Review: The Stellar Snow Job by Marie Howalt

A Starbucks cup with a London Fog latte rests on a black bookshelf next to a Kindle with The Stellar Snow Job on its screen.

Alexis: 

Happy National Book Lovers Day, everyone!

It’s no secret that I love books and that I’ve been getting more into sci-fi and space stories.

If you’re looking for a sci-fi novella set in space, I’ve got you covered.

The Stellar Snow Job follows Eddie, a pilot of her spaceship called the Colibri, and Richard, a private investigator, as they start a new job. It also follows Alannah, a travel writer. ⁣

⁣I loved the characters, and though the story had its darker moments, this is a fun, adventurous, and humorous story.

In between the POVs of Eddie, Richard, and Alannah, we also have snippets from Alannah’s travel writing. I loved these sections; I felt like they solidified the world even more and added commentary on humanity, a theme that was woven throughout the story. 

I was so impressed by the worldbuilding. In 158 pages, I felt like I knew the world better than some full-fledged novels I’ve read. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, especially Eddie, and there’s also queer rep and rep of an auditory processing disorder. ⁣

⁣Thank you so much to Marie Howalt for sending me an e-ARC in exchange for a review.

Look out for The Stellar Snow Job, out on August 27th 2022!

VERDICT: 5 ⭐s

Review: Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

Alexis:

I absolutely loved parts of this book, but other parts bored me.

The first fifty pages didn’t rope me in, but once Essie leaves the cold planet of Thanda, the story becomes much more interesting.

Essie’s character is by far the most interesting part of the story. She’s a strong but well-rounded character, and it’s rare to find a heroine who loves math, coding, puzzles, and mechanical engineering, not to mention cage fighting, in a book. Once we begin to know her character better, her motivations are clear, and her past is interesting. And I absolutely loved her misfit drones, especially Dimwit, a shining character on the page (despite being a drone!). 

I enjoyed how this was a retelling of Snow White. It was fun piecing together all of the sci-fi versions of the fairytale, but the fairytale pieces didn’t distract from the story, only added interesting twists. 

However, I wish the worldbuilding and imagery were more drawn-out. I initially liked Dane’s character, but it was like I could only glimpse him on the page. Even though he was basically in every scene, he started to feel like a background character.  Lewis did a great job describing Essie’s “stitching,” or coding, but when it came to images of the characters or the world, sometimes it fell flat.

That being said, I still enjoyed it overall! 

VERDICT: 🍎🍎🍎.5/5

TW: Kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder/death, war

Review: We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

“What if I don’t give a shit about the world?”

“I’d say that’s pretty fucking sad.”

“Why?”

“Because the world is so beautiful.”  

We are the Ants is a difficult book to explain and to “place”. This is technically “science fiction”, and I say technically because it blends reality and fantasy. I love that it defies genres! The reader is left to wonder what is real and what is not. I’d warn potential readers not to the read the book jacket copy, because I want them to enjoy the mystery and surprise.

Trigger warnings for self harm, sexual assault, and suicide. This is a BIG part of the book so please don’t read this if that’s something too close to home.

I felt such a connection to the characters, particularly the narrator and protagonist, Henry, a teenage boy who is faced with a big decision: should he save the world or allow it to be destroyed? When we meet him, he’s overcome with grief over losing his boyfriend.  I was so invested in his story as he comes to terms with his grief and mental instability and battles many forms of bullying and harassment. Henry’s grief and mental health manifests itself in a totally original way that I thought worked so well.

This is also just “angsty” enough to be believable but not shallow or stereotypical in any way, a problem I sometimes have “drama” in YA. We are the Ants depicts horrific reality of mental health. This book doesn’t shy away from critically examining the demands our society has on teenagers. The amazing part is that Hutchinson explores all these themes through the unique lens of alien abduction and the impending apocalypse.

We are the Ants is one of the best YA novels I’ve read in awhile! I highly recommend it!

VERDICT: 5 books!