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Hello Hollywood!

Hello Hollywood! is an adult contemporary romantic comedy by Janice Thompson.

Working as the only female writer on Stars Collide, one of the most popular sitcoms on television, can sometimes be pressure-ridden for Athena Pappas. She's been named head writer, but half the time she still worries about her job as the ratings start to sag a bit here and there.

Her concerns become amplified when Stephen Cosse, a hotshot Vegas comedian, is brought in to join the writer's room and give a "fresh" perspective. Athena wasn't aware that they needed it.

Stephen seems like a nice enough guy - but he has an unfair advantage when it comes to looks. He's Adonis-like. Very distracting. And Athena can't help but notice that he appreciates his Greek roots, just like her family. If her mother knew about him, she'd probably die and go to Heaven before any romance truly even blossomed.

But Athena has already had bad experiences with love. Really bad. Like leave-her-days-before-the-wedding bad. So go figure she'd find herself attracted to the very guy that may end up replacing her and force her to work full-time at her parents' sandwich stop.

It'd be so much easier if she could just write her own life...

Hello Hollywood! is the second book in a series called Backstage Pass. There's a fun, behind-the-scenes feel to Hollywood in it. Janice Thompson is a former screenwriter, so she's drawing from her own experience in giving us this setting.

Athena is a nice, slightly insecure, Greek gal doing her best as the only female screenwriter on Stars Collide. She makes for a likable main character, though she's a bit bland. I warmed up to her as it went along, her humor began to become a bit more genuine.

The new hot guy catches her eye, but also threatens her job - a bit cliche, but if a novel gives me a breezy, charming story I would forgive that. It took me maybe halfway there. Sometimes Hello Hollywood! felt perfect - for instance when Athena begins to panic about losing her job and goes through an entire night of planning what else she can do with her life - that scene was funny, yet still grounded. It made her personality more interesting. But then on a different note, the show she works on more often than not sounded very corny to me. I wish I didn't feel that way, but I did. It made it hard to believe it was doing so great, that she was so talented, etc.

But overall, Hello Hollywood! is a very enjoyable romantic comedy. I loved the Christian outlook. Their faith didn't feel overbearing, but was strong and important. The entire book was sweet and good-intentioned and I really liked the gently done female empowerment angle and focus on family.

I could have done with a bit more spice, a bit more flavor, a few more laughs, and a more dynamic plot - but Hello Hollywood! was a lightly entertaining, fast-paced novel for sure.

*Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

*I received a copy of Hello Hollywood! from the Baker Publishing Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.


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