Genre: Space Opera

Blog Book Tour | A listener’s spin on #podcast review of Xela Culletto’s “Understanding the Stars” (#SFF)

Posted Saturday, 10 June, 2017 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

A unique kettle of fish erupted into my audiobook listening adventures – wherein, I could not listen to ‘Understanding the Stars’ – mind you, I tried every which way to Sunday to get the book to play except to say, I was left with a lot of dead air. The lovely narrator I had heard via the sampler was remiss and I was left wondering what the book would reveal to me, as this was one book I was looking forward to listening to see how the author would shape the story around the aliens.

I was short on time to resolve this – as I’ve tweeted recently, this Spring has been ‘a beast!’ for allergies this Season. I haven’t been able to shake the reactions since wayy back in March or end of February; honestly, I don’t even remember when it all began; each week blends into a new one and I still have extreme allergies assaulting me! I dream of RAIN. I pray for a DOWNPOUR. Summer could not start soon enough for me this year in other words! I sort of lost track of where I was with my blog’s schedule as when your feeling more blue than sunshiny, who keeps up with their calendar? Ergo, I caught sight of one blunder a bit too late to make amends – my copy of ‘Understanding the Stars’ is unplayable – and before you say “ask for Help”, been there & done that. Apparently it’s a quirk or a tech issue that has no textbook solution. Aye.

Oy vie. Never one to give up without a bit of ingenuity – my rabbit out of the hat idea was to merge my love of listening to @AudioShelfMe with my second stop on the ‘Understanding the Stars’ tour seemed to be the best route to go! I had discovered this lovely podcast duo (Brad & Britney) courtesy of Jess @ the Audiobookworm who was tagging a heap of us to introduce us to the Audiobook Month (JUNE) Listening Challenge – where we can all play #AudioBingo, meet new bookish friends who love audiobooks as much as we do and get a bit of fun out of our listening endeavours whilst we try to score ‘points’ for securing titles on the board!

I will be revealling which audiobooks I am thinking of listening to for the challenges when I start to reveal the #20BooksOfSummer I have chosen to focus on for another Summer Reading Challenge! Those two posts will run next week – as I am getting a bit of a late start but look forward to seeing where my mad dash of listening and reading shall take me!

Now then, without further adieu, here are my notes whilst listening to Brad and Britney hash out their recap of ‘Understanding the Stars’.

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Understanding the Stars by Xela Culletto

Alexandra Blackwood is minding her own troubled life when she unknowingly gets caught up in an extraterrestrial conflict. Ronan, a human with his own alien-entangled past, has been keeping an eye on her and sets out to help her escape looming abduction, and maybe win her heart.

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The podcast started off with Brad impersonating alien-speech with a few seconds of alien music before the overlay of their theme and the introduction of how they hosted their first book tour. I agreed about the synopsis being a smidge short but enough to serve as a taste of what might be included in the story’s arc. Read More

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Posted Saturday, 10 June, 2017 by jorielov in Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Indie Author, Notes of a (Podcast) Listener, Science Fiction, Soft Science Fiction, Space Opera, Speculative Fiction

Author Q&A | Understanding the writing process of Xela Culletto author of “Understanding the Stars” (#SFF)

Posted Wednesday, 7 June, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Good morning, dear hearts!

As you might already realise – I have a wicked fascination with #SFF (Science Fiction & Fantasy) – throughout JUNE, I will be resuming my showcases on behalf of the Speculative realms, as I originally as dipping back into them last November before I alighted into the lovely anthology Gifts of the Magi just as the New Year began to dawn! (see also Review) Due to my readings of those lovely short stories, a few of the authors I had read then will be re-explored this month, as well!

I am also continuing my exploration of World Weaver Press whilst reading two more anthologies (Space Opera + Fantasy) as I move into two novels set around the Jin. I first came to appreciate the lore & legends of Jinni through Ms Wecker’s incredibly layered and intriguing debut novel! (see also Review) There is quite a bit in store this month here on #JLASblog – if you are as wicked happy about finding exciting new worlds to explore in the Speculative realms, stay attuned to my blog and my readerly tweets in the twitterverse! You will happily be discovering the authors who are charming me with their world-building and their fantastical imagination!

To kick off my #SpecFic showcases, I am sharing a conversation I had with a self-published author who similar to me has grown up with a deep appreciation for the realm. As you will see throughout our conversation, I unearth her writing process and what makes her passionate to tell the stories she is penning.

If this is your first visit to my blog, I have been enjoying listening to audiobooks for almost a year, whilst having the pleasure of interviewing the authors & narrators alike. Audiobooks are a gift of joy to me as they allow me to find a new way to connect to stories and to pick up an artistic habit of ‘colouring’ as I listen – the suspension of focusing on the story as I colour allows me to better understanding the content of the stories but also provides a way to decompress from the stress of a blogger’s life!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Understanding the Stars by Xela Culletto

Alexandra Blackwood is minding her own troubled life when she unknowingly gets caught up in an extraterrestrial conflict. Ronan, a human with his own alien-entangled past, has been keeping an eye on her and sets out to help her escape looming abduction, and maybe win her heart.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Being an avid science fiction reader, what drew your eye to lay down the foundation of an alternative alien space opera story-line? Wherein you centre your action on Earth rather than have the story transition from Earth to Space or even subspace environments?

Culletto responds: I wrote this story with the intention of having it be something that I personally would like to read. While I have read some hardcore sci-fi (Asimov, Sagan, etc.) I’m at a stage of life where I prefer lighter reading, which for me means not having massive amounts of new jargon or world-building–something that is easily accessible  and doesn’t require too much memory space in the reader’s brain. That being said, the sequel to “Understanding the Stars” is entitled “Following the Stars” (to be released 2018), so you can probably get an idea of where the plot will be headed next. Read More

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Posted Wednesday, 7 June, 2017 by jorielov in Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Indie Author, Science Fiction, Soft Science Fiction, Space Opera, Speculative Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Loudest Actions” (sequel to The Remnant in the Stars) by Cindy Koepp #IndieSciFi #RRSciFiMonth

Posted Friday, 18 November, 2016 by jorielov , , 5 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the “The Loudest Actions” an Indie Science Fiction release focusing on Space Opera. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media, seeking out new authors and stories within Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror wherein my readerly journey takes me inside novellas, short stories and full-length novels.

I was especially appreciative of Ms Koepp for understanding why I needed an ARC print copy to read due to my chronic migraines; truly blessed she understood and I had the opportunity to read this sequel. I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Loudest Actions” direct from the author Cindy Koepp in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why jorie loved the first novel of this series:

Any writer who can insert humourous nods of irony involving knitting and sewing get a full clap of wicked sweet joy from me! Being  a knitter, I especially loved the riddling but it was hope it was inserted at key moments of punch that delighted me the most! The humour is deliciously quirky and it was such a lovely backdrop to the action! Koepp has a natural capacity for etching in humanistic thematics focusing on family and the life of the stars in balance with one another – wherein you feel pulled into the emotional throes of her characters, even at first meeting! Her characters feel vibrantly real – sincerely honest and particularly human, even the ones who are most decidedly from another world!

Koepp bridges spoken speech and telepathic communication well – you are never guessing what is being exchanged or by which method either!  A true joy is watching how her characters interact and express emotion – as their emotion is nearly surmised by their body language and their choice of words, enveloping you in the urgency of the crisis they are facing. Koepp has developed this world quite well – as each character in turn wholly feels fully fleshed together with their individual quirks and trademarks of personality.

– quoted from my review of The Remnant in the Stars

I was thankful to be able to read books one and two in direct sequence on behalf of this lovely series – when I first joined the blog tour, I hadn’t realised they were part of a series, as I thought they were two independent stories without connective threads between them. Finding out there is a third novel coming next is quite exciting as I had a feeling ahead of reading The Loudest Actions, I would want this to keep moving forward!

The reason Sora left such a strong impression on me originally is because his spirituality and approach to life reminded me of the Japanese and the Vulcans; he approached his life with patience with a directed intent of being mindful of his actions, the consequences of his mistakes and the way in which he communicated. There are a lot of layers to this series, not just in finding a connection with characters, but with concepts and first contact meetings of other beings which bring to centre how enlightening it is to traverse outside one’s homeworld and discover who or whom is living amongst the stars.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Loudest Actions” (sequel to The Remnant in the Stars) by Cindy Koepp #IndieSciFi #RRSciFiMonthThe Loudest Actions
by Cindy Koepp
Source: Author via Tomorrow Comes Media

First contact missions are hard enough, but they get even tougher when the negotiator has an ego the size of a gas giant. Burke Zacharias, a first contact researcher, is chosen to spearhead humanity’s first official contact with Montans, an insect race that has already had a run-in with less friendly humans. Although his words and overtures toward the Montans are cordial enough, the Montans are put off by how he treats the crew of the scout ship that brought him to the world.

With other, less friendly forces trying to establish a foothold on the world, the negotiation must succeed in spite of Burke, or the Montans could be facing extinction.

Places to find the book:

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Also by this author: Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, Remnant in the Stars, Q&A Cindy Koepp

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Science Fiction, Space Opera


Published by Under the Moon

on 27th August, 2016

Format: Spiral Bound ARC

Pages: 210

Published By: Under the Moon
Available Formats: Softcover and Ebook

Converse on Twitter: #IndieSciFi + #SpaceOpera

About Cindy Koepp

Cindy Koepp

Originally from Michigan, Cindy Koepp has a degree in Wildlife Sciences and teaching certification in Elementary Education from rival universities. After teaching for fourteen years, she pursued a master’s degree in Adult Learning with a specialization in Training and Performance Improvement. Cindy has five published science fiction and fantasy novels, a serial published online, short stories in five anthologies, and a few self-published teacher resource books. When she isn’t reading or writing, Cindy spends time whistling with a crazy African Grey. Cindy is currently working as an optician in Iowa and as an editor with PDMI Publishing and Barking Rain Press.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • SFN Bingo 2016
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Posted Friday, 18 November, 2016 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Hard Science Fiction, PTSD, Science Fiction, Space Opera, Tomorrow Comes Media