Author: Jeffe Kennedy
What I’m Talking About:
Shooting Star is a darker contemporary romance. At first, I did not think it was my cup of tea. But I have enjoyed several of Ms. Kennedy’s previous works and she has never let me down. After the first couple chapters, I was utterly hooked with my fingers crossed that Joe and Ava could not only survive the journey, but heal and flourish.
It’s true I was a bit reluctant when I started this novel. The obsessed fan getting into the inner circle of his object of obsession was unnerving. However, in the past, Ms. Kennedy took me on some darker fantasy rides, so I put aside my fears and jumped in. This story was unlike anything I could have imagined. It is the simply the story of two people, broken, living each day to at least get by. Both have their crutches, their unhealthy coping mechanisms. For Ava, it’s alcohol mainly while for Joe, it’s Ava. But what starts as an obvious recipe of disaster for Joe turns into salvation…for both of them.
Joe is recovering from trauma suffered overseas. The scars ones he will carry outside as well as inside. While recovering in the hospital, it was Ava’s music, her voice and the lyrics that kept him going. Once fully discharged from military and hospital, Joe is able with the assistance of Arlin his therapy dog to about life one day at a time. Arlin senses when he is getting overwhelmed, losing his grip on reality and falling into what he has named the nowhere zone. Arlin’s steady presence is able to keep him grounded when the world threatens to fall away. The solace and strength he found in Ava’s music became a passion that moved into obsession – he was drawn not only by her looks but by the mind that created the lyrics that spoke to his soul. It was not surprising that he became not just a fan, but obsessed with everything Ava.
Though he tries to fight it, Joe cannot help but accept the job as driver and bodyguard for Ava. However, through this experience he discovers how much depth and pain those golden eyes try to hide behind the glamour; the make-up and dazzling smile. Her past was brutal, full of abuse that has left deep scars, emotionally and psychologically. But Ava still has been able to retain a portion of her true self, hidden, only surfacing at rare occasions when most either don’t notice or when she is alone. Ava has allowed herself to be a meat puppet. Her life is dictated to her and what little sense of self she tries to protect is buried under guilt, duty, fear and pain. In order to keep going day to day, she finds solace in alcohol – though the craving for the absolution that drugs can provide still lingers. Until she finds herself in the battle of banter with a bodyguard/driver – one that fascinates and attracts her unlike anyone else she has met.
Bittersweet and heart-wrenching, Joe and Ava slowly not only get a better foothold on their demons, but learn that they can find a path towards something better. I enjoyed that Ms. Kennedy did not have them fixed and healed at the end. Only that they were finally on a better road and together they may find those sunny skies again. I was truly mesmerized by this story. Though it starts a little slow and the almost stalker-like obsession of Joe was at first a bit off-putting, his own criticism of himself helped to ease it. However, Joe’s obsession died away as he got to know the real Ava and grew into something real. I enjoyed how Ava finally reached out to a lifeline and used her own strengths to pull her out on onto a better way.
Shooting Star is a heart-wrenching love story that starts in the dark, but ends in the light. Though dealing with serious issues, the redemption of self they each find through and with each other is utterly compelling. Ms. Kennedy surprised me with a dark but passionate story of how even dark desires can lead to healing light; that two broken souls can find themselves whole, together.
My Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot
About the Book:
Not all desires are shiny and sweet—and the dark ones might change you forever…
It’s not the kind of obsession a tough Army guy can admit to—a jones for Ava, the pretty-princess pop star. Not just her body, the perfect product that sells all those magazines. Her music.
The critics call her human lip gloss, all style and no substance. To Joe Ivanchan, Ava is the exact blend of reality and fantasy that he can tolerate, the closest he’s willing to get to giving his heart after the injury and breakdown that got him out of the service.
But Ava is real. She’s a flesh and blood woman with a publicity machine and an album deadline, along with a whole team of handlers paid to shellac a pristine sheen over a damaged, desperate soul. A woman with fears, with secrets, with desires.
When Joe finds himself in an interview to join her security team as her driver, his instinct is to get away. But the woman behind Ava’s carefully focus-grouped image is even harder to walk away from. The angry needs tormenting her speak to something within Joe. Something empathetic, protective—and primal…
Besides, even a falling star can light up the darkest night.
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Book Source: Author