Glitter Baby - Susan Elizabeth Phillips I almost gave up on this one. It took me quite a while to care what was happening. I really didn't like Belinda because she was so weak, so fixated on Hollywood and actors and stardom and such. And she could care less who got hurt along the way to her dreams. She went to the Garden of Allah with one guy -- who she was dating strictly to get information on her auditions -- and ends up staying there to live with Errol Flynn! Harlot, lol. I couldn't believe she had no trouble with his penchant for young girls. And then when she learns of her pregnancy, she uses Alexei's feelings for her. And while Alexei was within reason to be pissed when he learned of her deception, wow, he sure punished her forever for it.

And since I didn't care much for Belinda, I just wanted to get the point of the beginning of the book... why didn't Fleur want to see Belinda? What horrible thing had happened when Fleur was 18 that she had to run away for seven years?

But once we got started with Fleur's story, it became very interesting. Oh, I wanted to cry for Fleur so many times. She was dealt a raw deal for something she had absolutely no control over. First by Alexei and then by Belinda. Alexei banished Fleur to a convent when she was just one week old. Belinda was living vicariously through Fleur's career, regardless of what Fleur wanted. Belinda was so freaking manipulative. And then when Fleur became the swan from the ugly duckling, Alexei's attention should have been suspect to Fleur, but she was just so happy to finally have attention from him that she'd never see it for what it was.

The whole thing with Jake... he basically broke her heart twice... first when he wouldn't talk to her after their weekend, and then when she overheard Jake and Belinda arguing. And then to be betrayed so fully by Alexei when she went to him after her betrayal by her mother and what she felt was betrayal by Jake. B√Ętard! Good for her for taking some control and doing what she needed to do for herself. Everyone in her life wanted to use her for one thing or another, but when the going got tough, she rose to the occasion and made something of herself for herself.

I wasn't positive who her love interest would ultimately be, but I was glad to see it when it happened and the way it happened. I was glad that Fleur wouldn't allow herself to be taken advantage of anymore and she stood up for herself. I loved that she ultimately got the best of Alexei. It was like a game of chess, and she finally won in such a big way.

Even the epilogue, I wanted to smack Belinda. Really?! Fleur never lived up to her potential? Belinda was a wacko if she couldn't be proud of the woman Fleur had become. It's amazing to me that Fleur even learned how to truly love given her self-centered, selfish parents.