Thursday, October 3, 2013

Just Another...Book Crush (#9): Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Just Another...Book Crush! is a monthly feature where I invite an author whose book I've recently reviewed and loved to write a guest post and share their three latest book crushes. It's a feature I'm starting mostly because I'm often very shy to approach authors, especially ones I admire, and also because I love reading guest posts since, more often than not, they convince me to pick up a book even when the reviewer cannot. 

For those of you who don't know, Where the Stars Still Shine is one of my favorite novels of the year. It managed to cover everything I've ever wanted from a contemporary read and Trish Doller, though impressing me with her debut last year, has shot up to my list of auto-buy authors. I am so excited to have her on the blog today to discuss one of my favorite aspects of this phenomenal sophomore novel: the romance! After all, who doesn't love a good love story? ;) 
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.
Callie and Alex go into their relationship in an almost backward direction...which was a deliberate decision. Callie has been damaged by someone she should have been able to trust, so it isn't likely that she would enter into a relationship in a typical way. I did a lot of reading on sexual abuse and while it might seem more natural that a victim would close in on herself and be afraid of sex, there are victims who use sex as a way to feel in control after having their control taken away by their abusers. Callie has been seeking out partners who wouldn't leave her feeling shamed and used afterward, but--mostly due to her living situations--has chosen poorly.

When she arrives in Tarpon Springs, I wanted her to find someone who seemed like another bad choice. All the early signs suggest Alex might be like the rest, but he's not. With him, I wanted Callie to learn what a healthy relationship feels like. Alex respects her boundaries, practices safe sex, and not only can she trust him not to hurt her body, but we also find out that she can trust him with her heaviest secrets. If you're paying attention, you can see their relationship go from purely physical to almost exclusively emotional as that trust unfolds.

Just Another...Book Crush! 

3. Jamie/Poe from the Secret Society Girl series by Diana Peterfreund 
He starts the series as kind of a jerk. An abrasive know-it-all whose motives are suspect all the time. But he's one of those dark horse book boys you don't see coming and when his real personality finally arrives? SWOON.

2. Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta 
This quote right here kind of sums it up nicely: "He stops and looks at me. 'I'm here because of you. You're my priority. Your happiness, in some fucked way, is tuned in to mine. Get that through your thick skull. Would I like it any other way? Hell, yes, but I don't think that will be happening in my lifetime." Rough and tender, strong and sweet, I just love everything about him!

1. Ryan from Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar
Ryan was, in some ways, the model for Alex in Where the Stars Still Shine. What I love about Ryan is that he's quiet and steady and even when Carly is blowing like a gale, he's a rock she can bash against until she's calm. Ryan is the man she needs to help her learn how to trust again and when she finally lets go, it gets me every time. 

I could wax poetry about this post: that's how perfect it is. I love the way Doller describes the incredible love story within the pages of her story and both Jonah and Ryan are two of my all-time favorite crushes too. And, now that Doller has mentioned it, I totally see the similarities - and differences - between Alex and Ryan and I absolutely LOVE that. If you haven't already read Doller's sophomore novel - which released just a few weeks ago - don't hesitate to buy it at once! It's worth every penny. :)


  1. I bought Raw Blue a while back and now I am dying to read it, because I loved WtSSS so much too, Keertana. And I know Trish knows her love interests because Alex...YUMMM. I still need to read Jellicoe Road too because I am a big fat fail at life with all these review books. I need to STAHHHPPP.

    1. Kara, I HEAR YOU about review books! I'm drowning under them myself, but Jellicoe Road is one of the best books I've ever read, as is Raw Blue, so I can't recommend them enough. I know you'd love them, so I hope you pick them up soon!(:

  2. A great post Trish! I'm always swooning over fictional crushes and so I'm always eager to discover more! I loved both Jonah and Ryan, Jonah probably a bit more. But I've never heard of Jamie before, but I'm always a fan of guys who win you over in the end! Thanks for sharing your great recommendations with us! :)

  3. I loved Trish's Something Like Normal so I'll definitely read this one too! Also, Jellicoe Road and Raw Blue. I think it's about time that I read those two. I've heard so many good things about them already, don't know why I keep holding off from reading them.

  4. I'm so looking forward to reading this one. I mean from your review I'm already in love with the story and characters. That'll probably make me love the author too, but just so we are clear Jonah might belong with me ;) Great post Keertana :)

  5. AHHHHH RYAN FROM RAW BLUE! Okay, I know, I'm fangirling, but he's probably my ultimate book crush because he is that sweet, soulful and genuine. Trish just went up a million notches in my opinion! :)

  6. Wow, I never thought of WTSSS like that (O.O so many S's) I wasn't a fan of the romance but in that thought, it's pretty smart!

    Thanks for sharing, hun! <33

  7. "What I love about Ryan is that he's quiet and steady and even when Carly is blowing like a gale, he's a rock she can bash against until she's calm. Ryan is the man she needs to help her learn how to trust again and when she finally lets go, it gets me every time."

    YES. This. THIS. I love Ryan so very, very much, and I just want to blow this description of him up and frame it because it's exactly what appealed to me about him. Now I want to go back and read Raw Blue again.

    I adored Where the Stars Still Shine as well Keertana, and I can't wait to see what Trish writes next!

  8. Hm... I have the last two on my wishlist, but me thinks you added a couple more. Wow! You make these sound fab and they all seem to have one thing I do enjoy the most in contemporary... growth! Thanks for the recs!

  9. I felt as though I understood what Doller wanted to do with Callie and Alex's relationship as I read the book, but I always appreciate having the opportunity to have the author explain things. I didn't like how their relationship did seem reverse at first, but it made more sense as I kept reading (and even more sense now as Doller put it into context). Of her three picks, I've only read Jellicoe Road, although Raw Blue's been on my TBR for a while now, and I'm becoming more and more of a fan of Peterfruend's work.

  10. Jonah and Ryan are among my very favorite book crushes too, so I think Alex will probably be too. I agree with Jenny, I now want to go back and reread Raw Blue and JEllicoe all over again. But first I'll read Where the Stars Still Shine because lucky me, my copy arrived just yesterday. :)
    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely post and making me even more excited about reading the book.

  11. I don't know any of those three boys but I loved the evolution of Callie's relationship with Alex, how she finally had someone to trust and rely on.

  12. No wonder I liked Alex because I liked Ryan!

    Trish recently said on our podcast that she loves good guys and that makes me so happy, I'm sure I'll always love her male MCs.

  13. WOW. I love everything Trish said in this post. Especially about how she deliberately portrayed Callie and Alex's relationship from physical to emotional. So many of these "trauma" NA books have the exact same plot with girls so closed off and the guy that breaks through. But you're right. THIS ONE read naturally, and I believed Callie's journey. Also, Jonah and Ryan are some of my favorite, favorite guys. Jonah, I love so much it's painful. I haven't read that series by Peterfreund, but if he's anything like these other two I clearly need to get on that! Have you read that series?


I love hearing from my readers and I read, reply, and appreciate every one of the comments I receive!(: If you're a fellow blogger, please leave a link to your blog - I'd love to drop by!

Unfortunately, this is now an award-free blog. I simply do not have the time to respond and forward on the award, but I truly appreciate the nomination regardless.