The Stars that Tremble

The Stars that Tremble - Kate McMurray A Hearts On Fire Review

THREE STARS--When decent plots seem to have potential and they fall short.

Kate McMurray's "The Stars that Tremble" is set in modern day NYC with an ex-opera singer music teacher/coach, Giovanni Boca discovering a promising music student in fourteen year old, Emma McPhee. Young Emma shows promise and wouldn't you know Emma is from a single parent home. She's being raised by her gay widowered, contractor father, Mike McPhee.

Mike comes from a blue collar/ military background (now owns his own construction/renovation company) and Giovanni is from the opera world which caters to the elite and cultured. Guess what kind of trope is delivered all throughout the story? Ding, ding, ding! Opposites Attract! It's slapped all over this story.

The men are attracted to one another immediately but I just did not buy the connection. It was dull from the start, so as the story progressed, the two supposedly fall deep for one another and I just didn't see it. Add in the numerous mentions of rich people being evil (there's even a rich bitch stage mom heading the crowd in this story, Tracy Quinlan), Mike complaining and worrying about his differences from the world he thinks he is not fit for, it left me wanting.

On a scale from 1-10 on drama factor, this story is about a two, on average. Now when you have a two drama factor, you don't expect much. But when the main characters are trying to stretch their two into higher than what it could ever be...there are problems.

What worked:

- The cover - I love that cover. And it befits the story pretty well.

- The NYC authenticity - I felt like I was in the city. Great job.

- Some of the secondary characters, namely Sandy and Emma. Sandy was a good best friend for Mike (mostly - towards the end I was getting a little annoyed with him) Overall, he's a friend you'd like to have. And Emma the fourteen year old prodigy - she wasn't annoying mostly. She acted age appropriate and seemed like a sweet kid.

- The opera history references - You know nothing about opera and it's history, you can find out interesting facts in "The Stars the Tremble", there's a lot of research that went into this book

What did not work:

- The opera history references - My goodness there's a LOT of opera history references. It's interesting maybe the first time but it's shoved down your throat and consumes this story. The opera references during the sex scene alone were not sexy. Perfectly good sex diminished by opera history! I get it, Gio is a musical artist but must he find music in everything? The opera music history was heavy handed and detracted from the story's point in my opinion. It was supposed to be a romance, right? Not feel so world music history textbook-ish. (I felt like I was back in class at times)

- The lackluster chemistry - Mike and Giovanni seemed like nice enough men. We learned a LOT about their background, so there is nothing left to question. However, the word vomit doesn't make them interesting. The chemistry or lack thereof was not believable from jump. They said the right words but I was not buying it. It was like reading two cardboard cutouts falling for one another.

- Reiteration, Repetition, Redundancy - This story was longer than necessary. When sandwiches are described in detail, room decoration tips are discussed in length, topics are discussed over and over and OVER again, I stopped caring. There was so much telling, not enough showing. A lot of the issues the men had could have been avoided if instead of talking about mundane areas...maybe talking about the items that counted. It would have shaved off about a quarter to a third of the book which I felt wasn't necessary to the story that tried to be told.

I had more good points than not so good...barely. The story is not a bad one. The ending was HEA with a realistic twist in regards to the issue that comes up with Tracy Quinlan. I think I wanted to like this story more than I actually did. I like teachers and parents of students romances. I wished we got to see more romance and less humdrum everyday life that did not add to the story.

I'm going to give this author a try in the future because the writing was not bad...nor that great but I see the potential.