Guest Review: An Island in the Stars by Susan Laine

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.

Guest Reviewer: R *A Reader Obsessed*

Having never read any of Laine’s works but seeing the love for her Before and After series, I thought I’d give this a try due to the lure of a little sci-fi plus a favorite trope (falling for your brother’s best friend). That’s a heady combo, and I really had high hopes for this, but there were several components that just didn’t quite gel.

So yes, exceptionally smart Sam has nurtured a crush on Marcus for what has seemed like forever. Seeing as how Marcus is straight and is his complete opposite, it’s futile to have such feelings. What Sam doesn’t realize of course, is that said feelings are mutual. When happenstance causes Marcus to help retrieve Sam’s lost hat from a deep dark hole, this good deed somehow puts them in a wondrous world full of potential danger. Hence, entering the foreign realm is a mysterious but easy feat. Exiting however, is going to take a helluva lot more than lucky circumstance to get them out of their unfortunate predicament. The wild, tropical, eerie island that Sam and Marcus find themselves on is mind boggling, more so since it’s completely abandoned by the intelligent beings that once inhabited it. Instead, it’s populated with unbelievable beasts, large and small, and has a hostile environment that is difficult to predict. Are they stuck forever or can they work together utilizing their individual strengths to get them back home before this alien world gets the best of them?

Admittedly, the premise here is intriguing, but right from the start, both Sam and Marcus’s personalities were just a tad off, as it seemed like they were trying too hard to be the stereotypes of the geek and the jock the author portrays them as. They also both read younger than their ages of 17 and 20, and Marcus was alarmingly impulsive that just wasn't very believable. Granted, such things need to happen to spur the plot along, but it felt fabricated. When Sam and Marcus eventually discover their feelings are reciprocated, their actual love proclamations were lightning fast and didn’t ring true, despite the fact that they’ve known each other for years. It seemed like they still had a lot of getting to know each other to do before they could be 100% all in as they already were. Plus, while the new world itself should've been wonderful and fascinating, the speculation on the missing humanoids and the various fauna was tedious, as creature after creature is discovered, named, and hypothesized upon. The guys' innate “knowledge” of various things, especially the scientific aspects, was also a bit too convenient. Good thing Sam's a genius and can easily spout off on topics involving anthropology, physics, biology, and more!

I’ll stop there. I’m not one that typically nitpicks so extensively but this took me an inordinate amount of time to finish, and the above reasons contributed to that. I so wanted to love this. Despite my rambling regarding the uneven storytelling and dialogue, I could see the potential awesomeness! What didn’t hurt at all was that this was quite smexy, so there is that!! I’m not deterred from reading more Laine, but honestly, this just felt like a rough version of the final product - I really do look forward to exploring more from this author in the future and hope to do so soon!

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review

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