Top Ten Favorite Short Stories & Novellas

Hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. I was so excited for this topic back when it came up, but then I was on an unplanned hiatus when it’s turn came. I knew as soon as a freebie week cropped up, this was what I was going to do. After some thought, I decided not to add short stories or novellas that are part of a series unless they work perfectly well on their own or as an introduction/starting point to the series. Also, as much as it pains me to say it, I decided not to add short stories that are only available in anthologies. (Because that’s just not fair to you guys if I loved one story and wouldn’t recommend the rest of them.) (I also limited this to books that are under 150 pages – because in my mind, much more than that starts being novels.)

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The 13th Hex by Jordan L. Hawk

Romance. Magic.
Murder.

Dominic Kopecky dreamed of becoming a member of New York’s Metropolitan Witch Police—a dream dashed when he failed the test for magical aptitude. Now he spends his days drawing the hexes the MWP relies on for their investigations.

But when a murder by patent hex brings crow familiar Rook to his desk, Dominic can’t resist the chance to experience magic. And as the heat grows between Dominic and Rook, so does the danger. Because the case has been declared closed—and someone is willing to kill to keep it that way.

Coral Bones by Foz Meadows

Miranda, daughter to Prospero, the feared sorcerer-Duke of Milan, stifles in her new marriage. Oppressed by her father, unloved by Ferdinand, she seeks freedom; and is granted it, when her childhood friend, the fairy spirit Ariel, returns. Miranda sets out to reach Queen Titania’s court in Illyria, to make a new future…

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Recipe for Magic by Agatha Bird

Connor Roth is a fire mage who’s going places. He’s powerful, popular, and he has a plan. But his plan for fame and glory is disrupted when the Oracle sticks him with Landyn Glendower for Senior Trial. This is an act unprecedented in their school’s history. Landyn is a water mage, and everyone knows mages with opposing elements can’t work magic together.

Connor is left with a choice: work alone and fail or swallow his pride and work with Landyn to find a way to combine their magic in a display the Archmages will never forget—if they don’t get kicked out of school in the process.

The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

Clara Gutierrez is a highly-skilled technician specializing in the popular ‘Raise’ AI companions. Her childhood in a migrant worker family has left her uncomfortable with lingering in any one place, so she sticks around just long enough to replenish her funds before she moves on, her only constant companion Joanie, a fierce, energetic Raise hummingbird.

Sal is a fully autonomous robot, the creation of which was declared illegal ages earlier due to ethical concerns. She is older than the law, however, at best out of place in society and at worst hated. Her old master is long dead, but she continues to run the tea shop her master had owned, lost in memories of the past, slowly breaking down, and aiming to fulfill her master’s dream for the shop.

When Clara stops by Sal’s shop for lunch, she doesn’t expect to find a real robot there, let alone one who might need her help. But as they begin to spend time together and learn more about each other, they both start to wrestle with the concept of moving on…

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Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman

Small-batch independent yarn dyer Clara Ziegler is eager to brainstorm new color combinations–if only she could come up with ideas she likes as much as last time! When she sees Danielle Solomon’s paintings of Florida wildlife by chance at a neighborhood gallery, she finds her source of inspiration. Outspoken, passionate, and complicated, Danielle herself soon proves even more captivating than her artwork…

Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger

Vampires are keeping an inventor in their potting shed. Imogene wants to seduce her.

Imogene Hale is a lowly parlourmaid with a soul-crushing secret. Seeking solace, she takes work at a local vampire hive, only to fall desperately in love with the amazing lady inventor imprisoned there.

Genevieve Lefoux is heartsick, lonely, and French.

With culture, class, and the lady herself set against the match, can Imogene and her duster overcome all odds and win Genevieve’s heart, or will the vampires suck both of them dry?

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A Matter of Disagreement by E.E. Ottoman

Two sworn rivals, a clash of ideas, and an attraction neither can deny.

A noted scholar of ancient literature and spellcraft, Lord Ashcroft “Andrea” de Bourbon, finds his world shaken when the new science of mechanical animation becomes the talk of high society. In response, Andrea takes to the presses gaining notoriety for his scathing critiques of mechanical animation and its founder the Marquis de la Marche.

Then one night Andrea comes face to face with the Marquis de la Marche and discovers he is nothing like Andrea expected. Leon Gregory de la Marche VI, Marquis de la Marche is handsome, brilliant, and charming. While their clashes on paper have become legendary in person they are even more explosive. As passions rise Andrea knows there is no backing down…

A Hole in the World by Sophie Robbins

Bianca’s life is tediously normal until the day she rescues a fairytale princess from a troll.

Then, everything changes and Bianca finds herself being thrust into the role of Prince Charming whether she likes it or not.

Despite her misgivings, she’s drawn to the strange Princess and her ways and before she knows where she is she’s forced to fight for her love – and her life.

 

Go ahead and count – there’s only eight here – but any more would just be (I want to say ‘gilding the lily’ but I’m not sure that’s appropriate here) adding books that I liked but don’t feel like pushing at everyone. These were stories that I both loved at the time and can look back favorably on. (Which is getting more and more difficult, I must say.)

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End of the Year Book Tag (Actually, a ‘Before the End of the Year Book Tag’)

While I do have plans of doing my usual wrap-up survey/tag-type thing-y, I saw this over at One More and decided that it looked too fun to pass up.

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

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Currently, I’m actually sitting pretty well. The only book I’ve got started is the one I’m currently reading (The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan) and I should have it finished sometime tomorrow. Or today if I focus on it instead of trying to catch up with my blogging. (I have to add, I love the new covers. I really, really wish I had these for the first two books.)

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

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No. I don’t often read seasonal books. Occasionally I’ll read a Christmas book around Christmas time – but I’m also just as likely to read one in June. I did just finish Winter’s Bees by E.E. Ottoman though, and the first part takes place around Christmas time. I do tend to read more romance books in the winter time, but this year I’ve got so much other stuff I read, I’m not planning on very many the rest of this month.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

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This book. It releases the 18th of this month and I am so close to preordering The Disaster’s by M.K. England when I order to Amazon later today to get my just released copy of Legacy of Light by Sarah Raughley.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Well, there are a lot yet, but I’ll list the three books I’ve got sitting up, waiting for me to finish The Titan’s Curse.

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While I have went back and forth with The Love Interest by Cale Deitrich so many times – because it sounds like to turns tropes on their head, but it gets REALLY low ratings at Goodreads, but so did A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas (which was pretty much my favorite book the year I read it) – I finally succumbed and bought it last month. Now, I’m actually pretty excited to give it a shot.

I really enjoyed (re: loved!) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue so of course I am super excited to read The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. Beyond that, girl power and ace rep? Yup, I so want to read this book, yesterday.

I actually read Stalking Jack the Ripper not too long ago and loved it. Much to my own surprise, so when I had the chance to buy Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco, I jumped at the chance. And even with all the other books I bought at the same time, it’s one of the three I’m most excited to read. (Yes, the other two are the other two that I’ve listed here.)

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

Never say die. I mean: Never say never. Before I start it, any book that I read has the potential to become my new favorite. As for my favorite of the year…I’ve read a lot of books that I’ve loved this year, but of those books, once I subtract authors that I already know and love (whose books I do adore, but they seldom make me go ‘wow’ simply because the author is so consistently ‘wow’ that it’s no longer a surprise) and the romance novels (books I can love, but that seldom are in my top three books of the year because they just don’t compete with books that have both a stellar plot and a killer romance … or vice versa) … once I subtract those books, I’ve not really read a lot of five star books this year. I’m looking at the upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topic of ‘Favorite New to Me Authors of 2018’ and…feeling a bit of dread, because, honestly, there’s not been many.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2019?

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… Hasn’t everyone? I mean, I get the continuation of Tara Sim’s Timekeeper series with Firestarter, the next book in The Janitor’s of the Post Apocalypse series by Jim C. Hines with Terminal Uprising and Cat Sebastian’s first M/F romance with A Duke in Disguise. So…Yeah. I’d say I’m definitely making reading plans. (Though not many at the moment beyond ‘read all the books’.) Beyond that, I know I always say it, but I’m really trying to find a blogging balance with the upheaval my life has been going through lately, so I … plan on getting that all ironed out?

 

Super fun tag, leaves me pumped up for the rest of the year. You should try it. 😉

Sci-Fi Month/November Wrap Up

I didn’t actually get as much up this month as I wanted to. It was just a little hectic and, well, when I wasn’t stressing out, I wanted to relax. So…Yeah. I had hoped to get more sci-fi month posts up – and a couple reviews, but I didn’t. (I will link my goodreads reviews for the books this time, though.)

This time I’m going to divide the wrap-up up differently. Because I read/watched things that didn’t fit sci-fi month, I’m going to wrap-up sci-fi month first, and then the rest of the stuff afterwards.

Sci-Fi Month Reading

(Book covers linked to my goodreads review.)

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Sci-Fi Month Watch/Play List

Ugh. There are not even words for how terrible I did here. The shows I tried to watch all ended up being DNF’s and shoved onto my shelves. I didn’t finish any of the shows I was supposed to here, as for my high hopes of movies…I watched the first Ghost Rider movie and….it wasn’t at all what I remembered. I mean, it was okay, until the ‘it’s totally appropriate to grab the girl and kiss her’ scene and then she’s all like ‘I’ll go out to dinner with you because now I see that you still do love me’ … Urgh.

You might think I’ll have done better with my games, but I haven’t. I didn’t actually manage to finish any of them and, between boredom and a couple of them not playing well on my computer (it’s too new, the games are too old) … I didn’t get anything finished.

In Case You Missed It

(wherein I collect all my sci-fi month posts)

My Sci-Fi Month 2018 TBR

My Sci-Fi Month Watch and Play List

Sci-Fi Month: Photo Challenge #2: First Sci-Fi Read

Scfi-Fi Month: Photo Challenge #4: Favorite Sci-Fi Series

Top Ten Backlist Sci-Fi Books I Want to Read

Sci-Fi Month: Photo Challenge #8: I Can’t Wait to Read

My Sci-Fi Book Recommendations

Now I’m going to switch over and talk about the non-sci-fi month stuff.

5 Star Read/s

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4 Star Read/s

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2 Star Read/s

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1 Star Read/s

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Watching & Music & Gaming

As for my non-sci-fi viewing… The only show I finished was Power Rangers: Super MegaForce. And…it was kind of totally awesome. Still not my fav Power Rangers, but the characters were all so likable and I’m very impressed with the acting skill this season. (Definitely up a bit from the first season and far above Samurai.)

When I went shopping early-ish in November, besides buying books, I also picked up a couple CD’s and one of them was Shinedown’s newest and…that CD is great. I think I’m back to being a HUGE fan of theirs and, of all the songs on the CD, I thing this one is my favorite.

And then there’s this song. I love the song and I think the guy’s voice is amazing.

My gaming has been borderline non-existent. Which, now that I think about it, might be why I hadn’t been in a very good mood for November. Anyway, I hope you guys had a good November and I hope my December will be better than my November.

My Sci-Fi Book Recommendations

https://onemoreorg.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/sfm-2018-blog-header-w-dates-aligned.png?w=1280&h=571
Image Credit: PHOTO by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash.
QUOTE from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Hosted by One More

Being totally honest, I consider myself somewhat inexperienced when it comes to sci-fi. Looking at my Goodreads shelves, I’ve got about a third as much sci-fi as I do fantasy – which, considering that fantasy has been my favorite genre for half my life, is actually pretty good.

So, I’ve went through my list of almost one hundred sci-fi books, culled out the ones that I liked when I read them and know I wouldn’t now, and put together a list of my favorite sci-fi books that I’d recommend to everyone!

Middle Grade – Near Future, Earth

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The Inventor’s Secret by Chad Morris

Imagine a school in the year 2074 where students don’t read history, but watch it happen around them; where running in gym class isn’t around a track, but up a virtual mountain; and where learning about animals means becoming one through an avatar.

Welcome to Cragbridge Hall, the most advanced and prestigious school in the world. Twin siblings Abby and Derick Cragbridge are excited as new students to use their famed grandfather’s inventions that make Cragbridge Hall so incredible. But when their grandfather and parents go missing, the twins begin following a trail of clues left by their grandfather. They must find out where their family is, learn who they can trust, and discover what secrets are hidden within Cragbridge Hall.

Abby and Derick soon realize they are caught in a race with a fierce adversary to discover their grandfather’s greatest secret–a dangerous discovery that could alter both history and reality.

Young Adult – Far Future, Space & Other Worlds

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Starflight by Melissa Landers

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

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Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

Young Adult – Alternate Universe, Earth

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Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Years ago, everything changed. Phantoms, massive beasts of nightmare, began terrorizing the world. At the same time four girls, the Effigies, appeared, each with the unique power to control a classical element. Since then, they have protected the world from the Phantoms. At the death of one Effigy, another is chosen, pulled from her normal life into the never-ending battle.

When Maia unexpectedly becomes the next Fire Effigy, she resists her new calling. A quiet girl with few friends and almost no family, she was much happier to admire the Effigies from afar. Never did she imagine having to master her ability to control fire, to protect innocent citizens from the Phantoms, or to try bringing together the other three Effigies.

But with the arrival of the mysterious Saul—a man who seems to be able to control the Phantoms using the same cosmic power previously only granted to four girls at a time—Maia and the other Effigies must learn to work together in a world where their celebrity is more important than their heroism.

But the secrets Saul has, and the power he possesses, might be more than even they can handle…

Young Adult – Far Future, Earth

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Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

Jarra is stuck on Earth while the rest of humanity portals around the universe. But can she prove to the norms that she’s more than just an Earth Girl?

2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ‘ape’, a ‘throwback’, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.

Jarra invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding at back of class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.

A freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, and the class is ordered to portal off-world for safety – no problem for a real child of military parents, but fatal for Jarra. The storm is so bad that the crews of the orbiting solar arrays have to escape to planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years. And one is on collision course with their shelter.

Telepath by Janet Edwards

Amber is one of over a million eighteen-year-olds in one of the great hive cities of twenty-sixth century Earth. She’s about to enter the Lottery of 2532, which will assess her abilities and decide her hive level, her profession, her whole future life. Amber’s dream is to be level 10 or above, her nightmare is to be a level 99 Sewage Technician.

When Lottery discovers Amber is a rare and precious telepath, she must adapt to a new life protecting the people of the crowded hive city. Her job is hunting down criminals before they commit their crimes, but she doesn’t know she’s being hunted herself.

Adult – Far Future, Military

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Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff

In the distant future, humans and several other races have been granted membership in the Confederation – at a price. They must act as soldier/protectors of the far more civilized races who have long since turned away from war… — Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr was a battle-hardened professional. So when she and those in her platoon who’d survived the last deadly encounter with the Others were yanked from a well-deserved leave for what was supposed to be “easy” duty as the honor guard for a diplomatic mission to the non-Confederation world of the Silsviss, she was ready for anything.

At first it seemed that all she’d have to contend with was bored troops getting into mischief, and breaking in the new Second Lieutenant who had been given command of her men.

Sure, there’d been rumors of the Others – the sworn enemies of the Confederation – being spotted in this sector of space. But there were always rumors. The key thing was to recruit the Silsviss into the Confederation before the Others either attacked or claimed this lizardlike race of warriors for their own side. And everything seemed to be going perfectly. Maybe too perfectly…

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general.

Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

Cheris’s best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress.

The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao–because she might be his next victim.

Adult – Far Future, Aliens

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Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth

Reese Eddings has enough to do just keeping her rattletrap merchant vessel, the TMS Earthrise, profitable enough to pay food for herself and her micro-crew. So when a mysterious benefactor from her past shows up demanding she rescue a man from slavers, her first reaction is to say “NO!” And then to remember that she sort of promised to repay the loan. But she doesn’t remember signing up to tangle with pirates and slavers over a space elf prince… Book 1 of the Her Instruments trilogy is a rollicking space operatic adventure set in the Pelted Paradox universe.

Mindtouch by M.C.A. Hogarth

Seersana University is worlds-renowned for its xenopsychology program, producing the Alliance’s finest therapists, psychiatric nurses and alien researchers. When Jahir, one of the rare and reclusive Eldritch espers, arrives on campus, he’s unprepared for the challenges of a vast and multicultural society… but fortunately, second-year student Vasiht’h is willing to take him under his wing. Will the two win past their troubles and doubts and see the potential for a once-in-a-lifetime partnership?

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Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines

When the Krakau came to Earth, they planned to invite humanity into a growing alliance of sentient species.

This would have worked out better for all involved if they hadn’t arrived after a mutated plague wiped out half the planet, turned the rest into shambling, near-unstoppable animals, and basically destroyed human civilization. You know—your standard apocalypse.

The Krakau’s first impulse was to turn their ships around and go home. After all, it’s hard to establish diplomatic relations with mindless savages who eat your diplomats.

Their second impulse was to try to fix us.

A century later, human beings might not be what they once were, but at least they’re no longer trying to eat everyone. Mostly.

Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos is surprisingly bright (for a human). As a Lieutenant on the Earth Mercenary Corps Ship Pufferfish, she’s in charge of the Shipboard Hygiene and Sanitation team. When a bioweapon attack by an alien race wipes out the Krakau command crew and reverts the rest of the humans to their feral state, only Mops and her team are left with their minds intact.

Escaping the attacking aliens—not to mention her shambling crewmates—is only the beginning. Sure, Mops and her assortment of space janitors and plumbers can clean the ship, but flying the damn thing is another matter. As they struggle to keep the Pufferfish functioning and find a cure for their crew, they stumble onto a conspiracy that could threaten the entire alliance.

A conspiracy born from the truth of what happened on Earth all those years ago…

Adult – Far Future, Time Travel

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Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan

The future is coming…for some, sooner than others.

Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but when faced with a terminal illness, he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World.

Steampunk

I’m sure some people don’t consider steampunk as science fiction, and it can be a very difficult sub genre to place, but I have decided to include a few steampunk books on this recommendation list for several reasons. The first is that I love steampunk, of course! The other reasons are that some steampunk books are, in a historical way, easy to consider sci-fi. The rules I laid for myself are that I can have steampunk on this list if: 1] it is set on Earth; (which leaves the awesome Tales of the Ketty Jay series off) and 2] it is not more urban fantasy than sci-fi (which leaves everything by the amazing Gail Carriger off).

What I was then left with was a short list and a deep knowledge that I need to be reading more steampunk. (And that I definitely need to read more adult steampunk because all the books that fit that criteria were/are YA…)

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Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.

It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister—but it seems like the children’s young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause—but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.

Timekeeper by Tara Sim

I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.

A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.

A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.

A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.

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The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns–and the heroines who use them all

Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician’s assistant. The three young women’s lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It’s up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.

Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike–well, relatively ladylike–heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

 

If you guys would like to know anything specific about these books, just ask! Or if you want to leave me recommendations, those are always great!

Sci-Fi Month: Photo Challenge #8: I Can’t Wait to Read

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Image Credit: PHOTO by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash.
QUOTE from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Hosted by One More

I’m sure that by the end of this month, I’ll have a lot more sci-fi books that I can’t wait to read – and maybe even a few sequels if they turn out as well as my first Sci-Fi Month read – but, at the moment, the book I’m most excited to get my hands on hasn’t even been released yet. Releasing December 18th and I’ve been super excited for it since March:

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The Disasters by M.K. England

Hotshot pilot Nax Hall has a history of making poor life choices. So it’s not exactly a surprise when he’s kicked out of the elite Ellis Station Academy in less than twenty-four hours.

But Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks the Academy. Nax and three other washouts escape—barely—but they’re also the sole witnesses to the biggest crime in the history of space colonization. And the perfect scapegoats.

On the run and framed for atrocities they didn’t commit, Nax and his fellow failures execute a dangerous heist to spread the truth about what happened at the Academy.

They may not be “Academy material,” and they may not get along, but they’re the only ones left to step up and fight.

 

Honestly, this sound like just my kind of book and I am so crazy excited for it. (I really hope I clear out a few extra books and can order this one around Christmas time!)

Top Ten Backlist Sci-Fi Books I Want to Read

Hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I read a lot of backlist books. Sure, I can jump on the ‘ooh, shiny’ bandwagon as well as anyone, but I always come back to older books. I’d guess that’s probably because I read a lot of books that aren’t ‘popular’ and even when they were new, weren’t the ‘newest, hottest thing.’

So, that being said, I decided that, because I’m participating in Sci-Fi Month, that I’d make this list all about the backlisted sci-fi books. Yay! (Warning: This list may not be as old backlisted as I’d like, because I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, but I’ve been trying to spread my wings. And, honestly, it’s difficult to find older sci-fi that appeals to me.)

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Ammonite by Nicola Griffith

Change or die. These are the only options available on the planet Jeep. Centuries earlier, a deadly virus shattered the original colony, killing the men and forever altering the few surviving women. Now, generations after the colony has lost touch with the rest of humanity, a company arrives to exploit Jeep–and its forces find themselves fighting for their lives. Terrified of spreading the virus, the company abandons its employees, leaving them afraid and isolated from the natives. In the face of this crisis, anthropologist Marghe Taishan arrives to test a new vaccine. As she risks death to uncover the women’s biological secret, she finds that she, too, is changing–and realizes that not only has she found a home on Jeep, but that she alone carries the seeds of its destruction. . . .

Ammonite is an unforgettable novel that questions the very meanings of gender and humanity. As readers share in Marghe’s journey through an alien world, they too embark on a parallel journey of fascinating self-exploration.

Dreamer by Steven Harper

It is through first contact with an alien species that humanity learns of the Dream. It is a plane of mental existence where people are able to communicate with one another by their thoughts alone — over distances of thousands of light-years. To ensure that future generations will have this ability, human genetic engineering produces newborns capable of finding and navigating the Dream.

They became known as the Silent.

Rust is just one planet among many in the Empire of Human Unity. It’s nothing special, nothing unusual . . . except for the fact that it is home to an unknown boy who may be the most powerful Silent ever born — a Silent with the ability to possess the bodies of others against their will. This mysterious child may be causing tremors within the Dream itself.

For now, only the Children of Irfan know about him. A monastic-like order of the Silent, the Children protect their members even as they barter their services with the governments and corporations that control known space. But power like that cannot be hidden, and soon every Silent in the universe will know about the boy — and every government will be willing to go to war to control him.

And if the Children of Irfan cannot find him first, the Dream itself may be shattered…

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Young Avenger: Sidekicks by Allen Heinberg & Jim Cheung

(Yes, I consider superheroes sci-fi.)

In the wake of Avengers Disassembled, a mysterious new group of teen super heroes appears. But who are they? Where did they come from? And what right do they have to call themselves the Young Avengers?

Collecting: Young Avengers 1-6

Claws and Starships by M.C.A. Hogarth

When the results of Earth’s genetic experiments fled for their makers, they took their own name as they left humanity behind; centuries later, the Pelted have spread into a multi-world alliance of cultures and languages, cribbed from Terra or created whole-cloth. Claws and Starships collects six stories of the Pelted, ranging from the humor of a xenoanthropologist on the wrong side of mythology to more serious works considering the implications of genetic engineering in a far-future classroom seeded with the children of those laboratories. Come stamp your passport and visit the worlds of the Pelted Alliance in all their variety!

Includes the novella “A Distant Sun,” and the short stories “Rosettes and Ribbons” (Best in Show anthology), “The Elements of Freedom,” “Tears” (Pawprints), “Pantheon,” and “Butterfly”.

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The Silvered by Tanya Huff

(It’s tagged as steampunk and I spy a dirigable, so it totally counts!)

The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off defending the border, it falls to Mirian Maylin and Tomas Hagen—she a low-level mage, he younger brother to the Pack-leader—to save them. Together the two set out on the kidnappers’ trail, racing into the heart of enemy territory. With every step the odds against them surviving and succeeding soar…

Villains Don’t Date Heroes by Mia Archer

Night Terror. The greatest villain Starlight City has ever known. The greatest supervillain the world has ever seen. She rules her city with an iron fist, and there are no new worlds to conquer.

Needless to say life is pretty damn boring.

All that changes when she decides to shake things up by robbing a bank the old fashioned way and runs into the city’s newest hero: Fialux. Flying Fialux. Invulnerable Fialux. Super strong Fialux. Beautiful Fialux?

Night Terror has a new archenemy who might just be able to defeat her, but even more terrifying are the confusing feelings this upstart heroine has ignited. She doesn’t like heroes like that. She definitely doesn’t like girls like that. Right? Only she can’t deny the flutter she feels whenever she thinks of Starlight City’s newest heroine!

The line between hate and love is a razor’s edge that the world’s greatest villainess will have to walk if she wants to hold onto that title!

Villains Don’t Date Heroes! is a lesbian scifi romance novel that explores the world of villains, antiheroes, and heroes in a whole new way!

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Into the Divide by Sandra Bard

Nullands: Sections of a series of planets sealed off by an energy barrier, called the Divide, filled with danger, where technology does not work.

Tarn is part of the Death Squad, a criminal given a second chance by agreeing to risk his life over and over again in the Nullands. His latest mission is the kind he usually avoids: babysit an inexperience lab tech while they hunt down the dangerous creature that escaped a research lab.

Calvin is the lab tech given the unenviable task of hunting down the creature that escaped his lab, after it killed his friend and five others. An assignment he mostly landed for refusing to sleep with his boss, he knows damn good and well he’s being sent to die. What he doesn’t expect is Tarn, or how far he’s willing to go to survive.

Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver

(A little confused, as this could pass for sci-fi or fantasy, but… well.)

The city of Parole is burning. Like Venice slips into the sea, Parole crumbles into fire.

The entire population inside has been quarantined, cut off from the rest of the world, and left to die – directly over the open flame. Eye in the Sky, a deadly and merciless police force ensures no one escapes. Ever. All that’s keeping Parole alive is faith in the midst of horrors and death, trust in the face of desperation… and their fantastic, terrifying, and beautiful superhuman abilities.

Regan, stealth and reconnaissance expert with a lizard’s scales and snake’s eyes, is haunted by ten years of anxiety, trauma and terror, and he’s finally reached his limit. His ability to disappear into thin air isn’t enough: he needs an escape, and he’ll do anything for a chance. Unluckily for him, Hans, a ghostly boy with a chilling smile, knows just the thing to get one. It starts with a little murder.

But instead of ending a man’s life, Regan starts a new one of his own. He turns away from that twisted path, and runs into Evelyn, fearless force on stage and sonic-superheroic revolutionary on the streets. Now Regan has a choice – and a chance to not only escape from Parole, but unravel the mystery deep in its burning heart. And most of all, discover the truth about their own entwining pasts.

They join forces with Evelyn’s family: the virtuosic but volatile Danae, who breathes life into machines, and her wife Rose, whose compassionate nature and power over healing vines and defensive thorns will both be vital to survive this nightmare. Then there’s Zilch, a cool and level-headed person made of other dead people, and Finn, one of Parole’s few remaining taxi drivers, who causes explosions whenever he feels anything but happy.

Separately they’d never survive, much less uncover the secret of Parole’s eternally-burning fire. Together, they have a chance. Unfortunately, Hans isn’t above playing dirty, lying, cheating, manipulating… and holding Regan’s memories hostage until he gets his way.

Parole’s a rough place to live. But they’re not dead yet. If they can survive the imminent cataclysmic disaster, they might just stay that way…

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Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith

Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, “the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. “Las Anclas” now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.

Love for the Cold-Blooded: or: The Part-Time Evil Minion’s Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero by Alex Gabriel

Superheroes. Evil minions. And one hell of a conflict of interest.

Being related to a supervillain isn’t a big deal to Pat West. So what if his mom occasionally tries to take over the world? All Pat wants is to finish university and become an urban designer. That he moonlights as an evil minion sometimes – that’s just a family tradition.

Then Pat accidentally sleeps with superhero Silver Paladin, otherwise known as reclusive billionaire Nick Andersen. It’s a simple misunderstanding. Pat never means to impersonate a prostitute, honest. But soon Pat is in way over his head, and threatening to fall for the worst possible guy.

When Pat’s mother returns to bring the world to its knees, Silver Paladin races to stop her… and all of Pat’s secrets threaten to blow up in his face. How can Pat reconcile being a minion with wanting a hero? Will Nick’s feelings for Pat overcome what keeps them apart? Or will they both lose everything?

 

So, what backlisted books do you want to read? Have you read any of these? Do you usually read a lot of backlist books, or no? (Not to beg for recommendations, but I totally am, but if you know of any sci-fi that could fit in with these, do let me know!)

Sci-Fi Month: Photo Challenge #4: Favorite Sci-Fi Series

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Image Credit: PHOTO by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash.
QUOTE from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Hosted by One More

While I really, really want to share a photo of these books with you guys, I have no internet and spotty cell phone reception at my home, so at least scheduling this post means I know it will go up and I’ll get to share an awesome series with you guys.

On Friday I talked about my first sci-fi read and how it got me into the genre. While that’s true, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with sci-fi quite so thoroughly if not for this series.

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Tanya Huff’s Confederation series.

I was just off a Babylon 5 rewatch binge and was craving more sci-fi. I’d had Valor’s Choice sitting on my shelf, intimidating me, for I don’t know how long. So, without expecting much, I gave it a go. And wound up with not only my favorite sci-fi series, one of my favorite authors.

This is a sci-fi series with one of the big reasons I love sci-fi: aliens. It always makes me so happy when sci-fi isn’t just humans running around – though I also dearly love humans running around on other worlds – and this series has a lot of aliens in it. Some are friends and some are foes and they all have their own culture and beliefs.

Synopsis from Valor’s Choice

In the distant future, humans and several other races have been granted membership in the Confederation – at a price. They must act as soldier/protectors of the far more civilized races who have long since turned away from war… — Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr was a battle-hardened professional. So when she and those in her platoon who’d survived the last deadly encounter with the Others were yanked from a well-deserved leave for what was supposed to be “easy” duty as the honor guard for a diplomatic mission to the non-Confederation world of the Silsviss, she was ready for anything.

At first it seemed that all she’d have to contend with was bored troops getting into mischief, and breaking in the new Second Lieutenant who had been given command of her men.

Sure, there’d been rumors of the Others – the sworn enemies of the Confederation – being spotted in this sector of space. But there were always rumors. The key thing was to recruit the Silsviss into the Confederation before the Others either attacked or claimed this lizardlike race of warriors for their own side. And everything seemed to be going perfectly. Maybe too perfectly…

Sci-Fi Month: Photo Challenge #2: First Sci-Fi Read

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Image Credit: PHOTO by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash.
QUOTE from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Hosted by One More

I almost decided to skip this because I had thought about going on twitter to do it, but I … really don’t know if I could find the first sci-fi book that I ever remember reading and getting a picture of it to you. But…I wanted to talk about it, so let’s go.

What got you into Sci-Fi?

I have always been a voracious reader. I loved mystery books when I was younger. Some of the first books I read by myself were Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. I remember, and I’m probably very aptly showing my age for those living in the US with me, this TV show called Wishbone where each episode would adapt a different classic book. And then there were the tie in novels that went with the show.

In truth, it was probably a Wishbone tie-in book that first started fostering a love for sci-fi in me.

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For the first time ever, I was more interested in the classic that it retold/was inspired by than the story with our kids and dog. (The classic it covered was The Legion of Space by Jack Williamson which I have since read and liked it then, but probably wouldn’t now.)

However, if we’re talking straight up sci-fi book (one that I randomly bought from my mystery book club because it looked cool) that book would have to be:

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I owned the book for probably five-six years before finally – after having already been involved in fantasy for awhile – dusting it off to read. I liked the book, it was a fun, military sci-fi with a strong leading lady. (Shame about the way I liked the books less as the series progressed.)

I totally credit this book, beyond everything else at that time (except for the TV series Babylon 5) for finally getting me into sci-fi.

My Sci-Fi Month Watch and Play List

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Image Credit: PHOTO by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash.
QUOTE from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Hosted by One More

So I’ve already talked about what I hope to read this month, now I thought I’d talk about what I hope to watch and play this month. I do have some sci-fi I’ve been saving up for this once I decided to do it, and other that I just haven’t gotten to yet, so here we go.

(I probably won’t actually get to all of them, especially if they’re actually good enough for me to finish, but this is a look at what I’d like to try to get to.)

‘Superhero’ Sci-Fi TV Shows

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Arrow season 3

Actually already started and watched…about three episodes of. I want to like the show more than I actually do – and most of that blame is on those annoying flashbacks.

Daredevil season 1

Also already started. I think I’ve seen six episodes. I do like the show, but it’s just missing something for me.

Jessica Jones season 1

Haven’t started it and don’t know how much I’ll like it, but this was my second choice for Netflix’s Marvel shows and I’m cautiously excited.

Sci-Fi TV Shows

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Falling Skies season 5

I’ve been holding off on this, the final season, because I kind of just don’t want the show to end. And I’ve also not really been in the mood lately for shows that are as intense as this one. (And I’ve still not forgiven them for the previous season.) It’s usually enjoyable, though cracks did start showing after the first season.

Sense8 season 1

I’ve actually watched the first episode and thought it showed a lot of potential for me liking it, and that it would fit in pretty well as a sci-fi show. (If it even is, it’s definitely soft sci-fi.) I was interested in this series before I even found out that it was co-created and co-written by J. Michael Stracznski, the creator and major writer of Babylon 5, my favorite TV show. So I’m very excited to get back to this.

Starhunter

I borrowed this show from my brother years ago and was talking about buying it because I thought I liked it enough to rewatch it – then he gave me his copy because he said he’d only watched it once and never even thought about rewatching it. So…I guess I liked it more than he did.

Sci-Fi Anime Shows

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Dragonaut: The Resonance

This is actually a rewatch for me because I borrowed it from my brother and liked it enough to buy my own copy and still haven’t watched it.

Simoun

I’ve watched the first two episodes of this, I think, and did enjoy them somewhat, but it’s a very…slow show compared to most of the anime I’ve seen which I think will be nice.

Psychic Squad (collection 3)

And this is a very obnoxious anime, but it is fun. I’ve seen the first two collections, twenty-six episodes, and I’ve got the next thirteen to watch and then there’s a final thirteen to finish the story. (Sort of, I actually watched the sequel/spinoff before the original and still like it more, but whatevs.)

Sci-Fi Movies

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Ghost Rider 1 & 2

I saw the first one when it was fairly new as my brother (a huge Nic Cage) fan bought it and I borrowed it from him. I’ve been thinking for a couple years I should buy both movies and have finally gotten around to it. Kind of excited for this.

Star Wars: Rogue One

So…I’ve never actually seen any of the Star Wars movies. I know, I know, but the originals interest me not at all. This one does. (So does The Force Awakens, but I thought I’d start with this one first because it just draws me in more.)

Sci-Fi Games

There were actually a couple of these that I wanted to play but then decided to hold off for this month. I know I won’t get through them all, but, here’s what I’ll be playing.

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Shadowrun Returns

Stellaris

Tales from the Borderlands

Mars: War Logs

So, there we have what I want to get to this month in media other than books. …

If you’ve seen/played any of these, do let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts – or if you’re interested in them, tell me that, too!

My Sci-Fi Month 2018 TBR

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Image Credit: PHOTO by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash.
QUOTE from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Hosted by One More

I always get so excited about this yearly event, but always miss out in participating. This year, I decided when I first saw the announcement go live that I had to do it. I’m not sure that I’ll actually get a lot done, my posting lately has been so sporadic, but I will be reading sci-fi and hopefully visiting you guys to get more suggestions. And what, exactly, will I be reading this month? Here’s a gathering of all the sci-fi books I currently have to read. Hopefully I will be getting to ALL of them this month.

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Unearthed by Amie Meagan Spooner

When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study… as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don’t loot everything first. Mia and Jules’ different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race’s secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race…

Zenith by Arshad Ahsanuddin

What if you could change history?
What if someone else already had?

Grounded after a rescue attempt in Earth orbit goes bad, Commander Martin Atkins of the Confederation Navy is approached by the Interscission Project, a consortium of civilian corporations on the verge of perfecting the technology to travel to another star. Despite his misgivings, the chance to get back in the pilot’s seat is too much to pass up, and he convinces his best friend and crewmate, Charles Davenport, to leave the military temporarily and join him as part of the crew of the Zenith, humanity’s first starship.

Edward Harlen is a brilliant young engineer, and a key player in the construction of the Zenith to take advantage of the untested technology of foldspace drive. But Edward has his own agenda in joining the project, and a bitterly personal score to settle with his boss, Trevor Sutton, a vendetta of which Trevor is entirely ignorant. When Edward’s sister Stella enters the picture and manages to secure a position on the project, all of Edward’s careful plotting is upset, and she might spell the downfall not only of his plans for revenge, but of the entire Zenith mission.

The spark of attraction between Edward and Martin is a complication that Edward can’t afford, but of which he can’t let go. For Edward knows the secret at the heart of the Interscission Project, the hidden potential of the technology that in the wrong hands could become the ultimate assassin’s weapon: the ability to rewrite history, not just once, but many times. As an unseen enemy moves to destroy them, and the body count multiplies in their wake, Martin and Edward must choose whether they will allow the possibility of love to challenge their destinies, or will they instead take up arms in a war to control the most ancient and terrible power in the universe.

Time, itself.

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Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns

Adda and Iridian are newly-minted engineers, but in a solar system wracked by economic collapse after an interplanetary war, an engineering degree isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Desperate for gainful employment, they hijack a colony ship, planning to join a pirate crew at Barbary Station, an abandoned shipbreaking station in deep space.

But when they arrive at Barbary Station, nothing is as they expected. The pirates aren’t living in luxury — they’re hiding in a makeshift base welded onto the station’s exterior hull. The artificial intelligence controlling the station’s security system has gone mad, trying to kill all station residents. And it shoots down any ship that tries to leave, so there’s no way out.

Adda and Iridian have one chance to earn a place on the pirate crew: destroy the artificial intelligence. The last engineer who went up against the security system suffered explosive decapitation, and the pirates are taking bets on how the newcomers will die. But Adda and Iridian plan to beat the odds.

There’s a glorious future in piracy…if they can survive long enough.

An Ancient Peace by Tanya Huff

Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr had been the very model of a Confederation Marine. But when she learned the truth about the war the Confederation was fighting, she left the military for good.

But Torin couldn’t walk away from preserving and protecting everything the Confederation represented. Instead, she drew together an elite corps of friends and allies to take on covert missions that the Justice Department and the Corps could not—or would not—officially touch. Torin just hoped the one they were about to embark on wouldn’t be the death of them.

Ancient H’san grave goods are showing up on the black market—grave goods from just before the formation of the Confederation, when the H’san gave up war and buried their planet-destroying weapons…as grave goods for the death of war. Someone is searching for these weapons and they’re very close to finding them. As the Elder Races have turned away from war, those searchers can only be members of the Younger Races.

Fortunately, only the Corps Intelligence Service has this information. Unfortunately, they can do nothing about it—bound by laws of full disclosure, their every move is monitored.

Though Torin Kerr and her team are no longer a part of the military, the six of them tackling the H’san defenses and the lethally armed grave robbers are the only chance the Confederation has. The only chance to avoid millions more dead.

But the more Torin learns about the relationship between the Elder Races and the Younger, the more she begins to fear war might be an unavoidable result.

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Gyrfalcon by Anna Butler

Earth’s last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy. In the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. A dangerous job, and Bennet doesn’t need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his father-and with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his world upside-down. He expects to risk his life. He expects the data will alter the course of the war. What he doesn’t expect is that it will change his life or that Flynn will be impossible to forget.

Dreamstorm by M.C.A. Hogarth

Jahir and Vasiht’h have spent five years together in practice on Starbase Veta, and their life is everything they’d hoped: their practice is fantastic, their social standing great, and their domestic life a blissful routine. So when Vasiht’h discovers his partner has “accidentally” accrued enough continuing education credits to become a licensed healer-assist after deciding against that path in college, he can’t help but wonder… are they on the wrong path?

Since Jahir himself isn’t talking, Vasiht’h decides someone needs to make some decisions. If those decisions lead them to the Alliance’s foremost resort planet, where the licensing exams are being held, well… surely they could use a beach vacation. Jahir sits his test, Vasiht’h has some purple drinks with umbrellas on the beach, and they both go home with a renewed sense of purpose.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Family by M.C.A. Hogarth

Xenotherapist Vasiht’h always thought himself as lucky to have befriended one of the rare and fascinating Eldritch, a man who’s served as partner in their counseling practice for years without Vasiht’h ever really learning anything of his background… so when Jahir invites him home for a cousin’s wedding, he is eager for the chance to find out more about these enigmatic aliens, and his friend in particular.

Naturally, he gets more than he bargains for. By the end of his trip, he’ll either know all Jahir’s secrets…or he’ll be dead…

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

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Kaleidoscope anthology

What do a disabled superhero, a time-traveling Chinese-American figure skater, and a transgendered animal shifter have in common? They’re all stars of Kaleidoscope stories! Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage life. Featuring New York Times bestselling and award winning authors along with newer voices: Garth Nix, Sofia Samatar, William Alexander, Karen Healey, E.C. Myers, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Ken Liu, Vylar Kaftan, Sean Williams, Amal El-Mohtar, Jim C. Hines, Faith Mudge, John Chu, Alena McNamara, Tim Susman, Gabriela Lee, Dirk Flinthart, Holly Kench, Sean Eads, and Shveta Thakrar

Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh

A legend among sci-fi readers, C. J. Cherryh‘s Union-Alliance novels, while separate and complete in themselves, are part of a much larger tapestry—a future history spanning 5,000 years of human civilization. A blockbuster space opera of the rebellion between Earth and its far-flung colonies, it is a classic science fiction masterwork.

So…Suggestions? Do I just have to move one or more of these to the top of my list?