Review: Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Elise Jameson is the secret author behind the bestselling, cult hit Viking Moon series. But when a stranger poses as Elise, the painfully shy, deaf nineteen-year-old starts to see how much she’s missing. Can she really hide in the shadows forever? This clever, coming-of-age debut is for anyone who has ever felt unsure in their own skin.

After a freak childhood accident leaves her deaf and physically scarred, nineteen-year-old Elise Jameson retreats into a world of vibrant characters she creates on her laptop. She is shocked when her coping mechanism turns into a career as a phenomenal bestselling novelist. Fans are obsessed with Elise’s Viking Moon series and its author—a striking girl with zero resemblance to Elise who appears on the back covers. Elise sent the randomly Googled photo to her editor following a minor panic attack. Now, horrified to learn she is expected on set of the television pilot based on her novels, Elise tracks down her anonymous stand-in. To Elise’s surprise, Veronica Wilde has been taking credit for Viking Moon for years. She eagerly agrees to keep up the charade if Elise will pose as her assistant.

It’s hard for Elise to watch a stranger take credit for her work and get all the perks she desires, including admiration from the show’s heartthrob star. Edged onto the sidelines of her own life, Elise reconsiders her choice to stay anonymous. Is she ready to come to terms with her true identity—and with the long-buried secrets that could cost her her career, her fans, and the few precious friendships she’s made?

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I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Flirting with Fame will be available February 29, 2016.

What Worked

-My mother works with the deaf and hearing impaired, so I’m always interested to read about deaf characters. I liked that there were a few people in Elise’s life that knew sign language and that that was incorporated into the story. Since Elise was a teenager when she became deaf she has good speech and she’s talented at reading lips so a lot of people don’t realize she’s deaf. While I think that it was handled pretty well overall, I did think things were maybe just a tad too easy for her. Only once does she ever have to tell someone to slow down when they’re speaking and the majority of the time she talks with people is through speech instead of sign language, even with the people who are fluent with signing. I think it could have been just a bit more realistic if the communication barrier was greater explored.

-As someone who loves watching tv shows based on books, I loved that aspect of the story. I really enjoyed all the parts where Elise is on set and seeing how emotional she gets when she sees the sets and how the actors represent the characters she created. I wouldn’t have minded getting a little more information on the series, Viking Moon, but I did like that the story stayed focused on Elise and her real life.

-I really liked Elise’s new friend, the “cowboy” Clint. I have to admit a part of me liked him so much because when I was a freshman in college one of my first friends was a guy who thought of himself as a cowboy and it kind of reminded me of those days. I liked that he was often the voice of reason, but was also sweet and funny. I didn’t quite buy into his eventual romantic relationship, though, and how easy it was for him to shift his affections.

-For the most part, I really enjoyed the relationship between Elise and Gavin. I liked how they started out as friends and slowly grew into more. I thought Gavin was pretty adorable and just flawed enough to make him realistic.

What Didn’t Quite do it for Me

-Though I liked the romance between Elise and Gavin, I thought there were some scenes that were a bit too graphic for YA (though thankfully didn’t quite shift into NA territory). There was also a scene with Elise and some basically random guy, followed by some really heavy drinking and drunk shenanigans that really made me like her character a little less.

-I didn’t really care for Elise’s roommate, Reggie. She was pretty self-absorbed and made almost everything all about her. She did have several moments of being supportive, though, so she was a redeemable character.

-I think a lot of people will be able to identify with Elise’s low self-esteem and fear of exposure and understand why she goes so far to keep up the charade. However, I do find it a little hard to believe that she never had to meet in person (or even skype with) her agent, publicist, editor, etc. I also don’t think it’s that realistic that Veronica was able to pose as the author for so long without anyone figuring it out. Side note – Veronica was awful! But she was supposed to be, so I kind of enjoyed how awful she was.

Overall, Flirting with Fame was a pretty cute, fast read. I loved the concept and it was pretty well done for the most part. However, because I really didn’t respect a lot of Elise’s behavior, it made her and the story kind of difficult to like at times and is the reason I can’t quite give it 4 stars.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

3.5 stars

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: January 2016

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I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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Cold Shot (Chesapeake Valor #1) by Dani Pettrey. Read December 30-January 1. 4 stars.

I think this is Pettrey’s best book yet. Review to come closer to release date.

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Jesse’s Girl (Hundred Oaks) by Miranda Kenneally. Read January 2. 3 stars.

I liked the first half of this book that focused on Maya’s and Jesse’s first day together more than I did the rest of the book. There were several cute moments and I did like their relationship overall, but I have the same issues I have with pretty much every other book I’ve read in this series. I think the casual view on sex is irresponsible for the YA demographic and I don’t like the way Christians are portrayed. They are always hypocritical clichés and nothing more and it’s kind of offensive.

Overall, though, the book was a fast easy read and since I’m trying to be more generous with ratings, it gets 3 stars.

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Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini. Read January 2-3. 3 stars.

This was pretty interesting. Scientology has always kind of interested me (not in a “hey, I want to join” way, but in a “Tom Cruise is kind of weird” way). One thing that I really wanted was a big section on Remini’s role on Saved by the Bell (she will ALWAYS be Stacy Carosi to me), but it was only briefly mentioned in like two sentences. I also wish there was more of her time on The King of Queens, which was a show I enjoyed. Overall, though, interesting and informative on Scientology. I’m glad she found her way out from under it.

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The Widow by Fiona Barton. Read January 5-9. 3.5 Stars

The Widow is not really what I expected it to be. That’s always the problem when a book is compared to Gone Girl. I expected gleefully crazy psychopaths and shocking twists, but there is none of that to be found in this book. That’s not a bad thing, of course, on it’s own. But since my expectations were not met, I feel just a bit let down by it. So let my reading experience inform yours. This book is not like Gone Girl. But it is an intriguing, thoughtful, character-driven mystery that’s worth the read. Full review to come closer to release date.

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The Grownup by Gillian Flynn. Read January 9. 4 stars.

This short story was a quick, easy read and was pretty much everything I expect from Flynn. Part of me wishes she would’ve made this into a full-length novel, but I think the slightly unsatisfying ending would have been much harder to swallow if it were a full length book (like Gone Girl). It creeped me out a bit and left my head spinning and just made me want MORE from Flynn. Seriously, I’m ready for the next book!

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Hired Bride (Beaufort Brides #1) by Noelle Adams. Read January 10-11. 3 Stars.

This wasn’t quite as cute as I wanted it to be. I love a good fake-relationship story, but I thought this focused too much on them trying to fool themselves instead of other people. And it skipped over a lot of the getting-to-know-you parts and focused a lot more on the, ahem, intimate moments, which were kind of graphic. Still, though, it was an overall cute book.

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Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter. Read January 14-15. 3 stars.

A little Twilight, a little The Mortal Instruments, a touch of Mean Girls. I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would after I read a few of really great reviews on it. I thought the pace was a little too slow and it was a lot more high school drama than I thought it would be. There were a few cute moments between Cole and Ali, though.
In the dedication in the beginning, the author talks about how when she was writing this she was sick and she started seeking the Lord so I was kind of expecting this to be a little more Christian fiction and it wasn’t. There was definitely way more teenage sex than I expected.
I got this from the library in a bundle, so I’ll probably read the next books to see if they pick up a little more.

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Anything for You (Blue Heron #5) by Kristan Higgins. Read January 15-17. 3.5 Stars

Another cute story by Kristan Higgins. I liked the inclusion of a character with developmental disabilities. I liked Connor and Jess grew on me. I wish there was a little more of some of the characters from the other books. Some of the themes were a little reminiscent of some of Higgan’s other books – most notably The Next Best Thing, but since that’s one of my favorites, I was ok with it.

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Through the Zombie Glass (White Rabbit Chronicles #2) by Gena Showalter. Read January 17. 3 stars.

This book could have been about 100 pages shorter. There wasn’t much happening until about the last quarter or so of the book. There were love triangles (squares?) hinted at in the beginning, but I’m thankful that they didn’t become a main plot point. I still have one more book in the bundle from the library, so I’m going to continue with the series.

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Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce. Read January 18-19. 3.5 stars.

Pretty cute with a great concept, but the characters were often hard to like. Full review to come closer to release date.

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RE-READS

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All I Ever Wanted and The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins. Higgins can always help me get through book slumps.

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DNF

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The Queen of Zombie Hearts (White Rabbit Chronicles #3) by Gena Showalter. I tried. Really I did. When they’re fighting zombies or trying to figure out what Anima is up to, I was interested, but every time it focused on Cole and Ali’s relationship or Ali’s friends (who got on my very last nerve) I just couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. I’ve read enough reviews that I can kind of piece together the big events of how the story resolves so I think it’s time to give this series up.