by Mia Sheridan
Published by Amazon
Release Date: March 2 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Format Read: ARC, eBook
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.
I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Mia Sheridan is one of those authors that I just know is going to make me feel something while I read. She never shies away from heavy subject matter. The emotional turmoil of her characters is always written in a way that leaves your chest heavy and aching. So obviously, I’m a huge fan.
Trigger/Spoiler Warning: Once We Were Starlight is the story of Karys and Zakai, two kids who were abducted and sold as a side show act for a sex trafficking exhibition in the Middle East. Their backstory is a tragic one and it’s haunting. Once they are removed from that terrible and dire situation and brought to the states, the story changes direction and it becomes a tale about finding self worth and healing, about twin souls being separated and then finding each other once again. It was beautiful.
At approximately 1% into this book, the angst was at a level 100. While I did not cry real actual tears reading this one. Mia definitely had my heart aching and breaking. She has such a way with words.
This book was a short read for me. I finished it in a single sitting! It peaked my curiosity very early on and there quite a few surprises in the plot that just didn’t allow me to put it down.
The only thing I truly can complain about is that the main characters spend a good portion of this book apart. The beginning of this book makes it so clear that these two people are meant for each other. So I got a little frustrated when most of the book focused only on Karys and her journey.
I would have loved a dual point of view.
Zakai was so self sacrificing and protective of Karys. It would have been wonderful to see where his head was at during some of the events that occur in Once We Were Starlight. Because we only got Karys’ POV it felt like some of the plot was a little under developed in regards to the romance between her and Zakai.
The romance was a bonus, but it was very clear that this book was ultimately one about healing and learning to love yourself even in spite of a tragic, tragic past. So I can forgive that lack of romantic depth.
If you’re looking for a quick and emotional read, then this is a great option!
I’ll always love Mia, I give this one. 3.5 stars 🙂
Emily is a coffee loving, cat snuggling, baby wearing book-a-holic.
After retiring from a decade long career in the hair and make-up industry to stay home with her babies, everyone (meaning Emily’s husband) thought it was high time for her to get a hobby that did not involve her kids. Having always been a voracious reader and devouring books at a breakneck speed, joining the bookish and blogging community seemed like a natural next step. She loves giving recommendations to friends and family and then very gently (and not forcefully at all) asking for their opinions after they complete each chapter.
Her reviews tend to be goofy, a little sweary, on the more impassioned side and maybe sometimes a little self deprecating.
Emily typically enjoys reading almost every genre, including (but not limited to) literary fiction, rom-com, contemporary, LGBTQ+, fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, sci-fi, gothic and dark romance or basically any book that will make her cry.