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?

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.

Romance Science Fiction

Read Plummeting Hearts

Read Octavia Kore Books | Venora Mates

Venora Mates is dealing with a war with the Grutex and humanity in which we are losing. Venora Mates Series Guardians Of Inore Guardians of Inore is a spin off from Kept from the Deep.…

Another novella from Claimed Among the Stars.

New to me author, would read again.

I appreciated that this took the tropes of sci-fi romance and expanded on them: yes she’s a nurse, and so are the love interests; yes there’s a mating fever, and they both hold out through pain to be sure there’s full consent and they can include the third partner; yes there’s two men and a woman, and the men are in love before ever meeting her, not just in love with her; yes there are fated mates, and they choose their third who’s not fated; yes they crash land from a space cruise, and are with a group of other survivors who they work with to help.

Feels like real representation of the Filipino character, pulling in pieces of Filipino culture and lore.

Also introduces an intriguing world that’ll probably be a spinoff series — it’s not explained enough (why haven’t the aliens powered up their fancy old tech in so long?), but feels alien in nature.

Romance Science Fiction

Read The Bodyguard’s Deception

Read The Bodyguard’s Deception

Abducted and offered as a prize in a twisted card game tournament, Cass’s life has taken a serious turn for the worse. If only her gorgeous bodyguard wasn’t just keeping her safe for her new lord and master. If only there was somewhere on a cruise ship she could run.

Sharr is on a dangerous undercover mission for the Protectorate. His handler told him it would be difficult, but nothing could have prepared him for Cass. Help is on its way, but if anyone tries to lay a hand on her, Sharr might just burn his mission – and the entire cruise ship – down to keep her safe.

Another story set on a space cruise ship — is this an inside joke from the participating authors in the Claimed Among the Stars anthology, or is that just the hot thing everyone wants to read?

Enjoyed the story, I’d read another book by the author. Some worldbuilding things left unclear — why do they think touch is shameful? — but fine for a novella.

Romance Science Fiction

Read Rescued by the Luxirian

Read Zoey Draven Books | Warriors of Luxiria by Zoey DravenZoey Draven

Another novelette from Claimed Among the Stars anthology. I’ve seen another of this author’s books recommended but it looked like a Dothraki clone and I couldn’t do it.

This started on the humorous side, though got more serious towards the end. The opening seemed overwritten, I stopped noticing after a while though.

It’s unfortunate I randomly chose this one to read right after Press Pound for Refund, which I really enjoyed — both involved a humourous crash landing on a jungle planet (a very common trope in SFR to be sure — but I am a little concerned the anthology may have a lot of similar stories) and as always horned alien hottie, and waiting for a pick-up. This one involved a reclusive billionaire who has single handedly built a luxury home in the middle of the jungle and allows no one else on the planet because he literally bought it.

This wasn’t bad but I preferred the other. I may give some of her other books a try since she is like a Top 100 name in Kindle Unlimited romance.

Romance Science Fiction

Read Press Pound for Refund

Read books | V.K. Ludwig

Another from Claimed Among the Stars. Took about an hour to read, so guessing novelette?

New to me author, I’ll definitely try another of their books.

This was funny and light hearted and dirty in one, with some fun adventuring and emotional vulnerability thrown in. Always love me a gender role reversal — the heroine knows a bunch of survival skills from her work for “Doctors Across Galaxies,” and the hero defers to her expertise. The heroine’s dyslexia plays an important role in the plot, isn’t just set dressing.

Sex work positivity ftw AND childfree positivity! I love that his “tail claw” is thought of as vestigial yet functions as a machete, and the first thing the heroine says is “I heard you can get a girl off with those nudge nudge wink wink” 😂

Romance Science Fiction

Read Releasing Maladek

Read Claimed Among the Stars

From the anthology Claimed Among the Stars. Good night, 5700 pages for $3!? I might pay that for a single story 😳 Mostly authors I don’t recognize but hopefully will find some new ones I like.

No listing for it but I think it’s a novella.

Follows a character from the previous book, Using Fejo, who was kind of a bad guy but redeems himself, and there’s also more background to his choices.

Enjoyed this. Hero was a little aggro to start but calmed down once he got over his shock. Heroine maybe forgave him a little too quickly for tieing her up and gagging her, even if it was to keep her safe. Liked the climax scene, shit really hits the fan but the heroine is very brave and proactive (even if the hero’s physical feats strain credulity). Steamy 🔥

I kind of imagined a purple Hellboy, with the sawed off horn thing 😂

Comics Fantasy

Read Wayward Kindred

Read Wayward Kindred

They say that blood is thicker than water, but you may wish it weren’t, if your mom has to drink animal blood to survive. Home is where the heart is, even if your sister lives in another city–and is a shape-changing monster. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so how can you know who you’re supposed to be if your parents are a human and a vampire?

Edited by Allison O’Toole (Wayward Sisters), Ashanti Fortson (Heartwood) and Kat Vendetti (Rolled & Told), Wayward Kindred looks at the different ways we can relate to our families, for better or for worse. Inside you’ll find stories of grief and loss, understanding and reconciliation, and telecom contracts, all featuring monsters ranging from the gruesome to the adorable.

A good collection of indie comics! I liked almost all of them. Diverse art styles and stories covering a wide range of “monsters” from authors of all gender identities.


Read Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us

Read Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us

In 2008, Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota launched the auto-bio webcomic Johnny Wander. Eight years, four cats, and three moves are chronicled in this gorgeous hardcover omnibus, which includes a foreword by Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Ghosts). Hirsh and Ota’s charming reverie about new adulthood will appeal to fans of Kate Beaton, Bryan Lee O’Malley, and Jeffrey Brown along with anyone who’s just winging it.

Cute but not super compelling. Kind of a cozy read with fun quirky characters. Was hoping for a little bit more structure or arc overall — I get the impression this is an omnibus complete collection, but maybe some judicious rearrangement of related stories and culling of some comics might have made it more cohesive. Liked the art though wasn’t crazy about the halftone shading where it was used, made it harder to read. I wasn’t sure what the different colors were supposed to indicate — a new year? a new season?

Comics Mental Health

Read Sensory: Life on the Spectrum

Read Sensory: Life on the Spectrum by Edited by Schnumn

Sensory: Life on the Spectrum is a comic anthology about living with autism. It’s a 160 page book made up of comics by over 30 different autistic creators, all telling their personal experiences of what it’s like to be autistic in a world that doesn’t always accept you.

A wide variety of art styles from 44 different autistic artists. I am not autistic but have read a fair bit about autism.

My favorite pieces were from Bex @schnumn, Emma @moodypidge, Joel Svensson @Mr. Squidgereen’s “Fly,” @Hexed_Boy, Dominique Morris @deenewtsoda’s “Halfway,” Lindsay Miller @seacowsoda’s “Clothing Language,” Tea @xteacupx’s “(just a few) Tips for Autistic Adult Life!” and Taylor Reynolds @taylorreyonlds13’s piece on autistic joy.

I especially liked the art from Bex @schnumn, Emma @moodypidge, Joel Svensson @Mr. Squidgereen, Alex @one_in_hundred, and Dominique Morris @deenewtsoda.

I think this would be a very good introduction for someone who hasn’t read much about autism / mostly understands what autism is from movies and TV but realizes that there is more to it than that, and wants to understand what actually autistic people think and feel about being autistic.

Some of the pieces seemed to have very similar messages, and I wish there had been a little bit more editorial guidance for a bit more diversity, but I can also see the value in inclusivity here and letting artists choose their own theme, even if many echoed the same thing. As someone wanting to learn more about how to support autistic people, I would have appreciated a little more specificity in the pleas for understanding — people’s hurt comes through clearly, but not always what would help. Happily a few authors with longer pieces delved a bit deeper.

I found it a little confusing at first that most pieces didn’t have a title / heading. A lot of the pieces were only one or two pages, so I understand why most didn’t have that, but I would have liked having at least the author’s name on each piece rather than cross-referenced at the front.