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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 7 star ratings
4 reviews
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4.1 out of 5
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    Contemporary Romance

    You know that book that puts a smile on your face from page one and then lingers throughout the story? That was this book for me! When I saw a new book in this series I was thrilled because I have enjoyed every book by this author that I have read so far...and I loved this one, too! Freddy Carlton is everything I might want in a female lead. She is smart, honest, talented, affectionate, open, a great friend, professional and a whole lot more. Her ancestors have been in theater for generations and her talent is exceptional but she does question at times if she is taking on the roles she is meant to do – ones that make her happy. When a break occurs and she is offered a take part in The Austen Playbook she is ready and looking forward to the change it will provide. She expects to spend some time away from London, go on country walks, relax with a script she can enjoy and spend time with actors she likes...until she gets a look at who those actors actually end up being. James “Griff” Ford-Griffin is a man who has critiqued many of Freddy’s plays. She believes he is honest in his writing but he is not always kind. Griff’s brother Charlie has a hair-brained idea to bring The Austen Playbook to their estate and utilize a theater their grandfather built for the project. Money they need to keep the estate going MIGHT come their way...or not...as a result of this and a few other projects. Griff has a heavy burden to carry with flaky parents and a brother he sees as less than responsible but he will make the best of it. When Freddy and Griff meet there is definitely chemistry and watching their relationship develop was so much fun...and kept that smile on my face throughout the story. I loved them individually and loved them together as they were definitely meant to be a couple. This story has a wonderful romance, secrets that are exposed, dramatic fireworks between some of the actors, interesting family dynamics to contend with and times that I was drawn in so much that I felt a part of the story...or wanted to be anyway. I love this author and this series and would gladly read anything she writes! And, I would like to thank NetGalley and Carina for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars
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    Enjoyable addition to the series

    Theatre and Austen: two things I love written by one of my new favorite contemporary romcom authors. Can't go wrong with that combo. Lucy Parker didn't. I love Lucy's characters, except for Sadie Foster, of course. Grumpy Griff is my kind of hero: crusty on the outside, soft and caring inside. Marvelous sense of responsibility, razor-sharp intellect, and biting wit. Seemingly his opposite is effervescent Freddy. An actress with an impressive pedigree, she has to balance family expectations with her true inclinations. Against the backdrop of an interactive Austen adaptation Freddy is starring in, set in a theatre Griff's grandfather built for Freddy's grandmother, and a mystery that threatens both their families, these two develop a relationship that surprised everyone including themselves. At times, the storylines got a bit chaotic with so many different things happening at once and with so many characters converging on the same scene at the same time. But, all throughout the book, the relationship between Freddy and Griff was at the center. I enjoyed this book, I love this series, and I'm really looking forward to future stories about Charlie and Sabrina (not necessarily paired together).
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    It didn't work for me.

    While I still haven't read Act Like It, book 1 in the London Celebrities series, I had loved Pretty Face, book 2; disliked Making Up, book 3, and I took a chance on THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK. So, no need to summarise, the blurb is sufficiently explicit. Lucy Parker possesses phenomenal writing skills, her characters are vibrant and real, the physical environment as clear as HD TV, the dialogues snappy and realistic, and she displays a biting sense of humour. The whole show business angle is fascinating, as is the case for the whole series; I love it. But the romance was very problematic for me. I felt it was never given a chance to develop organically; I kept being told there were sparks where I felt none; I felt no chemistry between Griff and Freddy. There was this whole theatre story to be told and there had to be a romance. Freddy was interesting; at 23, she is at a crossroads: should she do what she really wants or what is expected of her. Her romantic interest, Griff, to be polite, left me cold; I found him completely lacking in charisma, stiff, mostly unpleasant and unengaging; to put it bluntly, I found him exceedingly dull. We're never told how old he is; his brother Charlie is 26, Griff is older, but how much older? To me, he seemed much, much older. I presume he is in his thirties, but I saw an old fuddy-duddy. Also, Freddy is 23; Charlie 26; and it's written, at some point, that he is "several years older" than her. I beg to disagree: three years is literally a couple of years plus one; that does not constitute "several". There are numerous characters, and while it's not difficult to keep track of who's who, I got the impression that the author was setting up an entire series, with all the subplots for at least a few more enemies-to-lovers books down the line. I did love Charlie and Dylan; they were entertaining and charismatic, if very different. At around 30%, I started to get bored, and I don't quite know why. Possibly because the romance failed to captivate me or because so many subplots started to crowd the main plotline. There's the obligatory mean girl, whose meanness should have been limited to a couple of characters instead of being mean "because". The promising mystery became extremely convoluted, and one big reveal was so farfetched, I can't believe someone would be so stupid. Then around 75%, I grew increasingly annoyed at all the drama; it was one thing after another, the intrigue was bogged down in superfluous details and the mean girl's shenanigans; I thought the book would never end. This along with the overlong epilogue and its fairytale solutions had me shave a star from my rating. Freddy grew as a character, but Griff very little: he never did anything about his problems with his parents; it was magically resolved, and part of it was rather puzzling with regards to another character. I love Lucy Parker's writing and her priceless insights in the world of theatre and show business, but will I read another book in this series? At the moment, I doubt it. THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK had all the ingredients for a fabulous story, but it just didn't work for me.
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    Feel good put on a murder mystery romance

    Freddy Carlton is a West End (of London) Theatre actress, she comes from a long line of actors and writers, practically theatrical royalty. Her father is her manager and is pushing her into taking on ore serious roles, particularly in plays written by her paternal grandmother the famous Henrietta Carlton whereas Freddy loves, and excels at, the lighter shows - musicals, comedies - she likes to entertain people and make them happy. Against her father's wishes Freddy has signed up to act in a live TV production of an interactive murder mystery based on the characters of Jane Austen, where viewers can determine the outcome of the story through voting on an app, called The Austen Playbook. The show is being rehearsed and televised from the stately home of one of theatre (and Freddy's) harshest critics, James Ford-Griffin, whose physical similarities to Slytherin's favourite son Malfoy Draco are made abundantly clear. Let me start off by saying I love Lucy Parker's theatrical romantic comedies and this is no exception. I love Jane Austen, I love country house romantic comedies, I love romance between a sunny, bouncy, Pollyanna-esque heroine and a grumpy, acidic hero. I also loved the mystery which Freddy and James solve about the notorious affair between their respective grandparents. I suppose you could level the accusation that Lucy Parker's heroines are kind of similar but I don't care, I loved it, it was a feel good romp of the best kind. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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