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review 2019-02-21 10:54
Hollywood Princess (Hollywood Royalty) by Natasha Madison
Hollywood Princess (Hollywood Royalty #2) - Natasha Madison

 

 

When you reach for the stars, sometimes you get burned. Luckily fate had other plans for the rising star and her ever diligent bodyguard. Kellie is the name that everybody knows. Her career has taken her far. Will her emotions end up holding her back? Brian is the guy who has her back. His job is to protect her, but will she steal his heart instead? A crazed stalker could cost them their chance at forever or be just the push they need to risk it all. Hollywood Princess is a big screen movie waiting in the wings. Madison keeps it sexy, sassy and suspenseful.

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review 2019-02-16 19:56
Great pictures, some amusing and some dark stories
Fallen Idols. A Century of Screen Sex Scandals. (Images of the Past) - Nigel Blundell

Thanks to Rosie and the whole team at Pen & Sword for providing me a paperback copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

A while back I read and reviewed a book in the same series ‘Images of the Past’, called The British Seaside, and I enjoyed the combination of the wonderful images and the informative and humorous text, fairly light on reading but high on entertainment value. In this case, the same is true, even with the serious subject and the unavoidable reflections on how times don’t seem to have changed so much, although know we get to hear about many of the details that in the past would have remained hidden from the general public.

I’ve always been fascinated by the history of cinema, and Hollywood, from its beginnings to now, although times have changed somewhat, and tinsel town is not what used to be (if it ever was). I have watched documentaries and read magazines about the industry, particularly about the era of the big studios, when everything seemed more glamourous and shiny than our everyday lives.

This book looks, mostly at past scandals, from the early history of Hollywood to some more recent ones, but does not include the XXI century, and although some of us, who grew up watching reruns of classics, will remember many of these stars (and some have become icons, like James Dean or Marilyn Monroe), to the youngest generation most of them will sound like ancient history. Only Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and the TV preachers are still alive, and although their controversy remains alive, it seems to have been dwarfed by most recent scandals.

This is not an in-depth study of any of the cases, but rather a quick survey with a few details of the biographies and circumstances of some of the stars, whose lives became as well-known and exposed to the public attention as that of their characters. Despite that, although I thought I was familiar with the majority of the actors and actresses the book talks about, I discovered I didn’t know many of the details, perhaps because they were not discussed at the time or have been revealed later, and many of the pictures where totally new to me (and I thoroughly enjoyed them, especially those showing the stars when they were young). I am sure, though, that experts or true fans of these actors and actresses will not learn anything new, but I enjoyed the combination of text and pictures (and I particularly relished the introduction, which offers interesting insights into the effects of some of these scandals, like the Hays Code, that went beyond the content of the movies and affected the personal lives of the stars as well), that makes it ideal as a present for people of a certain age who enjoy celebrity magazines of the time, and also for the younger generation who might not have been exposed to these stories and the old-fashioned notion of celebrity and stardom.

It is impossible to read this book without comparing many of these scandals to some of the recent ones. The big studios spent a lot of money on lawyers, on keeping the press at bay, and of course, power has always talked. Thankfully, some of the things that were considered normal practice at the time have now become unacceptable and are the subject of legal procedures. 

To give you a better idea of the content, there are fourteen chapters, each focused on one of these stars: Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Jean Harlow, Errol Flynn, Grace Kelly, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Elvis Presley, Roman Polanski, Joan Crawford, Rock Hudson, Jim Bakker & Jimmy Swaggart, and Woody Allen.

I thought I’d share a couple of the quotes I’ve highlighted, so you get some idea of what to expect. Here, referring to James Dean:

“The star of East of Eden and Rebel without a Cause was bisexual and had affairs with actresses Pier Angeli and Ursula Andrews but when asked if he was gay his reply was: “Well, I’m certainly not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back!” (Blundell, 2018, p. 8).

In the chapter about the TV preachers Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart (a fascinating phenomenon that seems pretty unique to the USA), it explains that Swaggart confessed and apologised to his congregation and the viewers of his TV channel the first time he was caught with a prostitute. But the second time, he truly spoke his mind:

“This time, rather confessing to his congregation, Swaggart brazened it out with the rebuff: ‘The Lord told me it’s flat none of your business’ (Blundell, 2018, 143).

In sum, this is a fun book for people who love anecdotes and to peep into the lives of the Hollywood famous, especially those from the era of the Hollywood big studios. If you want a brazen and amusing book, with its dark moments and plenty of pictures to get the conversation going, or are looking for a present for somebody who loves movie memorabilia, I recommend it.

Blundell, N. (2018). Images of the Past. Fallen Idols. A Century of Screen Sex Scandals. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword.

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review 2019-01-21 06:03
Hollywood Playboy (Hollywood Royalty #1) by Natasha Madison
Hollywood Playboy - Natasha Madison

 

 

He was a lost soul. She was determined to help him find his way back. In the world of bright lights, big dreams, fiction and reality tend to blur. How does one survive the glamour without becoming a casualty of the lifestyle? Hollywood Playboy goes behind the fame and gives a glimpse of the dark side. In world built on image, Jessica and Tyler have to fight not to lose heart. An intriguing look at how the other half lives.

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review 2019-01-19 10:15
Death of a Movie Star- Timothy Patrick

    This is a well written book that passes all my standards for a five-star review. However, I have to say that I didn’t particularly enjoy the fiction. This lack of engagement being in large part because I find everything relating to celebrity status intensely dull. I was seduced to read by the outstanding opening phrases of the first chapter. The nod towards the spilling of blood suggested a read I wasn’t going to get, but let me be clear, Patrick certainly didn’t set out to deceive murder/mystery lovers and thriller fans into reading. The contents are clearly written on the label if one takes the trouble to read the full blurb.

    We all have expectations about the way certain people behave. In this case those expectations are largely played too. We read a strong story about the pampered celebrity elites that fill the vacant spaces in real human-interest news stories. For many entertainment industry fans this must be exactly choice bread and butter. Hollywood, like sport or gambling, fills a lot of territory in very many individual lives. I on the other hand couldn’t ever raise a care as to which flawed characters rose or fell in the glittering fictional pond. I’m sure I’m missing out on something by not being intensely interested in the rivalries between the real stars, the Joan Crawford versus Bette Davis, Orson Welles v William Randolph Hearst, that inform the fictional ones Patrick creates.

    This fiction does a convincing job of paralleling and parodying reality. Patrick plucks a little bit from a great many of Hollywood’s legendary lives and places his clever concoction into a near future time. The masked figure on the cover of the version I read gave me a clever and accurate feel for the story that waits inside. So is my negativity of any value to most of those that are planning to read this book? That is a fair question. I can recognise that this is well written escapism. The jealousies really are so very Hollywood, so well reflecting backstory reads in a thousand glossy magazines and perhaps, as a crude generalisation, so much more female than male in interest.

I failed to pick up on the dark humour mentioned in the Kirkus Review, or anything very funny at all except in the absurdity of familiar movie satire. I kept wondering if I was missing something. And indeed, perhaps the joke is on me for the view through my blinkered myopic eyes. Certainly, this book has some really good reviews, many that have no trouble in finding comedy.

    In short, this is quality paint, plausible Hollywood glitter, that for me dries too slowly, if at all, and leaves too few memorable bursts of colour.

AMAZON LINK

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text 2018-12-08 20:38
Hollywood Dirt By Alessandra Torre Free!
Hollywood Dirt - Alessandra Torre

Cole Masten. Abandoned by his superstar wife, Hollywood’s Perfect Husband is now Hollywood’s Sexiest Bachelor: partying hard and screwing even harder. Watch out Los Angeles, there's a new bad boy in town.

Summer Jenkins. That’s me, a small town girl stuck in Quincy, Georgia. I cook some mean chicken and dumplins, can bluff a grown man out of his savings in poker, and was voted Most Friendly my senior year. 

We were from different worlds. Our lives shouldn’t have collided. But then Cole Masten read a book about my small town. And six months later, his jet landed on our dusty airstrip, and he brought Hollywood with him.

From the start, I knew he was trouble. For our town. And for me.

Sometimes, opposites just aren’t meant to attract.

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