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Starstruck

A Bluewater Bay Novel, Book 1
Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
Series: Bluewater Bay, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 1 min
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4.5 out of 5 stars (267 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Hollywood is full of dirty secrets, but Carter refuses to be Levi's.

Retired action star Levi Pritchard has made a quiet life for himself in the sleepy logging town of Bluewater Bay, Washington. But then Hollywood comes to film the wildly popular television series Wolf's Landing, and Bluewater Bay isn't so sleepy anymore. His retirement doesn't stick, either, because he's offered a part on the show - exactly the kind of complex role he'd always wanted, one that would prove him more than a glorified stuntman. The only catch? He has to stay in the closet - no matter how attractive he finds his co-star.

Carter Samuels is the critically acclaimed male lead on Wolf's Landing. And now, the man who inspired him to take up acting - and made him realize he's gay - is joining the cast, and sparks fly between them instantly. But Carter is out and proud and determined to stay true to himself.

Remaining just friends is the only thing to do, as both the studio and Levi's disapproving, dysfunctional family keep reminding them. Except their friendship deepens by the day, tempting them with what they can't have but both desperately need.

©2014 L.A. Witt (P)2016 Riptide Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    58
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Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    121
  • 4 Stars
    77
  • 3 Stars
    46
  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Love Nick's narration, so-so story

In this case, the blurb pretty much sets the scene for us perfectly. Carter – young, out and proud – crushing on older “B” level actor and very closeted – Levi. They share many common interests including indy films and become fast friends. We see this friendship develop SLOWLY over many pages. Everything about Levi is perfect for Carter and he PINES, but alas, Levi is “straight” so…

Eventually, the 38 year old Levi admits his sexuality to Carter and they begin a relationship in secret. Carter wants more, but Levi fears the loss of his career and family, and chooses those over being open and honest with Carter.

**

I am a big LA Witt fan – sometimes she swings and misses. This is one of those. On the one hand I love Levi and Carter and think they’re great characters and great together. It was her pacing that made me nuts. SO MUCH TIME spent on building the friendship then POW they’re together POW they’re apart POW I Love You POW the end. The last 20% went too fast and the first 80% too slowly.

I was particularly annoyed with Levi’s resistance based on his career. He’s not even a main stream actor and this is already being billed as a gay friendly show… to me – at his age – I’d think the relationship would matter more given the inconsistency of Hollywood and the lack of guarantee that he even has a career beyond this show. But… I was very pleased with the ending. It redeemed things for me quite a bit, I just wish there’d been a bit more between building the friendship and then super-drama/resolution at the end.

3 of 5 stars

Audio

Nick J Russo is just so easy to listen to! He does a great job with both male and female characters – so all the female characters in this story are really well represented. I loved his choice of voices for Eli and Carter and thought the audiobook made this story even better. He even gives the secondary characters unique voices and that really brings this story to life. I think I’d buy anything narrated by Nick – he’s a reliable source of entertainment and his voice is just DELICIOUS! He absolutely elevated my enjoyment of this story and made me rate it higher.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed for Prism Book Alliance

Story Review:

Ahh this brings back fond memories of why I started reading the Bluewater Bay series. This story was adorable yet had enough angst and emotion to keep it from turning cheesy. I loved Levi and Carter. Their courtship started out so sweet with blushes and nerves, and fluttering tummies. Then things turned annoying when Levi allowed outside influences to force him to hide himself and his feeling for Carter. I hated his parents and the studio and wanted to slap them all. But mostly I wanted to slap Levi for hurting Carter. I almost wanted Carter and his almost hookup to have worked out just to show Levi what was what!

But in the end, I loved the way Levi found his voice and how Carter forgave him. I do wish more of their connection would have been on page, but overall I was happy with this story. I now want to go back and re-read the entire series! Hurry up and release them all on audio so I can binge listen!!!!

Narration Review:

Nick J. Russo’s narration really brought out the best in this story. The cuteness factors were amplified and the angst came through clearly. I felt the emotions and easily connected with his characters. Between my love for this story and the added narration, I listened to this in one sitting because I just could not make myself put this one down!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Sweet and cozy

This was a very easy listen - not many complication (and the ones present did not last long so no Real suspence) but if u are in the mood for that, it is a pleasent Way to use your time. Narrator does a good job.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Lights, Camera, And a Slow Burn Romance

Would you consider the audio edition of Starstruck to be better than the print version?

I didn't read the print edition, but I really enjoyed what having the audio narrator brought to the story. I had no trouble picturing the characters, the situation, or the setting.

What did you like best about this story?

I know it was really slow through the middle when they were just hanging out doing friend stuff and trying to resist the attraction, but it was their friendship that I loved best. Okay, and I got down right excited each time Levi's cats were in the scenes with them.

Have you listened to any of Nick J. Russo’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, I'm a fan. This wasn't my favorite, but not due to narration. I thought he did well with all the characters. His Finn the producer voice cracked me up. But the more serious parts with the main players struck the right tone and pace, too.

If you could rename Starstruck, what would you call it?

Finding Himself and Finding Happiness

Any additional comments?

First in a series by multiple authors. Like the movie and small town back drop.

Received the book from Riptide Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

A Soap Opera

I don't want to come out. You must come out. I don't want to come out you must come out. I don't want to come out. You must come out. I don't want to come out. You must come out. Okay I'll come out.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Really enjoyable until it goes pear shaped.

Two mid-list actors, Levi needs to stay in the closet because [gestures at world] & Carter doesn’t want a relationship on the down low so they try to be just friends. This story was a really comfortable ride along with Carter & Levi coming to know each other as friends with sexual tension. There are fun details and a shark bite and big housecats and good stuff. Then they have a stupid fight out of the blue and nothing makes sense anymore, what happened to my nice story?

SPOILERS START HERE
First, a few issues that I would have overlooked had the story not imploded.
-I felt more tension from Levi & Carter being overly close where a photog with telephoto lens might see them than anything else. Somehow after the first sly photo - of their 2nd conversation- it magically never happens again. They are together all the time and no one catches it on film? Them on the house deck? On the boat deck? On freaking stage with spotlights? Are you kidding me here? (Ok, maybe that would have bothered me either way.)
- Despite spending hours and hours of many days together in actual privacy, they never decide to have sex then almost do each other in public, at work. Huh?
- There’s a bit of an age gap that is never really worked through more than peripherally. That plus the different career stages means it should have come up.

Now for the big spoiler! Things are going along fine until Carter tries to date someone else and can’t. Then the next time he sees Levi, he pretty much jumps him. At work. They are both so clear on the decision for Levi to stay in the closet that they have almost no physical contact when in Levi’s house -a private, safe place- but suddenly kiss at work then again on the outside deck of a yacht registered to Levi (they absolutely should have been caught on camera there). I had no problem with the yacht as a convenient hookup spot aside from sheets on boat beds get mildewed if left on. I did have an issue with the abrupt 0-60. Then the actual sex scene was also oddly rushed. They go from heated kisses & discussing how they want to make things last to gloving up and penetration with no discernible foreplay. It was disjointed and weird because the conversation didn’t match the action.

More spoilage. So they have sex and the morning after Carter loses his entire mind and picks a huge fight about Levi being in the closet and demands that Levi come out. Right now. Uh… y’all just had a one night stand and you’re basically demanding the equivalent of career suicide and a shotgun wedding despite going into this whole thing knowing the score. The fight was one sided and unfair and stupid. It was 85% of the way through and so out of left field I kept listening mostly because there wasn’t much book left. I should have just gone with my gut and given up in disgust because it doesn’t get better. For it to make sense for Levi to come out, either the author should have written the book’s reality to be such that Levi’s coming out had a chance of being ok, or Carter should have caved about being public for a while longer. Like a year longer. As it was, Levi’s nascent comeback while out was not made believable. At all. Prejudice is not about who you are as a person/couple. Prejudice is about how other people and society treat you. I’m all for the world being a safe place for everyone to be out and proud. But this story is not set in a world where everyone can be safely out and proud and keep their job so to act like the problem is the act of coming out rather than the *backlash response* to coming out is just every kind of wrong. The story does not have a believable ending. And for Levi to come out, for Carter, without discussing it with Carter first? That’s not a relationship, that’s 2 people making independent decisions within range of each other. Plus, there should gave been followup with Levi’s dad, who seemed like he could come around. The last 15% of the book was not up to the quality of the first 85% which was a shame.

Steam: low. mostly there are smoldering glances from afar but there are 2 m/m sex scenes on page that are oddly abrupt.

Audio: The narrator was ok but for a couple odd pronunciations. Specifically, “indemnity” which should have a 2nd /n/ sound in it. Production wise, there should have been slightly longer pauses between scenes when the POV shifted. Although the author was quite adept at orienting a reader to the right POV at scene changes, the audio not pausing even a partial second longer made it hard to know that the scene had changed.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Cute story, good narration

There really isn't much to this book, it is all about the relationship between Carter and Levi building. There isn't much angst or drama other than the closeted character aspect. The age difference isn't really even an issue and is only briefly mentioned in passing.

Levi has been in the closet his entire life...because of his career and his family. I honestly think he just got used to it and there really isn't any other reason for it. He finally meets someone that gives him a reason to come out...but it takes some convincing. Levi and Carter become friends first which solidifies their relationship as eventual lovers. They have an emotional connection they realize they don’t want to live without and Levi finally (at almost 40) grows a pair and stands up for what he wants.

The story is a bit predictable; slow at times, frustrating at times but Levi melted my heart a little when he finally admitted to Carter how he felt. That one scene was worth the wait!

Mr. Russo's performance is good. My only niggle is something I've mentioned previously when reviewing his performances...he adds an 'l' on the end of words that don't have them 'sawl' instead of 'saw'...bit of a pet peeve of mine but some folks may not even notice it. :)

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Not too angsty and a really lovely story. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a great romance with a delicious HEA!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Meh

The story was as milquetoast as the cover art. It was easy breezy. No real angst or electric sexual energy between the main characters. It was just ‘fine’.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Sweet and enjoyable listen

I enjoyed listening to this book, some days this is the kind of book that I want, that I need really. It’s easy, low angst and with a hefty dose of sugar. There wasn’t a ton going on in the book, it was mostly focused on Carter and Levi’s relationship, the friendship and the underlying attraction. But you know what, I liked that, I want that for the times that I want something sweet and just want to dream away for a while. Add in Russo’s talented performance of the book and I spent a very pleasant afternoon listening to it.