This week's topic is shining a light on 3 authors who we think you should be reading, aka Book Recommendations.
Since I’m primarily a science fiction romance author, I’ll stick to that genre this week and I’m going with some top of my mind authors who were recent reads, plus a few site recommendations.
My first recommendation would be Pauline Baird Jones and her Project Enterprise series, of which Maestra Rising was the latest release. Pauline writes these incredible plots that unfold with every page like the layers of an onion (no crying, I promise) and you think you know where the story is going but she changes it up and by the time you finish the book she’s tied everything together. She’s also very good at creating memorable and unusual aliens, including one spider villain from two books ago that still gives me the creeps and I’m not afraid of spiders. On occasion there’s a bit of time travel involved too.
The Key was the first book in the series and here’s the blurb: She’s a stranded soldier. He’s an alien castaway. Can their love save a galaxy torn apart by war?
Sara Donovan knew her top-secret expedition would be dangerous. But she never imagined she’d end up separated from her crew and stranded on an alien planet. When the smoke from her crash landing clears, she’s surprised to find a marooned resistance fighter ready to lend a hand. In a war-torn galaxy, Sara refuses to give her trust lightly… especially when she risks exposing the strange abilities she’s kept hidden since childhood.
Kiernan Fyn survives day by day on the hopes of exacting revenge on the warlord who murdered his wife. Sara is his ticket off the desolate rock to a new better future…until she’s targeted by hostile forces who thinks she holds the key to a long-lost civilization. In a fight for their lives, sparks fly as Sara and Fyn attempt to decipher their hidden connection with the powerful key before their ruthless enemies distort its power for galactic domination.
My second recommendation is Leslie Chase and her Crashland Colony series. One of the things I enjoyed most about the two books (so far) was the author’s ability to take some standard tropes – alien abduction, being marooned on an alien planet, indomitable alien warriors etc. - and turn them on their heads for enjoyable reading. I also enjoyed the idea of a holographic cat. The blurb for Auric: Crashed on an unexplored planet, with only an alien warrior and a holographic cat for company… what’s a girl to do?
Tamara expected the trip to Arcadia Colony to be safe and boring. And it is — until an impossibly hot alien warrior crashes into the ship, bringing a warning that only Tamara believes. Helping the rugged alien means mutiny… but the threat he’s warning about is worse.
Auric turned his back on the Silver Band when they abandoned honor in favor of piracy. Drawn by the riches of the colony ship, the Band are on their way — and once they arrive, the humans are doomed. Now that he’s met Tamara, Auric knows he can't let anything happen to her. She's the woman fate has chosen for him, the woman he would give his life to save.
When the humans and their alien attackers are stranded on a forbidden planet, Auric and Tamara are flung together on a journey to find other survivors. Will fate be enough to keep Auric and Tamara together? Or will the dangers of the planet tear them apart?
Third, Regine Abel, who has many books to her credit but her Veredian Chronicles is perhaps her best known series. I love her world building, her feisty heroines and her wide variety of settings. Here’s the blurb for Escaping Fate, the first book in the series I’ve mentioned: Born and raised on a slaver’s ship, Amalia plans to escape before she’s forced to participate in her master’s psi breeding program. She finds refuge on a foreign planet where she meets the cousins Lhor and Khel. Together, they fight against those hunting her down, while attempting to rescue the other victims of her master’s slave ring.
Between her master’s dogged pursuit, deadly rivalries, assassins, and corrupted nobles, can the cousins keep Amalia safe or will their respective feelings for her tear them apart?
And since I’m in a rules breaking mood today, let me add another author, Kate Morris, and her Apokalypsis series. I love dystopian End of the World As We Know It fiction, starting with the day I first read Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. I’m not saying her books are at the Alas, Babylon level! But, I find what I really enjoy a lot is the set of events leading up to the apocalypse, the hints and clues around the characters that disaster is coming, only people refuse to see it. I wish the TV show ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ had done even more of this before going full zombie. Kate Morris does this really well.
The first book is a bit Young Adult skewing for me, although I enjoyed it, but I thoroughly enjoyed book 2, which featured a Special Forces type soldier and a New Adult age heroine. Now these books do end on a modified cliffhanger and the author says we’ll see the characters again in book four…I loathe cliffhangers. But I’m definitely along for the ride with this series! The blurb for book 1, although I feel you could safely jump in with the second book: Life was precious. People used to say things like that all the time, but none of them realized how true that saying would turn out to be. Life was precious, indeed. Each person in the room had lost someone or everyone…
Her life was simply about getting through each awful day of high school without being bullied or picked on. Jane Livingston had a full life, just not one that included friends, boyfriends, school clubs, sports, dating, or anything else the typical teenager experienced. She kept her head down, avoided people, tried to make it out of the war zone (the high school hallways) without any new battle scars.
His life was status, cute girls, cool cars and being the guy everyone else wanted to be at his high school. But there was more to Roman Lockwood than met the eye. He led a miserable existence until he realized the shy, picked-on poor girl he’d known for four years was a lot more than she appeared to be at first glance. There was more to Jane Livingston than met the eye, too. Unfortunately, Roman and Jane’s lives were about to intersect in a way neither would’ve guessed.
Life was delicate, and they’d realize just how much so as their worlds changed from one day being typical high school students to the next when they were merely trying to survive the end of the world together, the end of normalcy, the end of humanity, the end of life itself, when it became: Apokalypsis.
I want to leave you with three resources for broadening your reading list if you so desire, because I’ve found a lot of good recommendations on both:
Queer SciFi.com – I’ve found quite a few M/M paranormal and fantasy romances here, although they do emphasize science fiction…(and I love J Scott Coatsworth's Liminal Sky series...)
WOC In Romance - covers all genres and here I’ve discovered several new-to-me authors and their backlist.
SFR Station – which has a fun feature where you can search the listings by ‘pairing types’ or subgenres (holiday, space western, weird science etc), in addition to the more standard searches by author name.