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 BookDepository.com 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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  1. Thanks for the discovery , I didn't know about this one. I'm quite difficult with Sci-fi, not my fave genre but maybe one day.

    1. Hey Melliane, yes sci fi can be a hit in miss with me as well. I've seen quite a few releasing this year I will be adding to my TBR. Thanks for visiting! :)

  2. Thanks for hosting today, Pandora! :)

    1. Always a pleasure to join Xpresso! :)

  3. I haven't actually heard of this one, but it sounds like an exciting book since it's sci fi xD <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections