CAN AN AVERAGE GIRL SURVIVE HOLLYWOOD?
Hollywood Hearts #1
Released Nov 10th, 2016
Ally Valenti doesn’t belong in Hollywood. Not like her friend and actress, Lena Lyons. Lena’s convinced Ally to pursue her dreams of fashion design, starting with some gowns for the awards season.
Which Ally will get around to creating as soon as she can stop looking at Jacob Swan, Lena’s latest co-star. Not that she’s staring. Ally’s skeptical of anything celebrity and it’s not like she’d be pathetic enough to fall for a Hollywood heartthrob.
Then Ally learns there’s more to Jacob than his good guy, all-American persona. She finds herself torn between the desire to get to know him better and her determination to stay out of the limelight.
Of course the media has other ideas—and someone doesn’t like all the attention Ally’s getting. When threats aimed at destroying her fashion career go too far, Ally’s convinced she’s living in crazy town.
The sensible thing would be to retreat home before it all ends in spectacular fashion. But will Ally be leaving more than her dreams behind if she says goodbye to Hollywood?
This glamorous, fast-paced contemporary romance that will make you smile, is perfect for fans of Rachel Gibson, Victoria Dahl, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Liliana Hart.
“Is it true?”
I winced and moved the phone away from my ear. At eighteen, my youngest cousin could still occasionally be painfully teenaged. For reasons that continued to elude me, Bella and I had formed a strange sort of sisterly bond. “Hi, Bella,” I said when it was safe to bring the phone back to my ear.
“Ally, don’t mess with me. Are you seriously in LA?”
“What?” she screeched. I directed a pained look in Lena’s direction while she continued. “I go away for the summer and you just up and leave? How could you?”
“You were at summer camp.”
“I could have come to LA with you!”
I sighed. “No, you couldn’t. You’ve still got to finish senior year. Besides, it was kind of a last-minute thing. When Lena—”
“Bella! Watch your mouth!”
I heard her take a deep breath. “Sorry. I’m just not sure I believe you, Ally.” I didn’t miss the note of contempt in her voice. “When Mom told me where you had gone, and who you are supposedly with, I didn’t believe her. I mean, come on, my mom calls social media ‘social medium’ and thinks Twitter is ‘tweeter.’ Personally, I think you’re having some sort of mid-life crisis.”
I couldn’t help myself and smiled. Aunt Lisa’s appalling lack of knowledge of all things twenty-first century was pretty funny, but I sobered at the thought my teenage cousin considered me old enough to be having a mid-life crisis. Arabella obviously didn’t remember Lena because she had only been a toddler when Lena lived in Providence. And maybe I was closer to middle age than I wanted to admit. “I’m hanging up now,” I told her. “Call you back on Facetime.”
I ended the call before she could protest and turned to Lena. “Bear with me, please?”
“Of course. You know I love your family.”
“That makes someone,” I muttered as I scrolled through the contacts in Facetime. “OK, here goes.”
After a brief wait, Arabella’s face came up on the screen of my cell phone.
Upon seeing me, she crossed her arms and shot me an unimpressed look. She had the same shoulder-length dark loose waves I had, but was one of the few members of our family blessed with Uncle Tony’s bright blue eyes.
“Ooh, you’re in a cab,” she drawled.
“It’s not a cab.” Tired of her sass, I pointed the phone at Lena.
Lena waved and her perfect red nails glinted under the car’s interior light. “Hi, Arabella. Nice to meet you.”
In the split second it took for all the color to drain from Bella’s olive complexion, she managed to draw another breath.
“Oh my fucking God, it is you!”
I jolted in my seat at her crystal-shattering pitch and quickly lowered the volume. Alright, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Her eyes rounded in a sort of mad haze. “When Aunt Rosa told me Ally had a model friend in high school, I didn’t believe her. You’ve got to admit it is pretty hard to believe because Ally’s not the popular type. I mean, as if! Ally’s one of the most boring people I know—no offense, Ally.”
I saw Lena’s lips quirk and I opened my mouth to put a stop to my youngest cousin’s observations, but I was already too late.
She continued with the force of a freight train. “I don’t know if you know this, but all Ally ever does is work and I’m pretty sure she hasn’t been out with a guy in like forever. Even Aunty Rosa says Ally needs to get out more. So it’s pretty hard to imagine someone with your talent hanging out with her, but then I guess she can be kind of fun. I mean that’s why everyone asks her to babysit all the time, the kids just love her and—”
“Bella!” I managed to interrupt finally. “Thank you for the honest character assessment but I think you might be boring the most famous actress in Hollywood.”
I liked the idea of this book much more than the book itself, and I honestly don't have much to say.
My biggest complaint that it was written in the 1st POV, not a fan for this POV style in my (or at least what I consider) Romances.
Overall this is pretty much by the book for a HEA "sweet" romance. There are a few great secondary characters here and an interesting subplot but I can't help but think if the story had been developed more and written in 3rd Person POV it would have been that much better.
Although I enjoyed the banter between Ally and Jake the sex kinda fell flat for me. What really shined for me was the relationship between Ally and Lena.
I will add that I felt a bit cheated at the end concerning Jake.
Belinda Willliams is a marketing communications specialist and copywriter who allowed an addiction to romance and chick-lit to get the better of her. She was named a top ten finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Award in both 2013 and 2014.
Her other addictions include music and cars. Belinda’s eclectic music taste forms the foundation of many of her writing ideas and her healthy appreciation for fast cars means she would not so secretly love a Lamborghini. For now she’ll have to settle with her son’s Hot Wheels collection and writing hot male leads with sports cars.
Belinda lives in Sydney and blogs regularly about writing and reading at www.belindawilliamsbooks.com
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