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REVIEW: Starstruck by Julie Kenner

Dear Ms. Kenner:

I haven’t tried many of your non-paranormal contemporaries so when Harlequin had this back-to-backer, I thought, “why not?”. Let’s see how you do with no demons or Greek Gods. This will be just plain, ol’ normal people from Texas.

Alyssa Chambers has visions of sweet temptation dancing in her head. Should she choose the hot playboy who can give her everything she’s ever wanted? Or indulge in some holiday cheer with her good friend Christopher Hyde, a man who’s turning out to be everything she’s ever wanted?

Once she shares some amazing holiday, ah, spirit with Chris, the choice becomes even harder. How can she risk their longtime friendship-‘even for the best sex of her life?

Alrighty, then. A nice heroine and a nice hero with no villain in sight leads to most of the action centered on Alyssa and Chris and the reasons you manufacture to keep them apart. One of the reasons is good, though drawn out, and the other didn’t work too well for me. But what irritated me is that both seem to originate with Alyssa while poor Chris appears ready to do anything to get the woman of his dreams.

Reason one is based on Alyssa’s childhood with a father who loved to travel and who managed to avoid a steady paying job. As a result of a childhood spent worrying about money and listening to her parents fight about it, she wants job security that is iron clad, a retirement package that rivals a US Senator’s and a husband who’s home every night after his nine-to-five job. Okay, childhood events often shape us in ways far beyond most things in adulthood so I can believe this. I did, however, get tired of her questioning Chris at every turn about money, worrying about his rent, and making comments in public when he tries to buy her a little present up until the end of the book. The man has stated more than once that he’s not about to be evicted from his apartment and he seems to have enough to eat so lay off lady.

The next issue revolves around the fact that Alyssa and Chris have been friends (not BFFs, mind you) for years and Alyssa has just broken up with another man who also started life as her friend. So no way, no how can a friends–> lovers relationship work. Alyssa won’t risk another friend but she will risk a fling. She’s willing to use Chris as a fuck buddy but no way, nothing more. Hmmmmm. I got tired of this too, especially her “so called” verbal contract that Chris must adhere to in order for their relationship to remain even just physical with no romance or emotions involved.

Chris, on the other hand, seems totally open to a relationship with Alyssa and is willing to go for it when he realizes he might just have a chance to win her. I like this about him. He’s also willing to risk himself more to get what he wants in life, namely to be an author. And he’s also the one who comes up with the possible resolution to Alyssa’s problems with her job and her issues with his. He seems to be the font of all wisdom and mediation in this duo.

I think I would have liked the book more if one of the conflicts had originated with Chris instead of Alyssa being saddled with both of them. The sex is hot, the locations were well described, both main characters are certainly nice with few vices but the issues weren’t evenly balanced enough for me. C+


This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

This book was provided to the reviewer by either the author or publisher. The reviewer did not pay for this book but received it free. The Harlequin Affiliate link earns us an affiliate fee if you purchase a book through the link and the Sony link is in conjunction with the sponsorship deal we made for the year of 2009. We do not earn an affiliate fee from Sony through the book link.

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.


  1. GrowlyCub
    Dec 17, 2009 @ 16:35:06

    I read this last week and felt pretty meh about it as well. I kinda wanted Chris to tell her where to stick her attitude. :)

  2. Shanae
    Dec 18, 2009 @ 10:40:39

    I read this last week and I grew tired of it very quickly. I understood (to a point) her anxiety about money but it got tired very quickly. I got so frustrated with Alyssa I didn’t even want her to end up with Chris.

  3. Jayne
    Dec 18, 2009 @ 10:44:47

    Chris just seems so great compared to hung-up Alyssa. Sigh…. Has anyone read “Moonstruck?”

  4. Sinister Twist
    Dec 19, 2009 @ 05:31:51

    Oh man… I think that I’ll skip this Kenner book. I get irritated enough with some of Kenner’s heroines, so I think I’d get sick of Alyssa very quickly.

  5. Jinni
    Jan 03, 2010 @ 16:18:26

    Just finished this with a ‘meh’ feeling as well. I’d given up on Blaze, but thought I’d give this one a try as the friends to lovers trope is one of my favorites. The characters were too cardboard, the conflict too one dimensional, and the resolution too boring. Maybe I’ll try categories again in a year or so . . . .

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