by Lucy Parker
Published on November 30, 2015
by Carina Press
Synopsis from Goodreads: Richard Troy used to be the hottest actor in London, but the only thing firing up lately is his temper. We all love to love a bad boy, but Richard's antics have made him Enemy Number One, breaking the hearts of fans across the city. Have the tides turned? Has English rose Lainie Graham made him into a new man? Sources say the mismatched pair has been spotted at multiple events, arm in arm and hip to hip. From fits of jealousy to longing looks and heated whispers, onlookers are stunned by this blooming romance. Could the rumors be right? Could this unlikely romance be the real thing? Or are these gifted stage actors playing us all?My take: I love stories set in London, but I don't think I've ever read a romance set in the world of the London theater. Act Like It featured two of my favorite tropes: a fauxmance and a hate-to-love relationship. Lainie is the girl next door of the London theater and has just been dumped by her boyfriend. When bad boy actor Richard Troy needs some image rehab, Lainie gets convinced to pose as his girlfriend. And of course, the two fall for each other.
by Lucy Parker
Published on February 20, 2017
by Carina Press
Synopsis from Goodreads: It's not actress Lily Lamprey's fault that she's all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that's not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn't so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy. Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He'd be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily's suddenly rising career, it's threatening Luc's professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they're not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…My take: Lily Lamprey wants to prove she's more than just a ... pretty face. Unfortunately, the guy she needs to prove it to is exacting, bossy, gorgeous director Luc Savage. But when Luc begins to see the substance behind her surface, will Lily want to risk casting couch rumors? Can Luc break through Lily's serious trust issues? I've got to say I loved Lily and Luc. Their age difference was a little worrisome (13-14 years) especially given the situation with Lily's father, who was pretty old when she was born. But I loved them as a couple!
These are my thoughts on the series as a whole thus far, and I hope there are more books!
--First off these are NOT YA, but adult romance. They do have sex scenes with a medium level of explicitness, if you care.
--These books take place in the same story world, with Lainie and Richard making a guest appearance in Lily and Luc's book.
-- Both books use snippets from the (I think) fictional gossip column London Celebrity to introduce the chapters. I didn't know that London theater actors were such mainstream celebrities. Here in New York, stage actors aren't really a feature of the mainstream gossip columns.
-- I loved the strong women and female friendships. These books feature loyal friends, and even an ex-girlfriend who's supportive and kind. The men tend to be a bit more stereotyped -- either swoony or sexist.
--I think Pretty Face is a stronger book, with characters and a conflict that felt more completely developed. The forces keeping the characters apart -- Lily's trust issues and worry that their relationship could derail her new stage career, Luc's workaholism and worries about their age difference -- were more fully realized. Act Like It felt a bit fluffier and more chick-lit to me.
-- Reading these back to back, I could see similarities between the two books, which was not always a good thing. Most of these actor-characters were rich and upper class, with family money, connections and even links to the peerage. Maybe that's realistic in the UK? There was an article in the Hollywood Reporter in 2015 claiming that the working class British actor was becoming a thing of the past because the cost of drama school was out of reach. If that's true, it's interesting and I hope further books address it.
--I think both books overused the family secrets/family drama a bit too much, with one book even having two secondary characters suffer a similar medical situation as a way to draw the couple closer together.
But overall, I highly recommend these books to NA and adult romance fans.