Everything was normal for Lucy Maisfer until the day a star fell from the sky and knocked her out. Upon waking, she comes face-to-face with Jason Woods, who also happens to be the mysterious new guy in her best friend, Valarie’s, life.
Then the strange dreams begin, and she learns about the Starlight Princess— who must not under any circumstance be reawakened. Driven to uncover the meaning of it, she finds herself caught up in a strange twist of events that eventually lead to bigger danger than she ever anticipated. Before long, Lucy is forced to make a choice between saving the world, or saving her best friend; only to discover that Valarie cannot be saved… that she has an even darker secret, and that her supposed star-crossed romance with Jason might not be so destined after all…
IF YOU LOVED THESE BOOKS, YOU’LL LOVE LANTERN IN THE SKY…
I am a huge fan of royal revolutions, magical fantasy and powerful, badass characters—which is why I read these books as well as write them!
In this post, I want to help you figure out if Lanterns In The Sky is your next go-to read by sharing a couple of similar books with relating themes, settings or style. You might even discover another book you haven’t heard of yet (did someone day two for one?)
So buckle up, and let’s take a look shall we?
Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
I’m sure most people who read YA fantasy have heard of this book by now. Red Queen kind of blew up—and I definitely see why.
Some of the best parts of this book were the magic structure in this world, the worldbuilding, the stakes and the plot twists! (If you’ve read this one you know exactly what I’m referring to).
Enter Lanterns In The Sky—a story set in the present world descending into a slow downfall of society, with major stakes and a super killer plot twist to throw you off—because I love Victoria Aveyard’s style!
Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
Ah… dreamy Stardust! I love this beautiful, whimsical read and the adventures the characters go on. Also, the romance is just lovely!
Though Lanterns In The Sky is more dark and gritty, it has it’s powerful and lovely moments—and if you love ‘star’ magic and constellations, then Lanterns In The Sky is heavily based around that entire concept.
I like to think that the writing is balanced between dark moments and hopeful ones—with an interesting love story unfolding along the way.
An Ember In The Ashes, by Sabar Tahir
This book has some amazing character development, action, and shares a very similar theme to the backstory of The Starlight Chronicles. Character conflicts are something that come up a lot in Lanterns In The Sky—so these books share a parallel here
If you love resistances and royal revolutions and enjoyed reading An Ember In The Ashes, then you’ll definitely want to add Lanterns In The Sky to your reading list (especially because the following novella, Starfall, will really intrigue fans of An Ember In The Ashes.)
Daughter Of Smoke And Bone, by Laini Taylor
If you love European settings crossed with fantasy worlds, you will just adore Lanterns In The Sky.
One of the most notable things about Daughter Of Smoke And Bone was it’s distinct settings in Prague and Paris and other places outside of the U.S. It also managed to magically blend fantasy worlds in the epic way that Laini Taylor does!
Although we don’t get to explore the other ‘fantasy’ worlds of The Starlight Chronicles until book two, the setting of Lorelei is entirely unique on its own and influenced by Vienna and Salzburg. Plus, there are angels in this book and they are super cool beings!
P.S.Malcolm (Pagan) grew up in Proserpine, Queensland– a small, Australian country town on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. She was a storyteller from a young age and spent years perfecting her craft.
For two years, she juggled waitressing in tourist filled coffee shops while undertaking two degrees in Creative Writing online. She has always had an interest in writing, but never saw herself working in the industry until she made the choice to self-publish her debut novel, STUCK ON VACATION WITH RYAN RUPERT. Realizing that she loved the process of publishing her book, she pursued an internship at a publishing house and snagged a spot as Pen Name Publishing’s Marketing Assistant.
In between interning and writing, Pagan opened her first business working as a freelance Marketing Strategist for Paperback Kingdom– which helps indie authors with all aspects of their author careers.
Pagan also enjoys reading– particularly fantasy and paranormal– and is a passionate blogger. She reviews books that she has read on her personal website, and indie books on her business blog. Some of her favourite and most influential authors include Amanda Gernentz Hanson, A.G. Howard, Marissa Meyer and Michele Jaffe. She is a cat enthusiast, tea lover, and floral fanatic.
Her newest book, LANTERNS IN THE SKY, is set to be released by The Parliament House Publishing in Spring 2019.
You will not believe how excited I am to be sharing the news that Dream Keeper by Amber R. Duell is finally out! This book is simply a spectacular read. You can know more about why I LOVED this book here.
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book yet (HOW?!), be sure to
check out all the details below. This blitz also includes an international giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card, courtesy of The Parliament House and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
Book Title: Dream Keeper Author: Amber R. Duell Published by: The Parliament House Publication date: January 29th 2019 Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult Formats: Paperback, eBook Pages: 288
The Sandman is seventeen-year-old Nora’s closest friend and best-kept secret. He has to be, if she doesn’t want a one-way ticket back to the psychiatrist. It took her too long to learn not to mention the hooded figure in her dreams to her mother, who still watches Nora as if she’ll crack. So when Nora’s friends start mysteriously dying gruesome deaths in their sleep, she isn’t altogether surprised when the police direct their suspicion at her. The Sandman is the only one she can turn to for answers. But the truth might be more than she bargained for…
For the last five years, the Sandman has spent every night protecting Nora. When he hid the secret to the Nightmare Lord’s escape inside her dreams, he never expected to fall in love with her. Neither did he think his nemesis would find her so quickly, but there’s no mistaking his cruel handiwork. The Nightmare Lord is tired of playing by the rules and will do anything to release his deadly nightmares into the world, even if that means tormenting Nora until she breaks.
When the Nightmare Lord kidnaps Nora’s sister, Nora must enter enemy territory to save her. The Sandman is determined to help, but if Nora isn’t careful, she could lose even more than her family to the darkness.
Shadows danced in the soft warmth of the white mini-lights strung around my bedroom. I hopped around my bed, fumbling with the buckle on my sandals, and tossed my purse in the corner. Something hard—probably my phone—thwacked against the light blue wall.
“Whoops,” I muttered, then growled at the metal hook locking my footwear in place. There were places to go, people to see. Or, rather, one person, and it was already hours past our usual meeting time. I jerked at the stiff strap. “Get off.”
Finally, it popped, and I kicked it triumphantly into the corner with my bag. The other came off without any trouble, and my stomach fluttered in anticipation. I tugged off my jean shorts and stepped into a pair of plaid pajama bottoms, leaving on the ribbed tank top I wore out tonight. Who cared that a glob of nacho cheese stained the front? The Sandman certainly wouldn’t.
Climbing beneath the cool sheets, I dragged in a long breath and released it slowly. A small grin played on my lips as I stared at the lights hanging overhead. Then I shut my eyes and waited. Waited for sleep to claim me. To deliver me. But my body was too tense, and my mind still flipped through the day’s events as ridiculously boring as they were. When the highlight of your day was painting your nails a new color, what was there to mull over?
After a handful of long minutes, I opened my eyes again and bit my lip. I could ask. It had been… Actually, I couldn’t remember the last time I asked him for anything. Even this. But I had to be up early for work tomorrow and we’d already missed out on hours together. A grin crept across my face.
“Sandman,” I whispered, and closed my eyes again in preparation. “Help me sleep.”
It came swiftly then, sweeping me gently from my world to another as easily as the breeze carries a feather. I curled my toes, feeling the powder-like sand of the Sandman’s beach beneath my bare feet, and opened my eyes. The endless blanket of bright stars, the luminescent waves, the Sandman… This place, this dream, was like coming home.
“Sorry I’m late,” I called with a smile in my voice. The light aroma of lilacs filled my lungs and I sighed, content. “Natalie and Emery dragged me to a party to celebrate our final first day of summer vacation.” By this time next year, we would all be high school graduates and legal adults—neither of which I was ready to think about. I stretched my arms over my head and fought a yawn. “Sandman?” There was no reply. I dropped my arms and spun, searching for a glimpse of the familiar black-clad figure. This was our spot—the place directly below the brightest star. My brows lowered in confusion. So why wasn’t he here? He was always here. “Where are you?”
The only sound was the soft hush of waves lapping the shore. I turned again, squinting down the beach, but there was no hooded figure in sight. My heart skipped a beat. The dream seemed to yawn open, the emptiness pressing in on me from all sides. He had to be here somewhere. A pit formed in my stomach, and I staggered back, unsteady. He had to.
The beach was an addiction I didn’t know how to cure myself of—didn’t want to cure myself of. For every time I had to pretend this place didn’t exist, the Sandman was there to absolve me of the lies. There to make me feel like I was good and sane and normal. It didn’t matter that he was also the reason I didn’t feel any of those things were true when I was awake. The Sandman was my anchor, holding me firm when life tried to wash me out to sea. Without him… I swallowed hard. Without him, I would be a ship without sails.
“Sandman!” I jogged down the water’s edge, my pulse drumming in my ears. “I’m here.”
But he wasn’t.
The clock on my nightstand glowed green, the colon blinking in a slow, torturous rhythm. I tapped my fingers on my stomach. The Sandman had never been a no-show before. And if he wasn’t there, maybe that meant they were right, and he wasn’t real.
I refused to believe that. My mother meant well, but I couldn’t face a lifetime of pill-pushing psychiatrists. One white-haired doctor tossing around words like personality disorder and delusional was enough. By the time the final doctor deemed the Sandman a simple outlet for me to process my parents’ divorce, the damage was done.
Don’t worry about it, he said. It will pass, he said.
That was five years ago.
The divorce was a distant memory. My father moved across the country and my mother remarried, but the Sandman became a permanent fixture. One I’d learned to never, ever talk about.
What’s going on? I pushed the thought toward the Sandman even though I knew he couldn’t hear me. There was only one call that reached from this side of the Dream World to his, only one cry capable of bringing him here, but it never stopped me from trying.
I flung the sheets back with a huff and grabbed an oversized Lund Valley Community College sweater from the end of my bed. Natalie hoped we would go there together next year but… I wrinkled my nose and glanced at the dresser drawer where my sketchbook was carefully tucked between scarves. If I went to college at all, it would be for art, but that was a big if. No one in my family knew I drew, and if my mother was going to let me major in something “impractical,” she would want to at least see my work. Unfortunately, each page featured a majestic beach and a man hidden beneath a hood. Both things I was supposed to have forgotten long ago.
Tugging the sweater over my head, I made my way through the dark hallway toward the stairs. My mother and step-father were both working the night shift at the hospital and my sister could sleep through anything, yet I found myself tip-toeing down the hall.
I paused outside Katie’s door and listened to the steady, heavy breathing on the other side. Part of me wanted to wake my sister up to talk about what happened, but the other part of me—the part that remembered the piercing fluorescent lights of a therapist’s office—knew better. Katie had teased me about the Sandman when we were younger, but she never treated me differently. However, now we were older. Barging into her room to complain that my imaginary friend hadn’t shown up that night might alienate the last blood relative I could rely on.
Although Katie annoyed me like no one else, I loved her more than I was irritated with her. I needed my big sister on my side—even if it meant hiding a huge part of my life. So, I stepped away from her door and crept silently downstairs to the kitchen.
Maybe because I was about to steal someone’s box of frozen Thin Mints.
Sorry, not sorry.
Mist curled out of the open freezer, and I reached behind the chicken before a shrill, heart-wrenching scream tore through the house, squeezing the air from my lungs. It was made of nails and teeth and death. Of danger and fear. My eardrums rattled. Each nerve stood at attention, electricity buzzing over my body.
“Katie?” I yelled, frantically abandoning my pursuit of the cookies.
Confusion laced the edges of my shaky voice, but I was already racing across the
kitchen. Instinct twisted my gut, telling me to turn and run, to save myself, but I couldn’t. Not if my sister was in trouble. Not if someone had broken in when no one was home to help. Not if Katie was hurt and scared. I propelled myself up the stairs to the second floor, my skin itching me to go faster, faster, faster. Katie’s door was still shut at the front of the hallway. My breath shuddered, and I reached for the handle, pausing with apprehension. The metal was cold in my palm.
“Katie?” Her name came out as a crackling whisper and I forced myself to inhale. Then exhale. Inhale again. My hand shook as I twisted the knob.
I eased the door inward. Without a barrier between us, the sound cut through me like a knife. I slapped a palm against the wall, hitting the light switch, and flinched at the sudden brightness. At what it might reveal.
Katie lay flat on her back, her eyes shut tight, with the sheets snarled in a ball at the end of the bed. Sweat poured down her face, plastering her pink hair to her skin. The wild scream continued, unrelenting, her jaw stretched wide, her neck muscles protruding. But everything else was in its rightful place. Nothing was broken. The lock on the window hugged its latch.
I stepped into the room and spun, bumping into the dresser. My pulse thrashed; it mimicked Katie’s scream in pendulum beats. Loud then muffled then loud again. “Katie?” My voice felt tight. I knelt on the mattress and shook my sister’s broad shoulders. “Wake up.”
The scream cracked. Katie sucked in air as if she were drowning and began again, just as terrified. I used the back of my wrist to wipe the moisture from my forehead. My nails dug into her shoulders, and I shook her rigid body with every ounce of strength I had. The more I yelled her name, the more desperate, more savage, my voice became. Black spots danced in my vision. Nightmares were one thing, but this was something else. Something beyond that. I shook the dizzying fear away and darted into the bathroom across the hall.
I returned with a Dixie cup of cold water and leapt onto the bed. The water hit Katie’s face with a splash. “Come on,” I shouted to no avail.
I fumbled for Katie’s cell phone on the nightstand. If our mother didn’t know what to do, she could send someone who did. My thumb hovered over the direct number to my mother’s unit when a quick, metallic burst of air whooshed in from the hallway. A shiver ravaged my spine, and Katie’s pitch reached new heights. I slipped from the bed, my hip smashing into the floor. The phone fell from my hand, seemingly in slow motion. I lunged for the door, and slammed it shut, leaning my back against the wood.
I couldn’t think.
Couldn’t… I couldn’t…
The walls seemed to shrink, boxing me in. Trapping me.
Above the screech, a deep chuckle rumbled in the hall. My heart rose to my throat, and I dove for the phone where it had landed on the rug. I managed to dial nine before Katie’s scream cut off. Palpable silence penetrated the room. My rapid breathing mixed with my sister’s, and I edged up onto shaking knees. Katie rolled onto her side with a twitch.
“Katie?” My voice came out as a squeak.
She snuggled into the pillow, and her breathing returned to normal. Okay. She was okay. I turned my attention to the space at the bottom of the door. There was probably no one out there anyway. My sister’s screams threw me off after a confusing night, that’s all. I was merely tired and scared and was likely imagining the whole thing.
But before I called anyone, I had to be sure.
With the phone clutched in my hand, I crawled across the room to where the bright yellow handle of Katie’s tennis racket leaned against the wall. I gripped the hard foam and held it to my shoulder. I didn’t want to leave Katie alone but what choice did I have? I couldn’t call for help if no one was out there. My mother would have a field day.
Clenching my jaw shut to keep my teeth from chattering, I dialed two one’s before opening the door. If anyone was on the other side, it would only take a single touch to call for help.
I eased out, holding the racket in front of me, and flicked on the hallway light. The stillness slammed into me like a brick wall. “Okay, okay, okay,” I chanted under my breath. This was stupid. And yet… at five-foot-three and a hundred and ten pounds, an intruder wouldn’t necessarily need to be armed to overpower me.
My nerves exploded with a burst of adrenaline, and I leapt from room to room until each light bulb on the second floor glowed. I checked every closet, under every bed. The racket shook in my hand. There was nothing. No one. An irrational spike of anger zipped through me at the possibility of my brain’s betrayal.
My body moved on its own accord, taking me downstairs one tentative step at a time. One million potential fates I might encounter, if there was someone lying in wait, coursed through my thoughts. The joints in my fingers locked around the phone with my thumb still over the green call button. My tongue was sandpaper against the roof of my mouth, and I crept through the living room.
The freezer was still open, rattling in an attempt to keep the internal temperature down. I chomped down on my lip and inched my way forward to shut it. The rarely-used alarm system beside the back door taunted me—if only I remembered the code.
It seemed like it took ages to finish searching the house. I looked everywhere from the coat closet to beneath the bathroom sink, but it had only been eleven minutes since I had woken up. No time at all, really. I gripped the back of a dining room chair to stay on my feet.
There was no intruder. Katie had a nightmare, and my mind deceived me.
Only this time, it wasn’t part of my subconscious. I wasn’t asleep. Katie had screamed. There was a blast of air. Someone had laughed.
I swallowed the fear rising in my chest.
No one believed they were crazy. I wasn’t sure what it meant if I thought I was unhinged but constantly persuaded myself to believe I wasn’t. Was I? Wasn’t I? Not even the doctors could agree on an answer. My sanity was a double-edged sword, and I was fighting to maintain balance on the tip.
I dashed back to Katie and climbed in bed beside her, nestling close. I tucked the
wrinkled sheet around us both and tried to ignore the nausea curdling in my stomach. Katie was older than me, bolder and more confident, but in that moment, she felt as fragile as blown glass. I wrapped an arm around her waist and squeezed my eyes shut. My ears strained to hear the slightest sound that could signal danger, but no one else was in the house.
No one had laughed.
The Sandman wasn’t real.
I balled the back of Katie’s T-shirt in my fist. He was real enough to me, and I needed him. Please, Sandman, I called in a silent plea for the second time tonight—the one only he could hear. Help me sleep.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amber R. Duell was born and raised in a small town in Central New York. While it will always be home, she’s constantly moving with her husband and two sons as a military wife. Before becoming published, she had a wide range of occupations including banking, bartending (though she’s never tried alcohol), and phlebotomy (though she faints with needles). She also volunteered as a re-enactor at the local Revolutionary War fort and worked near shelter cats which led to her previous crazy cat lady status.
She does her best writing in the middle of the night, surviving the daylight hours with massive amounts of caffeine. Her favorite stories are dark with a touch of romance and a villain you either love to hate or hate to love.
When not reading or writing, she enjoys snowboarding, embroidering, snuggling with her cat, and staying up way too late to research genealogy. She loves to travel and has visited more countries than states. Kissing the Blarney Stone and hand-feeding monkeys in the mountains of France will be hard to beat, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to find the next real-life adventure.
“Always wear your imaginary crown” is Joey Kinkaid’s motto. For years, Joey, assigned male at birth, led the Baker Street kids in daring and imaginative fantasy adventures, but now that they’re teenagers, being a princess is no longer quite so cool. Especially for a child who is seen by the world as a boy.
Eric Sinclair has always been Joey’s best friend and admirer—Prince Eric to Joey’s Princess Ariel—but middle school puts major distance between them. As Eric’s own life takes a dangerous turn for the worse, he stands by and watches as Joey—who persists in dressing and acting too much like a Disney princess for anybody’s comfort—gets bullied. Eric doesn’t like turning his back on Joey, but he’s learned that the secret to teenage survival, especially with and absent mother, is to fly under the radar.
But when Joey finally accepts who she is and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies make her life such a misery that she decides to end it all. Eric, in turn, must decide who he really is and what side he wants to stand on… though no matter what he chooses, the consequences with be profound for both teens, and they’ll face them for years to come.
Every day’s basically the same—it’s like the lunchtime bullying plan is set in stone, and it’s only the end of September. And it’s way worse than it was last year, even though he sat alone then too. Travis gets to sit at the jock table, seeing as he’s on the county football team. He starts in on Joey as soon as he sets his rear end on the bench and drops his lunch tray onto the sticky table. For Travis, “bullying Josie” is sort of like a bad habit he just can’t kick. But I’m pretty sure he’d say it’s more like a hobby he’s real good at.
“All the way through sixth grade, Kinkaid wore a dress, like, every day after school—I kid you not.” He announces this loud enough for the jocks and the entire hot-girl table, and of course, lonely Joey, to hear. And even though Joey wasn’t hiding that he wore his mom’s purple dress after school when we all played together, blabbing about it makes me feel like we’re ratting him out.
An imaginary knife stabs into my gut and twists around. I try not to squirm and to keep my face blank, but it’s next to impossible because my belly hurts like I’m having a baby.
“You’ve got to be kidding me—he wore a freaking dress?” Miles Maroney is always the first guy to jump in whenever things start getting mean and dirty. “But I betcha Josie looked cute, if you go for gays.”
We all laugh, and I mean all of us.
I laugh even though I don’t want to. Because I still remember how it was: Joey was the Princess of Baker Street, and Travis and Emily and Lily and me all looked up to him as much as middle school kids look up to the guys on the soccer team now. Joey was the neighborhood kid with all the best ideas. None of us cared what he wore out to play—not even Travis.
“What a freaking princess!” yells Noah Mayer, and we all laugh some more because Noah is the starting forward on the soccer team, and we pretty much have to laugh at everything he says when he’s trying to be funny, or he won’t pass to us. Maybe I forgot to pay my brain bill, but I know how shit like this works.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son, heading off to college. (Yes, the nest is finally empty.) She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing scholarship essays. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it’s a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled people in complex relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishers for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award for Young Adult e-book Fiction, among other awards.
Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology. Contact Mia at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit at http://www.miakerickya.com to see what is going on in Mia’s world.