The Canary Club

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Oct 2017

Member Reviews

Not exactly the book I expected to be. Too much drama and I couldn't really relate to the characters at all. Can't say this was great, but not everything is meant for everyone!
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The Canary Club by Sherry D. Ficklin

Star rating: ★★★☆ ☆ 3/5 stars

Format: ebook galley

Summary: After getting let out of jail for a crime he didn't commit, Benny takes the only job he can find, even if it does mean working for a mobster. Benny meets Masie, the daughter of his boss and he begins to develop feelings for her. 

Review: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review. 

For the most part I liked this book. I love the twenties and stories set in that time period are my jam. I liked the characters, I thought Masie was awesome and badass. The romance was nice too, I bought it and thought it was sweet. 

I didn't like how the book took a historical figure and basically used him as an OC, because almost nothing of the real Dutch Schultz can be found in the novel. I feel like at that point, just make up someone. He never had a daughter named Masie, and his son was a baby when he died. I don't mind historical fiction about real figures but I don't like using them like this. If you're going to use them then there needs to be some connection to real life. 

There were a few things in this book that were never addressed and bugged the crap out of me. Where was Dickey instead of watching the back door? Who attacked Masie when she was backstage? I want answers here. If there ever was a sequel it doesn't seem like these would be answered, it was definitely something that needed to be addressed in this book or not at all. The book ends with a cliffhanger so it seems likely that there will be an eventual sequel. 

There are some cute moments between the couple in here along with drama. The book utilizes 20s slang in the book, but not in an overdone way. It's just enough to put you in e period but not sound like you copy and pasted from one of those online slang lists. 

Recommendation: It's a decent YA historical fiction, it's got a nice romance to it and is a smooth read. 

Challenge prompt: A book with an animal in the title.
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I quite enjoyed this book! It was gripping, exciting, thrilling! The main characters were very deep going and I loved how this detailed this book was. The detailed description of this world was so incredibly helpful by visualizing what the world was supposed to look like! The ending was so shocking and amazing, and just, wow!
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*I received a free copy of this ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Maybe just shy of 4 stars, but I did really like it. My books from NetGalley have been kind of hit-or-miss lately, so I was happy to read one that I enjoyed. Previously, I had read another book by the same author and didn't like it, so I'm glad this one was different. It may not technically fit in with the other books on my crime-spy-thriller shelf, but I decided it put it there because it deals with crime families.

Because the book is set in the 1920s, there was a lot of lingo with which I wasn't familiar, but most things made sense within context. Reading about that era was interesting, and I hope Ficklin continues the series (especially because it's left open for more).

Overall, I liked Benny (17) and Masie (17). Yes, each had flaws, but they wanted to be better than they were. Masie was a little more believable than Benny, I admit. I think it's because Benny was given tasks that I have a hard time imagining a 17-year-old could successfully manage, particularly one that is new to "the business." (Like overseeing the renovations and opening of a new club, for example.) Masie, however, had grown up in that lifestyle and situation.

Note: A little swearing. A burlesque performance (not explicit). A mild, fade-t0-black sex scene.
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Check out author's other books or related books? Of course!! I will read anything she puts out! 

Recommend this book? YES if you love historical fiction or the prohibition era check this out! 

Notes and Opinions: Sherry has been a long time favorite author of mine since I read the Queen series way back when. It is still one of my all-time favorite stories.  She has a way of creating a world and making it come alive for us readers to weep over and love and this one was no different!  I read the tiny novella of this a while ago and am just now getting around to reading this one.  This is out by the way so go grab it! It won't do you wrong!  

I love historical fiction (ya who saw that coming?) This one takes us back to the singing Masie and the gang and I couldn't be happier! Were once again tossed into the roaring 20's when speakeasies were the thing and a girl with a gun was something you just saw.  Masie made this book come alive with her determination and unafraid to say what she wants even though society says differently.  

The story was thrilling and alive with wonder as Ficklin takes us through the life of Masie and Benny.  I really loved the dynamic of the book as a whole as well as the interactions between the characters.  Ficklin did a wonderful job keeping me on my toes during this one.  

The setting came alive for me in this page-turner that I couldn't put down.  I finished it in one setting and can't wait to track down a signed copy to match my others.  If you are a fan of Ficklin then make sure to check out her newest title! 

Go Into This One Knowing:  Amazing! 

*This book was reviewed by: Jessica P.
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Actually rating: 3.75 stars

In the Canary Club we get to follow two characters badluck Benny and Maise the mobsters singer daughter. 
Benny has just gotten out of jail to discover his little sister is sick, his brother left to care for her, while his mom is pulling doubles at the canning factory to attempt to make ends meet. This means Benny is immediately looking for a job, and after getting in touch with his old friend finds one moving crates. 

Maise is the mobsters daughter who is kept under lock and key by her father for her safety and so he can control her. She's a singer in one of his clubs and she believes she will be stuck in this life forever along with her older brother. 

Ben and Maise meet after Ben takes one for the team and is injured. From then on  they are inseparable and he becomes invaluable to the whole family. With Ben getting more and more responsibility and Maise feeling more and more like a bird in a cage they work together to try and make this life livable. That is until Ben's family get's threatened and he tries to juggle both the threat and keeping his new mob boss happy. 

Overall I really did like this story, in fact if it hadn't of been for the several historical inaccuracies this could have been an almost five start book for me. I couldn't get enough of the Canary Club and was constantly worried about Maise, Ben and Ben's family. I love reading about the 1920's right now and this book was really good. Between the tension of the mob, and the threat of other mob's and the ever present police I was constantly intrigued. As for the romance between Maise and Ben it was okay, things seemed a little strange with the way they interacted with each other at times, but it was still enjoyable for the most part. You could tell they really did care for each other and yes things moved quickly but it's the mob! Things always seem to move quickly when gangs are involved. I'm interested to read the prequels and to see if another book will come out in this series.
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After three months in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, Benjamin “Benny” Fleisher is back on the streets of New York. He wants to stay away from trouble, but his family is going through difficult times –and to make everything worse is little sister is very sick and in need of special medical care. When no respectable business gives Benny an opportunity to earn an honest salary, Benny finds himself working for a notorious crime boss, Dutch Schultz. Quickly climbing through the ranks after saving Dutch’s life, Benjamin has to struggle to keep his integrity while losing his heart of gold to the only girl he shouldn’t, the daughter of his boss, Masie Schultz, a flapper with the voice of an angel whose only desire is to set free from her father’s bloody schemes and gang war. When the world of Benny and Masie collide nothing ever will be the same again…

Writing: Have I ever told you that the roaring 20s is one of my favourite times? All the Jazz and bright lights and flappers. Oh, and the Lost Generation! I love the Lost Generation –I’ve a soft spot for Zelda Fitzgerald who is very misunderstood. Anyway, in "The Canary Club" Sherry D. Ficklyn brought the 20s back to life with all the good and bad. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of New York during the prohibition time. Moreover, the use of slang from the time made the story seem ever more real. I’d like to stress that it is clear the author did a lot of research –from the language to the medical procedures for mental illness. I must confess that the ending felt a little bit rushed –the author could have taken a little bit more time to develop it since it was the big finale. But since there is going to be a sequel, I’m not going to complain much.  

Characters: Benny has a golden heart. He wants to do what is right, but his bad luck always drags him to very complicated situations. One of Benny’s characteristics that I enjoyed the most was how far he would go to protect those he loved –no matter how difficult was the path he had to go through. Masie was a flapper in every sense of the world. Although a few times I found her insufferable, and a little bit entitled, I did warm up to Masie when it was revealed how much she had suffered (and still was suffering) at the hands of her father. Also, I enjoyed how she understood the world isn’t black and white and how she walked in those grey areas. 

Romance: In "The Canary Club" the plot centers on the romance between Benny and Masie, told from their perspective. I always love a story about forbidden love. And, although I don’t mind instalove as much as I mind love triangles, I was disappointed when it happened. I wanted Benny and Masie to slowly fall in love in world of crime and mobsters. Also, I felt it was out of character for Masie to fall instantly in love with Benny because, as she pointed out, she had never loved anyone before. It would show so much character growth if the relationship between them had grown slowly.   

All in all, I can't wait for the sequel of "The Canary Club" to be released. That cliffhanger!
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Why you should read it: The glitz, glamour and danger of the Prohibition Era come to life under the deft pen of Sherry D. Ficklin in her new novel, Canary Club. Evocative settings, casual — and not-so-casual — violence, free-flowing libations and a sultry soundtrack set the mood for attraction to turn to co-conspiracy and — at last! — love between the two point-of-view characters, Masie and Benny.

This vivid tale of organized crime, coming-of-age escape and romance will linger in your mind long after the final page is read. Don’t be surprised if a few suit-wearing gangsters and well-beaded flappers are joined by the sounds of screeching tires, gunfire and torchy ballads in your dreams.

Highly recommended for fans of Prohibition/Gatsby-era historical fiction, historical romance and anyone who gets a little weak in the knees when they come across a dangerous man in a swanky suit, Canary Club is a worthy addition to your TBR shelf! (And make sure you check out the series-intro novelette anthology, Glitter & Gold, too!)
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The concept of this book sounded great. The 1920’s is a time period that I’ve always been fascinated with, so whenever I see a book set in that time, I’m always excited to pick it up. The historical aspects of this book were great. It was very easy to slip into this world and experience the story along with the characters. The gritty world of New York City mobsters was alluring, and was definitely the strong point of this book.

With that said, the setting was about the only strong point. The romance honestly wasn’t all that special, with some serious instalove and endless amounts of general YA love tropes. The characters themselves were average, but they felt like archetypes. Masie was your typical rough around the edges girl that wanted *more*, and that’s about all she was. Benny’s character was summed up in the synopsis, and he doesn’t really get much deeper than that.

I was disappointed by this book, as I was really hoping to like it. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.
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A story of star crossed lovers, what could be better? 2 people from opposite sides of the tracks whose families wouldn't agree with their love can't be separated.  Follow this story of of worlds colliding and a love that wants to withstand it.
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Where do I even begin? This novel captured my attention when I wasn't even in the mood for this kind of book (I was in the mood for a werewolf novel). But oh my gosh, this had so many twists and turns! The plot kept thickening and I was honestly was glued to the pages. Basically, this novel is about a boy who can't seem to get a break and a girl who is unhappy with the life she was forced into. 

I loved being able to learn parts of the character's past/being able to learn why they were the way were. Masie was definitely one of my favorite characters. I loved how she was such a strong character. She was able to show that you can be vulnerable and be strong, showing that neither are bad. I've never read about a character with that kind of characteristic. Now, I want to see that in every character, in all genders. It's NORMAL to be vulnerable days and it's NORMAL to be strong some days. Benny was such a sweet character. My heart felt for him soooo much. I also loved him as a character. I did strongly dislike a character who I cannot name...... so.......... just know that they are literally the worst.
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3.5 stars
*Thanks to Netgalley for giving me a free copy to review*

"Having people fear you gives you power. Having them love you gives you influence. Having both, well, that's how you build an empire."

This has got to be the most refreshing setting after all the fantasy I've been reading. And that's what sold me on this story. I'm not sure there were enough gangsters, drive-bys and illegal actions to truly capture the era but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
The romance is a focal point in this book. A couple other reviews said it's insta-love and it kinda is. They also said Masie is too modern and she probably is. Someone said their personalities didn't have enough depth and I agree. I'd also like to add that Benny is way too competent for a seventeen(?) year old. But I did like Masie's confidence and sashaying everywhere. Everything would've been a bit more plausible if they were older. That being said, I didn't mind and it didn't hinder my reading experience. SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD I think the reason Masie falls for Benny is because he's the embodiment (for her, at least) of goodness and morality. He's the ideal she wants to keep untarnished. Then she sees he can do bad things just like her father and that the desire to keep loved ones safe can take-over any "good" person. Why she (and every other feminist out there) wouldn't want someone watching their back is a mystery to me. Accepting help isn't a form of weakness but an acknowledgement that you can't do everything like some cliché superhero. I wish people would stop using that trope on their "strong" female characters. END SPOILER
The slang tended to be a bit much, unless that's how they talked back then. (Applesauce?)
The plot could've used a bit more attention as the romance kinda dominated it and SLIGHT SPOILER Benny so easily ingratiating himself with Dutch probably never would have happened. END SPOILER I hope the next book strengthens Masie's and Benny's personalities and gives them some dilemmas to work over and highlight how the outer conflicts will change them.
The descriptions were good and colorful, just the way they should be. And there were several insightful comments throughout I appreciated.
Overall I sped through this book and am looking forward to the next one.

Some favorite quotes:

"You can always trust a dishonest man to be dishonest. It's the honest ones you have to look out for"

"Because that's what war does. It never destroys the people who need to be destroyed; it just punishes the people who get in the way."

"Only thing open after midnight are bars, legs, and morgues."
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When Benny is released from jail, where he was serving time for a crime he didn't commit, he struggles to find a job to help his destitute family.  He gets offered a position working for a wealthy gangster family.  He originally plans to make enough money to get their family back on track and allow his mom to stop working double shifts, and to pay for medical care for his ailing little sister.  Instead, he finds himself falling head over heels for the boss's daughter.  He has to make a lot of tough decisions in order to keep everyone he loves safe, while not compromising his values.
This was one of the best historical fiction books I have read,  It kept me so captivated that I couldn't put it down until the very end.  This is definitely a must-read!
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I realized recently that I am not the biggest fan of historical fiction because I feel they do not always truly reflect the time period, but I felt that The Canary Club did a wonderful job of using the slangs in a modernly understandable way and even gestures one can see in movies was common in the 1920s. I loved the little cameos of famous people of the time.
Benny’s climb through the ranks seemed a bit fast and a bit unrealistic for gangsters who are always watching their backs for rats. However, I do recognize that it made the plot move along and it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the book for me. Benny also felt a bit like a naive character but not painfully so as many other book fault at. 
Wish there was more of a gritty aspect to this book seeing as we follow a family in the mob but I do like the focus on the romance between the two main characters. I also loved the struggle that characters went through with the fact that once you’re in the mob, there’s no leaving and the entrapment Maisie feels of being born into this world with no choice.
Overall, a very enjoyable book I would recommend to people. 4.5/5 stars
I also talked about my thought on this book on my YouTube channel - September Wrap Up at 10:38
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When I think about historical fiction, my mind wanders to a time before real toilets existed. It went over my head that the genre does not only include a time before both world wars but also a time like the roaring 20s. 

In Canary Club, we follow "Bad Luck" Benny who emerged from the wrong side of town, fresh out of jail for a crime he didn't even commit. With the heavy desperation to feed his family, he stumbled upon a job that opened doors into a scathing world of gangsters and their corrupt businesses. It also led him into the arms of a certain canary with a golden voice, Masie Schultz, whose father just happened to be one of the leading crime bosses and also Benny's own boss.

With Sherry D. Ficklin's poetic, yet straightforward writing style, I was easily swept away to the 1920s New York with its fringe dresses, speakeasies, slang, and over the shoulder gestures. This was a melodramatic, thrilling read that made my heart accelerate with every conflict that arises. And while the story itself focuses on its romantic aspects, it does not completely abandon the grittiness of the mafia world. 

I do think a trigger warning is necessary (there are some scenes that involve both physical and emotional abuse), but I would definitely recommend this book to any YA reader who's in need of a breath of fresh air from all the mainstream contemporary and fantasy plots.
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A very YA look into the world of prohibition era New York, with a dash of gangsters and a frothy romance thrown in.

Canary Club follows 'Bad Luck' Benny - fresh out of jail, and Maisie, daughter of the local 'mob' boss who Benny ends up working for. Maisie is head strong, like her father, yet vows not to follow in his footsteps. Benny is determined to keep on the right side of the law, yet is drawn into a murky underworld in order to provide for his ailing family. With Maisie facing trouble as the pawn in her families fight for control of the city, she turns to the one person she thinks will be able to help her. But can love win over business?

I enjoyed the author's descriptions of prohibition New York. It's an area of history I know little about, and I adsorbed every little morsel of description that was written about it.The slang used is also rather delightful, and for the most part the story itself is well written.

However, this is where it sort of all starts to fall apart for me as I really didn't like either of the main characters. Maisie is rather one dimensional, naive and doesn't really have much going for her. At times I found her boring and shallow. She also comes across as too modern for her era. One of my gripes in historical fiction is making a female character appear to be so brazen in her 'repressed woman' status for her time period, which Maisie frequently laments. It seems really out of character for a woman of her era to express herself in such a way, and it irritates me. 

Benny, as Maisie's love interest, doesn't seem very realistic - he's a mash up of every 'down on his luck' 'jack of the lad' character that's been done before, and far better. Again, he's very one dimensional with no emotional depth and little development throughout the novel.

The plot itself is very centred around the romance elements, and unfortunately it's a case of instalove at its finest. There's no build up to Benny and Maisie falling in love etc. or even any courtship - it's just instantaneous infatuation and it all feels a little bit too 'sweet'. You'd expect a bit of grit for a gangster book. Speaking of 'grit; the 'big bad' is also extremely one dimensional, with little input from the author with regards to making him appear more human and less a simple plot device to provide a problem to the main characters. 

I think that's one of the biggest issues with the book - there's just no depth to any of the characters.

The rest of the plot is also rather flat and predictable. I guessed what was going to happen constantly, and I was never surprised by anything in the plot. Because of this, I did unfortunately find myself getting bored. The whole story line just felt a little underwhelming and rushed - especially the ending. I would have preferred it if more time was spent developing and delving deeper into the characters emotions. Because it was so lacking, I just couldn't get emotionally invested in anything that was happening.

Unfortunately underwhelming for me, but I think this will definitely appeal to those looking for a heavy dose of romance mixed with a sprinkling of history.
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3.5/5

I really enjoyed this book, the 1920's are one of my favourite era's, the fashion, the language the prohibition, I love it all!

the book follows two characters Benny and Maisie. Benny is from the wrong side of tow and just got out of jail, he ends up landing a gig working for a mob boss. Maisie is the daughter of them ob boss, can you guess what happens here? star-crossed lovers

I really enjoyed the relationship Benny and Maisie formed and how they seemed to work well together. I would have liked to see a bit more of the crime scene, as this was prohibition New York where there were lots of crimes taking place. 

this was a fairly quick read and it did keep me intrigued throughout. if you're into 1920's New York, flapper girls, corrupt cops, crime bosses then you'll probably enjoy this book!

Be ware if you are trigger by: abuse (physical and emotional), mental health issues and rape 

The story did shed light on the treatment of women during this time and how cruel it was at times. Women were supposed to act the way their husbands told them to otherwise they would face consequences (disgusting). It also included the mistreatment of people with mental health issues. It briefly talked about all the testing and cruel experiments that were taken done on these types of patients.
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Prohibition-era New York. Benny just got out of the clink, and needs work to support his family. Masie Schulz, daughter of rum-runner Dutch and club singer, just wants out of the life. Will their love set them free?
The plot is fairly predictable, but it's a well-written tale, with likeable characters that have you rooting for them to (somehow!) achieve a happy ending.
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Sherry Ficklin's writing practically hums with electricity.  There's an energy and a sense of expectancy in her writing and her characters that makes her writing unique.  Having read all three of the prequel novellas in the Canary Club series, it was so satisfying read a full-length novel with all of the characters.  And... based on the ending, I'm hoping there's more to come!
Ms. Ficklin has certainly done her historical research, and has the ability to fully immerse the reader in the Prohibition Era.  I love the inclusion of real life mobsters.  The characters are so realistic and well-developed, and the plot never drags.  
As far as content, there is one instance of rape, but it is not graphic, mostly just alluded to, and one love scene, but again, no graphic details.  I recommend this to all fans of Prohibition Era fiction, fans of historical fiction and clean romance.  I can't wait to see if there's more to come!
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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Crimson Tree Publishing. All opinions are my own.

When I recently read Bright Young Things I mentioned in my review that I didn't think there were enough gangsters in that book. Well with The Canary Club my wish was granted! When I spied a book up for request by Sherry Ficklin that was also set in the 1920's, I couldn't request it fast enough! I remembered how much I absolutely loved Queen of Someday and I was stoked to read another title by the artist in prose that is Sherry Ficklin. I can say, quite happily so, that The Canary Club met and exceeded my high expectations. 

I was swept into the 1920's as I started reading. Into a world of gangsters, speakeasies and forbidden love. This is a period that I love and know quite well, but Sherry Ficklin makes it come to life and transports me in time better than any other. The book feels authentic for the time period, as it is filled with slang from the 1920's. In comparison Bright Young Things feels like a romance novel playing dress-up, it doesn't have the same authentic feel.

Now I read romance novels, or novels with a romance aspect, practically everyday. I often find myself understanding the love interest, or seeing the attraction. But this is the first time in a long time that I truly found a book romantic. This was a romance that swept me off my feet and pulled at my heartstrings. The heat radiated off of the pages. 

The plot was well thought out and the pacing made it hard to put down. I found myself staying up until the sun rose so I could finish reading. I was so engrossed in the world of gangsters and speakeasies that I didn't realize the time passing until I heard birds chirping. The realism and dirty deeds of these gangsters was gruesome and horrific, exactly how gangsters are supposed to be. 

I would push this book at anyone who asks me for a recommendation. Being the second novel I've read by Sherry Ficklin I can say she is an author who will bring you back, no matter what it's about I will read anything by her. I can't wait to get my hands on another of her titles.
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