ARC REVIEW : HEADLINERS (LONDON CELEBRITIES #5)

Author: Lucy Parker
Links
: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository .
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary; Romance.
Release Date: January 20th 2020.

synopsis

Sparks fly when two feuding TV presenters are thrown together to host a live morning show in Lucy Parker’s latest enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance.

He might be the sexiest man in London, according to his fan site (which he definitely writes himself), but he’s also the most arrogant man she’s ever met.

She might have the longest legs he’s ever seen, but she also has the sharpest tongue.

For years, rival TV presenters Sabrina Carlton and Nick Davenport have traded barbs on their respective shows. The public can’t get enough of their feud, but after Nick airs Sabrina’s family scandals to all of Britain, the gloves are off. They can barely be in the same room together—but these longtime enemies are about to become the unlikeliest of cohosts.

With their reputations on the rocks, Sabrina and Nick have one last chance to save their careers. If they can resurrect a sinking morning show, they’ll still have a future in television. But with ratings at an all-time low and a Christmas Eve deadline to win back the nation’s favor, the clock is ticking—and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed.

Small mishaps on set start adding up, and Sabrina and Nick find themselves—quelle horreur—working together to hunt down the saboteur…and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant cohosts are secretly lusting after one another.

The public might not be wrong.

Their chemistry has always been explosive, but with hate turning to love, the stakes are rising and everything is on the line. Neither is sure if they can trust these new feelings…or if they’ll still have a job in the New Year.


review

Lucy Parker yet again delivers a winsome addition in what has become one of my favorite contemporary romance series.

It’s  always a delight revisiting the world of London Celebrities that I’ve come to adore. This time we move to the world of television. And although this book can be read as a standalone, the protagonists are still suffering the aftermath from the incidents from the previous book The Austen Playbook.

Rival presenters Nick and Sabrina are forced to work on a morning show. This is a last resort for both of them to bring their careers back into track, after a scandalous year for each of them. Nick was caught saying some very harsh things about a media mogul on video, and Sabrina punched her cheating ex and an actor by profession on live TV. Suffice it to say, they have to make this morning show work. But the problem is – they can’t stand each other. It became worse when in the previous Nick broke the news about a big family secret of Sabrina to the world that affected not only Sabrina but her sister Freddie too. Nick has since felt remorseful but Sabrina will have none of that.

No trope gets me as excited as enemies-to-lovers. And adding workplace romance to that works like cherry on the top! But none of that matters if it’s not executed well. And how well does Lucy Parker execute it? Sabrina and Nick had sparks even in the previous book. And I’d been excited about their book ever since. Also, I loved Sabrina. She’s a hot headed mess but also fiercely protective over those who she cares about. Nick is my favorite kind of hero. He’s charming and handsome. And he is aware of it too.. That gives him a self-confidence that is adorable and annoying at the same time.

The thing that always that end up disappointing me about enemies-to-lovers is how often the characters act immaturely and go way of out line in their self righteousness. But here there’s no such thing. Both Sabrina and Nick are mature and professional. They also respect each other. And while the previous books in the serious have had sub-plots of some mystery or intrigue that I felt unnecessarily got out of hand, that wasn’t the case here.

This book also had a suspense element to it about an mysterious crew member sabotaging things for the show. And although it created for some hilarious mix-ups, nothing was outlandish or over-the-top about it. The pace and the sub-plot did not drag down the story, which was one of my issues with the last book.

The focus throughout the book is very much on the two characters. I loved the progression of the relationship between the two from unresolved sexual tension to a conscious acknowledgement of their attraction that evolves into mature relationship. I particularly loved how these two always communicated with each other and respected each other’s individuality. A healthy relationship and oodles of chemistry made this my favorite book of the series!


review★★★★★

BOOK REVIEW: THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK

Freddy Carlton knows she should be focusing on her lines for The Austen Playbook, a live-action TV event where viewers choose the outcome of each scene, but her concentration’s been blown. The palatial estate housing the endeavor is now run by the rude (brilliant) critic who’s consistently slammed her performances of late. James “Griff” Ford-Griffin has a penchant for sarcasm, a majestic nose and all the sensitivity of a sledgehammer.

She can’t take her eyes off him.

Griff can hardly focus with a contagious joy fairy flitting about near him, especially when Freddy looks at him like that. His only concern right now should be on shutting down his younger brother’s well-intentioned (disastrous) schemes—or at the very least on the production (not this one) that might save his family home from the banks.

Instead all he can think of is soft skin and vibrant curls.

As he’s reluctantly dragged into her quest to rediscover her passion for the stage and Freddy is drawn into his research on a legendary theater star, the adage about appearances being deceiving proves abundantly true. It’s the unlikely start of something enormous…but a single revelation about the past could derail it all.


review

I am a big fan of Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities series which focuses mostly on the stars from the West End Theater. The Austen Playbook is the fourth in the series and might have narrowly beaten Pretty Face as my favorite of the series. I give the credit mainly to the main couple.

Griff and Freddy (Frederica) make for a compelling pair of main characters. Griff is probably the most brooding and the grumpiest hero of the series, with a marshmallow for a heart. My favorite kind. It also helps that his hair was compared to Lucius Malfoy. He’s a reviewer of theater productions, a television presenter and a producer. Freddy is an actress, forever faced with a big legacy of a late grandmother who was a powerful theater actress herself.

I could relate to Freddy a lot. She is constantly torn between her own happiness and her life-long desire of making others happy. She wants to star in comedies and light-hearted productions, but has always put that behind to please her father who wants her career to be just like that of his mother who was a master at serious acting.

Griff is burdened with a dilapidated estate from his grandfather who was a producer himself. He could easily live his own life, but has time and again sold his own assets to make up for his parents’ lavish expenses, in order to maintain his family’s legacy.

In this way, Griff and Freddy are quite similar. Only been connected through his honest and scathing reviews of her productions, they finally get to explore these similarities when Freddy takes on the role of Lydia in a production of Austenland, a play with all of Austen’s characters, lively broadcast and subject to immediate twist in the plot according to live votes from the audience watching from their homes.

Griff and Freddy have sparks right from the beginning. I loved their chemistry.  It was my favorite part of the book. But there are a lot of secondary plot-lines connected to the their main story. For example, Griff’s grandfather and Freddy’s grandmother had an epic love affair which ended abruptly. Griff is looking for finances to make a film based on that affair, but Freddy’s father will stop at nothing to stop his plans.

Although I initially liked the whole family history, I slowly lost my interest as the story progressed. The climax also could’ve been better. I’d have liked a better resolution to the live play. But I’m ready to forgive it all because of my love for the main couple.


ratings★★★★☆