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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

LDS Hollywood Romance Upbeat and Real (with a Giveaway!)

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When Evie Jennings eloped with her boyfriend two years ago, she thought she was making a fresh start with the man she loved.  Then he abandoned her, divorcing her through the mail.  Evie hasn't seen Q since their hurried nuptials.  Her friends and family urge her to move on, but to what?  It's humiliating enough to be a 24-year-old divorceé, let alone living with her parents and attending a Young Single Adult (YSA) ward.  She's enrolled at UCAL, but she's not even sure what she wants to be when she grows up.  Evie's confused—about past mistakes, present decisions, and what kind of future she could possibly have when she's so messed up and broken.

After receiving scathing reviews on his forthcoming movie, Hollywood golden boy Ridge Dashly is starting to worry about his future, too.  With his career on the line, he reluctantly agrees to an image re-boot, which includes enrolling at UCAL.  Surrounded by starry-eyed co-eds, Ridge longs for someone who can see past his Hollywood heartthrob image and appreciate his true self.  A chance encounter with Evie Jennings convinces him that she could be a true friend, if not a whole lot more.  Soon, the two are exchanging flirty texts, swapping secrets, and stirring up enough gossip in their singles ward that even the paparazzi takes notice.

Evie and Ridge both know that Hollywood romances are more about marketing than marriage, so why are they fooling themselves?  Drawn together despite all the obstacles standing in their way, can the two of them fight for a future together?  Or will their checkered pasts, tumultuous presents, and uncertain futures keep them apart forever?

It took me a minute to realize that Love Unscripted—Tiffany Odekirk's sophomore novel—is actually a companion novel to her debut, Love On Pointe.  It's not a sequel but a story concerning the same family, just a different member.  With Emmy Jennings' HEA on the horizon, it's her twin's turn to find love.  Although Evie's constant wallowing bugs, she's a sympathetic heroine and likeable enough that I wanted a happy ending for her as well.  Ridge is a little too perfect, but it's also easy to desire good things for him.  Their story has a fun premise, unoriginal and predictable though it may be.  The tale's got religious undertones, but it's not overly preachy or sappy which makes it an appealing read for anyone who enjoys clean, upbeat contemporary romance.  What I appreciate most about Odekirk is that she presents members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a realistic way.  Her characters make mistakes, treat each other in ways that aren't always kind, have doubts, struggle with their testimonies, question their Church leaders ... in short, they reflect real LDS people.  Her story people—like IRL Mormons—are imperfect people striving to be better.  Overall, then, I enjoyed Love Unscripted and will certainly read Odekirk's next effort (which I'm hoping will concern the mysterious Drew Jennings).  

(Readalikes:  Love On Pointe by Tiffany Odekirk; also reminds me of contemporary romances by Melanie Jacobson [especially Perfect Set], Brittany Larsen, and Jenny Proctor)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for discussions of subjects (pornography, spousal abandonment, premarital sex, etc.) that may not be appropriate for readers under 12

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Love Unscripted from Covenant in exchange for an honest review to be posted during the book's blog tour.  Thank you!


Interested in more opinions of Love Unscripted?  Follow along on the blog tour by clicking the links below:

*Sept. 24th

Want to win a copy of Love Unscripted for your very own?  Or a $25 Amazon gift card?  How about both?  Enter to win this awesome prize using the Rafflecopter widget below:

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  1. I always enjoy the whole see-the-real-me romances, and I also really like companions, because it gives me an opportunity to keep in touch with former couples. Sounds pretty good to me.

    1. True. It's a way to keep a "series" fresh while still keeping in touch with familiar characters.

  2. I like it when a book isn't a sequel, but has characters in common with a previous book. We know the characters, but get some fresh perspective.

    1. Exactly. I think this "series" is going to feature each of the Jennings siblings (there are a bunch of them!), but I'm not exactly sure ...


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