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review 2014-01-18 22:22
Starstruck by Ashleigh Raine
Starstruck - Ashleigh Raine

I've mostly been reading fantasy and sci-fi these past few months, so I decided to see if it was time to switch to a romance glom. I remembered enjoying a contemporary romance excerpt involving a heroine who was an extra and a hero who was a big-name TV actor. After a bit of searching, I located the book, Starstruck.

Micah is one of the biggest stars in the show Sexy M.D. (my mental image of the show was something like Grey's Anatomy). He's been acting since he was a child and has a very jaded opinion of Hollywood. Jenna is an extra on the show, nervous and excited because it's her very first time acting in a real TV show. Had things gone as they were supposed to, she and Micah would have never spoken to one another. However, during one of the takes, Micah accidentally smacks Jenna in the face. Jenna gets sent away, and Micah, mortified, goes after her to apologize.

Micah finds himself drawn to Jenna and her bright, shiny joy for acting and Hollywood life. He visits her at her restaurant job and accompanies her home when her car acts up. It's not long before the two of them end up in bed together. Their relationship progresses fast, which was one of the first problems I had with this book.

I was looking forward to seeing their relationship build over the course of months, or at least weeks. Instead, it was insta-love on Micah's part. In less than a week, he decided he trusted and cared for Jenna enough to offer her spare keys to his house and car. I can't remember the timeline exactly, but I think they had sex within 24 hours of meeting each other. Considering that Micah was supposed to be wrestling with decades of learned distrust of Hollywood and its culture of lying and deception, everything seemed to be moving way too quickly.

Which leads me to the sex scenes. There were a couple scenes in which Micah was so hot for Jenna that he initially forgot he wasn't yet wearing a condom. Both times, he said he either needed to find something or they were going to have to stop. Micah always freaked out more than Jenna. The first time, Jenna encouraged him to keep going a little, but Micah left to get a condom from her bathroom. The second time, they were at his house and he had no condoms at all around. Jenna basically told him, “I'm on the pill, I'm healthy, I don't sleep around, let's do this.” I suppose it was assumed that Micah didn't have any STDs, since his status was never mentioned. It was all presented as a trust issue, and Micah decided he trusted Jenna enough to have sex with her without a condom.

Out of everything in the book, that one scene had the biggest negative impact on me. Had they known each other for months, it probably still would have made me uncomfortable. As it was, they'd known each other for less than a week.

After that came scenes I'd been predicting since the first time they fell into bed together. No, there was no “surprise, my birth control failed and I'm pregnant” scene (thank goodness), but there was a moment when Micah thought all his fears about Jenna not being as honest as she appeared were confirmed. The speed with which Micah went from “I trust Jenna enough to give her the keys to everything I own” to “OMG, she's just as slimy as everyone else” pissed me off. It helped, somewhat, that Micah let up after Jenna reminded him he'd been the one pursuing her, not the other way around, but the whole thing still felt awful and predictable.

The resolution wasn't terribly surprising. Still, it was kind of a let-down – I was expecting a big grovel scene, but that never happened.

I wish I had enjoyed this more. It had some good moments, and the on-set stuff was really interesting and felt accurate. I just wish that some scenes hadn't been quite so predictable and that the romance had been more, well, romantic.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2012-06-20 00:00
Driven to Distraction - Ashleigh Raine It was smuttastic!! :D
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review 2012-04-02 00:00
Starstruck - Ashleigh Raine Starstruck reminds me of a fantasy I once had as a young adult. The one where I move to Hollywood, persue acting, meet my handsome moviestar crush and he can't deny his immediate feelings for me or the insanely perfect attraction that swirls around us! *sigh* You all had that fantasy, right? No?

Truthfully, this is a pleasant book. It's not overly complicated or full of drama. The heroine, Jenna, is working her butt off trying to make it in Hollywood. She's a smart, ambtitious woman who hasn't been tainted by the glitzy world. Micah, who at 32 has been in the business for 30 years, is drawn to her personality immediately. He likes everything about her. But Micah's been used before, and he fears it will happen again.

Their relationship progresses so fast that you just know something is going to happen to derail them. Strangely, I was okay with how predictable this book is. I can likely account that to Ms. Raine's writing style. This is the first book I've read by her, and I'm definitely intrigued enough to pick up more of her books.
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review 2012-02-21 00:00
Acting On Impulse - Ashleigh Raine $0.99 on Nook
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review 2012-02-17 00:00
Starstruck - Ashleigh Raine Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/02/20/review-starstruck-by-ashleigh-raine/

Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Feb 21st
How I got this book: eARC from author

I was intrigued by this book because the idea of an innocent girl left in Hollywood is a bit of an enigma, and I was excited to see how this one would play out. Not only was this one very sexy, but it also had a really feel good romance attached to it as well.
Jenna is trying for her big Hollywood debut, and she thinks her time as an extra might be the ticket. Little does she know that a mishap on set will ruin her chance that day, but a chance meeting more than makes up for it. Micah is jaded, thinking all women are only with him for a chance to better themselves. When Jenna doesn’t ask anything from him, Micah starts to believe that she is the real deal. But when their relationship is thrown into the limelight, will they be able to weather the paparazzi storm?

I seriously enjoyed this novella. I thought the romance between Micah and Jenna was super sweet, and very sexy. The warning of this book doesn’t lie, Micah and Jenna utilize every available surface of her place, his place and every place in between to get down and dirty. The sexy times were hot as all get out, and yet didn’t feel frivolous in any way either.

One of the things I loved the most was how genuine Jenna was. She was kind-hearted, sweet, innocent and a beautiful person inside and out. For how experienced she was in the sack, she also had a kind of naivety to her. She was pure and the kind of character that you wanted to root for, despite how perfect she seemed.

Although Micah took awhile to grow on me, I enjoyed watching Jenna pull him out of his despair and funk, bringing him back to the land of the living. He was so jaded and disheartened in the beginning of the book, so when he finally started smiling more, it was great to see. While I was a little peeved at his bonehead move towards the end, his character was still an overall great guy. I would have liked a little more groveling on his part though. (I could always use a little more groveling….)

All in all I really enjoyed my first Raine read. I would have liked to spend more time with Jenna and Micah, and would have like to see their relationship progress and develop more on page. However, for the length, I thought the romance played out so beautifully, the characters were fun and the ending left me felling all warm and gooey inside.
I give Starstruck a B
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