Monday, August 19, 2019

Melinda's Review: Crashing the A-List

Crashing the A-List by Summer Heacock
Publisher: MIRA (July 9, 2019)
Genre: Mainstream Fiction (aka, 'women's fiction')

After four months of unemployment, former book editor Clara Montgomery is still stuck sleeping on her little brother’s ugly couch in Queens. Determined to keep her minuscule savings account intact, she takes a job clearing out abandoned storage units, but is in no way prepared for stumbling upon dead snakes or trying to identify exactly where the perpetual stench of beets is emanating from.

When Clara comes across a unit that was once owned by an escort service, she finds the brothel “résumé” of a younger Caspian Tiddleswich… an astonishingly famous British actor. Her best friend thinks she should sell the gossip to a tabloid to fund her way off the couch from hell, but Clara instead manages to track down Caspian’s contact info, intending to reassure him that her lips are sealed.

Unfortunately, Caspian misinterprets Clara’s attempt at altruism and shows up on her doorstep, accusing her of blackmail. When the paparazzi capture a photo of them together, Caspian’s PR team sees an opportunity to promote his latest film—and if Clara wants to atone for her “crimes,” she’ll have to play along. Pretending to be Caspian’s girlfriend seems like it will be a tolerable, if somewhat daunting, penance… until their fake romance becomes something more than either of them expected. 

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Melinda's Review:

This book is in a genre JenReadsRomance has taken to calling mainstream fiction, which I’m going to start using because I hate WF, and ‘heartfelt fiction (which I just saw the Zon use) needs to die in a fire. I also call this romance-lite, which is not exactly why I disliked this so much, but it’s a part of the reason, to be sure. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Crashing the A-List opens with Clara being laid off from her editorial position, which means that I’m pre-disposed to like her as I like any main characters that have to do with books usually. Librarians, editors, authors – all professions that make my antennae immediately perk up. Due to her layoff she moves in with her brother and sister-in-law and begins to work cleaning out storage facilities. Her boss tells her she can keep anything interesting as a finder’s fee. I found that odd because later in the book there is heavy suggestion that the boss is in the Mafia – this isn’t a major part of the plot, or even the subplot – but because of that I can’t really believe he would be okay with his employees keeping what they find. But whatever, minor quibble.

In one of the storage units Clara discovers boxes of files containing old brothel records – which btw were they even called brothels in the [19]90s!? This includes detailed information about a currently famous British actor, and Clara drunkenly leaves him a VM (her getting his phone number was also a stretch for me to believe) telling him she would never blackmail him even though she’s broke.

So that’s the setup and while I don’t love it, I also don’t hate it and feel like I could have rolled with it. Except when Caspian, the male main character, arrives on scene because he took the VM as an honest threat, he is a legitimate dick and goes much, much too far. I can’t recover from this and by the time he stops being a dick I hate him so much I was basically shouting at Clara to sell all of his information to the highest bidder.

You may be saying psssh, Melinda, he can’t be that bad! Just you wait. Caspian tells her she has to be at his beck and call for the next 2 weeks while he’s in town because he needs to be seen as having a girlfriend. Why? We have no idea! Because we’re never told. These are a few examples of how he’s a dick:

  1. The first night she’s needed they go out to eat, he tells her to not speak. They sit down at the restaurant, and their food comes. He steps out ‘to take a call’, and returns two hours later. HE LEFT HER THERE FOR TWO HOURS. ALONE.
  2. She’s interviewing for editorial positions and a huge opportunity comes up, so she happily sets up the interview. Caspian calls a bit later telling her she’s needed at some thing for him at the same time, she explains why she can’t make it. He says nope, I don’t care, you have to come to my thing. 
  3. During all of this (and there’s much more) he literally threatens to go to the police and turn her in for attempting to blackmail him.

So I hate him. And then we finally get to see his actual emotions…but it’s too late for me to care. My feelings thawed ever so slightly towards him during that time, but not much. Good! Because approximately 5 seconds later he’s turned into an even BIGGER dick when something comes to light that he leaps to blame Clara for.

I have no idea why we’re supposed to think Clara ever fell in love with him, or why he fell in love with her! My favorite part of the book was Clara’s supportive best friend CiCi who was there for her every step of the way. She literally dropped everything to come help her with the storage facilities, she texts her to check in on her horrible ‘dates’, and helps get her drunk when she needs it. I pretty much wanted Clara and CiCi to fall in love and say a big F U to Caspian.

Clara is overall a good person, who in a crappy position makes a mistake. Caspian, likewise, made some decisions he now regrets in his past, but the difference is that I just don’t care. This book had a lot of potential in the setup but just didn’t deliver.


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Source: Bought

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Thanks for the review, Melinda! I would have killed him for leaving me in the restaurant for 2 hours. Girl, get the fuck up and leave his ass, don't just sit there like a good pet! Ugh. He sounds horrible and she definitely deserved better.


Until Next Time,

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