I am thrilled, and honored, to be reviewing a debut author's first contemporary romance who also happens to be one of this blogs regular followers. Dreams really do come true and I hope her luck rubs off on me so I'm a debut author some day. Aimée Duffy contacted me and asked if I would read her debut novel, MONSTER OF FAME. Of course, I recognized her name and so agreed - payback, you know!
***eARC supplied by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
Blurb for MONSTER OF FAME:
Can the voice of an angel heal a tortured soul?
Annabelle MacIntosh enters a reality singing contest to save her family from
their mounting debt. Miles Oliver, celebrity judge and the owner of the biggest
record company in the UK, doesn't think she has what it takes. She sings like an
angel, but when she performs all he can focus on is the terror in her eyes. It's
a look he knows only too well. After the pressure of fame destroyed his wife,
Miles swore he'd never let the same thing happen to anyone else. Driven by the
guilt he's carried for years, Miles tries everything in his power to make sure
Annabelle doesn't succeed, because he doesn't believe she'll survive it.
Annabelle needs that prize money, and she's determined to win it. As she
fights to make it through each round of the contest, an attraction begins to
develop between the two adversaries. The longer Annabelle remains in the
competition, the deeper her attraction grows to the man who's trying to prevent
her from reaching her goal. Can she convince Miles she's strong enough to fight
the fame monster and win?
* * * * * * *
Annabelle MacIntosh has wanted to sing since she was a little girl but was discouraged by her father who thought it foolish. Then this same selfish man picked up one day and abandoned her, her mother and his mother to run off to the islands with a young new wife. Now, her chance to do what she's always wanted to do, as well as save her family from financial disaster, has presented itself in a reality show singing competition.
Miles Oliver knows talent when he sees it but he also learned the hard way, with the death of his wife, how fame can destroy a talent and a life. Right from the start, he sees that there's something special about Annabelle and his protective instincts are thrown into overdrive in reaction to her nervousness at performing before an audience. Attracted to Annabelle and not wanting her to meet the same drug-induced ending that his wife met, Miles is determined to persuade Annabelle to quit the competition. Miles decides to befriend her so that he can keep a close eye on her as well as work at undermining her desire to stay in the competition. Falling in love with her was the last thing he expected to have happen.
I have to admit that I am NOT a fan of reality of shows and don't follow the so you want to be a star type reality shows at all. I suspect that this lack of enthusiasm held me at bay when I first started reading MONSTER OF FAME by Aimée Duffy but once I was knee deep into the story, I certainly began to enjoy it and became glued to it, eager to find out how things turned out. I will say that I was a little disappointed in that the tension between Miles and Annabelle was too one-sided. Miles was obviously on the edge at all times as to what he should about Annabelle even while his attraction to her was growing in leaps and bounds. Annabelle, on the otherhand, I felt gave in to her attraction to Miles too quickly. I recognize that she came into the competition with a crush on Miles Oliver. But, after the first time out and Miles gives her a bad review, she was over the crush and recognizing him for the controlling man that he is. Yet, it wasn't long at all before she was over that, too.
Aimée Duffy is a debut author and it's really only the rare talent that can hit the mark right out of the box, so I may have my criticisms but overall, Aimée did a wonderful job of creating charaters that we could relate to and enjoy. At first, I thought I wasn't going to like Miles at all but quickly fell under his spell just as Annabelle did. I loved that his insecurities were right there, for the reader to angst through with him, right up to the end when he lays his heart out to Annabelle and still worries that he's about to get stomped on.
MONSTER OF FAME by Aimée Duffy is a delightfully sweet romance with a very up-to-date feel with its reality show environment. If you're a fan of such shows as American Idol, you will definitely enjoy the background, the tension, and the nervous energy as well as some of the jealousies and back-stabbing that come into play but best of all is the falling in love that happens between Annabelle and Miles. Also, Aimée writes one of the best happily-ever-after endings and so, I will say that this romance is a successful debut novel for a talented new author who I expect to see good things from in the future.
I do recommend reading, MONSTER OF FAME by Aimée Duffy, if you love contemporary romance with a big city feel. If you love reality shows and the idea of someone down and out hitting it big as a star. If you believe that dreams really can come true, if you've got the talent and guts to go after it, then this debut contemporary romance is for you.
Happy Reading Everyone!
MONSTER OF FAME by Aimée Duffy, Beachwalk Press, release date - October 15, 2012 in ebook formats. To purchase directly from Beachwalk Press click HERE.