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Delicate by Sarah Sanders

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Gosh! What a beautiful romance! Sports romance with the most gorgeous MCs. Valentina González was a promising tennis playe...

Stepping Stone by Karin Kallmaker, Narrated by Abby Craden (Audiobook)

⭐⭐



One struggling actress waiting for her break. One scheming and self-serving leading lady angling for an award. One A-listed good-hearted hunk of an actor. One indie producer and her sure-to-succeed new movie.

Selene Ryan, an indie producer is putting together the cast for her new movie, Barcelona. She wants to cast Hyde Butler, the current box office darling. Hyde is also interested since this movie would help him establish his acting chops and move beyond being just an action hero. Jennifer Lamont, Selena's ex wants the role of the leading lady in said movie to consolidate her position in the industry. Selena and Jennifer had lived and split in public scandal. Selena feels used and misused by Jennifer and though Jennifer is endlessly attractive, Selena wants nothing to do with her. Except that Jennifer is perfect for the role. Gail Welles is cast as the other woman in the drama. While the drama of the movie is being shot, Selena, Gail and Jennifer have their own off-camera story progressing.

Selena Ryan is breathtakingly insipid. Her utter lack of being anything interesting is exacerbated by having two women with very well-defined personalities interested in her. Even her friend-cum-colleague Kim is more interesting. She is supposed to be hardworking, efficient and a fair employer. She is all that. But she is only that. It flummoxes us how a person who is the centre of a triangle with two other very interesting characters can be so beige. Even when Kim has an allergic reaction, Selena is the only one who does nothing and finds herself being able to do nothing. (In fact, only Jennifer kept her head in that scene and did something constructive).  

Gail Welles, currently-a-waitress-but-waiting-for-a-break actress, is instantly likeable. Her likeability factor jumps many notches in her audition scene where she goes quite berserk with the script. Then there is the whole I-won’t-hide-my-eagerness-for-the-role part which is so endearing. She singlehandedly creates chemistry between her and Selena and keeps it going through the entire slow burn of a book. We love the fact that she’s not traditionally beautiful but arresting nevertheless, and that she can out-act all her co-stars.   

However, the most captivating and charismatic person in the whole cast is definitely Jennifer Lamont. Cast as the antagonist, Jennifer is supposed to be a scheming, manipulative user but she comes across as honest and genuine. Her scheming is transparent and she doesn’t try to hide the fact she is ambitious. (A whole scene where she talking about her shelf life, about her insecurity about Gail and then about confessing that she thought villainy was the only path – it’s all just so upfront and authentic). There is, in fact, something guileless and innocent about all Jennifer’s machinations. In all her persistent approaches towards Selena asking to get back together, it never felt that Jennifer didn’t have genuine feelings about the woman (Selena) who is singularly and constantly rude (very rude) to her.    

There's nothing particularly new or exciting about this extremely predictable story (except maybe that Hyde is a genuinely nice guy -- literally scraping the bottom of the barrel here to find something) but Abby Craden's smooth voice carries you through painlessly and engagingly.

We'd recommend this only for the Voice (Abby Craden) more than the actual content or the story because frankly, there are way better romances that this one that you can invest your time in. 

⭐⭐


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