Vacui Magia: Stories by L.S. Johnson

Vacui Magia: Stories by L.S. Johnson
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary, Historical
Length: Full Length (220 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

L.S. Johnson delivers a provocative and original short story collection that ingeniously blends myth and nightmare. Whether it concerns the efforts of an infertile witch to construct a golem-baby, or a daughter’s quest to understand a father’s guilt and a mother’s supernatural infidelities, or a woman’s violent association with a group of possibly imaginary but nonetheless dangerous little men, each story in this remarkable collection demonstrates the limitless capacity of intelligent speculative fiction to enthrall, inspire, and amaze.

Sometimes there are excellent reasons to be afraid.

The main character in “Little Men with Knives” was a poor, lonely woman who felt trapped by her depressing job and run-down home. The one bright spot in her life was her strange relationship with the little creatures who lived on her property and did favours for her in exchange for home cooked meals. What I liked most about the plot development was how quickly the narrator showed the audience what the major conflicts were in her life. That made it interesting to see how she responded when her life grew even grimmer than it had been before. She was someone that I desperately wanted to see catch a break in life, so I was eager to see how it all ended.

There were some stories in this collection that I found confusing. For example, it took me quite a while to figure out what was happening in “The Pursuit of the Whole Is Called Love.” The narrator spent so little time explaining why they were wandering the streets with their partner that I struggled to stay interested in what they were searching for. I can’t say much about what those motives were without giving away spoilers because of how important that big reveal was for the last few scenes, but I would have really liked to have more clues about who these characters were and what they were doing earlier on.

“Clotho” intrigued me from the beginning. The storyline follows a young girl who lives an extremely isolated life with her mother and grandmother. Every day is exactly the same as the one before it from the foggy weather to the style and color of clothing that she wears. While I guessed what the twist might be before the main character did, seeing if I was right was so fascinating that I didn’t mind having the answer a little early. There were so many other unusual things going on in her life that I was just as interested in the ending as I would have been if it had been a surprise.

I’d recommend Vacui Magia: Stories to anyone who enjoys dark and unique science fiction.

C is for Chimera by Rhonda Parrish, editor

C is for Chimera by Rhonda Parrish, editor
Publisher: Poise and Pen Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (259 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

This installment of Rhonda Parrish’s alphabet anthology series asks skilled storytellers to write around the theme of chimera. The resulting tales are part fable, part poem, part dream. But like any chimera, the parts make up a greater whole.

Blend reality with fantasy. Mesh science fiction with mystery. Mix history with what should have been. They are all chimera.

A shadow tells a tale of schoolyard bullies. A long-vanished monster returns from the cold dark. Make-up makes up a life. Alchemy, Atlantis, and apocalypse. These 26 tales bring both chaos and closure to dark and elusively fantastic geographies.

Contributing authors include:

~ Alexandra Seidel ~ KV Taylor ~ Marge Simon ~ Pete Aldin ~ Michael M. Jones ~ Simon Kewin ~ BD Wilson ~ Gabrielle Harbowy ~ Sara Cleto ~ Megan Engelhardt ~ Michael Fosburg ~ Megan Arkenberg ~ Lilah Wild ~ Laura VanArendonk Baugh ~ Milo James Fowler ~ Brittany Warman ~ Michael B. Tager ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Beth Cato ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Sammantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ Steve Bornstein ~ Suzanne van Rooyen ~ Michael Kellar ~ Jonathan C. Parrish ~ Amanda C. Davis ~

These chimeras came in every shape and size I could imagine and even a few I never would have dreamed of.

The main character in Michael M. Jones’ “E” was a spirit who was trapped in a high school after losing her own body. At first she spent her time shadowing the students there, but she soon found herself drawn to a lonely girl named Madeline. There weren’t many clues about what was going on, but the ones that were provided were irresistibly fascinating. I also loved how clearly the spirit’s personality was described. Even though I had no idea what she looked like, I could still picture her in my mind because of how much I knew about her habits, interests, and flaws. While I would have loved to know what happened after the final scene, this did work really well as a short story.

What originally attracted me to this collection was the thought of reading so many tales about chimeras. I was curious to see how twenty-six different writers would approach the same idea, and in many cases their twists on the topic were incredibly creative and memorable. With that being said, this anthology was uneven in places. Milo James Fowler’s “O” was one of the stories that could have used more polishing. The plot showed what happened when the surrounding community discovered what Dr. Horstmann had been experimenting with in his spare time. While I was intrigued by the premise, everything happened so quickly that I had trouble figuring out what it was the doctor had been doing or why the people who lived nearby were so alarmed by his work. There simply wasn’t enough time to explore the storyline the way it needed to be explored.

Megan Arkenberg’s “L” grabbed my attention when the narrator confessed to murder before the end of the first sentence. Immediately I wanted to know more about who the main character was and why she’d killed someone. It was the last thing I would have expected to encounter in a quiet, rural, nineteenth-century setting. Figuring out what was happening only made me curious to learn more, although I can’t say anything else about the plot without giving away spoilers. Like “E,” this could have easily been expanded into something full length. The fact that I’m so eager to know what happened next for both of them is a sign of how well written they were.

I’d recommend C is for Chimera to anyone who enjoys smart science fiction anthologies.

Jacie and the Alien Bodyguard by Jessica Coulter Smith

Jacie and the Alien Bodyguard by Jessica Coulter Smith
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (92 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Stupid. Careless. Jacie has called herself ten times a fool for falling for Myro’s charms. Now she’s pregnant and alone, and she’s been sent to a world unlike her own.
When Barimere, a tall, sexy hunk of alien male, meets her at the shuttle station on his world, Jacie feels the stirrings of desire — even though that’s what got her into this mess in the first place. But there’s something about Barimere that’s different, and she doesn’t mean the scars on his face.

Barimere agrees to guard Jacie from unwanted attention and possible abduction. But one look at her and her demented fur ball pet, and he wonders if he’s insane to accept the mission. He knows a woman like her would never look twice at a scarred male like him, but that doesn’t stop his body from instantly reacting to her beauty and charm.

A pregnancy that is more than what it seems, and a woman determined to find love on an alien world is more adventure than the taciturn warrior has bargained for. Barimere is all for Jacie finding a mate and getting herself out from under his nose. Except for some odd reason he’d like to tear apart any male who looks her way, and beat the living hell out of anyone who tries to hurt her.

An alien warrior intent on fighting his attraction. A human female determined to bring him to his knees. What could possibly go wrong?

I enjoyed this story. It was short but sweet, and grabbed my attention from the first page until the last one.

Jacie Montgomery uprooted her life and followed a faithless alien lover to his home planet. Once there, the intrepid pregnant human learns that her situation is far from simple. She realizes that the relationship wasn’t special at all since her lover had already taken another mate and Jacie will be expected to choose another mate and remain on the planet with her hybrid child. Luckily, she didn’t have to wait too long since she falls for her bodyguard at first sight. The only problem is that Barimere had a lot of scars that weren’t entirely on the outside. Jacie had her work cut out for her to convince Barimere that they were perfect for each other. Then there was the fact that something was off about her alien pregnancy.

So, let me tell you about the incredibly engaging main couple. Jacie was sweet and forthright. She could’ve whined about her circumstances, however that never happened. She simply picked herself up and moved on, even when family tragedy struck. I liked her a lot.

Now, Barimere had some issues that had to be dealt with before they could be together. He was scarred and had some self esteem problems, but his greatest motivation was that he felt Jacie deserved someone better. He was a very stubborn alien. That seemed to be the most conflict of the story and in the end it was the very thing that gave the final push. I loved that Barimere was so concerned and kind about Jacie and her babies’ well being. At heart this was a story about two people who pretty much fall for each other instantly and were able to see past the imperfections of life.

I don’t read many fantasy stories, but with that being said, I am really enjoying this series. I like the way the author writes. I’ve only read two of her books so far, with both of those being in the Intergalactic Brides series, but I felt they read well as stand alone stories. The creative world building is intriguing and easily pulled me into this story. This book was fast paced, generously detailed and very interesting. It was written exactly the way I like to read ; where it’s mostly about the storytelling part with a few sexy love scenes to heat things up.

I’m sure to be reading more books from this author.

Snowed In, a F/F Anthology by Aiden McKenna, Cassandra McMurphy, Shira Glassman, Jessica Payseur, and Sheri Velarde

Snowed In, a F/F Anthology by Aiden McKenna, Cassandra McMurphy, Shira Glassman, Jessica Payseur, and Sheri Velarde
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Historical
Length: Short Story (109 pages)
Other: F/F, Toys, mild BDSM
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Snowed In is a blend of frost, snow, and wintery lesbian romances from five Torquere Press authors.

A snowed-in band mom falls for a music teacher in Fearless by Shira Glassman. In To Melt a Frozen Heart, Heather finds herself stranded in a blizzard, by Sheri Velarde. Jessica Payseur delivers an icy little fantasy in Frost and Ice. Because of a snowstorm, Rebekah’s not so lonely when Lily can’t make it home in At the Bottom of the Mountain by Aiden McKenna. In Cold Chemistry by Cassandra McMurphy, Alyssa doesn’t want to want Jayne, but she can’t seem to help herself.

Sometimes all you need to feel sexy is a little snow and ice.

The chemistry between Lana and her daughter’s music teacher, Melanie, was strong in “Fearless.” I really enjoyed watching it slowly heat up as they got to know each other better at the competition they were chaperoning. They were so compatible that I couldn’t wait for them to realize just how much they had in common and do something about their feelings. While I don’t know if Ms. Glassman is planning to write a sequel, there sure seems to be room for one here.

Heather’s chilly predicament in “To Melt a Frozen Heart” made me shiver in sympathy. Her relationship with Ana, the woman who took her in for the night, moved too fast for my tastes, but I can’t deny that there were sparks between them. Had their connection been given more time to develop, this would have been my favorite tale in the collection as the dialogue was handled well and the sex scene was pretty hot.

“Frost and Ice” started off with Isolde and Jaq using magic to battle over where the boundaries between their territories should be drawn. While I was fascinated by the idea of a magical duel, the transition from fighting to passion never quite made sense to me. I would have preferred to see more time spent showing why two people who seem to dislike each other as much as they do would want to end up in bed together.

What I liked the most about “At the Bottom of the Mountain” was how descriptive it was. Everything from the sound of wind rattling a padlock outdoors to the sight of the old, cozy farmhouse Rebekah lived in was described in great detail. I could picture everything that happened in great detail. It made me feel as though I was waiting out the snowstorm with the characters, and that’s exactly what I like finding in a story.

“Cold Chemistry” was deliciously flirtatious from the beginning. The playful dialogue brought many of Alyssa and Jayne’s hidden desires to the surface in ways that felt completely natural. It was fun to see them slowly grow closer to each other as their flirting gave way to more serious advances.

Snowed In, a F/F Anthology should be read by anyone who needs an excuse to warm up.

Wind Chill by Patrick Rutigliano

Wind Chill by Patrick Rutigliano
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Holiday, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (100 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

What if you were held captive by your own family?

Emma Rawlins has spent the last year a prisoner. The months following her mother’s death dragged her father into a paranoid spiral of conspiracy theories and doomsday premonitions. Obsessing him, controlling him, they now whisper the end days are finally at hand.

And he doesn’t intend to face them alone.

Emma finds herself drugged and dragged to a secluded cabin, the last refuge from a society supposedly due to collapse. Their cabin a snowbound fortress, her every move controlled, but even that isn’t enough to weather the end of the world.

Everything she knows is out of reach, lost beyond a haze of white. There is no choice but to play her father’s game while she plans her escape.

But there is a force far colder than the freezing drifts. Ancient, ravenous, it knows no mercy. And it’s already had a taste…

It’s hard to reason with a kidnapper.

This was one of the most intense things I’ve read in a long time. I actually ended up devouring the whole thing in less than two days because of how eager I was to see what would happen next. The only thing scarier to me than being abducted would be if my abductor was someone I loved and trusted. Emma’s reaction to her new prison kept me perched on the edge of my seat from the first scene to the last one.

I would have liked to see more time spent developing the ending. The pacing in the beginning and the middle was excellent, but it suddenly sped up in the last few scenes. I went from breathlessly wondering what would happen next to feeling shocked that it was suddenly finished because of how quickly everything was paced. It would have been interesting to see how those scenes worked in a longer novella. There seemed to be enough material in the plot to warrant a longer storyline, and having that extra time would have made the end feel less abrupt to me.

Emma was so brave. I liked seeing how she reacted to her impossible circumstances, especially once she started to put the pieces together and figure out what was happening in her life. She was also such an easy main character to relate to because of how freely she shared her ideas with the audience.

Several other horror stories were included after Wind Chill ended. They surprised me because I didn’t realize this was an anthology when I originally requested it. It’s hard to say much else about this bonus content without giving away major spoilers due to how short each tale was. I definitely do suggest checking them out, though, as they were all well written and pretty scary.

Wind Chill made me shudder at the thought of being alone in a cabin in the woods in the middle of winter. I’d recommend it to anyone who has ever listened to the wind beat against their windows and shivered at the idea that there might be something other than a storm raging outside.

Immortal Desires by Cerise Laudine

Immortal Desires by Cerise Laudine
Well of Souls Book 1
Publisher: Misthaven Press
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Time Travel
Length: Full Length (216 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Dumped at the altar, Deanna Cameron seeks a fresh start in life. She gets more than she bargained for after accepting a new job, when an Immortal Guardian sends her five hundred years into the past. She can’t return home and a magnificent highland warrior accuses her of being a spy.

Ian Mackay knows the beautiful woman who appears in his castle must be a spy. After all, she’s a Cameron, a clan he despises. The powerful magic surrounding her obstructs his Druid senses, plus he finds he can’t stay away from the temptress. But loving Deanna could come with a price too high to pay. Will she be the downfall of his clan—or its salvation?

Is it truly better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?

I think it’s called the “butterfly affect” when one decision, a yes or a no, can change the course of history for better or for worse. No one knows with a 100% certainty what the ripple effects will be. This book, Ian and Deanna’s story, explores the “what if’s” and challenges the notion that changing the past is a detriment to the future.

Not to say that Deanna slipping into the past didn’t cause heartache that wasn’t there previously, it did and I have to wonder about the effects on one particular characters timeline, his ancestry, by her choices. So many paths, so many possibilities and it all goes back to free will of choice.

I love the idea of soul mates. Two souls that know each other at first sight, who gravitate to each other and if there was such a thing as recycling of souls, they find each other again and again. That’s the epitome of romantic.

Ian and Deanna are both well drawn out characters. Deanna was an interesting character in the present but I was very drawn to her, to see if she had the strength to make the hard choices, when Ian realizes who she is to him. The story moves quickly and covers a whole lot of space and time. I quickly became vested in knowing how the author would bring them together and allow them to remain together knowing that at some point Ian became an Immortal while Deanna was all too human.

The story moves back and forth from present day to the past but it’s clearly defined. I especially loved the places where Ian begins to have new memories of his past based on what happened once Deanna landed in 16th century Scotland. There were some humorous moments when he wants to kick his own (younger) tail for being so stubborn.

It all works out to a very satisfying HEA for Ian and Deanna but I still have so many questions. Especially about Robert and the mysterious Mylia. There’s a lot of highland mysticism in this book that I wasn’t familiar with as well as world building between the Guardians and the Conri. I don’t have those two factions figured out exactly so, I look forward to the next book to shed more light.

This is the first book in the Well of Souls series. It’s a good start and good hook without being a true cliffhanger. Readers who enjoy a good time travel romance with a touch of the highlands, should definitely give this one a try.

March Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Every Kingdom Divided by Stephen Kozeniewski

Every Kingdom Divided by Stephen Kozeniewski
Publisher: Mirror Matter Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (292 pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

2035 A.D. After the 2nd American Civil War Jack Pasternak, a laid-back California doctor, receives a garbled distress call from his fiancée in Maryland before her transmissions stop altogether. Unfortunately for Jack, citizens of the Blue States are no longer allowed to cross Red America. He is faced with an impossible choice: ignore his lover’s peril or risk his own life and sanity by venturing into the dark heart of The Red States. When the armies of the Mexican Reconquista come marching into Los Angeles, Jack’s hand is forced and he heads east in an old-fashioned gas guzzling car. Stephen Kozeniewski, writer of Braineater Jones, The Ghoul Archipelago and Billy and The Cloneasaurus, brings an epic future adventure.


Hazel and the Alien Biker by Jessica Coulter Smith

Hazel and the Alien Biker by Jessica Coulter Smith
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (112 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Kicked off his home world after losing his mate, Reyvor has made a place for himself on Earth, spending his afternoons drinking and his nights cruising the streets on his Harley. But all of that is about to change. A commotion outside of his motel room just may turn out to be his saving grace.

Hazel has lost everything, but she’d do it all again if it meant escaping the abusive boyfriend who liked to beat on her three girls and herself. Dumpster diving has never been her favorite thing to do, but she doesn’t have a penny to her name and her girls are starving. But when she’s caught, something miraculous happens.

Reyvor knows right away that the petite woman with the large blue eyes needs him. When he hears that this little ragtag family hasn’t eaten in days, he convinces Hazel to accept a warm meal and a place to stay for the night. The girls warm his heart and remind him of what he once wanted out of life. Is it too late to start over?

Hazel is hesitant to trust anyone again with her heart, but Reyvor is determined to make her his. What’s an alien to do when all he wants is a loving family to call his own? He’ll break down her defenses one by one, until she melts against him and begs for his kiss. But can he claim the feisty Hazel without completely losing his heart to her?

This was an interesting book that I enjoyed. Hazel and the Alien Biker is a light fantasy story. It’s a new genre to me and I liked it very much from beginning to end.

Reyvor was very kind to Hazel and her three girls. He took them in and offered security and it didn’t hurt that he and Hazel had such a strong connection. Reyvor was lonely but it wasn’t only that. Hazel and her girls gave him a family, which was something he had been missing and he genuinely cared for them. Hazel was a good person who had trusted in the wrong man and now she found it hard to trust anyone. She felt guilty that she couldn’t provide for her kids but she put her pride aside and let Reyvor help them. She tried to deny her feelings for him but Reyvor was so patient and caring that she had to finally gave in and considered a permanent relationship with the sexy purple alien.

This was a very sexy fantasy romance. The story was well developed and had an easy pace even though it spans a relatively short time. I liked the writing style. I loved the characters and was intrigued by the world. I will probably read more books in this series. So I do recommend this one to Sci-Fi and Fantasy readers.

Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast by Jonathan Winn

Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast by Jonathan Winn
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (148 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Eidolon Avenue: where the secretly guilty go to die.

One building. Five floors. Five doors per floor. Twenty-five nightmares feeding the hunger lurking between the bricks and waiting beneath the boards.

The First Feast. A retired Chinese assassin in apartment 1A fleeing from a lifetime of bloodshed. A tattooed man in 1B haunted by his most dangerous regret. A frat boy serial killer in 1C facing his past and an elderly married couple stumbling and wounded from fifty years of failed murder/suicide pacts in 1D. And, finally, a young girl in 1E whose quiet thoughts unleash unspeakable horror.

All thrown into their own private hell as every cruel choice, every deadly mistake, every drop of spilled blood is remembered, resurrected and relived to feed the ancient evil that lives on Eidolon Avenue.

You never really know what your neighbors might do when no one else is around.

The main character in “Apartment 1A – Lucky” was an old woman nicknamed Lucky who has carried a terrible secret for decades. It took me a while to get into this story because of how often the narrator jumped from her dark memories of the past to the quiet life she was leading in the present. These time periods were often so jumbled up in her mind that I wasn’t sure what was going on or how I should interpret certain scenes. I wanted to understand them much better than I did, but they were often so blended together that I couldn’t tell where the past ended and the present began. With that being said, her eerily calm descriptions of the things she’d seen and done made me shudder. They were a chilling introduction to the horrors hidden inside all of these apartments.

“Apt. 1B – Bullet” was about a drug addict who kept discovering strange things happening to his skin. Sometimes he’d find a brand new tattoo when his drugs wore off and he woke up. At other times one of his existing tattoos would grow larger or develop details that it had never had before. The fast pace worked well with the subject matter of this plot, especially during the last few scenes when there was a lot of information to take in. I also liked how much attention the author paid to small details as he described what the main character was experiencing.

What scared me the most about “Apt. 1C – Click” was how coldly Colton described the women he had picked up. It was like he was talking about buying a new lamp instead of getting to know a fellow human being. Sometimes the most frightening thing of all is someone who is this detached from life. I was fascinated by how vividly this part of his personality was shared with the audience. It was exactly what the storyline needed in order to be as creepy as possible.

Is there such a thing as loving someone too much? In “Apt. 1D – Anniversary,” Marta and Benji have been happily married for many years and never want to be separated. Their response to the possibility of one of them dying and leaving the other one behind was as disturbing as it was fascinating. There were a few problems with the logic of it all that I would have liked to see more attention paid to, but it was still intriguing to see how Benji and Marta planned to solved this problem.

There were parts of Umbra’s relationship with her grandmother in “Apt. 1E – Umbra” that never made sense to me. As a child Umbra was sent to live with her grandmother after a tragedy. Based on certain things the grandmother eventually mentioned, though, it seemed odd that the grandmother would have ever agreed to take the girl in. While I was definitely spooked by the main plot, I spent much more time questioning this part of the tale than I would have liked to. It would have been helpful to have a longer explanation of why the main character ended up living with her grandmother as that decision was so important to all of the scenes that came after it.

I’d recommend Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast to anyone who likes their horror gory and visceral.

Wandering Star by K.M. Penemue

Wandering Star by K.M. Penemue
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (123 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Zane and Sixia are Jacks, meaning they’ll take on almost any job, though most of their time is spent running cargo and hunting bounties across space.

While on Venus, they take on a job well outside the usual: deliver Isais, a slave, to his waiting master. The job comes with explicit instructions not to treat Isais like a person, but it’s not long before Zane finds himself enjoying Isais’s company more and more.

Adding to the stress is the fact that someone doesn’t want them completing the job and doesn’t mind leaving them dead if that’s what it takes. But if they somehow manage to make to the delivery point, Zane fears letting Isais go will prove infinitely harder than keeping everyone alive.

A supposedly easy paycheck is usually much harder to earn than you might think it would be.

The various alien creatures that were introduced in this tale were fascinating to me. One of the things I enjoy the most about the science fiction genre is how creative it can be when imagining what life on other planets might be like. This book was no exception to that rule. It was full of sentient beings that had completely different cultures and ways of thinking than could ever be found in the human race. These aliens genuinely felt like they’d come from a completely different world to me, and that made me like them even more than I would have otherwise.

There was a plot hole that was never explained. It had to do with Zane and Sixia’s behavior. Based on their backstories and what appeared to be good reputations with their clients, I would have expected both of them to diligently follow all of the instructions they were given about how to complete a mission. How they actually reacted completely threw me off guard. Their choices didn’t seem to fit what I knew about their personalities at all, so I was surprised to see how little attention the narrator paid to this part of the storyline.

What I liked the most about this book were all of the plot twists that were hidden in it. While I did see some of them coming ahead of time, one or two managed to sneak up on me. Not knowing they were on their way made it exciting to suddenly stumble across them. I don’t want to give away any spoilers about what they were about or when they happened, but I did enjoy how they were written. They worked well with the main plot line and were a lot of fun to read.

I’d recommend Wandering Star to anyone who likes adventures in outer space.