Monday, November 21, 2011

San Francisco Book Review: California Girl Chronicles

Brea Harper is a classic California girl: blond and beautiful, but smarter than the rest. When her job as an editor at a local magazine disappears, she moves to Los Angeles on a whim to pursue her lifetime dream of becoming a scriptwriter. But more adventures await her than just a struggle to break into the business. Brea also gets sucked into a series of romantic mishaps with three men. Lance, who suggested she move in the first place, is her “roommate with benefits,” whom she shacks up with until she can get her own place. Drew is the singer in a local band, with whom she has intense chemistry, but for some reason, can never get any kind of relationship off the ground. And Kale is a Hollywood producer who mentors Brea and truly loves her, but can't save her from herself. Naturally, the combination of these three men is a catastrophe waiting to happen, and when her romances collide, life really gets complicated.

Michelle Gamble-Risley's debut novel, California Girl Chronicles, Book 1, is a wild ride. Like so many romance novels, the storyline is rather lacking in substance but rich in romantic encounters. Brea freely admits to loving sex, and that definitely shows in the frequency with which it occurs; the sex is hot and steamy, but many readers will find those passages altogether too short to be satisfying. Her job in a bikini shop provides a good deal of comic relief, breaking up both the sexy and more serious parts of the plot with ease and allowing the author's wit to shine through. Readers disappointed with what can easily be labeled a non-conclusive ending can take comfort in the fact that this is only the first book, and Brea's escapades will surely be continued in future volumes.

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