To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Copy of Science Fiction with pink background and oversized moon with reflection in water

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What an absolutely stunning, fabulous book!! To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a story filled with excitement, adventure, surprises, aliens, space ships, sassy AIs, great characters, and a load of other things!

It’s the year 2257, and Kira Navárez accidentally stumbles across an alien relic that turns her world upside down. A dust-like substance begins to crawl over her, and she cannot remove it. It encompasses her entirely, creating a suit (the “xeno”), but one that has a mind of its own, sharing Kira’s body as a host. Kira soon finds herself in a situation where she is racing against the clock, and an army of dangerous aliens to save humans and life as we know it.

So, that was a pretty short description of an 880-page book. But don’t let the length be a deterrent for you! This was an absolutely excellent book. Christopher Paolini created an amazing world with characters that you connect with, and a story that you can’t put down!

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Inside the Sun by Alexis Marie Chute

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Copy of Science Fiction with pink background and oversized moon with reflection in water

What I Loved:

This book was filled with exciting battles and struggles! It was definitely my favorite in the series and an excellent end to the family’s story!

How I Felt:

Our main character Ella is turning 15! Her birthday celebration involves continuing the family’s journey to find a cure for Ella’s cancer. This family is so amazing. The lengths that they go to to save young Ella are so moving. This final book in the series really speaks to the choices we all have to make in life. Will we be compassionate or unloving? Will we choose to embrace or exclude? Ella and her entire family battle these questions as they navigate the final steps of their journey!

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Below the Moon by Alexis Marie Chute

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Copy of Science Fiction with pink background and oversized moon with reflection in water

What I Loved:

I loved that this book did not let me down! I felt like it did a great job of staying true to the story, but introducing even crazier situations and exciting plots to keep me interested!

How I Felt:

Below the Moon picks up right where we ended Above the Stars. While it is the second book in the series, it could be read as a stand-alone, but I think the reader would take longer to understand the story and the world. I would recommend reading the first book in this series before reading Below the Moon.

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Above the Star by Alexis Marie Chute

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Copy of Science Fiction with pink background and oversized moon with reflection in water

What I Loved:

The utter craziness of this story was so intriguing! I think that sometimes, it’s just so fun to dive into a book that takes you into the oddest moments and quirkiest characters, and that’s exactly what I got with this story!

How I Felt:

Above the Star was seriously one of the wildest, craziest books I have read in a while. The world was very different, and it takes some getting used to, but I think if there are readers that are interested in immersing themselves in a totally new and different place, this would be a great series for them! I also liked that there is a glossary in the back of the book to help you figure out what’s happening. I thought it was a needed, and nice, addition!

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Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Copy of Science Fiction with pink background and oversized moon with reflection in water
Oona Out of Order Cover with girl's face and book title
White library with lots of stairs and "Contemporary" text

What I Loved:

I LOVED everything about this book! The time travel was fabulous, Oona was a wonderful character, and the story unfolded with surprises big and small.

My Synopsis:

It’s New Year’s Eve, and the Eve of Oona’s birthday. She is partying with her friends and boyfriend to count down to the new year (and turning 19). The clock strikes midnight, and she awakes…in a new house and a significantly older birthday.

This is the beginning of Oona’s new life. As she turns a year older, she bounces to a new year in her body, sometimes older, sometimes younger. There’s no explanation as to why, it’s just the life she must now live.

As Oona travels from year to year, she finds struggles in the knowledge of things to come, and the unknown of what happened in years she hasn’t lived. This story takes the reader on Oona’s life as she experiences her life, out of order.

How I Felt:

I love time travel. I talk about my love of it all the time, so sorry, but here’s another FABULOUS time travel book! Holy moly, I enjoyed this book! The time travel was such an interesting twist. She can’t control it, and it’s not a one-time jump. She jumps at each birthday into another year in her life.

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Virginia and the Vagabond by Skyler Frey

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Well, what a delightful book this was! I loved that this book had so many surprises. I literally had jaw-dropping moments multiple times in this book. Something completely unexpected would happen and I was just completely taken by surprise! I loved it!

My Synopsis:

We meet Virginia as she does her daily household duties for the Howards, a prestigious English family. Virginia, we soon find, has a secret! Two years ago, she stumbled across a time warp and landed in the past. She hasn’t figured out how to get home, so she has hung up her Metallica t-shirt and her dreams of owning an art gallery in exchange for the only work she can find, a lady’s maid.

She is about to give her notice to her employers when her lady shows her a photo of the gentleman caller for tonight’s dinner. Virginia cannot believe it. It is Eric Rylander, and Virginia knows him…from the future. Through an accidental comment, Eric realizes that Virginia is also from the future. A bond is immediately formed that leads to a steamy romance with one problem. Eric is all but engaged to Lady Lara Howard.

How I Felt:

Virginia and the Vagabond was more than just a romance. There are elements of a woman’s struggle for equality as well as touching on gender identity. I liked all the layers within the story that made it an engrossing read.

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Death Donor by Matt Ward

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

A kick-A** female lead will always get me excited about a book, and Death Donor absolutely had that!! Samantha Jones was this interesting, amazing woman.

How I Felt:

The story drops the reader into a world where humans donate their bodies to extend the life of others. It’s the ultimate rich versus poor view of the world. Only the wealthy can afford these procedures, while the poor exchange their lives for the payout to keep the rest of their family alive and fed.

Samantha Jones is a bodyguard for Ethan Anderson, one of the wealthiest men in the world, and an owner of one of the life-extension companies. Her job provides “death insurance” so she considers herself lucky.

Then her daughter goes missing. Ugh, this broke my heart! Sam and her husband search for their daughter and soon find out that she was sold on the black market to an underground lab for body parts to extend someone else’s life.

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The Companions by Katie M. Flynn

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. I liked the story that was being told and loved where I thought the book was going to go.

How I Felt:

Overall, I found this book to be a bit of a let-down. The story started strong, and I was really invested. It sort of stumbled and never found its footing again about 30-40% in.

A Companion is the mental awareness of a human that has been placed into a robotic casing. These casings range from low-end R2-D2-like robots all the way up to human-looking companions. People lease companions for friendship, to keep family members with them when they near death, and a variety of other reasons.

The number of characters was overwhelming. The beginning started with a companion, Lilac, and a young girl quarantined in a home. The companion is sharing her life’s story with the girl, and I was really interested in where the plot was headed. Then, we meet a young employee at a nursing home, then a young girl on the street, then an actor/companion, and the list just keeps going. It became a confusing list of characters that I couldn’t connect with and didn’t care about.

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood – Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The Testaments was everything I hoped it would be! I loved the three perspectives that this story was told through. It propelled the book forward and gave insight into different things that were happening. The three characters that were narrating had different experiences and thoughts, and I enjoyed all three.

How I Felt:

Hyped books come with a lot of expectation. I put off reading this one for quite a while. I was extremely worried I wouldn’t like it and would be utterly disappointed. The beginning of this book was a bit slow as the scene was set and characters were introduced. It picked up a few chapters in though, and didn’t slow back down at all!

The characters were surprising. I didn’t expect Aunt Lydia to make an appearance in this book, but I’m so glad she did. Her portions provided SO much backstory. She gave me all the answers to questions I had after reading The Handmaid’s Tale! She was rigid and strict, but she has another side that was surprising and extremely interesting.

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The Reckoning by D.M. Taylor – Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

D.M. Taylor’s The Reckoning created a mixture of science fiction and real-life feel that had me utterly captivated. The characters were well-built and easy to love. The story was a fabulous journey that so many readers will enjoy. Overall, I loved everything about this book!

How I Felt:

The characters Taylor created were so relatable. I connected to each sister in a different way. I loved that Taden was this super-smart woman who had cracked the code to time-travel, and yet she was vulnerable. She falls in love with the wrong men, she has a history that is filled with regret, and she feels the need to protect her sister, Ruth. Ruth’s story was incredibly interesting to me. She is a woman who was once lost but has found her way, only to have everything uprooted in a surprising turn of events. Her decisions throughout the story kept me captivated, and I enjoyed following her story.

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The Evergreen Life Experiment by Aviva Gat – Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

It is rare to read a book with main characters that are elderly. They are usually supporting characters, or older in the beginning, but most of their story is told through a flashback. The Evergreen Life Experiment was not that at all. It is a book filled with main characters that are all living in a retirement facility. They are all 75 years or older, and it is wonderful to see a focus on this generation!

How I Felt:

This story was so much fun! A group of live-in residents for an elderly community are given the opportunity to take a pill that will stop and possibly reduce the signs of aging. There are quite a few people that jump at the chance immediately, while others are skeptical and choose not to take it. As the results start to show on some of the characters, others want to join in and agree to take it as well. The Evergreen Life Experiment focuses on each character’s individual history and experiences leading up to and after taking this new trial drug.

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The world Ernest Cline has created is one that completely envelopes the reader and takes them into the story and into the game. I loved this world. I do play video games. I remember the Atari I couldn’t wait to turn on when I visited my aunt and uncle, and when I got my Nintendo, I was SO excited. So, even though I don’t play much anymore, it was so much fun to delve into this crazy virtual reality world that Cline built.

How I Felt:

I listened to Ready Player One and while I am sure that reading this book will elicit the same exciting response I had to this story, I would like to highly recommend the audio edition. The narrator was wonderful. If you do not like to pay for audio, I found it through Libby at my library!

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