Saturday, December 21, 2013

*Spotlight & Review: Double Star, by Cindy Saunders!

Double Star

~By: Cindy Saunders

~Published: June 6th, 2013

~Length: 268 Pages

~Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy

She fell into his world, unaware of the key she carried and the doors it opened; a world where darkness waited to be set free ... The wait is over.
Do You Believe?

When Cepheus, a dark god, forces seventeen-year-old Ally Ashworth off an isolated overlook, she has no idea she's falling into his world, or that the necklace she’s wearing is actually a key - one with the power to ignite the next world war. But she’s carried beyond his reach and into the one place where he’s powerless ... the forest of Gilgamesh.

Ally’s never been Miss Popularity, but her outsider status takes on new meaning when she’s rescued by Liam Cheveyo and his peculiar friends. After seeing them shape-shift into their freaky humanimal counterparts, Ally smacks hard into a few truths: magic really does exist and, although getting here took no effort, finding her way back might be impossible. Feelings between her and Liam begin to grow along with the realization that, in this world, she’s stronger, better ... until she’s caught in a trap set by the creepy spider-boy Cepheus sends to retrieve her.  But Ally’s not going down without a fight, not after learning the horrible truth about the passageways.

The survival of both worlds depends on it.

Cindy Saunders was born in Lowell, MA. She moved to RI almost twenty-five years ago and now considers the Ocean State her home. She graduated from Bryant College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. When she’s not reading, writing, spending time with her two teenage children (how did that happen?) or working, Cindy tracks down one of her favorite local bands and enjoys a glass of wine. She completed her first novel, Double Star, a YA fantasy, in October 2012 and is currently working on the second book in the series.

Double Star is her first novel.

Connect with Cindy Online ~

Goodreads ~ Facebook ~ Website

    Where she was going didn’t matter. Where she was, she didn’t know. In this run for her life, her focus was to simply get someplace else.  Above, the limbs of the great pines held the stars hostage. The only light came from the two moons in the sky. Despite her silent pleas they continued to fall, barely visible through the thick cover of the forest. She knew the darkness concealed many secrets and, from that fact, there was no escape.

    Snap. The sound from behind stopped her heart. She dared to turn around. Two glowing rubies, only feet away, rode up and down as the creature advanced on four legs.

    Beware the red eyes. The boy’s whisper broke through. They are the eyes of death for you and the ones you love. They will not rest until yours are closed forever. His image played in her head for only a millisecond, but it filled her with courage. Her heart picked up pace and, with arms out at her sides, hands moving in frantic rhythm, she managed to stay on her feet.

    She sensed each passing second could be her last when she heard the creature’s rhythmic breathing roll up from her heels. Just then, the red moon revealed an abrupt end to the forest a short distance ahead. In a few steps, her fate would be in the hands of gravity. Trust! That was her grappling hook as she threw herself over the edge and tumbled into the darkness below.

    The beast followed down the steep embankment and stopped a few feet away. She got to her feet and allowed the wolf-like creature another step. Its red eyes stared up at her. The head dropped between its shoulders. Its weight shifted to its hindquarters. The muscles of hunter and prey simultaneously tensed. The animal growled and exposed a set of long, yellow teeth. Saliva fell in strings from razor-sharp incisors. Unable to move, she watched as it lunged, jaws open wide. She put her hands in front of her and took a step back. Her left foot fell upon air, and then ... she plummeted into emptiness.

~ 4/5 Roses ~

Double Star honestly really surprised me with how much I enjoyed it.  I was expecting a good story, but not necessarily one I would love.  That's exactly what I got though- a story I fell in love with.

Ally is a fun character to follow.  She is feisty, witty, and has a charismatic personality.  You really get pulled into her adventure, following her as she works through the new reality she finds herself in.  The idea of falling into another world is usually always interesting, and I love the world Cindy Saunders has created, with her humanimals and magic.

Liam and his friends are awesome, and I love their energy.  They are all described very well, and each one is completely different.  Together, they all make a solid team, and is a group of guys any girl would love to have watching her back.  I also really loved how Ally helped Liam through his personal demons, and helped him grow and heal.  They are a great couple, and I'm really curious to see what happens between them.

While I did love this story overall, I do feel 4 roses fits best, for two main reasons.  First, the stories of the "gods" and the passageways was a bit confusing.  I kind of felt like that needed to be explained a little more, since that's the entire reason Ally ended up in the alternate world.  The story focused more on Ally learning to survive in this enchanted world, and her budding romance with Liam.  Nothing wrong with that at all, but I would have liked the explanation of the passageways and the legends of the gods to be a bit more important.

Second, I didn't really understand why, when Cepheus only needs Ally's necklace, he still chases after her.  Several times, his goons had the necklace, and could have taken off, but stuck around to try and capture her as well, only to lose the necklace to her or her friends.  It may have been vaguely explained near the end of the book, but I wasn't sure, and throughout the story, I was a bit confused.

Overall though, I really enjoyed this book.  Reading about this enchanted forest was fun, and the writing is good.  Mrs. Saunders has created a wonderful adventure, and I'm hoping the sequel will explain the parts of this book that were missing.  I would recommend this book to any fantasy fan.

*I was given an eCopy of this book, via Clean Teen Publishing, to read in exchange for an honest review. 

Shake It Out by Florence and the Machine

Lightning Strikes by Live

Cherub Rock by Smashing Pumpkins

Fix You by Coldplay

Closer to the Edge by Thirty Seconds to Mars

Life in Technicolor by Coldplay

Death and All His Friends by Coldplay

Homesick by Soul Asylum

I've Got Friends by Manchester Orchestra

Walk This Way by David Garrett

Strawberry Swing by Coldplay

The River by Manchester Orchestra

Shine by Collective Soul

Lost by Coldplay

Now My Feet Won't Touch The Ground by Coldplay

Clocks by Coldplay

Book Trailer ~

~Materials and images provided by Clean Teen Publishing.  Review owned by Desert Rose Reviews.


  1. That cover is gorgeous! I love the colors an the way the two stars appear in the title. It sounds like the author created a group of very appealing characters for this novel (even if the world building could have been a a bit more detailed). Great review! Happy Holidays!

    1. I totally agree, I love the cover!! It's so striking, and was honestly what compelled me to read it in the first place! With a cover THAT cool, the story must be interesting :) And it was! :D

      Thanks Lexa,
      Happy Holidays to you as well! :)

  2. Thanks so much for the great blog post and review of Double Star! And yes, all of your questions will be answered in Book II!! Happy holidays and again, many thanks!

    Cindy Saunders

    1. Thank you so much Cindy! I can't wait for book 2- the ending in book 1 had me totally hooked! :)

      You're very welcome for the post and review- I love this book, and am happy to share it :)

      Happy Holidays to you as well! :D


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