I think I can always count on Kim Fielding to deliver a solid work -- her romance emphasizes on progress (both relationship and characters) and she never uses sex scenes as a device to lure more readers (which fits to my heart's content).
Astounding! is another example. It's a gentle and sweet story about two individuals who find out that 'home' could be defined into more than just a place where you're born or where you live. John Harper is a being from outer space, who is looking for a way to contact his people and get back home. While Carter is an editor of a sci-fiction magazine, Astounding!, who thinks that his dream of achieving something better and significant with his magazine has been turned into dust.
I have never been a fan of sci-fi, but the alien here feels human enough that I couldn't find any difficulty to empathize with him. I loved how they found one another -- I loved the process of them starting as strangers, connected with the (bad) stories that John keeps sending Carter, into friendship, and then to lovers. I loved the journey that the two experience, when they are going with the RV to do a trip with Carter's ex, Freddie and Freddie's husband, Keith. I especially loved that Carter is still being good friend with his ex. It's nice to read about ex-es that are not just bitter and angry.
The road-trip part, as always, made me feel very elated. I love road trip stories -- it enhances the intimacy when people are forced to share close space. Of course, in real life, it could go wrong, but hey, this is romance fiction. It's all lovely and good
There are character cameos from Fielding's other books, which I found really amusing. It was like finding Easter eggs :)
The reason why I couldn't give this 4-stars yet was because I thought I thought of the last 20% or so, borrowing Ms. Fielding's own phrase here, as the pancake part. I knew that it was needed for the HEA but still, it was like I already had the climax, and then the pace went down and flat until the last part. So I wasn't fully satisfied.
*) Pancake part = per this story, means the story dragged on too long