Thursday, January 31, 2013

Love in Reality Book Review *Magdalen Braden*

TV producer Rand Jennings solves two problems--his boss-from-hell, Marcy, and his overachieving dad--when he sees a way to mess with Marcy's reality TV show, The Fishbowl. It'll drive Marcy crazy if he selects genuinely talented "Fish" who'll treat the game as more than trash-talking in skimpy swimwear. At the end of the season, Rand will have written a winning screenplay he'll pitch as "The Devil Wears Prada gets Gaslighted."

He casts his first ringer, a confident bartender from South Philadelphia, not realizing that Lissa-the-bartender is actually her twin, Libby-the-law-student. When Libby's summer law job evaporates in the bad economy, and a certain cute producer kisses her, she agrees to spend the summer locked in a stage set decorated like a fish tank.

As their relationship deepens despite the show, Libby's lies and Rand's deceptions threaten any chance they have to be a real couple. Set against the humorous backdrop of a tasteless reality TV show, Love in Reality (Book 1 of Magdalen Braden's Blackjack Quartet) is the sexy story of how falling in love forces Rand and Libby to be honest with themselves and each other

Love in Reality is the first book in Magdalen Braden’s Blackjack Quartet series I had a blast reading. Since I work in the entertainment industry, and once was a big reality show junkie, Love in Reality was a great fun time read. The writing is very crisp here and the chemistry between the main couple works well. The hero, TV producer, Rand grabs you right from the start when he envisions ways of bumping off his boss who drives him crazy. Rand’s father is a big television producer and Rand wants to make it in the entertainment industry on his own and not because of nepotism. Rand is in the middle of writing a screenplay he hopes to sell and make into a movie, but something holds him back. Until he can strike out on his own, he continues working on the reality show, The Fishbowl that’s very reminisce of CBS’s Big Brother. Rand’s boss, the wack-a-doo Marcy expects him to find colorful characters to be on the show to increase ratings. Rand hates this part of his job, but to stick it to Marcy, he’ll find smart and intelligent people to play the roles Marcy and the viewing audience think these reality stars embody. That’s when he meets Alaskan bartender, Lissa, who will fit the ditz role perfectly. But his attraction to Lissa does a number on him.

Libby is filling in for her twin sister Lissa who is off spending time with her boyfriend. Libby is a law student in Philadelphia who hopes to have a big summer internship at a law practice in time for when Lissa returns to her job. Libby is quite the actress because everyone around her is fooled, even Rand. Months ago Lissa sent in an audition tape for The Fishbowl and Rand wants Lissa (he actually wants Libby) to be on the show. 

When Libby’s internship dries up, she decides to go on The Fishbowl for fun. But there are some surprises in store because Libby actually has a good chance in winning and her attraction to Rand blows up where both can’t stay away from one another. Rand breaks the rules to be with Libby and soon they’re having a top secret fling (how they get away with this is quite inventive). But Libby feels guilty because Rand thinks she’s Lissa. How can she come clean without Rand feeling betrayed? And do they even have a future together after the show ends?

Love in Reality was a cute read. The whole reality show environment, combined with the lawyer aspect works well here. Libby and Rand are wonderful together, including those scenes where they act on their passion. I also enjoyed the mentions of classic films from Rand. It seems Magdalen has done her research here not only with how television and Hollywood runs, but also the whole law school student scenario.

Love in Reality was well written with snappy dialogue and believable chemistry between the hero and heroine. Fans of Julie James and Jill Shalvis will enjoy this one. A perfect "B" grade book.

Final Grade: B