Thursday, November 14, 2013

eBook Review: First Take

When Rachel Harrington meets action star Stephen Raymond while treating herself to a movie, she seizes the chance to fulfill a birthday wish—a date with the handsome hero. After an amazing night, unsurprisingly, she wakes alone. A phone call from her mom that her dad is in the hospital has her filing the fantasy date away to face reality.

Upon arriving in her hometown, she finds an ex looking to make her his future wife, her dad facing open-heart surgery, and her brother suffering from personal woes he won’t share. But there’s a haven in Stephen’s unexpected call, and then in his sometimes very naughty texts, emails, and video chats. A surprise visit tumbles her head over heels into love.

But the cameras in her face every time she steps outside her door could be a show stopper. Is everyone she meets only out for a story?

Will a confession from Stephen convince her to take the fall, or will Rachel let her fears ground her?

(for transparency's sake, I talk frequently with Emma about non-book things and I badger her about her writing.)

Right off the bat I knew I was going to like Rach because she's celebrating her 30th birthday by doing what she wants to do. My 30th is coming up in half a year and I'm planning to celebrate it how I want. Like Rach I don't understand the hubbub about it and rather just sit back and enjoy.

Certainly the chemistry is hot and the two of them are very compatible in this. Also their interests seem to be aligned and at first things seem fine and dandy. But Rach, like any sane person, has her doubts. Its a societal thing as much as anything else really. Stephen is a Big Name. Regardless of what he's known for, he's well known and people want to know more about him. He's a celebrity and as a society we treat our celebrities as much like Pop Cultural Gods as we do that scandalous neighbor we have to know EVERYTHING about.

For Rach, who enjoys the fact that in a big city like New York she is just one in a group of many, this is a big shift in thought. Plus there are scandal sheets, newspapers, online blogs, her family--everyone is talking about Stephen. That's a lot to handle on top of the family problems.

Which isn't to say she's blameless--her own insecurities get the better of her and thus lead to her not expressing to Stephen what exactly is the problem.

Stephen for his part doesn't seem oblivious to Rach's struggle so much as so...happy to find someone who wants to know his true self that he doesn't see the problems Rach could face. He sees it as 'part of the package' while saying 'just treat me like an average guy'. That's not exactly how it works in real world non-celebrity dating.

The expectations the both have in the relationship don't work together and until they have a conversation about it, things are rocky at best.

Its unfair of me, but I hate waiting. Lai warns right up front that the "Star Taken" books will feature 'HFN' (happy for now) endings and feed into each other to tell a longer, more complex story. Its kind of like what she did with her "Mates of the Guardians" books (though those tended to be 'HEA' that then wove into a larger story). I'm looking forward to seeing more of Rach and Stephen (and I already have the anthology collection "Romancing the Stars" which has a novella set after this) and I'll be patient enough. I guess.