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Ari Bookzilla

A serial reader.

Currently reading

Unmasking the Spy
Janet Kent
Kelly Favor
Iris Blaire
The Nature of Cruelty
L.H. Cosway
Karen Marie Moning
Varian Krylov
The Liberator
Victoria Scott
Abby Road
Ophelia London

Stand-In Star

Stand-In Star - Rachael Johns I loved the opening scene of this book! Holly, a cultural anthropologist from Australia lands in LA where she is instantly overwhelmed by the paparazzi because of her famous, estranged, now late sister, Daisy. Nate comes to her rescue, although grudgingly so, because he feels he owes it to his friend (with benefits), Daisy, despite his dislike of the woman who caused Daisy so much heartbreak because she wouldn't speak to her sister for three years.For those looking for instant connection, you won't find it here. Oh, there's some sizzling chemistry between the two and you can tell they'd be so good together, but they both have issues with the other - him thinking she's the wicked sister of the woman he cared about, and her put off by the clear hostility he's sending her way. It's a love/hate relationship in every sense of that term.Holly could never get over her sister's betrayal and never tried to mend their relationship. The betrayal also left her self-confidence in shreds and you can see that in how adamant she is that there's no way Nate would pick her over Hollywood starlets. What she does have is incredible intelligence and I enjoyed her curious nature.Thanks to Nate, she learns that everything she thought about her sister was wrong, and the guilt that she feels for not making things right between them really got to me. Nothing should come between sisters like that.Nate is a complex character. Everything he has in his life he worked hard for, going from a poor kid with an alcoholic, abusive father to a famous portrait photographer. He is also incredibly closed off emotionally, even with his own family. He takes care of them, and they mean the world to him, but it's obvious he's uncomfortable being around his sister (she's the only one we really see) because he still feels like he failed them somehow.I really wanted these two to work through their issues and this giant misunderstanding because they both knew the different side of the story. You can tell family is extremely important to Nate, and on the other side you have Holly who flat-out refused to acknowledge her sister after everything that happened. And then you have the issue of Nate and Daisy's relationship, making Holly feel just as much of a traitor as she thought her sister was for feeling attracted to him.Despite this, they still form a close relationship, slowly opening up to each other, and once the pieces fall into their places and there's nothing left holding them back, their mutual attraction just explodes.Yep, there are a couple of graphic sex scenes in this (and they are hot), so beware clean-romance readers.The writing is great, the descriptions of LA painted a great picture and you feel like you're right in the scene. The way they subtly fall in love without even realizing what's going on felt very realistic, and I already said there's great chemistry between these two characters. I loved the supporting characters, as well - Bec and Linc, whose love for each other was wonderful to read about, and Stella, the barely-there best friend whose presence is all over the book even if you only meet her once. And of course, Daisy, I mourned her along with Holly because it sounded like she really was a good sister despite the things she did.I loved this sweet story by Rachael Johns, the two people learning to trust and overcome their prejudice in order to find the love neither of them expected. I definitely recommend this book.