A Stella Review: A Pocketful of Stardust (Aster #1) by J.P. Barnaby and Rowan Speedwell

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RATING 3,25 out of 5 stars

Noah Hitchens loves the New York City life he worked hard to build. But when his father dies and leaves him a bankrupt bookstore in their sleepy Georgia hometown, Noah knows he has to save it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know anything about business. He finds unlikely help in Henry, the man who owned Stardust Books before his 1966 murder, and Kyle St. James, a shy but kind-hearted out-of-towner with a past almost as mysterious as Henry’s.


Kyle came to Aster, Georgia, looking for redemption. On the run and out of hope, he’s just trying to get on with his life. Then he meets Noah, a ghost, and a big sloppy lab named Jake who redefine his idea of living. But his past is closing in, and when it finds him, they could lose everything.

I had a great time with this new novel, I found the plot so in tune with what I usually like to read, I finished it quickly. I loved Noah deeply, he sacrificed his life and job in New York to take care of his father dream, even if later he discovered it was his own dream too. I knew his pain and his devotion, I ached for him when things weren’t going well. I was glad he had first Henry and then Kyle to help, and the whole Aster people.

The book is beautifully written, it wasn’t a surprise knowing some of the authors’ previous releases. That said there were a couple of things that didn’t work for me: first in all in this story I think Kyle’s POV was necessary. His background, his fears, the reason why he was in Aster and he acted like he was from another planet, knowing all of these from his mouth would have made the narration more fluid and complete. I missed his thoughts, his POV, it wasn’t enough having only Noah’s. Plus the romance part fell a little short to me, I wasn’t able to feel a connection between the MCs.  I can understand the authors wanted to probably focus the book on Noah and his loss and more, but a romance is made of two parts, it seems to me like on of them was not ignored, cause we knew a lot about Kyle, but almost like not developed or less important. And because of this, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate and understand Kyle feelings for Noah.

I will surely read the next installment in the series, I was conquered by Aster population and can’t wait to discover more about it.

The cover art by Tiferet Design is lovely, I like it a lot

Sales Links:   | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 234 pages

Published July 30th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781644054666

Edition Language English

Series Aster#1

J.P. Barnaby on Writing, Research, and their new release ‘A Pocketful of Stardust”by J.P. Barnaby and Rowan Speedwell

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A Pocketful of Stardust (Aster #1) by J.P. Barnaby and Rowan Speedwell

Dreamspinner Press
Published July 30th 2019
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Sales Links:   | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J.P. Barnaby here today, answering questions and talking about her latest release with Rowan Speedwell, A Pocketful of Stardust.

Welcome, J.P.

 

A Q&A with author JP Barnaby

Hello! My name is JP Barnaby and I’m the author of Aaron, the Little Boy Lost series, and a few other novels in the M/M world. Today I’m here to answer a few questions in promotion of a great new book with Rowan Speedwell (Kindred Hearts, Finding Zach, Illumination). It’s the story of Noah who inherits his father’s failing bookstore and with the help of Henry, the ghost of the previous owner, learns about community as he attempts to save it.

So, here we go with our Q&A:

If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

My husband and I take a cruise to the Caribbean each year to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I’d love to say that I sit on the deck, watching the waves under the sun and write my little heart out, but that just isn’t the case. The best place for me to write is on my couch, with my dog at my side and my husband at work. I have my notes spread all around me (I’m a paper girl, despite working in IT), a Diet Pepsi on the table, and maybe some pretzels in a bowl. I can’t listen to music with words, so I’ll put on a John Williams station and listen to soundtracks from Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and more. After a couple hours of sitting under a blanket, lap desk across my legs, I usually wake up and realize I’ve only written a couple thousand words.

Does research play a role in choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

The genre in which I write depends a lot on what I’m reading at the time. Prior to meeting my husband, I read a lot of romance (straight and gay). I liked thinking that a happy ending was possible. When I got my own, I started reading more in the suspense genre. I’m a big fan of Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, Stephen King, Lee Child, and now Karen Rose and Sandra Brown. For me, Romantic Suspense is the best of both worlds.

As for settings, I prefer making up my own town in an area of the country. For example in this latest book, A Pocketful of Stardust, we wanted to make it a small down in the south, so we created our own town of Aster in Georgia. It’s situated on the western outskirts of Atlanta and has a great community vibe with that unique southern charm. I like to write places I’ve lived, or at least been, so I can get a feel for the atmosphere—is it fast-paced like Chicago or New York? Does it have a party vibe like New Orleans or Orlando? Now, I also need to be concerned with the size and structure of the local law enforcement.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m not really on one side of the fence or the other. I like what’s best for the story. If these are guys who have been friends a long time and they’ve become lovers, I can see a more HEA ending. But, if they’ve been thrown into the heat of passion by mad bombers, maybe a HFN is more appropriate. As long as the ending is emotionally satisfying, I’m on board.

What’s next for you as a writer?

To date, I’ve written mostly contemporary novels with an angsty edge, books where the main character is fighting his way through trauma. Currently, I’m working on my first romantic suspense. I’d like to channel that fear and anxiety into a different form of expression. I’ve been researching police procedure which has been fascinating. This weekend I’m going to be attending the Writer’s Police Academy (https://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/classes-available/) in Raleigh, North Carolina where I’ll learn fingerprinting, blood evidence collection, and interrogation techniques. I’ve also been reading Forensic books and working through what suspects and books will take readers from beginning to end. It’s more planning and strategy than I’ve done for books in the past, so I’m taking it slowly. My plan is to have it finished for the Writer’s Digest conference next year in New York.

Thank you for taking the time to hang out with me!

 

A Pocketful of Stardust by JP Barnaby & Rowan Speedwell

Noah Hitchens loves the New York City life he worked hard to build. But when his father dies and leaves him a bankrupt bookstore in their sleepy Georgia hometown, Noah knows he has to save it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know anything about business. He finds unlikely help in Henry, the man who owned Stardust Books before his 1966 murder, and Kyle St. James, a shy but kind-hearted out-of-towner with a past almost as mysterious as Henry’s. Kyle came to Aster, Georgia, looking for redemption. On the run and out of hope, he’s just trying to get on with his life. Then he meets Noah, a ghost, and a big sloppy lab named Jake who redefine his idea of living. But his past is closing in, and when it finds him, they could lose everything.

About the Author

JP Barnaby is an award-winning contemporary romance and romantic suspense novelist with over a dozen novels. Her heart and soul, the Survivor Series, has been heralded by USA Today as one of their favorites. She recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta to appease her Camaro (Jake) who didn’t like the blustery winters. JP specializes in recovery romance but slips in a few erotic or comedic stories to spice things up. When she’s not working on her latest novel, she binge watches superheroes and crime dramas on Netflix with her husband and Jack Russell Terror, Chase.

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Come hang out in her Facebook Group – Between the Covers with JP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2228150134074004/