Ava Eisenberg has a lot on her plate. She has a demanding job as a personal assistant, and she moonlights as the superhero, Swiftwing. It’s a lot for Ava to deal with: fighting crime, hunting rogue aliens, and getting coffee for her boss every morning. And if that wasn’t enough, now she must add “be in a relationship” to her list.
Gwen Wright is Hollywood’s most popular actress, and she’s worked very hard to get where she is without compromise. So, when her ex-husband shows up to try and take Gwen’s son, Luke, away from her, Gwen comes up with the brilliant idea to conjure a romantic relationship out of thin air. But it can’t just be any person. It has to be someone Gwen trusts. Someone who knows Gwen and Luke better than anyone and will keep the “fake” aspect under wraps. Who better than her own personal assistant, Ava?
Ava is already dealing with so much, and this new arrangement with Gwen starts to affect her in ways she didn’t think were possible. It’s as if she’s actually falling for Gwen and wants the “fake” part of their relationship to be dropped entirely. As Gwen and Ava start getting closer, a rampage by a giant alien bug may put a stop to any developing romance. Will Ava and Gwen be able to get past all the obstacles that stand in their way? Or will Ava’s need to protect her identity tear them apart before the alien bug does?
Anna: What I love about Ava and Gwen is that they both have a secret identity. Both women conceal parts of themselves from the outside world. For Ava, it’s pretty obvious that she must keep her dueling worlds as Swiftwing the superhero and Ava the compassionate, understanding daughter, friend, and assistant, separated.
With Gwen, one must really look closely to see the separate identities. To the public, she is very much the typical Hollywood actress. She is very demanding and exudes a self-centeredness, even to the people closest to her. But there is a side she doesn’t show as much. It’s a side that houses the love she has for her son, as well as her feelings for Ava. I love that Thorne gave both of these women an interesting bond like this where you have to wonder if the person you’re seeing is the real person or is there more that has yet to be revealed. It made their growing romance all the more intriguing to watch unfold.
Tara: The whole book is told from Ava’s perspective, which lets us join her as she takes on the mantle of fake girlfriend in addition to all of her other roles. Ava is sweet, kind, and funny, making her instantly likeable, especially because we see that she always wants to do the right thing, even when it’s not easy. This, of course, makes her the perfect person to melt the ice queen Gwen.
Gwen has her own journey, and I would have loved to see her perspective because she turns out to be more perceptive and thoughtful I would have guessed. Thankfully the author does a good job of having Gwen open up to Ava so we can fully understand the depth of her character arc.
The Writing Style
Anna: I feel like Thorne has a hidden cape and is a superhero of writing. Not only does she give us a fun and sexy story, she is able to take all these themes and make them into one cohesive narrative. Usually you find maybe one, possibly two, themes that are the driving force behind the story. Thorne is able to take not one, not two, but FIVE different themes and bring them together and give us a story line that has you cheering on Ava the person even more so than Ava the superhero.
Tara: Chasing Stars has a really compelling style to it that makes it difficult to put down. I was fully invested in Ava and Gwen’s romance, as well as Ava’s side storyline about the giant bug.
Anna: I like how Thorne was smart in prioritizing all the superhero activity that Ava did. As a superhero, of course she’s going to get involved with a lot of incidents that range from ordinary to extraordinary. Thorne compartmentalized Ava’s activities very well. While she does note Ava’s crime fighting, she gives more focus and elaborates on the extraordinary situations Ava must tend to, like hunting giant bugs around Los Angeles.
Tara: This book has a lot of my jams in it: a delicious thawing ice queen scenario, a fake relationship, an age gap between the leads, and it’s a celebrity romance. Add to that, the plotting and pacing are pitch perfect, the chemistry between the leads is palpable, and the sex is suuuuuper hot. Everything about Chasing Stars worked for me!
Anna: I wish I could’ve seen more of Luke, especially knowing that the motivation for Ava’s fake dating Gwen was for his benefit. What I did read about him, and his interactions with Ava and Gwen, were adorable and fun. I just wish there was a little bit more.
Tara: The cover doesn’t do it for me. It looks like it belongs with the other two books in Ylva’s Superhero Collection, but it doesn’t really speak to the contents of the book in the same way that the covers do for the other two in the collection (side note: the books are not connected in any way, so you don’t need to read them before reading Chasing Stars).
Anna: For someone who normally doesn’t read fantasy stories, this one really pulled at me and surprised me in all the right ways. My only regret was that I finished it too soon because it was just that fun to read about Ava, Gwen, and all the trouble that comes when dating a superhero. Even if you’re not a big fan of fantasy, I guarantee there are a lot of other great themes that intertwine effectively and have you embracing the fantasy along with the reality. I urge you, please pick this up. You will not be disappointed.
Tara: I had a whole lot of fun with Chasing Stars and kind of can’t believe it’s Alex K. Thorne’s first book! It’s sweet, funny, sexy, and a great time all around. I wholeheartedly recommend it and will be keeping an eye out for more books from this author in the future.
Excerpt from Chasing Stars by Alex K. Thorne
Gwen barely looked up from her novel as Ava entered. “Eisenberg, you have been dismissed. Now, unless the Academy Award nominations have been announced or Dev Patel has finally replied to my text, I do not want to be—”
“We should date.”
Gwen’s head darted up from the book. “Excuse me?”
“Date.” Ava nodded resolutely. “We should date.”
“A few hours ago, you were convincing me of how utterly unconvincing you would be in this role and now—”
“I don’t think an engagement would sell, at least not right away.” She paced in front of the coffee table, rationalizing it to herself as much as Gwen. “But if we dated for a while, not for real, of course, because that would just be…silly.” She hazarded a glance at Gwen. “But if we pretended to date for a while, it might come off as more realistic. It might give people a chance to ease into the idea that we’re in a relationship and that we’re stable.”
“And how is this different from my idea that we announce an engagement?”
“Because it’s stability you’re aiming for. So, we do it slowly, give them constancy…No one would let them take Luke form you if they saw how happy he was at home, what a good life you’ve created for him. If we date, then you get to showcase that life. It’s like—like a PR strategy.”
Gwen smiled, as if Ava had said something extraordinary, and Ava’s heart did a little flip. “A PR strategy.” She actually looked impressed. “That’s good. That’s really good. And You’d be willing to go along with that?”
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Chasing Stars by Alex K. Thorne
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9783955339920
- Publisher: Ylva Publishing
Alex K. Thorne Online
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