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Irene Woodbury is a freelance writer based in Denver. Las Vegas was a favorite destination for travel stories, but she always felt the city would be the perfect setting for a novel. Four-and-a-half years and many visits later, A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis was finished.
The author has lived in a couple of the cities in her book, including Los Angeles, where she worked at the Los Angeles Times, IBM and Time Magazine, and Houston, where she graduated from the University of Houston in 1993. She also got married in Houston. Her husband, Richard, a retired Time Magazine correspondent, edited her novel.
Her travel stories have appeared in many newspapers, including the Washington Post, London Daily Telegraph, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Toronto Star, and Nevada and The Affluent Traveler magazines. Of course, one of these days she just might take a trip that doesn’t include any kind of writing, but don’t hold your breath.
on June 04, 2017 :
Pop-Out Girl will appeal to fans of women's fiction who look for stories of feisty females in difficult situations and provides the realistic story of a couple challenged when an ex-boyfriend leaves prison and begins stalking them. Jealousy and its dangerous course is one of the primary themes of the story as Jen and Colton face a dangerous convict who still has the idea that Jen is his girlfriend, despite obvious indicators otherwise - and who has no intention of letting her go.
As violent encounters escalate and drag innocents into Zane's quest to regain his position in Jen's life, Jen faces difficult decisions that test her resolve, her future, and her inclination to view the world through the eyes of an optimistic romantic.
Jen's career, also shelved, was serving as a 'pop-out girl': one who emerges from giant cakes to then sing, dance, and provide a stripper show for special events. This theme - of emergence, daring, and putting on a display - pops up through the story, which foregoes a slow build-up in favor of a vivid kidnapping scene and just keeps escalating from there.
Jen's perspective isn't the only focus to this story: Jen's mother Brandi, who is a cocktail waitress, faces the fact that her first love from long ago, Jen's father, has also inadvertently become part of Zane's dangerous spree, and her involvement and perspective are also developed as one of the strong threads connecting family and love.
From how Jen squeezed a romance with Colton into her busy career as a pop-up girl to the terrors of being stalked by a relentless ex with murderous intentions on his mind, Pop-Out Girl excels in interconnected subplots and in capturing a winning background filled with the glitz and glamour of its Vegas setting.
There were a few lapses in punctuation, for example, a period left off the end of a sentence ending with quotation marks. But these instances do not detract from the overall plot.
Women who look for realistic, powerful stories of love and survival, jealousy and confrontation, and change will find Pop-Out Girl a winning leisure choice that probes troubled relationships, alienation, and the long and rocky path to home.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)