Compass Stars #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series
The last thing Jack Spencer wants to be is a fishing guide for rich tourists. But with a sister in need of help and nothing but a rusty fishing boat to his name, he takes a job at The Wild Eagle Lodge, Alaska’s newest luxury resort.
When a scandal rocks his career, movie star Damian Marshall feels like the whole world is watching his every move. That is, until he meets a gruff fishing guide who doesn’t seem to know who he is. Desperate for escape, Damian grabs at the chance for anonymity with both hands.
Away from the pressure of studios and the media, Damian and Jack grow closer. But as sparks fly and scandal follows Damian north, Jack will need to decide if he can love a man he hardly knows, or if this brush with fame is too hot to handle.
Up North is a 77k contemporary MM romance novel. It features a movie star on the run, a fishing guide who has never been anywhere, and bears of all sorts. HEA guaranteed.
This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I’m already hanging for the 2nd book in this series. I loved the characters and how the plot unfolded. I got sucked in very quickly, and didn’t want to put it down. This is very much a story about reality and illusion, and how easy it is to believe in the latter.
I’ve read the trope before about an MC movie star keeping his sexuality hidden for fear of losing big roles, but I thought the author handled it well, and made it feel very real. Damien aka David has a lot going to fuel his fear, including an unsupportive family. It’s very easy when you’re in a not great place to believe gaslighting and I thought that came across well. I loved how different he and Jack are in personality and background, and the juxtaposition of the big name movie star and a guy who doesn’t watch movies at all so has no clue who he is, even when he finds out his real name.
I thought Jack and Damian complemented each other well, with Jack being very real, and most of Damian’s life being a role he’s playing. Even the lodge is a mostly fake like a movie, except for the boat, which Jack is able to fix so it’s authentic. Although I knew Damian’s truth would eventually be revealed, I liked the way it was, and how his and Jack’s relationship progressed from there.
I liked the other relationships in the story too, especially Jack and his sister Steph, and Damian and his best friend Vin. Vin is a hoot, especially when he’s pretending to be Damian. The rest of the supporting cast fill out the world nicely, especially as they’re not stereotypical at all. As an aside I liked the way Steph’s relationship with her husband pans out, and Marci’s role further on as they didn’t turn out the way I was expecting.
The extra freebie that is linked to at the end of the book is worth reading and a lovely second epilogue to the story.
5 out of 5 stars.