The Joy of Series

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    Tom_CorbettOne of my favorite things  to read is a series of novels set in the same world, whether the plots follow one set of characters, or whether new people are introduced in each book. I enjoy spin-offs and extensions, and the only thing I don’t like is when a series ends (or the author never gets around to writing the next book!).

    As a kid I read all the series I could get my hands on, including Trixie Belden,Tom Corbett Space Cadet, Tom Swift, Jr., Cherry Ames R. N., Nancy Drew and Rick Brant. The more volumes there were, the better! And I always hoped for my favorite authors, like Andre Norton, to write a sequel to the books I loved most. She did that just often enough for me to keep hoping. The Beast Master had a sequel. The Time Traders went on for a few books. The Solar Queen had three or four voyages. And so forth. Anne McCaffrey was great at writing series – my only complaint there was that in the days of “all traditional publishing,” I had to wait and WAIT for the next book to come out.

    Nowadays things move somewhat faster, especially with the rise of independent publishing. So I was feeling rebellious the other day and did nothing but read my way through a new-to-me series by Ilona Andrews. Four books in a row to devour, no waiting – heavenly.

    I decided to write a column updating the latest entries in a few science fiction romance series I’ve mentioned in the past, here and elsewhere.

    Lost_In_Barbarian_Space_Anna_HackettFirst up is Lost in Barbarian Space: A Phoenix Adventures SciFi Romance from Anna Hackett. Earlier entries in this interstellar treasure hunting series have been fun and imaginative romps and this volume is no exception. Here’s the story for this book:

    A clash of cultures. Security agent versus barbarian warrior. On an expedition to a newly discovered barbarian world, an experienced security agent doesn’t expect to be working with a big, bossy barbarian warrior.

    Agent Honor Brandall enjoys her job as security agent for the Institute of Historical Preservation’s expedition ships. Adventures to distant planets – awesome. Archeological digs for ancient old Earth artifacts – interesting. Keeping the archeologists safe – no problem. The fact she’s tall, strong and good in a fight means most of the men she works with are intimidated by her, but she refuses to apologize for being good at her job. But on a mission to the barbarian world of Markaria, she finds herself paired with a brawny warrior who challenges her in every way.

    Markarian warrior Colm Mal Kor is second-in-command to his warlord and spends his days training to hone his skills and control. He’s dedicated to defending his clan…and to hiding the deadly secret he can never share with anyone. But when he’s thrust into working with a beautiful, challenging skyflyer, Colm finds a wild attraction he never expected and the biggest risk to his hard-earned control that he’s ever encountered.

    On an expedition to Markaria’s icy moons, Honor and Colm work side by side, but the ice and snow aren’t enough to stop them from wanting each other. As their mission takes a deadly turn, they must trust each  other to survive, but it isn’t just wild beasts and ferocious enemies that are a danger… Colm is harboring something inside him that is far more lethal…something that might destroy them all.

    Sweep_In_Peace_Ilona_AndrewsSweep In Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles Book 2) from Ilona Andrews was incredible fun.  (I love this husband-and-wife writing duo, can you tell?) Sadly for me, this isn’t the series with four volumes available – yet. I can’t wait for the next book (but I must LOL). The world building is so much fun and has touches of magic and science fiction. The story:

    Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina’s door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.

    Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn…and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it’s all in the day’s work for an Innkeeper…

    Trackers_Dilemma_Ruby_LionsdrakeRuby Lionsdrake’s Mandrake Company Science Fiction Romance series is always enjoyable and the latest entry was Tracker’s Dilemma. Here’s the blurb: Sergeant Heath “Tick” Hawthorn, the best tracker in Mandrake Company and the captain’s right-hand man, has been admiring microbiologist Lauren Keys from afar for months. Unfortunately, she’s dedicated to her science and doesn’t seem to have any interest in relationships. He’s not even sure she knows his name.

    Determined to change that, Heath develops a surefire plan: he signs up to be a specimen in her latest study. Once she gets to know him better, he’s positive she’ll find his charms appealing.

    But when he starts hearing other people’s thoughts and receiving eerie premonitions, he questions the wisdom of turning himself into a lab rat. On a mission planet-side with Lauren, they finally have some time alone together, but he’s too worried he’s turning into a freak to be charming. Further, the outing soon turns dangerous, as predators and bounty hunters show an interest in the party. If he and Lauren aren’t careful, they’ll end up dead instead of dating. Maybe Heath’s plan wasn’t as surefire as he thought.

    Carina Press has released Book 5 in the Chaos Station series from Kelly Jensen and Jenn Burke. The plot Phase_Shift_Kelly_Jensensynopsis for Phase Shift (courtesy of Carina Press): Zander and Felix’s relationship has always pushed boundaries—personal and professional alike—but their love and commitment is stronger than ever. So strong that Zander’s ready to ask commitment-shy Felix the question of a lifetime when he’s interrupted. The Chaos is being hacked, and crucial, top secret information about the project that created Zander—and his fellow super soldiers—has been leaked.

    Neither man could have expected the enormity of what’s discovered at the end of the data trail: an entire colony of super soldiers run by the very doctor who changed Zander’s life forever. And now she needs them both—Zander to train her new crop of soldiers, and Felix’s new crystalline arm to stabilize their body chemistry.

    With help from the unlikeliest of allies, Zander, Felix and the Chaos crew must destroy the project and all its ill-gotten information. But when the team is split up and Felix is MIA after a dangerous run, galactic disaster is a very real possibility…and Zander may have missed his chance to ask for forever.

    StarCruiseOutbreak-FJM_ARE_200x300And I released the next book in my own series, set on an interstellar cruise ship, Star Cruise: Outbreak. The plot: She saved countless soldiers in the wars … but does she have the weapons to fight an outbreak?

    Dr. Emily Shane, veteran of the Sector Wars, is known as “The Angel of Fantalar” for her bravery under fire as a medic. However, the doctor has her own war wounds–severe PTSD and guilt over those she failed to save.

    Persuaded to fill a seemingly frivolous berth as ship’s doctor on the huge and luxurious interstellar cruise liner Nebula Zephyr, she finds the job brings unexpected perks–a luxe beach deck with water imported from Tahumaroa II, and Security Officer Jake Dilon, a fellow veteran who heats her up like a tropical sun.

    However, Emily soon learns she and Jake didn’t leave all peril behind in the war. A mysterious ailment aboard the Zephyr begins to claim victim after victim … and they must race against time and space to find the cause and a cure! Trapped on a ship no spaceport will allow to dock, their efforts are complicated by a temperamental princess and a terrorist–one who won’t hesitate to take down any being in the way of his target.  If anyone’s left when the disease is through with them…

    And some tidbits about upcoming SFR books:

    We’ve talked about Cara Bristol’s cyborg novels before and her latest is Captured by the Cyborg (Cy-Ops SciFi Romance Book 3) but the next one in the series is coming in June.

    The Champion of Baresh from Susan Grant – her first new book in a number of years – will be out at the very end of May.

    Nalini Singh’s Allegiance of Honor, the next in her Psy-Changeling series, which I view as science fiction romance, won’t be out until June 14th, but I’ve read the ARC and enjoyed it.

    Some good reading ahead! So what’s the next book in a series that you’re waiting for with bated breath?

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