Friday, March 28, 2014

Review of Hometown Star by Joleen James

Synopsis: Television production manager Starlene White has spent her life trying to overcome what she calls her “white trash” childhood. Born to a mother that changed husbands like most people change their toothbrushes, and after having raised her three younger siblings, she’s made a vow to never marry, or have children. For Star, family is overrated—big time.

When Star receives a letter from her childhood nemesis, Cade O’Brien, asking her to come to Alaska to remove her deceased aunt’s possessions from her mobile home, a mobile home that sits on O’Brien land, Star’s first thought is to refuse. Cade made her childhood a living hell. She never understood why he disliked her so much, and the last thing she wants is to comply with his wishes. However, business takes her to Seward when her television show Update This! begins a series of home makeovers, using the homes of single Alaska men. Hoping to kill two birds with one stone, Star heads home.

Cade O’Brien has always wanted a big family. A widower, struggling to raise his three kids while running a bed and breakfast/charter fishing business, he has his hands full. When he sends Star a letter, asking her to empty out her aunt’s place, he’s surprised when she shows up. And he’s even more surprised by the guilt and regret he feels at the way he treated her when they were kids. Cade sets out to make amends with Star.

But old hurts die hard, and Star is slow to warm to Cade, and even slower to warm to his kids. Yet, Cade refuses to give up, especially when he knows in his heart that this hometown girl is the girl of his dreams.

4.25 Second Chance Stars

Review: I can be a little bit of a sucker for second chance stories, especially when it involves childhood bullying turned into teenage lust turned into adult love! This was one of those books that I came across when it was free, but I was kind of in the mood for a sweet story after reading a few heavy things recently, so I gave it a shot.

The writing is done very well, in my opinion. I don't think I caught any errors, which seems to be rare these days, so I like to point that out early on. There was also consistency throughout the story, and the characters stayed true to who they were. We have Starlene, or Star, who had to grow up very fast, as she was the oldest of four girls whose mother was never reliable. The only reliable adult in Star's life was her Aunt Patsy, who lived in Seward, Alaska. Star and her sisters would often visit Patsy, who lived on the O'Brien's land and worked at their Bed and Breakfast.

Along with the O'Brien family came Cade O'Brien. He gave Star a very difficult time, as children, although it was never out of not being attracted to her. I am often very curious about what the motive will be in these bullying turned love stories, and, in this book, I felt that it was actually a very believable plot. Cade was responding to something difficult in his life at that time, but he lets Star know very quickly that he regrets how he treated her. As and adult, he is very attracted to Star and wants to get to know her.

They begin to talk with one another and develop feelings for one another, but Star has many demons from her past that she must fight if she wants to be there for Cade and his three children, as she has sworn off having children after having to raise her three sisters - and take care of her adult mother. The irony in the story is that several women in the book are pregnant and having babies while Star is visiting. It becomes clear to everyone but Star that she does well with children.

Cade and Star have many things to work out in this book - her aversion to family and children, their separate locations, and learning to forgive and forget the past. If you are looking for a sweet story that seems like it could be a somewhat realistic story, which I like occasionally, this is a good one to try out. Did I mention that Cade is a hot, wild, Alaska man? I will let your mind wander from there...


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