Welcome to the month of May and the never ending cascade of new science fiction romance reads!
In happy news, USA Today Best Selling Author Lindsay Buroker has launched a new series, Star Kingdom. (Her Fallen Empire series is much beloved in SFR circles.) Book one of this new adventure is Shockwave. The title immediately vaulted onto my To Be Read list and here’s the blurb: What if being a hero was encoded in your genes?
And nobody told you?
Casmir Dabrowski would laugh if someone asked him that. After all, he had to build a robot to protect himself from bullies when he was in school.
Fortunately, life is a little better these days. He’s an accomplished robotics engineer, a respected professor, and he almost never gets picked on in the lunchroom. But he’s positive heroics are for other people.
Until robot assassins stride onto campus and try to kill him.
Forced to flee the work he loves and the only home he’s ever known, Casmir catches the first ship into space, where he hopes to buy time to figure out who wants him dead and why. If he can’t, he’ll never be able to return home.
But he soon finds himself entangled with bounty hunters, mercenaries, and pirates, including the most feared criminal in the Star Kingdom: Captain Tenebris Rache.
Rache could snap his spine with one cybernetically enhanced finger, but he may be the only person with the answer Casmir desperately needs:
What in his genes is worth killing for?
USA Today Best Selling author M. K. Eidem, who wrote Grim, one of my all time favorite SFR novels, launches the fourth book in her Challenge series, with Stephanie’s Challenge. The plot: Stephanie Michelakakis worked and sacrificed for her position as a Lieutenant in the Coalition. She was on track to become the first woman ever accepted into a Royal Guard, specifically King Jotham’s Royal Guard. Then a life-altering injury shattered her dreams. Now she must figure out how to move on with her life.Nicholas Deffand was the youngest male ever named as the Captain of King Jotham’s Royal Guard. He served and protected his King to the exclusion of everything else. But now he’s found a woman who not only understood what his job entailed but his dedication to it as well.These two dedicated people never expected to find love. Will they be strong enough to make it work or will their relationship be another sacrifice they must make?
Modified and Sacred by Janet Denardo spins a tale of diplomacy and rebellion among the stars. The story: Lieutenant Addison Hunt is proud to serve the Confederation even if he still feels like he’s on the outside looking in. Addison was illegally genetically modified as a child, leaving him burdened with a sense of shame. Emotionally isolated from his fellow crewmen and recovering from injuries from his last job, Addison is happy to have light duty transporting an esteemed diplomat to a peace conference.
Deveral is one of the Sacred Kin, possessing a psychic ability that his people consider a spark of the divine. Like all the Sacred Kin, he’s led a sheltered life as a temple priest, but his heightened empathic ability makes him the perfect diplomat. Nervous to leave his home, he’s curious about his new companion, Lieutenant Hunt.
Not everyone wants the diplomatic mission to succeed, and a rebel faction poses a real threat to Addison and Deveral. Finding themselves cast adrift on a “lost” colony, they’ll have to fight to stay alive.
Aurora Rising is the newest offering from Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, the New York Times Best Selling authors of The Illuminae Files. Here’s the blurb for this new epic: The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger-management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem–that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
Ruby Dixon gives us more steamy romance on the icy planet where blue barbarians and other aliens dwell in Devi’s Distraction, which is book 7 in this series spun off from the original Ice Planet Barbarians. The story: It’s hard to make friends with the other women at the Icehome camp when you’d rather be dissecting the local fauna. Which is why I’m surprised when one of the big, brawny islanders asks me to help him make a prosthetic leg. I don’t know N’dek, but since I’m a scientist, he wants my help. And while I’m more into dinosaurs than anatomy, I love a challenge.
As we work together, I come to see that N’dek’s not just clever and determined, he’s also protective and sweet. And he kisses like a fiend.
He’s a distraction I don’t need…but he might be everything I’ve ever wanted. Too bad he says he’s going to resonate to someone else.
SIO by C. A. Blocke has an interesting premise and a lot of action. The blurb: Set in a near-future environment, mega-corporations have taken over the most habitable of planets, creating domed utopias for their devoted employees. Everyone else has been shunted off to a multitude of mostly habitable planets and moons where they scrape by as farmers and tradesfolk, miners and merchants, bounty hunters and scavengers.
James Marks and his crew of scav trash operate their ship, SIO, on a mission to obtain a mysterious piece of new tech. It changes everything and leaves him stranded somewhere he doesn’t recognize with a cute, if not a bit annoying, tech scientist. James doesn’t know, when he first meets Michael, but his life is about to change in a very surprising way.
Dissident: Tentacle Hero Chronicles by Emma Knight is a good representative of the “alien tentacle” subgenre in SFR. The plot: Raised on an island off the coast of Maine by her grandmother after a fatal car crash claimed her parent’s life, Dana Michaels hasn’t had an ordinary upbringing. Isolated, she had brief contact with the outside world until her grandmother dies, leaving her alone on the island.
One stormy day changes Dana’s life forever….
After her boat capsizes, Dana is sure she is going to die. The watery depths pull her under. The last thing she remembers is the blackness. She wakes up alone, on her island with the fleeting images of a man she’s seen before.
Dana’s grandmother told her stories of the merpeople, but Dana knows it’s more than just stories. She’s seen a mysterious man floating in the waves before and she believes he’s the one who saved her from drowning. She begs to see his face one last time so that she can thank him.
The legends are about to become real…
Even though contact with humans is forbidden, Daemon cannot stay away. He is drawn to the human woman who lives on the island that is sacred to his species. Created by the illicit union between a human woman and an alien male, Daemon isn’t a merperson.
Daemon isn’t a merperson. That much becomes clear when he returns to let Dana thank him. He has the torso and face of a man, but his skin is blue and under the water’s surface are tentacles. She’s shocked at first, but shock soon turns to passion as Daemon awakes a long dormant fire and teaches her about passion she’s never known.
A life for a life…
Daemon saved Dana’s life and now his own might be forfeit. Can Dana and Daemon somehow find happiness and make a life together even though they come from two different worlds or are they destined to remain forever apart?
New York Times Best Selling author Daniel Suarez spins a gripping tale of asteroid mining and corporate maneuvering in Delta-V. The book is hard science fiction with some romantic elements along the way and I very much enjoyed it. The fact based, almost plausible-right-now plot reminded me favorably of The Martian, but with a lot more action, derring do and nefarious betrayals back home. The blurb: When itinerant cave diver James Tighe receives an invitation to billionaire Nathan Joyce’s private island, he thinks it must be a mistake. But Tighe’s unique skill set makes him a prime candidate for Joyce’s high-risk venture to mine a near-earth asteroid–with the goal of kick-starting an entire off-world economy. The potential rewards and personal risks are staggering, but the competition is fierce and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Isolated and pushed beyond their breaking points, Tighe and his fellow twenty-first century adventurers–ex-soldiers, former astronauts, BASE jumpers, and mountain climbers–must rely on each other to survive not only the dangers of a multi-year expedition but the harsh realities of business in space. They’re determined to transform humanity from an Earth-bound species to a space-faring one–or die trying.
I’ll try to find a good cyborg romance to share next time. Happy reading!