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REVIEW: Cosmic Rendezvous by Robyn Amos

Dear Ms. Amos,

book review The blurb of this book got me to buy it. Books with unusual professions for the characters always make me sit up and take notice. Of course then it has to actually be fun to read and well written for me to finish it. Luckily for me, this book is both.

For Shelly London, relocating to Houston for a top-secret space project could rock her world. Until the ambitious aerospace engineer collides with Lincoln Ripley. A hotshot astronaut, Lincoln is sexy, arrogant and a knowitall, but he launches Shelly’s hormones right into orbit.

Getting lost in space with the gorgeous wannabe astronaut could be the best thing that ever happened to Lincoln’s flight path. Just as soon as he finds out who’s trying to sabotage their spacecraft. Then Shelly better watch out, because now Lincoln has a double mission: to catch the culprit, then take off with Shelly for a rendezvous with love!

Thank you for conflict that is real and not manufactured for the plot. Well, I guess all conflict in a book is manufactured but this arises from the background you’ve given the characters instead of zapping me from nowhere. Even their initial sparring brings out the best in each other as seen in Linc’s training sessions with Draco.

Also, thanks for making the effort to get all the Houston astronaut stuff checked and validated. Is that the right word? Screw it, I’m using it anyway. It adds depth to the book yet I don’t think the details were too overwhelming to the story you were trying to tell.

Linc is secure with his manhood with no need to score points off Shelly plus he can – eventually – take a joke. As one who doesn’t care much for asshat heroes, this is sweet. I mean the guy is centered enough to be honest about his fear during the shuttle landing that earned him so much national attention.

Once Shelly begins to take a hard look at Linc the astronaut instead of “Mr. Right Stuff,” she quickly sees – and admits to herself – that his reputation is earned through his hard work and not by coasting along on his looks or charm. She doesn’t hang onto her preconceived notions about him long past when she, an intelligent woman, should know better.

Linc shows he truly has the Right Stuff during his reaction to the first Draco sabotage. Calm, cool under pressure, seeing to his crew first. He shows Shelly exactly why he’s an astronaut and gives her a role model to shoot for.

Whenever one character initially thinks of the other as plain, I like to see that, when the love hits, it’s the real person they fall in love with. Sure you can take off the glasses, fix the hair, add some make-up but I love to hear that he or she falls for the person as they basically are – as Linc does with Shelly. He’s respected her brains from the start but after his thought that she’s more like a peahen as compared to his standard model girlfriends, it was great to hear him say that he loves her looks even when she’s having a bad hair day.

I just saw an article on AOL about worst hair places and Houston was on top as number 1! Poor Shelly and her “wet-poodle look” hair adventures. I can’t say I’ve ever seen stylists get into knock down, drag out fights over hair care supplies. Or had one go into labor on me.

Instead of veering into standard romance hero/heroine scenes in which the heroine is made to take pratfalls in order to build up tension between them, Shelly takes her barbecue stained shirt in stride and turns the tables on Linc by chatting with his current date while he sits by and watches her with wonder. Wow, what a delightful change.

Linc presses Shelly for a relationship and even comes up with a way around her insistence on them not dating since they’re on the same project yet he listens to her concerns about being taken seriously and not being seen as someone to sleep her way into the program. And, reluctantly, when she decides they need to ease up, he agrees instead of continuing to force the issue.

Linc and Shelly’s separation didn’t just feel like a standard “it’s time for a misunderstanding” plot thingie. It fits with Shelly’s past – when she was afraid of giving up her career – and her driving desire to be an astronaut. After all, this is what she’s worked for, tirelessly, her whole life.

Unlike some romance “heroes,” Linc doesn’t get all pissy after Shelly calls off their relationship for what, for her, are valid reasons – which shows he’s a stand up guy who really does love her and want the best for her – as does his willingness to put his career on the line for her. By this point, I know how much that means to him, how hard he’s also worked to get where he is so his actions make that much more of an impact on me and the others.

Shelly has the balls to make it in the space program. She doesn’t back down when confronted by the Secretary of Defense nor does she look to others to fight her battles for her. She’s smart, dedicated, hardworking and the kind of person I’d be proud to have representing me in space.

Cheers that Shelly’s brother-in-law is an HVAC guy. Gotta love that as I can’t live without AC. Shelly’s sister seems like a level headed woman. She loves Shelly enough to be honest with her about Shelly’s reasoning for initially not getting along with Linc.

Though I’d be pissed if my mother tried something like this on me, I can understand Shelly’s mother wanting to protect her daughter – yeah, it’s irrational but as Shelly found out, people will go to extremes to protect the ones they love.

I think the blurb is just slightly misleading in that it gives the impression that Linc morphs into a covert ops agent, out to nab the villain. Thank you God that he doesn’t. The ultimate villain was not over the top though I’d begun to suspect who it might be. There are enough viable suspects that it wasn’t obvious to me nor should it have been to Linc or Shelly. And the reasons behind his reasons hold together under closer inspection.

I can tell you that if anyone ever took me up in an Air Force Talon, I’d be puking my lunch, my last three meals plus the next one I hadn’t even eaten yet. I envy Shelly and Linc the chance to see the stars as Shelly describes them but I’ll stay right here in terra firma and satisfy myself reading about these two. B

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in mass market from an independent bookstore or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

15 Comments

  1. Miki
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 16:23:24

    Don’t think I’ve ever read a romance set-up around the space program … sounds interesting!

  2. SonomaLass
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 16:53:54

    Squeee! I ♥ astronauts, and I have a good friend who used to work in Houston on the Challenger program. Only question is whether I read it first or borrow it later….

    Thanks Jayne!

  3. Lori
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 17:01:20

    Oooh, this one sounds good!

  4. Jayne
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 17:54:37

    Miki, I couldn’t remember a romance book with this setting, either. It made a nice change from cowboys, police officers and Greek billionaires.

  5. roslynholcomb
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 20:52:46

    Yanno, you’d think there’d be more astronaut stories, but I don’t recall one either. Love Robyn Amos. Will have to pick this one up.

  6. nutmeag
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 22:13:05

    Haha, I like your comment on Shelley’s brother being an HVAC guy. Houston being the armpit of my great state makes AC extra important . . . and we South Texans tend to go a little overboard with it, to boot.

    This looks like a good read, although I’m wondering what the problem with it was. You didn’t list any issues you had with the story, yet only gave it a B. But overall, you have me convinced that I’d enjoy this one. Thanks!

  7. Moth
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 23:10:34

    Ooooh! I think I need to read this. I work at a NASA center (unmanned space flight and I’m on the business side but still…) and this story just seems like a neat idea.

  8. Jayne
    Jun 04, 2009 @ 06:40:18

    nutmeag, sometimes I can’t quite pin down why a book doesn’t move me to a higher or lower grade, it just does. It has, or doesn’t have, that certain extra oomph that moves it up or down my grading scale. This is a good, solid, well written book that has put Amos on my radar now. I’ll be watching for what she writes next.

  9. Jayne
    Jun 04, 2009 @ 06:44:38

    Dunno but I would guess with the shuttle program winding down, astronauts aren’t as much in the news as in the past. Plus it seems there would be a geographical restriction in settings.

  10. Amy
    Jun 04, 2009 @ 08:17:16

    The love of my life, John, is a diehard NASA buff who lives, breathes, and eats anything space-related. Yes, folks, he actually watches the NASA channel…for fun! I’ll have to pick this one up because I love the fact that she placed her characters in roles that I’m not familiar with myself. Great review!

  11. Mary B.
    Jun 04, 2009 @ 11:16:15

    Oh this sounds totally up my alley! Yay! Thanks for the review. I’ve added it to my “To Buy” list.

  12. nutmeag
    Jun 04, 2009 @ 16:47:44

    Jayne:
    I understand what you mean. I’ve had that trouble myself.

  13. Gail Dayton
    Jun 04, 2009 @ 17:56:21

    Jayne,
    In the Kimani books I’ve read in the past, I’ve felt their conflict was resolved too easily–everything was just too nice to be truly dramatic. I’m not talking over the top melodrama, but things just too easy, the characters too nice, to really drag me into the story and make me care what happens to them. Is that an issue in this book? I haven’t read Amos yet, so I’m wondering. (I don’t like the asshole-doormat conflicts of the HPresents line, but I want the characters to have to really work to get their happy ending…)

    Otherwise, it sounds great. I live very near Johnson Space Center, so yeah. Poodle hair. I understand. (Not that I get poodle hair–mine’s more fright frizz…)

  14. Jayne
    Jun 05, 2009 @ 04:28:07

    I don’t think Amos lets them off too easily. Shelly and Linc start their relationship by sniping at each other before they both (fairly quickly) admit to the good qualities of the other. Then Shelly worries about how any relationship with Linc would peg her as “sleeping her way” into the astronaut program. I think there’s a good mix of internal and external conflicts that they have to overcome for their HEA – which at the end of the book isn’t wedding bells but rather a committed relationshipt that appears to be heading in that direction.

  15. REVIEW: Hero at Large by Robyn Amos
    Feb 19, 2013 @ 08:02:08

    [...] been meaning to read another of your books since finishing “Cosmic Rendezvous.”"Cosmic Rendezvous.” “Hero at Large” sounded interesting and though romantic suspense isn’t my [...]

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