SciFi Book Review: Stone in the Sky

Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci

Years ago, Tula Bane was beaten and left for dead on a remote space station far from Earth, her home planet. She started with nothing and had no one, but over time, she found a home, a family, and even love. When it’s discovered that the abandoned planet beneath the station is abundant with a rare and valuable resource, aliens from across the galaxy race over to strike it rich. With them comes trouble, like the man who nearly killed Tula years ago—the man she has dreamed of destroying ever since.

Tula has begun to thrive on her space station above the abandoned planet. But when an old flame crashes to the planet, everything begins to change. And an interesting love triangle emerges. And when Brother Blue returns, she must weigh her hate against what’s best for humanity.

Stone in the Sky is the sequel to Tin Star, one of my favorite, original science fiction novels last year. Instead of being stuck on the station, this time Tula get an adventure through space that leads her back home. Not only is this an exciting story with plenty of intrigue and suspense, but it’s dramatic, heart-wrenching, with a bit of romance. And it makes readers think and remains engaging and captivating. This will be another favorite novel on this year’s list.

SciFi Book Review: Salt & Stone

Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

In FIRE & FLOOD, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and a terrifying march across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can’t stop – and in SALT & STONE, Tella will have to face the unseen dangers of the ocean, the breathless cold of a mountain, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone’s keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you’d relied on most suddenly isn’t there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the beginning of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the fourth and final part of the race, just forty-one are left . . . and only one can win.

Tella has made it halfway through the Brimstone Bleed, with only two more legs of the race to go. She has formed a team of trusted companions. But only one of them can win. And each of them wants to save their loved one from certain death.

Salt & Stone is the second installment in the Fire & Flood Series. As before, this dystopia is reminiscent of The Hunger Games, yet with a unique twist. And it’s a race, rather than battle to the death. Except for one scene that I wanted to skip altogether (animal-lovers beware.), that I do have to admit skimming through as the author has made these characters so vivid and innocent that it was easy to get emotionally involved. It’s heart-wrenching and dramatic. The story is fast-paced, thrilling and full of twists and surprises. The next in the series can’t come soon enough.

Fantasy Book Review: Ignite

Ignite by Sara B Larson

In the kingdom of Antion, peace has at long last been restored. Now that King Hector’s reign of terror is over, the newly crowned King Damian, along with his most trusted guard, Alexa, must focus on rebuilding Antion and reclaiming the hope of their people. But the wounds of the past are no as easily mended as Alexa and Damian had hoped. And to further complicate matters, Alexa still harbors a secret love for Damian, a love she refuses to acknowledge for the sake of Antion, and for the sake of the king himself.

When new threats to the kingdom surface–including an assassination attempt on Damian–blame is cast on the once-friendly nation of Blevon. Alexa knows things are not what they seem, however, and once again the fate of her country hangs in the balance. Will Alexa be able to protect her king and find the true enemy before it’s too late?

Alexa has tried to put her feelings for King Damian to the side as she protects him from bodily harm. However, a beautiful and mysterious noble woman arrives with a hidden agenda. And Alexa is afraid not only that she may be a danger to Damian, but that she may win his heart as well. Meanwhile, Blevon is obviously being framed for attacks against the king and kingdom. But the big mystery is who is behind the attacks and why.

Ignite is the second installment in the Defy Series. There is a decidedly different feel to this novel; yet it’s no less captivating. With a suspenseful and intriguing plot, with plenty of drama, adventure, magic, and romance – this sequel does not disappoint. This YA Fantasy is one I highly recommend.

SciFi Book Review: The Incredible Space Raiders from Space!

The Incredible Space Raiders from Space! by Wesley King

When Jonah wakes up on the Fantastic Flying Squirrel, he’s a bit confused. One second he is in his family’s living room doing his homework, and the next he’s sitting on a very cold floor on a very cold ship with a very strange-looking girl staring at him. Her name is Willona the Awesome, and she’s here to welcome him to The Incredible Space Raiders.

Now that Jonah is on board, the Incredible Space Raiders can set off on an important mission: to venture into the Dark Zone and save the universe from the Entirely Evil Things. But when Space Raiders start to disappear, Jonah realizes that if he’s going to make it to the Dark Zone alive, he’s going to have to step up and figure out what’s going on.

Jonah arrives on a spaceship on a strange mission in a dangerous place. There are strict rules in place that seem to keep peace, yet kids keep disappearing. And the longer Jonah is there, the more secrets he learns.

The Incredible Space Raiders from Space! is a fast-paced, easy read with a quirky plot. There is plenty of suspense and adventure for young, science fiction fans. Jonah’s bravery leads his colleagues to an exciting and dramatic finale.

Fantasy Book Review: Dearest

Dearest by Alethea Kontis

Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday’s palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he’s her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday’s unique magic somehow break the spell?

Friday is a sweet, caring, and humble young woman who cares for children. When she meets a group of cursed brothers and their mute sister, Friday jumps at the chance to help them. But the evil man and female sorceress who cursed them has come for them, speeding up their time table and only chance to save them.

Dearest is the third installment in the Woodcutter Sisters series. As before, the story weaves familiar fairy tales in an inspired and unique way. And even though this is a part of a series, each of these books can be read as standalone. Yet it’s helpful to know some of the minor characters, such as Friday’s family. Full of mystery, magic, and romance – this series is always captivating. And despite a case of insta-love, this story is enchanting and completely enjoyable.

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