Review, Interview & Giveaway – Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt

October 24, 2013 Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 0 ★★★★

 

Title: Starstruck

Author: Brenda Hiatt
Release Date: August, 2013
Pages: 328, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 3.7 stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Content Rating: PG-13 (Nothing more than kissing)

Summary from Goodreads: Nerdy astronomy geek Marsha, M to her few friends, has never been anybody special. Orphaned as an infant and reluctantly raised by an overly-strict “aunt,” she’s not even sure who she is. M’s dream of someday escaping tiny Jewel, Indiana and making her mark in the world seems impossibly distant until hot new quarterback Rigel inexplicably befriends her. As Rigel turns his back on fawning cheerleaders to spend time with M, strange things start to happen: her acne clears up, her eyesight improves to the point she can ditch her thick glasses, and when they touch, sparks fly—literally! When M digs for a reason, she discovers deep secrets that will change her formerly humdrum life forever . . . and expose her to perils she never dreamed of. Yes, the middle of nowhere just got a lot more interesting!Nerdy astronomy geek Marsha, M to her few friends, has never been anybody special. Orphaned as an infant and reluctantly raised by an overly-strict “aunt,” she’s not even sure who she is. M’s dream of someday escaping tiny Jewel, Indiana and making her mark in the world seems impossibly distant until hot new quarterback Rigel inexplicably befriends her. As Rigel turns his back on fawning cheerleaders to spend time with M, strange things start to happen: her acne clears up, her eyesight improves to the point she can ditch her thick glasses, and when they touch, sparks fly—literally! When M digs for a reason, she discovers deep secrets that will change her formerly humdrum life forever . . . and expose her to perils she never dreamed of. Yes, the middle of nowhere just got a lot more interesting!

 

Starstruck is a really sweet YA paranormal novel that fans of the genre will love!  With its unique paranormal storyline and characters that teens will relate to, I think that this book is a definite winner.

I can’t really summarize the book any better than the synopsis does without giving away spoilers, so I’ll just jump directly into my review.
The negatives:
  • Some clichés.  There were some parts of this book (especially the beginning) that felt a bit too typical YA.  The uncool, “nothing special about her” protagonist falls for the mysterious ultra-cool guy.  Most of the first half or so of the book was dedicated to the romance blossoming between M and Rigel, so it felt a little cliché.  Still, I found myself enjoying the story anyway and, luckily, the second half of the book really improved – once you find out the paranormal secret, the book gets much more unique and interesting!
What I loved:
  • M.  Even though I said that M is a pretty typical YA heroine, I still found myself really liking her.  I appreciated that she was intelligent and a bit geeky without being overly self-deprecating or a total loner (I loved her best friends Bri and Deb – I thought that those friendships seemed very realistic both when they were getting along and when they were fighting!).  I also liked that when things start to get crazy (in a paranormal sort of way), she doesn’t automatically believe everything that she’s told – she responds in a very realistic way!
  • Rigel.  Rigel was a very swoon-worthy love interest.  He was also sweet and smart – an all-around good guy – and I was definitely rooting for M and Rigel to be together.  I loved that he put M’s interests and happiness above his own and he didn’t abandon her, even when it seemed that he might have to!!
  • M’s aunt and uncle.  The tension between M and her aunt and uncle (especially her aunt) added a really interesting dynamic to the story and made M a more sympathetic character.  I hope that, in future books, we get to see those relationships develop even more and come to understand a little bit more about what makes M’s aunt treat M the way she does.  We definitely get part of the story in this book, but I would love to see even more!
  • The unique paranormal story.  I can’t say too much about the paranormal aspect of this book without spoiling things, but I was happy that it was very unique and interesting.  I loved the literal sparks that flew between M and Rigel and the fact that this book came to a satisfying conclusion, but left us with room for more books in the series because the paranormal storyline is definitely not finished!
I highly recommend Starstruck to fans of YA paranormal romance!  I can’t wait to see what Hiatt has in store for us in future books!  4/5 stars.

 
***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***
Get it on AmazonKindleBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKoboor iTunes.
 
1     I see that you’ve gone both the traditional publishing route and the indie publishing route.  What are some of the differences?  Do you enjoy one more than the other?
There’s no denying that indie publishing is a LOT more work than traditional publishing–arranging for your own editing and proofing, cover art, formatting (for various eBook vendors as well as print, in some cases), keeping track of all the vendor accounts, and, of course, getting the word out. But it’s also very empowering to have this level of control. In traditional publishing, I didn’t have a lot of say about my titles, much less my covers (where I often got no input at all), and no matter how badly I wanted to write a particular story, if it was nixed by my editor, I had to set it aside. So, even with all the extra work, I have to say I’m enjoying the indie route a lot more. The writing itself is more fun than it’s been in years!
2    Tell us a little bit about your writing process. How long did it take you to write Starstruck?  Did you have the whole story mapped out before you started writing or did you figure out the plot as you went along?  Were there any particular scenes that were especially easy or difficult to write?
Because it was my first venture into teen fiction, Starstruck took me longer to write than any other book I’ve ever written. Part of it was that I loved this story so much, I was determined to make as close to perfect as I possibly could, which meant many, many revisions and lots and lots of feedback from other authors and teen beta readers. I did have the bare bones of the story mapped out in advance, but as always, my characters took me in directions I never expected along the way–which is where the fun is! Now and then I had to rein them in for story purposes, but more often than not, they knew better than I did what needed to happen next. There were definitely some scenes that were harder to write than others–some because they called up such strong emotions, and others because they were just tricky to get right. I must have rewritten the scene with M being brought before the Council at least twenty times!
3    Who is your favorite character in the book?
Marsha (M), definitely! I put so much of myself into her character–well, myself as a teen: an awkward, nerdy, bookish stargazer. 🙂
4    What made you decide to make the leap into the Young Adult market?
I realized that most of the books I’d enjoyed reading most in recent years were Young Adult novels, so it just made sense to try writing one myself. And I’m so glad I did! I’ve had more fun writing Young Adult than I can ever remember having in all my years as a writer.
5    What book are you reading right now?
I’m finally reading Divergent, by Veronica Roth. (I know, I know, what took me so long? But there are SO many great books out there!)
 
Ha!  I just read Divergent this week too (just posted my review a couple of days ago), so you don’t have to feel so bad!
6    One more fun question.  Since my blog is called Feed Your Fiction Addiction, I always have to ask: What are you addicted to?Besides reading? And writing? 🙂 I guess I’d have to say Taekwondo, which I started about five years ago and absolutely love. Though sleep might run a close second. Then of course there’s chocolate…
Thanks so much for having me on your blog!
 
AUTHOR BIO

Author of sixteen novels to date, primarily Regencies and historicals from Harlequin and HarperCollins, Brenda Hiatt is now indie publishing her historical backlist and continuing to write and publish new books, her most recent a mystery, OUT OF HER DEPTH, from Bell Bridge Books. Her first original indie book, STARSTRUCK, launches in September 2013, a YA science fiction romance. For the past dozen years, Brenda has collected data on writers’ earnings, which she shares at her website.

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