Nightshade Collections, $0.99
Contemporary Romance, 2016
Waking Up is an odd entry into the Curved Lines boxed set – it has very minimal sensuality, and it also doesn’t pander to fat women’s insecurities. The story is simple too – Blair who is the sullen twit-of-all-trades in a trashy talk show on a trashy studio, falls for Gordon Renquist, a tattooed hard-bodied hunk. Like Blair, his tattoos and hotness are not played up in a pandering manner. This is just a story, no contrived sex overdose or angst overload just because some bestseller formula dictates so.
Unfortunately, this is… well, this is millennial-generation chick-lit – a tale of blisteringly whiny, self-absorbed cows who get to act without being held accountable for their actions, all the while behaving like their poo doesn’t stink. Worse, it’s set in the film industry… which means I’m getting a face full of the usual severe disapproval of everything it stands for. In other words, boring business as usual.
Every other page sees Blair judging and looking down at everything and everyone, interspersed with occasional moments when she lucidly decides that maybe stereotypes aren’t so cool – those moments don’t last, alas. If this had been a story of a woman who embraces the insanity of her job, at least that would be a welcome change from the same old snooty “fame sucks, popular culture sucks, buy my books instead because books are cultural and I need money” clichés.
Worst of all is the stunt Blair pulls at the end. She should get sued for that nonsense, but because the author disapproves of trashy TV shows and assumes that I feel the same, she expects me to laugh instead. By that time, though, I’m so tired of Blair’s holier-than-thou attitude than I’m just relieved to know that I’d soon be seeing the last of her.
Also, the author could have tightened up her humor. She had amazingly wicked lines here, but more often than not, she’d just go on and on, unnecessarily belaboring a point that the humor eventually dissipates away into awkwardness. If the author has shown better comedic timing here, knowing when to deliver the killer punchline and then move on, the heroine most likely would have seemed wicked and cynical in a more entertaining manner, instead of just whiny and repetitive. The first chapter is amazing, but everything else after that is just a downhill roll.
Anyway, I’d more likely to be putting down this one rather than living out its title. Here’s wishing the author better luck next time.