)

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Overview

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.
 
Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before ...
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Vixen (The Flappers Series #1)

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Overview

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.
 
Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?
 
Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .
 
Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .
 
From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.
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  • Teens Video/Vixen_trailer_BB_2623b2731f5cbee00af60c69a49c0774367aceb4
    Teens Video/Vixen_trailer_BB_2623b2731f5cbee00af60c69a49c0774367aceb4  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Opening the Flappers series, Larkin's frothy debut tracks the lives of three flappers in Chicago at the height of the Roaring '20s. Gloria is wealthy, gorgeous, and engaged to the hottest bachelor in the Windy City. Her best friend, Lorraine, lusts after a boy she'll never win while spending daddy's money on sequined headbands and fringed sheaths she wears to knock back dirty martinis at speakeasies. Clara is Gloria's cousin, ostensibly dragged to Chicago to help with Gloria's wedding, but also escaping something shadowy in her past. All three lives change when Gloria busts out of her good girl role and starts visiting a nightclub. There she instantly falls for the black piano player and exhibits talent as a chanteuse. Forbidden romance ensues, followed by betrayal and scandal. Chick lit for the Gossip Girl crowd, the plot doesn't hold up to scrutiny (a thread about how cryptically menacing notes could be hidden in Clara's bedroom is never tied up) and certain scenes betray a misunderstanding of race relations during the period. Despite the considerable length, this installment ends without resolution.Book two, Ingénue, is due in 2011. Ages 12–up. (Dec.)
Children's Literature - Jody Little
Newly engaged socialite Gloria Carmody plays a dangerous game when she spends her evenings sneaking into the Green Mill, a Chicago speakeasy. Clara Knowles comes to Chicago to stay with her aunt and cousin, Gloria, in the guise of an innocent Pennsylvania farm girl, but hiding a secret past. Lorraine Dyer, best friend of Gloria and in love with long-time companion, Marcus, was the first girl in school to cut her hair in the popular bob worn by flappers. All three young women are enticed by the glamour of the music and the handsome men in the hidden speakeasies. When Gloria falls in love with the black piano man, Jerome, she wonders how she can go through with her upcoming wedding. Clara becomes closer to Marcus, much to the envy of Lorraine who is quickly being lured to the booze and crime of Chicago's underworld. The more time the girls spend being flappers, the more they begin to lie and conceal their actions. Written in alternating viewpoints of the three main characters, author Larkin writes a movie-like, mysterious plot which will keep readers surprised at events and uncertain as to character motives. The backdrop of 1920s Chicago is described colorfully and romantically. Readers will be eager to read the next installment in this series. Reviewer: Jody Little
From the Publisher
Babble.com, "20 Young Adult Books Parents Will Love"
"[A] delicious read."

From the Hardcover edition.

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Seventeen-year-old Chicago socialite Gloria Carmody knows that there must be something more for her than her engagement to most-eligible-bachelor Sebastian Grey. She finds that something in the city's hottest speakeasy, and particularly in the company of the jazz band's black piano player. Meanwhile, her cousin Clara is playing the part of the innocent country girl while escaping her own tawdry flapper past, and Gloria's best friend, Lorraine, wants nothing more than to win their mutual friend Marcus's affections, but he only has eyes for another. All three girls have their secret desires, and fulfilling them means being prepared to sacrifice everything. The Prohibition era is an uncommon setting for historical fiction, and Larkin paints a glamorous (if shallow) picture of underground speakeasies and society parties of the 1920s. Clothing, room decor, and music are all richly described, but neither the culture nor the characters ever fully come to life and the historical details seem sketchy at best. However, the sultry flapper striking a pose on the cover will draw in fans of Anna Godbersen's "Luxe" series (HarperCollins), and the high drama will leave those readers eager for future installments in this series.—Brandy Danner, Wilmington Memorial Library, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385740340
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 12/14/2010
  • Series: Flappers Series , #1
  • Pages: 421
  • Sales rank: 306,426
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jillian Larkin’s fascination with flappers and the 1920s began during her childhood, which included frequent home screenings of the classic Julie Andrews/Carol Channing film Thoroughly Modern Millie. She lives in New York.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 211 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(119)

4 Star

(62)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 213 Customer Reviews
  • 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 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.

    2 out of 2 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 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    What a beaut!

    I'm so glad "Vixen" is the first in a series, because I want to read more! Set in the 1920s, the three main characters are Gloria, who's engaged to Sebastian, scion of a wealthy and powerful family; her best friend, Lorraine, who harbors jealousy for her pal; and Gloria's cousin, Clara, who ran away from her family's farm for New York City and has a scandalous past she's escaping. Gloria's always been a good girl, but one night she and her friend Marcus get into a speakeasy and she sees musician Jerome for the first time. They hit it off, but there's a huge problem (well, besides Gloria's engagement). The talented piano player is black and Gloria is white. Oh, and it's the 1920s, remember? Gloria decides she wants to sing at the club, and thus begins a whole lot of sneaking around by a whole lot of people. Throw in a mobster, romance and an all-important engagement party, plus lots of "liquid courage" consumed during Prohibition, and you have a vivid portrait of the lives of these characters and the flapper era. The descriptions of the designer clothing of that time period are scrumptious. "Vixen" has an ending I didn't see coming and is just delightful. I wish I could give it 4.5 stars.

    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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  • Posted November 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    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. 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.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    GOOD

    I am going to be completely honest, when I first started this book, it could not keep my attention, in fact I started paying closer attention more towards the end of the story...but other than that I am kind of looking forward to the sequel as long as it was as interesting as the last couple of chapters of Vixen.

    1 out of 1 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2010

    A must read!

    I loved this book! I can't wait for the sequel! It was definitely a nice change to read a book with the setting in the 20's and to get a look into the flapper lifestyle and social etiquette of the 20's. Quite different from today! However, the main character, Gloria, was overshadowed by the more powerful characters of Lorraine and Clara. Clara was definitely my favorite character with Lorraine my least. I was rooting for Clara throughout the novel. You will hope for a Cinderella ending for her and the worst for Lorraine! This book is one that you will have a hard time putting down!

    1 out of 1 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 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 November 3, 2010

    Neat premise falls short

    I received this book for free through the First Look program at Barnes & Noble.

    Gloria Carmody is a young socialite in Chicago who seems to have it all. She's finishing her last year in high school and is engaged to Sebastian Grey, who was one of Chicago's most eligible bachelors. But when her cousin Clara comes to town to help plan the wedding, Gloria realizes she'll have to live it up before she gets married. I wasn't a huge fan of this book. I found the dialogue stilted and oddly schizophrenic--at times Larkin has captured a 1920s feel (especially when she uses period slang), but at other times, it doesn't sound like people talking at all. I also thought the plot was weak--lots of implausible moments and wooden characters. This book has a fun premise, but lacks the polish and realism to bring it off successfully.

    1 out of 3 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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  • Posted October 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    booze, boys, and jazz- a GREAT combination!

    Vixen, by Jillian Larkin. A terrific debut novel! This is a sexy, romantic book about the Roaring Twenties, for teens! It is highly appropriate for teens. Sexy, without any obligatory sex scenes. Romantic without being gushy. I enjoyed it very much, and once I started reading could not put it down! Thanks! I received this book free through Barnes & Noble's First Look program, but I am under no obligation to give a favorable review.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2013

    As a debut author, I must say that Jillian Larkin did a great jo

    As a debut author, I must say that Jillian Larkin did a great job. Set in 1920's Chicago, where mobsters and flappers rule the city, and
    morals are loose, the story displays elements of love, jealousy, revenge, and secrecy. I was thrilled to dive right in, but it was a little
    hard for me to get into the story. I don't think the book has a slow pace, but the interesting bits definitely occurred more towards the end.

    The characters, however, were really lively. Gloria Carmody represents a lot of teenage girls, because she craves freedom. Lorraine Dyer is the
    ultra jealous best friend, love-struck by Marcus Eastman -- the suave, debonair playboy that calls himself Gloria's best friend, and Clara 
    Knowles is the cool cousin with a twisted past (her character was really captivating, and she's probably my favorite. Larkin did a great
    job with Clara's description, and made her character irresistibly lovable.) Although there were some dull bits, the drama between cousins
    and best friends was incredibly thrilling, and the climax was definitely shocking. If you pick up this book and read it, you'll be amazed
    by the end of the story. Juicy drama drips from the pages, and instantly reels you in.

    My main complaint -- sometimes it was a little hard to get the full "1920's" feel, and sometimes it did feel like you were reading a story
    set in modern times. Occasionally there would be a few phrases and descriptions that gave you that "Flapper feel", but there could have
    have been more description. I was definitely expecting a sort of "Gatsby" feel, but I was left a bit disappointed. All in all, great book. Definitely buying the next books in the series.

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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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  • Posted August 16, 2012

    I loved this book it was awesome kept me going from begining to

    I loved this book it was awesome kept me going from begining to end
    surprising ending don't regret buying it!

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