This month, I asked a writing friend Tonja Drecker, “Hey, whatcha reading?”
1. What books are you currently reading?
Right now, I’m reading Living in a Star’s Light (2019, self-published) by Steve Lindahl and Starlight: A Starlight Chronicles Novella (2019, The Parliament House) by J.B. Malcolm. I didn’t realize how similar the titles are until I answered this question, but the two stories are nothing alike. The first is historical fiction while the second is a young adult fantasy.
2) How far along in the books are you?
I’m about 40% through Living in a Star’s Light and 20% through Starlight. The first one is around 250 pages, while the second, as a novella, hits around 170.
3) What are the books about?
Living in a Star’s Light is based on the life of actress Lotta Crabtree, a wealthy and famous entertainer during the Gold Rush Era. While I thought it would only be told from Lotta’s viewpoint, it’s mostly done through the eyes of her biggest fan, Walter (so far). He grew up with a drunk, mining father, who took him in after his own mother gave him away. The tale starts when he is quite young (under 10 years), and works up quickly from there. He runs across Lotta a few times in his childhood as she performs in saloons and on miner stages at the beginning of her career. The adventures surround very realistic circumstances of growing up and living in the rough environment surrounding San Francisco and the mines, before taking on the romantic relationship between the two and the trials and success she faced during her life.
Starlight is the beginning novella to the Starlight Chronicles—a series I haven’t read yet. It takes place in the fantasy kingdom of Ersarence and begins with a young delivery boy, Julian, who just wants to earn enough to save his dying mother. His aspirations are simple until he meets the seamstress’ daughter. Hoping for more, he joins the king’s army and is soon on the search for a missing heir to the throne. When he runs across the seamstress’ daughter again, he discovers she harbors magic…something only the royals have…and soon, the two are on a road which will change the face of the kingdom.
4) What drew you to these books?
The first one, Living in a Star’s Light, is written by the member of an author’s group I’ve been in since the beginning of the year. I was excited to pick this one up. I don’t dive into historical novels very often but tend to enjoy them when I do (but then, I tend to enjoy a huge span of genres). This is an era I definitely haven’t peeked at very often, and it’s grabbed me more than I thought it would.
The second, Starlight, was a superficial grab. In other words, I loved the cover. I’ve always been a softy when it comes to lovely covers. Since the blurb didn’t sound too bad and the series appears like it might be a fun read, I grabbed it up. It just hit the market on December 10th, btw.
5) Who would you recommend this book to?
Oh wow. This is always a difficult question, since people tend to have such individual tastes when it comes to books.
For Living in a Star’s Light, I’d recommend this not only to historical fiction fans, but also to anyone who likes a little adventure in a realistic way. It carries a bit of a Tom Sawyer feel, at first, but with much less humor and then swings into an even more serious tone with light romance on the side. It hits some pretty harsh moments…but isn’t life harsh, anyway? As said, I’m not one who picks up history often—I tend to head for fantasy, paranormal, and the such—but I thoroughly am enjoying this one. Does that help?
Starlight is easier. I’d recommend this one to young adult fantasy friends. There’s action, light romance, magic, evil kings, heart-breaking moments and a bit of intrigue too. I’m not far enough in to say whether or not it’s a good read yet completely, but I’m enjoying it so far and can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings.