Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review of FOXY'S TALE by Karen Cantwell & L.B. Gschwantdtner

2.25 out of 5 stars

I was looking forward to reading this story because I have read Karen Cantwell’s Take the Monkeys and Run.  I thoroughly enjoyed that story and was excited to read her newest book, Foxy’s Tale, which she wrote with co-author, L.B. Gschwandtner.

Foxy’s Tale is the story of Foxy Anders, a recently divorced woman and her teenage daughter Amanda. Foxy is the ditzy beauty queen blonde who is more interested in shopping for the latest fashions than trying to parent her daughter.  Amanda is going through a Goth phase and is sullen and blames her mother for their current living conditions in a multi-family house near Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.  To make ends meet, Foxy has to rent 2 of the apartments – one to Knot Knudsen, an over-the-top gay guy and Myron Standlish, a bumbling old man with a secret.

I would have like to rate this book higher, but I was disappointed with this book.  The writing styles of each author did not always gel well together. Sometimes the writing was breezy and fun and at other times, it was flat.  Some of the scenes went on far too long and did not advance the storyline.  Also there were continuity problems.  For example, in one scene Amanda’s backpack is inside her apartment and in the next scene, her backpack is next to her.  The worst problem was the formatting for Kindle.  It was all over the place. There were so many instances where the formatting was off—it jarred me out of the story numerous times.

The story could have easily focused only on Foxy and Amanda and their journey to understanding each other.  The whole vampire storyline seems forced to me.  It seems like each author had an idea for a book and they tried to force them together.  There wasn’t any real back-story except for a short opening scene to understanding Myron and why he was on his secret mission to find an old trunk.  What were the consequences if he didn’t find what he was looking for?  The authors keep saying that time was running out, but never really explained why time was running out.  I think this is a missed opportunity because the character of Myron was likable one.  Without revealing any spoilers, the Nick storyline seemed a bit far-fetched as well.  It could easily have only been a Nick/Amanda storyline and all the teenage angst surrounding their relationship. 

For more than ¾ of the book, Foxy is very self-centered worrying only about her next pair of shoes or dress.  She’s not a very good mother and doesn’t make any effort to learn how to be a better one.  The world revolves around Foxy and in her mind, that’s the way it should be.  When she comes back from a shopping trip in Florida, all of a sudden she becomes interested in her daughter.  Why?  What was the catalyst for this new mindset?

The neighbor Knot Knudson was so stereotypical that it took away the pleasure of reading about him.  I have many gay friends and not one of them would go screaming from a room because something spilled on their shoes.  When the authors focused on Knot’s ability to engage and sell the antiques to well-to-do customers, he came across as much more believable and likable character.  He was definitely a fun distraction in the story. 

Foxy’s Tale could have been a fun and breezy read if the authors had narrowed the storyline a bit.  Trying to include so many ideas and characters did not allow the authors to flesh out the characters to their fullest and, I believe in the end, did not help this story.

Sometimes it takes more than one book to reach your stride so I will be interested to see where the authors take the story next.  If they keep Myron's character, I for one, would like to hear about more of his story.  He seems like such a sad-sack type of guy, but why?  I would like to see something good happen to him.