Here is a new review of California Girl Chronicles reposted from Ziggy Soto's blog. Ms. Soto does book reviews for a number of mainstream book review sites as well as her own. I would like to personally thank her for taking her valuable time to read the book and write her critique. Thank you!
Book 1 of Michelle Gamble-Risley’s California Girl Chronicles is not what you’d expect—it sure wasn’t what I expected anyway. And I’ll admit I wasn’t disappointed at all. Everyone loves an entertaining, escape-for-awhile novel, and that is exactly what Brea & the City of Plastic is. Book 1 takes us through Brea Harper’s journey of moving to Los Angeles to make it as a screenwriter, while going through some fun, sexy, humiliating, and heartbreaking moments along the way. In a world where business and professional lines are blurred, this novel is more than appropriately titled, and there’s never a dull moment.
While Brea may be a born-and-raised Cali girl, women everywhere can relate to her on some level. She is genuine, unpredictable, good-hearted, at times fickle, and well-aware of her flaws, which makes her all the more likable. There are moments where she is vulnerable and other moments where she is strong. Who can’t relate to that? I found myself having shake-my-head moments when Brea knowingly makes mistakes as well as ha-take-that moments when she triumphs.
The characters Brea meets along the way are as equally intriguing and multi-dimensional as Brea, with some you will love to hate, others you will hate to love, and everything in between. While I was rooting for Brea every step of the way, I also couldn’t get enough of Brea’s love interests, especially Kale, the successful, sexy, almost too-good-to-be-true movie producer who is head over heels for her. And add into the mix Brea’s new and old friends, including Kale’s Latina housekeeper, Maya, and Brea’s straightforward roommate, Denise.
Michelle’s first novel is refreshingly honest. With Brea, we see and experience things that most women think but rarely admit. The narration is playful and humorous, though we can easily feel Brea’s conflict and dilemmas at the right moments. The dialogue is enticing yet real, which Michelle uses to bring more depth to her characters than initially meets the eye. Since Book 1 is such a fun read, I can’t wait to see what new adventure Brea will take in Book 2. Honestly, I think I may like this even more than Sex and the City.