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Hello, Hollywood! by Janice Thompson

About the Book:
Author: Janice Thompson
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2011
Series: “Backstage Pass” (book 2 of 3)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

Tagline: When it comes to love, one thing’s for sure – it doesn’t follow a script!

The Story (from the publisher): Athena Pappas is the head writer on one of the most popular sitcoms in television history. But when Vegas comedian Stephen Cosse is brought in to beef up the show’s suddenly sagging ratings, she starts to worry about her job. Sparks fly as the competition–and attraction–between the two writers heats up. Athena has never had a problem scripting the romances of her characters. So why is her own love life so hard to script?

My Thoughts: After reading the first book in this series, interest in this was high because I wanted to like this series more than how the title read and I thought this book would realize all that untapped potential. It isn’t a question of whether or not Janice could up the stakes – I knew she could because I had been so spoiled after reading her “Weddings by Bella” series; it was a question of whether or not she would rise to the occasion. That crazy series was a nearly perfect romantic comedy trio that was not only was wholesome but also rich with witty humor. Here, in book two we follow Kat’s best friend, Athena’s story and despite the fact that I started out liking it better, I think she and Stephen’s romance got tangled up in underdeveloped plots and uninteresting incidents in all the wrong places. Or perhaps it was the romance that didn’t suit.

Hello, Hollywood! takes a different approach than Stars Collide did. I don’t think I can say I didn’t like the romantics between the leading couple but what started out so promising (a single glance; a meeting of the eyes) sort of floundered for the rest of the novel. (Well… save for that one passionate kiss-in-the-pool; who wouldn’t love that scene!?) I think I found the numerous life-mirrors-a-Hollywood-script metaphors a bit tiresome and – although minor, the cover art may be adorable but it didn’t live up to Stephen’s description. (Yes, it is okay to have that opinion even with a “headless” book cover.) The addition of an annoying dog didn’t help along the novel and in fact seemed more trivial than added conflict for humor nor did it come across as endearing for this reader but I definitely missed the oversight of better getting to know Brooke, Stephen’s young pre-teen daughter. First mention of her character took me by surprise since there isn’t even a whisper of her existence in the synopsis. Her disappearance that plays into the ending is made a bit less important because we hardly remembered she was a part of the story – and following Stephen’s mention of her, she doesn’t even get an introduction until a third of the way through.

Fans of Janice’s beloved “Weddings” trio will be overjoyed to know this one does retain reflections of that series. Athena comes from a loud, boisterous family, each of whom all have big hearts – she was raised by parents who not only knew the secrets to making a marriage last and raising a family with strong morals. That right there makes this a read with important values. In that way, this is a perfectly charming and well-rounded novel. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect summer diversion.

In Summary: Cute plot with endearing characters, book two of the “Backstage Pass” series keeps the laughs and good times rolling.

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