Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rally Fever - review

Rally Fever


Crea Jones

published by Black Velvet Seductions
264 pages - available in print or e-book
{Amorous Adventures}

I received this book for review.

While reading Rally Fever, I found myself at times enjoying it, enjoying Very much, and getting frustrated with the main characters.

Brief Synopsis - Marly is an artist who once a year travels to a nearby town (Sturgis) to pain leathers for bikers. Not cyclists, but bikers. Her father has disappeared a few years ago, her sister ran off with a biker after leaving her son with Marly and their bitter, angry mother. In this novel Marly comes across her sister at the biker rally, meets a biker that is attractive to her and finds out that someone is looking for her sister and her nephew. Someone close to her is murdered at the rally, and suddenly Marly finds herself in danger and unable to trust anyone.

I liked - The bits of Indian lore and legends that are peppered throughout the book. Marly's Great Grandmother was a full blooded Sioux, and her father brought her up telling her legends and stories of the Sioux way. A bit into the book, we meet Rose, a friend of Marly's that is full-blooded Indian and at the rally exploiting herself and their cooking by dressing up in regalia to draw people to her family's food stand. Marly herself relies at times on some of the Sioux beliefs and ways, though not full-time

There are glimpses of the biker lifestyle - not the yuppie "now that I can afford a bike, I'm getting a harley" type of older weekend biker, but some serious bikers. The glimpses are brief, however and some of them are a bit stereo-typical - snarling, not to bright, bit beer bellies and the eager to show off their chi-chis women who accompany the bikers.

Crea Jones paints a vivid picture of the rally. The crowds, the willingness of the townspeople to rent out their yards, driveways, store floors, etc for top dollar to profit from the bikers, even while some of them absolutely look down on the bikers, and some of them are very afraid of them. She also builds on the businesses that spring up around the rally - food stands, bike customizations, contests, etc.

Crea Jones is NOT afraid of showing her main characters in unflattering temper tantrums and sullen behaviour. These characters, Luke, Marly, Rose, Tom, and Peter (the young nephew who Marly is bringing up) are at times angry, happy, nice and kind of ass-ey. Luke in particular is a bit flawed and easy to anger. He frequently misunderstands Marly and gets angry. A lot. I wanted to slap him a few times. I wanted Marly to tell him where to go. Marly is at times just as temperamental, and at other times a bit of a pushover. Peter, a four year old, was shown having some very four year old brattiness. Very believable.

There is a horrificly horrifying scene towards the end, that Marly has to deal with, and get through. ugh!

There are a few things that I didn't like - Marly. Even though she had a bit of a temper herself, there were times when I thought she was just a little stupid. Of course I'm looking at things from a 49 year old perspective, and I've never been someone who took any crap from any man (I've probably been in too many arguements with my spouse, but HEY - don't be a doormat). It seemed that for the slightest reason, Marly was thinking that Luke was guilty of some horrible things, but then she couldn't quite stay away from him. This is the part the just didn't flow for me. Her father had disappeared a while ago, (four years) also and she spent a lot of time suffering from that. Not everyone is strong mentally, and whether this was Crea Jones intention or not, Marly came across as a little angsty and feeling sorry for herself. She also didn't think much of the bikers that she was making money off of.

Marly's mother was a horrible woman, very angry and bitter, but Marly was willing to leave her nephew with her for a week. Not a good situation, but it might have been unavoidable.

The dialogue was at times fine, something I could imagine between characters, and at other times just .......lame or odd- not quite matching the situation. for example:
some of the characters are discussing the fact that Luke has not had "bad times lately"
'.... - glared at him now. "you think Marly has had it so easy...raising their kid."
"He's mine," Marly murmured.
"What?" {not noted who asks this here}
"Peter is mine."
"No he isn't," Rose wailed. {why - why is Rose wailing here? why should she be upset that Marly is calling Peter hers? - remember, Rose is a friend of Marly's since childhood}
"He's the child of her heart,"Tom said. "That makes him hers." {Rose, as Marly's friend, should not have to have this explained to her - Tom has just met Rose and Marly recently}
Rose thought for a moment, and then shrugged. "Whatever." {what!!!??!!! wailing one minute, and then just a calm whatever?}'
The level of anger at times didn't seem to match with what was happening. Although, I guess that could have been the point. Luke and Marly have both been through a lot emotionally, and were each ready to blow at the drop of a hat. I think the thing that bothered me the most is that right in the middle of having sex, Marly and her partner begin discussing Peter - a child. This is creepy as well as a bit unbelievable. How can you be having the sex of your life and yet think of a kid? During the same sex encounter, the partner calls Marly "child". Ummmmm, NO. This is very creepy. I hope it wasn't meant that way - I'm sure it wasn't, but it was an unfortunate place for them to discuss a child, and for someone to call their sex partner "child".

There was some good dialogue too, like the banter between Marly and her friend Rose. Here Marly and Rose are just laying eyes on Tom, a friend of Luke's. Rose is very taken by Tom's good looks:
'...."Okay, but don't blame me if he turns out to be Jack the Ripper."
"Jack the Ripper? Jesus, Mar, Jack was English. No Sioux ever injured another Sioux until you whites gave us whiskey."
"You're blaming me?"
"No, honey, I'm just saying that the seven eighths of you that's white owes me a chance at this dreamy red man." ' a bit of warning, in a teasing way, and some good-natured teasing.

I did enjoy a lot of this book - just not all of it. I especially enjoyed the altercations at the end. It was horrifying, and there is a wonderful part where a motocycle is involved. There are a few funny episodes, one where Marly gets a little bit tipsy an says some funny things. I did like that the characters had some difficulties getting along - not every thing is roses and sunshine. In the end, even though there was a bit of creepiness (unintentional I'm sure) and odd dialogue, I didn't feel like I had wasted my time reading Rally Fever. I can appreciate two main characters that are not goody-goody, or too-perfect-to-be-true. It's also a bit refreshing to read about characters that just aren't completely well-adjusted. These characters have been hurt by circumstances, and they treat each other accordingly - sometimes expecting the worst in each other and seeing each other through skewed senses. I applaud Ms Jones on this aspect of her novel.

Book Challenges;
2010 Countdown Challenge - for 2008
POC Reading Challenge - Native American Characters, not one, but three!

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