Release Day Review: Once We Were Starlight by Mia Sheridan

A bed posed on a stage under a dazzling spotlight. An audience of hungry eyes. And him, the other half of my soul, our supple bodies moving as one . . .

Sundara: the lush and forbidden oasis in the desert where men travel to watch acts of sexual deviancy, and the only existence seventeen-year-old Karys has ever known. But despite a life where secrets and sin are in high supply, and freedom remains far beyond their reach, Karys and her partner Zakai find safety in each other, their passionate love the light that helps them both survive the darkness.

Very suddenly, Karys and Zakai find themselves in the bright and confusing world of New York City, navigating separation, school, and relatives who are all but strangers. If they’ve been found, why do they still feel so lost? As their new lives threaten to drive them apart, and Zakai spins out of her grasp, Karys must figure out who and what can be trusted in this strange city, seemingly filled with more venom than the desert they once called home.

**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review**

"I’d believed I knew him better than I knew myself. Or as much as. For we’d been one. Lovers. Twins. Not by blood, but by soul. Entwined."

I have read, this one included, 21 books by Mia Sheridan, and I have yet to be disappointed by her amazing story-telling gift. I honestly don't need to know what the book is about to decide if I'll read it. I just know that it'll be original and intrigue me until the end. The same goes for Once We Were Starlight. In the prologue we meet the characters Karys and Zakai in present time and it gets me curious to see what happened in the years they were apart. In the first chapter we go back seven years and we get to see the story unfold in a continuous storyline. I was happy that the author didn't add flashforwards to the present time, because I don't think it would have been a great fit for this book. I wanted to experience the story step by step and heartbreak by heartbreak.

“We are two halves of the same beautiful star, broken in the heavens. We fell to earth, separate, yet yearning to be together.”

This book was very emotional, I especially couldn't contain my tears in the first quarter of the book. The setting of the book in the beginning (Sundara: the lush and forbidden oasis in the desert) felt magical and horrific at the same time. Karys and Zakai have made their own family and home in a twisted prison. Zakai is more aware of what is going on and did his best to shield and protect Karys from the ugly. She is innocent and very naive, but there comes a time that you can't stop yourself from seeing reality. I was happy that the author didn't shy away from certain dark subjects. It definitely added a layer of darkness and heartbreak.

"A star could not live with only one half. It’s light would fade to nothing and blink to darkness."

When these two find themselves free and in a unfamiliar new place, they both handle it differently. Zakai has a lot of demons and does what he thinks is best for Karys. These two needed time to grow as individuals because they had been together 24/7 for most of their lives. They were dependent on each other and it wasn't healthy. The decisions Zakai made were harsh and painful but I understand why he made them. Especially Karys needed time to discover herself. My heart broke for these two young beautiful characters. They were dealt a very bad hand at life, but they came out stronger in the end.

"Our love had always reflected the shifting sand: deep and turbulent even under the calmest skies."

My only critic is that I didn't feel like we spend enough time with the characters in present time. It was already half past the last quarter when we finally arrived in present time and it left me a bit unsatisfied. It felt rushed and I just wanted to see a two or three more chapters were the characters spend time together as a couple. That is the only thing that made me lower my rating but the rest was great. It was an emotional, heartbreaking, sensual, uplifting contemporary romance. I felt a very strong connection to the characters, and I loved them as a couple. I highly recommend to anyone who loves romance, and if you're a fan of Mia's writing then you'll probably end up enjoying Once We Were Starlight.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor about the author
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Mia Sheridan is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. Her passion is weaving true love stories about people destined to be together. Mia lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband. They have four children here on earth and one in heaven.

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