Books To Take You Away From It All

Tag Archives: Hollywood

Fifteen-year-old Thea Wallis was born to entertain. Her mother, Oscar winning actress Cassie Hartley, thinks differently and has kept her daughter out of the spotlight since day one. Coming from showbiz royalty, it hasn’t been easy to go unnoticed, but mismatched surnames, a family home in Tasmania and a low-key scriptwriter father has made this possible. Just like her cousin Rory on the hugely popular TV show Saturday Morning Dance, Thea loves to dance. She learns the show’s routines off by heart each week, despite her mother’s attempts to convince her that dentistry would be a far more fulfilling career choice. However, when Rory goes off the rails in LA, Thea’s mother is suddenly left with no choice at all – Rory needs them and to LA they must go. Within forty-eight hours, Thea finds herself a long way from Tasmania and living her dream – on the road to Las Vegas with the Saturday Morning Dance team. It doesn’t take long before Thea’s talents are discovered and she’s offered everything she’s ever wanted on a plate, including the dance partner she’s had a crush on forever. But, as her mother has always told her, Hollywood dreams come at a price. Thea soon realizes she will have to work out just how much she’s willing to pay. And, ultimately, discover her own way to be Hartley. (From

Sissy: Being Hartley by Allison Rushby was just a fun little read.  Thea lives in a world that seems magical to me, but was slightly annoying to her.  I kept thinking that being in a famous family and having no money worries and travelling the globe would be, I dunno, rather fun, but I guess it has its downsides too.  I am willing to give it a try, though.  “Hollywood!! Yoohoo–I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille!”

Bubby: I know, right? They kept ordering room service or buying jewelry or reserving cabanas the same way I buy drinks at Sonic (only during 1/2 price happy hour) and socks at Wal-Mart. How the other half lives, I guess. But as much as the money and recognition would be nice, I think the constant pressure to be “on” and perfect would kill me. I’d go from happy homemaker to star to dead of a heroin overdose in the blink of an eye.

Sissy: Once you get past the mindless spending of money, you find a great teenage story. No super powers or magic, unless you count the platinum visa, just kids growing up and finding out how to be. A little family drama, a little romance, a little bungalow in Tasmania, all great stuff.

Bubby: All Thea’s mom wants is for Thea to grow up as a normal teenager, without all the pressure of stardom. All Thea wants is to be allowed to make her own decisions. Seems like the issues between kids and parents are pretty much the same no matter if you are famous or not. (Except for the bungalow in Tasmania). I love reading stories that are good enough for me to enjoy and for my teenagers to enjoy as well. This is one that they will really like.

Sissy: Also all the Hartleys have beautiful distinctive curly blonde hair and are beautiful and talented, sort of like me and Bubby. Without the curly bit. Could have been named “Being Sissy”. Great fun of a book. I give it 3.75 bubbles.

Bubby: Sissy is delusional. I love her anyway. 3.5 bubbles from me.

Click HERE to buy Being Hartly by Allison Rushby at

We were given a copy of this title by Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.

© Bubble Bath Books 2014

Forgetting was only the beginning. When seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench, she has no idea who or where she is. Yet after a week of being homeless, she’s reunited with her family. At school, she’s powerful and popular. At home, she’s wealthy beyond her dreams. But she quickly realizes her perfect life is a lie. Her family is falling apart and her friends are snobby, cruel and plastic. Worse still, she discovers she was the cruelest one. Mortified by her past, she embarks on a journey of redemption and falls for Kyle, the “geek” she once tormented. Yet all the time she wonders if, when her memories return, she’ll become the bully she was before…and if she’ll lose Kyle. (From

Sissy:  While I enjoyed this book because it is a lovely tale of redemption with a happy ending, and you know I love a happy ending, I have to say I found it to be the slightest bit shallow, and there are some holes in the plot.  Sia, in my opinion, doesn’t try hard enough to find out who she is, but rather just dives into the homeless life.  When she encounters Kyle in the soup kitchen, she doesn’t ask him about herself, even though he obviously knows her.  She solves all her family’s problems a little too neatly, and completely changes herself in the meantime.  Not that I don’t like the changes and solutions;  I do.  I like how everything turns out.  I just don’t know if I believe its possible.

Bubby: Oh, Sissy. Sometimes you are such an adult! Yes, it was all too easy to fix Sia’s family and turn around the “mean girls” at the high school – from an adult perspective. But think of it from the viewpoint of a 14 or 15-year-old girl. Especially one who is getting picked on by said mean girls. They are dreaming of a quick fix, some way that people will suddenly wake up and see them for the wonderful people they are and quit tormenting them. In reality, it usually doesn’t happen. It takes lots of time and maturity. That’s why high school reunion revenge fantasies are so popular! When Sia is at the soup kitchen and Kyle calls her out, she is confused and scared. All she knows is that someone is yelling at her and she just wants to get away. It’s obvious to me that trying to get answers would not be her first reaction. The same goes for her family. Everyone with deep family issues wishes that the person with the problem would suddenly wake up and see the light. Josh Grayson just makes those wishes come true.

Sissy:  But it’s also true that life doesn’t work that way, and if you have fantasies to that effect you are setting yourself up for repeated disappointment.  But, I know that I like my fantasy endings, and it doesn’t make me think that’s the way real life will be.  They just allow me some escape, which is perhaps how I should view this book.  I also am a fan of goodness, positive changes, and believing that anything is possible, and I guess Josh Grayson tries to incorporate those things in a short 193 pages.  I just think this book is too young for my jaded old self in some ways, and I wanted to yell at Sia for being so dumb.  Sia is 17, but I suppose the perfect reader of this book might indeed be a 15-year-old.  Age 15 is such a distant fly speck on the landscape of my life….my 15 yr old  pathos and angst has been relegated to a forgotten and dusty corner of my brain.

Bubby: And that’s a good thing! I really liked the message that having things and money and popularity is not a lasting formula for happiness, and that true joy comes from serving others and loving selflessly. Also, I loved the descriptions of the fabulous clothes, especially the dress Sia wears to the Oscars. My favorite line in the book also comes at the Oscars, when Kyle and Sia get to meet Robert Downy Jr. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens! Can I just say that if I met Robert Downy Jr. I would probably make a fool of myself – calling him Mr. Iron Man, Sir, or something equally fan-girly. I guess it’s a good thing I am far away from Hollywood!

Sissy:  I wouldn’t.  I would just say “Hey, Bob.”  Sia is the debut novel for Josh Grayson, and I think he did a good job.(rhymes with “Hey, Bob.”)  I applaud him for writing a hopeful, happy novel to be placed on the shelves in the midst of more gritty, dark, and lusty offerings, and I hope girls choose this sort of book over those.  It just wasn’t the kind of novel that gets to me deeply, like an Amy Harmon or Suzanna Kearsley book.  But I say, “Go, fight, write more, Mr. Grayson!”  3 bubbles from me.

Bubby: I am a bit more enthusiastic than you, Sissy. I quite enjoyed Sia. I thought it was a lovely story with a great message and a happy ending for all. 4 bubbles from me.

Click HERE to buy Sia by Josh Grayson at

We received a complimentary copy of Sia in return for a fair review. No other compensations, monetary or otherwise, were given.

© Bubble Bath Books 2013