Hollywood and Wine

Rated 2.67/5 based on 3 reviews
A transcontinental Cinderella story set in the Great Depression-Kirkus review

Linda McLane journeys from England to California, rescued from a terrible life by her glamourous actress aunt. She sees the best and worst of America, falls in love, and prospers. But her world crashes, leaving her once again in danger. No one will anticipate the final plot twists and their shocking revelations. More

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Review by: Baisakhi Chatterjee on May 21, 2012 :
Linda McLane is a shy timid young girl of 17 who lives in constant threat of her abusive Uncle Justin. her fortune, however soon changes when her Hollywood movie-star aunt summons her to America. Delighted, Linda begins her journey, and along the way she makes new friends, has new experiences and grows into a confident passionate woman. Soon enough, she falls in love.

But not all is rosy is Linda's life, as Linda discovers, when remnants of her past life come back to haunt her. These events slowly start to take a toll on her health and we get to experience, first hand, the author's talent as she deals with the sensitive issues with the utmost finesse.

Set in a time of Hollywood starlets, social prejudice and racial tension, Hollywood and Wine is a fast-paced page-turner with just enough romance and suspense to keep you on the edge.

There are a few (okay a lot of) places where the writing needs flourish, and some events where it seems that the author was, for a lack of better expression, simply bored with the scene and was doing her best to make it good by adding Hollywood clich├ęs. The 'suspenseful thriller' of attack-and-chase of Mafia suffered greatly as a result.

The sex scenes were also very awkward sounding. It felt almost, clinical. Not at all what I expected.

I also couldn't really get myself to like Alex. His character failed to attract me. (view spoiler) Maybe it's just me. He has his moments, I know, but from the start, I couldn't really like him. Sorry.

But the book redeemed itself at the end when Ms. Pala demonstrated her knack for dealing with highly sensitive topics. I would love to rave about this part, but unfortunately that would fall in the spoiler category.

Loved characters of Justin and Roe. They were the perfect villains. I loved to hate them. Justin inspired the perfect blend of hatred, nausea and fear in me. Kudos for that!

To sum it up, a good book; really loved the portions dealing with Linda's familial history. Did not really care for the movie-type 'action scenes' or the 'speedy-romance'. But nonetheless, likable.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: tawna lambert on April 12, 2012 :
***This review does contain some spoilers***
Okay don't hate me here because of the two star rating. I will say that the story and plot line were good and worthy of 4 stars, however the writing just wasn't up to par.

The Story
Linda's parents died when she was around 4 and she's been living in an abusive home in England, her aunt in Hollywood sends for her when she is 17 and Linda is now living a grand life. She meets tons of interesting and historical movie figures from the 1930s (the time frame the book takes place). She has a love interest and also she is having horrible nightmares that are starting to take a toll on her daily life. There are issues in the book surrounding rape, racism and small but important part about a crime family. The story was good and I definitely enjoyed that part.

The Writing....dun dun dun
Okay, I had major issues with the writing. It was clinical sounding at times and not engaging. I never felt for the characters because the writing style didn't pull me in. It was like being in a criminology class and discussing a case where the facts are laid out in a clinical and professional manner, it just so happens to also have a few sex scenes (but those also felt clinical or weird)

Parts that I found odd or ridiculous or unnecessary
Okay so the story goes like this....this happened and so and so did that and then we went here and that happened. Well okay, I am happy for ya. No connection!!

Linda is always talking about conflicting emotions....wtf are your emotions conflicting about. Am I supposed to guess or assume? I understand that there are some clues but books are tricky, man, I don't like to suppose something because then the author will tell me later and the whole time I was on the wrong track. Then I have to backtrack and read the whole scene over again with the correct emotions. This might also be a problem with the writing style, maybe I just missed it. An example tho is "she struggled with conflicting emotions and rubbed her forehead." I couldn't figure out what those emotions were until 2 sentences later, but the place where it told us what these emotions were are 2 or 3 paragraphs before this conflicting emotions line.

[*spoiler*Also, there was a big scene where she had this nightmare and revealed to Sara that she didn't know what was going on. Lasted all of two paragraphs. This is where the author
could have went into more detail. So she woke up and she was soaking wet with sweat and didn't want Sara to clean it up so she stripped her bed and ran a bath. Then Sara came in to wash her back and Linda said she didn't know what the dreams were about cuz she couldn't remember them. That's it basically. I seemed to need more and def wanted more for this scene as these nightmares are very important to the story. *end spoiler*]

Unnecessary sentences:
"The sea voyage was uneventful. They landed at Baltimore Harbor and took the train to Union Station in Washington. A taxi drove them to the Willard Hotel." These three sentences are completely unneccesary. They arrived at the hotel in NY would have sufficed. There are a bunch of these and I believe that they are just filler sentences to fill the book, when these spaces could have been used for character depth or emotion or something.

Sex Scenes --
[*spoiler*sex talk: When he found her clitoris (are we being clinical)? He felt the strong, rhythmic spasm of her orgasm....maybe this line just felt wrong because of the weird rest of the scene....he gave her a second orgasm by a slow and gentle arousal....horrible. I read these lines to my gma (weird i know) and she was all, it sounds like it was written by someone who has
never had sex before. "..entered her smooth warmth"??? really? As a suggestion, read some Laurell K Hamilton, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole....hell even Bella and Edwards Twilight sex scene was somehow more interesting (but maybe that because we had been waiting for it for so damn long). Read these authors and see how they deal with the sex scenes and bring out emotion in the reader and don't sound so evasive and clinical. Seemed like you wanted it to be extreme but couldn't get the right wording out because you didn't want to sound over the top or something (i could be way off but it's how I felt it sounded when I read it.) *end spoiler*]

Funny lines
There were two times when I actually laughed out loud though because I could see it actually happening. [*spoiler*when George is making fun of Alex after he caught them having sex, the mom tells alex to have Linda come over again, and George whispers to Alex "and again and again and again"...ha ha, freakin brothers!! Also, when Linda says something like wow I didn't know it could be like that and Alex responds "glad I could make you come"...ha ha, seriously i laughed out loud *end spoiler*]

Conclusion (if you made it this far)
The story is good and interesting and dark, what with the abuse, but the writing just didn't pull me in and I really wish that it had. I would say that if you can get past the writing then read the book, it's good. I was not okay with most of the writing though which is why I had to give it the two star rating.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: laura thomas on Feb. 25, 2012 :
Linda lost her parents at an early age and had to andure an abusive upbringing with her uncle. She is rescued by her aunt, a famous movie star, and grows into a strong, self-confident woman. But her past still haunts her.
I just could not engage with this book. The story is intriguing but the writing feels pushy and I was unable to feel a connection with the characters.
I gave this book 3 stars because I felt the story had potential, as well as the author, and I would try another book by RM Pala
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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