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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Review: Decked With Holly by Marni Bates

One of my favorite games to play is 'Spot the Celebrity'. For instance, there was a waitress in Friendly's who looked like Julie Haggarty,a waitress in Jose Tejas that looked like Diane Wiest and a bus boy in IHOP that looked like Lance Henriksen. You know, now that I think about it, they all seem to work in the food service industry. Hmm.

Anyway, I have actually had some real life celebrity sightings.

I saw Sean Penn when he was in New York filming State of least I think it was him. I was within a mile of Mel Gibson (right? Like who cares now?)when he was filming Ransom in the quarry by my old house. Well, I didn't actually see him, but the helicopters they were filming with kept me up to all hours of the night for several days. I saw Uma Thurman at a rest stop on the NY Thruway. Sadly, I didn't realize it was her until she had walked past, but the lady selling bread, jam or sunglasses, whatever, pointed her out and when I looked at Uma's retreating back, I saw that it was indeed her. She looked very much like a Plain Jane, no Hollywood makeup or anything and it was the last place I would expect to see her, but when I saw her face and really looked, it was undeniably her.

I've seen Bruce Springsteen, too, four times. Well, three times with a rumor of a fourth time. The first sighting was at a bar called The Fast Lane in Asbury Park that no longer exists.  I went to a Stray Cats concert and he came up on stage and played with the band. The second sighting was at a club in Red Bank called Big Man's West that was owned by the late Clarence Clemens. I went with some friends from college for a battle of the bands type event and the Boss was there checking it out. The third sighting was at a Greenpeace festival in Sandy Hook. My step-dad went all stalkerish and followed him around taking pictures from a distance, but damn if my step-dad didn't show up in some pictures with Bruce. I don't know how he does it.  My step-dad, that is.  The fourth time was at a little local watering hole.  John Eddie was playing.  The crowd was electrified.  The energy was bouncing off the walls, which was nothing new for a John Eddie performance, but the crowd was rowdier than usual.  The place was wild, people we're on the bar tops dancing, not me, mind you.  I was into the mood of things, but had a few and was just going along with the excitement of the crowd.  I found out a few days later that Bruce had shown up and got up on stage and played.  He was not more than 20 feet away from me and I didn't even know it.   I kid you not.  

And once, only once mind you, I took a vacation with Gary Shandling. Well, I saw him a few times. Okay, actually it pretty much was that every where we went off the beaten track, Gary Shandling was also there. He would notice us and leave. And then he was on the return flight with me back to the mainland. Well, he was in first class, but we did do Maui together. I have to wonder, though, who was stalking whom?

Book Description (From Amazon):
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Taking a Christmas cruise with her two cousins from hell isn't Holly's idea of a good time. And when seasickness forces her into an open suite, she's pepper-sprayed by a gorgeous guy called Nick. But when Holly makes her exit, she's greeted by a horde of screaming teenage fans. Because Nick happens to be Dominic Wyatt, drummer for one of the hottest bands in America. Suddenly rumours are swirling and Holly's face is plastered all over the Internet. The band can't risk a scandal destroying their family-friendly image, so Dominic convinces Holly to be his fake girlfriend - just for two weeks. How bad could it be to be "fauxmantically" involved with a cute rock star? She's about to find out...

My Review:
I was in the mood for a little holiday cheer. I admit. I am a sucker for the Hallmark Channel, ABCFamily Channel and Lifetime Channel Christmas movies. Yes, I know they are formulaic and sappy and sometimes not well acted and yes, the girl always ends up with the right guy who is gorgeous (Hello, nurse!), but I still can't resist. I mean, come on! It is Christmas! It's the time for silver and gold and twinkle lights where everyone pretends to love one another (except in the malls and parking lots). Things are supposed to have happy endings and be glittery and fun! That's the point of the movies. It's the season! I do get slightly annoyed, though, when I am trying to watch a movie undisturbed, so I can breathe in all the holiday romance, when hubby comes in the room and asks, "Whatcha watching? Is it that Mimi Rodgers movie?"

But I digress. I saw Decked with Holly by Marni Bates at the local bookstore, but picked something else up instead. When I went back to get it with coupon in hand, the one and only copy was gone. A visit to the larger book store up the highway the next day proved fruitful as I walked out of the store with book in hand, or, er, bag. I was not disappointed and I am glad I was able to pick it up. It was a lot of fun and just what the season calls for.

Holly Dayton is a walking disaster. She gets a job as Santa's Elf at the mall and ends up slapping Santa in front of the children, destroying Santa's village and getting escorted out of the mall. To make matters worse, her family shows up to support her the first day on the job and witness the whole thing. To make matters much worse, her two perfect, evil twins video the entire episode on their phone. She's grounded and screwed. She only took the job so she could make a little extra dough to by some decent clothes since she was going on a cruise with her Grandpa, aunt and uncle and four cousins, two of them being the brides of Dracula, or the Hollywood equivalent. No job, no cash, cruise still on and she'll be sharing a cabin with her two bullying cousins. I don't see the negative, do you?

Dominic Wyatt is the drummer of the world-famous band, ReadySet. He doesn't really seem to have much of a life as he is always busy with the band recording or touring, always for very long, extended hours. He really doesn't have time for anything else. To the press, he seems to live the celebrity rocker lifestyle, but he really doesn't have time to make any kind of serious commitments. He is tired, frustrated and just needs a break from the studio, so he calls a band meeting to discuss taking a break. He finally convinces his band mates that they should take a 2 week break. Tim was going to be able to go visit his boyfriend who he hardly sees, Chris was going to work on the movie soundtrack deal and Dominic was going to take a cruise to check out the facilities and work on a deal with the cruise line. No one would recognize him, right?

And we're back to Holly. She is going to have the vacation from hell. She can't stand her two cousins, Claire and Allison. They mock her, berate her, look down their nose, point out all her imperfections and she's sharing a cabin with them. They come by it honestly, though. Every meal spent with the family has her aunt counting every calorie that passes Holly's lips. Lots of comments like "You should join a gym" and "You didn't actually pack a bikini, did you?". Her Grandpa seems oblivious to her torment from the female members of the family. Her uncle and two male cousins are not central to the plot and are not flushed out at all. They are background.

So she sees a hot guy walk into the restaurant and she can't take her eyes off him. Dominic sees a girl staring at him who is a hot mess wearing a ReadySet Tshirt and he smiles at her, but then figures she's probably a crazed fan, so he turns away from her so she won't recognize him.

A bout of seasickness, her getting thrown out of her cabin because her cousins have brought back a couple of guys to the room, busting into an open door because she is going to hurl, actually hurling in some strangers bathroom, being mistaken for a zombie and then being pepper sprayed in the face, Dominic's presence being leaked to the press and we have ourselves a hot holiday fauxmance just right for the holiday season!


  1. You never told me that you were once stalked by Gary Shandling when you were on vacation! Cool!

    Couldn't agree more about the joy of happy, sappy during the holidays! And I laughed out loud at the image of your hubby interrupting your movie-watching! Hope you didn't throw anything at him! *L*

  2. Oh yeah. Me and Gary go way back, way back. The thing with Mimi Rodgers is that she was in a Christmas movie called "The Christmas List", so now whenever I am watching a movie, they are all thge Mimi Ridgers movie. And of course I didn't throw anything at him. I might break something.