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Up in Flames: A Rosemary Beach Novel (The Rosemary Beach Series) Paperback – June 28, 2016
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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About the Author
Abbi Glines is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach, Field Party, Sea Breeze, Vincent Boys, and Existence series. A devoted book lover, Abbi lives with her family in Alabama. She maintains a Twitter addiction at @AbbiGlines and can also be found at Facebook.com/AbbiGlinesAuthor and AbbiGlines.com.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Up in Flames
Men pissed me off. In my experience, they always wanted something from me, but it was never really me they wanted. I knew it without giving them more than a moment of my time. When they looked at me, they saw “daughter of a rock star” and “money.” Most of them were just hoping I’d get them on the cover of a cheap gossip magazine.
This left me with little to no respect for the male species. I held only one man in high regard, and that was my brother, Rush. He had always been there for me when I needed him—except for a few times when I was a raging bitch to his wife, Blaire. But now that I was over my jealousy, Rush was back to being my rock. And it was enough for me that he was happy.
I knew it was time that I grew up and fought my own battles. I wasn’t doing a fantastic job of it, but I wasn’t doing too badly, either. I was managing things. In my own way . . .
My phone vibrated in my hand, and I looked down to see Major’s face on the screen. This was my newest bad idea. He was gorgeous and almost too sweet for me—I usually liked at least a little bit of drama—but what kept him from being too perfect was the fact that he was a player. He loved women. Craved the attention he got from them. He thought I was too stupid to know that when he wasn’t with me, he was usually with someone else, but his acting skills weren’t as foolproof as he thought. I could tell by the way he responded to my texts if he was with someone else or if he had time for me.
I thought I was dealing with this reality pretty well, but it was getting harder to keep my heart in check and not fall for his pretty-boy charms. His kindness was getting to me, even though I knew I was nothing more than another girl to him.
What are you doing?
This was the kind of text I usually got when he was alone and bored. At first, I had thought he was genuinely interested in the answer, but after noticing how often the words hey sweetie and babe flashed across the screen of his phone when we were together, I knew that was all bullshit.
All men were liars. Even the bighearted, pretty ones.
I didn’t trust men, but unfortunately, I needed them in my life. I wished I weren’t always so needy for affection and attention, but I was. I hated that about myself, and I often tried to hide it, but it was getting harder to do that. Watching Rush abandon his playboy ways for the right woman and seeing his best friend—and my onetime fuck buddy—Grant Carter, turn into the perfect man for his wife, Harlow, hadn’t been easy. I wasn’t a Blaire or a Harlow. I didn’t inspire men to want to change for me. Admitting that hurt deeply, but it was something I was coming to terms with.
Anger, self-loathing, and feelings of inadequacy can make a person hateful. Bitter. A monster.
That’s exactly what I didn’t want to become.
As much as I wanted to ignore Major, I knew I wouldn’t. Replying to him meant he’d give me attention, and then I could pretend for a moment that he had feelings for me. That I was worth more. That I was the kind of girl a guy would change for.
Just waking up, I replied, as I sat up in bed.
The text bubble that always popped up when someone was in the middle of replying showed up on the screen, and my stomach did a little flutter thing. He was alone. He was thinking about me.
Yes, I know, I sound pathetic, but I’m being honest here.
Sleepyhead. What time did you go to bed last night?
The better question would be what time did he go to bed last night. He hadn’t texted me after eight p.m., and I had too much pride ever to text or call him first. His last text had been distracted, and I assumed he was with someone else.
Late, was my simple response. The truth was, I had sat on my sofa, cuddled up alone under a blanket, watching season three of Gossip Girl and eating popcorn that I would have to run off this morning.
What were you doing up late?
That kind of question always annoyed me. He felt like he could just ask me anything because he knew I’d give him a real answer. but I could never straight-up ask him what he was doing, because I knew I’d only get part of the truth—usually the part that didn’t involve another girl.
Watching TV. I didn’t feel like lying to make him jealous. I had realized long ago that Major didn’t do jealous where I was concerned, which sometimes felt like a slap in the face. Yet another thing I always forgave him for, just because he was so damn nice.
Gossip Girl or Grey’s Anatomy?
He knew my two favorite shows. He remembered everything about me. Which was yet another thing that complicated things for me.
I’m good, he texted, with a winky face. He was the only guy I knew who used emojis. At first, I thought it was weird, but I expected it now. It was just Major being Major. He could make things acceptable that normally weren’t sexy.
Lunch today? Maybe Japanese?
He loved Japanese food.
And I was afraid, maybe just a little, that I loved him.
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Once again disappointed by Abbi Glines. I was really really hoping she'd pull this one off and it would be a well written novel but all she did is place Nan is a manipulative, dangerous, situation; trying to be a little less vanilla. Her choices were the spineless Major, whom she had no real connection with, or Cope "Gannon" Roth whom stalked and abused her in the name of it being what she wanted, and forced himself upon her while she slept. This wasn't sexy in any way it was creepy and abusive. There is a right way and a wrong way to write with a bit of a kink flare and this wasn't it. All in All she not on let Nan down, giving her a sub par story line letting her be abused mentally and sexually, but she let readers down.
Ms. Glines has made no secret about how fast she can write a book. That’s great and all, truly it is, but the problem is that it shows. The lack of quality is immediately evident. There are plot holes, inconsistencies, and things left entirely unexplored like, say, the vague, poorly built world revolving around the whole crime lord plot line, that make me wish she would take the time necessary to put out a quality product.
Up in Flames doesn’t read like a standalone novel. It reads like part of the beginning is missing. A lot of the backstory relies heavily on information gleaned from other books in the series. Nan and Major already have a history, but it’s glossed over. I felt like I was playing catch-up, trying to connect the dots. It’s like when you hear a joke—it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you only hear the punchline.
Nan has always been a difficult character to like because of her flaws, constant judgment, and overall mean-girl attitude. I was curious to see how Ms. Glines would tackle her character. Unfortunately, much like Nan herself, there’s no depth to this book, in either characters or plot. It reads like the diary of two whiny teenagers. Show me, don’t tell me, for crying out loud.
To label this book a romance is a misuse of the word, in my opinion. Nothing about Up in Flames was romantic by any stretch of the imagination.
In a book where it’s clear, right from the start, that Major has absolutely no chance of ever ending up with Nan, he dominates the story. Up in Flames is told in alternating points of view: Nan, Major, and later on, Cope, a.k.a. Gannon. Readers are subjected to numerous chapters from Major’s point of view, where all he does is whine like a little girl and have sex with other women. I’m sorry, but in a book where he isn’t even the real “romantic lead,” why is he being given so much page time?
Major, who fancies himself a hit man—and a piss-poor one at that, is in Rosemary Beach to get close to Nan as part of his assignment. Except, instead of wooing Nan and getting her to open up so he can get the information he needs to clear her name, he puts her on the back burner, so to speak, so he can get his rocks off with other women. Ms. Glines does a poor job of trying to convince us that, despite Nan being a mark and nothing more than a hindrance to his playboy ways, Major is developing real feelings for her. There’s no romantic tension between them. One minute, he can’t stand her, throwing insults at her face, and the next, she’s making him feel too deeply—or so we're told. He's too contradictory. His actions don't match his words or his behavioral attitude toward Nan.
When Nan gets a wild hair and runs off to Vegas, after Major brushes her off one too many times, she runs into Gannon. Nan can’t help but fall in lust with him, an easy feat, considering she craves any and all attention from the male persuasion. From then on, what little plot there is revolves around Nan’s constant lust for him. When Gannon was first introduced into the story, I was excited because, well, he wasn’t Major. Okay, now we’re getting somewhere, I thought. Yeah, fail. Their entire “relationship” is purely physical. There's no chemistry, nothing to make me believe they truly care for one another. There are no meaningful conversations taking place, something that’s hard to do when the guy you’re falling for is pretending to be someone he’s not. After Nan goes back to Rosemary Beach, we’re subjected to scenes such as this:
“The slap across my face startled me and made me cry out his name at the same time. It wasn’t that it hurt, because in the moment it had been erotic. The force behind it had been enough to draw attention yet not harm.
‘Don’t move.’ He barked his order, and I nodded.
Unsure if I wanted to be slapped again or not. No one had ever slapped my face. The action almost hurt my feelings […]”
In what universe is this considered romantic? And to call it "erotic" is absurd. It’s deplorable. Nan may not have a problem with it, but I certainly do. This scene is made all the worse because, during the entirety of it, Nan thinks she’s having an elaborate dream. This man, who she’s only known for a handful of days, who’s done nothing but lie to her, who has her under surveillance and spies on her in the privacy of her own home, makes a habit of breaking into her house while she’s sound asleep and initiates sexual encounters with her in the dead of night. He even dresses her when he's done, so that when Nan wakes up in the morning, she's none the wiser. The fact that she "participated" is beside the point. Why? Because she didn't know it was actually happening, as impossible as it sounds. Having sex with someone who isn’t conscious enough to consent is rape, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I’m disgusted and completely disappointed that an author would think this kind of behavior is okay—and worse, not see anything wrong with it. When Nan learns the truth, she just accepts it as being a grand, romantic gesture, because, you know, he just wanted her so much that he couldn’t stay away. Are you kidding me with this garbage? The sad part is, Nan is so desperate for someone to love her, that she doesn't realize she deserves better.
I never liked Nan, still not sure if I do, but even I can admit that she deserved so much better than what she got in this book. She may not be a Blaire or a Harlow, but she still deserved a good, decent man in her life.
For me, this was easily the worst book in the series, and has, in fact, left a bad taste in my mouth. It didn’t measure up to what I thought it would be. The book was rife with telling instead of showing. The characters weren't fleshed out. There was no depth, no substance, no moment where I felt like I got to know and understand the characters. The drama was over-the-top and unbelievable at every turn. Furthermore, Cope wasn't the kind of "hero" I wanted to read in a so-called romance. And trying to take Major seriously as a legitimate crime lord/hit man was laughable, considering he failed so spectacularly at even the simplest of tasks.
Some possible unwanted spoilers.
I wish she would have just gotten Nan help. Put her into intensive therapy or a psychiatric ward, something. Maybe had her fall inlove with her therapist or anyone else but the two vying for her attention in this book. I can think of a lot of different things I'd rather have read. But no Abbi decided with the last book to bring in two men for Nan to have sex with. She decided with the last book to try out a little of BDSM and not very well. It was actually appalling. She should just stick to the type of sex she normally writes because shes one of the best when writing those scenes. Its normally the perfect amount of romance and sex. This book didn't feel like NA like the rest of them, it was unemotional F-ing. It also leaves you hanging with a certain charater and you don't know if she's going to do a string off or something. It was frustrating.
I hope Abbi slows down when writing and actually starts putting thought into her books again, because lately I dont believe she's been taking enough time on her scenes. She gets an idea, she thinks up how she wants it to end, and she powers through it. There you have it 200-300 pages of barely any substance. One last thing its quite a big spoiler so if you dont want to know dont read anymore.........
They should not have a baby. Omg it would be the most screwed up child. Nan might love the baby, but it will be raised as a stuck up, full of its self, possible soulless creacher of the night like its parents. There I'm done. Idk why she thought this book was a good idea. It was a no way for me.
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