Book Review: Fool Me Twice by Mandy Hubbard

Fool Me TwiceTitle: Fool Me Twice (If Only, #1)

Author: Mandy Hubbard

Publication date: May 6, 2014

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 272

Source: Gifted by my aunt and uncle

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Books-A-Million

Synopsis:

Mackenzie and Landon were the perfect couple . . . until he dumped her and broke her heart. Fast-forward a year and they’re back where they first met—Serenity Ranch and Spa, where they are once again working together for the summer. Talk about awkward.

Then, Landon takes a nasty fall and gets amnesia. Suddenly, he’s stuck in the past—literally. His most recent memory is of last summer, when he and Mack were still together, so now he’s calling her pet names and hanging all over her. It’s the perfect chance for revenge. The plan is simple: keep Landon at arm’s length, manipulate him so he’s the one falling love, and then BAM, dump him. There’s just one problem: Mack can’t fall for Landon all over again.

The If Only romance line is all about wanting what you can’t have, and Mandy Hubbard’s hilarious break-up/love story is sure to captivate anyone who has ever wished for a second shot at love.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

In quest of a cute and fun contemporary YA? Fool Me Twice by Mandy Hubbard could be the book for you!

An easy and feel-good read, Fool Me Twice entertained me no more than a few chapters in. Who wouldn’t be enticed with a story about a girl who takes advantage of her ex-boyfriend’s accident to get back at him for dumping her? The pranks that main character Mackenzie and her best friend, Bailey, pulled on Landon (the-ex) are so clever! Fool Me Twice is definitely the kind of funny story that makes you giggle like you’re being tickled on the soles of your feet. There are also sweet and swoony moments that would make readers root for a happy ending! 🙂

The characters are good! Although I didn’t connect with them as much, I still liked how authentic and quirky they are. Their sparky personalities blended perfectly with the lighthearted tone of the story. Author Mandy Hubbard’s direct to the point and witty writing gave the story a legit romantic comedy atmosphere. Her clear and vibrant descriptions masterly illustrated the setting of the story as well as conveyed the emotions felt by the characters.

The first in Bloomsbury’s If Only YA romance series, Fool Me Twice appeals to those who love books with hilarious storylines and heartwarming undertones.

 Rating:

3.5/5 stars

Check out my reviews of the next two books in the If Only series: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae and Not In The Script by Amy Finnegan!

Book Review: Relativity by Cristin Bishara

RelativityTitle: Relativity

Author: Cristin Bishara

Publication date: September 10, 2013

Publisher: Walker Childrens

Pages: 272

Source: Bought from Fully Booked

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked

Synopsis:

There are so many moments Ruby Wright wishes she could change. The moment her dad uprooted her from California to live in backwoods Ohio with their new stepfamily. The moment she moved away without telling her best friend George she loved him. The moment a car accident ended her mother’s life.

But no one can rewrite time. At least, that’s what physics-obsessed Ruby believes.

Then she stumbles upon a lightning-powered tree—a doorway to a series of parallel universes. How many possible worlds will Ruby have to explore to find the one with the perfect combination of people, relationships, and experiences? And is she willing to risk everything she has to get back what she has lost?

With a deft blend of science and heart, Cristin Bishara’s thought-provoking debut novel explored the laws of time and space…and the even more mysterious nature of love and loss.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Sheathed in thought-provoking situations and scientific intellect, Relativity is a novel illustrating the various possibilities existing between space and time. It tells the story of Ruby, a girl who moves with her dad from California to Ohio and discovers a tree that functions as a portal to parallel universes.

Although bewildering at times because of the mind-boggling scientific terms, mathematical equations, and theories, I still enjoyed Relativity! The concept of parallel universes is very fascinating. I like the burning potential surrounding the idea that such could exist in our world. And if they do, there could be many chances for us to start fresh or to change something in our life. Or perhaps choose the life we want to live in the universe we desire to be.

Ruby is a well-developed main character and I adore her! Reflective and physics loving, she’s persistent in finding the perfect life through the parallel universes. Each universe Ruby visited differs in surroundings, people, and circumstances that are far from the ideal life she wants. I love how Relativity spotlights the truth that there is no such thing as a perfect life. This story imparts the message that instead of dwelling on life’s imperfections, people should just embrace them. Rather than feel sorry for what you lack, be grateful for all that you have. Doing so would certainly make your life worth living. Author Cristin Bishara’s dynamic and genuine writing infused brilliance in this geeky and heartfelt story.

Absorbing and original, Relativity is the kind of novel that tugs at your heartstrings and at the same time feeds your brain with knowledge. Totally a unique YA science fiction!

 

Rating:

4/5 stars

 

 

Event Recap: HarperCollins Winter 2015 Preview!

A few weeks ago, an ordinary morning turned extraordinary when I received an awesome email from HarperCollins International publicist Sarah Woodruff! 🙂 It was an invitation to the HarperCollins Winter 2015 Preview, which I attended with my fab blogger friends last night at the National Book Store office.

Sarah's Presentation

Sarah’s presentation!

The event began with games (YA trivia!) followed by Sarah’s presentation of HarperCollins’ upcoming YA books in 2015. There are so many amazing books and I want to read all of them! Good thing I brought a notebook and pen with me to take note of the titles and their corresponding release dates. The list on my notebook isn’t complete so I enumerated the missing titles after the picture below.

Notes

My notes from the event. Sorry for the ugly handwriting. Haha! 🙂

TITLES NOT ON THE LIST:

1.) Transcendent (Starling, #3) by Lesley Livingston (December 23, 2014)
2.) Willowgrove (Hemlock, #3) by Kathleen Peacock (January 6, 2015)
3.) A Cold Legacy (The Madman’s Daughter, #3) by Megan Shepherd (January 27, 2015)
4.) Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor (February 17, 2015)
5.) A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas (February 24, 2015)
6.) Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (March 3, 2015)
7.) The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die, #2) by Danielle Paige (March 31, 2015)
8.) Forged (Taken, #3) by Erin Bowman (April 14, 2015)
9.) 99 Days by Katie Cotugno (April 21, 2015)

After Sarah’s presentation was a short Q & A where she shared her knowledge of the publishing industry, gave an overview on what she does as a publicist, her favorite books, and sales. Sarah also discussed a bit about the process behind blurbs and cover changes of books. It has always been my dream to work in publishing someday and hearing Sarah talk about the industry magnified my interest and appreciation for it. Moving on, everyone got very excited when Sarah asked us which authors we’d like to come to the Philippines! We blurted lots of names and we’re crossing our fingers that our wishes would be granted! 🙂 Next on the agenda was dinnertime! We devoured pizza and mojos that are both incredibly delicious. We also had the yummy snacks that Sarah brought such as cookies and chocolates!

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PIZZA TIME!

Group selfie with Sarah! Photo grabbed from Kai of Amaterasu Reads. 🙂

Now let’s go to the event’s most awaited GRAB ALL THE GALLEYS part! It was madness when all the grabby hands dove into the galley pile at the same time! Well, who wouldn’t go crazy seeing all these books on the table? 🙂

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HarperCollins Winter 2015 YA books! ❤

I managed to grab three galleys of contemporary titles that caught my eye! Hooray for contemps! *happy dance*

Here we are after the intense galley grabbing, all smiles with Sarah and our new reads! 🙂

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PH Book Bloggers with Sarah and our precious galleys!

The HarperCollins Winter 2015 Preview is an event I will never forget. I consider it as a huge milestone in my blogging career because attending made me feel professional! Honestly, I still can’t believe that my love for reading blossomed into something big and extremely enjoyable! Sharing my thoughts about books makes me happy and I really want to do this for a long time.

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With international publicist extraordinaire, Sarah Woodruff! 🙂

I am forever thankful to HarperCollins for the many opportunities they’ve given me since I started book blogging. They are amazing and I look forward to reading and reviewing more books. Working with them is always a delight! Many thanks to Sarah for inviting me to the event. I had a blast! Lastly, sincere appreciation to National Book Store for everything. 🙂

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Super excited to read these pretty galleys! I ❤ contemporaries! 🙂

 

Event Recap: Claudia Gray and Madeleine Roux in Manila!

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October 18, 2014 was an epic day filled with excitement as New York Times Bestselling authors Claudia Gray and Madeleine Roux had a book signing event in Manila brought to Filipino bookworms by the spectacular National Book Store! I am fortunate enough to attend a Q & A with both authors together with my fellow PH Book Bloggers. As usual, seeing my blogger friends is a delight!

Without further ado, here’s an overview of the Q & A and the public book signing that came after:

Book display

Display of Claudia Gray and Madeleine Roux’s books

Claudia and Madeleine

Q & A with Claudia and Madeleine

Claudia and Madeleine were both fun and fab at the Q & A! Their answers to our questions were so informative, clever, and profound. You may listen to the audio recording of the Q & A here. Following the Q & A was the book signing where selfies and wonderful blogger-author interaction took place amidst laughter and cheers. 🙂

Group picture

PH Book Bloggers with Claudia Gray and Madeleine Roux

Blogger selfies

Selfies with blogger friends!

At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, my blogger friends and I proceeded to National Book Store Glorietta 1 for the public signing. Lots of bookworms came to support Claudia and Madeleine. It was so good to see them all. Their lively energy pulsates throughout the room!

Public signing

Public signing at National Book Store Glorietta 1

During the public signing, something awesome happened: my blogger friends I met Sarah of HarperCollins! We were so happy to meet her in person since we only communicate with her through email. Also, even if she was jet-lagged, she took the time to chat with us about books and Filipino food.

With Sarah

PH Book Bloggers with the super friendly and lovely Sarah of HarperCollins!

I really had a great time at yesterday’s signing. Thank you very much to National Book Store for a fantastic bookish event and for all the opportunities you give me and my fellow bloggers. Not only do we experience great enjoyment but also have grown to love book blogging more. A huge thank you as well to HarperCollins for the many wonderful books you publish for the world to read! Blogging about them is an absolute pleasure. And finally, to Claudia Gray and Madeleine Roux for visiting the Philippines. We hope to see you again one day! 🙂

Signed books

My signed copies of ASYLUM and A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU!

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Signed swag!

Did you attend the #GrayandRouxinPH signing event in Manila or Cebu? Share your experience in the comment section below! 🙂

ARC Review: Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake

Mortal GodsTitle: Mortal Gods (Goddess War, #2)

Author: Kendare Blake

Publication date: October 14, 2014

Publisher: Tor Teen

Pages: 352

Source: Review copy from publisher (Thank you, Tor Teen!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

Synopsis:

Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She’s ready to wage a war of her own, and she’s never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she’ll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can’t have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra’s hate will get them ALL killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can’t, fates far worse than death await.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads 

My review: 

With more action, jaw-dropping twists, and a tidal wave of intense emotions, Mortal Gods is one gripping book that I totally enjoyed reading this year. It’s the kind of sequel that you’d want to read at a relaxed speed because every moment in the story is precious. Although there are parts where the pace is a bit slow, it doesn’t matter because those give readers time to prepare themselves for big scenes that will blow their minds in every way. Big Bang-like explosions of feels and surprises are also components of those scenes, making Mortal Gods an epic reading adventure. Tension, shock, pain, and heartbreak are the four dominant emotions that left a lasting impression on me. I think it took a day or two for those extreme feelings to die down.

The characters are fantastic! Each one of them is distinctive in personality, actions, and opinions. The diversity of characters injects a flavorful spice that generates excitement and compulsive appreciation for the story. In addition, the conflicts that the characters live through brilliantly emphasize their flaws and strong points. My favorite character in the book is Athena. A daring goddess who exudes intelligence, determination, and a firm grasp of reason, Athena is the ideal picture of a remarkable heroine. Regardless of her identity as a goddess, Athena has a vulnerable and empathetic side that also makes her so human. The clash of emotions raging through her is very realistic and is something that readers would identify with. Second favorite character is Cassandra who grew to be more insightful and braver as she acknowledged her role in the war of gods. Cassandra still grapples with her past and present self so with the tragic event in Antigoddess; nevertheless, she’s making an effort to get better. I have to mention Hermes and Odysseus as notable characters as well because they are both strong driving forces in Athena’s team of warriors. Furthermore, new characters will be introduced. Some of them readers will love or hate or both. But one thing I can tell about the fresh faces is that they’re unpredictable. Why? That, you have to find out for yourself, dear readers! Sorry! 🙂 My advice to you is to be ready for a huge impact coming your way!

Kendare Blake’s writing is exquisite. She imbued the story with life that sparkles with energy and brightness. Her beautifully constructed sentences depict sharp images, transporting readers to a rich and spectacular world where reality and mythology coexist.

Heart-stopping and out of this world, Mortal Gods is a sequel that leaves you breathless and thirsty for more. I NEED Book 3 now!

 

Rating:

4.5/5 stars

 

Event Recap: Jennifer E. Smith and Lissa Price in Manila!

I’m sure lots of Filipino bookworms’ hearts exploded with happiness when National Book Store announced that authors Jennifer E. Smith and Lissa Price are coming to the Philippines. And one of those hearts was mine! 🙂

Fast forward to September 21, 2014—Book Signing in Manila!

We had a Q & A with Jen and Lissa who are both friendly and full of wisdom. I enjoyed listening to them talk about writing and their books! Their thoughtful answers are truly great motivation for me to do my best every time I write.

*You may listen to the audio recording of the Q & A here.

Meeting Jen was a dream come true! Some of you might know that I’m a huge contemporary YA fan and Jennifer E. Smith is one of my super favorite authors in that genre. I’ve always wished to meet her in person someday and I didn’t expect that someday would come sooner than I thought! 🙂 While I haven’t read any of Lissa Price’s books yet, it was still a great pleasure to meet her. She’s a wonderful conversationalist who gave very helpful writing advice.

Furthermore, seeing my fellow book bloggers made the day even better. As always, we talked about our latest reads and upcoming books. I’ll never get tired of sharing bookish thoughts with my blogger friends! Our energies, when it comes to books, become one huge ball of effervescence. We’re truly a gleeful bunch of bookworms!

September 21 was indeed a HAPPY day from START to END. 🙂

Thank you so much to the brilliant National Book Store for bringing Jen and Lissa to the Philippines! You guys are extraordinary. Love you loads! ❤ Can’t wait for the next bookish event!

Pictures from the sigining: 

Book display

Book display

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The glorious Powerbooks author “throne” 😀

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Lissa Price and Jennifer E. Smith

With Lissa

With the lovely Lissa Price!

With JenESmith

With Jennifer E. Smith, one of the sweetest authors I’ve ever met! I’ll be a fangirl of Jen and her books forever! 🙂

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Jen taking a picture of “Wilbur”, the Piggy siopao that Dianne of Oops! I Read A Book Again gave her.

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PH Book Bloggers with Lissa and Jen

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My signed copy of Starters!

Signed JenESmith books

My signed copies of Jennifer E. Smith’s books!

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To Jesselle,

Write often.

Write a lot.

Write the best you can.

Hope to read your books one day!

<3,

Jen =)

This message is absolutely what happy looks like for an aspiring writer like me. 🙂

Jennifer E. Smith and Lissa Price’s message to Filipino fans: 

 

Did you attend Jen and Lissa’s book signing? Share your experience on the comment section below!

Blog Tour: Not In The Script by Amy Finnegan [Review + Guest Post + Giveaway!]

COVER_Not_in_the_Script_for_Press_KitTitle: Not In The Script (If Only, #3)

Author: Amy Finnegan

Publication date: October 7, 2014

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Pages: 392

Source: ARC gifted by the author (Thank you, Amy!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Books-A-Million / Indiebound

Description: The best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.

Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.

Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.

When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.

*Photo and book description provided by the author

*Other book info from Goodreads  

My review:

My reading schedule this year is loaded with contemporary titles and I’m very happy to say that Not In The Script is one of the few that stood out. It is such a pleasure to read. It made me want to flail, giggle, and do cartwheels all at the same time! Besides, I’m a huge fan of teen dramas on TV so this is a contemporary YA I’d absolutely be interested in.

Written in alternate POVs, Not In The Script tells the story of Emma and Jake, two celebrities who fall in love on the set of their show, Coyote Hills. But here’s thing: Emma doesn’t want to get into another relationship with a co-star. How’s that for conflict? Intriguing, huh? And so begins Emma and Jake’s complicated pursuit of love and happiness that feels so right but at the same time, feels so wrong. You’d sense the I’m-so-into-you-but-I-can’t-be-with-you push and pull of Emma and Jake’s hearts as they struggle to navigate the difficult situation they’re in. It’s entertaining yet a bit frustrating on some parts. *gasp* Why? If you’re someone like me who ships a one true pairing so hard and the characters just won’t get it on, you’d totally understand! 🙂 Nevertheless, I adored the romance in this book. It’s something you’ll never get tired of swooning over!

Emma and Jake are characters that readers would love from the get go. Both possess a high level of likability and distinctive personalities that you’d want to discover more. Emma is a down to earth, insightful, and realistic girl. Even if she’s popular, she treasures normal life and doesn’t let fame get into her head. But what I love most about Emma is that she’s far from perfect. It’s her imperfection and vulnerability that render her a strong protagonist. On the other hand, Jake is a gorgeous, levelheaded, and thoughtful guy who dreams big and knows how to prioritize important things like education. He’s AMAZING! I love how Jake sees through Emma and appreciates her for who she really is—the ordinary person, not the celebrity. He deeply cares for her, proving that he’s a guy worth falling for and someone that parents would approve of. Two thumbs up for that! Like Emma, Jake values the simple life so they’re one perfect match. Both are the kind of fictional couple that readers would certainly root for. Their sweet moments together are undeniably priceless episodes you’d read over and over again! Furthermore, Emma and Jake each have personal issues in this story. In spite of their inner being’s fragile state, both dealt with their problems like grown-ups.

Not In The Script is a complete Hollywood experience as it is packed with a well-structured plot, stellar cast, intense on-set drama, and irresistible romance. An eye opener to the entertainment industry’s complexities, the book illustrated what happens both on and off camera in a very plausible manner. Readers are sure to have a thorough grasp of what celebrity life is all about. With her smart, genuine, and clever writing, author Amy Finnegan gave the story a fun vibe, making Not In The Script a book that people would savor until the end. Indeed, this is a debut novel that deserves a spot in the YA limelight!

Rating:

5/5 stars

GUEST POST: 

For today’s Not In The Script tour stop, the lovely Amy Finnegan shares with us an exclusive behind the scenes story of her novel! Enjoy! 🙂

The Behind the Scenes Story of NOT IN THE SCRIPT

Fox lot

The Fox Studios lot

I have a brother who has an incredibly amazing job: He works for Fox on their studio lot in Hollywood. Over the years, his behind-the-scenes stories about filmmaking have lit up my writer’s brain like bulbs on a Christmas tree, and one thing in particular he said that inspired an important aspect of NOT IN THE SCRIPT. He told me about a film he was working on in which the villain of the story was played by one of the nicest guys he’d ever met (the actor would play basketball or just hang out with my brother during breaks, and he’d often talk about his family and friends), and the hero of the story was played by a skirt-chasing jerk with a filthy mouth. And then my brother said something like, “You wouldn’t believe how common that scenario is in this business.”

That’s when I went home and actually started writing. Additional concepts came into place quickly, but this was the spark that started a fire in me and became a central theme in the novel.

Tyler

My brother Tyler, one of many “Golden Boys” at Fox!

But I didn’t want to fake my way through the filmmaking scenes in the book. I needed to do some serious research in order to make things feel authentic. So on the production side of things, my brother gave me some amazing opportunities to not only tour dozens of sets, but to sit in on the productions of some of my favorite shows, such as Parks and Recreation and Parenthood. I have also been a fly on the wall during sound mixing for another of my all time favorite shows: Chuck! And I’ve also watched Foley artists work their sound effect magic for an episode of The Walking Dead. All along the way, I’ve asked countless (helpful!) crewmembers endless questions in order to get the technical details of NOT IN THE SCRIPT as accurate as possible. But it hardly felt like work. Every bit of filmmaking is fascinating, no matter which side of the camera you’re on. I can’t get enough of it.

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Why cameras avoid ceilings on TV. The interior of a Parenthood set.

Parenthood Exterior

The exterior of a Parenthood set. Where are all the neighbors? 😉

But I never like to do anything halfway, so I also wanted to learn what acting was all about. For this, I went pretty hardcore and took lessons from an on-set acting coach who works with some of the largest studios. She is also an accomplished actress herself, having starred on a popular television show for over a decade. It was incredibly eye-opening, challenging, and entertaining. But I’ll definitely leave the acting to the professionals while I write in my quiet little corner!

Amy with an Oscar

The only time I will ever hold an Oscar, I assure you.

While doing all of this research I was lucky enough to meet lots of Hollywood stars, including most of the Parks and Recreation cast: Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, and Retta. I mingled with them for a full two days, and—I’m not just saying this to be gracious—they were all incredibly friendly and hard-working. There wasn’t a single diva bossing people around or being snippy because their coffee mug ran dry. I experienced the same thing on the sets of Parenthood and Melissa and Joey. The cast and crew of all three shows answered any question I asked with enthusiasm and patience. Each day was an amazing experience to say the least.

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A Parks and Recreation Costume Rack

A few moments in particular stand out: During a long break while a set was being rearranged, I had a great conversation with Chris Pratt about his days on one of my all-time favorite TV shows—EVERWOOD! (I miss that show so much! You should binge-watch the entire series if you haven’t seen it. You’ll thank me!)

Aubrey Plaza was in on that conversation as well, and we somehow started talking about on-screen kissing, which turned quite hilarious because Aubrey said something like, “Chris and I have to make out all the time.” And they both said it doesn’t even phase them anymore, but then Chris added that even though it doesn’t feel real on set, all common sense goes out the window when he has to watch his wife make out with other guys (he’s married to the beautiful Anna Faris). Chris Pratt is pretty much a standup comedian, both on and off set, and just about everything that came out of his mouth made me laugh like a fangirling fool. And Aubrey Plaza is so chill and funny! I could’ve listened to the two of them for days. Weeks!

Parenthood_mirror

Funny mirror on the set of Parenthood

Speaking of kissing, one of the scenes I watched on the set of Parenthood was of two college kids making out in a dorm room. The actors didn’t seem to mind that at least 20 people were watching them go at it, but let me tell you, I felt wayyyyy awkward standing there take after take. Like I should cover my eyes and excuse myself. But there was another scene I watched that day that completely mesmerized me. It was of a serious conversation between the characters played by Peter Krause and Erika Christensen.

I can’t even find the words to explain how much I liked these two. First of all, Peter Krause—a three-time Emmy nominee—went out of his way to introduce himself to me (dang, dude, that’s the way to make a stranger feel welcome!). And then Erika talked up a storm to me while I ogled the heck out of her as the sound crew fished a mic wire in and out of her shirt, her coat, and her scarf. It’s quite an impressive feat to hide those tricky little things. And then the scene started, and I was open-mouthed the entire time.

Universal_Sound_Stage

The Universal Studio Lot

The scene was about five minutes long and they performed it with near perfection every time, but it still took about ninety minutes to wrap up. And take after take, Erika Christensen turned on the emotion and a floodgate of genuine tears (no eye drops here, folks!). And then she’d perk right up and do it all over again. I’ve never seen anything like it. I was blown away! If I’d had an Emmy in my pocket, I would’ve run over and handed it to her. It was such an amazing scene to witness.

During this same week, I also had a backstage tour and watched the production of Melissa and Joey, whose stars are also very nice. Joey Lawrence is still a certified heartthrob, and Melissa Joan Hart was filled with bubbly energy and had plenty of kind things to say to everyone around her.

Melissa and Joey

The productions of these three shows were all quite different. Melissa and Joey is filmed in front of a live audience, so there was music and laughing and jokes between shots, and it was all very free-for-all with lots of energy. Parenthood has a massive cast and crew, so the environment was exceptionally organized and controlled (likely to avoid chaos). It ran like a well-oiled machine and was impressive to watch.

The production of Parks and Recreation fell somewhere in the middle. For the first few takes of any scene, the actors would follow the script. Then the director would call “Fun run!” and the actors would keep the same basic structure of a scene intact, but would adlib lines and sometimes straight-up mess with things—creating hilarious results! So if you’re ever watching the show and a scene feels more like an episode of Saturday Night Live where the actors seem to be just as genuinely amused as the rest of us by something funny that just happened, you’ll now know why. It was an absolute pleasure to witness some of the best comedy on television right before my eyes.

My only regret about my experiences on these sets is that I had to sign confidentiality agreements and other documents stating that I would behave myself—which meant that I had to ask for permission before I took any photos. No photos were allowed of hot sets because of the potential for spoilers (episodes are usually shot 6-8 weeks before they are on TV), and I couldn’t take any photos of or with the actors. I couldn’t even take photos of photos of the actors. There were lots of reasons for this.

But I hope you can still picture all of this in your mind! It was amazing!

Thank you so much Amy for the awesome guest post! What do you guys think of Not In The Script‘s BTS story? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Up for grabs:

 3 Not In The Script swag bags

2 Not In The Script swag bags + Shany cosmetics nail art set

Open INTERNATIONALLY.

Please click on the link below and it will direct you to the Rafflecopter form!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the author:

Amy_Finnegan_Bio_Pic_for_Press_KitAmy Finnegan writes her own stories because she enjoys falling in love over and over again, and thinks everyone deserves a happy ending. She likes to travel the world—usually to locations where her favorite books take place—and owes her unquenchable thirst for reading to Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. Her debut novel, NOT IN THE SCRIPT, came about after hearing several years of behind-the-scenes stories from her industry veteran brother. She’s also been lucky enough to visit dozens of film sets and sit in on major productions such as Parks and Recreation and Parenthood. You can follow Amy on Twitter: @ajfinnegan, Instagram: StrangerThanFictionWriter, Facebook: Amy Finnegan, Author. Or Visit her at AmyFinnegan.com.