Paper Hearts by Ali Novak [ARC]
First of all, I just read the summary for the book on Goodreads and got very confused just now. That summary is definitely NOT the book I read. Sure, Felicity and Alec are both in it but…who’s Lucy? And I don’t remember them going to Prom…? Anyway, the book that I read had a little more depth than that, I think. There was an interesting family dynamic since Felicity’s sister is gone, but I really disliked their mom. In fact, none of the characters were SUPER likable in my opinion. The romance was fine, but again, nothing that blew me away. With those things being said, I thought the book was good and I enjoyed that we got to see some of Stella and Oliver. I also look forward to reading the books featuring the other two bandmates. This series is what the Backstage Pass series wishes it was. 4/5
Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland [ARC]
I loved the movie La La Land. LOVED IT. And so I really thought that this book might be similar since it has the same theme of a young actress trying to make it in Hollywood. No. This is not the book I wanted it to be. The main character, Becca, is SO NAIVE. I don’t even WANT to be an actress and I know that you have to have nice headshots! Also, I didn’t like how her relationship with Raj developed. First she was like, “Oh, sorry Raj, I’m still not over my ex-boyfriend” and then she literally hops into bed with her hot co-star and imagines the rest of their lives together. Like…what? You can’t be with Raj right now, but you could TOTALLY see yourself with this other hot guy? Please. Speaking of Raj, this is the kind of diversity that I HATE. We can tell from Raj’s name that he’s Indian, right? And I think the color of his skin is mentioned a couple of times (in a very complimentary, non-racist way). However, beyond that there is literally nothing that makes him Indian. It doesn’t seem to effect his life at all which is COMPLETELY unbelievable to me. I mean, he wants to be a film-maker. At the very LEAST he should mention how few Asian Americans there are in the film industry and how he wants to break stereotypes and show the white people what it’s like to be an Indian American. Nope. None of that. Anyway…the last thing I’ll say is what was up with Becca’s Scientologist neighbor? Literally had nothing to do with anything and didn’t progress the story or characters in any way. TL;DR This book was not what I wanted it to be and was “diverse” in such a white person way. 2/5
Note: I received these books free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Carter has a fairly simple life. She works at her Dad’s cafe during the day and at night she goes stargazing with her two best friends. This summer is going according to plan until Hollywood rolls into town. They’re filming a Christmas movie. In July. The star of this heart-warming holiday flick happens to be teen heartthrob Adam Jakes who is appearing in public for the first time after leaving rehab. Adam’s agent approaches Carter with an offer she can’t refuse. Pretend to be Adam’s girlfriend for the summer and she’ll be paid enough to get rid of her brother’s gambling debts for good. Against her better judgment, Carter accepts.
We all know what’s going to happen, right? Obviously they’re going to pretend to date for a while and then actually fall in love. I mean, that’s why we picked this book up in the first place, right? I liked this book a lot. I’ve read a book with a semi-similar plot (see This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith) which is also totally worth a read. The difference between the two books is that Adam is a jerk in the beginning. You can kind of tell that he’s naturally a little conceited. Even if he had never become a movie star, it’s in his nature to be that way while in the other book the movie star is a nice guy right off the bat. Having Adam start out being unpleasant is something that I find a little more realistic. I don’t imagine movie stars just being super nice to everyone all the time. Even if they’re generally a nice person, it has to be annoying to not have a moment of peace when you go out in public.
Other things I liked about this book: I liked Carter’s friends quite a bit even though Chloe had her moments of…insanity. I thought Alien Drake was a great character. I liked that he and Carter had a solid friendship without any romantic attachments. I liked Carter’s parents–I thought they were fun characters if a tad unrealistic. Most of all I like the small details that Ms. Culbertson includes. Carter has this dog named Extra Pickles because her family’s first dog was named Pickles. So when Pickles died, they got a new dog and they named it Extra Pickles. Genius! Maybe this was a detail pulled from real life, but it’s a small thing that makes everything in the book seem more real too.
This was such a fun and easy read. Perfect for summer.
Overall Rating: 5
Sexual Content: None (that I remember…)
Language: Mild (if that)
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate. A couple of characters smoke and Adam was sent to rehab for drug possession.