Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hollywood Strip by Shamron Moore (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Hollywood Strip by author Shamron Moore!

Author Guest Post

Ode to Jackie

I wish Jacqueline Susann were here; I would love to thank her. The legendary novelist died well before I was born, but it was because of her breakthrough novel, Valley of the Dolls, that Hollywood Strip was born.

I first read VOTD four-and-a-half years ago. I love the film starring one of my all-time favorite beauties, Sharon Tate, and figured I may as well check the book out. It is a surprisingly sedate read--especially in comparison to the movie--with a melancholic undercurrent. As I flipped through the pages, I could literally smell the desperation permeating out of the main character’s pores. Susann didn’t just pen a morose tale of three young, glamorous women--oh, no. Where would be the fun in that? No, Susann gave us a twist: she incorporated promiscuity, substance abuse, abortion, suicide, and plastic surgery into the mix. These were shocking subjects for 1966, and the public devoured the book fervently. What’s ironic is these same issues are just as relevant now, nearly forty years later, as they were then, which leads me to conclude the following: Jacqueline Susann is the Godmother of Chick Lit. Before there was a Bushnell or Collins, there was a Susann.

What exactly VOTD stirred in me--was it the scandalousness, the sexuality, the sadness?--I’m not altogether sure. Perhaps some of Jennifer, Anne, and Neely’s escapades reminded me a little of my own. Maybe I was drawn to the duality, the combination of despondency and sensationalism. Or it could be I was intrigued with the author herself. Susann and I had similar circumstances; both only children, we had pursued acting in our twenties and rejected more simple, planned-out lives. Whatever the reasoning, a lightbulb in my head flickered on--I knew I had to write my own book. Never mind I knew nothing about writing books; I was fine with learning as I went along. After all, the Godmother hadn’t ever been published before her debut novel, Every Night, Josephine! If she could make it work, so could I.

Without VOTD, it’s doubtful I would have found the inspiration to compose Hollywood Strip. I suppose something or someone would have compelled me to create a project I was equally passionate about--though I can’t imagine what that would be. It’s safe to say I would be in a different place in life without the Godmother--and, as I’m really enjoying this current stage, my hat goes off to her!

About The Author

Shamron Moore became fascinated with Hollywood at a young age. She counts Ava Gardner, Greta Garbo, and Sharon Tate as early inspirations. In 2000, she left her home state of Michigan for the excitement of Los Angeles. Over the course of nearly eight years, she appeared in various international print publications, commercials, television shows, and feature films. She left the industry to focus on writing, one of her lifelong passions. Many of her experiences in Hollywood served as inspiration for Hollywood Strip. She has since written a sequel and is currently penning her third novel.

Hollywood Strip by Shamron Moore ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours

Book Review

Hollywood Strip by Shamron Moore
Publisher: Forge Books
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover - 305 pages / Kindle - 449 KB / Nook - 735 KB
ISBN: 0765332302
Genre: Chick Lit / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Hollywood Strip

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Book Description:

Callie Lambert is sexy, beautiful, ambitious—and undiscovered.

A young Midwestern girl moves to Hollywood in search of fame and fortune only to find success is more than she bargained for. Callie is a plucky young woman who knows exactly what she wants: fame, fortune, and a fabulous career as a Hollywood actress. A starring role in an unlikely hit movie and a romance with a sexy, chart-topping singer brings her instant notoriety. But in the City of Angels, overnight success is a breeding ground for money-hungry leeches and privacy-robbing paparazzi. She quickly discovers life as an on-the-rise starlet is not as glamorous as she once envisioned.

Dishing the dirt on the secret world of Hollywood’s nasty side, Hollywood Strip is a heartfelt story about ambition, empowerment, and what it means to make it in the City of Angels.

Book Excerpt:


Callie stared at her semi-nude reflection in the makeup room and exhaled. Lord, these lights are harsh. Calm yourself; Coquette magazine is known for its stellar lighting. She shifted her weight to her left hip and scrutinized her backside. Was that a dimple of cellulite? Impossible! Cellulite at just twenty-three wasn’t logical. She adjusted the band of her lace thong and squinted. Well, even if there were trace amounts of cottage cheese, the editors would make her skin cherub-smooth. Digital retouching was as common as bark on a tree trunk. It was just last week that she met December’s cover model and was stunned to see the girl’s face was as dewy as a slice of freeze-dried pineapple. In her photos, though, she appeared supple and luminous. Yessiree, it was all just a matter of retouching and lighting, a goof-proof formula.

“You look fabulous,” she told her reflection. Her concentration was interrupted by a knock on the door.

“Callie? You ready, babe?” Hannah, one of Coquette's long-term makeup artists, poked her head in the dressing room.

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” she said, and tied a silken robe around her waist. Her heart rate soared but she managed a smile. “Let’s do it.”

Hannah clapped her hands. “Now, that’s what I like to hear, my kind of girl. Everyone’s ready for you. I’ll do touch-ups on set.”

“Sounds good,” Callie muttered. Maybe they keep a supply of PatrĂ³n nearby.…

Hannah strode through the winding hallway with Callie trailing. Framed life-size photos of girls who had been in the magazine over the past four decades adorned the walls—maddeningly lush creatures who beckoned with parted, lacquered lips and eyes steeped in lust. Callie’s skin tingled. I can do that. That’s going to be me. I’m going to be up there with all of you bitches.

“We’re doing the classic fairy-tale bedroom setup. It’s the easiest way to get in the mood. Trust me, after twenty-two years, I know. Can’t go wrong with it,” said Hannah. She tapped the shoulder of a man peering through a tripod-propped camera. “Phil, our girl has arrived.”

Phil, an affable sixty-something man with a cropped white beard, looked up from his lens. “Wonderful. How are you today?”

Callie dug at her cuticles. “Good, thank you.”

“Go ahead and step into frame.”

She tiptoed to the middle of the room next to the four-poster bed. The satin sheets were perfectly rumpled. Perfume bottles and pearly trinkets covered the vintage-looking vanity. Airy curtains masked a mock bay window.

“Watch out, coming through!” A scruffy assistant narrowly missed bumping into her with an armful of cable cord.

“Yep, let’s start by the bed,” said Phil in response to Callie’s questioning look. “We’ll take it easy, let you get comfortable. I work slower than most photographers. I like to make sure I’ve got the shot; that could mean twenty frames or five hundred frames. We’ll shoot till I’m certain we’ve got the right look.”

“Gotcha,” she chirped while Hannah teased her roots.

“And don’t be nervous—I know you’ll be great.” Easy for him to say; he wasn’t about to balance in five-inch stilettos stark naked. “Don’t be afraid to move and mix it up, I’ll follow you. We’ll start off with some lingerie shots and gradually move into nudes. I want you to feel comfortable. Hannah, can you smooth that little piece behind her ear? That’s it … perfect.”

“I’ll take your robe,” Hannah said. Callie slid out of the garment and draped it over the older woman’s arm.

“And just remember, most importantly, Callie—don’t forget to have fun.” Phil’s smile crinkled the skin around his bright eyes. He couldn’t be any more different from what she had envisioned. Surely a man who photographed naked women for a living must be a lecherous pig, yes? But no. The complete opposite, in fact. She breathed a sigh of relief and her shoulders loosened. Perhaps she wasn’t going to need a shot of tequila after all!

She positioned her rear toward Phil, feet apart, breasts lightly pressed against the bedpost.

“Nice, dear, very nice. Tush out more, twist your upper half towards me … show me more of your breasts. Perfect. Hold that.” Click, click. “Flip your hair back for me.”

The tendrils cascaded down her back like curled ribbons and she gazed at him over her shoulder. This wasn’t so difficult.…

“Let’s lose the thong,” he said.

Already? She swallowed and timidly removed the garment. Screw it. What have I got to lose? All or nothing, baby. She faced Phil head-on and her eyes bored into the lens with laser-beam intensity. Hands cocked on hips, stark naked. The unanticipated adrenaline rush made her nipples erect. Coquette had found its next great sex symbol, she was certain.

Hours flew by at jet speed and by the end of the shoot she felt like a seasoned pro. Not that she was a novice to modeling; before moving to Los Angeles, she had posed for clothing catalogs and bridal ads in her hometown of Troy, Michigan, and filmed a commercial for a hair care company. But those jobs were for local and regional companies. And the biggest difference—she had been fully clothed.

Coquette was a global phenomenon. Founded in 1964 by French-born entrepreneur Yves Rousseau, the magazine was a clever mix of celebrity interviews, self-help, and fashion tips for the modern man. Each month a young woman was featured in a multipage layout in various states of undress. Though not considered smut by the majority of the public, the periodical grew racier with each passing year—legs became farther spread and pubic hair reached extinction—and the more Rousseau pushed the taste level, the farther Coquette slipped on the relevancy meter. Its heyday of the 1970s was long gone, but still, public interest remained and there was never a shortage of women hoping to be the next discovery.

The day she discovered Coquette was seared in Callie’s brain. “Come look at this,” Susannah, her next-door neighbor, had whispered, and pulled a stack of magazines out of a cardboard box. Two twelve-year-old girls on a Saturday afternoon in February. Snooping in Susannah’s basement. Virginia, Callie’s mother, allowed her to play at someone else’s house, for once. (Usually her chums had to come over to Callie’s. “It’s safer that way,” Virginia reasoned.) The models’ hips, breasts, and windblown tresses mesmerized the sixth-graders. “I hope I’m this beautiful when I grow up,” Callie sighed, and Susannah nodded her pigtailed head in agreement. Neither of their prepubescent bodies were developing fast enough for their liking. Callie especially desired a figure like her mother’s, a Jayne Mansfield build to replace her coltish shape. But the hips and breasts never fully sprouted. Her body remained several inches shy of the va-va-voom frame she craved.

Five cups of coffee and a can of hairspray later, Callie exited the set and gathered her belongings in the dressing room. Caffeine combined with adrenaline made her euphoric—high. She had given Phil her best and her poise hadn’t faltered during the entire shoot. Spot on. The come-hither smile (despite the agony of the back-snapping poses), the pout, the attitude … it all felt so right, so on. She eased her sore feet into a pair of Havaianas and rummaged through her purse. Where had she placed her car keys? Girlish chatter echoed from the hallway and a young woman entered the room. Her wheat-blond hair was pulled high in a ponytail and her nose was sprinkled with freckles. Without a speck of makeup, the girl was radiant. Callie’s confidence plunged several rungs.

“Hi, I’m Callie.” Better to break the ice.

“Rachel.” The girl snapped her chewing gum and threw her oversized tote on the makeup chair.

“Are you doing a test shoot, too?”

“Yeah, but I feel like hell. I do not want to be here. My head is killing me and I’m sore.” Rachel stretched her neck from side to side.

Wait until you’re under a slew of hot lights in skyscraper heels for hours, your body contorted in positions you never knew were possible, thought Callie. You want to talk about sore! “I hate photo shoots when I’m sick, too. The makeup artist has some Advil—I saw her taking some earlier.”

“What, are you, like, in kindergarten?” Rachel said. “Why don’t I just munch on Flintstones chewables and call it a day? Only a bottle of Vicodin could cure the way I feel. I’m so fucking hungover, I can’t even see straight, but what else is new. Welcome to the raw and randy world of Rachel O’Connor.” She looked Callie over with a curled lip and plopped on the floor. She drew her thighs up tight against her chest to shield any light from her face.

Must find keys ASAP.… She spotted them next to Rachel’s small but shapely derriere.

“Good luck,” Callie said, and darted out the door.

Rachel’s raspy reply came when Callie was halfway down the hall: “Yeah, whatever…”

Copyright © 2013 by Shamron Moore

My Book Review:

Who doesn't love reading a sassy tale about the people, glitz and glamour that is Hollywood? In Hollywood Strip, author Shamron Moore weaves a fast paced entertaining story that has enough juicy drama, titillating scandals and sizzling sex scenes that captivates the reader's attention and keeps them turning the pages.

The story follows the adventures of Callie Lambert as she leaves her home in Michigan for Los Angeles in search of becoming a Hollywood star. The journey that this smart, down-to-earth girl takes to make it big on the silver screen will ultimately open her eyes when she realizes that it isn't exactly easy to obtain your dreams ... that to have success, sometimes a person has to do whatever it takes to reach the top!

Hollywood Strip is a story that has pure excitement! With sassy characters, gritty dialogue and interactions, the author provides the reader with a realistic and dramatic look behind the curtains into the glittering world of Hollywood. I have always been fascinated with Hollywood and the behind the scenes drama and scandals that is part of this make-believe world, and this story did not disappoint me. I really enjoyed following Callie's journey and the experiences that she had to go through to make it in Hollywood, it takes a determined and talented person who can persevere through the hype, disappointments, and sexual dalliances to succeed. I simply loved that the author portrays the seedier side of Hollywood ... for not everything that glitters is gold ... but it is oh so much fun to imagine it!

For anyone that loves juicy drama, scandals and steamy sex scenes and escapades, Hollywood Strip is a thoroughly enjoyable story that takes the reader on one hell of a thrill ride, it will leave them wanting more! This is the perfect summer beach read, what more could you ask for?


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, July 1 – Interview at Examiner 
Tuesday, July 2 – Book Review at Hanging Off the Wire 
Tuesday, July 2 – Guest Blogging at Dr. Pepper Diva 
Wednesday, July 3 – Interview at Gina’s Library 
Friday, July 5 – Guest Blogging at Books Books the Magical Fruit 
Friday, July 5 – Interview at The Writer’s Life
Monday, July 8 – Interview at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews 
Tuesday, July 9 – Guest Blogging at Hanging Off the Wire 
Wednesday, July 10 – Book Spotlight at Miki’s Hope 
Thursday, July 11 – Book Spotlight at Moonlight Lace & Mayhem 
Friday, July 12 – Book Spotlight at Authors and Readers Book Corner 
Friday, July 12 – Interview at Literarily Speaking 
Monday, July 15 – Book Spotlight at Love Books! Book Reviews 
Monday, July 15 – Guest Blogging at Confessions of a Reader 
Tuesday, July 16 – Book Spotlight at Community Bookstop 
Wednesday, July 17 – Book Spotlight at Read 2 Review 
Thursday, July 18 – Book Review at All Grown Up? 
Friday, July 19 – Book Review at Mary’s Cup of Tea 
Friday, July 19 – Book Spotlight at My Devotional Thoughts
Monday, July 22 – Book Review at Steph the Bookworm 
Monday, July 22 – Interview at Blogcritics 
Tuesday, July 23 – Book Spotlight at Sweet Southern Home 
Tuesday, July 23 – Book Review at My Cozy Corner 
Wednesday, July 24 – Book Spotlight at Cheryl’s Book Nook 
Thursday, July 25 – Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews 
Friday, July 26 – Book Review at Naturally Kim B 
Friday, July 26 – Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

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