Monday, August 30, 2010

Book Review: "The Bikini Car Wash" by Pamela Morsi

There are two key reasons as to why this particular review can be considered out of the ordinary: 1) it concludes this previous post about the book, and 2) it touches on a genre that up until two years ago was derisively eliminated from my radar.


I started reading romance a couple of years ago, when I saw this particular book in my public library's New Fiction end cap. At the time I was writing (or trying to write) an interracial love story, so after reading the jacket blurb, I took it home and read it in two days flat. Even though that book blew me away, a serious reader of romance was not I.

Why? Because I applied my same picky reading principles to this genre as I did to every other genre. The end result was that since 2008, I've read exactly three romance novels:

1} Whiskey Road by Karen Siplin
2} His Insignificant Other also by Karen Siplin
3} Fashionista by Erica Kennedy

As with the previous three, the jacket blurb that caused me to pick novel #4 is what hooked me:

After Andrea Wolkowicz abandons corporate life to help care for her sister, she quickly wears out the want ads in their rust-belt hometown. Time be her own boss.

Every mogul knows the best idea is an old idea with a new twist. So Andi proudly revives her father's business: an old-fashioned car wash...staffed entirely by bikini clad woman. That ought to get traffic---and blood--- flowing on Grosvenor Street!

This gutsy gimmick soon has the whole town in a lather, and not necessarily in a good way.

Scandalized citizens are howling, neighboring businesses are worried. But straitlaced grocery store owner Pete Guthrie is definitely intrigued. He knows it's hard to run a small business in a big box world. To him, Andi's brains and bravery are as alluring as the bikini she calls business attire.

Well, that and reading the first dozen pages while standing there with my glasses on top of my head convinced me to take a chance on checking it out and bringing it home. The end result was that it didn't let me down one bit.

As a reader, I found that the way she wove the main plot line (Andi & Pete) with the secondary (Her father and his high school sweetheart) was perfectly seamless. I found myself pleasantly lost within both plot lines, plus the small tangents that sprang from both. An interesting twist that Ms. Morsi added to the overall story, was a narrative in between the chapters that was told by Andi's mentally retarded twin sister Jelly (who was expertly, realistically and tastefully written throughout the book), that basically told the entire story through her eyes while she was reading her picture book. This book hooked me so bad that I found myself rereading parts of it at work while I was partially composing this book review.

As a newbie writer, I found her writing to be crisp yet not crisp enough to where you would be turned off by that type of prose. I picked up quite a few tidbits while reading this story; one was that sometimes less (as in the way the one overtly sexual encounter Andi and Pete had was written) is the best way to go; how to write dialogue; and I understood how that having a happy ending is not necessarily a bad thing. But most importantly, I saw what and how a well written story can hook someone and possibly make them search out other titles from that same author.

Overall, this latest offering from a USA Today best selling author in my book, is a fantastic read and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes reading light romances/love stories. Because in my opinion, it will not disappoint, and in the end, that's all you should really expect from a book.


  1. I bet there are some pretty good reads in the field that I would like. I have enjoyed a few I've read, and that is from more than 3. But I have a hard time taking a chance on a new one because of my concerns over the typical book. This gives me some guidelines, though. Nice.

  2. Ok, I'm game. I probably have read some, in the past. I can't say that I head in that direction, at the Library, maybe I do. That's the blessing about getting old, you can't remember stuff.
    I like good writing so I'll jot this one down. Thanks.
    Here, I'll trade you one of my favorite writers, John Sandford. I like his style. I like his characters, especially anything from the Prey series. :)Bea

  3. Charles: For the longest time, the main reason why I was turned off to romance novels was the vast amount of Harlequin romances that I would see plastered about the library and book stores. But that one book by Karen Siplin did it for me and got me to take a closer look at that genre.

    I'm glad I was able to give you some basic guidelines to work with. It's tough exploring a different genre, especially if you're a guy, because there will always be that slight stigma attached to it (guy + romance= !?) no matter if the book was written by a man or a woman.

    Bea: Sometimes its a curse that you can remember stuff when you're getting old (like me) as well. But just like the fact that I've learned to try foods that I previously detested and now semi-like, so it applies to reading Romances. I'm more willing to explore the genre, but I'm still shying away from certain types of romances (bodice rippers for example and probably certain types of erotica).

    Thanks for the tip, I'll go check him out the next time I'm tripping at the library.

  4. I can't say that I've ever read a romance novel...

  5. R: What??? You mean I'm more open minded than you are??? :D

    Seriously though, I can truthfully say that I haven't read any YA since the Hardy Boys when I was your younger brother's age.

  6. Mama Z: It actually was a pretty fun read. I found myself having a hard time putting it down to do other things that needed my attention.

    It will make me search out her other titles (of which she listed in the back of the book. the only downside to the book was the ads for them) the next time I visit the library.

  7. I've never read a romance novel either. I can't see that changing! :D

  8. Joe: Romance has always been a tough genre for me to get into. I don't really like the sappiness of the Harlequin books, which is about 85% of the market to begin with.

    So I have a tendency to be pickier than the pickiest eater when it comes to reading romances. is better to live one than it is to read one. :D


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