Embrace Blog Tour: In Bloom by Katie Delahanty ~ Brittany & Stacy's 5 Star Reviews, Dream Cast & Giveaway!
My first thought after reading the synopsis for In Bloom was that this sounded like just my kind of book, where Hollywood and real life collide, and hopefully there would be lots of romance, drama, and a happily-ever-after. Ordinary girl meets famous musician and sparks fly? Yes please! This is just the kind of story I love. And, after seeing a few great reviews, I was really excited to start reading this one. Also, I'm kind of obsessed with that cover. Gorgeous.
While working behind the scenes at a fashion show and trying to make herself invisible, Olivia Bloom runs into the lead singer of her favorite band, Berkeley Dalton. Of course she's a bit awestruck and proceeds to make an ass of herself. Not her finest moment. Enter Olivia's new friends/neighbors and "Operation Loverly," their attempt at transforming her. They're determined to give her the Hollywood makeover they think she needs and we get to see her try to navigate life in a new town. After stressing about her future, she lands a job at a high-end lingerie company and things start to look up.
Yep. That's me. Olivia Bloom. Ending the world, one g-string at a time.
Olivia is a great character. She's clumsy and a bit awkward at times, but she's authentic. She uses humor in awkward situations and is always putting her foot in her mouth, but I absolutely loved her. At times, though, she was achingly insecure. But I was rooting for her to come into her own and be the strong woman that I could see lurking beneath the surface. As the story progressed, she seemed to do just that. As for the supporting characters, Liv's mother was my favorite! She's quirky and eccentric, and so funny. She brought a lot of humor to this story that was already full of laugh-out-loud moments. She quickly became one of my favorite characters in the book. Liv's friends are also all wonderful characters and each brought something special to the story.
After a few chance (and some not-so-chance) encounters, things start to progress a bit with Berkeley and Liv. She's convinced that she's made a fool of herself during each of their meetings, and there's no way he could be attracted to her, but it turns out that she caught Berkeley's eye from that very first meeting. He's just as enamored with her as she is with him. Things actually progress pretty slowly in their relationship, which was great for me, but Liv finds herself trying to focus more on her work, which she soon excels at, so that she won't have to pine over Berkeley. And when Berkeley is back in the picture, we find Liv on the red carpet, dodging paparazzi, and soaking up affection from a hot rock star. Pretty great, right?! Of course, dating a celebrity comes with its share of complications, and Liv really needs to develop a thicker skin.
It's official. My tongue is cursed. #funkitup
Berkeley is super sweet! You can tell he finds the whole Hollywood lifestyle a bit old, at least the publicity/spinning stories aspect, but he's still able to enjoy himself and look at everything with a sense of humor. He's honest and romantic, and he stands up for Liv and their relationship when needed, which makes him extra dreamy in my book. They have a really cute relationship and it was fun to experience it with them. And the first "I love you" was just a bout the cutest thing ever. Could these two be more perfect?
He nods his understanding and folds me into his arms. "Can I call you?" he asks into my hair.
Obviously music is incorporated into this story, which is another thing that drew me to it. This is always something I love in a book. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but also some super sweet ones as well. This author has a refreshing sense of humor that made for a truly enjoyable read. I definitely got pretty emotional there at the end, but it all evened out nicely. The ending left just a tiny bit to be desired and I'm really hoping that the next book continues Olivia and Berkeley's story (although I have a feeling that it might focus on different characters the next time around). Overall, it read quickly and the story flowed nicely. I had a hard time putting it down, I loved it. Also, between the real life inspiration for this book, and the tiwtter accounts (that I may have become a bit obsessed with), the whole "experience" of this book is a lot of fun!
He looks at me and softens. "I'm not captivating-- far from it, actually. I'm just honest. And to be honest, I've never met anyone I liked more than you. And, for once in my life, I don't care who knows it."
Sitting back, I peek at Berkeley's perfectly symmetrical profile, my thoughts turning to the near escapade in the Escalade. That was so almost rock' n' roll. He catches me looking. We share a conspiratorial smile, and he reaches out and squeezes my hand.
Olivia “Liv” Bloom is a woman just trying to make her way in the crazy world that is Los Angeles. She has an awesome set of friends, and a new job that she could only dream of. The only thing she doesn’t have is a man, and she doesn’t want one! She’s been burned by love before, and she’s not about to go down that road again. In fact she is truly happy with her life the way it is. Liv is a pretty cool chick, she doesn’t play the martyr card at all which I loved. She’s a strong heroine who seems real and natural, and I truly enjoyed reading her.
Berkeley Dalton, lead singer for Berkeley and the Brightside, and Ahhhhhhhh. This guy is everything! I loved him from the moment I met him! He is basically Hollywood’s “it” guy, and Olivia is Hollywood’s sort of fake “it” girl, due to an experiment that her two friends decided to pull. Her friends which I loved by the way! Which I’m not sure why I loved them because they were pretty crappy at times! LOL, but they were entertaining for sure! And something else that I loved about this book was Katie’s smooth wit that went into her writing. I found myself giggling late into the night (Trying not to wake my husband), this book was so smart and quirky and I found it so refreshing that the humor wasn’t forced. You can tell that the Author is just naturally a funny minded person. I can totally appreciate that, considering all of the books I read. I loved every bit of it, and now I’m spoiled and I just want more!
Something else I didn’t know about was how the book was actually formed. While reading, there are some cute “tweets” at the beginning of the chapters that coincide with that part of the story. I just thought that Katie was showing us how her characters were acting in the real world. And she WAS! It turns out that her characters have twitter accounts, and those tweets actually made it into the book. I just found this out while reading it! Crazy right? But I think it’s so cool! I love being surprised with stuff like that! This book really is different, and I LOVED it thoroughly!
Ok so back to the love… Berkeley and Olivia have this amazing chemistry that can’t be denied. He is smitten with her from the very first moment he sees her. And of course she feels the same way, yet she finds it hard to believe that her feelings could be reciprocated. But they are, and you get to go on this crazy cool whirlwind story filled with passion, heat, laughs, tears, and crazy paparazzi Hollywood drama. This book was just simple perfection for me, and I want all of my people to read it. It’s genuinely one of the best books I’ve read this year. You will fall in LOVE with Berkeley and Olivia big time!
Casting IN BLOOM is strangely hard for me. I didn’t write it with anyone in mind, and I’ve been struggling with casting Liv and Berkeley. The truth is, if someone were to play either of them in a movie or TV show, I’d want them to be unknown. IN BLOOM is about following your dreams—it’s a dream come true for me—and my greatest wish is that it could in turn make other people’s dreams come true. That said, I’ll take a stab at it—and I’d love to hear who you envision playing them too—tweet me @KTDelahanty!
Okay. Here it goes…
Berkeley Dalton: Like I said, I’d prefer someone unknown…but if I had to pick…Alex Pettyfer could work!
Liv: Chanel Celaya. She made out with Justin Bieber in a music video so she’s used to kissing rock stars. She has It girl potential for sure!
Parker Mifflin: AKA Andrew Rannells—great style, deserving of luxury. Enough said.
Blair Hamilton: Annie Illonzeh would be great as the confident, aspiring publicist, Blair.
Christina Carlton: America’s sweetheart movie star—gotta go with Amber Heard (and she wore Jonquil lingerie in the movie Syrup so she’s practically already IN BLOOM!)
Lisa Greene: Chloe Blanchard— In real life she’s nothing like oblivious Lisa (Chloe’s super smart!) but models can act, right? She’s gorgeous and perfect to play an up-and-coming starlet!
Mark VanCleer: Sweet, funny, swoon-worthy in his own right—Ian Harding.
Jeff: Surfer, vegan, guitar player…Ryan Kwanten. Yup!
Ted: Not sure if he plays drums, but Wyatt Russell would be fabulous as the loveable Ted!
Haynes: Actor Mick Thyer may be Australian, but I’m sure he could try on a Cockney accent for the role of Berkeley & the Brightside’s fast-talking manager.
Boots: Odette Annabelle would be great as wise-cracking Boots…and she’s played a doctor before… she probably knows the lingo!
Gemma: Lily Collins would be fabulous as fashionista Gemma!
Psychic Mom: Kirstie Alley. Wouldn’t she look great with a crystal ball?
Shar: Kristen Connolly—I’m sure she could perfect Shar’s icy stare…
Katie Delahanty is a fashion designer turned novelist. She holds a BA in Communication Studies from UCLA and a Professional Designation in Fashion Design from FIDM. It never occurred to her that she was a writer until an economic-crisis-induced career shift from lingerie designer to e-commerce webmistress led her to start the company blog. Not being an expert in lingerie, she decided to write the blog as a fictional serial starring a girl named Olivia Bloom who worked for the lingerie line. And that’s when Katie fell in love with storytelling. She hasn’t looked back since. Katie lives in Los Angeles with her husband.
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