Celebrities for Breakfast

Shelley Stout
Celebrities for Breakfast
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Release Date
August 2010
Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy

Personal shopper to the stars, Judith Collington, refuses to spend one more day in LA, answering the whiney demands of her Hollywood clientele. To escape, Judith and her seventh-grader, Shannon, give up their lucrative lifestyle to run a bed and breakfast in central Illinois. Judith prepares to purchase the property, until it changes hands in a poker game. New owner: Hollywood actor and part-time egomaniac, Ren Spencer. Judith installs Ren into the nearest guest room, where he insists on heated towels and meals on a tray. She would love to hate him, except he's pathetic in an endearing sort of way. Oh, and did I mention he's about to become engaged?

If you really want the latest, just read Shannon's private computer journal. Her bedroom wall is plastered with posters of her all-time favorite star, but Shannon could care less if Ren Spencer's a has-been at 35. He's so hot, she can't stop writing love stories about him. So what if Ren drinks too much and has to sober up in jail? And why can't Shannon just have a normal mother like everybody else?

CELEBRITIES FOR BREAKFAST is a romantic comedy told through Judith's voice, but sprinkled throughout are Shannon's journal entries and Ren's two cents.

Book Review by CarolAnn
Oct 27, 2010   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
122 people found the following review helpful
Reading this book really reminded me of those delightful 1960s Doris Day/Rock Hudson romantic comedies given a modern twist. We have the leads: the has-been Hollywood actor seeking solace in a bottle, the divorced mother wanting her daughter to have a normal life away from the harmful influences of Hollywood and the daughter suffering all the angst of teenage years. They may sound like typical stereotypes but Shelley Stout's writing technique makes them fascinating individuals.

When Judith Collington moves to Bloomington, Illinois, with her daughter Shannon, she believes that she has left everything connected to Hollywood behind. She's looking forward to running the bed and breakfast which she hopes to buy. However, she is shocked when she discovers that the bed and breakfast has been acquired by Pigskin Investments and the CEO is due to pay a visit. She is even more shocked to find out that the new CEO is actor Ren Spencer, her daughter's idol. Even more perturbing is the fact that Ren arrives as drunk as a lord! – "my head had been split open by a hit-‘n-run bottle of Jack Daniels."

Judith is expecting her first guests, reporters from Travel and Leisure magazine, and wants to make a good impression. However, she has not reckoned with the resident owner causing complete mayhem! However, as they spend more time together, there is definitely a mutual attraction. But one small obstacle stands in their way – Ren's fiancée, Lisa! Lisa even wants to hold the wedding in the bed and breakfast because it's small and intimate. As the wedding day arrives, it looks as though there is not going to be a happy ever after for Ren and Judith, but nothing's certain until the credits roll!

I like Ms Stout's use of Judith and Ren's narrations which really bring the characters to life and move the story forward. Shannon's comments in her journal help to provide a different perspective on the events.

Ms Stout has also assembled a very colorful and interesting supporting cast, including:

Korea, Ren's bodyguard: "generally dumber than a concrete piano"
Heidi, Judith's next door neighbor: "used to do.....adult films"
Mitch, Heidi's husband: "An RV salesman and former male model"
Leonard Morley, a regular visitor: "suffers from nocturnal arousal disorders!"
Eddie Montclare, the plumber: "Mr Hunk-a-Licious"

There are so many numerous hilarious moments in this book that it is very difficult to select my favorites. They definitely include Ren's drunken antics whilst staying at the bed and breakfast and Judith's reference to him as "his highness, the Maharaja of Movie Idolness". There is also a scene where Judith is reluctantly going on a date with Warren, Heidi's brother. To discourage him, she wears her rattiest sweatshirt and, for an extra touch, she puts on her painter's overalls!

I must admit that I liked Ren even when he was being an arrogant jackass but, as the story progresses, we learn some surprising things about him, including details of his past which he has always kept well hidden. There is definitely more to him than "the out of control drunk" he first appears to be. I admired his determination to get his life back on track, but I was at a complete loss to understand why he lets Lisa virtually run his life. Judith says she missed the old Ren and so did I. However, when details of his past are eventually revealed, the motivation for his actions does make sense.

I really like Judith because of her concern for her daughter. She is willing to give up a lucrative job and take a risk in running the bed and breakfast so that Shannon can have a normal life. She has lots of problems to face in running the bed and breakfast but she never gives up.

Of all the secondary characters, I really have a soft spot for Heidi, Judith's neighbor. At first, she appears to be the typical dumb blond, which to some extent she is. However, she proves herself a really good friend to Judith and, in her own way, she's very caring.

My only criticism of the book is that the ending did not live up to my expectations. I had pictured a grand scenario where Ren and Judith finally admit their feelings for each other – maybe, just as Ren and Lisa are about to exchange vows, Ren could have declared that he could not marry her because he was in love with Judith. For me, the scene in the book where they admit their feelings lacked the dramatic intensity I had hoped for.

This did not, however, spoil my overall enjoyment of the book and if you are looking for a gentle romance full of humor and quirky characters, this book is definitely for you.
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Book Review by Danielle G. (reviewer)
Oct 27, 2010   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
137 people found the following review helpful
Celebrities for Breakfast is Shelley Stout's latest novel, a romantic comedy. Celebrities for Breakfast follows Ren Spencer, who is an actor and Judith Collington, who is a personal shopper. Judith is sick of LA, so she packs up and moves to Illinois to manage a bed and breakfast, only to find the owner of the bed and breakfast just lost the property in a poker game. Ren, who is just getting over a break up, wins Innstead bed and breakfast at a poker game and immediately turns up on its doorstep expecting to move in.

The plot of Celebrities for Breakfast was developed smoothly through out the novel, with Shannon's journal entries at the beginning of most chapters volunteering a unique perspective of the events that transpire.

Most of the main characters in Celebrities for Breakfast were unlikable and it was hard to relate to them, as they didn't seem realistic and the relationships between some of the main characters seemed forced.

The novel is classed as a romantic comedy, however since I didn't find the novel the slightest bit humorous, this classification seems inaccurate. But humor is subjective, so while I might not find it funny, that isn't to say you might not, too.

In conclusion, Celebrities for Breakfast had the potential to be a fantastic romantic comedy, however, in my opinion, it lacks humour and the characters' development required more work. However, its plot was developed without any major flaws and Shannon's perspective was interesting to read.
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