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Stephanie Parent, Reader and Writer

Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
Jenny's Blue Velvet - A.C. Davis Mindf***. Sorry to be crass, but that is really the best way to describe Jenny’s Blue Velvet, and if you love dark, twisty reads, you need to check this one out! It is, however, a very hard book to review for two reasons: one, I don’t want to spoil anything, and two, this story is novella length, and I’d really like to know if it will continue. I do like stories that leave you with a sense of mystery, but in this case I still had so many questions, and I’m hoping these characters’ stories aren’t over yet. I do see the author has future novellas planned, including one whose title character appears in Jenny’s Blue Velvet, so I hope this isn’t the last we’ll hear of Jenny and Cassandra.Jenny’s Blue Velvet begins as two separate stories: one is the first-person account of Jenny, a seemingly average woman who’s dissatisfied with her job and life in general. The second is the slightly gothic, eerie story of Cassandra, the heroine in the romance novel Jenny is writing. But little things about Jenny’s life seem progressively stranger, and also seem to coincide oddly with events in her novel-in-progress…I was drawn in by the strangeness of the story right away, and especially once the excerpts from Jenny’s novel-in-progress were introduced, I was fully invested in reading and figuring out what the heck was really going on. I particularly enjoyed the eerie atmosphere of the Cassandra sections, and the way this weird, unsettling atmosphere gradually encroached further into Jenny’s everyday life. The author definitely has a talent for creepy, evocative writing!Both Jenny and Cassandra are rather flawed characters, which I liked, since it enhances the dark mood of the book and makes the story more realistic and believable. At the same time, I think it was mostly this aspect of the book that kept me engaged in the story on more of a plot-based rather than an emotional level. I didn’t mind this at all, since the plot was so interesting and the story moved quickly, but by the last 15% or so I did begin to get emotionally involved. I want more of a chance to connect with these characters, so this is why I’m really hoping the story will continue in subsequent novellas!Overall, Jenny’s Blue Velvet is a quick but twisted read perfect for lovers of dark, psychologically intense stories. I will definitely be checking out the other novellas the author has planned!