The Stargazer’s Embassy by Eleanor Lerman- REVIEW ***A Must Read!!

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of The Stargazer’s Embassy by Eleanor Lerman from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Stargazer’s Embassy is unlike any alien novel written before. Thought provoking and addictive, this is a must read and should be on everyone’s e-reader and book shelf. Judging by the title, what appears to be a quirky cosmic sci-fi novel is actually a rich metaphysical novel that ponders some important existential questions. What really happens after death? What are aliens’ intentions? Can we ever truly escape our past?

The story follows a woman named Julia who finds herself part of an alien conspiracy and wants no part of it. She’s a house-cleaner who is trying to move on from her new-agey childhood and mommy issues. All she has is a tattoo, and a place called The Stargazer’s Embassy, where people come and go, like life itself. We find her at various points in her life struggling with this issue, and trying to make a life for herself. Along the way we are introduced to some interesting characters who find themselves implicated in the very same alien problems she’s trying to escape from.

Julia’s defiance of involving herself in this haunting issue is what makes this a stand out novel. We don’t see Julia enthusiastically throwing herself into the unknown. We see a truly scared, annoyed, and assertive character who becomes the anti-hero. There is a will she or won’t she anticipation that hooks the reader and offers a certain emotional and psychological realism. There are plenty of alien encounters in the novel to satisfy traditional science fiction lovers, but it takes it a step further by offering a multitude of spiritual questions. It is because of this, that The Stargazer’s Embassy becomes an exploration of the meaning of life.

Suffering from emotional abandonment issues, the aliens become a metaphor for Julia’s strange childhood. In essence, she herself is an alien- trying to create a life for herself that she’s never known. Losing her mother with many unanswered questions, Julia hopes her encounters with the aliens, or “things” as she likes to call them, will provide her with the answers she needs. The aliens themselves are not exactly sure what they’re looking for and this in turn becomes a mirror for Julia and other “experiencers” encounters. If we all had the chance to travel throughout the cosmos like the aliens- would any of our questions be answered, or would we be even more confused? Julia spends most of her life searching for answers, but it is the very place she is running away from that provides her with the comfort she seeks- The Stargazer’s Embassy. The aliens have just as many questions as Julia and her friends do, but appreciating life for the journey it is, is all that counts in the end. Everything has a beginning and an end, so rather than spend lifetimes dissecting what it all means, it is important to treasure every waking moment, because it is those moments that stitch the fabric of our lives. There are two things we must do in our lifetime, be born and die. Everything in between is alien compared to the certainty of those two things.

I appreciated the humour associated with the aliens and their un-friendly demeanors. Once again they did not come across as stereotypical menacing superior beings, but relatable drifters who seemed genuinely lost. The story was perfectly paced and the first person narrative was a great way to keep the reader invested in Julia’s journey.

In essence, each of us have our own Stargazer’s Embassy- a place, either imagined or real where we are able to go to find comfort and peace- knowing that the answers we seek, are in fact seeking us. The Stargazer’s Embassy is a place where people- human and inhuman come and go, like life itself.

*A big thank you to Sarah Miniaci at Smith Publicity Inc. for being kind enough to send me a paperback copy to review. You’re friendly correspondence and enthusiasm for this book has me looking forward to reviewing other Smith Publicity Inc. books!

Crazy Little Spring Called Love- REVIEW

This anthology contained eight short stories centered around spring time love. Each story was whimsical, quirky, and romantic. Some stories were weaker than others, and some were highly developed enough to become their own stand alone books. Spring time is always a time of magic as flora bloom and fauna procreate. This served as the backdrop for all of the short stories. Whether it was a pagan love story, or a mermaid tale, or Greek gods falling in love- spring romance was definitely in the air. I appreciate Seton Hill University for helping to put this anthology together which featured some great writers and helped to showcase their emerging talents. As a lover of fantasy fiction, this book was a light and easy read that satisfied my mystical book thirst. This is the perfect book to enjoy on a lovely Spring day in the garden amongst the flowers and bees. There was just enough romance to satisfy romantic novel lovers and plenty of magic for fantasy connoisseurs. The stories were not too long and not too short and had many cliffhangers which I hope means a second volume is in the works! The season of Spring always serves as a reminder that anything is possible…….especially when love and magic are involved!

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle- REVIEW

The Goblins of Bellwater was one of the most unique stories I have ever read. I applaud the author for choosing to write a book about a supernatural creature that does not get featured in literature very much. The storyline was captivating and kept me hooked from the beginning until the end. Its dark magic crept into each of the characters lives, making this an eerie tale of forest fae, temptations, and sacrifice. There was a certain realism to the story and characters that makes me wonder if there aren’t goblins hiding in every forest around the world? I loved how the it took place in Washington state which is a lovely break from the traditional supernatural locations of London and New York. There was enough romance to satisfy supernatural romance lovers and enough of a background story of who the goblins were that mythology readers would appreciate. Incorporating other mystical creatures aside from the Goblins was a lovely added touch- along with the nod to environmental protectionism. There are times when the story becomes a little vulgar which is needed in order to demonstrate the effects of the Goblin magic, but it seemed a little predictable and I would have liked to have seen a darker effect on the humans as opposed to eroticism. Overall this book was original, uncomfortable, and addictive. I know that fans of the supernatural and fantasy genres will adore it and it will perhaps start a goblin trend in other books to come. I do hope there is a sequel and for some reason I can’t help but think that Bellwater is not quite done with the Goblins.

All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco- REVIEW

This book captured me from the very first sentence. As an Astrologer myself, I applaud Ms. di Marco for coming up with the ingenious idea of an astrologer who uses the stars as clues for solving mysteries. The story was fast paced and kept me guessing who the murderer was throughout the book and left enough red herrings to make me invested in solving the crime. I would have loved this book even more, if more Astrology was incorporated into the story, because as at times it felt as if the stars and planets were an afterthought because there was not enough focus on the main character being an Astrologer. The murder plot was predictable and I just wish there was a bad planetary alignment or challenging natal chart that was to blame instead. Due to the rapidity of the storyline and all the twists and turns, I am excited to read more books in this series, and I hope Connie di Marco infuses her storylines with even more Astrology as I felt she was holding back in incorporating more cosmic clues.