Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review: Hollywood Ending by Lucie Simone

How many hundreds or thousands of people leave their hometowns lured by the bright lights and possibility of stardom in Hollywood? Trina is one of those people. She's been in Hollywood stiving for stardom for the past ten years but her big break is proving amazingly elusive. While waiting, she teaches English as a second language, a job she doesn't love and which feels stultifying. But she can't give up her dream. At least things are starting to look up for Trina on the relationship front. She's met a attractive and available limo driver who is proving to be a big distraction and a delicious man has moved in upstairs from her too. Matiu upstairs is a Maori, in Hollywood from New Zealand to take some set design classes before heading back to his home and closely knit family.

As Trina and Matiu navigate the treacherous and shallow waters of Hollywood wannabes, they face an assortment of mishaps great and small: identity theft, agent smarminess, superficiality, disappointment, and frustration. But despite all of this and despite their initial wrong footing, they also find love. What remains to be seen is whether they will each find the glittering Hollywood success they both want so dearly.

The tone of the book is very light and humorous. Trina is an average everyday kind of girl while Matiu's whiff of the exotic adds interest to his character. The problem is that aside from his longing to go back to New Zealand and a small mention of the closeness of the Maori people and their dislike of subterfuge, there's not much reason to have Matiu be Maori. He could be any foreigner suffering homesickness, equal parts enchanted with Hollywood's possibilities and repelled by its seaminess. Most of Trina and Matiu's interactions are entertaining in their misinterpretations so while the ending doesn't come as a surprise (what romance ever has a surprise ending?), it feels rushed, especially given the reiterations of Trina's ten years in the salt mines before the book opens. And somehow, given all their misunderstandings and the short time frame of the book itself, I just didn't see a real and abiding love develop, more a hormone-charged lust that might or might not develop into the real thing.

Most reviews I've seen have been overwhelmingly positive so while there was something missing for me, take a look at what others had to say. The book is steamy and has some graphic sexual content but would be a good choice for readers of contemporary romantic comedy and those who want something light and frothy to get through the cold winter days.

For more information about Lucie Simone, her books, her blog, and the Goodreads giveaway for a copy of Hollywood Ending make sure to check out her author website.

Thanks to Christelle at BookSparks PR for sending me a copy of this book for review.

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