Monday, June 29, 2015

Under the Lights ~ Dahlia Adler (earc) review [@missdahlelama @SpencerHillP]

Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2)
Spencer Hill Contemporary
June 30, 2015
312 pages
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Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents' wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls...opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he's trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he's in the spotlight—on everyone's terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents' disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she's painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van's life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she'll have to choose between the one thing she's always loved...and the person she never imagined she could.
After reading Behind the Scenes, I was curious where Under the Lights would find Ally. I really enjoyed her story - and the introduction to all of the other characters - in that first book and wanted to know what was next.

The focus in Under the Lights switches to Vanessa and Josh, with their characters narrating alternating chapters. Their characters seemed to stay true to who they were in the first Daylight Falls book, while also growing and showing more of who they are here.

I wasn't sure about Josh being one of the main characters (and a narrator). He is not shy or reserved, to understate things to the max and can be obnoxious, sexist and annoying. Somehow, though, that was also part of why I loved him in this book? Josh isn't that jerky guy who secretly is a big softie. He drinks too much, he hooks up (to varying degrees, in varying ways and places) with as many girls as he can manage, and isn't ambitious. That is who Josh Chester is.

It's who he is and it works. That the other characters won't take crap from him, that he owns who he is but also, truly, cares about his friends makes him someone I liked reading about.

We also really get to know Van. After Behind the Scenes, it felt like I knew her character the least (of the four). She was interesting in that first book but in Under the Lights we really get to know who she is - beyond Ally's best friend and an actress. All of the little bits about her we already knew really come together. I loved her character, who she is, what she's dealing with - how she deals with it - and what she brings out of the other characters.

Brianna is a fun addition. While we don't see her with the other characters as much (only Vanessa), she fit in well while also being someone (and something) new and different. I liked the little peeks we got into her life and her relationship with Van.

I don't know if this is the last Daylight Falls novel and, while I would definitely love to read more, I think Under the Lights wrapped things up nicely and left the characters in satisfying places.


digital copy received for review, from publisher, via NetGalley

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