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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Deirdre Griffin feels like a ghost when compared to her siblings. This she feel is especially true as she is at best a wilted wallflower in comparison to her charismatic brother Tag, considered the "next big thing." As his personal assistant and house sitter Deirdre puts up with a lot, but in Austin, she abruptly quits when she feels he abuses her support of him.

When her on and off boyfriend tells her he is marrying the woman carrying his baby, Deirdre explodes as he had told her no children. Intoxicated by drinking Tag's vodka, Deirdre uses her sibling's humongous massive online fan base to arrange for her inclusion on Dancing with the Stars as she decides it is past time for a wallflower to bloom.

This amusing lighthearted contemporary story is a strong coming of age tale as the wallflower struggles to overcome her doubts and insecurities. The storyline is fast-paced with readers rooting for the heroine to succeed at Dancing with the Stars and in Austin with Steve the garden guru. With a nod to America's Sweethearts, fans will enjoy the comedic yet deep look at a Wallflower in Bloom.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
One of the best parts of summer is the slew of lighter, fun reads that are published. I love nothing better than on a hot, steamy afternoon, sitting on my sun porch and diving into one of the new novels. The covers always promise so much and I have to say the cover art on this particular novel is wonderful and drew me in.

In this novel by Claire Cook, our protagonist is Deirdre Griffin. She is a woman raised in a tight knit family with lots of sibling rivalry and off-beat parents. That family is still most of her world, even as an adult. Her brother, Tag, has become a new age guru who is adored by the public and has become the family business. They all live on or near his compound and work for him in some way, particularly involved is Deirdre who is his personal assistant and gopher. Her life is dictated by him and his whims and over the years she has come to resent it. One night she has finally had her fill and, fueled by more alcohol that is wise, manages to get herself in the running for a spot on Dance with the Stars. Is this an opportunity for her to finally break away and no longer be the family wallflower or has she just put herself in a position of complete humiliation? Only by reading the book will the reader find out.

As I said at the beginning, I had high hopes for this narrative as the premise seemed off-beat and fun plus I have enjoyed other novels by this same author. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed and almost quit reading about half way in. The heroine is so whiny and unlikeable that I almost understood why the family treated her the way they did. Instead of having a character to cheer on, I ended up not liking any of the characters and found them all irritating. The first-person narrative can come across as fresh and witty but not this time. The overuse of similes was annoying and it just felt like it was trying too hard to be funny. I am glad that I finished out the book since the last 50 pages where more enjoyable and saved it from a 2-star rating. I will give it 3 stars, but it is on the low side of 3 stars.

Bottom line: A book that tries too hard to be funny and a heroine that is unlikeable equals a book that I would not have missed by not reading it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2012
Don't look at me like that. Sure, 3 stars means I did like this book, and I'm not even in the target demographic (a bit too male). I'm allowed to read something different once in a while. And enjoy it. So there. Besides, I like Dancing with the Stars.

What worked for me: The deadpan voice of the first-person narrator. Given her messed up personal situation and her hapless reactions, she could have some across as whining. By keeping her reasonably level-headed, the author makes it possible for us to stick with her. And by not making her too empowered or snarky, we don't get put off, either. Beyond that, the prose, dialog, settings, and descriptions are all first-rate. There is nothing to complain about in terms of basic writing skills.

What didn't really work for me, once it occurred to me, is believing that this powerful, effective personal assistant for a popular pop figure is so easily reduced to a hapless, clueless shlub. I was also put off by the completely inane relationship she has with her brother and the rest of her family. Sure, this is the source of conflict for the story. But this is one of those conflicts that could be resolved in about two minutes if just one of the participants would act like a grown up, instead of a thirteen-year-old.

As for all of the rigmarole dealing with Dancing with the Stars and Hollywood: this is reasonably believable and mostly fun. In some ways, I wish it could have been richer. Just as it all seemed to get rolling, everything is resolved. This is perhaps due to the short length of the book. I read it in only a few hours, spread over several days. This will be a fun beach read for those in its target audience. As for the rest of us, you may like it, too (especially if you are a DWTS fan, like me).

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Wallflower in Bloom: A Novel is not my favorite Claire Cook book but if you want a cute and quick read to throw in your beachbag this summer then this latest from the author will fill the bill.

Dee Dee Griffin is the personal assistant for her very famous brother, Tag Griffin, a self-help guru who has his entire family, including his ex-wives, helping to run his new age worship empire. But none is so hung up in his personal sphere as sister Dee Dee; she is so into his life that she finds she has no life of her own. One day the fact that Tag's life is overwhelming her own life causes Dee Dee to chuck it all and disappear for a few days. While doing her disappearing act, Dee decides to try out for Dancing with the Stars and uses her brother's bigger than life self to get her on the show.

Dee learns about herself and her value while hitting the road and joining the Dancing with the Stars show; the book deals with the author's favorite topic - a woman's search for renewal and empowerment. This is a topic that has appeared in other Claire Cook books so Wallflower in Bloom: A Novel continues in that flavor.

The second chapter is one of the funniest for me when Dee is in the elevator with what turns out to be an old college friend of her brother, Tag. Other chapters are fun but not as laugh out loud funny as this. This is not my favorite Claire Cook novel,however, it is a lively and quick read for a day on the porch or at the beach this summer.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2012
Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook is a perfect example of fun chic-lit that is perfect for the summer sun in a nice vacation spot. It is also fun and sassy with the author's sense of humor, so it makes it that much more entertaining to read.

Wallflower in Bloom is an entertaining summer relaxing read. I wouldn't go so far as to say it is high literature or anything, but it is fun and breezy. The author is humorous and sassy, which is just what I enjoyed most about this novel.

The main character Deirdre often made me want to shake her for some of the choices she made, but you want to cheer her on and see her succeed nonetheless. Having this character be a Dancing with the Stars replacement "celebrity" is very unrealistic, as she wasn't a celebrity, her brother was. Fans of this show will more than likely really enjoy this book because of the focus of this in the novel. I'm not a fan, so I can't say I really enjoyed this being in the novel.

Overall, I found this novel to be entertaining and sassy, thanks to the author. I think it would make for an excellent beach read or summer read in general. I recommend it to all those needing a relaxing and funny read to pass the time this summer.

* Thank you to the publisher of Wallflower in Bloom, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2012
What an engaging and fun story this is!

As a long-time fan of Dancing With the Stars, I was hooked from the beginning. I thoroughly enjoyed this inspiring and entertaining book. With a message for all of us who have sat on the fence, waiting and wondering if/when our own time to shine will come. In this story, Deirdrie took the chance and came up the winner and in so many ways. I was sorry to turn the last page.

Keep them coming Claire, can't wait to see what your next novel will bring!

Read my complete review of this book and also Best Staged Plans by the same author at:

my real life reviews dot com
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 24, 2012
Deirdre Griffin has the job that lots of women would kill for. Deidre is manager for her brother, Tag. Tag is a famous guru. Women all over are falling for Tag and his words of wisdom. Deirdre is meeting with an event manager for her brother, Tag. While at the hotel, Deirdre receives a unexpected surprise. A man walks into her hotel room, whie Deirdre is in a stage of undress with her granny panty style under wear, brushing her teeth, looking like a rabid dog foaming at the mouth. As if things could not get worse, the man is drop, dead handsome. The man is none other than Tag's friend, Steve Moretti and he is standing right in front of Deirdre.

I never read Must Love Dogs but I did see the movie adaption from the book and thought the movie was funny. I knew that I had to give Ms. Cook a chance but just never found the time until now. OMG...Wallflower in Bloom will have you laughing and crying at the same time. The words of wisdom that Tag would impart was hiliarous. It would make me do a double take and sometimes go "huh". Of course, sadly but after you reading the saying again and thought about it, it made sense in a round about way.

I wanted to hate Tag because he seemed so self-centered but at the same time, he was kind of ike a lost, sad puppy, who you could not stay mad at for very long. Deirdre was fun but she was like a wallflower. You would not remember her in a crowd. However, she did blossom in the end but very slowly. I wanted her to make a bigger transformation. One let down that I did have with this book was that I thought there would be more dancing or at least more focus on DWTS than there really was. Deirdre was suppose to have this dream of being a dancer but I did not get to see her dance but once during the living show and in practice. RIP...Fred and Ginger...may they live in the great big ocean of life. Wallflower in Bloom is a summer read that blooms to a perfect ending.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2012
Claire Cook in her new book, "Wallflower in Bloom" published by Touchstone brings us into the life of Deirdre Griffin.

From the back cover: From the acclaimed bestselling author of Must Love Dogs comes a winning and witty new novel about a woman who emerges from the shadow of her overbearing family and finds herself "dancing with the stars."

Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it's just not her own. She's the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound.

Then Deirdre's sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag's expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It'll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre's fifteen minutes of fame have begun.

Irresistible and offbeat, Wallflower in Bloom is an original and deeply satisfying story of having the courage to take a leap into the spotlight, no matter where you land.

I just love the title "Wallflower in Bloom" it tells us that there is hope for us yet. We all have known a wallflower, some of us have even been a wallflower, that individual who goes to a party and hangs out by the wall or a corner by themselves and really doesn't mingle. Deirdre Griffin has been verbally abused and the result is she is a wallflower but she gets the opportunity to come out of herself, blossom and be the person that was always there to begin with. Ms. Cook has created an impressive cast of characters that live and breathe, that we care about and all of them are interesting in their own way, good and bad. "Wallflower in Bloom" is great fun that makes you want to cheer as well as dance. I liked this book very much. I look forward to more from the pen of Claire Cook.

If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.

To listen to 24 hours non-stop, commercial free Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Touchstone. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2012
Another great read! I think a big majority of women can associate with the feeling of putting others first & losing one's self. Claire Cook's newest book is witty, clever and you just want to cheer Deidre on! A must have to add to your collection of great reads!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review originally posted on [...]

For those of us who are fans of Dancing With the Stars, the book gives us a glimpse into what it must be like for the participants. We get a behind the scenes peak into the preparation and stresses involved. There were lots of things I never about the show, like how much money the professionals receive and whether they get to keep their costumes.

Aside from the story, Claire Cook gives us great nuggets of wisdom, like her insights into social media- "...in this day and age our personal power was measured by our Web reach." She also tackles the question of whether a wallflower can change. Those of us who began writing fiction later in life have used author Claire Cook as inspiration. The story is she wrote her first book in her minivan at 45 years of age. That's why these lines from the book really spoke to me: "Was there a cutoff age for late bloomers, or could I still squeeze n for last call? Sitting there, in the back of the minivan, I had to believe there was still time." As a mom of two small kids embarking on a new career, I could relate. I too, began to bloom later in life.

Whether you're a fan of DWTS or not, I think you'll truly enjoy this book. It provides plenty of laughs while providing a fabulous message about making your dreams come true.

I'm giving the book Five Spunky Beans!
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