Life in High Def by Kimberly Cooper Griffin | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)
A copy of this novel was provided through NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
Life in High Def is mysterious and sexy; a read that may be your next summer hit. Kimberly Cooper Griffin keeps you on the edge of your seat often and mixes up glamour and grit seamlessly. It's more than your ordinary fluffy tale of romance and Hollywood--there is a mix of genres that will keep even the pickiest of readers going. What I loved about Life in High Def was the tone--it was delicious, dark and honest. The perfect beach read.
In a world where same sex relationships are often ignored in fiction (and in life) it's always a joy to find a novel that tackles it in the same way male/female relationships are portrayed. While Life in High Def had a lot of flaws, it was no more flawed than the typical romance novel. The only difference being that this one had actual depth to it and this fact kept things going in a way that was captivating for its audience. I can't say I've never read a novel like it but I also can't say that I have. The truth is: it is a voice desperately needed in wlw romance novels.
There's just something fun and dishy about it; all the while, realistic and incredibly dark.
With the high class scandalous tone it takes on life in Hollywood, and the pitfalls of fame, it's a juicy read that takes a smart turn and doesn't underestimate its audiences intelligence.
There are times when you cannot seem to feel much towards the characters but just as easily as that disconnect happens, something else ties you to the central plot-line. As I've said, Kimberly Cooper Griffin blends genres easily and it makes sure the story is fresh and new as it develops. This is a huge plus in romance novels when you consider how lackluster things can get.
Life in High Def doesn't have that problem--it just keeps turning as the reader flips through. Its pacing is wonderful and coherent, the emotions bounce off the page and into our own hearts as we dig into the story. I loved the prose of it--it's far more detailed and blunt than a majority of novels on the market these days and shows that the author really knows what she is doing.
Its high points aren't limited to the way the story is told. The development of the characters is just as good as the vivid narration. I really did enjoy how it felt like the world in real-time and I'm honestly very intrigued to see what Kimberly Cooper Griffin pens next.
While there were so many good parts of the story, there were still plenty of flaws and connections I wasn't overly keen on. But Life in High Def is like life itself--enjoyable and attentive even in its low points. It wasn't as captivating at the beginning but once the story got into its groove, I found myself questioning everything (I never knew where the chips would fall and then, bam, twist!) and falling in love with the characters.
Reilly Ransome, our leading lady, is exceptionally flawed in all the right ways. When the novel hits its weaker points--like the first quarter, perhaps--she single handedly saves the day. I loved reading about her and seeing everything she feels and watching everything she is and was.
I think that in telling a story about Hollywood, it's often hard to maintain that realistic tone--to not make the characters be a jumbled mess of cliches, but Reilly is not one of those characters. She is full of life in a way that is obtainable to those who read her and by the end, you genuinely feel something towards her. I loved the elements of fame in her--I loved how her emotions, her past and her relationships played out.
I did find some parts hard to connect with and other parts slow (the beginning took me a while to get into but once it got going, it got fucking going) but for the majority of the time it was a fast and fun read. I'm looking forward to this novel getting more exposure amongst the community and hope it is just as appealing to readers as it was for me. You've got a fantastic set of sex and intrigue, real life mixed with fiction, gay characters who are the leads and not minor, watered down, sidekicks etc etc.
It has something for everyone.
Overall, Life in High Def is a great read that will appeal to fans of all genres. It is the story you have been waiting for and once it got into the groove, it was all things a reader could want. Steamy. Funny. Sad. Moving. Delicious. All in all, I could have read more and more set in this scene and really loved it after I gave it a chance.