An Island in the Stars (CrabbyPatty’s review)

Title: An Island in the Stars
Author: Susan Laine
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 12, 2017
Genre(s): New Adult, Science Fiction
Page Count: 210
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Blurb:

Sam, a geeky college freshman, has bigger problems than lusting after Marcus, sexy jock, college junior, and his big brother’s best friend. Chasing after a beanie caught in the winter wind turns into a tumble down the rabbit hole for them both—science fiction style.

Sam and Marcus find themselves trapped on a tropical island in the middle of a strange ocean on an alien moon. The sole structure is a ruined temple devoted to the art of love. Flustered, confused, and unable to return home, they need to figure out a means of escape from a hostile jungle teeming with dangerous life-forms.

In this tale where opposites attract and secret crushes are revealed, two very dissimilar young men discover they actually have a lot in common after all, but it will take their differences as much as their points of connection to survive on an island in the stars.


Chasing a beanie caught on the winter wind, Sam and Marcus literally tumble into an alternate universe – an alien exomoon with strange and deadly creatures and a mysterious structure with “stone walls full of intricately carved reliefs” that are extremely erotic and very detailed. The two young men (17 and 20 years old, respectively) must work together to find a way home.

Laine does a great job of world building and provides a lot of fairly detailed scientific information about everything under the (alien) sun – the effects of low gravity, botany, geology, architecture, ancient cultures, how to identify poisonous berries, plants with bioelectric properties, i.e.:

“That’s weird.” Sam frowned, perplexed. “I mean, photons are the quantum particles of light and other electromagnetic energies but… they have no electrical charge themselves. Hmm, maybe the light emitted by this animal’s tail is a… a byproduct of whatever bioelectric or chemical process creates the charge?”

Unexpectedly, all the scientific details ended up being my favorite aspect of the book. Although Marcus is Simon’s (Sam’s older brother) best friend, it seems the two know next to nothing about each other; yet the romance between Sam and Marcus goes from zero to insta-love in Mach 1 with Marcus annoyingly calling Sam “bae” or “chipmunk” far too many times. We get both POVs throughout, but Sam’s internal dialogue at times was offputting to me …

Spoiler
For example, “Sam wasn’t aware what, if anything, Marcus thought about guns. But he’d never seemed like a sociopath, or even a hunting enthusiast.” or “Could K-pop and J-pop make Marcus gay? No, that was preposterous. Unless… he’d been gay all this time. No. Impossible.” Sam also randomly ponders “Diversity of sexual orientations was one of his interests, not because he was gay but because some straights preferred to pretend nothing else existed beyond their narrow view of sexuality. The world needed to learn in order to be more understanding and accepting. Not quite a social crusade, but important to Sam nonetheless.” – right before their dash to the portal and possibly a return to their own world.
Asides like this distracted from the narrative flow and slowed down the pace of the story, in my opinion. I would give 4+ stars for the world-building in An Island in the Stars but the insta-love romance was less well-structured, and I give the book 3 stars.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of An Island in the Stars provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.

Author

Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas

I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend.

My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh … not in my wheelhouse, but I’m a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre.

Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more.

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