Sunday, February 9, 2014

Unwanted Stars by Melissa Brown

I'm excited to be part of The Rocks Stars of Romance blog tour for Unwanted Stars, by beloved author Melissa Brown.  US (I like calling it that, mildly confusing though it may be, because it's a sweet acronym for the fated couple Auden and Campbell, whom we come to know and love in this book) is Book 4 in the Love Of My Life series, which began with Bouquet Toss, continued with Champagne Toast, and was furthered by last year's lovely Picturing Perfect.


It’s funny how the tiniest of things can change your life… An invitation, a simple kiss goodnight, a matchbook…

And Auden Kelly is so in need of a change.

She’s trading in her nine-to-five sales job for the adventure of a lifetime: a one year contract with a European tour company.
For one full year, Auden will get paid to see the world. What could be better? Her brother gives her a journal, instructing her to document all of her adventures as she travels from country to country. And that’s exactly what she does.

When an unexpected stranger enters her life, however, those sought after changes ripple through everything Auden had come to rely on: her expectations, her priorities, her view of the world and her place in it. And nothing for Auden will ever be the same.

Fred's Notes

So, they say when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. But there's not really a formula for when life hands you a big bowl of wtf, right? Especially when you're a pretty darn prickly 23 year old named Auden Kelly, who's restlessly launched herself on the adventure of a lifetime, guiding tours through Europe. And on top of that she's met this guy. Not just any old guy, either, but a handsome and accomplished one who, best of all, is absolutely smitten with her (smitten, I tell you!). But fate's got cards it doesn't want to show, until one day it does, and suddenly Auden's life feels like it's a house made out of those cards, tumbling around her in a dizzy snowstorm of aforesaid wtf.

I love this thoughtful and tender story of a (to be perfectly honest) kind of difficult girl, who struggles to come to terms with some tough revelations, good and bad, about who she is, and who she's going to choose to be. I love that the romance wasn't "the solution" to her problems, but rather another facet to her journey of self-awareness, maturity and understanding. I was so not expecting the big twist that hits around 60%, or for this to be a deep and sensitive treatment of issues of family and identity. And I really love how artful author Melissa Brown has become in this 4th book in the Love of My Life series of interconnected standalones. Without disclosing too much, it's so clever that key events happen at a make-up counter, a place where illusions meet with reality to either reveal or conceal a deeper truth about the layers that lie beneath our cosmetic enhancements and embellishments.

I don't mean to make this sound too heavy - it's banterific and sometimes breezy, filled with delightful snapshots of Auden's Europe, and with  warm and winsome vignettes of real feeling family affection and irritation.  I urge you to indulge in the rather complicated pleasure of getting to know Miss Auden Kelly, the most complex of her clan, without further ado!

Enter to win a $50 gift card from awesome tour hosts The Rock Stars of Romance!

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Find your copy of Unwanted Stars at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and add to your Goodreads tbr now!