May 13, 2013

book review: nobody's damsel

Let me start this review of EM Tippetts' Nobody's Damsel with a little bit of a story.

I read this book in March when, after getting so caught up in book one in the series, I decided to keep reading right along and finished book two that same night. Okay, technically it was early Monday morning, but you catch my drift. And after that, I wrote a beautiful book review fully expressing my love for this book. My review was witty. I quoted songs. Embedded videos. I did everything a person riding on the high of a great read followed by a night of no sleeping would do.

If I was Francis Ford Coppola, this review would've been my The Godfather. Actually, given the number of songs featured, calling it Vincente Minnelli's An American in Paris is probably more accurate, but you catch my drift. This review was spectacular.

"Good job, Laura," I thought to myself. "You have one whole book review for the month of May done well in advance. You rule. Now go make yourself some coffee and take a shower."

Then last week, while checking on that Oscar-worthy review and preparing to update it with the necessary links and information, I somehow managed to delete that whole post. Fortunately, I was just back from my vacation, otherwise I would've probably had a coronary. Instead, I took a moment to breathe -- and vent my frustration on Twitter -- and I set out to deal with the problem. I toyed with scratching the whole review and making a finger painting of how this story made me feel. Ultimately, I decided the logistics of procuring finger paints, a good scanner and any artistic talent were far more troublesome than writing this new, undoubtedly more tame and less lengthy post.

Fortunately, I remember the gist of my lead, so you'll get a taste of the awesomeness that was my original review. After that, I'm going rogue.

The words to best sum up Nobody's Damsel, the sequel to EM Tippetts' Someone Else's Fairytale, came to me in the form of song. It goes something like this:
Oh we've got trouble my friends.  
Right there in Albuquerque. 
With a capital T, 
And that rhymes with P, 
Which stands for Paparazzi.  
Does it make your blood boil? Well I should say.

That's right, my friends. I just went all The Music Man up in this book review. But wait, I'm not done. Because the paparazzi played such a huge role (for bad, worse and then slightly redeemable), I had Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" in my head for the next few days after finishing this read. (Instead of messing with embedding, I'll give you the link here to watch the video at your leisure. See, this was a high quality book review.)

Here's what you need to know about this book. Since we last saw Jason and Chloe, both of their careers have transformed. Jason is having the chance to be a little pickier with his roles and Chloe has graduated from grad school and landed a job with the Albuquerque Police Department in forensics. The down side: their marriage is under intense media scrutiny, with cameras following them constantly as people wait to watch one of them slip.

Jason commits a bit of a career faux pas early in the story, which means he -- and his marriage -- under greater scrutiny. Throw in a clingy ex from his past (who openly wants him back!), and he and Chloe are in trouble.

As for Chloe, her first big case hits a little too close to home. As she and her team race against the clock to find a kidnapped girl, she must face demons from her past and new ones. A troubled marriage, a problematic case and baggage from her past reminds Chloe of the reality that happy ever afters are never guaranteed no matter how in control of your life you try to be.

A major shift in content from book one, this story falls more along the lines of a crime procedural than a romantic comedy. While the love story takes a necessary backseat in this book, it was still strong and enjoyable to read. The tension between Chloe and Jason was a perfect blend of sexy and painful to keep it interesting. After investing a lot in their future during book one, it was good to see them have to work at building their relationship and future together. Their love story avoided being boring without crossing too many lines.

As for the main point of the story... The crime in question was one that evoked plenty of emotion and intrigue. Less of a "whodunit" and more of a "how do we pin down the person who did this and find the girl" my mind was constantly engaged in trying to figure out how Chloe and her team would save the day. I don't know if the lack of sleep made me even more emotional than usual, but I definitely teared up at several moments in this story as Chloe tackled the many issues she faced.

It was great to see supporting characters from the first book reappear in this one. At the same time, Chloe's new job creates an opportunity to add new characters. Each of them brings something to the table, and I look forward to seeing what cases they handle in the next books.

Oh, and what the heck. After that hype of finger painting my review, I went ahead and threw together a picture of one of my favorite scenes from the book. I can't give you any context without spoiling the story, but I can tell you that by the time I colored it, I didn't exactly remember Jason and Chloe's eye or hair color, so I improvised. I'm also pretty certain Jason makes enough money as an actor his TV doesn't require rabbit ears, but I was setting a scene, people.

With that, I give you "Laura's Favorite Scene from Nobody's Damsel." 

Laura's Favorite Scene from 'Nobody's Damsel.'
Media: crayon and scratch paper. May 2013.

I know. I have clearly missed my calling in life. I should become an artist. I also recognize that I have officially gone nuts. I blame society. And jet lag.

With that, I hope Tippetts continues to write stories about Chloe and Jason, because I want to know what comes next. Just don't put them through too much? Please?

Fans of book one -- or people looking for something more along the lines of a thriller laced with love -- will find this an appealing and worthy read.

Rating: 4.5 of 5

Check out an excerpt of Nobody's Damsel here and Someone Else's Fairytale here, my review here and an interview with the author here. Also, return tomorrow to read a new interview with the author.

**Everyone who leaves a comment on E.M.’s tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Nobody's Damsel before May 20 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

About the Author
E.M. Tippetts grew up in New Mexico and now lives in London, where she raises two boisterous toddlers, designs jewelry, and writes novels. A former attorney, she used to specialize in real estate and estate planning, specifically literary estate planning. She currently has five novels out, Time & Eternity, Paint Me True, Someone Else's Fairytale, Castles on the Sand, and Nobody's Damsel (Fairytale 2).

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  1. I love reading your reviews :)

  2. Yay! That's the scene that defines the novel for me ;-)

  3. A fabulous review, and I love your artistic talent!

    ALso gotta love a Music Man reference! :)

    1. This is true ;-) And yes, I wish I drew half that well...