Monday, 26 February 2018

#CBR10 Book 10: "Making Up" by Lucy Parker

Page count: 330 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Disclaimer! This was an ARC granted to me through NetGalley. It has in no way influenced my review. 

Beatrix "Trix" Lane may be tiny, but she also used to be fierce and confident and very ambitious. Until her former boyfriend pretty much broke her down entirely and left her a pale shadow of herself. Now that the star of the fancy acrobatic West End show she's in has been possibly permanently damaged after a fall, Trix has a chance at the lead role, but she's no longer sure she's acrobatic or talented enough. To add to her stress levels, the person who annoys her the most in the world, Leo Magasiva, has just been hired on to the show's makeup team.

While he's quite the special effects wizard, Leo Magasiva has career issues of his own, after a very famous film star neglected to disclose an allergy and Leo's makeup job caused a horrible allergic reaction. Leo was fired and blacklisted, and now needs to really prove himself, preferably by winning first prize in the UK SFX makeup artistry championship. He's secured his younger sister an internship with the theatre, but she appears to have had a complete personality transplant after a year in New York and is now behaving like a stuck-up brat and doing her very best to piss off not only Leo, but everyone around her. So having to work in close quarters, and as it turns out, sharing living quarters with Trix Lane, is not exactly his idea of fun.

Trix and Leo used to be friends growing up, until Trix got a scholarship to a fancy boarding school and left Leo behind forever. They nevertheless seemed to run into each other all over the place over the years, constantly sniping and trying to one-up one another. Now, working on the same show and living across the hall from one another, their snarky rivalry is brought to a head, and before long, they've moved from hate to something else entirely. They may have a long history, but is there any chance of a future together? If Leo wins his SFX championship, it means a lucrative contract in LA, while if Trix gets the starring role in The Festival of Masks, she's staying in London indefinitely.

Lucy Parker's Act Like It was one of my favourite romances (and books in general) of 2016, and the follow-up, Pretty Face, was one of the few really memorable romances of all of 2017, and an even better book than the first in the London Celebrities series. So when I saw a tweet from Ms. Parker saying that her new book, Making Up, was available upon request from NetGalley, I requested it immediately and crossed my fingers that I would be lucky enough to be granted a copy. While I read and review a LOT of romance, being granted an ARC was by no means a certainty, as I have a pretty bad track-record with reviewing my NetGalley books before the deadlines. However, the book gods smiled up on me, and even though the book isn't out until the end of May, I have been lucky enough to read it.

Of all of the three Lucy Parker books I've read so far, this is probably the weakest. It has a lot of good thing going for it, but was not as instantly likable to me as Act Like It and it lacked the emotional depth of Pretty Face. It has a lot of the things Ms. Parker does well - a likable cast of characters, great banter, competence porn (both Leo and Trix are very good at what they do, for all that Trix' confidence and self-esteem has been entirely eroded by her d*ck of an ex-boyfriend). I thought the initial conflict between Trix and Leo was solved a little bit too quickly and that the readers could have been given a bit more insight into the situation with Leo's bratty sister earlier in the story, but I liked the book and for those readers who have read and enjoyed Pretty Face, it might be nice to know that there are extended cameos from Trix' best friend Lily and her fiancee Luc, who actually get married in this book. Lucy Parker is a talented enough writer that while I would rank this third of her three books, it's still a very enjoyable read and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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