Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Jen's Review: Making Up

Making Up by Lucy Parker
Publisher: Carina Press (May 1, 2018)
Series: London Celebrities, 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author of Act Like It and Pretty Face Lucy Parker returns readers to the West End, where it’s fireworks onstage and off in a sexy enemies-to-lovers showdown. 

Once upon a time, circus artist Trix Lane was the best around. Her spark vanished with her confidence, though, and reclaiming either has proved…difficult. So when the star of The Festival of Masks is nixed and Trix is unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight, it’s exactly the push she needs. But the joy over her sudden elevation in status is cut short by a new hire on the makeup team.

Leo Magasiva: disgraced wizard of special effects. He of the beautiful voice and impressive beard. Complete dickhead and—in an unexpected twist—an enragingly good kisser.

To Leo, something about Trix is…different. Lovely. Beautiful, even though the pint-size, pink-haired former bane of his existence still spends most of her waking hours working to annoy him. They’ve barely been able to spend two minutes together for years, and now he can’t get enough of her. On stage. At home. In his bed.

When it comes to commitment, Trix has been there, done that, never wants to do it again. Leo’s this close to the job of a lifetime, which would take him away from London—and from Trix. Their past is a constant barrier between them.

It seems hopeless.

Utterly impossible.

And yet…

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Jen's Review:

Making Up is a strong third installment in the London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker. The heroine is Trix Lane, who was Lily’s roommate in Pretty Face. Trix is a circus artist in a famous Cirque du Soleil-type production. When tragedy strikes the production in the first chapter, Trix is suddenly elevated to the starring role. Trix’s new role means she’ll be spending more time with an old rival, the infuriating and handsome make-up artist Leo Magasiva.

I loved Trix, who gives off a “tough girl” vibe, but is struggling to regain her equilibrium from her previous boyfriend. There was lots of detail about Trix and her ex-boyfriend Dan in the previous novel, Pretty Face. Even though Trix broke up with Dan before Pretty Face started, that book lays out how he manipulated her, undermined her confidence, and almost ruined her friendship with her best friend. The emotional feelings of guilt and shame have lingered. Trix can’t help but wonder why she allowed herself to be taken in by such a terrible person, especially as she considers a new relationship with Leo. Lucy Parker does an excellent job of exploring how victims of gaslighting blame themselves. One of the most satisfying emotional journeys of the book is watching Trix gain back the confidence Dan stole from her.

Leo is an interesting and likeable hero. He was a rising star make-up artist, but recently suffered a huge professional set back. Working on Festival of Masks means that he’ll get a paycheck and have a place to live while focusing on an upcoming competition that will restore his tarnished image. That “place to live” part is a key part of the plot--both Leo and Trix are renting rooms in a shared apartment for artists on the production. Trix and Leo can no longer avoid each other and their shared past now that they’re working and living together. Leo is very into Trix. He longs for her but hates himself because he never understood what went wrong in the past.

For me, the romance between Leo and Trix felt a little uneven, both in their relationship to each other and in the overall pacing. They had an intense bond of friendship when they were teenagers; they were headed towards Romancetown, but took a left turn and ended up in Feudsville. It’s obviously a sore spot for both of them, but I found the background of it a little thin, and the turn from enemies to lovers happened at a speed that almost gave me whiplash. To be fair, Trix is a dynamic, fast-moving and fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants character, so maybe that’s just the way the relationship would play out? It’s still a fun, satisfying romance! But it didn’t feel quite as satisfying as the previous books in the series; however, this could be my personal struggles with second chance romances. I couldn’t help but wonder: what would it take to undo ten years of hard feelings? Somehow, I needed a little more.

Making Up is a good romance with a interesting world and likeable characters, but I didn’t find it quite as satisfyingly perfect as the previous two books in this series.


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Source: NetGalley eARC

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Thanks for the review, Jen! 


Until Next Time,

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