Posts Tagged ‘J. J. Salem’

  • Tan Lines by J.J. Salem
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (July 8, 2008 )
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0312374151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312374150
  • The endorsement splayed across the cover is from the queen of “beach books”, Jackie Collins; she says, “A really great beach read.  I loved it!”  What greater praise could J. J. Salem, author of the novel Tan Lines, want, if the Jackie Collins audience is what he’s after?!

    So, what is a “beach book”?  My usual go-to source, wikipedia, doesn’t have an entry for this phrase (or for “beach read”), so I’m searching further.  The Romance Reader contributor Judi McKee says that her definition of a good beach book “is one that is absorbing enough that I risk a sunburn because it makes me lose track of time.”

    Let’s see how Tan Lines stacks up, using the following checklist I compiled:

    • Takes place at the beach – yes!  The primary location is the Hamptons, at the eastern end of the Long Island shore.  Three woman plunk down $50,000 each for their “summer share” at a gorgeous seasonal home.  Other locations in Tan Lines are Miami, Manhattan, and, briefly, Los Angeles.
    • Sex – and how!  More permutations than you can imagine!  Romantic couplings, rough aggressive encounters, and everything in between.
    • Plot that is easy to follow, yet entertaining – yes, plus extra points for an ending I wasn’t expecting.

    The inside flap of the dust jacket reads: “Tan Lines, what do they reveal?”  Three unstoppable women with everything at stake.  One risky encounter.  One scandalous breakdown.  One horrifying murder.  Don’t even try to take cover from this scorcher.

    The three woman are:

    • Liza, a feminist media commentator who verbally slays her conservative rivals with quick and intelligent retorts.  J. J. Salem gave her the smartest dialogue in the novel.


    • Kellyanne, a would-be actress waits tables at a bar in Miami to earn a stash of cash aside from what her sugar-daddy Walter provides her.  He has footed the bill for her summer share, and will keep close tabs on her while she’s away.


    • Billie, aka “Billie f-ing Shelton”, the one-time rock star.  She’s trying to hit it big again, but the booze and drugs distract her from the goal.  The chapters focusing on Billie are peppered with sex, drugs, rock and roll, and profanity.

    Tan Lines enjoys name- and label-dropping in abundance.  Designer clothing is described in detail; there are thinly-veiled references to some of today’s celebrities: “…a major movie star, an international sex god married to a world-famous actress and humanitarian.  Together they had the devotion of the media and an exotic coterie of adopted children from faraway countries.” And “…the precipitous fall of the former morning show queen turned embattled evening news anchor.”  Brad Pitt, Angela Jolie and Katie Couric, perhaps?

    The epilogue is a clever faux out-take of the New York Post’s Page Six gossip sheet, with updates on each of the character’s lives after this fateful summer.

    J. J. Salem is a USA Today bestselling author, currently working on a second novel, Bikini Wax.  You can learn more about the author and his work and download a Reading Group Guide for Tan Lines at his website.

    I realize that what I’ve written isn’t so much a review as a preview of what you’ll find between the covers in Tan Lines.  Because it’s not a genre I generally read, I don’t have the critical skills to truly review it.  I hope you can use what I’ve written, as well as this laugh-out-loud video of people reading the opening line, to decide what Tan Lines will reveal to you.

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    What a week, my cup runneth over!  But I am so happy to pick up those spills!  Two of the books coming into my house this week are random acts of kindness from fellow bloggers:



    On Monday I received an email from Lori at Lori’s Reading Corner that I was the lucky winner in her drawing for Buy A Friend A Book Week.  She sent me (via Amazon), a brand-spanking new copy of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host!  Thank you, Lori!  And check back here for my own BAFAB giveaway on the next round.


    Monday’s mail brought Marie-Therese by Susan Nagel. from Marcia at The Printed Page.  Marcia read my review of Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette, and thought that I would enjoy this book about the daughter of Marie-Antoinette, and her life after the execution of her parents.  Marcia, thank you for sharing this beautiful hardcover with me – I will offer it as a giveaway when I’m done with it!

     I received J. J. Salem’s Tan Lines from the publisher, St. Martins Press.  I haven’t yet begun it, but I’m looking forward to the book billed as “Hot. Sexy. Chic. The most sizzling read to ever hit the beach…”.  The opening line of the book will draw you in, check out this hilarious YouTube clip of reader’s reactions to it.

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