Tuesday, August 23, 2016
UNSCRIPTED JOSS BYRD by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Roaring Brook Press
ABOUT THE BOOK
In this affecting debut novel, a child actor struggles to find herself on a film set where only one thing matters: getting the money shot.
Joss Byrd is America's most celebrated young actress, and her next project is a hot new Indie film helmed by a renowned, charismatic director. But on the set of The Locals, Joss's life is far from glamorous. Her mother is domineering and relentless, her dyslexia makes it difficult to keep up with the constantly changing script, the boy playing her older brother doesn't seem to reciprocate Joss's crush, and the film's gritty subject matter terrifies her. Yet none of these things appear to matter to Joss's agent, director, or even her mother. Joss is just a cash cow, and no one cares what she has to do for the perfect shot-as long as she gets it somehow.
Author Lygia Day Peñaflor's draws on her firsthand experience as a private academic teacher for young Hollywood stars in this affecting debut novel that explores the many demands made on young actors.
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Unscripted Joss Byrd was a book that a publicist I met at Macmillan during ALA was VERY excited about. Once I got home and realized it was about a 12 year old girl (although this title is considered YA) I was a little leary. But no worries. Lygia Day Penaflor wrote a beautiful and engaging story that exposed the seedy underbelly of Hollywood, while also managing a nuanced portrayal of a 100% relatable 12 year old actress who struggles with dyslexia and her complex relationships.
On the surface this does seem to follow a few stereotypes – driven director, a mom that’s looking out more for her interests than Joss’s, crushes on co-stars but it’s done really well.
Despite the movie set backdrop, Unscripted Joss Byrd is surprisingly devoid of over-the-top drama but pulls no punches on Joss’s struggles to find her voice as a child actor who is basically the gravy train for a lot of adults who view her as a paycheck or as a road to an Oscar.
Watching Joss navigate the adults and co-stars and learn how to follow her own instincts to protect herself was a little heartbreaking at times but ultimately made me so happy to see that she had what it took (with a the help from a few friends) to find her own way on her own terms.
After I finished Unscripted Joss Byrd, I read that the author is a private teacher for young Hollywood stars. That expertise shows and gives this story a ton of heart rather than being *salacious just to be edgy*…while still being brutally honest about the industry and how hard it is on its young stars.
Well done! I read this one in just a few hours and still can’t stop thinking about Joss. In fact, I would love to read another story about her next movie making adventure. Don't worry about Joss's age - this is a story that will appeal to everyone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lygia Day Peñaflor attended the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Seminar and received a scholarship to Southampton Writers Conference based on this manuscript. A graduate of Boston University and Columbia Teachers College, she is a private academic teacher for young Hollywood stars. Her students have included the young casts of Gossip Girl and Boardwalk Empire as well as Jay-Z's reboot of Annie. She lives on Long Island.
Website | Twitter
Thursday, August 18, 2016
SEPTEMBER ARC’S already??!!!
Yup! By some miracle, I’ve actually finished all my August TBR reads and it’s only the 17th. I figure I should get a jump on this towering pile.
I should be a good little blogger and do one of those fun polls where my followers pick my next book but I’m so contrary. Once you pick one I WILL NOT read it. It will become the very last book I want to read…because I HAVE to. lol
I’d be happy to accept your input. Have you read any of these yet? Read any good reviews? (feel free to leave a link) Looking forward to a particular book and want me to take the plunge first?
The ones I'm looking forward to are Girl Mans Up, The Littlest Bigfoot and The Queen of Blood. I've heard excellent things about all of them.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
His Royal Secret: James, the handsome, cosmopolitan Prince of Wales, is used to being in the public eye. But he's keeping a king-sized secret...James, next in line for the throne, is gay.
He’s been able to hide his sexual orientation with the help of his best friend and beard, Lady Cassandra. Sometimes he feels like a coward for not coming out, but he daren’t risk losing the crown. If he did, the succession would fall on his deeply troubled younger sister, Princess Amelia. To protect her, James is willing to live a lie.
While on holiday, he meets Benjamin Dahan—a rugged international reporter with a globe-trotting, unattached life—who catches far more than James's eye. And when Ben is transferred to London, it seems fate may finally be smiling on James.
But what began as a torrid fling grows into something far more intimate and powerful. Soon James will have decide who he is, what he wants from life and love, and what he’s willing to sacrifice for the truth... ~ Goodreads (Source – purchased)
His Royal Favorite: The conclusion of Lilah Pace’s racy, romantic male/male duology following His Royal Secret...
James, Prince of Wales, is making history. He's decided to come out to his subjects—and the world. However, telling the truth means exposing his relationship with lone-wolf reporter Benjamin Dahan. Although Ben never wanted commitment, the unexpected depth of his feelings leads him to join James in the media's harsh spotlight. ~ Goodreads (Source – e-arc provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)
Thoughts: I loved the first book, His Royal Secret, in this duology. It was a super quick read – fun and sexy! With all the royal secrets, back stabbing, danger and romance – it was crack-a-licious in all the best ways.
The conclusion, His Royal Favorite, had a very satisfying ending but dragged out far beyond necessary. The conflict between James giving up or staying in the monarchy vs Ben going back to private life or giving it up for James was intense but it was rehashed so many times that I was like – shit or get off the pot Ben! (something my father used to say lol)
Fun series overall and I’d like to check out more by this author.
Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.
Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.
If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.
Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game. ~ Goodreads
Thoughts: Soooo….everyone is going crazy for this one and I just don’t get it. It’s cute enough. But I didn’t find the banter or love/hate relationship all that captivating and most of that rests on my strong dislike of Lucy.
She’s competing for a promotion against her arch nemesis, Josh. She’s SO paranoid and SO hung up on this rivalry, that she came off as very unprofessional to me. She’s not very good at delegating at her job – she’s a complete doormat.
As for the rivalry/romance. It’s so clear that Josh has a thing for her and his *hate* is the kindergarten version of a boy pulling your pigtails because he likes you – that it hurt to read Lucy be so mean to him and turn every nice gesture by Josh against him.
Don’t get me wrong – I did like this book. It has a fun chick-lit vibe, the chemistry between the two is palpable and there are a few really strong scenes near the end but I just wasn’t getting the OMG this book is amazing thing that everyone else seems to be feeling.