Friday, March 27, 2015

Release Date Yield the Night by Annette Marie (Steel & Stone 3)

After surviving a round-trip to hell, Piper figures she can survive anything. After all, she just lived through the devastating loss of her Consul apprenticeship and a torturous stint at boarding school. How much worse could it get? 

Well, she wasn’t expecting a group of crazy radicals to burn her home to the ground and take her prisoner. 

The Gaians, a.k.a. the crazy radicals, plan to rid Earth of daemons and they need Piper’s help. In exchange for her cooperation, they promise her the answer to all her problems: magic. With her own magic, she could reclaim her apprenticeship, the only future she’s ever wanted. But her magic comes at price — it could kill her. 

With the life she’s always known crumbling around her and her future slipping from her grasp, she needs Ash’s help one more time. But the greatest danger of all lies within her, and no matter what she does, she may lose everything — including him.

Add to Goodreads          Purchase Amazon

My Thoughts:
Happy release day!!!! I'm half way through this amazing book (taking it all in) and I know fans of this series will not be disappointed! My review will be up by Monday :) If you have not read book one, check out my reviews below! Add this baby to your TBR today! 

Click to read review Here
Piper Griffiths wants one thing in life: To become a Consul, a keeper of the peace between humans and daemons. There are precisely three obstacles in her way.

The first is Lyre. Incubus. Hotter than hell and with a wicked streak to match. His greatest mission in life is to get Piper into bed and otherwise annoy the crap out of her. The second is Ash. Draconian. Powerful. Dangerous. He knows too much and reveals nothing. Also, disturbingly attractive — and scary. Did she mention scary?

The third is the Sahar Stone. Top secret magical weapon of mass destruction. Previously hidden in her Consulate until thieves broke in, went on a murder spree, and disappeared with the weapon.

And they left Piper to take the fall for their crimes.

Now she’s on the run, her dreams of becoming a Consul shattered and every daemon in the city gunning to kill her. She’s dead on her own, but there’s no one she can trust — no one except two entirely untrustworthy daemons... See problems one and two.

Click to read review Here
The most important rule for an Apprentice Consul is simple: Don't get involved with daemons. Well, Piper is planning to break that rule — big time.

After a near-deadly scandal with the Sahar Stone, she has the chance to return to the only life she's ever wanted. All she has to do to keep her Apprenticeship is forget about Ash and Lyre. Ash might be enigmatic and notoriously lethal, and Lyre might be as sinfully irresistible as he is irritating, but they’re not bad for a couple of daemons.

There's just one problem: Ash is missing.

Really, she shouldn't risk her future for him. He lied. He betrayed her. But he also saved her life, damn it. Wherever he is, he's in trouble, and if she doesn't save his sorry butt, who will? But with every dangerous secret she unravels, each one darker than the last, she slips deeper into Ash's world — a world with no escape for either of them

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Tour Stones and Finger Bones by Jessica Minyard

Stones and Finger Bones by Jessica Minyard 

(The Black Towers #1) 
Publication date: February 10th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


Aurelia Barone, Jewel of Starry Stone, harbors no illusions about the purpose of her life as heir to the throne. But after two failed betrothals, she starts to feel like nothing more than a pawn being moved aimlessly about a game board.
Until the night she loses everything.

Kidnapped by a wise-cracking mercenary with more than one identity, Aurelia embarks on a mission across land and sea to avenge her father’s death.

But an evil is rising from the ashes of memory. Insidious magic is stirring. The dregs of a once-powerful nation are thirsty for blood and revenge.

They seek to harness Aurelia. To tempt her. To manipulate her.

And if necessary, to destroy her.


Jessica wrote and illustrated her first story in the fourth grade. “The Dragon of Grindley Grun” was about an evil wizard, a princess, and a dragon who was actually a prince. She likes to think her writing has evolved since that very first story, even though she still writes about magic and evil wizards...sometimes.

She likes to sing loudly and dance on occasion without being particularly talented at either. Her interests include reading, writing, procrastinating, animal advocacy, musicals, accessories, memes, Harry Potter, and sweet tea.

Jessica lives in Kentucky with a spoiled pitbull.

Author links:

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Review Stones and Finger Bones by Jessica Minyard (book 1)

Aurelia Barone, Jewel of Starry Stone, harbors no illusions about the purpose of her life as heir to the throne. But after two failed betrothals, she starts to feel like nothing more than a pawn being moved aimlessly about a game board.

Until the night she loses everything.

Kidnapped by a wise-cracking mercenary with more than one identity, Aurelia embarks on a mission across land and sea to avenge her father’s death.

But an evil is rising from the ashes of memory. Insidious magic is stirring. The dregs of a once-powerful nation are thirsty for blood and revenge.
They seek to harness Aurelia. To tempt her. To manipulate her. And if necessary, to destroy her.

Add to Goodreads

My Review & Thoughts
Cover: I hate to say it but I am not a fan of this cover.  I think this book is deserving more of  an attracting cover. It does not give justice to what this book entails,
 Romance: No instant love here! It is developed throughout the story not a main focal point. 
Genre(s): Young Adult, Teens, Fantasy 

"They are an elite killing force hand-selected by the king..."

One of the great things of being able to be part of a book tour is finding out about hidden gems and sharing it with readers! This book is one of them that I really enjoyed reading.

Stones and Finger Bones was a refreshing young adult story thrown into a historical feel setting mixed in with magic, lies, and corruption. The pace was well kept and the details were hard to ignore to not keep reading. The first half of the book, it's still building a plot and the battle to come.

It is told in multiple characters to include said villain of the story. It is different when I get to read a true villain that has no redemption point of view. There's many characters in this story, each one has a string to change the outcome of what's to come and that's what made this book intriguing. Just didn't know who was good and bad or what intentions were!
 Rycen, the leading man, I fell for him! From the minute he kidnaps the princess, (yes kidnap) he had my attention (crazy-much maybe).
"His was the world of the dark..."

The author did an amazing job creating the world, vivid details to each way she wanted it to be read as. The setting of the book was old style with the 'King', horses, wenches...catch the drift. The names were all very different of each character, can tell this book was well thought out. It is a promising series of more twist and deceit in the characters and I definitely would like to know what the author has in mind in the next book!

"Salindiri were magic-users and made up the noble classes under Haigen,"

Cliffhanger Warning! 
Recommended Read 

"She hurled the water-skin at Rycen's head, but he caught it deftly. She would have stormed off if she had the energy, "You filthy, snake-sucking bastard."
He seemed momentarily startled by the vehemence in her voice, or possibly, her choice of words, "I am sorry that we had to go through that. It would of have been easier if you had come quietly." 

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cup A Read Weekly: Update 2015 Release Dates & Reading

Wheh! It's official, the month of May I will be on a fan girl-book obsessing, splurging reading in dark corners vacation! All these amazing books that I can't wait to get my greedy hands on are all coming out by May! This week, I found a few more anticipated books of the year I want to read, including the mini teaser provided by NetGalley!

So far, has 2015 books been to your expectation?

For myself, I've read a good handful of five star books! Honestly, I'm waiting for that book, that type that makes it to an all nighter and can't get enough of it. I have only a couple of those for the year. 

This cover had me at first sight-true love. A sneak peak of the book was available through the amazing NetGalley and OH my kindle...What a tease! This is a MUST add to the TBR, pre-order, add to the wishlist which ever way you can to remember to read this book here! The two chapters of a sneak, I highlighted over 20 things to remember. The story line already is sounding to be amazing! Just from the little peak, I have gathered up a new world ran by an empire with legions of feared Martials, ones with the silver mask are the most vicious. Rebels and resistance are building to fight back and we have a leading lady stuck in the middle.

"If I don't find the fighters and get them to help, I'll never see Darin again." 
Add to Goodreads Release Date April 28

I have this little pretty in my kindle right now! Yield the Night by Annette Marie is book three in the Steel and Stone series. I absoloutly adore this series and love Piper! I can't wait to dig into this one, book two left me hanging with the unexpected. If you haven't started this series...go on and get book one!
I'm not sure if this is the last book in the series but if it is I will be sad to see it end. (sad face)    (#27 in Hot seller list in Amazon-->>)

Add to Goodreads Release Date March 27
My review on Book one here

Even though I am not even close to finish reading the rest of the books in the series, I'm excited for this release in November. Cinder was an amazing book to a promising series! (Review can be read at  Here)

Add to Goodreads

Below are more books to release in the next few months, click the release date to pre-order! 

Release date May 12

Release Date April 28 

 Release Date September 29
Release date September 29 

Looking through Amazon best/hot seller list for Young Adult/Teens: 

Many of the books I have on my anticipated list are on the hot seller list! I guess I will not be the only one MIA in May! 

Number one on the list is A Shade of Vampire series book 11! I have read this series up to book five, apparently I have a LOT to catch up on.

Amazon link  (Free for Kindle Unlimited)  

Below are FREE books at the time this is posted! Make sure to verify their still free when adding to the TBR :) Click the Amazon link below the book to add.

 Click here




Happy Reading!

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Book Tour Riddle of Fate by Tania Johansson

Riddle of Fate by Tania Johansson
Publication date: May 29th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult


Khaya’s life, a life the Order say was never meant to be, is thrown into turmoil when she discovers she has a second ability. The Company who employs people like her – with rare and special abilities – insists that having more than one inevitably leads down a dark spiral into madness. So they are watching and waiting, ready to terminate her at the first sign of trouble.
Now, on the run from the Company’s agents while trying to prove her sanity, Khaya realises they are not the only ones she should fear. Angels are working towards her demise as well.
The question that haunts her is this: What did she do that was terrible enough to elicit the wrath of angels? And can she trust the mysterious Derrin, or is he the cause of all her tribulations?


I grew up in a small town called Ficksburg in South Africa and moved with my family to England aged fifteen.

I then completed my schooling through a correspondence course from South Africa. This challenging time taught me a lot of self-discipline and determination. Qualities that have been invaluable while writing my first novel.

In 2004 I started studying optometry at Aston University in Birmingham, UK and currently I live and work as an optician in Kent.

In 2008, I married my wonderful husband, Tor. He has been such an amazing support and wealth of internet wizardry from when I started writing through to designing a cover for Book of Remembrance, to publishing my book on amazon as well as setting up this website. I cannot thank him enough.

Reading has always been one of my passions. I have fond memories of trawling through the library aged five (yes I was a geek from a young age!). More recently, I found myself wondering about the process writers must go through to complete a novel. I started thinking about how they would go about planning out a story and keeping track of all the various aspects of it. Finally, I decided to try my theories out. I have not looked back since!

I started writing Book of Remembrance end of May 2011 and finished it in December 2011. Since then, I have self-published it as an e-book on amazon. I have also started writing the follow up novel, which is untitled at the moment.

Author links:

My Review & Thoughts 
"Every single person who becomes a Collector is like me. They have an ability." 

The beginning of this book started off very confusing. It jumped right into a situation, not really explaining it's surroundings. Khaya works for a company who uses her abilities, which is foreseeing the future, scribble it down and pass it in. She can not read what she seen. A murder has happened and Khaya and her ally Derrin must unravel who committed the murder. Twist and secrets are revealed. People who Khaya thought were close may be the enemy. 

This book is mixed with paranormal elements, the Collectors that cannot be seen by humans, special 
abilities. The world itself needed to be explained more. I actually have no clue the time or anything much of this world. I wish that that aspect of story was more explained into detail. 

The romance was very well built in the story, taking it's time to come about which is much appreciated! A bit predictable but none the less, smooth sailing. I like when books let the characters know one another instead of the rush of instant love!  
"And knowing you now, seeing what a remarkable woman you've turned into, I am certain I was sent to you that day for a reason."

Half way through the book the action picks up immensely! Lots of action and fighting for life! It is fun and quick Teen/Young Adult book with a mix of an adventure and romance. It is told in different characters view, giving a different mind of what's going on. This book can be read as a standalone! Recommended read! 

"We'll kill you," Meir said, "and hunt Derrin down."

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review The Girl at Midnight (book 1) by Melissa Grey

For readers of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

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My Review & Thoughts:

Cover: Eye catching! The dragon and bird facing off is great representative of the story
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Teens 
Romance: It was cute but the chemistry could have been built more to have 'loving' feelings. 
"According to the prophecies, the firebird will bring about the end of this war with the Drakharin..."

Echo is a skilled thief. She is taken in by the Ala of Avicen but is never fully accepted as one of them. In another realm, Caius is the Dragon prince and is searching for the Firebird to stop the longed feud between them and the Avicen. Back in New York, Echo is running through 'the in-between' to the realms of unknown and countries from afar. Stealing a trinket of sorts from a warlock, Echo starts the journey of a new Firebird trail to follow. She is sent on a chase to fine the clues that were left behind. Bumping into allies of the unexpected, Echo and Caius must find the Firebird before it is to late. The wicked sister, Tanith and her army of feared dragon firedrakes are hot on her tail. 

The vibrant colors of this cover is beautifully amazing! Girl at Midnight was a unique fantasy with interesting characters from a dragon and feather race arch enemies. Both ultimately looking for the Firebird that can either end the war or become power. 

The worlds of the Dragons and Avicen were mildly described and not ventured into as much as I would have liked, especially with such unique creatures for characters. Only if it was more vividly described of the surroundings and a bit of history of the 'ancient war' would have made the connection to the book flow. It was very quick on the reason for their feud and not much after that.

"The Avicen began this blood feud. I'm going to end it. Their greed for power stole ours." 

Echo was a likable character who kept the books pace entertaining. She was funny, sneaky, snarky, and quick as a superhero... 
"If you need me to steal something, I will steal the crap out of it . You know that." 

Triangle warning! We have two battling for Echo's affection. Rowan is the Avicen, childhood best friend turned boyfriend and Warhawk warrior. Cauis, the enemy of the Avicen finds the human to be intriguing living among their kind. 
"Come back to me," Rowan mumbled against her knuckles..."

Villains, villains, everywhere in The Girl at Midnight! Tanith is Cauis crazed power hunger sister who breaths fire! She's vicious and knows how to demand attention. Tanith needed more of a spotlight in this book! 
"A Bloody Tanith was a happy Tanith."

The next villain, Ruby! The vulture with pale eyes, fairest skin, and happens to be digging Rowan! 

"Ruby drew a wickedly long sword, and the sound Echo made was embarrassingly close to a whimper."

The confusion and 'meh' parts of the story.
-I didn't get the possible m/m relationship that was filled with hidden agenda and if they were into each other or not. This little duo took a good amount away from the actual story and didn't even get to a conclusion or solution to understand what's going on. Actually I'm not sure at all of one of the suitors stance in the 'relationship'.
-The book is told in multiple characters views. I found this to be confusing since I don't think they played a vital part into book one. Maybe they might be essential in book two but for now I don't think they added any 'umph'. 
-The ending...Rose... That's all I will say. 

Overall, I do like this book! The creativity of a feathered race that represents different preys from a vicious vulture to a pretty dove was different from many fantasy creatures. I loved the realm jumping and Echos feisty klepto self! The Girl at Midnight has much room to improve and indulge in to the realms of the Dragon and Avicen. I myself am curious on where the author will go in the next book. 

Recommended Read 

Ivy plucked at the straw beneath her knees, "I want to say I'm surprised, but I'm not. Not even a little bit. Not at all." 
Echo's laugh was tired but genuine. "Yeah, yeah. Now shut up so I can figure out how to get us out of here. That handsy guard stole my tools." Grabbing the bars of her cell, she shouted, "AND YOUR AMENITIES LEAVE SOMETHING TO BE DESIRED." With a huff she settled back against the wall, crossing her arms and kicking her legs out in front of her. 

Received book from NetGalley for a honest review. 
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Friday, March 13, 2015

Cup A Read Weekly: Update Reading & Release Books

Sadly, I've been missing a bit on the blog lately from my usual reviews a week. (sad face) Been a busy busy bee juggling classes (midterms) and of course family time! Don't forget, I also post weekly reviews here at Cristina's Book Reviews! Just reviewed Cruel Beauty, three star read for me.

A few new things happening this month! Book cover releases of my favorite reads I'm stalking! These two, I would probably-most likely trade my own husband to get my hands on them (just don't tell him)  If you haven't started these series...ADD them to TBR! Amazing, heroic female leads and both of these books takes readers to a whole new original world. Can't forget the leading men...PERFECT!
I also added below books I'm currently reading. My TBR list is bulging, need to catch up to all the reads! What books are you currently reading or anticipating for the release? 

 Add to Goodreads Queen of Shadows
Add to Goodreads End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days 3)

Love how the series stuck with the kick ass female lead as their covers!

This cover is gorgeous but simple with a hint of twisted, explosive story ready to be indulged! I am going to be so sad if this is the conclusion to this series!

Books I'm reading 

Add to Goodreads The Girl at Midnight

I just started reading this anticipated book that releases April 28, 2015 and I'm already at the half way point...And so far so goooood! Lets hope it keeps this pace. I will be posting this review shortly.

Add to Goodreads Bone Dry

I usually do not get scared or creeped out by books, but Bone Dry definitely had me putting the book down in the middle of night looking at the shadows. (shaking my head in shame-wuss) Can't wait to continue reading.


Happy Reading! 

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Book Room Pick: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

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My Thoughts: 
I was not a fan of this book! Ugh I just did not like Bianca and the way things meshed together was not working for me. It seemed force attraction and I'm pretty sure the kissing scenes got on my nerve. However I did like the concept of the story, designated ugly fat friend, it is pretty different from the young adult reads in high school BUT it ends all the same. Well why do I have it in the Book Room Pick?? The trailer to be quite honest! It looked hilarious and reminded me of the good old days with fun movies like 10 Things I hate About You, She's All That, catch my drift (yes I watched these over and over on VHS) Watching the trailer, I asked myself, did I read the same book because I don't remember it in that view. Bianca to me seem boring  in the read. The good things is I plan to reread before the movie (hopefully) see if I missed anything, maybe it will be different  the next time around and of course watch the movie. 

Happy Reading! 

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Book Room Pick: The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons

The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler's armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.
Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana—and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander's impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects—a secret as devastating as the war itself—as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.
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My Thoughts 
An emotional love story that goes through life changing obstacles, boarder line death situation, and unimaginable decisions. Whew! If that Goodreads page count is accurate...912 pages! I am shocked that I finish a book that long! That's probably why I had to take multiple breaks in between (literally a week break). 
This relationship with Tatiana and Alexander will evoke mixed emotions of love, hate, anger, satisfaction, and the list goes on. At times I was so agitated with Tatiana that I didn't want to read her nonsense of a mind but this book was very intriguing, it sucked me in till the end. I really wanted to know mainly how they were going to survive the destruction of the war. It is an on going series I hope to finish sometime soon! 

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Tour Gathering Frost by Kaitlyn Davis

Gathering Frost (Once Upon A Curse #1)
Release Date: 02/17/15

Summary from Goodreads:
Will his kiss be enough to revive her frozen heart?

Once Upon A Time meets La Femme Nikita in GATHERING FROST, a dystopian romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty.

Jade was only a little girl when the earthquake struck. Before her eyes, half of New York City disappeared, replaced by a village that seemed torn out of a storybook. Horses and carriages. Cobblestone streets. A towering castle. And, above all, a queen with the magical ability to strip emotions away.

Ten years later and Jade has forgotten what it is to feel, to care...even to love. Working as a member of the queen's guard, she spends most of her time on the city wall staring at the crumbling skyscrapers of old New York. But everything changes when the queen's runaway son, Prince Asher, returns. Jade is tasked with an unusual mission--to let the Prince capture her, to make him trust her, and then to betray his secrets to the crown. In return, she'll earn her freedom. But life outside the queen's realm is more than Jade bargained for. Under Asher's relentless taunts, her blood begins to boil. Under his piercing gaze, her heart begins to flutter. And the more her icy soul begins to thaw, the more Jade comes to question everything she's ever known--and, more importantly, whose side she's really on. 

Add toGoodreads Buy Links: Amazon

Giveaway Link

About the Author
I've always been a writer. I grew up duct taping my novels together, started writing complete manuscripts in high school and studied creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. Upon graduating, I decided it was finally time to actually give my dream career a chance. So, of course, I started writing a young adult paranormal romance series -- and no, I'm not jumping on the bandwagon. I've been a true paranormal supporter for my entire life! I blame my obsession almost completely on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my all-time favorite television show. And, before you ask: Yes, I own every season... even the post WB ones! I especially challenge anyone to watch the first three seasons and not fall in love with Angel, securing a lifelong love of vampires! Other culprits of my paranormal obsession are some of my favorite authors: JK Rowling, Raymond Feist, Meg Cabot, Richelle Mead, Lynne Ewing and Tamora Pierce.

Author Links:

Book Tour Organized by:
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Tour Helia's Shadow by K.C. Neal

Helia’s Shadow: Part One by K.C. Neal 
(The Starlight Age #1) 
Publication date: November 23rd 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Helia’s Shadow is for fans of The 5th Wave (Rick Yancey), The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), Divergent (Veronica Roth), and Legend (Marie Lu).
When the aliens arrived, they were hailed as the saviors of a dying Earth and dwindling human race. But the aliens didn’t come to help. Now, one human girl’s ingenious invention and one alien boy’s awakened heart are humanity’s last hope…
Nineteen years ago, aliens arrived on a barely habitable Earth with advanced technology and the promise of ensuring human survival in exchange for a place to settle. They were hailed as the saviors of humans and Earth.
Today, 16-year-old Helia wants two things in life: to step out of her over-protective mother’s shadow and become an engineer, and to stop hiding her relationship with alien boy Kalo. But the world definitely isn’t ready for a human-alien romance. And worse, the human-alien partnership is crumbling. Humans are arrested without explanation. Some of them are never seen again.
When the alien leader imprisons her mother on a false charge, Helia discovers the aliens never intended to help humans at all. Now, she must join forces with alien rebels. If she succeeds, humans have a chance at survival and she has a chance at love. If she fails, the dwindling human race dies out in slavery.

In previous iterations of my professional life, I worked as a bench chemist, a lab equipment tester, a biotech researcher, and a medical writer. Strangely, this sequence has not led to my dream job: drummer in a rock band. But my current gig is pretty sweet.

I love colored pens and sticky notes, sunsets and sunrises, digging my fingers into the dirt and nurturing the things that grow in it, and learning anything and everything. I’m a scientist who studies astrology, a go-with-the-flow Type A, and an impatient practitioner of daily meditation. A big bag of contradictions, just like everyone else.

Author links:


Tour-wide giveaway
  • Book Lover’s Prize Pack including signed paperbacks, book swag, tea, stickers, EOS lip balm, and other surprise goodies! (Prize pack is for United States winner only, cannot be shipped internationally; if the winner is outside the United States, he/she will get to choose books from up to US$25 total value, must be an address Book Depository will ship to for free.)

Helia fanned her face with one hand and pulled out her folio with the other to glance at 

the time. Five-oh-six. She looked up at the courtyard entrance, and then down at the folio again. 

Maybe she should comm him?

No, he’d show. He’d tell her if he couldn’t make it.

She scanned through her comm log again, still hoping there was a message from Gordon 

but knowing she wouldn’t find anything.


She looked up. She’d know that voice, that melodious three-toned harmonic, anywhere 

she went. Talans almost never used their harmonic voices in the presence of Earthborns, but 

Kalo had never tried to keep it hidden. It was achingly exquisite, almost ceremonial.

She stood, then wished she hadn’t. Suddenly unsure what to do with her hands, she 

clutched her folio against her stomach.

Kalo smiled. He was one of the few Talans who’d studied Earthborn body language 

closely enough to be able to do something as simple as smile naturally. His white, even teeth 

were slightly narrower than the average Earthborn’s, but it made his smile look exotic rather than 

alien. To her, anyway. His cheeks were smooth and even, free of the Con’tala marks that most 

Talans were born with. Con’tala translated to commoner. Helia always had the sense that it 

meant something different to Talans than it did to Earthborns, but it was one of the many things 

the Talans declined to elaborate on.

“I apologize for being late,” Kalo said, now in a regular single-tone voice. His irises 

transitioned from sky blue to pale green. “It’s very good to see you.”

She shook her head, brushing off his apology. “Please, don’t apologize. Thank you for 


She cringed inwardly at herself. Why was she being so formal? He seemed hesitant, too, 

leaving more than a meter of distance between them. Maybe he was thinking of last time. Did he 

regret it? Heat prickled up her chest and neck, and she forced her thoughts to the present.

“I’m not getting you in trouble, am I?” She glanced up at the empty windows of the 

archives building.

“No, no. I’m sorry it’s been so long.” He raised a hand and gestured at the log, then 

waited for her to sit. When she did, he sat close, his knee almost touching hers, his former 

hesitance apparently gone. Or maybe she’d just imagined it. Sometimes it was hard to tell with 


“I’ve been very busy with the Council. Things are happening . . . changing,” he 

continued. He shrugged ruefully. “I’m sure you’ve noticed.”

Remembering her mother’s drawn face, an uncomfortable tension crept across her 

shoulders. She leaned in a little. “Kalo, what’s going on? There were forty-three takings, and 

Head Administrator Flume was one of them. Did she really violate the Talan-Earthborn Treaty?”

He looked at the ground, his mouth a grim line. “At the Arrival Day speeches you’ll 

understand more—”

“It’s not just the takings,” Helia rushed on. “It’s the new curfew. And Talans are now 

going to be part of the Administration? We’ve never had anything like this before. We’ve never 

needed it. It’s like Tal-Reku is clamping down on Haven. Why is this happening?” Her voice 

was trembling with more emotion than she’d allowed herself to feel so far. 

If Kalo was surprised she knew about the co-governing measure, he didn’t let it show. He 

covered her hand with his, and her heart bumped as a thrill threaded through her anxiety. His 

eyes transitioned from pale green to sky blue flecked with gold. She knew that one. That was the 

ocular shift indicating concern. Worry. Was it worry over her or worry about all that was 

changing . . . or both? He looked into her eyes, unblinking, for a long moment.

“Reku has certain . . . goals.” His voice dropped low.

Helia’s eyes widened. Kalo had dropped the honorific Tal from his leader’s name. She’d 

never heard a Talan do that.

“Goals? That seems . . . ominous.” She watched his face carefully, but his expression 

remained neutral. He was so good at Earthborn gestures and expressions, she sometimes forgot 

that he could easily drop back into the blank Talan aspect at any time. His people communicated 

emotions and social subtext to each other almost exclusively through ocular transitions and tiny 

muscle movements around the eyes. Broader facial expressions and other body language were 

mostly an Earthborn thing.

“You’re going to be okay, I promise.” He pressed his hand more firmly over hers. “I’ll 

make sure of it.”

Helia basked in his reassurance for a second, but then she remembered the nervous 

murmurs of the crowd at the Research Center. “Things don’t feel okay,” she said, not trusting her 

voice to do more than whisper.

He squeezed her hand, curling his fingers around hers. She shifted closer to him.

“I can’t tell you any more right now,” he said. “All I can say is that things will probably 

seem . . . difficult for a time. Comm me if you need me, and I’ll do everything I can to come to 

She bit the inside of her cheek, trying to process his reassurance and his warning. She 

weighed the one against the other.

He gave her hand another gentle squeeze and stood. “I’m sorry, I have to get back. Can I 

walk with you partway?”

As much as she wanted to say yes, strolling around Haven with a Talan seemed like a bad 

idea just now. She watched his irises pulse jewel tones. “We probably shouldn’t,” she said. “You 

go ahead. I’ll wait here a few minutes.”

He reached out and pulled her up into his arms, and suddenly her nose was filled with his 

faintly citrus scent. “It’s going to be okay,” he repeated, his mouth just above the tip of her ear. 

A delicious tremble spilled down her spine.

He released her and turned, walked a few swift steps, and then stopped. “Helia, do you 

happen to know who your father is? Or was?”

She tilted her head, trying to mentally shift gears, still feeling the heat of his breath 

tickling her ear. “My father . . . ?” She shook her head. “Mom would never tell me. She said he 

died before I was born, that he wasn’t significant in her life, and that it didn’t matter anymore. I 

assumed he was another scientist—maybe somebody she worked with.”

“Are you acquainted with any of the Light Followers?”

Helia pulled her chin back in surprise. “That’s an even weirder question than the first 

one.” She waited a second for explanation, but Kalo remained silent. “All I know is that The 

Followers of the Light are some kind of cult—a bunch of anti-technology separatists holed up in 

that old fortress in the desert a few kilometers down the road. Not really my kind of people.”

His eyebrows twitched, and his irises shifted to an intense emerald green. He stood 

perfectly still for a long moment.

“You need to get ready for some big changes,” he said finally. He gave her one last 

glance and turned to go.

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