Friday, June 6, 2014

Book review: Stardust: A Futuristic Romance Collection

Stardust: A Futuristic Romance Collection

by Rene Folsom, Michael Loring, Bart Hopkins, M.L. Ryan, Katheryn Van Pelt, Magen McMinimy, Eaton Thomas Palmer, Stephanie Summers , Tara Moeller, Carrie Avery Moriarty
eBook, 315 pages
Published May 25th 2014 by Indie Style Press

Welcome to a world where space travel by the common man is as normal as getting on a plane, life has been discovered on other planets, humans travel light-years to find their soul mates, technology exists along the lines that we have only imagined, and a passport will take you anywhere. 

Stardust… where love has no boundaries and worlds are just waiting to be discovered. 

Ten different authors. Ten tales of fantastical love. Ten different ways to discover the stars.

Stardust is an anthology featuring ten unique and intriguing short stories with a sci-fi feel. Since I'm not a big sci-fi book fan, I wasn't sure whether or not I would like this book. I had nothing to worry about. "Alliance," a poem by Jace Brantson, is the perfect introduction to this collection. What a group of stories. Various subject matter, engaging characters, toe-curling romance and adventure are just some of the things found in this dazzling collection. Written by ten talented authors, Stardust has made me a fan of sci-fi stories. The tight editing, under the very capable and watchful eyes of editor Cynthia Shepp and Rene Folsom, made this a wonderful group of stories to read. I was deeply impressed with each and every short story. I can't recommend this enough!

Zero by Rene Folsom
What a fantastic way to begin an anthology. Folsom's story about two friends in love but grappling with their forbidden feelings while they await the countdown and subsequent decision of their individual Cardinems. Want swoon, passion and pure romance? CJ and Mason's story is gorgeous and sexy, posing tough questions about chosen soul mates when a person's heart has already found true love. An easy favorite. I must check out Rene's other works because this story made me swoon and also made me a fan.

ISSAC by Michael Loring
Can androids created to care for humans fall in love? Issac was made to be a companion to an ailing human, but he is rare, he has a conscience. Emotions, free will, and machines made to mimic people. This story poses some thought-provoking questions. Issac becomes a caretaker for Mrs. Nelson, a job he enjoys. When her condition worsens, Issac worries about losing her while facing the prospect of competition from another android assigned to the nice elderly lady. Humorous and poignant, ISSAC was a fun read.

World Wide Gone by Bart Hopkins
What does a society heavily dependent on the internet do when the world wide web disappears? The answer to this question is shocking for three friends. Simeon, his girlfriend, Karina, and his close friend and roomie, Messler, are forced to adjust when a dictatorial government takes down the internet and announces changes. Mr. Hopkins infuses humor while tackling an issue which touches close to home for many of today's people addicted to their phones, tablets, and computers. 

Life Companion by  M.L. Ryan
Emma Jamison has a problem. She isn't in love with her life companion, Cole. In her world, the Coronation company provides humans with their perfect mate. Their tests and research proves how effective their services are. But what about true love? Or love at first sight? Can the company, with its years of scientific study and analysis, know more about the affairs of the heart than a real human heart? Will Emma's heart stop jumping every time Dr. Landon Frank looks her way? Touching, insightful and whimsical, Life Companion had me giggling over their sexual fireworks and I really enjoyed the twist at the end.

Born Ready by Katheryn Van Pelt
Intergalatic travel, battles, prisoners escaping, and romance combine in this adventurous tale. I loved this story! Captain Dagon must decide what to do with his stowaway, Alex. He's the last of his Tiloian race and she is a human forced to endure labor camp life after Earth collapsed. For them, hard living just may give way to falling in love, that is if they survive. Alex is a wanted fugitive and Dagon likes to be his own man. Fun, dangerous, thrilling, Born Ready could easily be extended into a novel and I'd be the first to buy a copy. 

Show Me by Magen McMinimy
Oh, what can I say about this romantic, heart string tugging story about a human, Kayla, 19, sent home to Earth to take part in the planet's "Interspecies Relations"? Ever since the Gizilakus invaded and took over Earth, Kayla's family has lived on a ship, The Estonia. Jackal is the alien assigned to house and watch over Kayla until she is claimed. When fate intervenes, Jackal is forced to make a decision which will impact his life, Kayla's, and the other being who wants her. I also loved this story. The rich setting, easy to like characters, and a gripping conflict, I'd quickly read more about this world in a heartbeat.

New Eden by Eaton Thomas Palmer
Red is a logistics officer on an interstellar freighter. He repairs the ship which carries supplies into warring areas, only to return back to his home planet with the wounded. For his latest trip, he prepares to say goodbye to his wife, Leona. This happily married couple is ready to cement their love with a child, a process his wife will begin when he returns. Fate intervenes, forcing the couple to change plans. Just how strong is the bond of love? Can true love--that pure connection--remain steadfast across galaxies? Palmer has penned an intriguing story about soul mates and about futuristic changes, while addressing the question: is what's new always the way to go or can one simply return to the simplicity of the past? Another favorite. 

Love Forgotten by Stephanie Summers
What can a pack follower do when faced with the possibilities provided by another group? Lena Holden faces such a dilemma when she visits Zone 14, a planer inhabited by humans who don't utilize or care about anything contemporary like technology or modern ways of thinking. This trip changes her life, especially after she meets the attractive Callum Beckett. Compatibility, real love, chemistry, and true relationships are just some of the themes touched upon in this romantic and entertaining story. Can I say I was 'smitten?'

What Happens on Destiny 2 by Tara Moeller
Gretchen owns a cargo ship and helps out her mother by doing her a favor. Little does Gretchen know what Mom is going to do. Hint: it involves stopping at a coal mining planet as its workers get a few days break and a ship filled with women. Kyle is in charge of the workers and thinks his break will be quiet. Not so fast. When a past attraction falls into his present, Kyle has to act fast before she's gone, again. Can old loves be stirred up again? Just like Vegas, whatever goes on the Destiny 2 stays there, and there's a lot going on. A fun, whimsical read.

Brandy by Carrie Avery Moriarty
Brandy is a human who works at an alien bar. She has some close friends, but no family, and keeps to herself. An accidental meeting brings another human named Keon into her life. Through his smile and his attention to her, she sees over time with his every visit that she was missing some things in her life. Things like love and family. Stardust closes out with a melancholy tale, one filled with wonder and hope. and its conclusion open ended. I felt for Brandy and liked her journal entries.

Rating: 5 For the entire anthology
Cover comment:
Absolutely adore this cover (done by Rene Folsom of Phycel Designs). Outstanding!

Book source:
I received a promotional copy.

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