Lucie Simone is on tour now with CLP Blog Tours. Simone is someone who I consider myself lucky to have met when I entered this crazy book-blogging world. Not only is she someone I look up to, but she is a virtual friend and a truly talented author – as showcased in her latest novel Picture Perfect. Ooh, this is a good one, and chick lit fans should not pass this up! Set in LA, the story revolves around Lauren Tate, a TV producer who wakes up early due to being served divorce papers. Awkward when she has to go to her job where her soon to be ex-husband also works. Even worse – it seems someone is out to get Lauren booted from her position. Is it her snarky former assistant? Her ex? Lauren’s life gets more complicated with the arrival of an up-and-coming Hollywood heartthrob and a murder rocking Tinsel Town…
I loved this book! Sometimes (especially with eBooks) I forget to read the blurb first, so I had no idea Simone was throwing in the mystery/murder aspect, and that catapulted this chick lit book to new depths. So much intrigue, scandal, a behind-the-scenes look into an interesting LA career choice, and a MC that rocked the pages. A 5 star book that you should read!
**Everyone who leaves a comment on Lucie’s tour page will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Picture Perfect before October 15 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**
I received a copy of India’s Summer in exchange for an honest review. I was fairly curious about this book, mainly for two reasons – one, the author only goes by one name, and two, a slew of celebrities were endorsing it. I was also interested in trying to get a better feel for Therese, as her bio only said she is best friends with people with connections, so put this all together and I wanted to read the book! The MC is India Butler, who lives in London but takes a trip to the US to visit her twin sister, Annie. While a teacher in London, India is soon rubbing elbows with some of LA’s elite, and decides to invent a better life for herself. Soon, she gets wrapped up in her own hype – only to have the fall from grace hurt that much worse. Shuffling home to London with her tail between her legs, India still can’t quite believe the unforgettable summer she had in LA – and she wonders if she had finally found the place where she truly belonged.
I found myself interested in the novel throughout. It got a bit wordy in a few places, but I liked the story and thought the plot was a lot of fun. It was definitely a different perspective than books usually give on Hollywood and the people that fill the town – these characters were friendly, helpful, seemed to have real feelings, and many were good people. I really liked the dynamic between India and Annie especially. I think if you are interested in celebrities and that world, you would enjoy this book. Like I said – a different take than most “Hollywood” books, and I think I started to understand the author’s bio a bit more as well after reading. An enjoyable book though, and one I would recommend!
I’m a big fan of sports, reality shows, and novels. So when I was asked to review Inner Circle, the first novel in The Wives Association series written by Evelyn Lozada, I was obviously sold. Lozada is currently married to NFL star Chad Ochocinco, and her books (co-authored by Courtney Parker) are loosely based on her knowledge of what it is like to be an athlete’s wife. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book, but as someone who constantly says she is in love with men such Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and Donald Driver (GB fan- can you tell?) I was curious to get the inside scoop on the ladies with these men we see on TV.
Well, I’ll say this – after reading Inner Circle, I don’t think I would ever want to date an athlete. They do not come across attractive (in the non-physical sense at least) in any way. It’s hard for me to think of men such as Drew Brees or Tom Brady treating their wives this way, but a disturbing pattern was to be found. Now to the story – the main character is Eve Inez, wife of Chase Landon, the super-star wide receiver for the Los Angeles Leopard’s. Eve is insistent on keeping her independence, which means sticking with her job as a sports agent and not letting her just be Mrs. Chase Landon. When her BFF Amber finds out her husband had an affair and knocked up their chef, Eve decides to form The Wives Association. Wives of famous athletes will band together to protect each other, should their men ever try to leave them and cut off their swanky lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. While Eve pours herself into protecting her friends, she doesn’t realize that her own best friend has been keeping a secret from her – one that will threaten Eve’s own marriage and happiness.
Overall, I really did enjoy Inner Circle. I’ve been browsing through some reviews on Amazon, and there were many that disliked the book and were pretty vocal about it. I liked the behind the scenes look, even if it did make me a bit scared of athletes now. I thought the writing was good, a little slow and repetitive at times, but I thought it was juicy enough to make me okay with those lows. There was a bit too much “beating bitch’s asses” for my like, that got old really fast to me. But the ending really had me on my toes, and I sped through the last few chapters at lightning speed. I loved the cliff-hanger ending! It made me definitely interested in reading the second book. If you are a sports fan or know Lozada from reality TV, I think this one should be on your list. I will say there is a lot of what some are calling “hood language” and a handful of extremely explicit sex scenes sprinkled throughout. Looking forward to this series!
Ah, a new Jennifer Weiner book. Who wouldn’t be excited to get that in the mail? This is the tenth book from the best-selling author, and one of my many favorites from her. The title is The Next Best Thing, which is also the title of a television series that Ruth Saunders wrote and is about to see on the air. Ruth moved from Massachusetts to LA at age twenty-three with her grandmother, a spit-fire lady with a killer fashion sense and who only wants to see Ruth happy. After six years of mundane jobs and pouring her heart and soul into her vision, she gets The Call. Her sitcom has been green-lighted; her dream is coming true.
Ruth quickly learns that her idyllic vision of a down-to-earth show about a young woman and her grandmother is not what TV execs want. Where Ruth wants a “normal” looking girl (not a twig, not a flawless beauty) the big-wigs want “TV-pretty” (rail thing and flawless beauty). The clashes don’t stop there, and Ruth wonders if she can survive in the cutthroat world of Hollywood and TV sitcoms.
I really enjoyed this book, and had it read in just over a day. What I thought was so interesting was that Weiner recently had her own stint with a TV sitcom; she was the co-creator and co-executive producer on the ABC sitcom State of Georgia, which aired in 2011 (and was later cancelled). So it was great for me as the reader to understand that I was truly getting a behind-the-scenes glance at how a sitcom is made. And wow – I’ve never had an urge to write a TV show, but now I really don’t! All kidding aside, the work, sweat, tears, frustrations, etc, that go into it is just mind-boggling. I found myself being mad as hell alongside Ruth, wanting to cry when she was sad, and tapping my fingers anxiously while awaiting to hear whether the show was going to continue or be axed. Beyond all that, there was also a fabulous love story both with Ruth and her grandmother, and the happy endings were well-deserved. And then there was the story of Ruth’s disfigurement from a car accident when she was a toddler. The tears dripped down my face when Ruth wrote the words I’ll never be beautiful after enduring multiple facial surgeries. There is a lot happening in this book, but the sub-plots click into place with an ease readers have come to expect from Weiner, and this book is on my Favorites List with a 5 star review!
- Jen’s ”Cupcakes Across America” book tour: What’s the next best thing to a perfect summer read? A summer reading with cupcakes! To celebrate the launch of THE NEXT BEST THING (July 3rd 2012), Jen will be embarking on a “Cupcakes Across America” tour to bookstores across the country — as thanks to all of her fans for their enormous support, she will be bringing delicious cupcakes for the audience catered by local bakeries! The following is a link to her book tour schedule: http://www.jenniferweiner.com/events.htm
When I was asked to review Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger, I jumped at the chance. Who didn’t love The Devil Wears Prada? And I’m happy to report this book was just as great. The story follows happily married couple Julian and Brooke Alter. Brooke is working two jobs with the goal of starting her own nutrition business, and Julian is a struggling singer-songwriter hoping to hit it big. The couple’s world is rocked when Julian snags the attention of Hollywood big-wigs, and overnight becomes the “it” guy in town. Suddenly, Brooke and Julian are holding on tight while they ride the fame coaster, trying to stay grounded and sane. Brooke isn’t interested in celebrities, paparazzi, and the works of being famous. But Julian gets carried up in his new life––the money, publicity….the woman. Not only is Brooke having to deal with that train wreck, but her life, her career, everything she has worked so hard for, is slipping out of her reach thanks to her new high-profile life. Can Brooke and Julian’s marriage survive, or will the cost of fame tear them apart?
When I first started reading this book, I thought Julian was quite an ass-bag. I really thought he was just using Brooke to make ends meet and so he could keep working on getting discovered. As I kept reading, I realized that he did clearly love his wife, and she felt the same way. While their interests may have been different, the love and respect that should be in a marriage were there. It wasn’t hard to guess that something like an affair would be brought up, because come on––who in Hollywood isn’t accused of cheating? When I got to the end of the book, I was sure I was just going to hate what happened. I thought I could guess the ending, but I was wrong. While I won’t give anything away, I will say the ending made me think. It was more than just a typical fluffy let’s be happy ending. The roller coaster ride of emotions that Weisberger took me on, combined with a scandalous chick lit plot and some important lessons we learn from Brooke and Julian, earns this book a five star rating from me!
Charlotte Williams is a typical New York socialite, enjoying the finer things in life and being the apple of her father’s eye. But when darling daddy is taken to federal prison on embezzlement charges, Charlotte’s charmed life is suddenly in ruins. Cheated investors are after her, and even her household staff was duped by her father and questioning her about their money. Charlotte flees New York and finds comfort in the only person that can provide it for her–Miss Millie, the woman who helped raise Charlotte after her mother passed away. Charlotte tries to settle into her temporary life in New Orleans–making a new friend in the fashionista Kat, securing a job as a waitress, and possibly finding romance with Millie’s son, Jackson. But a stalker that set up an unpleasant website about Charlotte is not letting her find peace. He is determined to bring her down because of her father’s actions, and the threats are soon out of control.
Priceless is the follow-up novel from Nicole Richie after The Truth About Diamonds. This novel seemed more fiction to me than the first, where I was able to see parallels from those characters to Richie’s celebrity life. With Priceless, I was much more invested in the story and Charlotte’s troubles, even though I’m sure Richie relied on her socialite experience for some of the scenes. But casting the celebrity bit aside, I thought this novel was a fast read that entertained me throughout. The characters were well-written and made relatable, even though I am far from that social status. I thought Charlotte was very likeable, even though her character could have gone the other way, so I was really rooting for her throughout the whole story. More books like this from Nicole Richie will definitely not be a bad thing.
Lola Santisi, daughter of Hollywood royalty, is stuck between two worlds. On one hand, she has LA- with her doctor boyfriend who finally isn’t an actor, who seems he could be The One, and where she can wear Crocs and get away with it. On the other end is New York, where she is the CEO of her BFF’s fashion line, Julian Tennant Inc., and always has her Louboutin stiletto’s firmly planted on the ground. The bicoastal life is getting to Lola, Julian Tennant’s fashion line is plummeting, and Lola’s brother just got dumped- by Lola’s best friend, Kate Woods, rising star at CAA. While Lola tries to piece her brother’s heart back together, figure out what got Kate to jump ship, and book Julian’s designs for a magazine cover, her life starts to spin out of control. Add in the backstabbing, ridiculous demands of the Hollywood elite, and a mother with a reality show, and Lola has her hands full. Navigating her way through crisis after crisis, whether with a Croc or Louboutin on her pedicured feet, Lola works to keep her life sane, save her and Julian’s careers, and find happiness with her boyfriend.
Beneath a Starlet Sky is the follow-up from Celebutantes by Amanda Goldberg and Ruthanna Khalighi Hopper. While I haven’t read the first book and worried that might hinder my experience, it really didn’t. I picked up on the character’s lives smoothly and adored Lola. She cared so much about everyone around her; her family, friends, and boyfriend, and I really wanted good things for her. The insider gossip on what really happens in Hollywood is outrageous, but in a laugh out loud, “are you kidding me?” kind of way. I laughed a lot while reading, but felt sometimes that the other shoe dropped on one to many occasions. Every time something good happened to Lola, something worse would occur to wipe out the happiness. I found myself sighing towards the end of the book because I knew something terrible was going to happen every chapter, it got a little stale for me. But the ending was a happy one, and overall I thought it was a fun book, and if you like reading about celebrities and the insane world they live in, I would definitely recommend Beneath a Starlet Sky to you!
Trina Stewart hates that the famous HOLLYWOOD sign mocks her from her own home. After 10 years in the land of celebrities and out $100,000 to film school debt, Trina has still not found the Hollywood job. Instead, she works as a teacher, teaching English as a Second Language- not her dream job. But she refuses to believe that she won’t reach her dreams. Not only will she conquer Hollywood, she will also find that perfect man. Somehow, someway….
Matiu Wulf, a New Zealander, finds himself in LA only to get some real scene design experience and take a class at UCLA to make his resume look good. With more movies being filmed in his homeland, he needs something to set him apart from the other film wannabees. But when he rents the apartment upstairs from Trina Stewart and begins to fall for her, he knows that is the last thing he can do. He is only in LA to take the class, get the experience and some connections, and head back home to Auckland. But when he watches Trina fall for the wrong guy, he can’t help but intervene…
Hollywood Ending by Lucie Simone is a cute romance novel with a dash of Hollywood sauciness. The story is told in both Trina and Matiu’s view points, so readers get an understanding of both main characters. I actually liked Matiu’s character more than Trina’s, which usually doesn’t happen! But he is such a manly man and delectable in both looks and personality that I really couldn’t help myself. There were times that I thought the plot could benefit from some more action, and it was a bit predictable, but overall I thought it was good story and I will definitely be checking out more of Simone’s titles.
Ashling Donovan decides to move from Des Moines to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming a successful teleplay writer. After moving in with her boyfriend, Ashling sets her sights on securing a job. But when said boyfriend unexpectedly breaks up with her for a Myspace girl, Ashling is desperate for a job, a home, and money. When she shows up to interview as a PA, Ashling is seized with an opportunity, a lie, that could change her life. Overnight, Ashling becomes a widely known head writer, creator of a new show, and her own personal assistant, all in one. But will the truth about her double life identity be discovered- and ruin her Hollywood reputation?
Love You, Love Your Work, Let’s Do Lunch! is Micheline McAllister’s second novel, and just as filled with juicy Hollywood secrets as the first. It was comical to read how people in LA will fall all over themselves trying to name drop, and what some people will do to get ahead. I highly enjoyed reading Ashling’s tale from an Iowa nobody to a big name in Hollywood, all because of a well crafted lie. I did think a couple times that there was no possible way someone could make up being a well respected writer, but in the land of celebrities, I guess almost anything is possible. I think chick lit readers will find humor in this novel, appreciate good writing, and be able to escape in the heroine’s double life.
Samantha Kelly is a 32 year old personal assistant working in Hollywood, hoping for her big break. While working fourteen hour shifts and doing mundane tasks like calming down her bosses wife and picking up dry cleaning for everyone on set, Samantha wonders if she is stalled out. Long shifts, little pay, and no recognition on top of being single and having an untrustworthy best friend has Samantha ready to call in quits in Los Angeles. But when another friend offers Samantha a part in her movie, her life suddenly starts looking better and better. Offered more acting jobs, Samantha soon can afford the nicer things in life, including bigger homes and designer clothes. But while her bank account and fame keep expanding, Samantha’s love life and friendships seem to be depleting. The life of a working celebrity suddenly doesn’t seem so exciting and fabulous. Can Samantha find a way to balance it all?
Welcome to My Life, the debut novel from Micheline McAllister gives an insider’s look on the Hollywood scene. McAllister has worked in the entertainment industry as a personal assistant, actress, writer and artist, and holds nothing back when recounting this tale. I enjoyed reading both sides of the main character- her bleak life as “just” a personal assistant, to the high life of being an overpaid actress. I like the fact that this novel is written from an “insider” because there are a few eye-openers about the industry that had me shocked! My only downside was that Samantha’s character didn’t stick with me after I closed the book; I almost forgot who she was and what her story was. But the duration of the novel is witty, fast-paced, and filled with juicy tidbits that will satisfy chick lit fans.