Series: All In, #1
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Release Date: January 3rd, 2021
“I’m afraid I’m going to spend the rest of my life loving you for this. For everything.”
Elle’s fairy-tale is simple: job, man, cottage by the sea. She just ticked the first thing off the list: a dreamy new job planning guest experiences for OrbitAll, the world’s first space tourism company. Cottage by the sea? More like an apartment in California’s Mojave Desert. And the only man in her life is Chen, OrbitAll’s annoying new astronaut, who also happens to be her (loud) upstairs neighbor.
Chen’s always hated boundaries. He became an astronaut so not even gravity could hold him back. Unfortunately, his parents can. As the oldest son in a Chinese family, his fate has been decided since birth. When Chen gets an incredible offer from a space tourism company in America, he ditches his duties—for now. There he meets Elle, the eye-rolling beauty who lives and works ways too close. With her wild hair and fast car, she looks like freedom. Tastes like it, too.
Together, Elle and Chen are hotter than the center of the sun. And they’re hurtling towards their deadline as fast as they’re falling.
“You are hotter than the centre of the sun and I want to burn.”
I read Falling Like Stars exclusively because of the element of space and astronauts. I also loved the blurb so much and when Eve Kasey was kind enough to add me to her ARC team, I jumped at the chance to devour this book. Falling Like Stars is about so much more than space. Yes, the hero is an astronaut and a person of colour, the heroine is smart, driven, passionate and beautiful, the world-building in this book is beautiful and so are all the details. It is all of that and more, but it’s also a book about going after what you want, loving who you want and still being able to support those closest to you. Falling Like Stars tells stories within stories and you’re given a chance to fall in love with every single person in the book.
Elle has worked hard to have the life she wants – she’s made a name for herself and she’s indispensable at the resort where she works on a remote island. But when she gets a better offer to do something more with her life, Elle knows that she has to jump at it. It’s an opportunity that will change the course fo her life, and she doesn’t even hesitate. Chen is former Chinese military and also an astronaut with the Chinese space force. Like Eve, he also gets an unbeatable offer and all it requires is for him to move to California for a few months to help make all the dreams come true.
“Chen snickered again. Elle rolled her eyes. He was as cute as he was annoying. She told herself she was not drawn to his easy manner and oozing confidence. But if that had been true, she shouldn’t feel his body as clearly as she could see it.”
When Elle and Chen meet, it’s sparks and fireworks and explosions. Not all the good kind. Chen is a confident, cocky, handsome man and he knows just how much he’s riling up Elle. On the other hand, Elle is drawn to Chen, but she’s infuriated by his cockiness while also being drawn to him. They clash and crash and set off more sparks. It’s evident that they both feel something for the other, but given that they both now work for the same company, they know better than to even entertain that thought.
Individually, they’re such great characters. Eve digs deep into their lives and souls and makes you feel like you’re friends with them. When you can feel that close to a character, you know that they have to be real. Elle and Chen have such fantastic chemistry and through their verbal sparring and hilarious banter, you get to see them fall in love. Chen introduces Elle to his favourite food and Elle teaches Chen how to properly enjoy tacos. Baos and tacos become a recurring theme in this book, which just makes it that much more special.
“Pressed against the toned astronaut with stars in his eyes, she’d felt pulled like gravity.”
Chen’s story is so beautiful and to go into such depths and see that part of his life was an experience I don’t think I expected to have. He’s so complex, and yet so relatable, and his dedication and loyalty to prove for and love his family is quite something. And all of that and his kind heart and soul gets transferred to Elle who returns the feelings ten-fold. Gah, their relationship is perfect. It’s never a case of enemies to lovers, more like a frustrating human to love of my life kind of situation. And honestly, I loved that so much.
Every scene where Elle and Chen are together is a scene I want to read over and over again. Even the ones before they take things up to the next level and explore a relationship together, it’s perfect and it’s wonderful and it makes you feel all the things. Their emotional chemistry is on point, but their physical chemistry? Explosive! I love that Chen admires Elle for the strong, smart and powerful woman that she was, but also because of how devastatingly gorgeous she is too. Their clothes come off and your Kindle will heat up, so brace yourself, because that is most certainly going to happen.
“What do you call the place between like and love? That in-between full of gratitude and gravity so strong it feels like you’ve been ripped apart? He’d landed in that place with Elle and he never wanted to leave.”
There was so much to love about this book, but what I really loved was that the conflict wasn’t blown out of proportion or made dramatic for the sake of being dramatic. I find that amicable break-ups are more realistic and they hurt a hell of a lot more, which makes you root for these characters harder. Elle and Chen have to make decisions that will break their heart, but they know that it’s inevitable and they can’t escape everything. And breaking up doesn’t mean that they’re done or don’t love each other anymore. If anything, it’s so much more intense. And they’re both so supportive and understanding of each other that it makes the relationship that much more precious in its own way.
I am a sucker for a well-crafted story with believable and interesting characters, and it’s made all the more beautiful when you’ve spoken with the author and she’s so full of heart and soul too. You can feel all of that in the book and when that happens, how do you not love what you’re reading?
Falling Like Stars is the first in a new series by Eve Kasey and I cannot wait to read the rest of the stories. Because by falling in love with Elle and Chen, I also fell in love with Rosie and Tate, and Quinn and Vadim and now I obviously need their stories!
Thanks to Eve Kasey for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.