For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Thursday, January 11, 2018

review: starlight nights (738 Days #2 ) by Stacey kade


34928721At twenty-three, Calista Beckett is trying to overcome her early fame and fortune. The former savior of the world on Starlight is now a freshman at college--miles away from L.A. and her former existence. She sees it as her start to a new life, a normal life, one where she won't make the same mistakes she made before--a brush with heroin addiction and losing her freedom to her controlling mother, thanks to a court order.

Eric Stone played her older brother, Byron, on Starlight. But she's been in love with him pretty much since they kissed--her first kiss--while auditioning. When Eric shows up on campus out of the blue asking her to return to California for a role, Calista's struck immediately by two things: first, in spite of everything that's happened, she still feels something dangerous for him, and second, she's absolutely determined not to let him ruin her life again.


Only Eric's not giving up so easily. ~ Goodreads


Source: arc provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: Eeeep! This NA book is all kinds of messy, complicated and angsty. Decidedly NOT a Karen kind of book – yet I enjoyed it anyway (with a few quibbles).

Eric and Calista played siblings on the hit teen show, Starlight and Caslita had always harbored a crush on Eric. After a wild party at Eric’s house one night where everything that can go wrong does – a heartbroken Calista flees the Hollywood lights and her controlling stage mom for a quiet college life where she’s trying, but struggling, to fit in with everyone else. The other students either treat her as a star and want autographs or think Calista is a snob and thinks she’s better than everyone else.

Eric shows up at college out of the blue one night asking her to act in his first indie project – a movie he’s making based on Calista’s favorite book and he does it in a way that doesn’t leave her many options but to go along with the whole thing, despite her not wanting to return to that life.

Her mother has squandered all the money Calista made while acting, controls her looks and diet, and when Calista dares to push back, even a little, her mom uses her past mistakes, inexperience and younger sisters against her, threatening to drag them into acting against their will or that they will all be homeless and it will be her fault. Calista is a girl desperate for control over her own life yet Eric uses it against her.

He's an asshole. He really is. He uses Calista’s manipulative mother against her to get his own way. He does have her best interest at heart and thinks returning to acting will help her but yeah - not a great first impression of the love interest.

This was REALLY difficult to read and tough to watchEric pulling the same crap on her all while yelling at her to stand up to her mom.

Eric is desperately trying to get out from under the weight of his disapproving father. He wants be known for his own acting/directing/producing skills and not be thought of as the rich kid who got all his breaks because of his famous dad. He really is trying to get his life straightened out and make it on his own reputation but it makes him desperate to get Calista on board.

Eric is already in a relationship but sparks fly once he and Calista reconnect causing them both to reevaluate their life choices and who their really living for.

It gets ugly at times. The parents are awful, the things Eric did in the past are awful, watching Calista be a doormat is awful.

So why did I like it anyway? To be perfectly honest I don’t know! lol I’ve always been a fan of Stacey Kade’s writing since her YA The Ghost and the Goth trilogy and even though her writing has gotten much darker with this NA series, I still empathize with the characters. I felt a lot of anger but I got where everyone was coming from. Didn’t agree…but understood.

I also allow some leeway with this being a Hollywood/acting story. We all see the headlines and how much pressure young actors go through. I guess I gave them some slack to get their shit together but I can see how readers would throw this book against a wall as well.

Personally, despite not approving of a lot of their actions, I thought they both come from the same place – their love of acting, their awful parents – and could understand each other in a way that no one else could, flaws and all, and made each other better. Eventually.

There were a few things I didn’t love though. For one – Calista is so in love with Eric and while I love a good redemption arc, I don’t think he quite earned it yet. And I would have loved to see them grow more on their own first before coming together again. This did happen a bit for Calista but it was mostly off page and felt tacked on but I would have rather skipped a few of the steamier scenes and seen the work they had to do on themselves in a way that showed it instead of telling.

One last note – I see some readers feel there’s a love triangle and I guess…yeah. I HATE love triangles and I’ll do a little spoiler here so you can see why I didn’t think it was and you can decide for yourself – HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILER –> Eric is engaged to Katie when he reconnects with Calista. Eric realizes pretty quickly that he has feelings for Calista and distances himself from Katie. 

The relationship isn’t right for either of them and you can see that right away – even without Calista in the picture. Katie is nice they're just not in the same place or in agreement about a lot of things.

Eric is not still sleeping with Katie while working with Calista (at least that I could tell and not on page) in fact he stays on the couch and then at his own apartment. He does not kiss Calista until after he ends things with Katie. <- END SPOILER


This isn't going to be the book for everyone. But if you like messy, complicated characters and romance, second chances and behind the scenes/Hollywood scandal kind of stories this one is for you. Even when I'm not fully on board with the characters actions, I love Kade's writing so much that she wins me over anyway.

* Do you like angsty, flawed characters and stories? If so, what are your favorite recommendations - either TV/movies/books

* Do you have a favorite Hollywood/Second Chance romance rec?


* There's a Goodreads Giveaway -10 signed copies of Starlight Nights if you're interested.

22 comments:

  1. I'm not usually a fan of love triangles and messy relationships but this one still had me curious

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    1. I don't think it's a love triangle but some people were mad he spent most of the book in relationship with another person. I get it - but I thought it was clear it wouldn't work and he needed to come to that conclusion himself and grow as a person. it didn't bother me and there was no cheating.

      If you can handle messy relationships and REALLY annoying parents (they got my hackles up lol) give it a go!

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  2. This doesn't sound like a book for me. I would want to strangle too many people. I try to avoid books that make me want to hurt others, lol. It might be an interesting book, and I might even end up liking it, but I think I would still get crazy angry.

    I don't mind angsty romance books, but there has to be a great story. It also depends on my mood, which is forever changing. It's why I read so many books at once--I need options!

    I'm glad you ended up liking this one for the most part, even if you're not entirely sure why! 😘

    Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. I'm not gonna lie - this is a messy, complicated romance but somehow it worked for me, even though I was pissed off lol

      My reading tastes are changing. I stayed away from these kinds of books for a few years so maybe that's why it wasn't too bad for me.

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  3. I'm not sure this is a book I'd normally gravitate to, buuuuuut I do love messy and complicated and it sounds interesting at the very least. I also like the acting angle but can understand that perhaps there's not enough growth from her to make the book and characters as likable. Also maybe I highlighted the spoiler, lol. BUT it still sounds like a book I might like to read, so it's a fat maybe in any event :) Thanks for sharing--I always love to read your reviews!!

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    1. I do't think I would have given it a chance if it wasn't this author TBH. For the most part I don't like super emotional reads but I don't know...it worked for me lol

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  4. Lately I've been really trying to avoid messy and complicated. I am really going to try to focus this year on cozies, romances and magical realism.

    It's funny though how sometimes a book that we should hate works for us anyway!

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    1. It's weird how our reading tastes can change Melissa.

      I don't think I could have even finished this a year or two ago but I've avoided drama in my books for so long that I seem to be able to handle more of it now.

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  5. It sounds interesting even w/ the angsty feeling!

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  6. The messy love triangle (shudders) lol
    Good review!

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    1. I guess I didn't see it as one. It bothers me more if there's cheating or a lot of going back and forth and I didn't think that happened here but I can see why some readers would nope out anyway. I HATE love triangles lol

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  7. OMG you weren't kidding when you said this book was angsty. I can feel it oozing from your words. I have to be a in a certain kind of mood to put up with all of that angst but I enjoy one every now and again. A steady diet of them would kill me though :)

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    1. It really is and as much as I enjoyed it anyway, I feel like people should know before they go in. It's not going to be for everyone and honestly, I can't explain why I liked it. I think I've stayed away from this type of book for so long I could handle it better.

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  8. WHy can I not stay away from spoilers? I had to read ;)

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  9. Once in a while, a book is all wrong for me and yet my mood or some aspect of the book makes it work. NA is usually a no-go for me b/c of all the types of stuff that you are describing (I find they are messy even beyond a Hollywood connect this one has). But it sounds like even unlikable, these people had your empathy which means the writing is great. I have her Ghost and the Goth book on my wish list.

    Enjoyed your review, Karen!

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    1. Even if you don't read this, you should try her GatG series. It's fantastic. Or even book #1 in this series. It's intense but not in a romantic angsty way.

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  10. Messy relationships and angst are typically no-gos for me, especially in NA, but I'm intrigued. Sometimes I think an author that you know and love can sell a story that you normally wouldn't enjoy at all!

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    1. I'm pretty sure that it's because it was by Kade. I just trust her as a writer and so that made me hang in there.

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  11. Tis book doesn't sound like one I'd usually like on the angst/messy/drama front yet I'm still intrigued. I think I'm drawn in my the idea of someone having to overcome their past actions (and a controlling parent) and I think it's sounds cute. But I can see how it would be hella frustrating to read so I'll be wary about reading. I like Stacey Kade's last book so I have to read this one.

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  12. It's always interesting when an author can get you with something that's really not your thing. Sounds like the spoiler bit was handled pretty decently.

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