Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read Resisting Maxu

Read Resisting Maxu (Clecanian, #6)

Being kidnapped by aliens and whisked away to another planet isn’t always a bad thing…

Meg isn’t like the other alien abduction survivors. She doesn’t missmuch of anything from her former life—least of all her deadbeat husband. Her Clecanian rescuers gave her a fresh start, and she plans to enjoy it. Being recognized as a mate is not on her agenda. Too bad a grumpy, possessive, and all-kinds-of-sexy alien has other plans for her…

Maxu never expected to find his fated mate. But he recognized Meg at first sight. Sadly, she’s not as pleased with the match as he is. She’s guarded in a way he doesn’t entirely understand and pushes him away at every turn.

Meg can run, but she soon realizes there’s nowhere to hide—not from a hunter like Maxu. But that doesn’t mean she’ll give in easily. If he wants a happily ever after with her, he’ll have to fight for it.

That ending! The politics picked up in this one which I think was a good choice. It opens up some more exciting plotlines for the next few books.

Meg had the intensity to match Maxu, though I don’t feel they addressed the issue of her lack of choice. They had some funny confrontations.

The opening premise seemed sus — would this society really lock up someone who just recognized their mate?

Maxu came off pretty selfish and self-centered in a lot of his choices, especially the things he stole.

It was fun to take a tour of the other cities and explore so many different cultures. It seems weird that their cultures and genetics would remain quite so distinct — makes me suspect they need more intermingling of genes and cultures to help resolve their reproductive problems.

I appreciated having a lesbian couple as a subplot, though I would have liked them to have had more screen time/ banter together, or maybe more nudging of both individuals by their friends.

Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read Dark Ambitions

Read Dark Ambitions (Class 5 #4.5)

It’s been months since Rose McKenzie was taken far from Earth. She’s trying to make a place for herself amongst the Grih, with help from her Grihan lover, Captain Dav Jallan, and the dangerous and loyal Sazo, a powerful artificial intelligence who’s integrated with an infamous Class 5 battleship.

When Rose gets the chance to join an exploration team going down to collect information from a planet in Grihan airspace, she jumps at the opportunity to stretch her legs and breath some real air.

But someone is already on the planet—the Krik—and they don’t want anyone to know what they’re up to. The Krik are the chaos agents of the United Council, often riding the edge of the law or over it. They ambush the exploration team and take them prisoner, but they don’t realize they didn’t get everyone. They didn’t get Rose.

With Dav, and his spaceship the Barrist, lured away by a distress signal, Rose and Sazo, along with a furry friend Rose has made, are the exploration team’s only hope at rescue. And Rose never leaves a friend behind.

A light little adventure, short and simple. It involves a cute orphaned alien sugar glider who gets some plot action. This is mostly focused on Rose, but also shows some development from Sazo.

I read this after the series epilogue but it comes before it, oops!

Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read Dark Class + Bonus Epilogue

Read Dark Class (Class 5, #5)

Waking up alone . . . Ellie Masters comes out of a coma to find herself the only inhabitant of an eerily empty moon station. She’s not on Earth any more, she’s not even in the right solar system. So when someone reaches out to her, tells her he’s her friend, she’s happy to believe it. The alternative is to be stuck alone with an enemy.

The hunt of his career . . . Grih Battle Center captain, Renn Sorvihn, has been chasing a rogue Tecran ship for over a month, convinced its captain is simply trying to delay his inevitable surrender and punishment. But when Renn follows the Tecran ship into an unchartered sector, and realises the Tecran have been working their way to a secret moon base for weeks, he suddenly understands things are most definitely not as they seem.

Caught in the crossfire . . . When the Tecran arrive, with the Grih hot on their heels, Ellie finds herself the catalyst for heightened danger to everyone. The Tecran see her as evidence of their military’s crimes, the Grih see her as a massive diplomatic complication, and her presence brings the whole confrontation up several thousand notches.

But Ellie isn’t alone, and her new friend has ways to help her. Time to outclass them all . . .

This was fun and fast-paced, and just what I was hoping for after a streak of bad reading picks. I also liked this better than book 4.

I loved Ellie and the little droids. I thought Diener did a good job conveying all the AIs as somewhat childlike but also capable, so their participation in the action didn’t feel inappropriate.

The romance was light in this one, more of a building attraction that they commit to following through on.

I really liked Ellie’s handling of the ending.

The bonus epilogue was a neat little addition, which I appreciated was from Ellie’s POV, but also thought was wise not to include in the main book. It was meatier than I expected, and gave a nice round-off to the series, tying up political loose ends, bringing all the couples together, and setting up the future for them.

Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read Her Warrior from the Stars

Read Fated Mates of the Atari by AG WildeAG Wilde

When I get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to go on a luxury space cruise, I jump at it.
This cruise is the beginning of something amazing, and nothing is going to stop me from going.
But when things go wrong shortly after departure, it’s clear I have made a mistake.
Suddenly thrown into a world where I have no way of defending myself, the last thing I expect is an Atari warrior coming to my rescue.
This cruise has been full of surprises…but the Atari is the biggest one of all.
A version of this story was previously published in the Claimed Among the Stars Anthology. This extended version includes 30K words more of story and fun.

I read the short version of the story in Claimed Among the Stars.

There was a substantial amount of gore in this. I was not necessarily expecting descriptions of blood splashing on her face in my romance 😬

This story has a twist in that all the women in it were physically disabled. There’s some horrifying commentary on ableism that Earth is given an opportunity to offload some of its most burdensome and it’s all disabled women 🤦‍♀️

What I find confusing in this story and many like it is that the worldbuilding is pretty progressive (there’s also health care commentary), but the relationship is mega heteronormative — the hero coming to rescue fair maiden who he’s never met from a horrible life as an alien sex slave 🙄

It irritates me that the women are always sold into sex slavery. Yes, ok, that’s the worst thing that could happen to you (though this story tried to one-up it 👀), but it’s tropey and gross.

I imagine expanding this story (as the author has done) would give more opportunity for the heroine to befriend the other women she meets. Unfortunately it sounds like the revision altered the romantic relationship to a fated mates sitch, which I frankly had appreciated that the relationship was *not* in the version I read. I wonder if she thought she could get away without it in an anthology, but caved to market demand for the full length book she’s selling on its own?

Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read 2 Claimed Among the Stars novellas

Read Claimed Among the Stars

Hearts in zero gravity are free to fall, and destiny awaits unsuspecting heroines far across the galaxy. Whether you love a trip that’s nice and easy or dark and intense, this collaboration of more than fifty bestselling authors is guaranteed to please.

Scarlett and the Alien Savage by Liz Paffle 
Tarzan in space. Heroine somehow dense as a brick. Mystical “important” artifacts didn’t really pay off. Very abrupt ending that I didn’t think worked.

Reaver’s Kiss by Elin Wyn 
Liked this well enough though it ended suddenly. I was surprised that no one in his community came to look for him, and they took months (I assume since she learned his language and they tanned leather to make clothes) to figure out a way off the “island.” Their encounter with alien tech didn’t turn into anything.

Categories
Romance

Read Convergence

Read Convergence (Intersolar Union #1)

Olivia Loxley was a behaviorist with the Los Angeles Police Department. Until her specialty in profiling the human mind becomes of unique interest to Commander Atarian, that is.

When she wakes up in a cell on an alien spacecraft, she gathers her strength for a confrontation that never materializes. Instead, the man asks for her help in the largest raid he’s ever overseen: a pleasure cruiser christened the Paramour, which has been siphoning humans into galactic sex trafficking for months. But in order for his mission to go off without a hitch, he needs to impersonate a connoisseur of human flesh.

The real question is, will either of them be able to keep up professional boundaries? Or will they bow to their primal instincts?

Enjoyed this, will read the next book. The author did a great job with *alien* alien species, and deftly showed how the heroine adapted to being around aliens and thinking of them as people. The side characters are fun and have distinct personalities. I liked how they all immediately recognized her intelligence and skill and happily accepted her help, although they coulda helped her out with a little more info sometimes.

The opening setup was tough, I didn’t love that he abducted her even with noble intent, especially knowing that she wouldn’t be able to return. He did come to regret it and apologize, and she came to grips with it in a way that fit. It seems like he probably should have gotten in more trouble? (Ah, I see that the followup novella addresses this.)

The author really draws out the sexual tension. I understood why he didn’t just talk to her, but also, just talk to her dude.

Minor quibble that the ending drama wasn’t explained well / kinda came out of nowhere, but I presume it will be addressed as the books proceed.

Categories
Science Fiction

Read Stolen by the Alien Rogue

Read Stolen by the Alien Rogue (Fated Mates of the Zaarn, #0.5)

He’s a demon alien with a wicked smile and an even wickeder tail. And he claims I’m his fated mate.

Space was supposed to be better than my sitch on Earth. Yeah, right. I shoulda known. I wake from cryosleep surrounded by blobby aliens, unable to understand a word. They even throw me in a cage! Looks like I’m the newest pet in an alien zoo.

Then a gorgeous blue demon, complete with horns and tail, steals me from my cell. We go on the run, playing charades to communicate as we con our way through one sticky situation after another.

Zol’s hot as sin. He looks at me like no one ever has, like I’m the most precious thing in the universe. Growing up on the streets, I’ve learned to trust my instincts, and they say he’s the real deal. As things heat up between us and danger closes in, it turns out Zol wants to steal one more thing. My heart.

Stolen by the Alien Rogue is a steamy alien romance featuring a charming alien mercenary who’s all in and the street-smart heroine tempted to gamble on love. Strap in for a fun ride filled with adventure and toe-curling steam! This novella contains a complete love story with a HEA.

New to me author. I got her first newsletter and cackled at the sample text so I decided to give this free novella a try.

This is short but successful at telling a complete story in a tight space. I would have liked a little more backstory and explanation of how she wound up here but think it worked without it. Some funny parts and a cute telepathic pet. A variety of alien species hinted at a broader world.

I was hoping for a little more leadership from the street smart heroine, though she was plucky in following along. I appreciated that she was easy-going about everything — it seems like many SFR heroines get wound up in how weird and different everything is, while Frankie accepted right away that this was just another culture. There were a few references to sinning and wickedness that to me didn’t fit the character all that well but didn’t overwhelm or define her experience.

Categories
Humor Romance Science Fiction

Read Krash

Read Krash (Dakonian Alien Mail Order Brides, #7)

When a dating agency claims to match Earth women with extraterrestrials, fraud investigator Cyan Blue goes undercover as a client to expo…

A funny premise to this novella. Love the skeptic assuming everyone is just really good at cosplay when they’re all aliens 😂

Had to roll my eyes at a line that has the skeptical heroine who debunks supernatural claims trashing on atheists. Um, really? Doesn’t believe in anything else without evidence but believes in God? 🙄 That’s the author going for a cheap laugh.

The misunderstanding at the end was a bit contrived. I also thought her affections towards him built too quickly, but that is common in novellas 🤷‍♀️

I kept waiting for her name, Cyan Blue, to be revealed as her undercover name, but it was real? 🤔 A beta reader should have called that out.

Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read The Rebel and the Rogue

Read The Rebel and the Rogue (Interstellar Brides Program, #…

Zenos, from the Astra Legion of Rogue 5, is on a mission to find an antidote to the deadly venom flowing through his body. Without the antidote, one bite during mating will kill a hybrid Forsian’s chosen female. Zenos must acquire the serum at any cost, for like his Atlan cousins, his mating instinct will eventually consume him. The last thing he needs is a distraction, but one look at the defiant female bounty hunter and he can’t deny his body what she’s offering—a few wild hours of pleasure.

Ivy Birkeland’s entire ReCon unit was annihilated as a result of Quell, a mind-altering drug the pirates of Rogue 5 are known to distribute. A rebel to her core, her heart still broke when she was forced to walk away from her life as a Coalition fighter. Now she hunts a bounty that will allow her to catch the criminals selling Quell and avenge her dead friends. Free of the Coalition Fleet’s strict regulations, she makes a deal with an unknown Rogue 5 operative to gain access to his home planet and travels to Transport Station Zenith to meet him.

When Ivy’s smoking hot, one-night-stand turns out to be her Rogue 5 contact, every carefully-laid plan she’s made goes to hell. Because when a rebel and a rogue are forced to work together, sparks will fly. They don’t need the criminals to kill them, they just might finish each other…if they don’t fall in love first.

I wanted to better understand the hero’s deep rooted fear, which seemed pretty foolish to keep by the end.

I feel like she needed a little more to get over her self loathing, I wasn’t totally convinced she’d come to terms with her modifications. Or that everyone else would be down with them once they found out how she got them.

I didn’t like how she reacted in the final battle when she realized she was outmatched.

This was pretty steamy — they didn’t have a meet cute, they had a meet hot 😂🔥 Yet tamer than some of her other books considering there’s only one love interest?

Categories
Art and Design Science Fiction

Science fiction visual worldbuilding with AI

Liked THE VESARION-3 AI PROJECT by Jesse Rockwell (jesserockwell.com)

THE FIRST DISCOVERY OF INTERSTELLAR INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE YEAR 2026

Being that the Neo-Texzalius civilization is at least a thousand years more advanced than the human race, there is much we can learn from their technological, and spacefaring achievements. Earth Scientists aim to forge a working relationship to acquire these advanced and extremely capable technologies, which will serve a huge benefit to humanity.

I like the consistent style throughout the project, the old book/journal look with ink illustrations somewhat a la Leonardo da Vinci. The organic art nouveau inspired drawings suit AI generation, as does the alien civilization theme, which can both probably be visually more forgiving of weirdness in rendering. The muted color palette with mostly blue and red/orange looks good. Reminds me a bit of Dinotopia in approach. A hint of Shaun Tan in the dreamlike world vibe? The architecture is at once grandiose, classic, and confusing without seeming threatening. Kinda like the statue world in Piranesi, wings and wings of ever so slightly different style and layout.

Art by Jesse Rockwell