Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Starling by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae

Title: Starling

Series title:  Love in Los Angeles 1

Author: Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae

Publisher: Torque Press

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT

 (M/M, Anal play/sex, Oral sex)

Page Count: 252

Reviewer: Cassiopeia

Buy link:


Publisher Blurb:

Be careful what you wish for...

When J. Alex Cook, a production assistant on The Fourth Estate (one of network TV’s hottest shows), is accidentally catapulted to stardom, he finds himself struggling to navigate both fame and a relationship with Paul, one of Fourth’s key writers. Despite their incendiary chemistry, Alex’s inexperience and the baggage they’re both carrying quickly lead to an ugly break-up.

Because the stars aren't benign

Reeling from their broken hearts, Alex has an affair and Paul has an ill-advised reunion with an old flame. Meanwhile, the meddling of their colleagues, friends -- and even the paparazzi! -- quickly make Alex and Paul’s real life romance troubles the soap opera of the television season. 
But while the entertainment value may be high, no one knows better than Alex and Paul that there are no guarantees when it comes to love in Los Angeles.

Review of book:

As a person who reads regularly, there’s a good chance that I’ll hit a book now and again that evokes a definite emotional response from me.  However, I was not prepared for how Starling made me feel.  The first installment of the Love in Los Angeles series by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae, left me gutted in ways I hadn’t expected, but loved nonetheless.

Alex and Paul, the two primary characters, are men who have what on the surface appear to be very different goals, but its apparent that both feel as if they’re simply existing rather than living.  When Paul catches the young PA lip- locked with another staff member, he’s both annoyed and amused – and I think wonders what it would be like to step back into that carefree mindset that the young have.  He’s a loyal, decent, and handsome guy that has a stronger relationship with his job, than with the man in his life.  Alex, at twenty, should be footloose and fancy free, but his less than happy childhood has caused him to develop a singularly serious nature and jaundiced outlook on life. 

I’ll admit it – I teared up while reading Starling in a few places, and I have to hand it to the authors for constructing characters that latched on to me and didn’t let go, even once I’d finished the book.  While I loved Paul’s clearly domestic and caring nature, it was Alex that I most identified with.  He’s an introvert that’s learned to navigate in an extrovert’s playground, and there’s no place more outgoing than Los Angeles.  I found it so interesting how he’d stick his toe in the water socially, and then pull back when it all became too much to bear.  I ached for him every time he became overwhelmed, or uncomfortable with sharing personal details about himself.  Watching him grow as a person while dealing with the insanity of new-found fame, all of the while struggling to retain what made him, “him” was so rewarding.  He definitely struck me as an old soul.

If Alex and Paul’s dance wasn’t enough to reel me in, the secondary characters nailed me, hook, line, and sinker.  Ms. Maltese and Ms. McRae crafted a slew of supporting cast members that were quirky, engaging, and completely twisted in their intertwined relationships.  Starling by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae is deep, humorous, passionate and sexy – a perfect beginning to a knock out series.

                                          Five Shooting Stars!!

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