Monday, July 13, 2009

Review: Queen Takes King

Summary: Jackson Power. A name like the man himself: aggressive, ambitious, bullish. The prodigal son, heir to millions, built his own Manhattan real estate empire and revels in seeing his moniker -- Power! -- on glittering skyscrapers around the city that never sleeps. Beneath his desk in the towering Power headquarters, Jacks has a stack of newspapers and photographs of himself, shaking hands with the most famous men and women of his generation. Here's a man who's always loved to see his name in ink. Until now.

Cynthia Hunsaker Power. She is the epitome of elegance and society. The perfect foil for a man of Jacks's stature -- his first and only wife, he'd proudly tell any of his Master of the Universe (read: Gargoyle) friends. The former prima ballerina arrived in New York at eighteen, off the bus from Missouri, brimming with talent, beauty, and drive. She met a struggling painter, fell in love, and only later learned she'd won the Power lottery. Now she sits on the New York Ballet Theater board, effortlessly outdoing herself with one gala after another. But the press coverage of the Power silver anniversary party at the Waldorf takes the cake.

Jacks Power appears twice in the New York Post the next morning -- once gallantly dancing with his wife of twenty-five years, Cynthia; and once hand in hand with Lara Sizemore, morning television star, exiting her Upper West Side apartment building that very same night.

To Jackson Power, Lara is everything his wife Cynthia is not -- wild, voluptuous, mysterious, and self sustaining. A new passion has swept Jacks off his well-shod feet -- and she is Lara Sizemore. He is ready for the divorce, ready to marry his mistress, America's Sweetheart. But Cynthia isn't ready to be swept out of the picture quite so easily.

Let the Divorce Games begin.

Whether they're changing the locks on each other in their Park Avenue triplex or sabotaging each other's dinner parties, it's The People's Billionaire vs. The Ballerina, in a split-up that will trump the most scandalous divorces known to polite New York society. Cynthia's got their twenty-five-year-old artist daughter, Vivienne, in her camp; Jacks has the young bartending playwright Adrian, whom he intends to pay to seduce Cynthia into an easy split. But Cynthia might have a few tricks up her well-tailored Chanel sleeve, and she -- like Jacks -- is prepared to use every weapon in her divorce arsenal to win the game. It's a battle of wits, of charm, of two of the biggest egos -- and personalities and bank accounts -- in Manhattan, and neither side will go down without a fight.

From beloved and best selling author Gigi Levangie Grazer comes a sexy, sassy, smart new novel, Queen Takes King. -- Simon & Schuster

I seem to really be on a roll lately as far as reading entertaining books go. The latest summer read that I enjoyed was QUEEN TAKES KING by Gigi Levangie Grazer. Trust me when I say, if you like books filled with larger-than-life characters and lots of juicy scandal and gossip, then this book is for you. Plus, it's just a very, very funny story! I think this is the perfect book to take to the pool or beach with you -- when you just want to sit back, relax and be entertained.

Probably the first thing that struck me about this novel was how readable it was. Even though it was over 350 pages, I read it in just a little over a day. The pace of the book was very quick and I had a hard time putting the book down. I just couldn't wait to see what happened! There was the main story of the breaking up of the Powers' 25 year marriage which was extremely interesting, but there were also side stories about the other characters that I liked. Ms. Grazer did a great job of pulling me into the story and making me want more when it came to these characters.

I also appreciated that the story wasn't entirely predictable as is often the case with these types of books. It actually had some twists and turns and even a few surprises thrown in that made it even more entertaining to me. Besides the story surprising me a few times, I have to admit that I was also shocked by the behavior of some of the characters (although it did make for a good and scintillating story.) I was happy to see that by the end of the book, some of the characters did realize their wrong-doings and even made an attempt to change their lives.

Another thing that I thought was really cute about this book was how the author used the theme of a chess game throughout the story. Not only did the title and cover of the book refer to chess, but even the chapter headings made references to the game. I actually thought a chess game was an ideal analogy for the "game "that the characters were playing with each other as well as their constant positioning.

When I mentioned that I thought this book was quite entertaining, I think it's because the story kept my interest from the very beginning to the very end of the book. Plus, I really enjoyed reading about this wonderful cast of characters. I became very interested in these characters' lives even though I initially didn't like any of them. I found myself rooting against Jacks and wishing the worst for him. (What does that say about me that I wanted bad things to happen to a character? But in all fairness, he was a narcissistic, egotistical jerk.) However, by the end of the novel, I actually ended up really liking quite a few of the characters; and I was especially hoping that Cynthia could realize her potential.

I'm sure that many of you are familiar with Gigi Levangie Grazer; but just in case you're not, she's the author of MANEATER, RESCUE ME, and THE STARTER WIFE. THE STARTER WIFE became a mini-series on the USA network, and MANEATER was turned into a mini series on Lifetime. She also wrote the screenplay for the Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon movie Step-Mom. It's apparent from reading QUEEN TAKES KING that she understands high society; however, I think she is also a pretty darn good storyteller. If you are interested in learning more about Ms. Grazer or her books, check out her website. There is a separate website devoted to the novel QUEEN TAKES KING where you can read an excerpt from the book and even some reviews.

I also found the video clip which shows Ms. Grazer discussing QUEEN TAKES KING and how she got the idea for her latest novel.


bermudaonion said...

I am way out of it - I've never read any of Grazer's books or seen any of her mini-series or her movie. This book does sound like a fun diversion for the summer!

Sheila DeChantal said...

Great review! You can always tell when someone really enjoys a book and this you clearly did!

Thanks for sharing this, I would have never thought about reading it but with your review so good.... I am going to be on the look out for it. :)

Good morning!

Anonymous said...

Great review, this sounds like a good book.

Julie said...

I saw this at Target and almost bought it! I loved The Starter Wife mini series.

I'll probably get it when it comes out in paperback. :)

Serena said...

wow another new-to-me author...this does sound like an entertaining diversion.

Beth F said...

I haven't read any of Grazer's books, but I think I remember hearing about the Starter Wife. I'm out of it too.

Anyway sounds like a great vacation book.

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

This sounds like another good book. I'm not familiar with the author or anything she's done!

Anna said...

Thanks for bringing this one to my attention. I'm always looking for fast-paced reads that aren't entirely predictable.

Diary of an Eccentric

Austin Home Buyer said...

This book annoyed me though my wife told me that I'm not the target audience, 35 year old white male.

The author made men look oafish, crude, and classless. From Adrian, to Jacks, to Artemus, there wasn't one affable male character minus Harry the Russian limo driver. I don't understand why Ms. Granger even bothered with the failed artist background for Jacks Power, another failed man.

At the end of it and having seen the Starter Wife, I believe Gigi Granger may be a misandrist.