Star-Crossed

Star-Crossed

Sometimes even destiny needs a little bit of help.   When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the stars, and more specifi...

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Title:Star-Crossed
Author:Minnie Darke
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Star-Crossed Reviews

  • Theresa Smith

    This was an utterly delightful novel. If you’re a fan of movies such as Love Actually, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day – as I am – then this is the novel for you! It’s both smart and funny, it doesn’t take itself too seriously but still manages to captivate and delight. And even though the story revolves around astrology, you don’t have to actually know anything about, or even like, astrology to love this novel.

    Justine is a journalist who has been slogging away as a copy runner for a few year

    This was an utterly delightful novel. If you’re a fan of movies such as Love Actually, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day – as I am – then this is the novel for you! It’s both smart and funny, it doesn’t take itself too seriously but still manages to captivate and delight. And even though the story revolves around astrology, you don’t have to actually know anything about, or even like, astrology to love this novel.

    Justine is a journalist who has been slogging away as a copy runner for a few years while waiting in the wings for a promotion at the magazine she works at. She has an awesome memory, works hard, and is a stickler for accuracy, so much so, she carries around a sharpie so she can correct the many misspellings and errors that appear on signs and menus and programs and pretty much any other thing she spots while out and about. I can’t tell you how much I loved this! I could feel Justine’s pain at seeing all of these errors, and I totally admired her confidence in the need for accuracy that drove her to correct everything she ever came across. She was a classic over-thinker, another aspect of her personality I could relate to, even though we are not actually the same star sign! To give you a taste of Justine, here is a little extract I loved that showcases her to perfection:

    But even now, as she stood in the semi-dark of her living room, hands on hips, Justine understood that, henceforth, her curtains were going to be an issue. The curtains in question, pale green and damask, were a relic of Fleur Carmichael’s occupancy of the Evelyn Towers apartment, and although Justine knew that she should just fling them open – in the normal careless way that she always did at around this time on a weekday morning – she found it wasn’t that simple any more. What if Nick thought she was looking in on him, or inviting a conversation? Maybe she should wait, until, say, seven-thirty? Evenings were going to be equally problematic. To close, or not to close? When to close? And then there were the weekends. If she shut her curtains at an unusual time, Nick might think she was doing something weird behind them. But if she didn’t close her curtains, he might think that she wanted him to see whatever she was doing – weird or not. Justine wondered if there was, set out in a reference book somewhere, a standard opening and closing protocol for curtains: some kind of code, the adherence to which would ensure that her curtain behaviour could be in no way construed as strange or inappropriate.

    When Justine bumps into her oldest friend, Nick, after years apart, their friendship is renewed, and for Justine, so are all of those old feelings that she ended up developing as an angsty teenager. Nick is mad about astrology, basing many of his decisions on what is written in his stars, and is a huge fan of the astrologer who writes the monthly column at the magazine Justine works for. Justine thinks it’s all rubbish, but when she gets promoted to contributions manager at the magazine, a part of her job is to transcribe the monthly astrology column, and that’s when the games begin. Justine begins to alter the monthly entry for Aquarius, Nick’s star sign, engineering the messages in a way that she hopes will steer him in her direction.

    “What I want to know is, does someone really love you when all they ever want to do is change you into something that you’re not?”

    It had worked, Justine realised. Her horoscope had absolutely worked. Cocooned inside Nick’s oversized woollen jumper, she was hardly able to believe that it had really, actually, properly worked to set off some doubts that were already there, lurking in his mind.

    While Nick doesn’t always act in the way Justine anticipates, she keeps on meddling, upping the ante to force his hand her way. What she doesn’t realise, is that so many other people are also reading the Aquarius column and making decisions based on her bogus entries. This is where the novel wings its way into Love Actually/New Year’s Eve/Valentine’s Day territory, with these multiple stories of people with connections to each other. This was all so perfectly executed, and as the novel progresses, the many connections become more and more apparent. It was really lovely, and very clever. As you can expect, all goes very wrong before it ends up going right. But this story is in no way formulaic, it’s fresh and original, and always entertaining.

    Yes, she had made an idiot of him, but even worse than that, she had taken something from him. She’d spoiled it: his one little sprinkling of magic in an otherwise pragmatic world – a harmless handful of stardust and mystery, once a month, on the page of a magazine.

    I loved the arrangement of this novel, with the chapters following the astrology year, beginning and ending with Aquarius. Within each chapter, time was devoted to Justine, and then to all of the other characters whose lives were being affected by the dodgy Aquarius entries. The prose was delightful, with this old world style of storytelling narration that put me in mind of Jane Austen and William Makepeace Thackeray, where everyone was introduced via a witty bio (see below for the author’s own bio as a sample of this) with the continuing narration peppered with comic banter and random incidentals. I really enjoyed Minnie Darke’s writing style and look forward to reading more books by her. She’s a fantastic writer, so witty and smooth, the storyline of Star-crossed so clever and with such brilliant on point character development. I also really enjoyed the magazine setting, with the daily workings and the interactions between Justine and her co-workers. The journalist in me got a real kick out of it all. This is one novel I can’t recommend highly enough, there’s a lot to love about it. I’m going to be gifting this one to more than a few people this year, you can be sure!

    Thanks is extended to Penguin Random House for providing me with a copy of Star-crossed for review.

  • Jennifer (JC-S)

    It’s only the stars – what’s the big deal?’

    Have you ever picked up a novel, hesitantly, because you don’t really expect you’ll enjoy it, and then found it to be one of the most enjoyable reads you’ve experienced? I picked up this book based on a review by someone whose judgement I trust and loved it. It’s funny, it’s light-hearted and it’s clever, without taking itself too seriously. Sometimes the stars align perfectly, and sometimes they don’t…

    Justine Carmichael is an aspiring journalist. She’s

    It’s only the stars – what’s the big deal?’

    Have you ever picked up a novel, hesitantly, because you don’t really expect you’ll enjoy it, and then found it to be one of the most enjoyable reads you’ve experienced? I picked up this book based on a review by someone whose judgement I trust and loved it. It’s funny, it’s light-hearted and it’s clever, without taking itself too seriously. Sometimes the stars align perfectly, and sometimes they don’t…

    Justine Carmichael is an aspiring journalist. She’s been working as a copy runner at the Alexandria Park Star for a few years, waiting for a break. She’s also a Sagittarian and a sceptic. One day, Justine runs into her old friend Nick Jordan, a struggling actor. Nick is an Aquarian and, as Justine discovers, believes in the stars. And it just so happens that Nick relies on the astrology column of the Alexandria Park Star for guidance.

    The fates conspire, and Justine gets a promotion to contributions editor at the Alexandria Park Star. One of her duties is to transcribe the monthly astrology column which its reclusive author sends to the magazine each month by facsimile. Justine would like to get Nick’s attention. Perhaps a tweak or two to the Aquarius horoscope might help?

    Alas, Justine should have known that all actions have consequences. After all, her attempts to correct incorrect spelling on signs and menus with her sharpie have not always been appreciated. Accuracy is not always valued. But meddling with the stars? Some consequences are unintended: Nick doesn’t always interpret his horoscope quite the way Justine intended. And there are other people caught up in Justine’s astrological web.

    Just how many things will go wrong before the stars realign?

    Thank you, Minnie Darke, I really enjoyed your novel and hope I don’t have to wait too long for the next one.

    Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  • Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    *

    I think readers will feel a little starry eyed as soon as they immerse themselves in the brand new contemporary romance novel by Australian author Minnie Darke. Star Crossed promises plenty of romance, laughs, entertainment, wit and life’s complications, as we follow the pathway to love for two childhood sweethearts. With fate and chance seizing the day, Star Crossed is one fresh new release you don’t want to miss!

    Star Crossed introduces Justine Carmichael,

    *

    I think readers will feel a little starry eyed as soon as they immerse themselves in the brand new contemporary romance novel by Australian author Minnie Darke. Star Crossed promises plenty of romance, laughs, entertainment, wit and life’s complications, as we follow the pathway to love for two childhood sweethearts. With fate and chance seizing the day, Star Crossed is one fresh new release you don’t want to miss!

    Star Crossed introduces Justine Carmichael, a young woman with a flourishing career in journalism. Justine’s life changes when she is re-acquainted with her childhood friend, Nick Jordan. She begins to wonder of their chance reconnection was simply a coincidence, or something more. When Justine discovers that her new job could influence her relationship with Nick she takes a chance and she puts her heart on the line. Using the astrology feature which is Nick’s favourite past time, helping guide him in the major life decisions he makes, Justine tries to manipulate the astrology section to her own advantage. This simple act of attraction and devotion has far reaching implications for not only Nick and Justine, but for the many followers of the astrology column Justine has adapted. Star Crossed is a humorous, clever and warm hearted novel that will be sure to have fans of romantic comedies thrilled to bits.

    Sometimes we need a little light and positivity in our lives, which is where books such a Star Crossed have a role to play. Having just come off the back of a very powerful but bleak novel, the contrast and joy Star Crossed provided me was simply wonderful. Star Crossed is a novel with a broad appeal. I am sure readers of any age or genre preference will enjoy Minnie Darke’s new novel.

    One of my favourite movies is the romance Serendipity, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. I recall viewing this film in the early days of my relationship with my now husband. Star Crossed reminded me of this beautiful film, it is a love story like Star Crossed that is governed by the hands of fate, chance, faith and the unpredictability of life. I could actually see Star Crossed many times transferring to the screen extremely well, it has definite screen presence!

    So, there is a bonus to Star Crossed. We follow the endearing and entertaining love story of Justine and Nick, but at the same time, we observe the colourful lives of a strong body of individuals who are impacted by Justine’s love plan. Darke takes an excellent and refined approach to her characters, she is able to convey both intense feelings and diverse emotional responses. The lasting result of this great form of character introspection is that we get a firm handle on the lives of these protagonists. It makes for one really entertaining read!

    Onto our leads, Justine and Nick are both appealing and I just loved the fact that these two were definitely destined for one another. Justine was sweet and I appreciated many of her traits. I also enjoyed learning about her career, which was portrayed well by Darke. Nick was a fabulous hero, I actually found it funny to begin with that he used astrology to guide his decisions in life, but each to their own! Astrology is actually a strong thread in this book, but you don’t have to be a believer to connect with the novel.

    While I was reading Star Crossed I noticed little motifs of astrology symbols on the different chapters of the novel. I think what I really enjoyed about the novel, as much as the romance and characters, was the structure of the novel. It is always good to see an author venture in new territory, particularly with narrative structure. I haven’t encountered a book before that is structured around the star signs, I have to say, I thought this concept was not only original, but it worked! Combined with Darke’s embracing, snappy and introspective writing style, Star Crossed was definitely a winner in my eyes.

    *I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

    Star Crossed is book #37 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge

  • Paromjit

    Minnie Darke writes a lovely piece of romantic contemporary fiction set in Australia. Justine Carmichael and Nick Jordan's mothers are best friends and the two grew up together in Edenvale until Nick's parents moved away. Sagittarian Justine, obsessed with making sure words are spelt correctly, works at the Alexandria Park Star, general dogsbody and runner for 2 years, dreaming of becoming a journalist and securing a cadetship, but the current writers have been in post for a long time, and her p

    Minnie Darke writes a lovely piece of romantic contemporary fiction set in Australia. Justine Carmichael and Nick Jordan's mothers are best friends and the two grew up together in Edenvale until Nick's parents moved away. Sagittarian Justine, obsessed with making sure words are spelt correctly, works at the Alexandria Park Star, general dogsbody and runner for 2 years, dreaming of becoming a journalist and securing a cadetship, but the current writers have been in post for a long time, and her prospects look bleak. Justine bumps into Aquarius Nick for the first time in years, he is an actor, struggling to succeed in his chosen career, recently broken up with glamorous model girlfriend, Laura Mitchell. A smitten Justine sees possibilities for her and Nick to be together, and whilst she is a sceptic when it comes to astrology, for Nick, he is far more open, addicted to reading his stars in Justine's news magazine.

    Justine sees the opportunity to tinker with reclusive Leo Thornberry's astrological predictions for Aquarius with a view to smoothing the path to her and Nick becoming an item, even though it threatens her professional position. Her meddling has unintended consequences for numerous Aquarian characters with life changing decisions, often resulting in a comedy of errors, but some have considerably more serious consequences. For Justine herself, she finds that her path to true love with a confused Nick is strewn with obstacles as he often fails to interpret his stars in the way that Juliet so desperately wants him to, as he makes decisions that drive her to despair. Will the star crossed lovers ever find their way to each other?

    Darke writes a smart and funny novel that will have you rooting for Justine and Nick, whilst at the same time getting caught in the various Aquarius characters that are affected by the repercussions of Justine's tampering with the horoscopes. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet motif is strong throughout the narrative with two productions of the play, where Nick plays Romeo in one of them, his last ditch attempt to make it in his chosen profession. There were occasions when I was faintly exasperated that Nick and Justine just could not just be straightforward and upfront with each other, but then this delightful novel would not have been written for us to savour. No doubt for many readers, it is written in the stars that they are destined to read this book. Many thanks to Random House Transworld for an ARC.

  • Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

    *

    *

    **4.5 stars**

    Star Crossed by Minnie Darke. (2019).

    When Justine (Sagittarius, aspiring journalist and sceptic) bumps into old friend Nick (Aquarius, struggling actor and true believer), it could be by chance or maybe it's written in the stars...

    Justine works at a magazine which includes a horoscope column that Nick uses to guide his life. What better way to get his attention by making some alterations to his horoscope before it gets pri

    *

    *

    **4.5 stars**

    Star Crossed by Minnie Darke. (2019).

    When Justine (Sagittarius, aspiring journalist and sceptic) bumps into old friend Nick (Aquarius, struggling actor and true believer), it could be by chance or maybe it's written in the stars...

    Justine works at a magazine which includes a horoscope column that Nick uses to guide his life. What better way to get his attention by making some alterations to his horoscope before it gets printed; what possible harm could it do?

    This is a very enjoyable, light-hearted read. Well written and easy to read, it was an absorbing novel that I quickly got lost into. Our two leads, Justine and Nick, are very likeable and I was rooting for them to get together the whole time and have their happy ending. There is a whole cast of minor characters that don't seem to be connected at first glance but it all comes together in the end; I quite liked these little side characters and their respective mini stories. This book would be comparable to one of those feel-good romantic comedy type films that many love to indulge in - and yes, I think this novel would make a fab movie.

    A thoroughly entertaining as well as quite humorous in parts novel that I'd happily recommend for those looking for a light easy read.

  • MissBecka

    Why so many side story characters?

    Most of them I found unnecessary and just made the book convoluted.

    I would have enjoyed this more if the focus had been maintained on Nick and Justine.

    I did really enjoy Brown Houdini-Malarky's inner monologues and would have loved a final chapter through his eyes.

    Thank you NetGalley and Crown Publishing for my copy.

  • Emer (A Little Haze)

    I thought this would be a very light, fluffy story with a tiny hint of astrology and that the characters would laugh about the silliness of it all... But instead I found this book to take astrology far too seriously and in many ways attempted to bestow it with credibility. Astrology has been proved to have no scientific validity and therefore is categorised as a pseudoscience. And therefore I found it hard to relate to any of these characters that believed so strongly in it. Perhaps if the book

    I thought this would be a very light, fluffy story with a tiny hint of astrology and that the characters would laugh about the silliness of it all... But instead I found this book to take astrology far too seriously and in many ways attempted to bestow it with credibility. Astrology has been proved to have no scientific validity and therefore is categorised as a pseudoscience. And therefore I found it hard to relate to any of these characters that believed so strongly in it. Perhaps if the book had contained more humour or some crazy laugh out loud moments I could have found something to empathise with. But sadly this book just turned out to not be to my personal taste.

    I would recommend the book only to people who placed some merit in astrology as any one else I feel would find themselves as frustrated as I was with this story.

  • Susanne  Strong

    2.25 Stars

    Nick has always lived his life by the stars. By stars I mean, astrological stars. Every decision he makes is determined by what his Horoscope tells him to do. Nick and Justine were best friends when they were kids and both felt “something.” Now, reconnecting in their late twenties, Justine feels “it” again. She works for the local paper and it’s there that she finds an opportunity to make Nick rediscover that they are the perfect match! She has this idea, this unbelievably zany idea an

    2.25 Stars

    Nick has always lived his life by the stars. By stars I mean, astrological stars. Every decision he makes is determined by what his Horoscope tells him to do. Nick and Justine were best friends when they were kids and both felt “something.” Now, reconnecting in their late twenties, Justine feels “it” again. She works for the local paper and it’s there that she finds an opportunity to make Nick rediscover that they are the perfect match! She has this idea, this unbelievably zany idea and yes, she goes through with it. Justine decides to tinker with each month’s astrological predictions for Nick sign (he’s an Aquarius) thinking that he will, of course, follow the path she sets for him. Easy peasy, right?

    Initially, Star-Crossed” held a lot of promise. If only it had delivered. Unfortunately, I found the writing style to be sluggish and clunky and also felt that the storyline was a bit far-fetched. So much of my time was spent frustrated by the characters actions that I had a hard time connecting and while I so desperately wanted to love this rom com, it just didn’t happen. Most other reviewers loved this novel thus I encourage readers to check out other reviews.

    This was a buddy read with Kaceey. Thanks for reading this with me Kace!

    Thank you to NetGalley, Crown Publishing and Minnie Darke for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

    Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 4.28.19.

  • Kaceey

    Nick and Justine grew up together from toddler into early teens. Destined to be together until Nick's family decides to move, not just across town – but across the entire country. Leaving the teens to grow in different directions.

    A chance meeting in a market re-ignites long hidden sparks between the two. (Well at least for Justine).

    Justine is trying to work her way up to the position of copy writer at a highly popular news magazine, the Alexandria Park Star. This, while poor Nick is flounder

    Nick and Justine grew up together from toddler into early teens. Destined to be together until Nick's family decides to move, not just across town – but across the entire country. Leaving the teens to grow in different directions.

    A chance meeting in a market re-ignites long hidden sparks between the two. (Well at least for Justine).

    Justine is trying to work her way up to the position of copy writer at a highly popular news magazine, the Alexandria Park Star. This, while poor Nick is floundering in the world of acting. Never landing the right leading role.

    Nick is an Aquarius whose sole focus is following the stars. Who needs to settle down when you have astrology, right? After all, it is his guide in life. Justine...well she’s of the opinion that you create your own destiny.

    But when Justine has the opportunity to make a tiny

    to the latest astrology posting in her news magazine, little did she realize the repercussions that would follow.

    When a character holds an inner dialogue I just love it! Feels it adds so much to the character. It’s usually humorous and quirky. Unfortunately, in this case, it just came off awkward . Justine and her

    chatting.

    Oh I wanted to love this one! I really did! And I would read snippets that I thought were taking me down that road only to find that it was a road to nowhere. And yet again...I was left disappointed at a missed opportunity.

    A buddy read with Susanne!

    Thank you to NetGalley, Crown Publishing and Minnie Darke for an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  • Anna  (The Bursting Bookshelf)

    When I read about this book on NetGalley I was thrilled - it seemed right up my alley. A cute romance between two childhood sweethearts, one who doesn't believe in astrological signs (which I find very relatable) and one who lets the stars guide his life choices. While the concept was sound, I couldn't bring myself to enjoy the book due to some issues in the storytelling.

    One of the classic romance trop

    When I read about this book on NetGalley I was thrilled - it seemed right up my alley. A cute romance between two childhood sweethearts, one who doesn't believe in astrological signs (which I find very relatable) and one who lets the stars guide his life choices. While the concept was sound, I couldn't bring myself to enjoy the book due to some issues in the storytelling.

    One of the classic romance tropes is one character meddling in the love life of another character. This can be a fun trope, especially when you see characters having to pay for their actions and earn their happy endings. In Star-Crossed it didn't really feel like any of the characters grew or earned their happy endings, they just went through the motions. Justine and Nick stayed pretty one-dimensional and didn't develop throughout the book. I found Nick in particular to be wishy-washy and I couldn't understand his motivations. Going into this book, I expected to relate a lot with Justine because I am a staunch disbeliever in astronomy, but I was surprised to find she was pretty easily convinced to believe in her horoscope. I didn't find Justine and Nick to have a lot of chemistry - which made it hard for me to root for their happy ending. I also had a hard time believing that every character in this book believed in and put weight into horoscopes - I just couldn't relate to any of the characters, nor could I suspend my disbelief long enough to enjoy the book. 

    This novel fell apart for me when it came to the main plot - even with the supplemental stories it was stretched thin and lacked content. It felt to me that had this book been shorter, it would have a bit more cohesive and had better pacing. The main story was pretty typical rom-com: Justine reunites with Nick and develops a crush. When her crush is not reciprocated, she begins to meddle with Nick's horoscopes to try to sway him into dating her. There wasn't much more to it than that - the rest of the plot points were pretty predictable and it made for a bit of a boring read. The main plot was supplemented by side stories of characters who had read the horoscopes from Justine's magazine and had made decisions in their lives based around them. The fun part of these vignettes was that most of them were interconnected and some even connected to the main plot. It was a fun way to show the butterfly effect of Justine changing the horoscopes at first, but after a while they just detracted from the already simple main story and felt like a crutch. I also found myself forgetting names of characters in the side stories and having to go back to figure out how the stories were connected. 

    Overall, I was disappointed by the lack of content in the main plot and how predictable it was. It felt like it should be a novella, not a full novel. I would recommend this book to people who love to read their horoscope or who enjoy stories about the butterfly effect that one simple decision can have. 1/5

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