Series: Katie Delahanty
Publisher: Embrace on February 10, 2013
Reading Challenges: 2014 Debut Author Challenge
Amazon • B&N • Goodreads
My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Free.
I left for LA with everything I owned piled into my old Volkswagen and dreams of becoming a costume designer. Little did I know I’d wind up designing for a lingerie company—yeah, not sure how I landed this gig—and taken under the wing of two young Hollywood insiders. The fashion shows and parties were great, but life really got exciting when the seriously hottest lead singer of my favorite band started to fall for me.
How does someone like me, an ordinary girl from Pittsburgh, wind up in the arms of the world’s sexiest rock star—surrounded by celebrities, fashion, and music—and not be eaten alive? Berkeley is everything I've ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, but the paparazzi, the tabloids, the rumors, it's all getting a bit too crazy. My life has become every girl’s dream come true, if only I don’t blink and lose it all…
Okay, honestly? I picked it up (before I saw the cover) when Inkslinger Pr sent it in a blog tour invite email and I read the synopsis. The promise of a rockstar romance was too much to pass up!
I really enjoyed the events and the pacing of this novel. There wasn’t a dull moment. Something was always happening in Olivia’s whirlwind of a life, between getting swept up into the Hollywood life and falling for the major-rockstar Berkeley. And then, of course, drama comes with dating one of the biggest names in the music industry. There were so many unexpected happenings that went on in this novel that I wouldn’t have even thought to predict and that I definitely did NOT see coming. And that made the novel so much better. Sometimes contemporaries tend to be predictable, so when they break the mold and are not, it makes the novel that much more interesting. And that’s exactly what this novel was: intriguing. Olivia was in for a roller coaster ride of events and emotions, and the reader is right there with her.
Olivia Bloom has just moved from Pittsburgh to Hollywood to start a new beginning for herself. So when her new apartment-mates, Parker and Blair, hatch a plan to make her the new ‘It’ girl, she just decides to go along for the ride. Until she meets the elusive Berkeley Dalton, lead singer of Berkeley and the Brightside. After catching the attention of this private rockstar, things in Liv’s life change drastically. I really liked Liv. Like, really, really liked her, better than I’ve like 99% of all the female protagonists I’ve read. She was awkwardly, clumsily cute, and I just couldn’t get enough of her character. She didn’t really fit the bill for the typical Hollywood girl, and that made her relatable. Even more so, she wasn’t overly confident in herself. She doubted a lot, which is understandable from her position, and it made her a lot more real in my eyes.
Berkeley from Berkeley and the Brightside. I’m not sure what to say. He just…wow I loved him. Like, loved as in, loved like I love Daemon Black love (And let me tell you, that is a BIG deal!) Berkeley was just ‘it’ for me, like he was ‘it’ for Olivia. What I loved about him is how real her was. He wasn’t anything like many of the other rockstar characters that I read, and I frequently found myself forgetting that he was a famous singer, just as Olivia did. And he was so cue. He was protective and empathetic and just all around perfect. And he was a family guy! Who doesn’t love that? And he did so many cute and sweet things….just perfection. Can I have my own personal Berkeley Dalton? Pretty please?
Parker and Blair, Olivia’s apartment-mates, were by far the most influential secondary characters and the ones that we saw the most of. Parker was awesome. That’s the only word I can think to describe him over all. He reminded me of a friend that I had in the past. He was protective, yet pushed Olivia out of her comfort zone. And I loved reading his dialogue. It was snarky and gossipy and over all fun to read. Blair was Liv’s girl-friend. We didn’t see as much of her as we did Parker, so I really couldn’t connect much with her character. But she was the third in the trio, and I loved watching them all interact with each other.
On the other hand, there was Mark, Berkeley’s best friend. I liked him. He reminded me of that big brother character to Liv. I wish we would have seen more of him, in all honesty. There was also Gemma, who was Liv’s coworker. Again, I wish we had seen more of her because she seemed like an awesome character.
This is going to be short because I can’t put what I’m feeling into words. The two of them together, Liv and Berkeley, that is, was one of the sweetest romances I’ve read, which was a shock for me. So naturally what I was thinking is that it would be a wild and passionate romance with lots of sexy times (hello–rockstar romance!). Alas, that was not the case, and I loved this book for it. Thier romance was passionate, of course, but not in the ‘I’m going to throw you against the wall and have my way with you every chapter’ type of thing. Thier romance was sweet and actually kinda innocent. Yeah, of course it had sexy times. But nothing nearly as explicit as I was expecting, so if you’re looking for that, this isn’t the novel where you’ll find it. They connected on such a deep level that all of that wasn’t needed. Sure, some may say that they moved fast–and that’s valid. But it was anything but insta-love. It acutally felt like time was moving slower than a snail, I wanted them to admit their feelings for each other. The only thing that I can complain about was the very ending, and that maybe that was too fast. But in actuality, not really, because it just felt right. But I didn’t expect it at all, and I loved that element of romantic surprise that was in this novel. They brought out the best in each other–Liv broke Berkeley’s persona and B broke Liv out of her self-doubting and shy ways. They were so cute I could just picture them, and that, perhaps, is what made this story one of my favorites,. I’m a sucker for amazing romances, and this novel definietly fit that bill. But so much for short, right?
I loved the aspect of Hollywood and LA that was ever present in this novel. It definitely made for an interesting story that wouldn’t have been the same if set in a different state of city. And I loved the realness of all of it. It didn’t seem over the top, and I loved that. I’m not the one for an overly glamorous novel. Just give me a decent plot, good characters, and a simmery romance and I’m all set. But this novel had the added in bonus of great world building. The celebrity life, the setting–all of it. It was just the icing on the proverbial cake.
This novel, as the proverbial icing on the cake, kept me in a constant state of hilarity. I have family members coming in to see why I was laughing so loudly at five o’clock in the morning. Liv’s narrative and the dialogue of all of the characters was so funny that I almost couldn’t stand it at times. So if you’re looking fora laugh, this is definitely the book for you!
The only thing I can think of that I didn’t quite like was how the novel began. It jumped right into the ‘action’, so I was actually really confused for a bit there. We don’t really get an explanation for the things that are happening, but eventually you can begin to connect the dots. But let me tell you, don’t judge a book by its first few ages–I went into chapter two with less than stellar expectations, only to be wowed when the novel plowed its way to my top ten list!
Finally, what I adored about this novel was the incorporation of one of the biggest social media sites in today’s times–Twitter. That’s right, there were tweets from our characters as the story went along. And I loved it. I’ve read one other novel that incorporated Twitter, but in that novel, it was largely ineffective because I couldn’t figure out the meaning of the tweets half the time. In this novel, that was not a problem. The tweets really gave insight of things to come, and they were a great source of comedic relief.
Even after all of this ranting, I still can’t articulate exactly what I felt for this novel, just that it blew me away. Leaving me speechless after the final words of the last page, it something that I couldn’t recommend highly–or enthusiastically– enough.
From Katie Delahanty, author of In Bloom
One gift basket with the following in it (US and Canada only):
$75 gift certificate to www.InBloomIntimates.com
$25 Amazon gift card
The Remainers Formal Fridays CD
Pink Champagne Cupcake Bath Bomb from www.soapybliss.com
Peach & Coconut Milk Push Up Lotion Pop from www.soapybliss.com
Berry Buttercream Soy Candle from www.JaquaBathandBody.com
Sees milk chocolate foil hearts
Autographed copies of STARSTRUCK and LOVE ME from author Rachel Shukert
Plus, $25 international gift certificate to either Amazon or B&N
From Rebecca Yarros, author of Full Measures
Plus, $25 international gift certificate to either Amazon or B&N