Wednesday, March 11, 2015

REVIEW: Unlike Any Other by Claudia Burgoa

Claudia Burgoa
Unlike Any Other
Release Date: 3/5/2015




AJ

The name AJ Colthurst may not have any meaning to the public eye, but it should, as I’m the daughter of two famous celebrities. Like any superstar, they crave privacy; so much of it, they built a house in the middle of nowhere for us children. As we grew older, we discovered the lies they built as a fort to protect us from the media, ended up causing emotional damage along the way.

I carry a portion of the guilt on my shoulders; the other part I discovered is the separation of my parents. Their unorthodox ways may have driven me bonkers, but knowing they are no longer together is unacceptable. 

That’s why I decided to rattle their cage by reminding at least one of my parents of the past and the reason they belong together. They need to remember why their love is so perfect and why they have to fight to keep it alive. Even if it means I have to dredge up some of my own painful memories along the way.

Gabe
Back in the early eighties, I set myself to succeed in the financial world. The first step had been moving to New York City to become a stockbroker, but things didn’t work out the way I had hoped. Instead, I ended up making movies and by the end of the decade, Gabe Colt had become a famous name. The downside to my career of choice: the paparazzi. In order to protect my family and our privacy, I maintained my family away from the circus. It had been for their own good; a decision we had made before we started our family. 

However, those past decisions ended up chasing my entire family away and now I’m trying to put the pieces back together along with my little girl.


Back in the early eighties, I set myself to succeed in the financial world. The first step had been moving to New York City to become a stockbroker, but things didn’t work out the way I had hoped. Instead, I ended up making movies and by the end of the decade, Gabe Colt had become a famous name. The downside to my career of choice: the paparazzi. In order to protect my family and our privacy, I maintained my family away from the circus. It had been for their own good; a decision we had made before we started our family. 

However, those past decisions ended up chasing my entire family away and now I’m trying to put the pieces back together along with my little girl.


Buy Link:

Shel: The first part of this review isn't going to sound like I liked this book very much so just stick with me, okay? Court: Sticking! 

Shel: To be honest, I wasn't very familiar with Claudia Burgoa; I'd seen her novels floating past me on twitter or goodreads and they always looked appealing but I'd get distracted by other things. Then we got an invitation to read the book, and the blurb sounded interesting, and the preliminary reviewers were raving; we had time and a clear schedule, so I signed us up to review it. Ultimately, I'm glad I did but I'll be honest--the first 10%-ish of the novel was a challenge and the next 20% felt a little slow. There were some parts in AJ's initial narrative that were disjointed or jumpy and I couldn't quite follow what was going on, in the very beginning. As for Gabe's first major chunk, it was smoother reading but I kept wondering what was taking so long to get to the meat of the story. (I, obviously, am an impatient reader). My one other complaint was that there were instances when I felt things were over-explained or maybe a little cliche but.....I stuck with it and as the title suggested, it was unlike any other story I've read in a while. Court: Agreed. It started fast, and we knew that we were going to have a run for our money what with the first scenes with A.J. and the little things she says indicates there is some major family drama unfolding. Then, as we started into the meat of things with storytelling with Gabe and A.J. I wasn't sure that I was up for the challenge this novel was proving to be. Present POV changes and past changes? What. No. However, Shel said...let's give it a little bit longer...and I'm so glad I did. So. Glad. 

Shel: The note at the beginning of the novel will explain this more clearly, but this novel follows the stories of AJ and Gabe (daughter and father). While it's supposed to be, I think, more Gabe's story, AJ's plight as a young girl and then a young woman is one that is evenly featured and works well with the story of Gabe's. Without getting too spoilery, I'll say that both story lines focus on coming of age/adulthood and with that--secrets, lies, and the hurts that are inevitable in love...or what you think is love. Court: No doubt. I came to love the idea of Gabe, and how he came to be this big star, and trying to figure out how he could hide his family away from the spotlight and no one knew that he even had a family. I don't blame A.J. at all for the way she reacted to things, and just as her Dad raised her to be independent and strong, he had a long way to go to win her back when things go so awry. 

Shel: Again, without being spoilerific, I think that how Claudia Burgoa treated the relationships with AJ and Gabe's love interests and the emotions and feelings that went with those was very believable (considering we're in the fictional world of celebrities). I appreciated that she delved into the emotional impact of abandonment and fear. I also enjoyed reading a father's point of view and the corresponding daughter's point of view; this idea was one that I don't think I've read in this genre before and I found it refreshing. Court: I, too, loved that. The love and hurts, betrayals and misunderstandings...they are so much a part of this story, but it is also about how to overcome, understand people who might not have the exact same outlook as you...and go all in. I loved the surprises that this story held for me, and I am even more excited for the next book. All these boys we're introduced to get a book, with A.J. being the center of their family. I love these sorts of family centered stories and this one definitely was all about getting this family back to it's former glory. Hard feat, but I found it refreshingly original.

Shel: After getting over the initial bumps at the beginning, I'm glad that I stuck with it and I'm very curious about the next book in this series. Court: Indeed. Cannot wait for more! 



An Excerpt


“You don’t seem surprised to see me.”
“The bank called earlier to inform me that Miss Colthurst spent twenty-five thousand dollars in one swipe and to confirm that I authorized the transaction. You haven’t used your card in a long time and suddenly you spend thousands of dollars in just minutes.” We enter a large room with wall to wall bookcases that span from the floor up to the ceiling. Behind a mahogany desk, there is a majestic panoramic window that faces the ocean. A familiar setting, but I’m positive that I’ve never been here before. Gabriel closes the door behind us and resumes the conversation. “Logically, I had to find out what you were up to. I feared you’d been in the hospital and with that pride you carry… you wouldn’t call. That’s why I sent Mason to pick you up, I wanted him to make sure you're alright. He was in the neighborhood.”
Well, he’s here, I’m here, might as well get the party started.
“I wanted you to tell me that what the magazine published is a lie.” I fight with the fist-sized knot in my throat. “But I witnessed that it’s real: a wife, a kid… your first kid, the magazine highlighted that part. Congratulations, I guess.”
I clean the dripping sarcasm from my mouth with the back of my hand.
Those wrinkles around his blue eyes shrink even more. He doesn’t look as young as he does on the cover of magazines. Late fifties look different in front of the cameras, in the media, and, in general. With all the makeup and Photoshop they apply, not many get to see the real face of Gabriel Colt; only a few of us are lucky.
“Ah, that made you crawl outside your little hideout, I see.” He closes his eyes and takes several breaths before opening them again. “Life changed while you were gone, AJ. I don’t think you have the right to burst into my house and make a scene.”
“Your house?” I try to grab the edge of the desk to keep myself from getting caught in the rapids I’m swimming against at the moment. What happened to: “What’s yours is ours?”
 “So, I take it you’re not here to apologize?” he dodges my question.
“This house looks a lot like the house in Baja—also looks like home,” I take a few steps and scan the room—avoiding his question.
Two can play the same game. I learned from the best—him.
The answer is simple. Hell, no, I’m not asking him to forgive me. Not when he’s proving that I was right. He lied for a long time. Or, that he only cares about his image and what the rest of the world thinks of him.
“Eight rooms upstairs, I bet. The biggest facing the ocean and it’s right above this library, isn’t it? You never brought us here.” Babbling, faking anger that’s keeping me standing in one piece without shedding a tear. “Can I ask you a question? Actually, just a few things and after that, I swear I’ll disappear forever since that is what you want.”

I cough a couple of times masking the shakiness of my voice. Gabriel sets his hands on his hips and stares at me before he lets a breath out. I take that as a ‘yes’ or a ‘go ahead you poor kid, let’s give this one last time before I start my new family’. 


About Author

Born on the mystical day of October 30th in the not so mystical lands of Mexico City, Claudia grew up with a childhood that resembled a caffeine-injected soap opera. Seventeen years ago she ventured to the lands of her techie husband—a.k.a. the U.S.—with their offspring to start a new adventure. 

She now lives in Colorado working as a CFO for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, said nerd husband, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.


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