Book Review: Chasing Stars (Crossing Stars #1) by L. Duarte

PPFF Rating: 4/5 Stars
A poignant read, “honest truth”.

goodreads blurb:

As a pampered Los Angeles teen, Portia McGee once created a bucket list with her best friends Tarry and Niki. Though falling in love topped their list, it was the last thing she could ever imagine doing. Through the rejection of her parents, Portia learned early in life that love is elusive.

Now a famous and frivolous A-list actress, Portia has a Hollywood pedigree sealed in gold by a celebrity actress mother and New York mogul father. When Portia’s latest role requires an elaborate temporary tattoo, she meets Will, a gifted tattoo artist with a tortured past. The attraction is electric and immediate, but Will refuses to take the encounter to the next level—a decision Portia associates with the ring he so clearly wears on his wedding finger. Those old, familiar feelings of rejection take hold, and Portia now realizes that she must face the past in order to forge a new future. As their deep bond ignites in Portia an unexpected spirituality, can she finally free herself to once again chase the stars of her early days? Both richly glamorous and rich in meaning, Chasing Stars is a sparkling celebration of how faith and love can conquer even the most challenging of circumstances to uplift the human soul.

Chasing Stars is the debut work of romantic fiction by L. Duarte that charts the improbable, rousing romance between two star-crossed lovers, and the journey both must take to open their hearts to renewed hope and lasting love. At once soulful and playful, it’s certain to transport anyone who still, deep down, has faith in the abiding power of second chances.

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I learned very early, how usable we all are, and how vulnerable you become, when you become attached to someone. Instead of being used, I became the one who uses others.

To be honest, I’m still trying to formulate the right words to express how I feel after reading this book. Chasing Stars starts out to be just like any other book about the privileged kids of Hollywood. Portia, Niki and Tarry are three friends who, even with all their parents’ money and fame, don’t have loving and nurturing family lives so growing up, they end up relying more on one another. Their friendship and loyalty are evident when they make their “very own list of fabulous things to do” before they die which includes “falling in love, walk through a sea of butterflies and getting matching tattoos”.

But the real story begins when Portia McGee, an Oscar-winning actress, comes to Will‘s tattoo shop to get some temporary ink done for a movie role. There’s an obvious sexual tension between them and Portia, being her usual untamed and wild self, tries to seduce Will who is “six feet of pure, defined muscles”. He doesn’t give in (but he is affected) and she feels sad and disappointed when she sees him wearing a “shiny platinum band” on his finger, not that it stops her from flirting with him anyway and then BOOM… they KISS! Hello, fireworks!

But at 19%, I was dying to know WHAT IS UP WITH THAT RING!!! Sorry, you’re going to have to read it to find out. 😉

His music selection is freaking awesome. I consider stealing his iPod before leaving. Just a souvenir of the day I was rejected.

Will is more than just an awesome tattoo artist. He paints and we find out that he is sort of a prodigy. We also learn that he is adopted and that he has a troubled past (don’t they all). I do love me some dark artist. Portia, on the other hand, is apparently more than just another pretty face. Beyond her tabloid persona, she is a hard worker who doesn’t complain, goes to the set early and is the last one to leave. Although she’s far from being a saint, she is but a lonely, insecure girl who only wants to be loved by her parents but ends up often rejected.

I really liked Chasing Stars because of L. Duarte‘s writing (and to think it’s her debut novel). It’s smart and almost poetic. I liked how the story focused more on the main characters’ personal issues rather than make it melodramatic with more of the Hollywood angle. For me, I liked how it made me think and feel (and I’m not just talking about hormonal reactions). It definitely added another profound perspective to how I see life and love.

But here’s the thing, there is a spiritual aspect to this book. I understand that some people might feel uncomfortable reading about Will’s strong faith in God. Believe me, I’ve read a couple of books that talk about faith and religious beliefs and I remember cringing a lot. To think I’m Catholic!

Yet with this book, it didn’t bother me as much. In fact, the way it was written into the story had somehow made it convincing for me, which in turn, made me accept it for what it was. But wait, just because there’s a spiritual aspect doesn’t mean that the scenes between Portia and Will are all innocent. Don’t expect to read smut but they are WAY TOO STEAMY to be called dry. Having said that, I’d like to point out that for me, with everything that they’ve experienced in the past – the drugs, too much alcohol and being out of control – especially Will, the only way for them to heal is to have faith and hope that there is indeed light in the darkness.

Chasing Stars is about forgiveness, second chances, and finding your soulmate. It tells us that every moment we’ve had in the past leads us to our present and our future. For Will and Portia, their story has a bittersweet ending (but don’t worry, it’s definitely a HEA).

I am neither perfect nor conceited, but now I understand my worth. I am right where I am supposed to be, with exactly what I was meant to have.

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One thought on “Book Review: Chasing Stars (Crossing Stars #1) by L. Duarte

  1. Pingback: Book Review: To Catch a Falling Star (Crossing Stars #2) by L. Duarte | Press Pause, Fast Forward

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