This Chick Read: Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey

After the success of her debut novel, Waiting for Tom Hanks, Kerry Winfrey gives us a follow up featuring the two people her heroine, Annie, wrote her screenplay, Chloe and Nick. Chloe seems like she has it all with her positive attitude, unique style, and never-ending charm, but in actuality she’s got a load of stress balanced on her small shoulders. She’s approaching thirty and is still working in a coffee shop, her father’s in a facility because of his Alzheimer’s, she’s helping Annie plan her wedding, and she’s taking online classes to try to get a degree so she can one day have her dream, opening a bakery. When Annie’s screenplay based on Chloe’s life gets made into a movie it seems the world wants a piece of her that she can’t afford to give away and the one constant in her life, Nick, her boss and friend, starts looking very very good. How will her life change if Chloe starts seeing him as more than a friend?

Not Like the Movies had the charm of Kerry Winfrey’s first novel, but had an underlying depth that took the story beyond the fluffy love story into a well written piece of fiction. Don’t get me wrong, Ms. Winfrey still wrote some great rom-com banter and had all of those movie comparisons as she did in Waiting for Tom Hanks, but Chloe and Nick’s story had a layer of insecurity and uncertainty hidden beneath the artful disguise of Chloe’s exterior. If it weren’t for the love story aspect of this novel the color of Chloe’s tale would have been muted grays and greens instead of the bright technicolor red of her favorite lipstick.

What about our hero Nick? He was the perfect complement to Chloe in that he was steady, safe, and sweet. Truthfully though, he kind of got a little lost in all of her drama although I think that was done purposefully by the author to show Chloe how he was her perfect match. I am a reader that likes a more obvious approach to love, so the will they or won’t they was frustrating for me and I’ll admit to skimming over a few scenes to get to the meat of the romance a little quicker.

As a comparison to the first novel, which I loved, I thought Not Like the Movies was a solid sequel but lacked the optimism and charm that made me root for Annie and Drew. Not to say that I didn’t like Nick and Chloe, because I did, their story was just a different piece of fiction. Chloe and Nick had their own smoldering fire and I adored Nick’s steadiness because it was exactly what Chloe needed to make her happy. They had me rooting for them just as hard just in a more quiet way. If you didn’t read Waiting for Tom Hanks, it will be easier for you to like Not Like in the Movies because you won’t have the same expectations and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with this couple in the end, just like I did. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

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This Chick Read: Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

Budding screenwriter Annie Cassidy dreams of writing the next great romantic comedy. Her best memories from her childhood are watching rom-com’s like Sleepless in Seattle or When Harry Met Sally with her now deceased mother. Sitting in their local coffee shop working on her screenplay, Annie learns that a rom-com will be filmed in their neighborhood starring cocky Drew Danforth. Despite being disappointed in their choice of lead actor (no similarities to Tom Hanks at all!), Annie gets a part time job as the Director’s assistant, for the first time immersing herself in the movie making world. A world that soon makes her wonder if she isn’t starring in her own rom-com with a rather unlikely leading man.

Waiting for Tom Hanks is a really cute romantic comedy mixing moments of hilarity while also mining the depths of our characters hearts. There are tons of comparisons to our favorite romantic comedies and every man Annie meets is compared to her favorite leading characters played by actor Tom Hanks. Hence the title of the book. The author walked a fine line between overplaying those two comparisons but somehow I accepted every mention.

The romance between Annie and Drew was antagonistic at first due to Annie’s misconception about Drew’s lack of Tom Hanks-like attributes. I enjoyed their clever dialog and found myself rooting for Drew early on but sat patiently reading until Annie got past her misconceptions.

Part of what made this novel so enjoyable was the cast of characters. Annie’s kooky best friend, her Dungeons & Dragons playing uncle, and the nutty director of the movie all added depth and fun to their scenes, as well as helped round out Annie’s character. Through her interactions with them the reader is able to see her as more of a sympathetic character because at first she is rather mean to Drew and that could’ve been hard to overlook.

This novel was one of my most anticipated reads for June. Did it live up to my expectations? It had a great meet cute, subtle humor, solid friendships, kooky best friend, and hot love interest. YEP! I wasn’t disappointed at all. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalleyfor my honest review and it was honest.

Click here to purchase!* Waiting for Tom Hanks

Blog post Copyright Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

Want to read an excerpt?

I blink a few times, staring straight into Drew Danforth’s face. It’s like when you’re a kid and there’s a solar eclipse, and all the teachers are like, “Don’t look directly into the sun! You’ll destroy your retinas!” but there’s always that one kid (Johnny Berger, in our class) who can’t stop staring.

In this situation, I’m Johnny Berger. And I guess Drew Danforth is the sun.

“Are you okay?” he asks again, enunciating his words even more as if me understanding him is the problem. His brown eyes, I notice, are flecked with tiny bits of gold, which is something you can’t see when you watch him on TV. His hair is just as voluminous as it seems in pictures, but in person, I have the almost overwhelming urge to touch it, to reach out and pull on that one lock of hair that hangs over his forehead.

“She’s not responding.” He turns to Chloe. “Is something wrong?”

“She’s French,” Chloe says without missing a beat. “She only speaks French.”

“I’m not French,” I say, breaking my silence. Chloe and Drew’s heads swivel to look at me.

“I’m sorry about your coat,” I whisper, then I run toward Nick’s.

Chloe bursts in the door behind me, the bell jingling in her wake. “I’m not French?” she screeches. “Those are the first words you spoke to Drew Danforth? Really?”

“Well then, why did you tell him I was French?” I shout, ignoring the curious stares of everyone working on their laptops and the calming melody of whatever Nick put on to replace the Doobies.

“I don’t know!” She throws her hands in the air. “You weren’t talking, so I thought I’d give you an interesting backstory!”

I put my hands over my face. “This is ridiculous.”

“No,” Chloe says, grabbing me by the shoulders. “This is your meet-cute, and now you need to go back out there and find him and say something that isn’t a negation of your Frenchness or an apology for destroying his probably very expensive coat.”

“Meet what?”

Nick stares at us from behind the counter, a dishtowel in his hand.

“A meet-cute,” Chloe stands up straight, shoulders back, as if she’s delivering a Romantic Comedy 101 lecture to Nick and his patrons, “is the quirky, adorable, cute way the hero and heroine of a romantic comedy meet.”

Everyone stares at her blankly.

“Or hero and hero. Or heroine and heroine. Not to be heteronormative,” she clarifies.

“Like how me and Martha met at her wedding,” Gary says.

Chloe thinks about it. “I don’t know that I would necessarily call that one a meet-cute, but sure, Gary.”

“Did you just make that up?” Nick asks, arms crossed.

I shake my head. “No. It’s a thing.”

“Watch a romantic comedy, dude,” Tobin says.

Nick rolls his eyes.

“Anyway,” Chloe continues, “Annie straight up ran into Drew Danforth and spilled a cup of coffee all over his coat, which is, like, the cutest of meets.”

“That doesn’t sound very cute,” Nick says skeptically, rubbing the scruff on his chin. “Was it still hot?”

“Scalding,” I say, sinking into my chair and resting my head on the table.

“Sounds like a meet painful,” says Gary, and a few people laugh.

“Thanks,” I mutter. “I’m so glad you all find my embarrassment entertaining.”

“Annie!” Chloe sits down across from me as a customer walks in and the rest of the shop stops paying attention to us. “This isn’t embarrassing. This is merely a story I’ll tell in my toast at your wedding to Drew.”

I lift my head to look at her. “I hate to break this to you, but I don’t think he’s my Tom Hanks. I think he’s just a famous guy with a possible third-degree burn on his chest. And now my first day on set is going to be super awkward because I accidentally assaulted the lead actor with a beverage.”

Chloe’s about to say something, but then a song starts and she closes her mouth, looking up toward the speakers. “I swear to God, I told Nick not to play any more Bon Iver. It makes people look up their exes on Instagram, not buy coffee. I’m gonna go put on some Hall and Oates.”

As she walks away, I rest my head on the table again. As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough to have my uncle get me a job on set, now I have to deal with this.

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