by Ferris H. Craig & Charlene Keel
GENRE: Romantic Comedy
Grinders Corner explores the world of taxi dance halls in the 1960s in all its raw hilarity. Saucy, sassy and sexy, but not the least bit erotic, it follows the adventures of three young women trying to survive in the glitter palaces of Los Angeles.
Like lambs led to the slaughter, Uptown, a newly divorced English major with panic anxiety disorder and no job skills, Voluptua, an out of work actress, and Mouse, a former child star trying to make a comeback all struggle to make enough tickets to pay the bills. Things get complicated when Uptown falls in love with a customer who happens to be a priest.
In Grinders Corner it was a simpler time, long before gentlemen’s clubs and pole dancers, and it happened in a place where shy, lonely men could talk to women, even dance with them, with no fear of rejection—for about fifteen cents a minute.
Downtown Los Angeles
The jukebox was playing Close To You. The lights were low and romantic, the red candles on the intimate little tables for two flickered seductively, and the many-faceted, mirrored chandelier reflected tiny droplets of shivering, shimmering light onto the dance floor. His strong arms were about me, and he was lightly kissing my ear. Then he spoke in a throaty whisper.
“Hey, baby, you wanna make a quick twentyfive bucks? Let’s go to a motel.”
Oh God, I thought, as I looked at the clock. One more hour to go. I’m going to have to put up with this clown for sixty more minutes unless he runs out of money. Maybe I can get him to sit down and have a Coke. Then I won’t have to endure this tortuous ritual known as dancing. If we get a Coke, I’ll have to make conversation with him and that might be worse than dancing.
The only good thing about dancing is that I don’t have to talk to him. I only have to hear about the motel.
He was staring at me as if waiting for a reply, so I asked, “What did you say?”
Okay, that isn’t particularly original but it used up a couple of seconds. Then he had to repeat it all. That took a few more minutes.
I started to think maybe I could make it to the two o’clock finishing line, but I was wrong. He wasn’t slobbering on my ear anymore. Now it was my bare shoulder.
“Hey, I’m kind of thirsty,” I said. “Why don’t we sit down and have a Coke?”
“Baby, I don’t want a Coke.”
“Oh, hell,” I said as I deftly stepped out of his reach. “Let’s go to the desk so you can check out.”
He retorted with, “How about fifty bucks? I’ll buy you a steak besides.”
I smiled, thinking how delicious that can of beans at home was going to taste. “I’m sorry. I’m not in that line of business.”
“Whaddya wanna do—get married?” he yelled.
Okay, I read it but I’m not sure how to review it. It’s part rom-com, sorta historical, part romance, part chic lit and part history lesson. Oh yes, history lesson. This book takes place in 1969 when the dime a dance places were fading out. Now, if you need to know what a dime a dance was, then you definitely need to read this book. That’s the history lesson. Plus, it’s kinda cool to go back to Los Angeles, CA in the late 60’s. I live in Texas and for some reason, the whole late 60’s vibe back in Hollywood has always fascinated me. Rat Pack, Liz Tyler, that whole cool vibe. This place, Romanceland is NOT the cool vibe.
I will have to caution you that this book is told in first person. Uptown narrates the whole book. Usually, I don’t mind this but with the cast of characters that this book has, I would have liked to get Mouse and especially, Holy Joe’s take on the events that happen in the book. Sure, sure, we get their perspective from Uptown’s voice but I digress. I really liked Uptown. Naive in the ways of the world but a true friend and funnier than hell. I loved how she took the time to really get you into the story. Her descriptions and observations are spot on, funny and at times heartbreaking.
I will have to say the best thing about the book is the humor. There’s lots of it and I giggled a lot. Some in NOT the places that were intended but nonetheless, this book is hilarious. Uptown I have to say grows up in the book. At the end, she is not the same person. My heart broke for her with Holy Joe and in the end, I felt like that maybe, just maybe, they MIGHT get together again. He was more of a naive baby than she was but I could the relationship working out in the end. I know, I might have spoiled it but you need to read how their relationship plays out. At times, sexy, at times sad but in the end heartbreaking.
Overall, I really liked the book. But, I felt like the book doesn’t fit into just one category. I didn’t feel like it was a romance book but more of a chick lit book with lots of humor. Mouse is just too much for me. I pictured gum chewing Madonna from the movie, A League of their Own. Swear. That’s what I pictured in my mind. If you are looking for a good chick lit book with humor and a history lesson, this book is for you.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ferris Craig is a professional dancer, choreographer, actor and writer. Her credits include The Dean Martin Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Honeymooners, The Golden Girls and many TV commercials. In the 1970s she performed with The Hollywood Hoofers in Las Vegas, later establishing The Burbank Academy of Performing Arts where she taught dance and acting. More recently, she choreographed and performed for The Broadway Seniorettes, and with Recycled Teenagers (dancers over 50). Currently she lives in Southern California with her three delightful dogs. Connect with Ferris on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecricketdance
Charlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books. Shadow Train, the final installment of her YA supernatural trilogy, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award, and The Congressman’s Wife (for Red Sky Presents) is getting rave reviews. Her new blended-genre novel, Lost Treasures of the Heart, was released in November, 2016.
Keel has also worked as editor for international magazines, including Playgirl, For the Brideand Black Elegance. She says the most fun she’s had as an editor (so far) was at Spice, a fanzine featuring rap, R&B, soul and gospel music. During her time there, she enjoyed going to parties for such notables as Puff Daddy, having lunch with Gloria Gaynor and attending a pasta dinner where Mariah Carey did the cooking.
Keel’s editorial assignments include The Health of Nations, a book on political philosophy, and That Nation Might Live, a moving tribute to Sarah Bush Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s stepmother. Her TV credits include Fantasy Island and Days of Our Lives, and her book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera. She also produced (for Romantic Times) the first annual Mr. Romance Cover Model Pageant.
The book is on sale for only $0.99.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Ferris H. Craig & Charlene Keel will be awarding two winners, a free copy of Grinders Corner (print or ebook). (U.S. only for print, International for ebook) to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.