On second thought

2 starsI got to talk with one of my fellow book-nerds last night, and she got me thinking: what exactly did I like about Abbi Glines’ “Up In Flames,” the 13th (lucky number for Ms. Glines as it’s a current bestseller on Amazon) book in her Rosemary Beach series? My answer: the twists, I guess? She replied, “Really?!”

“Did you like the characters?,” she continued. I deliberated for a few moments. “No.” Here’s why: [WARNING: Severe spoilers ahead. Please stop reading this if you haven’t read the book yet.]

  • Nan Dillon’s character is unforgivingly harsh. She is unemployed; she runs for vanity’s sake (and for purportedly purging her nagging thoughts); she is completely and constantly needy for attention (hence, the consistently bad attitude from book 1 of this series); she’s absolutely selfish (I feel bad for her fictional baby); she’s kinda stupid. How can a person not wake up and be alert when a “demon lover” is slapping their face, butt, and sticking things between their legs that make that part of her body hurt the next morning?! Nan really thought she dreamt ALL those sex sessions at night? C’mon. She was also willingly chasing after a man who has always lied to her. I….. why? People are not really made this way, right? If so, thank god for the smart people I know and are friends with. I cannot fathom how and why women, both real and fictional, would associate their self-worth with a man or with any other person. It’s called “self-worth” and “self-respect” for a reason. Moreover, Nan’s sense of self-preservation is, similar to her intelligence quotient, non-existent.

The whole time I was reading the book (despite Ms. Glines painting a portrait of Nan with red hair), I was thinking of that bride from hell, Krystle, from the show, Say Yes to the Dress: The Big Day. One word: ew. I’m hoping the guy she ultimately tricked married got a pre-nup, wherein he gets every single dime of daddy-in-law’s money should he wish to part ways with his wife. I almost wish TLC would document their daily lives, just so this one fact can be cemented on everyone’s brain: don’t marry at all.

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  • Major Colt is one major douchebag. Like, M-A-J-O-R. I didn’t think I could like an Abbi Glines character less than Nan, but he was the epitome of “seriously, WTF are you thinking, man?” I’m sooooo glad he’s a man, though. He made Nan look a little bit good.
  • Cope Roth comes off as mysterious, hard, and dangerous. Initially, he sounded like Nan’s counterpart (a.k.a. Krystle’s handler). Then, he called Nan a “bitch” while sexing her up during one of their faux dream sequences. Nan loved it. I hated it. His character is the least developed one in the book. Ms. Glines gave a chapter to Captain (the hero from book 12) and a chapter for Mason (another hero from another Rosemary book). She gave a few ones to Cope, but she couldn’t give him one where  her baffled readers can understand what his appeal is. Truly, it’s all about his man-bun look/ bad-boy/ lying stalker keen-observer/ ultimate naughty lover persona for Nan. And, that’s it??? Suddenly, he’s redeemable because he helped Major achieve the latter’s dream of being a contract killer; he seamlessly and effortlessly got out of the mob; and pro-created with Nan. Great.
  • Surprise and unexpected baddie appears, Franco Whatshisface. I was just… WTH is going on??

My friend also asked me, “Did you like the story?” I paused and admitted: I actually think “Up In Flames” was written by another person. This book is so completely unlike the first few Rosemary Beach books. It’s written in a style that is also in stark contrast to how Ms. Glines wrote “Until Friday Night,” which is my favorite Abbi Glines book. Where I got major-feels from “Friday,” “Flames” just went pffft for me, the more that I think and talk about it. Nan’s story started off abruptly, like a race horse shooting out of the barricade before the start gun was shot. The flawed characters were unrelate-able, even coming off as pathetic at times. The plot and climax zigged and zagged, which left me completely unsatisfied with the book.

I know this is not de rigueur, but I’m changing my original 4-star rating to a 2-star one. So, thanks, friend, for letting me see the light.

P.S. I DID like the last twist (i.e., he’s alive) and the HEA at the end, though!
P.P.S. Note to self: do not buy Major’s book ,if it ever comes out. I hope it never comes out. Sometimes, my dear authors, there is no need to provide salvation for an unsalvageable character, despite what your readers (i.e., me) would clamor for.

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