CAN AN AVERAGE GIRL SURVIVE HOLLYWOOD?
Hollywood Hearts #1
Released Nov 10th, 2016
CAN AN AVERAGE GIRL SURVIVE HOLLYWOOD?
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.
This was a fun read from start to finish. I'd not read a Belinda Williams book before this, but I will be going back and seeing about getting her other titles. Filled with plenty of snappy and witty banter, and the chemistry between Jake and Ally is pretty hot.
Ally is finally getting the chance to see what Hollywood life is all about once her longtime friend Lena calls needing outfits designed for the upcoming awards season (Ally wanted to head to fashion school but had to put that dream on pause to help the family after her dad got sick). Ally's excited yet feeling some trepidation as it's been a good while since she designed anything.
One thing I liked about this book is that while it's set in Hollywood and we're reading about celebrities, we actually get to see the celebrities in their every day lives, not just what's shown on TV and in the gossip rags. Ally is also caught off-guard by her feelings and interactions with Lena's co-star Jacob Swan. She's having a hard time acknowledging the fact that he might actually like her, since she's the opposite of the starlets that would look better on his arm. What she doesn't realize is that is what makes her different than all the other women in Jake's eyes: because she's down to earth and real, not with him because of how he can help further her career.
There's also some intrigue and suspense when the design workroom of Lena's and Ally's is broken in to and the designs are destroyed. Is the suspect after Ally or Lena? I will say that arc of the book took a while to happen and a bit longer to start making any traction in the story. Overall, this is a great start to this series and I will be eagerly anticipating each new release.
We wove our way through the crowd, lots of people waving to Jake as we went. Was this what it would have been like to be popular at school?
Outside, there appeared to be a designated area where cars were picking up the actors and actresses. Jake made a brief call on his phone as we walked, then spoke to a valet. Or was he a bodyguard? The entire area was swarming with them, which was understandable given the amount of famous people milling around.
“Oh my God,” I whispered. Stupid me. I was so worried about spending time with Jake I hadn’t considered what the public would make of the two of us getting into a car together. In my world, accepting a ride home didn’t warrant media attention.
My heart racing in my chest, I took a step backward so my view of the street was obscured by one of the many bodyguards. At least the media weren’t allowed too close. After the red carpet, they’d been relegated to the street with the rest of the fans.
The sound of some women squealing from across the sidewalk cut through the steady hum of other partygoers waiting for their ride.
I winced and edged a little closer to the bodyguard’s back, praying he wouldn’t notice.
Jake noticed the movement and frowned, stepping closer to me. “Ally? What’s wrong?”
“It doesn’t look like nothing. You’re really pale.”
“It’s just the light,” I lied.
“Then why are you going all Bambi on me?”
I jolted as he put a hand on my shoulder. “You’re shivering. Here.” With that, he tucked me into his side.
I fought hard not to whimper. For a tantalizing moment I imagined what it would be like to rest my head against his sturdy chest, but somehow, with a strength of will I didn’t know I had, I stepped away.
“The photographers, Jake,” I said through clenched teeth.
Another well-timed and rather needy ‘Jake’ drifted to us from across the street.
He blinked at me and then swore under his breath. “I’m so sorry, Ally. I didn’t think. I guess I’m just used to it and I understand why you don’t want to be seen with me—”
A bubble of hysterical laughter escaped my lips.
“What?” he asked, his forehead crinkling in a most attractive way.
“Yeah,” I blurted. “I mean, as if I’d want to be seen with you, Jake. Just think of what you’ll do to my reputation.”
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