Book Review: Alfredo’s (Pretentious volume 1)

 Danny promised his dying father he would take care of the family, but a promise looks much different when someone is twelve than it does at sixteen. When his sister leaves for college, he realizes he’s trapped in his father’s dream. He runs the family restaurant with his mother and tucks his own dreams away, until he falls in love with Aryn, a girl in his chorus class.

Aryn shares Danny’s interest and applies at Alfredo’s so she can be near him. Danny manages to arrange enough time for a date and romance blossoms – until Aryn finds Danny with another girl he swears is just a friend.

Pretentious is a series of YA/NA novellas that follow Danny and Aryn in their attempt to create a band and follow their dreams, while honoring Danny’s commitment to take care of his mother, a nurturing Italian woman everyone calls Mama, and his sister, Becky. It’s a story about family, commitment, love and the confusion of betrayal.







Wow, I knew it had been a rough run from the last round of reviews I’d posted, but I hadn’t realized how long that rough road had gone on.  The first ones coming out, now that I’m back “on the air” are all massively overdue, and I apologize to the authors for taking so long in getting here.


Alfredo’s is a fun, quick, light read.  Well paced, and thoroughly enjoyable.  I am not a big fan of romance, but since I’d read Jena’s Veiled Memories and enjoyed it so much, I thought I’d give some more of her work a chance.  I chose this series because it was coming out in a serialized novella format, which meant I should have been able to read/review fairly quickly.  (Sorry Jena.  School let me read, and then didn’t let me review.)

Though this is set in an almost modern big city, there’s so many to choose from Jena had a little bit of world building to do to establish where.  She does this quickly in the first few pages, and then turns her attention to the next biggie any author needs to establish – who are the characters.

One of the things I have found through the years is that a character driven book will draw me in very quickly.  Alfredo’s is not exception.  Jena established the characters with quick sketches up front, and spend the rest of the story making them come to life.  Everyone has their own trials and tribulations, joy, love, and focus.  As the story unfolds, there is a sense of “what will so-and-so want to do this time?”  And, even if they’ve already been in a similar situation, their answer may not be the same.  Makes for a wonderfully diverse read.  And, a fun cast to get to know.

This is definitely a fast paced, but not racy read.  I know I tend to devour books once they’ve got me hooked, and this was no exception.  It’s listed on Amazon as a less than 2 hour read, and I’ll admit when I looked up after diving in, it had been about an hour and half.  I only mention the time, because so much happens in that little short stretch.  Each piece flows smoothly into the next without a burble to indicate time’s passage, so it feels much longer while you are immersed.

While the entire Pretentious story is a romance, Alfredo’s only gives you a peek at what’s coming.  The young crush-love does form the core of the story, but there is so much else going on that this almost gets overshadowed.  At least in my memory (and, I admit to writing the review without refreshing about the story, so a few of the details may be a bit off kilter, as I’d been on a reading  binge, then had to take so long to write.  I’ll revisit after I’ve had a chance to refresh the story in my mind.)  The fact that after several months, I remember the pleasant glow of satisfaction when I finished, and eagerness to reach for the next in the series tells me that I not only enjoyed the book, but that Jena did an excellent job weaving a richly worked tale, that many different types of readers will enjoy.

Overall?  Definitely a 5 out of 5 stars from me.  And, I look forward to talking about the second installment next week.


If you enjoyed the review of Alfredo’s and wish to purchase your own copy, you can find it on Amazon.  I would definitely recommend this one for anyone looking for a clean read for their teens or themselves.  Especially if you enjoy romance books.


If you enjoyed the review, and wish me to read and review your work, please feel free to stop by my Offered Service page and fill out the simple submission for.  I’ll get back to you soonest to discuss details.


Comments and questions welcome.

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