Paradise

Paradise - Jill S. Alexander I had heard great things about Paradise before I started reading. This was one of those books I purchased a long time ago, but never really got around to reading until a few days ago. I am glad I read it--it was a great book--but it also pissed me off quite a bit. I'll get to that part in a few moments, but first I'm going to talk about what I really liked. The writing was absolutely gorgeous. I'm not a big fan of the state of Texas (I have my reasons) but seeing the state through the author's eyes made me really want to visit. The sensory language was pretty fantastic. There were times when I felt I was right next to Paisley. The imagery really worked for me. Especially some of the musical performance scenes. I enjoyed the description of the setting: the woods, the Tucker barn, the airplane hangar, etc. I also really appreciated the tone of the book. I tend to really like the follow-your-dreams-and-screw-everybody-else type of book. I did find the characters to be a little flat. It was the story that shone here, and while I thought Paisley was written fairly well, I found the rest of the characters kind of one-dimensional. Yes, even Paradise. I had to giggle that the two daughters were named Paisley and Lacey, and it had me wondering if their parents were a husband-wife Wal-Mart design team. I know some southern names can be a bit ridiculous, but c'mon, really?Before I get to the big thing I took issue with, there were a few minor things that bothered me. I found it kind of weird how they went from one rehearsal with a new lead singer to a live performance right away. That was not very realistic at all. Did the author actually expect me to believe Paradise learned all of the songs and and lyrics that fast? Either she really did or the editor screwed up. Bad, editing, bad. Also, I really didn't get the reason for sticking in some of Cal's song lyrics between chapters. From reading them I gathered that he had feelings for Paisley. But that never came into play in the story. So I found it to be kind of useless. I know it was there as a plot device to raise readers' spirits because of what happened in the ending, but to me it didn't work. At all. And to be honest, some of the lyrics were pretty terrible.Now. The ending. Talking about this will be tricky without spoiling anything, so I'm going to say STOP READING HERE if you haven't read this book or think you may want to. I'm not going to give away any plot details, but you will be able to figure things out if you think too hard about it and I don't want to end up spoiling it for anyone, so STOP HERE.As much as the ending had an emotional effect on me, I found it entirely unnecessary. It was gimmicky and done to make the book different from other books, but sometimes simpler is better, and because of the way this book ended, I am extremely wary of reading anything else written by this author. The ending was shocking and emotional, but it didn't need to be that way. The writing was stunning up until that point and then I got really angry. I put off writing this review for a few days because I needed to stew over this and sever my emotional connection. But although my anger dissipated, I never really forgot about how much the book ticked me off. So keep that in mind. The ending, in my honest opinion, sucked. Everything up until that point was absolutely wonderful. It may have even gotten a 5 star rating from me. Favorite Quotes:Under a center spotlight, she pulled the horse to a sudden stop. The horse reared up on its hind legs, first to one side of the audience then to the other. Dad and I and the rest of the crowd jumped to our feet clapping and whooping. I watched the face of Miss Rodeo Texas. I wanted that smile, the ear-to-ear grin of a girl living her dream.He took the drum and knelt down beside me. "Hold it between your knees." He placed his hand on my knee and gently pushed my legs open, placing the drum between my thighs. My throat tightened. The air thinned. I wished the hangar had fans. "I've got it." I pushed his hand away. "I've got it." I squeezed the drum, holding it tight between my legs.HOT.