Thu
Jul 27 2017 12:00pm

The 5 Science Fiction Romance Best Bets for July 2017

Brilliant Starlight by Anna Carven

Anna Carven’s Dark Planet Warriors (book one in the series of the same name) is one of my favorite novels in scifi romance. The story of how Kordolian General Tarak meets and falls in love with Earth scientist Abbey is so well done it’s one of my frequent feelgood re-reads. Carven has just released Brilliant Starlight (Amazon), which puts Tarak and Abbey front and center again, to the great delight of this reader.

Of course any time a character says “what could possibly go wrong?”, you know a whole lot of bad stuff is about to happen. But while events conspire to send Tarak on a desperate journey to Xar, the world where he and the other First Division soldiers were created, the bond between Abbey and himself remains as unbreakable as callidum, the special material of the Kordolian weapons. I appreciated that.  I’m not a big fan of the trope where a formerly terrific relationship is broken to make a sequel possible, and then put back together. I enjoyed this lovely story of a man, a woman and their child, fighting steep odds, united against a backdrop of interstellar war and politics. Nothing can shatter the bond between Tarak and Abbey, which is as it should be. The book is smoothly and engrossingly well done.  There’s a satisfying amount of action, some steamy moments, plus a lot of angst and suspense over the dire problem afflicting Abbey. A few other loose ends from earlier in the series are tied up neatly.

Tarak, or the Big Bad as Abbey affectionately thinks of him, is an “impossible, infuriating, sweet, mystifying man” to Abbey, as well as being off the charts sexy.  He’s willing to literally destroy the entire galaxy and rebuild it if that’s what it takes to keep Abbey and their daughter Ami safe. Abbey’s the only one who can moderate his behavior with her advice and her love.

Abbey is smart and tough, and more than equal to the task of being the mate of a man the rest of the galaxy justifiably fears. She’s put through the wringer in this novel, in various ways, but she very believably handles the challenges.

Sigh. I really loved the book, can you tell? It’s the last installment in the series, although author Carven indicates she’s going to be writing a spinoff series set in the same universe (yay!).  Brilliant Starlight could be read as a standalone but why deny yourself the pleasure of immersion in the entire series?

Dark Flight by Cynthia Sax

I’ve been eagerly awaiting Dark Flight (Amazon | B&N | Kobo), the second book in Cynthia Sax’s Refuge series, about a city of genetically enhanced warriors whose ruthless creators combined human traits with those of various other fierce galactic races. Nano tech keeps them healthy and pretty much immortal. These men escaped their Human Alliance creators and now live safely under the rule of Kralj, a literally all powerful member of their band. His story was told in the first book, Dark Thoughts. This outing we’re following Orol, the winged and tormented second-in-command. I was quite drawn to him from the beginning.  “In the air he felt complete, whole and powerful. He was free. No other being could touch him.”

Orol is sent to retrieve two sisters who’d been on their way to the Refuge for sanctuary and bringing top secret information about a Human Alliance invention. The sisters’ ship crashes in the desert, and the situation becomes very complicated. Rhea, the heroine and elder sister, turns out to be someone who doesn’t trust easily, certainly doesn’t believe that Orol has been sent to help her, shoots better than he does, enhanced warrior or not and is so badly wounded she may die. The sister is nowhere to be found. Fairly immediately Orol realizes Rhea is his fated mate. “She wouldn’t be a simple female to care for, to protect.  He’d have to pay attention, see past her silence, her lies, her feigned nonchalance.”

I read the book in one sitting, because I thoroughly enjoyed the duel of wits between Orol and Rhea, and their mutual battle against the forces involved in the peril sister Paloma has fallen into. No spoilers!  Author Sax has spun another fascinating tale – she writes some things much darker than I normally read (certain aspects of combat to the death for example) but because I find her characters pull me into the story in such compelling fashion, I go with it. The darkness fits the world building and the story. She also skillfully weaves a lot of steamy and sexy scenes throughout the entire book, about which of course I’m not complaining.

There are some very tender happy scenes toward the end, where I was definitely in “aww” mode and all in all Dark Flight was a terrific read.

Cyborg Seduction by Grace Goodwin

Grace Goodwin has a terrific series going on, Interstellar Brides – The Colony, and her latest is Cyborg Seduction (Amazon | B&N | Kobo). The overarching set up is that Earth is a part of an interstellar Coalition to fight the enemy known as the Hive, aliens who among other horrific practices, take captured soldiers and implant them with cyborg technology as part of twisted experimentation. When the soldiers are recued, they aren’t trusted to be truly free of Hive influence, so they’ve been exiled to a recently terraformed world known as the Colony.  Kiel is one of these men. He’s got mad skills, being of a humanoid race known as Everian hunters. Despite the efforts of the Brides Program to entice Earth women to the Colony to find mates, Kiel doesn’t really have any hopes of attracting one. He just wants to protect his fellow soldiers.

Lindsey is a single mother from Earth, literally a mom blogger, who is coerced by rich, powerful and ruthless people into smuggling herself to the Colony, to make a report on what’s really going on there. Of course dark rumors and salacious gossip is all anyone ever hears back on Earth and her ‘employers’ expect her to confirm the worst tales, and provide even more dirt.

What no one counts on is that she turns out to be Kiel’s ‘marked mate’ and oh wow do these two share some sexy hot dreams before they ever even meet. (This is early in the book so not a spoiler.)

Of course Lindsey’s clandestine plans go astray once she reaches the Colony and she ends up trapped in the fighting pits, with various alien males battling to claim her (because she’s ostensibly available as she’s there illegally, not as a Bride). Kiel barely manages to find and save her. “Lindsey, with her golden hair and blue eyes, those full pink lips and her sassy mouth…was mine.” And he cuts a literal swathe through all the other claimants to make his point. Much to Lindsey’s relief. Severian Hunters are tough dudes.

So in between private and steamy sessions with Kiel in his quarters, Lindsey finds out the truth about the Colony, makes an honest documentary and then…oh wait, I can’t do spoilers, but the book is a fast read and highly compelling, with the fate of Lindsey’s young son in the balance back on Earth. No matter how much she loves Kiel, her duty as a mother is overriding to Lindsey. I very much appreciated this aspect of the plot and the character, and how her mother-love believably drove her actions.

I’ve enjoyed this series and hope there’ll be more to come.

Calling the Change by Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener’s out with Calling the Change (Amazon), her second book in the Sky Raiders series. I enjoyed the book but it probably makes sense to read the series in sequence as a lot of the political maneuvering and action in this plot builds directly on events in the first book. There’s a Happy For Now ending. One of my favorite aspects in this book is how various people are forced to realize and accept the strengths and smarts of the heroine Taya. Very satisfying to read. Of course we already know what a capable person she is from the first book’s adventures and so does the wonderful hero, Garek. His loyalty to her drives pretty much all of his choices and the action.

Surrendered by Evangeline Anderson (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) is book 20 in her Brides of the Kindred and one definitely not to be missed if you like things hot. Steam heat all the way through as Commander Thornex goes undercover on Yonnie Six, playing the part of a slave to be trained in obedience and…other things by Mistress Neh’sanna, the best at what she does in a female-ruled society. Thorn gets more than he bargained for, but so does she, as he has hidden abilities, along with his true mission as a spy trying to gain access to the Library of All Knowledge. (Neh’sa has a set of keys.)  There were some really nice twists and turns to both characters along the way and each ended up learning new things about themselves, just as they learn to trust and accept each other. How Thorn was going to accomplish his mission, which essentially would require betraying Neh’sa, yet still achieve a Happy Ever After, was skillfully tantalizing.

Bring a fan to keep yourself cool while reading this one, is my advice.

What hot summer scifi romance reads have you enjoyed?


H&H Editor Picks:

5 Science Fiction Romance Best Bets for June 2017

Every J.R. Ward Fan Should Be Reading Ruby Dixon

August 2017 Romance Novels New Releases Shopping List

 

 

 

 

 


Amazon best-seller Veronica Scott is a three-time recipient of the SFR Galaxy Award, and has written a number of science-fiction and fantasy romances. Her latest release is Trapped On Talonque. You can find out more about her and her books at veronicascott.wordpress.com

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