In Starlight and Stardust by Riley Hart & Christina Lee #LGBT #Audio #Review #MM

Erryn reviews ‘Of Starlight and Stardust’ by Christina Lee and Riley Hart. The ebook was published September 8, 2018. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Tristan James and Kale William, released on May 14, 2019 and is 7 hrs and 4 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Why I read this book:  Well, I love this pair of writers and these are two of my favorite narrators.

After the death of his wife, Tanner Rowe takes a step toward making her dying wish come true and buys the house with the dilapidated barn she’d been inexplicably drawn to in the picturesque Upper Peninsula. But after a year, he still can’t get past his grief long enough to make the repairs he’d promised.   

Recently out of prison, Cole Lachlan has little to his name. Homeless, broke, and without many options as a felon, Cole heads to Red Bluff with hopes of a second chance. There he meets Tanner, whose loneliness mirrors his own, and soon Cole is trading room and board for rebuilding the burned-out barn on Tanner’s property that hasn’t been touched in 70 years.   

Turns out, the barn holds more secrets than either of them could have imagined. After unearthing a hidden journal from 1948, Cole and Tanner spend their evenings poring over the pages, reading about a young man pining after his best friend. The deeper they delve into this forbidden affair from the past, the more Cole and Tanner’s own relationship shifts – from acquaintances to friends…to undeniable attraction.   

But as they begin to deal with the newness of falling in love in the wake of Tanner’s loss and Cole’s past, they also become more determined to unravel the mystery of the young lovers who’ve captured their hearts, the rumors about the fire, and what really happened that fateful night.

** 2019 Lambda Literary Award finalist in Gay Romance **

Audible | Amazon | Goodreads

My Review: 

Cole Lachlan is a man in need of a second chance.  He has fond memories of the town of Red Bluff and so he heads there despite having no prospects or place to lay his head. After serving time, he’s ready for a fresh start.  Tanner Rowe is a man mired in grief.  His late wife’s wish was that he escape the city and move to a farm she’d always admired.  As a last promise to her, he bought the farm and now he’s living there. Or more like existing.  There’s no joy in his life and although there’s plenty of physical labor to be done, he’s sticking to his online job.

The meeting of the two men seems providential.  One needs a job and the other has work that needs to be done.  And while Cole has always been gay, Tanner has always been straight.  So it’s just employer/employee…right?  Of course life is never that simple.  The growing attraction between the men is a problem because one is straight and one is moving on.  One is obsessed with a dead spouse and one has never had a serious relationship in his life.

There is a strong subplot in the book.  There were two men who in 1948 had an illicit relationship.  The discovery of this liaison brings more questions than answers.  As Cole and Tanner dig into the mystery, their own connection deepens.  I wasn’t immediately sold on this other story.  The story intrigued me but Tanner and Cole’s ability to only read one journal entry at a time was almost unbelievable.  It had to work that way for the story but I’m someone who would either read the entire thing in one sitting or go to the end to find out what happened.

Riley Hart and Christina Lee are a great writing pair who come out with some creative books.  This is a great book that I enjoyed but not quite as much as some of their others.  Do I recommend it and understand why it was nominated for an award?  Absolutely.

The narrators are Kale Williams and Tristan James.  I’ve enjoyed both their solo works and the partnership worked well.  Each man’s voice is distinctive, and I never questioned who was speaking or whose point of view I was in.  I enjoyed the book and hope others will as well.

My Rating:

10/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars

Website | Facebook  | Twitter: @RileyHart5| Goodreads

Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic. A lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together. If she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her reading.

Riley lives in California with her awesome family, who she is thankful for everyday.

Website | Facebook | Twitter: @Christina_Lee04 Goodreads

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina Lee lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip balm, coffee, and kissing. Because everything is better with kissing. 

She writes MM Contemporary as well as Adult and New Adult Romance. She believes in happily-ever-afters for all, so reading and writing romance for everybody under the rainbow helps quench her soul. 

You can find more info on her website: From there you can link to her Facebook reader group called The Swoon Room as well as her IG account and newsletter.

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