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REVIEW: The Givenchy Code and The Manolo Matrix by Julie...

Dear Ms. Kenner,

Givenchy Code
So far, I’ve enjoyed both of your novels in this trilogy. The plot, that a megalomaniac billionaire who developed an addictive online reality game called “Play. Survive. Win.” has somehow managed to have it brought to life and played out the streets of Manhattan, is great. Yeah, you take a few liberties with the 24 hour poison that forces the unwilling participants to begin to play or risk death but I love how each book’s clues are tailored to the hero or heroine.

I’ve never been to NYC but I can just see it through your Manolo Matrixdescriptions as the characters race to solve all the clues which will end the game before an assassin ends their lives. If I have one little niggle it’s that the nature of the plot calls for almost instant physical attraction followed only later by love, all packed into a very short time frame. But I do give you points for allowing that love to play out into the next book and not be forced on the reader after a couple has only known each other for such a short period of time.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the last book and hope that it matches the two I’ve already read.


Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Jane
    Apr 19, 2006 @ 08:05:31

    I really enjoyed both of these books too. They made me think a bit. The romances were believable. The two protagonists weren’t having inappropriate sex sessions. And I thought the author must be quite smart to make these two books up.

  2. Jay
    Apr 19, 2006 @ 11:36:24

    I really liked these two too. I liked Givenchy a little more than Manolo, but still really enjoyed both. But then I’m a sucker for treasure/scavenger hunt type books. Which explains why I liked DVC, bad as it was. ;)

  3. Jane
    Apr 19, 2006 @ 13:19:31

    I liked it too, Jay (DVC). I think it is the scavenger hunt theme. One of my favorite movies is the Goonies.

  4. Rosario
    Apr 19, 2006 @ 15:58:58

    I agree, a good scavenger hunt will make me forgive a book a lot! Not that the Kenner books needed all that much forgiveness; I really liked them.

  5. Maili
    Apr 19, 2006 @ 19:15:07

    Oooooooh, I love, love, love scavenger-hunt novels! I think I read enough to support an entire English village. Do you have other favourites?

  6. Jane
    Apr 19, 2006 @ 21:52:23

    I honestly can’t think of other books right now. I do have a memory of a Texas Road Rally type movie which involved a clue that had to do with “two melons” and it ended up being a necklace saying “Hug Me” nestled between the large bosoms of a waitress. Then the character tries a number of variations on the Hug Me to come up with Huge M which led them to a miniature golf place. Have no idea the name of the movie or how it ended up or anything! I just remember the melons and the Huge M. I am sure a psychiatrist would have a field day with this.

  7. Edith
    Apr 20, 2006 @ 19:44:38

    Glad to hear she can write good books. I tried Carpe Diem and it was awful. Too much focus on the domestic aspect and the beginning felt really contrived. I listened to it and didn’t make it through the first CD.

  8. Jayne
    Apr 21, 2006 @ 06:00:30

    LOL, Edith. I enjoyed Carpe Demon except maybe right at the end when it seemed to get a little, teensy bit out of control. I was really surprised at liking it because I had heard something that caused me *not* to try her Aphrodite books. Can’t remember who said anything or where I got that impression.

    Anyway, I thought the idea of Carpe Demon was good enough that I took a chance on it and it worked for me. Then I started reading these Play. Survive.Win. books and have liked them too.

    I emailed her and said she should do a fourth book and call it “Choos’ Clues.” She said she loved the title but that right now she was only planning this to be a trilogy.

  9. Jay
    Apr 24, 2006 @ 21:42:44

    HA! I love that title!

  10. Jayne
    Apr 25, 2006 @ 06:30:23

    Damn, I love that title too. I’d almost, almost, be willing to write the darn thing just to see it in print!

  11. ale
    Apr 01, 2008 @ 19:42:31

    well, i really want to say ; Oh my god!
    these are the best books i had ever read!
    i just can’t really believed that the author
    could cautivate me! I know it is really
    hard to understand what I trying to say
    because I don’t speak english so…but
    I’ll travel to USA just to buy the third book
    Just because is fantastic and i really hope
    that the new one be better than the past ones.

    I just really hope that one day i can see this book
    been a movie! that would be asome!=)

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