Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"holly hearts hollywood" by kenley conrad

Holly Hearts Hollywood

Release Date: 09/23/14
Swoon Romance
Holly Hearts Hollywood takes the typical teen dream of fame and fortune and injects it with a healthy dose of reality.

Seventeen-year-old Holly Hart wants to be a star. She moves to Los Angeles from the small town of Cedar Junction, only to hear she’s too fat and ugly to be a famous singer.

But when Shell Shocked Records looks past Holly’s plus-size and less-than-graceful-personality to offer her a recording contract, Holly cannot believe her good fortune. On closer inspection, however, the record execs want Holly to do all the singing, and a thinner and more beautiful girl, Lacey, would lip-sync and get all the credit. Holly goes for it because after all, she wanted to sing.

Contractually bound to secrecy, Holly is more than happy to sit backstage while Lacey shimmies in the limelight and basks in the fame. Before she knows it, Holly is friends with Serena, the pop-star daughter of a music-mogul, flirting with an intern, and developing a strange half-friendship with Lacey.

When Grayson Frost, the biggest country star in America, and coincidentally, a former school bully begins dating Lacey, Holly hopes that he won’t recognize or torment her.

Through a series of embarrassing and weird events, Holly gets to know Grayson and learns that he is much nicer and more mature than he was four years ago. Holly is horrified when she starts falling for him. When Grayson admits he fell for Lacey's voice, what is a girl to do when she can’t legally tell the truth at the moment when the truth matters the most?

First of all, the book summary is a bit misleading. The Holly we meet at the beginning of the story most definitely does not want to be a star—and I never found any indication throughout the book that her feelings changed. In fact, she kind of falls into the arrangement with Shell Shocked Records against her will. That's neither here nor there, but I thought it was worth pointing out.

The whole book is written in journal entries—a technique that I found a bit tiresome at first, but it did grow on me. And, if my teenage diaries are any indication, these entries are pretty realistic, although Holly's habit of writing all the time (even in public) is a bit strange.

While I did eventually come to enjoy the novel quite a bit, and I thought the look at Hollywood seemed quite realistic, I kept wanting to scream at Holly to get a backbone. Girl lets everyone walk all over her—her family, her friends, her employer, her potential boyfriends. Her self esteem is in the gutter, thanks to her size and years of bullying, and so she allows others to treat her horribly.

The plot itself is intriguing, and I couldn't wait to see how the truth about Holly would come out. So I was quite disappointed to find that this is just the first in the series, and it leaves off with virtually nothing resolved! I do hope that Holly comes to find that backbone and meets a boy who will fully accept her for who she is ... and if given the opportunity to review the next novel, I'll certainly be happy to join her for the ride. 3 stars.

Content note: As I've come to expect from Swoon Romance titles, there's some making out but no sex. Holly does walk in on a couple in an intimate situation, but nothing explicit is described. Holly's best friends are a lesbian couple, and there are a few curse words sprinkled throughout. If this were a movie, it would be a solid PG-13.

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Kenley Conrad
is the author of the upcoming YA series Holly Hearts Hollywood, coming September 2014 by Swoon Romance. She's a twenty-something cat lady who lives in Phoenix, Arizona. When she's not working her office day job or writing books, you can find her either singing and dancing or binge-watching TV shows on Netflix.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free for review via YA Bound Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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