Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut

Fiction - Adventure
310 Pages
Reviewed on 09/14/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

J.L. Michael is a Maine author partial to old-school jazz, vintage travel posters, and historical literature that champions daring quests into realms unknown. The majority of the author’s time is spent pursuing the honor code of an impossible dreamer, which includes acting as an able Healthcare Director, committed spouse, and steadfast (though imperfect) role-model to an eight-year-old best-thing-ever. When not thrashing away on a keyboard, J.L. can be found lounging beachside atop the hood of a Jeep Wrangler, contemplating a next escape to distant exotic lands or plotting further misadventures to include in the sequel to the newly released novel— Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut by J. L. Michael is the coming-of-age story of a spirited woman learning to live and enjoy every moment. Alexandra Illyria Bathenbrook had a taste of adventure when she was a child and ever since she has been chasing the highs. Working as a photographer, she left Montana to capture images that had never been taken before. With the dream of being recognized by National Geographic, Alexandra risked danger, flirted where she shouldn’t, and caused drama in different cities all over the world. Making a name for herself along the way, Alexandra accepted an assignment that could make or break her whole career.

Adventurous and filled with clever remarks, J. L. Michael did a fantastic job of creating a wholesome story about a heroine that readers can relate to. In Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut, Alexandra’s character was perfect. I could see little bits of myself in the way she was determined to chase her dreams, prove herself, and feel accomplished. She had goals and she was not afraid to work hard for them. I loved Alexandra’s dialogues as well. They were witty, had charm, and revealed so much of her personality. The author made sure each city was described authentically without being overdone. The setting, the incidents, the plot twists, and even the little epiphanies Alexandra experienced were incredible. I loved Uganda and the descriptions of the hunt for the lions. It was reminiscent of the preface to the story and almost a full circle for Alexandra. I highly recommend it.

Cloie Belle Daffon

Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut by J. L. Michael centers on Alexandra Illyria Bathenbrook. The wilderness was an unforgiving, untrodden land but to Alexandra, it served as a refuge from everyday life. She traverses the sweltering rainforest in the hope of capturing photos of something new, something yet-to-be-seen, and earning recognition that would land her an interview with National Geographic. Fortune favors the brave and she stood ready to take the risks to get what she wanted. Little did she know that her adventures would take her on a perilous journey and through dangerous places that would force her to face her worst fears.

J.L. Michael’s Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut pulled me right in from the prologue. This is a novel filled with adventure, thrilling mystery, and witty, charming characters! It was interesting to follow Alexandra’s growth throughout the story. Because of her precarious assignments, she learned various survival skills and she even charmed a few people along the way. Her struggle to survive and her quick wit make for a truly compelling story. Alexandra had so many skills at her disposal. Her intellect and the way she solved every problem that came her way was the highlight of the entire story. I admired the way she saw the world through an inspired eye and her point of view injected excitement and anticipation into this tale. This insouciant vagabond and finagler extraordinaire amazed me with her bravery and passion for adventure. The twists and turns in this story made for an engrossing read and I could hardly put the book down! A great job!

Grant Leishman

Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut by J.L. Michael is a humorous and irreverent dash through history in the early years of the twentieth century, especially the “era of wonderful nonsense” known as the 1920s. Alexandra Illyria Bathenbrook is a young woman from Montana with an American mother and a titled, politically connected British father. When her two older brothers leave the safety of their farm to serve in the First World War on the battlefields of France, young Alexandra is left alone with her domineering and demanding mother. With one brother killed and the other living in England, but wounded and disfigured, Alexandra is desperate to escape the clutches of her mother. Joining her father on a journey to Papua New Guinea, primarily to photograph exotic birds, she delves deep into the forest inhabited by dangerous beasts and headhunters to obtain her prize photographs. With her courage and beauty gaining worldwide fame and notoriety, she suddenly finds herself able to pick and choose her next adventures, as she tries to realize her dream of becoming employed as an official National Geographic photographer. Her adventures will take her all over the world, from the depths of the Amazonian jungles to the deserts of Palestine, the bazaars of Morocco, and even to the Winter Olympics in that icon of the rich and famous, St Moritz.

Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut is a fun and enlightening journey that details many of the seminal events of the 1920s. In Alexandra, J.L. Michael has created a wonderful and delightful character who seems to embody the feeling of freedom and change, especially for women, that was sweeping the world during this period. I particularly loved the innocent way she kept bumping into “soon-to-be-famous” people on her journey and I thought her encounter on the Orient Express with Dame Agatha Christie was hilarious. This free-spirited young woman is chasing around the world, full of her power and success, challenging the men in charge, part of the “old boys’ club” and usually winning, which is certainly empowering for young women who might read this book. Her freedom with her sexuality was at odds with the conservative morals of the time but did reflect the reality and the incident with the lubrication had me rolling in the aisle with laughter. I did appreciate that despite her freedom and willingness for self-expression she did indeed have her demons and at times doubted her sanity and purpose in this world. This book is just sheer fun and escapism, one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was able to read it in just one sitting and I can highly recommend it.