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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Book Review! Stardust by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Stardust (Half Light #1) by Alyssa Rose Ivy
Genre: NewAdult (Science Fiction Romance)
Date Published: April 26, 2018
Publisher: Self

What if the one you thought was your savior was actually your captor?

The earth was never destroyed. A few words uttered by a stranger change Rachel’s life forever. After years of believing earth is gone, Rachel discovers that she cannot trust anything she thought was true or anyone she thought she loved, including the alien prince she was bound to spend her life with. Terrified and angry she takes a chance— and returns to earth.

College sophomore Noah is just going through the motions. He is numb to everything and everyone since tragedy took his brother away far too soon. All he wants to do is survive another year of school until everything changes— he meets her.

Not quite sure what to make of Rachel’s sudden appearance on his doorstep, Noah offers her help, and she unwittingly pulls him into a mess of intergalactic proportions. As the stakes are raised, their attraction to one another builds into something so much more than stardust.

Stardust is the first book in the Half Light trilogy by Alyssa Rose Ivy. I'm convinced this author can seamlessly write any genre she wants. This is the first Science Fiction book I've read by her, and we have another winner! Science Fiction isn't even my favorite genre to read, but I loved this story and can't wait to see where it goes. Rachel is starting to question whether the future that's been planned for her is really the future she wants. The poor thing.. her life has been turned upside down. Not only when she was a child, but again now. Everything and everyone is in question. Who can she trust? There are a few twists and turns along the way as she figures things out. I'm running behind with this series. I'm super excited to read the next books, and I need to catch up.

Stardust by Alyssa Rose Ivy was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

I dug through the pile of discarded parts looking for something resembling a hand.
I jumped at the sound of Caspian’s voice. I regained my composure the best I could before turning around to face the door.
The room was so tiny Caspian was only a few feet away, even though he was hovering in the doorway and I was near the back wall. Piles of outdated equipment and robot parts separated us. The space was probably more akin to a closet than a room. “Hi.”
“Hi?” He smiled yet frowned at the same time. It was an expression completely unique to him. The frown took nothing away from his handsome face—especially not his deep grey eyes.
I straightened. “Is there a greeting you’d prefer?”
“I thought you’d be getting ready.” He stepped into the room. It only took a few steps before he reached me. He brushed some of my brown hair behind my ear.
“Oh.” I put a hand to my chest. “I completely forgot.”
“You forgot what tonight is?” The smile part of his expression disappeared.
“No. I mean I forgot what time it was.” I looked down at my empty wrist. I’d taken off my watch while I worked.
“Tonight means a lot to me.” He stood merely inches away. One more step and I’d be backed against the wall.
I craned my neck to look up at him. He towered over me in a way that was beginning to bother me more. “I know. And I’m sorry.”
“Sorry enough that you’ll run and get ready?” He took my hand in his much larger one. “There’s still time if you leave now.”
“I take it I can’t go in this?” I gestured down to my jumpsuit.
“If anyone could pull off that look at a gala you could. But no. I thought you were going to wear the dress I had Alda make you.” He ran a hand through his black hair.
“It’s a bit…” I trailed off. I hated how careful I had to be with Caspian nowadays. It was an unnatural feeling, the worry, and it had come out of nowhere as if someone else had taken over my brain and dropped in their own thoughts.
“A bit what?” He tapped his foot impatiently.
“Revealing?” He tilted his head to the side. “I wouldn’t say that.”
Of course he wouldn’t. He didn’t understand where I was coming from at all. “It’s backless.”
“And your point is?” He gestured for me to continue.
“Caspian… am I not entitled to have my own opinions on clothing anymore?”
“Wear a shawl. No one will see your back then.”
“Why would Alda have made that kind of dress for me?” I forced myself to maintain eye contact.
“Are you implying I asked her to do it specifically?”
I nodded. “Did you?”
“She knows I love your back…” He grinned. “And your front.”
“Speaking of which. The front dips kind of low too.” Far too low for my taste. I was much happier in a jumpsuit any day. I didn’t mind short things, maybe because my legs were nowhere near as long as the other women’s. But when it came to plunging necklines and backless gowns, I wanted to run the other way.
“Where did these conservative notions come from?” He picked up a broken leg from a decades old android. “The dress is similar to what all the others will be wearing.”
“Others from Andrelexa.”
“You left earth at five. You weren’t old enough to truly take on their norms.” He set down the leg.
“I’m not wearing something I’m not comfortable with. I can’t do it.” There was a time when I would have done anything Caspian wanted but not anymore. It was almost as if a cloud had cleared and I was seeing a new side to him—and to everything else in my life.
“Is that why you aren’t ready yet? You didn’t want to wear the dress?”
“I’m not wearing it.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “If you want me at the gala I’ll select something else from my closet.”
“You can wear anything you want.” He squeezed my hand. “You know I only want you to be happy.”
“Yes, but you’ll mope.”
He swung our arms. “I never mope.”
“You do.” I rested the sole of my shoe against the wall behind me. “Frequently.”
He took my other hand so he held them both. “In all seriousness, I need a promise from you.”
I braced myself for a moment before replying. “Yes?”
“You’ll be there?”
“Wearing what I choose?” If I didn’t stand my ground now I’d never have a voice.
“Yes. Wearing anything you want. Even this jumpsuit.” He ran his eyes up and down my body. “But I need you there.”
“I’ll go for you.” Despite my annoyance at the dress he had had made for me, Caspian had never been anything but good to me. He’d been my best friend and confidant. I couldn’t leave him hanging at his greatest moment.
“Don’t you want to be there anyway?” His grey eyes clouded over. “I thought by now you’d concern yourself with my advancement.”
“What?” He ran his thumb over my wrist, making tiny circles. “You’ve known my feelings since we were still children.”
“Yes. You’ve made them very clear.”
“And you declared the same thing when asked.” He brushed his lips over my ear. “I know you are ready to move on to the next phase with me.”
“Telling me I don’t know my own feelings of readiness isn’t going to win me over to your point of view.”
“I shouldn’t have to win you over.” His expression darkened.
“Caspian. Stop, okay? I’ll be there. And I’ll even wear that dress if it makes you happy.”
“It would make me very happy.” He smiled. He’d won just as he’d known he would. There were few and far between who could ever deny the prince what he wanted.
“But after this…” I trailed off.
“After this what?”
“We need to talk.” I forced myself to say the words so I’d be held to them.
“Aren’t we talking now?” He released one of my hands and placed his hand on my hip.
“You could have anyone. Especially someone who’s really from here. You don’t have to wait for me.” At one time saying those words would have broken me. But they were strangely easy to say now.
“And I’ve already made my choice. Nothing is going to change that. I’ll wait as long as I have to for you to feel ready.” He kissed my hand and turned away.
Within a few steps he was back in the hallway and out of view.
I waited a few moments. Wishing I had a choice. I had absolutely no interest in attending the gala, but Caspian would never forgive me for failing to show up. Neither would Telton. My stomach turned. He was already angry with me. I couldn’t make it worse. And worse than all that would be Caspian’s father, the Emperor. Even Caspian wouldn’t be able to protect me from his wrath.
I organized a few of the old android pieces before pulling myself from the room. I’d finish later. If I didn’t leave soon I’d never get ready in time.
I stepped into the brightly lit hall of the palace. My footsteps were silent on the dark, rubber-like floors. I stopped to look out the window—struck as always as the two moons of Andrelexa crisscrossed each other in the sky. I could have stayed and watched for hours, but I didn’t have the luxury of time.
I nodded in greeting to a few guards as I made my way to my room. They never said much to me, but I could tell they didn’t understand why the royal family kept me around. I didn’t blame them for the confusion. I had the same question.
Alda was already waiting in the doorway, ready to usher me in. “There you are.” She closed the door behind us. “I was beginning to think you’d forgotten what night it was.”
“I’m here.” I held my chin up, willing my qualms to disappear.
Her bright topaz eyes were full of worry. “Yet you don’t look happy about it?” She put her warm hands on my shoulders. “Tell me what’s going on inside that head of yours.”
“You’ve known me since I was a child, yet you seem surprised I wouldn’t be eager for a gala. I never enjoy big events.”
“It’s a big night for Caspian.” She released my shoulders.
“It is a big night. For him.” I was growing tired of everyone’s assumptions that just because something was important to him it was important to me. We’d been considered a pair practically since I arrived at the palace. As a child I never questioned it, but now it seemed odd. Why would a royal—the prince—want a mate from another planet? What could I possibly offer him that a native wouldn’t be able to give him ten times over?
Alda put a hand on her hip. “You are going to get yourself in trouble if you don’t watch out.”
“You say it as if I weren’t in trouble already.” It was hard to argue with Alda. Once my nanny she was now more of a mother figure. Lately she had begun to feel like a friend.
“Telton wants what’s best for you.” She smoothed down her silver gown. The straps were braided with glowing golden strands. The same gold was braided into her long dark hair. She was as beautiful as she always was. A few wrinkles on her face were the only physical signs that she was well over fifty now. The people of Andrelexa aged extremely well.
“No. He wants what’s best for him.” I’d glorified my adoptive father in the beginning, but as I only saw him once or twice a year anymore, I’d stopped caring so much about his opinion of me.
Alda stepped toward me and gripped both my arms with her hands. “Is it someone else?” Her eyes bore into mine. “Tell me the truth.”
“Someone else? Please.” I laughed dryly. “Have I even had the chance to get to know someone else?” Every moment of my life since arriving on Andrelexa had been determined for me. I’d spent the past few nights sitting up and trying to understand how I’d let it happen. Had it been fear? Heartbreak? It was excusable when I was younger, but I wasn’t so young anymore.
“Caspian is a born leader. He is going to do great things.”
“I don’t doubt that for a second. But he can do those things without me by his side.” And he’d be better off if he selected someone else. He deserved someone that was devoted to him, and everyone else had to have seen it.
“I’ve seen the way you two look at each other. There’s attraction going both ways.”
“Anyone who’s looked at Caspian is attracted.” With his tall (even by Lexa standards) muscular frame, pitch black hair, and stormy grey eyes, his physical attractiveness was impossible to deny. When he smiled you felt it in every grain of your being, and some unsuspecting visitors to the palace nearly ended up as puddles on the floor. And to make matters worse he seemed oblivious to his effect on others. He didn’t flaunt his good looks; they were just there.
Alda chuckled. “So what’s the problem?”
“The problem is I have other plans for my life.”
“Other plans? Is this about joining the Explorers?” She said the name of the elite arm of the Andrelexa royal forces with distaste.
“You mean following in my father’s footsteps?” I’d spin it any way I had to. I couldn’t spend the rest of my life confined to the palace. I needed to get out.
“This isn’t about Telton, and you know it. You want to run away, but you need to get that idea out of your head. You are here for a reason. You’re not a child anymore. It’s time to accept that.” She pulled a gold and red gown from the closet.
My stomach churned as I eyed the slinky fabric. “I’m not going to wear that.”
“Why not?” Alda held it out. “I spent hours on it.”
“And I told you not to. I told you I don’t like the—”
“Back and front. Yes.” She smiled. “And you truly thought I’d make you wear something you were uncomfortable in?”
“The last fitting it was exactly that way.” And I’d nearly thrown a fit. The only thing stopping me from destroying the dress was understanding how much time it took Alda to make.
“Because I knew Caspian would be checking. I may have made a few modifications since then.”
“Modifications?” A small well of hope grew inside me.
“Try it. If you still hate it you can wear something else.” She helped me into the delicate gown.
I walked over to the double mirror. “The back still dips lower than I like.”
“But it’s not backless,” Alda pointed out.
She was right about that. I’d take it. “No, but the front feels more revealing than I’d normally wear.”
“It shows nothing you don’t want to show.” She pushed down the straps so they sat midway down my shoulders the way they were designed to lay.
Despite not absolutely loving the neck line or back, it was far superior to the last version I’d tried on. “I’m sorry I doubted you, Alda.”
“Good. Now please at least behave tonight so Caspian isn’t too angry with me.”
“He shouldn’t be angry. This is a much more beautiful dress now.” I held out the skirt, marveling at the intricate jewels she’d sewed in.
“A beautiful dress for a beautiful woman. I wonder if you take after your mother.”
“I don’t know. I don’t remember her at all.” I fought back tears that threatened to spill.
“That’s okay. She loved you enough to send you away.” Alda squeezed my hands. “Now on to your hair.”
“I’d prefer to wear it down.”
“Really? It’s tradition for you to wear it up.”
“And when have I been traditional? I’m not the one being advanced. I’m just there to watch.”
“Will you at least wear the gold slippers?”
“Yes. Those are comfortable.”
Alda smiled. “I hope you realize he’s not going to change his mind.” She set the slippers down in front of me. “No matter what you look like tonight, he’s not going to turn his sights to someone else.”
“That’s not what this is about.” I slipped into the shoes.
“No?” She ran her fingers through my hair to smooth it out without losing the waves. Most of the women of Andrelexa had smooth, straight hair. Mine was a frizzy mess unless I took the time to straighten it out or accentuate the waves that were already there.
“I warned you to be careful. I will do it again.”
“And I told you I’m already in trouble.”
“By Telton.” She sprayed a mist all around me. It was Caspian’s favorite scent. Of course.
“There are others whose punishments may be much worse.”
“Caspian isn’t going to punish me.” He knew his anger and disappointment would be enough.
“No.” She nodded. “I agree with you there, but his father may not be so forgiving.”
I recoiled thinking about the Emperor. “I’ll stay clear of him.”
“Good luck with that.”
“Will you be blamed if I wear my hair down?” My silly preferences weren’t worth getting Alda in trouble.
“Not if you let me braid in some gold strands.”
“Deal.” I took a seat on a stool. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the sensation of Alda working on my hair.
“All done.”
I opened my eyes. “It looks great. Thank you.”
She beamed. “You look beautiful.”
“Thank you.” I ran my fingers over the gold.
“But sad.”
“I am sad.” Without thinking I spoke my thoughts out loud.
“Try to be happy tonight.”
“For Caspian. Yes.” I would do what I had to do.
“And for yourself. You can be happy in this life.” She kissed the top of my head before leaving me all alone in my room.

If you haven't done so already, you need to read Alyssa Rose Ivy's books!! While you're at it take a peek at my reviews too!

Alyssa Rose Ivy is a New Adult and Young Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.

To read more about this author, visit Alyssa Rose Ivy's Blog and Website. You can also find her on GoodreadsPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

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