Sunday, May 7, 2017

Act Like It by Lucy Parker

I read this book for the Unapologetic Romance Readers' New Years 2017 Reading Challenge. For more info about what this is, click here.

Carina's acquisitions team is seriously on point. Somehow they manage to find authors who can strike the perfect balance between trashy plots and smart writing - which, in case you were wondering, happens to be one of my favorite combinations, right up there with burgers and red wine and Jason Momoa and anything.

ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker was one of two books of the month in my romance group. (The other was LORD OF SCOUNDRELS by Loretta Chase.) I actually thought that I wouldn't like this book but would love the LORD OF SCOUNDRELS book, so you could color me surprised when the reverse proved true, and I eschewed the tried-and-true formula of douchey hero falls for spinster heroine in retro romance novel for a new adult small-press publication about a hate-to-love relationship in the theater industry.

I know - I'm surprised, too. What in the even.

Elaine Graham looks like Jessica Rabbit, but is actually a down-to-earth individual involved with charity work and who is very close to her family, and still kind of camera shy and star-struck when it comes to her quietly burgeoning fame. By contrast, Richard Troy makes headlines left and right with his marquee-scale name, but none of it is good press and it's beginning to affect his sales and brand. His agent has the brilliant idea of having the two of them pretend to be "involved," arguing that this will not only sell seats but also boost both their images (but namely Troy's). Elaine only reluctantly concedes when she finds out that a large percentage of profits will be donated to her charity.

It's hard not to compare this book to THE HATING GAME because they are both about characters who end up in a relationship with a coworker that they hate. ACT LIKE IT also reminds me of another Carina publication I read about a year ago, called HOLLYWOOD HOT MESS, that explores similar themes of how celebrity status wears and tears on one's personal life and makes relationships - especially sexual relationships - even more complex.

Honestly, I think I liked THE HATING GAME more, because I felt like the character arcs were more complicated and developed because the length of the book allowed for more time. ACT LIKE IT was a relatively short read, so when Troy starts to become a decent human being instead of, say, a spoiled teenage, it feels so much more sudden. There's also more time to prolong that UST. ACT LIKE IT is very back-heavy, with the first half suggesting a gradual romance, but the last half being nonstop drama (sexual assault, family drama, tragic backstories, exploding buildings, etc.). To be honest, it starts to feel like something straight out of a shoujo manga. But ACT LIKE IT wasn't a bad book, and it had some steamy scenes (although not as hot as the ones in THG) and both characters were interesting and likable, and of course, there was some great banter, too. If you're a fan of the enemies-to-lovers theme in romance novels, ACT LIKE IT is a great addition.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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