Review: Diva by Jillian Larkin

Diva (Flappers #3)
Jillian Larkin

Delacorte Books for Young Readers (2012)
320 pages
YA / Historical

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Parties, bad boys, speakeasies—life in Manhattan has become a woozy blur for Clara Knowles. If Marcus Eastman truly loved her, how could he have fallen for another girl so quickly? Their romance mustn't have been as magical as Clara thought. And if she has to be unhappy, she's going to drag everyone else down to the depths of despair right along with her.

Being a Barnard girl is the stuff of Lorraine Dyer's dreams. Finding out that Marcus is marrying a gold digger who may or may not be named Anastasia? A nightmare. The old Lorraine would have sat by and let the chips fall where they may, but she's grown up a lot these past few months. She can't bear to see Marcus lose a chance for true love. But will anyone listen to her?

Now that the charges against her have been dropped, Gloria Carmody is spending the last dizzying days of summer on Long Island, yachting on the sound and palling around with socialites at Forrest Hamilton's swanky villa. Beneath her smile, though, Gloria's keeping a secret. One that could have deadly consequences . . .


I have no idea what it is about Jillian Larkin’s Flapper series that makes me love it so much. I’m normally not into books that lack some sort of science fiction or fantasy element or at least a compelling mystery, but apparently the hijinks of these upper-class flappers in 1920s New York is enough to sway me from my usual stories. There’s a vivaciousness to Larkin’s writing and especially her characters that lifts what might other be just another teen soap opera to a level that is extremely entertaining without the petty annoyances common, I find, in other books focusing on the daily pursuits of teenagers.

Spoilers for Vixen and Ingénue ahead

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Review: The Hermetica of Elysium by Annmarie Banks

The Hermetica of Elysium
Annmarie Banks

Knox Robinson Publishing
400 pages
Historical / Fantasy

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I’m not the right person to review this book.  I went in thinking it was going to be more fantasy than historical fiction and I was wrong.  The time in history the book is set in isn’t one that interests me that much, so I had a difficult time getting into the book.  Take that knowledge with you as you read this review.

The Hermetica of Elysium is about Nadira, a servant girl in 1494 Barcelona, who is incredibly educated and can read multiple languages.  This makes her a hot commodity at a time when most people can’t write or read a single language.  The story is set in a time period of religious persecution, where anything and anyone can be deemed heretical and killed accordingly.  The fantastical piece of the book comes in the guise of the Hermetica of Elysium, an old manuscript that is said to have mystical powers and able to give the person who reads the book awesome powers.  Because the hermetica is written in a number of languages, Nadira becomes even more sought after and everyone from various Lords to the Pope himself want her in possession to help them have the power.

That last sentence should give you a hint about what most of this book consists of – people stealing Nadira, locking her up somewhere, having her read them things and then her being stolen by somebody else.  That is generally the plot of most of the book.  Nadira is kidnapped by at least three different parties with various levels of nefarious intentions.  About the time she started accomplishing something for her capturers, somebody else took her away.  It became pretty predictable.

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Review: Ingenue by Jillian Larkin

Ingenue (Flappers #2)
Jillian Larkin

Random House Children's Books (2011)
368 pages
YA / Historical Romance

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I’m not entirely sure how to review Ingenue.  On the surface it’s not my kind of book – there aren’t any spaceships or monsters, no one explodes, magical superspies are scarce, and there isn’t a robot anywhere to be seen.  What it does have are four – yes, FOUR – plucky teenage female protagonists, the various gentlemen they love and hate, drama galore and a couple of mobsters roaming around trying to kill people.  And yet there’s something about Jillian Larkin’s Flappers series that I really do enjoy.  The first in the series, Vixen, was probably the biggest reading surprise I had last year and I only picked it up because of a book group.  Ingenue was more of the same while being completely different and remaining as fun as the first.

Warning: Spoilers for Vixen ahead

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