New Release Review and Giveaway! I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING by Erin Carlson

 

A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–When Harry Met SallyYou’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.

In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Reiner, Hanks, Ryan, and Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron’s New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron–who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it–ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members.

Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron’s fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separatel balked at playing Mail’s Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless‘ Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing … in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of a one of America’s most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I’ll Have What She’s Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.

 

Review:

If you love When Harry Met Sally Sleepless in Seattle You’ve Got Mail , or all three, then this book is a must-read! I’ll Have What She’s Having takes you behind the scenes at all three movies, sharing how they each came to be, including the origins of some of our favorite lines and scenes. (When Harry Met Sally originally was supposed to have a different ending. Can you imagine the injustice?)

Light and fun, gossipy and occasionally a bit rambly and slightly repetitive (the addition of a nude marble statue at Nora’s New York apartment building comes up twice, or example–why?) this was a whole lot of fun to read for a fan of rom-coms as well as movies in the nineties in general. A bit more time was spent on WHMS than the others, though this only felt right since it was the first (and the one I can recite the most lines from–though SIS is a darn close second; obviously I need to spend more screen time with YGM). Where the plot ideas originated from and how they developed over time, how Rob Reiner really felt about his mother reciting one of the most famous lines ever in movies, and whether or not Jonah, Sam, and Annie really met on top of the Empire State Building (they didn’t–it was a set created on a naval base on the other side of the country)–all this and more is revealed in this book, and darned if it doesn’t all make you want to watch and re-watch all three films (and maybe a few others of Nora’s) right now.

And then maybe re-read the book…or at least a few parts of it…

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

About the author:

 

Erin Carlson is a journalist who has covered the entertainment industry for 13 years. She worked as a staff editor and writer at the Hollywood Reporter and established herself early on in her career as a reporter covering arts and entertainment at the Associated Press in New York City. She has written for GlamourFortuneVanity Fair, and the Daily Beast. She lives in San Francisco.

Follow author Erin Carlson on Twitter!

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New Release Review and Giveaway: STARS IN THEIR EYES by Lauren Blakely (Wrapped Up In Love #2)

 If you’re a fan of good old-fashioned rom-coms, you’re bound to love this fun read!

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ABOUT STARS IN THEIR EYES:

WARNING: The hero in this book is not an asshole. He is hot, charming, smart, funny, ripped, gorgeous, respectful and completely panty-melting. Please proceed.

A sexy and swoony new adult romance…

Celebrity photographer and college senior Jess Leighton desperately needs to crash the wedding of the year. Snapping just one pic of the A-list Hollywood couple tying the knot will pay her way through grad school. But with security tighter than the bride-to-be’s corset, she’ll need more than her camera and smarts, she’ll need help from her biggest rival–hot, British, motorcycle-riding William Harrigan, whose sexy accent can melt the panties off any woman. He’s the last person Jess should trust, but he’s her only ticket in.

William Harrigan wants one thing – to stay in L.A. past college graduation. With a student visa set to expire, the clock is ticking. When he lands a gig that pairs him with the beautiful blond spitfire Jess, he’s scored his best shot at living out the American dream. Winning her trust would be a whole lot easier, however, if he didn’t have ulterior motives…

But there’s no faking the intense attraction between them. Try as they might to resist each other, soon sparks are flying, as they devise a plan to sneak into the ceremony. But when Jess’ new celebrity client raises the stakes, she starts to smell blackmail, and soon she and Will are chasing down cheating directors, staking out clandestine trysts, and making fake IDs, all while sneaking scene-stealing kisses and hot nights together.

The audience loves a happy ending, but in a town where everyone’s acting and no one’s playing by the rules, can Jess and William find their own ever after in time?

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**Stars in Their Eyes is the start of the sexy, swoony and scandalous new adult series Wrapped Up in Love, which is a spin-off of the NYT and USA Today Bestselling Caught Up in Love series. You don’t need to have read Caught Up in Love to follow this new series, but you’ll likely enjoy those books!**

 

Review:

Wrapped Up in Love is a quick and cute read. It’s the second in the series, starting right after book one, the novella A Starstruck Kiss leaves off. Though you could certainly start with this book,Starstruck fills you in on the brief background that Jess and William already have–plus, it’s a novella and doesn’t take much time to read. It’s worth it to get the scoop on how the two got started and what prompted them to make their “deal”.

William is exactly what the author promises–a really nice, very sweet, totally gorgeous guy. With a British accent. Really, what more could you want? 😉 He likes Jess from the start and sets out to get to know her and win her over. At the same time, though, there’s a deadline looming on the horizon–if he doesn’t find a permanent job soon with an employer who’s willing to sponsor a work visa for him, his days in the country are limited.

Jess will be starting medical school in the fall and her single-minded determination is to get enough money to finance her education without having to resort to loans. Working as a celebrity photographer has managed to pay the bills for her undergrad education, but to feel really secure about the next phase of her life she’d really like to find a “money shot”–preferably an exclusive of a secret celebrity wedding.

I’ll admit it–William is almost too perfect. Honestly, the only flaw I could see in the guy is that he initially keeps something from Jess in both the novella and this novel. He doesn’t do it to be deceitful, exactly, and he owns up to it as soon as he is found out and is sincerely sorry, thereby reestablishing his perfection. Jess, however, is not so easily placated, and in both stories it is Williams’s deception that leads us to the “black moment”. In the first book I completely understood her disillusionment–she had just met the guy, after all, and it must be hard to trust people to be honest when you spend your days surrounded by the artificiality of the entertainment industry–but the second time? Her quick, angry, and final response felt over the top. It seemed like by that point she should have had more trust in him and waited for an explanation.

Still, their make-up, with elements orchestrated by both William and Jess–was adorable, ending the book on a happy note. It could be argued that some of the conflicts are solved a bit too quickly and easily, but overall the book is so charmingly written it’s hard to get too upset about it.

These two books gave an interesting look into the life of a paparazzi–really, I wouldn’t have thought that was a character type I’d ever find sympathetic, but somehow Jess managed to convince me otherwise. Trying to figure out what celebrities, movies, and television shows Lauren had in mind when Jess was talking/thinking about entertainment gossip was a lot of fun. As a bonus, one of my all-time favorite movie scenes was almostquoted twice. (Watch for it at 1:15 in the clip.)

You can’t go wrong with a When Harry Met Sally reference, am I right? 😉

Both Jess and William are younger siblings of characters from two of Lauren’s previous books ( Caught Up in Us and Far Too Tempting ); you definitely don’t have to have read them, but if you have it’ll be twice as fun when those characters show up (briefly) here.

The next book in the series is heavily hinted at (and excerpted at the end), and I’ll definitely be giving that one a try. I’m interested to see where this series will go next.

Rating: 4 stars / B-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

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BUY LINKS:

Amazon US  ** iBooks ** B&N

And don’t miss the FREE Prequel Novella, A STARSTRUCK KISS!

Starstruck Kiss

Amazon US ** iBooks ** Kobo ** B&N

 

About Lauren Blakely:Author Photo

Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. Her novels include Caught Up In UsPretending He’s MinePlaying With Her Heart, and Trophy Husband. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.

 

Links:

Website** Facebook** Twitter** Goodreads ** STARS IN THEIR EYES Goodreads

 

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