Publication Date: March 1, 2022
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads – StoryGraph
CW: Kidnapping; threats of gun violence
Jen Comfort is a true writer of rom-coms. So many books nowadays get slapped with the rom-com label, which is so often misleading. But with Jen Comfort, her books are actually funny and are actually romance. After reading and loving Midnight Duet, I wanted to pick up her first book, The Astronaut and the Star. I enjoyed this one as it’s super cute, but it didn’t capture my heart quite like Midnight Duet did.
Reggie Hayes wants to be the first woman on the moon. But after a PR disaster jeopardizes her chances, she’s willing to do anything to rehab her reputation with NASA, even if it means doing astronaut “training” with a Hollywood action hero. Meanwhile, Jon Leo is a charmer who wants to make a name for himself in Hollywood. After staring in a campy “Space Dude” action flick, he’s taking on a role from a prestigious director that has award bait written all over. Plus, he’s always been a fan of space, so getting to learn from real astronauts is like a dream come true. Only problem – Jon and Reggie are polar opposites. However, there is a chemistry between them that only builds as they’re forced to spend weeks together on a fake space base.
While the romance was super cute in this, I felt like the chemistry between Reggie and Jon wasn’t as strong as I would have liked. I cannot put my finger on what was missing. I liked both of them, and I liked them together. I think I wanted them to be a bit more in their feelings? However, I did enjoy how it was a slow build between them, and we do get some fun tropes woven into this, including some delicious forced proximity in a fake space base, nursing back to health and grump/sunshine. Plus, we get some sexy banging on solar panels – something I never thought I’d say.
Also, if you like a good himbo romantic male lead, look no further than Jon Leo. This man was adorable and all-around charming. He’s more intelligent than people think, but he definitely doesn’t always think every situation through – hence himbo. For example, he almost sets his pants on fire because he tries to heat dehydrated food up wrong and puts it in his pants pocket instead of the garbage. I died laughing at that scene. It’s hard not to find him endearing and loveable. I also really liked his journey with ADHD. When he realizes he might have had that his whole life, it changes his perspective and validates his feelings regarding his intelligence. He’s not dumb; he just approaches things differently.
Now if Jon is a loveable, endearing Hollywood star, Reggie is on the opposite end of the spectrum. She’s not the easiest person to get along with. She doesn’t do people. She’s very driven by her own ambitions and puts that first. I can see some people being turned off by her, but I liked her even though she doesn’t play nice with others. Once you learn more about her upbringing, I think that helps soften her and put her actions into perspective. Also, her fondness for Jon Bon Jovi is a point in her favor in my book. Jon’s also a good influence on her and helps her learn how to open up and communicate better with others. By the end, she’s still driven as hell, something I admire, but she is a better team player and leader.
The thing I really loved about this book was the plot! It was so stinking fun! I think the book shines in the situations with Jon and Reggie as they’re working through basic space training and science. I also loved the premise of Jon having signed on to a terrible movie – I truly wanted to know more about it.
Now, the ending is a little wild and out there, but it weirdly works perfectly for the book. The sad thing is, the ending feels like something that would never happen in real life, but some people act and believe some crazy ideas about our government, so I could see it happening. The ending did raise the stakes way more than I expected, but it was a fun way to wrap the story up and pull a bunch of different plot pieces together.
I think it’s safe to say that if I’m looking for a book that will make me laugh and has a sweet yet sexy romance, Jen Comfort will deliver! Is this book over the top? Yes! But Jen Comfort leans into it, and it WORKS! That’s exactly why I loved Midnight Duet and why I loved this book. Both books are available on KU, so I highly recommend grabbing them. I cannot wait to see what Jen Comfort writes next!