⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: How to Fake It in Hollywood by Ava Wilder 🎧

For a debut? Pretty great. The cover caught my eye, but it was the significant buzz surrounding this Hollywood romance that had me excited to read it. Luckily, I had already heard that this has a heavier, messier storyline than the cover and blurb imply, so I was not caught off-guard by just how dark this gets. And it definitely lingers in that darkness. But that heaviness is also what gives the story such weight; I really loved that it was completely unexpected, and the tone felt very original. It’s not your typical fake relationship romance, and that’s perhaps what held my attention in those darker moments. I do wish that this couple had more swoony moments together, more time to develop their relationship before they hit such a rocky road. An additional 50 pages of showing how good this couple could be together – outside of the bedroom – would’ve done wonders for the overall story and given them the kind of foundation required to withstand the conflict. But that’s my biggest complaint – I wanted more, because I could see the potential for this to be fantastic.

The story follows Grey, a twenty-something actress who starred on a CW-type show for several years. She was hoping that the show would lead her to bigger things, but it just seems to have left her older and more jaded. So when her team suggests that she enter into a fake relationship with an established actor in need of some good PR, Grey isn’t sure what to think… until the identity of her new “boyfriend” is revealed. Ethan was the heartthrob of Grey’s teenage dreams, but she’s also well aware that the past five years have not been kind to him. He’s now a reclusive, divorced father who always seems to have a drink in his hand – and he doesn’t seem to want Grey around. But as the two fake it for the cameras, Ethan starts to let down his guard a little more each day. And it’s not long before Grey starts seeing the great guy underneath Ethan’s broken exterior.

This handles MANY different sensitive subjects, but Ethan’s relationship with alcohol is a MAJOR part of the story. It’s important to know that going in. Watching our (anti)hero struggle to spend even a single day sober adds an interesting element – it sort of felt like a ticking time bomb that was ready to go off. I knew they’d need to deal with certain issues at some point, which added a layer of toxicity to Grey and Ethan’s budding relationship. I loved the raw moments between them, and it was easy to see all of the ways that they were perfect for each other… and also all of the ways they were enabling or hurting each other. That’s why I think they needed more of a solid foundation; there needed to be more time spent on them actually falling. That part of the story felt rushed to me, and I wouldn’t have complained about a slightly longer length. In the end, this wasn’t quite as powerful as it could’ve been, but there’s a whole lot that I loved. It’s the kind of book that’s going to linger on my mind for awhile, and I’m curious to see how I feel about it months from now.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3PeWOxI

Audio Note:

The audio was great! It’s dual narration, with two narrators who I hadn’t heard of before. But as soon as I started listening, I quickly realized that I recognized Andrew Eiden’s voice – he’s Teddy Hamilton. That was a welcome surprise, and he gives an excellent performance as Ethan. The story is told in third person/dual perspective, which isn’t a favorite of mine but I didn’t mind it here. The tone also worked well in audio, and there’s only a little bit of steam, so it made a good workday listen as well. There is quite a bit of what I would consider “adult content” though (drinking, drug use, triggering situations, etc), so keep that in mind if you’re listening at the office. The runtime is 10-11 hours, so longer than a work day, but not necessarily long enough to run into a second reading day. Overall, I liked the audio quite a bit and do recommend it in the format.

Audiobook: https://amzn.to/3PcRmve


Blurb:

Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen TV show has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again. With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme: fake a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity, but for very different reasons. 

Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, struggles with drinking, and grief over the death of his longtime creative partner and best friend, Ethan has slowly let himself fade into the background. But if he ever wants to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan needs to clean up his reputation and step back into the spotlight. A gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress might be just the ticket, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do. 

Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act. But after decades in a ruthless industry that requires bulletproof emotional armor to survive, are they too used to faking it to open themselves up to the real thing?

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3PeWOxI


About the Author:

Ava Wilder is a contemporary romance writer. After spending most of her life bouncing all over the East Coast, she currently lives in Oklahoma City with her fiancé and their toothless cat. How to Fake It in Hollywood is her first novel. No one is more surprised than she is that her lifelong obsession with pop culture actually led to something useful.


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