The Visit (Black Stars #1)My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just Wow – Original and Insightful
The gender reversal in the society written about both disturbed and fascinated me. Immediately pulling me in, I saw the parallels between the patriarchal society we exist compared to the one’s the author presented in her universe. It made me hopeful that change was possible – that people might better understand the inequalities that exist and why we need to find balance for all.
What I liked was the contrast presented by showing Nigeria versus America. It felt authentic as though it painted another layer of inequality that exists in the world without being too brash. I think the subtly is one of the things that impressed me while making the story more powerful.
What I disliked was it was too short. Though it was true to life in the sense it left unanswered questions, I wanted those answers LOL. Perhaps I’ll get them as I move onto the next short story in this bundle…
I definitely recommend this read. It’s deep and shocking in many ways. It’s a different view of our reality, which is both fascinating and disturbing. I feel like it’s equally important as it is entertaining.

The Black Pages (Black Stars #2)My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Captavating Mix of Time & Belief
A blend of modern with mysticism… clashing cultures, generations, and faiths. What a truly memorizing tale.
What I liked was the current events woven into traditions, which tied into the importance of books. It’s an original concept and very captavating. The whole concept sucked me into the story – layers of life like multiverses. Hmmm… so much to ponder.
What I disliked… I can’t really say without spoilers. Let me be a vague as I can while still answering this question – you only get to see a glimpse of the picture. There’s so much left out of the frame. I hate feeling like the story is incomplete because there’s more to be told. Of course, what was told… well done!
If you enjoy reading unsolved mysteries, occult, alternative history, or just enjoy magic, myth, and lore, you’ll love this short. It’s a fast read, which will hold you from cover to cover.

2043...A Merman I Should Turn to Be (Black Stars #3)My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Original Mer Story
The underwater world was really original. The complexities of the races and politics were intriguing though disturbing. Of course, the human flaw to migrate toward “us vs them” (regardless of what credentials they base it on – race, status, money, etc) will always disappointment and dismay me.
What I liked was Catherina and Joa. Their ability to see possibilities and to forge friendships despite differences made them very appealing characters.
What I disliked was the black – white race issues and the violent nature of the hate groups. I understand prejudice and ignorance exist in humans as much as violence and cruelty, but only highlighting that aspect of any person or race or species… that’s a prejudice view in itself.
Vampires aren’t inherently evil because they are parasites. They must drink blood to survive. However, HOW they choose to acquire their sustenance is the tell, determining good or evil. Did they kill for the blood, or have a willing donor, stopping when satiated?
This story opens one’s mind to many questions. It does what writers intend – it makes you re-evaluate things and see life with new eyes. Well done!

These Alien Skies (Black Stars #4)My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I couldn’t set it down!
What an endearing tale of hope, friendship, and unity. I absolutely loved it from start to finish.
What I liked… so many things. For a short read, this is a big story. The technology was intriguing. The mix of alien with spirituality delighted me. Of course, the relationship between Mzisi and Tariro was the real magic… Then, how they impacted the world around them – powerful.
I don’t like giving too much away – reading a story is such a personal journey. What I will say is that even with tensions, dischord, and uncertainty, the author left me feeling hopeful. I had many questions, don’t get me wrong, but my sense of unity and community outweighed my concerns.
What I didn’t like is that the story ended all too quickly. I wanted more.
I definitely recommend this quick read. If you love sci-fi, first contact, aliens, space travel, human sagas… or just want a really well written tale of friendship, grab a copy. It’s worth it, in my opinion!

Clap Back (Black Stars #5) My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well written but heartbreaking
There was a time when it was Neanderthal vs Cro-Magnon. Today, it sends for many, white vs black. Truth is, it’s always one vs another.
The author writes: “Ain’t we people, too? she thought. Wouldn’t freeing us be a step toward freeing all humanity?”
The answer is a resounding YES!! But… (there is a “but” because human beings suck) it will never be enough until we STOP PITTING EACH OTHER AGAINST ONE ANOTHER.
Yesterday, it was two types of dominate hominids. Today, it’s various races. It is a cycle that needs to be broken. Until we accept each other AS WE ARE – all earthlings – no one wins.
What I liked about this book was the passion. It was timeless despite being futuristic, not because it was white against black, but it was the struggle for equality – freedom. It was questioning how to get that, and trying to make people see beyond self.
What I disliked, and found truly heartbreaking, was the proposed resolution. I don’t want to say too much, as I don’t want to give anything away, but I think it’s safe to say NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO CHANGE TO FIT IN. We ALL belong here – we are all God’s children and earth beings to us ALL. Diversity is life blood!
For a sad as this story made me, there’s realism in it. Our people and cultures are broken. This short story expresses the pain and extremes some feel they must take to break the cycle of abuse. It’s a good way to let others experience it without doing permanent harm. So, yes, READ THIS!!

We Travel the Spaceways (Black Stars #6) My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Original Storytelling With An Ancient Alien Twist
What a unique story. I was intrigued by the blend of ancient alien mythology with a modern subculture of the overlooked homeless. This was not at all what I expected, but certainly an interesting read.
What I liked was showing humanity in people who most forget or simply chose to ignore. I liked the message that we each have something special about us. I like the reminder that history exists hidden even in plain sight – there’s always more to things than what meets the eye.
What I didn’t like was the destruction of religion… particularly the worship locations of the black community. I’m not sure if I missed a deeper meaning, but for me, I don’t think someone’s beliefs really cause “static” for another to “clearly” find their own “gods.” I don’t feel anyone should force any faith upon anyone else let alone by destroying another’s faith. Faith is individual – we need to learn mutual respect.
I found this short story enthralling. There were things I found disturbing, but mostly, I found it original and interesting. I feel like there’s a lot to digest in this quick read… it’s going to be on my mind a while.
Do I recommend it? I do. It’s fascinating.

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