Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: Dueling Divas by Antonio

Dueling Divas (An Avondale Story)Dueling Divas by Antonio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As an avid fan and follower of Etienne's Avondale Stories, it was a surprise to read in   Etienne Stories of another Avondale novel to be published by someone known to me, the author Antonio. Someone who would be considered a newbie to the MM genre. Antonio had a blog and I read his works, but I cannot seem to find it anymore.

Anyway, here's the blurb:

The Next Club Superstar contest is just the venue Nash Argento needs to further his career as a singer. There’s only one problem: he has to dress in drag.

With the help of his best female friend, Nash negotiates the challenges of becoming a drag queen in order to compete. But his troubles are far from over. His key competitor is Stacey—a biological woman. Incensed, Nash tries to get her disqualified, but Stacey is desperate for the money, and with the help of her quirky divorcĂ©e best friend and the best friend’s lawyer, she manages to stay in the contest.

Bobby Carter is a lonely librarian looking for Mr. Right—and he’s looking in Nash’s direction. Nash seems to be everything Bobby needs… and then he brings Nash home for dinner and discovers Nash is his sister’s main competition. Nash and Stacey get to know each other and even become friends—and just in time. Someone is murdering the contestants one by one, and Nash and Stacey will need all the help they can get to escape the cruel fate the murderer has planned for them.

Set in the same world frame as Etienne's Avondale.

So there you go. The plot is very interesting, although I found it a bit strange for an Avondale story, and written by someone other than the series originator, Etienne.

I seriously had my doubts.

When I first got hold of this book, I refrained from even opening it. Then when I did decide to open it, I could not wrap my brain around the difference in the writing style. 10% into the story, I set it aside and opened other books to read.

Curiosity is a fault of mine, so I decided to open it again. Just as soon as I did, I closed it once more. I simply could not continue reading it. I had to get into a mind-set that would finally make me open the book and actually finish it.

I opened it again, started from the very beginning and Surprise, surprise!

I got hooked!

I was reacting verbally saying OMG, OMG, over and over again when I read how one of the minor characters committed suicide after having been lovingly described as one of the sweetest young men in love with his partner.

And then just like that, the OMG turned into a fit of the giggles when I read about little Meggy shouting "Mr. Wow is here! Mr. Wow is here!" in reference to Nash. Not to mention Arlena's rave about bitches!

And how about the Drag Queen Lili LaRue!? OMG! I was reading all about her and always at the back of my mind I knew that I knew who Antonio was talking or writing about. All throughout the book I was missing it, frustrated me no end, until it finally hit me at 97% that Lili LaRue was almost identical to the larger-than-life Drag Queen: Rue Paul! How could I have missed it? Of course, by this time I was in hysterics.

I finished the book in 4 hours, not because it was tedious, but I had to take bathroom breaks and cook dinner!

You can be very sure that the style of writing is totally different and should never be compared to that of Etienne. My major mistake when I pre-judged this as an "attempt" that would surely fail. Why you think? Well, in all my readings of a book series, if another author would come in to write within that world, it would be an epic fail.

How happy am I to be not only proven wrong, but my presumption literally crashed and burned!

I so loved this book, I cannot believe it myself. It can literally suck the readers into trying to solve the murder mystery. It sort of flashed me back to the days when I read Agatha Christie and watched Murder She Wrote! I could not help taking notes and eliminating characters to find who-dunnit!

The writing was fast paced, the development of the story line was incredible and here is one last thing I noticed: while I was reading? I could "see" the characters, "hear" their words, and "feel" the anxiety of their fears, insecurities and happiness. When the drag queens sang? I could almost imagine being there as part of the audience and hear them perform. Now this takes talent!

If nothing else got me, it was the very last lines that made my imagination go a little bit more graphic: when little Meggy grabbed her camera to forever capture the image of her beloved family for "Her small world seemed perfect".

Dueling Divas by Antonio is the perfect compliment to the Avondale Stories. My regret is to have pre-judged and presumed on it to the extent of dropping it for several weeks.

Lesson learned.

I stand corrected.

I cannot wait for the next Antonio release.

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  1. Hi,

    It's Antonio. Thank you for that wonderful review. You really got my story-which is great. Although I was thinking more along the lines of The Lady Chablis for Miss LaRue but I can see where you'd think RuPaul especially with the name LaRue. Thanks for giving Divas a chance. I just got too overwhelmed w the Divas book to be able to keep up the old blog.

    my new blog address-



  2. Hi, MM.

    Don't understand how you read this book in 4 hours. I began the book sometime before 12:00 pm and read through the night until 5:00 the next morning. I loved that there was a mystery in addition to a great story. Like you, I was excited to read the connections with Etienne's Avondale characters.

    1. hahahhahahaha, I just loved your comment.

      Yes, I go through books in a flash and if I really like them can read them in an hour. I guess its a gift?

      No, seriously, I do go through 5-6 books in a day.

      And for a matter of record: I reread Dueling Divas and enjoyed it all the more :)