Imagine you are in space in charge of a small crew about to be laid off when you discover a huge luxury space liner that has been lost for years. Suddenly, you are a treasure hunter looking at one heck of a cushy retirement. Things are looking up until you go aboard. Titanic meets The Haunting of Hill House meets one really bad hallucinogenic trip. Claire barely escapes only to find herself suspected of killing her entire crew. To prove that she is not a killer (she hopes), that the ghosts on board the ship are real and that there might still be survivors she goes back to the carnage. Top marks to this sci-fi horror tale that keeps you guessing and questioning Claire's sanity right up to the last page. Is she a killer? Is she hallucinating? What really happened on board The Aurora? Can she make back out of there alive a second time? Fans of classic haunted house stories as well as sci-fi space drama will find much to love here!
A blending of the world of the Nutcracker Ballet and Victorian England's debutante society. Marietta wants to become a ballerina not be married off to the sinister Herr Drosselmeier like a prized filly. She finds herself trapped in the magical world of Everwood within Drosselmeier's Nutcracker stage. There she becomes the evil king's plaything forced to dance for hours and then imprisoned with two other young women. A revolution is in the works and it will take all their magic as well as the help of a handsome Captain to free Marietta and the others. This is also a tale of women standing up against tyrannical men who hold their future in their hands. For fans of those other worlds filled with magic like Caraval, Night Circus and Narnia. 3 1/2 stars
A teen boy and his dad disappear from a camping trip where only the dad returns raving about aliens.
Years pass and the wound hasn't healed especially since their dad died searching for the missing Jakob and mom has dementia needing constant care. Suddenly Jakob is back home on a mission to save his space fleet from obliteration but only his little sister believes him. This is more of a family/sibling drama than science fiction as very little time is devoted to the space war or his life off Earth. I could imagine the pain from losing their dad and the older sister's sense of being the only adult in the room trying to take care of their mom on her own but I really never felt any warmth towards Jakob. 3 1/2 stars
Just like the galaxies that are searched for future generations and the discovery of a mummified girl that unleashes a horrific plague the connective tissue between these stories is vast and infinite. A scientist continues his daughter's work after she dies discovering a mummy so that he can understand her better, the people who work to help grief stricken parents or give a child a last happy day, the humanity found in a talking pig , and the space ship that will travel to far reaching galaxies in search of a second Earth as well as insight into how it all began are explored in this stunning fantasy debut. Each story is introspective and intimate taking us through desperate times to uncover the love and hope beneath. This one will leave you looking to the stars with tears in your eyes hoping for a better future. Although it is futuristic, readers who normally do not read science fiction will appreciate the deep characters.
4 1/2 stars
A debut that mixes a lush blend of Chinese mythology and magic with the warfare and court politics of Mulan, She Who Became the Sun and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Xingyin's mother is the banished Goddess of the Moon forbidden to join the mortal world and she must keep Xingyin's existence a secret. Once Xingyin's magical powers make themselves known she flees going to the Celestial Kingdom and becoming a companion to the crown prince. Doing every activity the prince does has its advantages and soon her skills as an archer get her a coveted spot in the Emperor's army. Each battle they face dangerous mythical creatures and tougher foes. Knowing how to fight and survive is one thing but knowing who she can trust proves more difficult. The author presents a beautiful fantasy world complete with fantastic creatures and a full array of Chinese myths blended iwith a classic story of a rogue female warrior searching for identity and undoing the curse that broke her family apart. 4 stars
Three stories in different timelines that connect with common themes. The first takes place in an alternative "Free States" America in 1893. David is born into a wealthy family and his grandfather is trying to marry him off to an older gentleman but David is secretly in love with a less worthy man who might be a hustler. The second story is more familiar 1980's America caught in the HIV/AIDS crisis. The third story is the longest and takes place in the faraway future where a series of shattering viruses , climate change and living under a totalitarian government add up to less than a desirable vision of the future. Many of the same names are used in the three stories so it can be a bit confusing and I wanted to think of them as related to each other. The overwhelming themes that I took from this 700 page tome is the longing for love, loneliness, the need to pull away from meddling family and a connection to being of Hawaiian descent (although it is not a Hawaii we recognize). It was refreshing to think of relationships and marriage as between two people without caring if that was between a man/woman, man/man or woman/woman. The writing is emotional and deep and it will quietly pull you in. 3 1/2 stars
All mothers have a bad day but Frida had a really bad day when she left her baby home alone and got caught. Even after her realizing her mistake and vowing never to let it happen again, Harriet is taken away from her and placed with Frida's ex-husband. Frida is sent to the School For Good Mothers where she will, with the help of a robotic baby, learn to become a good mother and hopefully get Harriet back. This is a strange mix of brainwashing, mom prison and psychiatric unit where your brain waves and emotions are held against you. Even in this scary environment, Frida works diligently and bonds with her robot child. Will it be enough? This heartbreaking look at motherhood (especially a single mom) and how society judges and can punish for a single offense. It is a mix of futuristic sci-fi like programs and a deep dive into moms without instruction manuals and necessary skills with the threat of foster care hanging over them. It is emotional and jarring. 4 stars
Climate change has rendered the Earth spent in this near future apocalyptic saga. Major low lying cities are under water, deserts have become larger and more prevalent as well as animals adapting to the change, superstorms that last longer and are far more destructive as well as longer pockets of extreme temperature change. It is a nightmare out there. A wealthy Texan calls for action and invites a group of international powerhouses to his ranch for his solution. Each has an interesting role to play and all the characters represent a global and ethnic mix. I won't pretend that I understood all the technology or science behind the solutions (or the problems) but the general theme is that somebody has to do something and whatever that is it will save some countries and demolish others. Politics, violence and sneaky behavior all play a part. I did enjoy reading how they were using golden eagles to take out armed drones and other really interesting ideas (not sure how much the eagles enjoyed this activity). It is a long story that has all the shock and awe of a Robin Cook medical or Michael Crichton science thriller. The scariest part is that this near future could be here faster than we expect. 4 stars
After years of trying Tiny and her husband are having a baby and Tiny is not ready to give up her music career. Tiny knows this baby was conceived by her owl lover and is convinced that she is having an owl baby. Chouette is born early in trauma and is seen by doctors and others to be imperfect and in need care for her whole life. Tiny doesn't understand their confusion or her husband's desire to fix Chouette and make her less owl baby and more human baby. Mother and child bond by night hunting small critters and Chouette screeches and squawks like a bird as well as behaving raptor- like to those she feels threatened by. For every one of her father's crazy remedies, Tiny and Chouette fight back. This is one weird journey into motherhood and psychosis. It is also a testament to a mother's love above all else. Not for the squeamish this will appeal to other strange books of motherhood like SORROWLAND and NIGHTBITCH. 4 stars
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