Saturday, November 8, 2014

ARC Review: Starstruck by L.A. Witt


Retired action star Levi Pritchard has made a quiet life for himself in the sleepy logging town of Bluewater Bay, Washington. But then Hollywood comes to film the wildly popular television series Wolf's Landing, and Bluewater Bay isn't so sleepy anymore. His retirement doesn't stick, either, because he's offered a part on the show-exactly the kind of complex role he'd always wanted, one that would prove him more than a glorified stuntman. The only catch? He has to stay in the closet-no matter how attractive he finds his costar.

Carter Samuels is the critically acclaimed male lead on Wolf's Landing. And now, the man who inspired him to take up acting-and made him realize he's gay-is joining the cast, and sparks fly between them instantly. But Carter is out and proud and determined to stay true to himself.

Remaining just friends is the only thing to do, as both the studio and Levi's disapproving, dysfunctional family keep reminding them. Except their friendship deepens by the day, tempting them with what they can't have but both desperately need.

Dani's rating:

I spent too many years in Los Angeles to find the Hollywood trope charming. The movie business is a gilded cage, and I don’t particularly like to read about it in fiction. Even though this book is set in a fictional Washington town, Hollywood is ever present. But despite my aversion to moviestar books, I enjoyed Starstruck.

Levi claimed his freedom from relentless publicity, typecasting, and paparazzi years ago, but when he’s offered a complex role on a popular TV show set in his Baywater Bay, he doesn’t think he can turn it down. Working with the gorgeous, much younger Carter would only be a bonus.

Carter has had a crush on Levi since he first saw Levi act in an underappreciated indie flick. The two men bond over their mutual love of obscure films and cats. The attraction between them is strong, but Levi is deep in the closet, and coming out could hurt his about-to-be-revived career. Carter, however, is out and doesn’t want to be anyone’s secret.

The "I won't be your closeted lover" is not a new trope, but Witt does a good job showing both Carter and Levi’s inner struggles. Watching Levi pander to his hypocritical, judgmental parents was frustrating. He was pushing 40 and still trying to please people who barely cared about him.

I liked Levi’s friendship with Anna, the director of the show, and I liked Anna as a character. The slimy producer Finn felt true to life: pushy, pretentious, aggressive; they’re a dime a dozen in Hollywood.

And Levi’s two cats were all kinds of awesome in their obnoxious glory. I love animals in books!

I enjoyed the slow burn between the MCs, although it was perhaps a little too slow. Even though I embrace smut in my books, I actually prefer for the tension to build until around the 50 to 60 percent mark. Here, we don't see any action until 80 percent, and what's included is brief. More sexy foreplay (besides conversation!) would have been nice.

There were perhaps a few too many internal monologues, but I did love the way Levi came out and the sweet ending.

Don’t expect a ton of plot; this is relationship-focused book. If done well, relationship books generally appeal to me, and Witt’s writing is engaging enough that the story kept my attention.

Get the book:


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An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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