Monday, August 22, 2011

Reality Bytes by Jane Frances

Publisher:            Bella Books

Reality Bytes is the sequel to Frances' earlier novel Reunion.  It continues the story of partners Cathy and Lisa and their friends Emma and Toni, with the emphasis this time being on Emma and Toni.

Reality Bytes is set one year after the end of the previous novel, one year after Cathy and Lisa were reunited and one year since Toni lost Cathy to Lisa.   Cathy and Lisa go off for a month long vacation in Italy to celebrate their anniversary and Toni is left to run the accounting firm.  Unfortunately, Toni comes down with a serious case of chicken pox and is confined to her house for most of that time.  Meanwhile, Emma is trying to recover from the hurt of her unrequited love for her straight neighbor who has decided to get married and wants Emma in the wedding.  Emma also finds herself job hunting after she is forced out of the veterinary practice she had been a member of for years.  Both Toni and Emma turn to the Internet and chat rooms to fill their time and establish new friendships.  A surprising twist will bring them a greater chance at happiness than either of them anticipated.  They could be solving their problems while Cathy and Lisa have discovered one.  Cathy wants to start a family, an idea that Lisa had never considered or desired.  Could their trip to Italy be the end of the relationship instead of a celebration of the beginning?  Friends, problems and how they deal with them is the theme of Reality Bytes.

Frances writes a very routine story. It follows the traditional pattern of women meeting, developing an attachment and working out if a relationship is possible.  There's nothing wrong with the story, there just isn't anything to make it stand out either.  There's no suspense, no adventure, nothing new.  The characters are presented with just enough details to tell the story, but there's no great development of their personalities either.  Unlike some books, you won't feel a connection to the women or what is happening to them.  The few questions that are presented in the book are solved rather quickly and predictably.  

If you're looking for something to read to just pass the time or for pure enjoyment without any effort, this book should satisfy those requirements.  If you're looking for something refreshing and different, keep looking. 

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