February. It's that time of year. Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's Day. Then in just a few weeks it's time for the Oscars. No wonder February musters up not only feelings of romance but also Hollywood glamour. So if you need a book fix to help you along, our Nicki Girlstar has just the list for you.
Five Novels With a Touch of Romance and Hollywood Glamour
A Night in with Marilyn Monroe by Lucy Holliday (Number 2 in the A Night in with … series)
Not everyone has visitations from a famous long time dead Hollywood actress wanting to be your roomie when life becomes full of whacky chaotic moments and cringe worthy episodes, but this is exactly what happens to Libby Lomax.
In the midst of trying to replace her failed acting career by establishing a Hollywood inspired jewellery line, dealing with an over the top sister desperate to re-ignite backing for her own reality program, the return of a famous ex-boyfriend who had left her stranded without a passport in a hurricane emergency while he ran off a with a model, and trying to be supportive of a long term friend on the eve of his new restaurant opening – Libby suddenly finds herself having girly chats with her new flatmate Marilyn Monroe. It seems that this has been made possible through a freaky overlap of time and space where the conduit is a sofa in her flat. Marilyn’s appearance is never fully explained but the chats that Marilyn and Libby share give both of them a chance to reflect on their current situations.
I loved A Night in with Marilyn Monroe due mainly to the high percentage of laugh out loud scrapes that Libby manages to find herself in. Having an unexplained interaction with a dead Hollywood actress was just an added bonus. You can complement this with the other two books in the series, A Night in with Audrey Hepburn (Number 1), and A Night in with Grace Kelly (Number 3).
Rome in Love: A Novel by Anita Hughes
The Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck 1953 film Roman Holiday will always be romance personified for me. So when I found a novel that had at its centre a story about a modern day Hollywood actress taking on Audrey’s role in a re-make on location, I just had to read it. I wasn’t disappointed.
One of the main aspects I enjoyed of this novel was the inclusion of a number of twists and turns in the plot. Some of them I had seen coming but others were quite a surprise. Another technique that Anita Hughes used to keep her readers’ interest was allowing the voices of other characters than just the main one of Hollywood actress Amelia Tate, to be heard. The detailed descriptions of Rome and its surrounds were also a pleasure to read.
For me, this book basically had it all with romance, an exotic overseas location, a tie in with a classic Hollywood film, luxury fashion, mouth-watering descriptions of scrumptious meals, and the tackling of fast paced, race against the odds exciting situations to ensure the main players achieve love and happiness. Definitely a must for lovers of modern fairy tales and Audrey Hepburn.
Lick by Kylie Scott (Number 1 in the Stage Dive series)
Hot looking, big time rock stars don’t usually end up getting married to ordinary every day girls, but this is exactly the premise of Lick by Australian roman author Kyle Scott.
If, like me, you have spent a large portion of your non-working hours immersing yourself in the local music scene, you will probably become hooked on this fictional rock romance that details the relationship between Evelyn and David (the guitarist for Stage Dive) but also gives a glimpse into the rock star lifestyle, and chronicles the external and internal pressures that can affect the way in which band members interact. Set in America, it is very much about the rock scene in that country. Readers will have the chance to “visit” exotic locations such as Las Vegas, LA, Monterey and Portland, and be drawn in by the American way of doing things. It is a far cry from how it is here in Australia. In this respect, Lick is a good example of how convincing Kylie Scott is as a writer.
If at the turning of the last page of Lick you find yourself caught up in the rock star lifestyle, you will be happy to hear that there are three other books in the Stage Dive series – Play (Number 2), Lead (Number 3), and Deep (Number 4).
Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes
Bergdorf Blondes is a work of satirical fiction about New York City princesses, you know, the New York City girls that live a life of glamour flitting from one charity function to the next in gorgeous gowns. The title comes from the phenomenon of having one’s hair lightened to the perfect shade of blonde by the in demand hair stylist at Bergdorf Goodman, a well known high end department store located on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The novel is quite hilarious as it follows the antics of a tight knit group of New York’s finest princesses in their search for fiancées and fashion firsts.
There is drama of the romantic and glamorous kind in Bergdorf Blondes. Expect to be whizzed off in private jets to the Cannes Film Festival, house parties in Beverly Hills attended by movie producers and models, family gatherings in the English countryside, and numerous charity balls in New York City attended by jet setting socialites.
Bergdorf Blondes definitely displays elements of Sex and the City, especially in relation to the princesses’ devotion to fashion. There is also on every page the glamour of the exotic locations and activities that are part and parcel of living the It girl lifestyle. Romance and sex is also in abundance. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if your number one memory from reading this book is the comedy. This is definitely a book to read for some laugh out loud moments and to dip your toes into the life of a New York princess.
The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (Number 5 in the Fox and O’Hare series)
I have included The Pursuit in my list of five due to the exotic locations; the romantic tension between Kate O’Hare and Nick Fox; the inclusion of an actor, a stunt driver, and a set builder in the characters; and a daring audacious action filled plot.
The novel starts off in Hawaii where FBI agent Kate and (kind of ex) con man Nick had just tied up a case they were working on together. Plans then go off on a tangent when Nick is abducted by a nasty international bad guy called Dragan Kovic who is planning to bring America to its knees by unleashing a deadly disease. Kate has to rescue Nick and then together they try and stop Dragan killing thousands of Americans through chemical warfare. It is a fast paced ride that leads our heroes to Belgium, France, and Italy in the midst of devising a plan to outwit Dragan.
The Pursuit is a perfect way to escape with loads of high drama. If you enjoy this book then head to the others in the series – The Heist 1, The Chase 2, The Job 3, and The Scam 4, two novellas (Pros & Cons and The Shell Game) and one online short-story, The Caper.