If you read book one in the Wanderlove series, Without Borders, then you could not have helped but fall in love with Marisol, the funny, sexy nurse that won over readers everywhere. She returns in Semi-Scripted ready to find love.
Marisol was definitely one of my favorite characters in Without Borders, with her carefree approach to life balanced with her desire to help the children of Nicaragua, especially those who, like herself, suffered from diabetes. In Semi-Scripted we get a more serious side of Marisol, one that reveals her insecurities and desire to pull her weight in the family’s non-profit, Ahora. When she’s sent to Los Angeles to interview for a grant that could save Ahora, she decides to celebrate her birthday by trying to become a contestant on her favorite game show. Despite her enthusiasm, she doesn’t get chosen, but somehow ends up in the audience of a floundering late night talk show where she meets Evan, a show intern, and in a series of unlikely events, becomes part of the internet sensation, Marivan.
There is a lot to like about Semi-Scripted. Amanda Heger has a delightful voice, one that is funny and grabs the reader with her look into the backstage antics of a network talk show. Everything from the host’s idiosyncrasies to the long hours put into (semi) scripting a talk show kept me turning the page. Marisol and Evan are cute together as they spend long hours throwing ideas around that will keep him looking like the hapless intern in love. The crew of the talk show are characters the reader can easily identify: the harried producer trying to save the show, the intern that gets stuck doing all the work while Evan chases fame, the obnoxiously delightful host, and the writers who can’t keep the show on the air. Add in the eclectic group of regular audience members who are really just extensions of the cast and crew (“stocky” adult baby who carries around a flask while wearing a diaper, the forgetful old woman who thinks every day is her birthday) and you can’t help but love the talk-show related scenes!
But, Marisol is in LA to win grant money and her ability to remain professional in the eyes of her peers becomes increasingly difficult as she stumbles due to her lack of confidence. When pictures of her, Evan, and the talk show explode all over the internet, she quickly loses control of her professional situation. This is where the story lost some of its appeal for me, as I couldn’t connect with Marisol the professional. I couldn’t feel her anxiety as things raced out of control because I wasn’t sympathetic towards her. And, I hated that she couldn’t save herself from the situation, but instead needs help from everyone else involved.
Evan, though, is adorable and comes across perfectly as a young man trying hard to make his way as a screenwriter while proving himself to his father. His goofiness is endearing, as his relationship with his grandfather. He plays well off his co-workers, especially as he gains confidence in himself.
I gave Semi-Scripted 3.5 stars because even though I enjoyed reading the book and engaging with the characters, the Ahora storyline missed the mark. Where Without Borders grabbed me and made me care about the mission work Ahora does, it didn’t feel as though Marisol took it serious enough and so I didn’t. And, while I loved reading about both Marisol and Evan and their friendship, Semi-Scripted falls flat as a romance. There’s huge potential for romance, but I’m never convinced that these two are so in love that they’ll have a HEA.
3.5 Stars for Semi-Scripted. Heat level: 1.5
I received a copy of Semi-Scripted from the published in exchange for honest feedback.
Semi-Scripted was published in November 2016 by Diversion Books. It is book 2 in the Wanderlove series.
About the author:
Amanda Heger is a writer, attorney, and bookworm. She lives in the Midwest with her unruly rescue dogs and a husband who encourages her delusions of grandeur. She strongly believes Amy Poehler is her soul mate, and one of her life goals is to adopt a pig and name it Ron Swineson.