Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Heartthrob by Belinda Williams

Heartthrob by Belinda Williams
Release Date - November 10, 2016
Publisher Website - BWrite
Pages -  346 pages
My Rating - 4/5

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Ally Valenti doesn’t belong in Hollywood. Not like her friend and actress, Lena Lyons. Lena’s convinced Ally to pursue her dreams of fashion design, starting with some gowns for the awards season.

Which Ally will get around to creating as soon as she can stop looking at Jacob Swan, Lena’s latest co-star. Not that she’s staring. Ally’s skeptical of anything celebrity and it’s not like she’d be pathetic enough to fall for a Hollywood heartthrob.

Then Ally learns there’s more to Jacob than his good guy, all-American persona. She finds herself torn between the desire to get to know him better and her determination to stay out of the limelight.

Of course the media has other ideas—and someone doesn’t like all the attention Ally’s getting. When threats aimed at destroying her fashion career go too far, Ally’s convinced she’s living in crazy town.

The sensible thing would be to retreat home before it all ends in spectacular fashion. But will Ally be leaving more than her dreams behind if she says goodbye to Hollywood?

This glamorous, fast-paced contemporary romance that will make you smile, is perfect for fans of Rachel Gibson, Victoria Dahl, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Liliana Hart. 
I've been devouring Hollywood set romances as of late and was immediately intrigued by Heartthrob. It's synopsis promised an addictive blend of drama, romance, and mystery which is exactly what it delivered. It's a story of two people who fall in love and discover some truths about themselves along the way.

Ally is a fish out of water. She finds herself out of her element in Hollywood when her friend calls in her hour of need. This aspect of her character makes her incredibly endearing. She's been so sheltered that this almost feels like a coming of age story in a lot of ways. She discovers so much about who she is and gains a lot of confidence as the story progresses. Her journey was one of my favourite parts of the novel. It is relatable and attaches the reader to the story being told.

Food is a large part of this novel. Ally comes from a large Italian family and loves to cook. Her skills are appreciated by those around her and are even used to provide some cute moments between her and Jacob. All of the food being made sounds delicious so be forewarned that you might end up craving a bunch of it while reading. It was a fun little character detail that folded into the story nicely.

This novel circumvented a lot of the story arcs and reveals that I anticipated while reading. There are a few surprising moments between some of the female characters in particular that were a pleasant surprise. There are some genuine moments of women supporting each other, and being there for each other at unexpected times that stood out to me while I was reading. The friendships felt like a large part of the story in a way that is not always the case in romance novels.

The romance in this is paced really well. They tentatively begin to get to know each other, and it progresses naturally from there. It feels a little more plausible that they would fall for each other with the way it is approached. I find Hollywood set romances work better when the love interest is not a fan (although those can be fun). The connection being built feels more authentic if they are around each other for a legitimate reason.

Ally and Jacob are both struggling with their own personal issues. Stories that remember the characters exist outside of the relationship are always my favourite and this novel really dives into the characters. They are both fleshed out and given backstories that let them explore things about themselves and grow as individuals by the end of the novel. They both have things they have to confront within themselves1 before they can really commit to being together and I love how their relationship unfolds. You get the typical romance genre happily ever after but it feels earned and not at the expense of the characters or their individual dreams.

The mystery aspect of the plot is rather fun. It's has stakes that are just high enough for the story being told and causes just enough tension to progress the plot. I also found the resolution very satisfying for many reasons.

I would recommend this one to anyone who likes Hollywood set romance novels. It's one of the better plotted and written ones I have had the chance to read. I cannot wait to devour the companion novels in this series and see what else awaits these characters I enjoyed spending time with.

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