Thursday, December 27, 2012

Stand-In Star by Rachael Johns

Holly McCartney arrives in Hollywood in order to attend a big Hollywood award ceremony on behalf of her dead sister Daisy. What she expects is that she will wander into LA International Airport, catch a shuttle to a hostel, find a dress, attend the Oscars, possibly pick up the award on her sister's behalf and then go home again.

Unfortunately, the media are intrigued by the story of the dead movie star and her family who have been estranged for years and so she is mobbed at the airport by the paparazzi. She is glad to be rescued by her sister's friend Nate Devlin, a photographer who unfortunately seems to have a less than stellar opinion of her, despite the fact that they have never met before.

Nate is a photographer now, but he is more than familiar with the ways of the Hollywood paparazzi. While he intended to only save her from the jackals at the airport, it is clear that once they arrive at the hostel that Holly is not going to be able to stay there, so he offers her his home to stay in and his protection.

Holly is a little naive about life in Hollywood. She has grown up in suburban Australia, always in the shadow of her older sister. While Daisy went on to have the glittering Hollywood career, Holly has forged her own identity as an anthropologist. She doesn't do the glamourous lifestyle at all, to the point where she hasn't even organised a dress to wear to the ceremony, assuming that she will be able to just pop into the shops on Rodeo Drive and pick something up.

Once again, Nate is able to assist Daisy, setting her up with his up and coming designer sister to make a fabulous dress, and then also hair and makeup ready for the big night. Even though he has made it clear that he doesn't think much of Daisy, she isn't actually what he expected her to be and he can't seem to help himself when it comes to assisting her and also he can't seem to stop thinking about her.

As they talk more, he begins to understand exactly what it is that caused the estrangement between Daisy and her family and has to reevaluate his feelings, while they both have to deal with their own issues. For Holly this is wrapped up in the idea that she was never enough compared to her sister and that she can never be enough for Nate given that he could have his choice of any woman in Hollywood and for Nate his family's past and a need to always be responsible for those around him cause him to have commitment issues. In the past he has only had superficial relationships with women, but he finds himself wanting more with Holly. He is just not sure how that feels, or what to do with those emotions especially as Holly has a life to return to back in Australia.

The chemistry between the two main characters was very strong. It took them a while to get going but once they did...phew!

I own a couple of Rachael Johns' books, one of which I bought months ago, but this was the first time I had actually read one, and I have to say I really enjoyed it! I thought it was a fun story that had a contemporary fairytale quality and had me crying, laughing and sighing in all the best ways as I read it. I started reading this late at night and ended up finishing it at 2am which might also explain my emotional reaction to the book.

I also really loved the way that Johns' was able to come up with an ending that still left plenty of scope for the characters to grow together.

If you are looking for a fun read, then keep this book in mind. Now I need to read the other Rachael Johns books I own!

Rating 4/5


As an anthropologist, Holly McCartney is more comfortable in a museum than shopping on Rodeo Drive. She isn’t prepared for the media frenzy on her arrival in L.A. to accept a posthumous acting award for her late sister….or for her sister’s gorgeous friend Nate Devlin to come to her rescue. Though he resents her for some reason, she can’t fight their irresistible chemistry—especially when the paparazzi force her to stay at his mansion.

Photographer Nate only agrees to help Holly survive Hollywood for her sister’s sake, but she soon gets under his skin in a way no other woman has. The more time he spends with her, the more his attraction grows and he finds himself opening up to her in ways he never expected. But will ghosts of the past stand in the way of their perfect Hollywood ending?

I was sent a copy of this book for review by the author. This did not influence my opinion of the book. The book will be released on 1 January by Carina Press

I read this book for the following reading challenges: