Pets in Space is a collection of science fiction romance short stories which feature, you guessed it, pets in space. The best part of short story collections is the fact that you get introduced to numerous authors in one book. It is a great way to see if you enjoy the author’s writing and may lead to reading other works by that author. The romantic pairings are well written in this collection and are complemented by the inclusion of their furry friends. As the introduction claims, every alien needs a pet.
A Mate for Matrix by S.E. Smith
A Mate for Matrix introduces us to sexy alien cyborg Matrix Roma and Jana Dixon, an endearing veterinarian assistant with a heart of gold. While Matrix is on planet Earth on a mission for the Cyborg Protection Unit, his lost cyborg wolf hybrid K-9 is hit by a truck and taken in by Jana. K-9 is not the first animal she has given a home. She also has three kittens named Butter, Honeybun and Biscuit. Will Matrix be able to find them in time and save them from his dangerous mission?
I thoroughly enjoyed this short story by S.E. Smith. It was a good story to lead with considering it could appeal to both cat and dog lovers. The passion between Matrix and Jana simmers off the page and their pets add humorous and protective layers to the story. At the end of the short story, S.E. Smith left an author’s note indicating this is a prequel and there will be more books to the Zion Warriors series. I look forward to reading more in this series by this talented sci-fi romance author.
Stray by Susan Grant
Stray by Susan Grant begins with a unique prologue written from a dog’s point of view. The dog turns out to be Bang-Bang, a starving street dog rescued by Interplanetary Marine Lt. Lukas Frank. Bang-Bang repays his savior by pulling him over to meet starpilot Capt. Carlynn Riga. The couple have a love-at-first-sight type of whirlwind romance; that is, until Carlynn goes missing.
There is no doubt that Susan Grant can weave an intriguing love story with tangible characters but her most notable strength is the way she addresses post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in her short story. She handles the sensitive topic in a way which makes her characters honest, raw and above all, real. Bang-Bang is an adorable addition to the story. His protective, playful and loyal nature truly make him man’s best friend.
Spark of Attraction by Cara Bristol
Captain Dante Stone is the cyborg captain on the spaceship the Crimson Hawk. He is considered as emotionally cold as his last name implies, until he comes face-to-face with the traumatized colonists they rescued from an alien attack on Verde Omega. One refugee in particular named Miranda Lowell, and her robot dog Sparky, seem to invade his thoughts often. He tries to keep a professional distance until mysterious occurrences on the ship slowly bring them together.
I enjoyed the strong and silent hero and the intelligent and resilient heroine in this story. It was also interesting to see the use of a robotic pet, which I could imagine being common in the futuristic setting of Spark of Attraction. Cara Bristol did a superb job of weaving in an element of mystery in this science fiction romance short story. The romance, characters, plot and world building were well done, considering the author had to do it in seven chapters. I would be interested in reading more of Cara Bristol’s cyborg series.
Star Cruise: Stowaway by Veronica Scott
Owen Embersson is the Cargo Master on the space cruise ship Nebula Zephyr and the caretaker of the ship’s two pets named Midorri and Moby. When Midorri and Mody discover a stowaway and Owen helps to save her life, it changes his life in ways he never thought possible. Be prepared for a science fiction romance filled with a mix of magic and danger.
The stowaway, Tyrelle, is the character which intrigued me the most. She is a supernatural alien described as a beauty with green skin and hair. The dialogue for Tyrelle was written well, showing she knows the language of the ship but appears to speak it with an accent. She has a gentle and healing nature which does not seen to be marred by her turbulent past. She is the perfect distraction for lonely workaholic Owen. Star Cruise: Stowaway was a pleasurable read with a well built world and characters which draw you in from page one. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Scott.
The Real Dragon by Pauline Baird Jones
The Real Dragon features Emma Standish and her talking bearded dragon named Peddrenth. The dragon went missing on the day her mother died and returns on the day her dad announces he is getting remarried. Add in an alien boyfriend that she doesn’t seem to remember and it all gets quite complicated.
In a collection of stories, it is bound to happen. There is going to at least one story that does not tickle your fancy. Unfortunately, The Real Dragon was that story for me. It was difficult for me to get beyond the point when Emma was talking with someone from her past. They had a long conversation that hashed out the details of their history and the day Emma lost her mother and it slowed the pace of the story. There are others who may read this collection and say this one is their favorite one. Everyone’s preferences are unique and I would recommend still giving this one a shot when you read the short story collection.
Spike by Alex Glynn Later
Spike by Alex Glynn Later is the story of Roboticist Ten Jaxdown and mission designer Anastasia Steed. Ten is designing investigative robots for a rescue mission planned by Anastasia and the two grow close while working together on the mission. When faced with sabotage, will they be able to save the mission and their budding relationship?
There were parts of this short story by Alex Glynn Later that I did enjoy, but there were other parts that were too difficult to get past. First off, for those readers (like me) who are not technical or engineer minded, the descriptions of the robot building may be hard to follow. Secondly, there is a well planned build up of the relationship between Ten and Anastasia, until it seems to fall flat when Anastasia keeps her distance the night before the mission.
Anastasia tells her friend she won’t have sex with anyone before marriage because she is “Old Catholic”, referring to a religion left behind on Earth. I respect her choice but there is no harm in a little cuddling or kissing before the mission. It was a letdown for me and I chose to move on to the next short story. As I mentioned with The Real Dragon, there will be readers who may find this is their favorite one of the collection. Everyone’s tastes vary and it would be worth it to give this short story a chance before deciding whether or not it is your cup of tea.
StarDog by Laurie A. Green
Snakes on a spaceship are a curse turned into a blessing when they bring Adini and Katrina, a StarDog, into Navigator Taro Shall’s life. Laurie A. Green’s short story includes corrupt governments, underground rebels, family drama, a pet who is as intelligent as she is adorable and of course, plenty of romance.
StarDog was strong enough to draw me back in after not being sold by the prior two short stories. Thank you Ms. Green! It was interesting to see a close look at a spaceport, a concept that is mentioned in many science fiction romance novels but is not always fleshed out. The hesitation by the characters was realistic given their past experiences but it did not slow the pace of the story. It kept me hooked and reading, wanting to know what would happen to Adini and Taro, or even Katrina.
Space Ranger by Lea Kirk
Space Ranger by Lea Kirk is the story of alien Graig Roble, human Simone Campbell and their dog Ranger. Graig and Simone develop a relationship while Graig is stationed on Earth to assist the humans after an attack by another alien species. Unfortunately they are separated when Graig is drawn back to the Atlantis by his job as a security commander for the Guardian Fleet. Will he realize his prior life and duties no longer hold any appeal without Simone before it is too late?
Based on Lea Kirk’s choice of plot and characters for Space Ranger, she understands the importance of short stories as a way to draw in new readers. She can consider that mission complete. As soon as I finished reading her short story in Pets in Space, I purchased her book Prophecy (Book 1 in her Prophecy series). Ms. Kirk provided enough of a glimpse of the cherished characters featured in her Prophecy series to make me, and hopefully other readers, want to read more about them.
Escape Run by Carysa Locke
Teegan is a part of the Talented, a species created for their valuable powers and gifts. She is a hunter who can track down others, along with her gifted pet fox named Ember. When Cole comes to Teegan for help hunting down someone from their past, can they both keep their feelings out of the mission?
It is easy to see why they put Carysa Locke’s short story Escape Run at this spot in the lineup; they were saving the best for last. Carysa Locke, the pen name for a friend writing duo, is the reason I chose to read Pets in Space. I have read and enjoyed this author’s other books. I highly recommend the Telepathic Space Pirates series, which includes Pirate Bound (a prequel, book #0.5), Pirate Nemesis (book #1) and Pirate Consort (book #2) which is expected to be released in December 2016.
I hope my review was helpful. I highly recommend Pets in Space, a short story collection which includes nine talented authors. Science fiction romance stories are always enjoyable but when you add loyal pets in the mix, it takes the plots to a whole new level. Enjoy!
*I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reading copy if this book.
Kate is the last of her kind. The Native Americans who had formed a truce with her family called them lumpeguin, but you may know them better as mermaids. At the beginning of the novel we find Kate living on Lake Erie, collecting colored beach glass to make jewelry for her shop called The Glass Mermaid. She seems content to work away the rest of her days at that shop; that is, until she meets Cooper, the handsome and shy painter who paints the Lake Erie sunsets while she collects her colored beach glass along the shore.
The Glass Mermaid by Poppy Lawless is a beautiful tale of two pained souls who have the potential to mend each other. Ms. Lawless does not make it easy of course. The ‘will they/won’t they’ hook and the way she slowly weaves the secrets of their past and present into the story will give your page turning finger quite the workout. Ms. Lawless has successfully created two complex and intriguing characters who could carry a story all on their own, but when put together cast pure book magic. I have lived in eastern Pennsylvania all my life and have surprisingly never visited Lake Erie in the northwestern corner of the state. Poppy Lawless’ exquisite descriptions of the location make me want to venture there someday.
I discovered The Glass Mermaid through an instaFreebie promotion a fellow author posted on social media. The stunning cover caught my attention with its use of a sun exposure affect on an image of a girl sitting on a lake dock. Plus, The Little Mermaid has always been my favorite Disney movie. Who doesn’t love a good mermaid tale, or wish they had their own mermaid tail? The Glass Mermaid reveals a bit of a dark side to being a mermaid in modern times but it only adds to the depth of this lovely novel. To claim your free copy of The Glass Mermaid, please click here.
The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride, Book 1 of the Nocturne Falls series by Kristen Painter, was another Book Bub discovery for me. If you have not signed up for Book Bub, what are you waiting for? You get free notifications about free or cheap eBooks in your favorite genres. It’s a bookworm’s dream come true! But back to the book review. When I first saw the cover, the bright pink and black color combination drew me in. I hadn’t read about vampires since the Twilight Saga kicked off the fad and then left it to fizzle. I knew there was a chance it would be cheesy but it was free to download to Kindle so I figured I would give it a try. Boy, am I glad I did! I read the entire book in one day. One. Day. I couldn’t put it down. Then to my relief, I looked up the author on Goodreads.com and realized there are five more books and several novellas in the series to keep me occupied.
Nocturne Falls, the namesake and location for the series, is a place where tourists go to celebrate Halloween 365 days per year. Little do they know, the supernaturals roaming town are not an act and really are who they seem. After Delaney witnesses her mobster boss murdering someone, she runs for her life to Nocturne Falls in the guise of a mail order bride. Hugh is a 377 year old vampire who is determined not to marry again after the death of his first wife centuries ago, but he agrees to meet with the woman chosen for him by a matchmaking agency to appease is grandmother. Sparks fly when the human and vampire meet but the most interesting part of the story is watching them confront the unveiling of secrets and dealing with the hurdles thrown their way. Their relationship is put to the test in a short amount of time which makes the romance scenes even more rewarding.
In addition to quirkiness and fluffy paranormal love, this story has a strong comedic thread weaved throughout. The witty banter between the characters was amusing and kept me wanting to turn the page to see what they would say next. A part of me wishes Nocturne Falls was real so I could move there or, at the very least, take a road trip. A good book makes you homesick for places you have never been and this book did just that. After finishing The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride I am homesick for the little Halloween town of Georgia and now plan to read the next books in quick succession. Based on the book descriptions, the secondary characters I fell in love with in the first book will get their time in the spotlight as the series progresses. I can’t wait! With Halloween right around the corner, I can’t think of a more fun read to enjoy leading up to everyone’s favorite fall holiday.
After Tyris’ wife files for divorce, he goes on a dangerous mission with the hope of winning her back. He crash lands on Zerris, a planet removed from the map of the Colonies after it was supposedly destroyed, and discovers it is inhabited by a small village. He also learns it holds the valuable fuel resource he was looking for, but with a damaged ship he can’t make it back to the Colonies to announce his discovery. As winter sets in, he must depend on the hospitality of Marlee, a beautiful and caring woman who may need his help as well.
Marlee has lived on Nerris her whole life. Her mother was pregnant with her when she made the journey to Nerris after their home planet of Semala was hit by an asteroid. Unfortunately, the gas on the planet has rendered many people infertile and they face the danger of not being able to repopulate. The Council tries to overcome this dilemma by dictating that everyone change partners if the pairing does not result in a pregnancy within eighteen months. When Tyris crash lands on Nerris, Marlee takes him into her home as a way to avoid being forced to pick a new partner. In the cold of a Nerris winter, will sparks fly?
I discovered the Barren Planet series by Rinelle Grey when I received an email from Book Bub (I highly recommend this site for any book lover) advertising the first book was available to download for free from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The cover was visually stunning and the plot intrigued me. I figured why not, I will give it a shot. Reckless Rescue sucked me in from the first chapter and I read the remaining books in the series in quick succession. Reckless Rescue gives off a M. Night Shyamalan's The Village vibe but adds a science fiction twist to it. It has the village which functions like centuries past, building their own shelter and growing their own food, while the rest of society lives in modern times. The Council rules over the village but the difference is, the younger generation is aware of those living modernly elsewhere and that brings an interesting challenge to the story.
The part about planet Nerris being removed from the Colony maps gave me a flashback to Obi-Wan Kenobi of Star Wars searching for a lost planet and discovering it had been deleted from the archives. There is so much for science fiction romance fans to adore in this series. It is no secret, I love character driven stories. The writing can be phenomenal and the plot complex, but if the characters do not feel real I will not read on. The characters of Reckless Rescue are well developed and it is easy to become attached to them all, even the minor ones. You will be rooting for Marlee, Tyris and all their friends with the turn of every page. After Reckless Rescue, one book will not be enough. Luckily there are three more books in the series: Reckless Rebellion, Reckless Recon and Reckless Remedy. I highly recommend the Barren Planet series by Rinelle Grey. Check it out!
Carysa Locke’s Telepathic Space Pirate series is one of a kind. Maybe it is because I am new to this niche genre but I have never read anything like it. Ever. After being a bookworm for practically a quarter century and seeing recycled plot after recycled plot, this series was a breath of fresh air. I know they say “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but the covers for Carysa Locke’s books are absolutely stunning and the content does not disappoint. If the fact that the series is about telepathic space pirates (how cool is that?) won’t grab your attention, hopefully my review will.
The series begins with Pirate Bound, a prequel novella which introduces us to Dem and Sanah and the pirates aboard the Nemesis. Sanah and her younger sister are on the run from their brother who is hell bent on using their telepathic powers for ill gains. When a ship takes chase, Sanah is surprised to find it is not her brother’s but does not stick stick around long enough to find out the motives of their pursuers. The Nemesis does not give up that easily. A telepathic connection is made between Sanah and Dem and she needs to decide whether or not to trust him and his fellow pirates. As they say, the rest was history.
After reading Pirate Bound I was automatically hooked and moved right along to book one of the series, Pirate Nemesis. Sanah and Dem do appear in this book, as well as other beloved characters from Pirate Bound, but the main focus is on Mercy and Reaper. You may wonder what in the heck kind of name is Reaper. Let me explain. The telepathic characters in the series all have specific talents, mostly inherited from their parents. For example, Sanah is an empath and can read emotions and Reaper is what the pirates call a Killer. He can use his talents to determine the easiest and quickest way to kill someone. Don’t worry, Mercy is one tough woman and she handles Reaper just fine. More than fine actually (wink wink). You want to download it now, don’t you? I knew it!
In the author's note of Pirate Nemesis, Carysa Locke (the pseudonym for writing team Carysa Locke and MaLea Holt) indicates there are more books planned for this series. A recent update from the author estimates a December release date for the sequel Pirate Consort. While you wait, you can also check out the short story called Hunter Bond in Romancing the Stars: 8 Short Stories of Galactic Romance and Adventure. Sanah, Dem, Reaper and others make an appearance. When I fall in love with a series I just can’t seem to get enough of the characters. Hunter Bond was a sweet way to see more of my new favorite pirates. For action, romance, sci-fi, suspense and more, check out the Telepathic Space Pirate series by Carysa Locke!
Please note: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Heir and the Human by Siobhan Davis is a bonus novella of the Saven series written from the point of view of Axton a.k.a Ax, who readers met in Saven Denial (Saven book #2.5). It also includes other Saven series favorites such as Sadie, Logan, Izzy and Dali, and introduces Blaze among other new characters. It is the most emotionally charged piece of the series and I can now see why the author admitted to her street team that she cried while writing it. Based on the timeline of the series, the events in The Heir and the Human (Saven series #3.1) technically occur before the events of Saven Denial, however, I would recommend reading Saven Denial first to better understand the events in this novella.
When I fall in love with a series like I have with the Saven series, I simply cannot get enough of the characters. Bonus novellas are a perfect way to get my fix of additional page time with these beloved characters, get further insight into their backstories and get a clearer picture of the entertaining yet complex plot. The Heir and the Human will fulfill this need and more for fans of the series. I read the entire novella in one day, proving how much I craved more Ax page time. He is A+ fictional boyfriend material and the scenes between him and Sadie reflected some of the most authentically charged chemistry that I have read in a long.
The final chapter ripped my heart right out of my chest, but it was worth it to read more about Ax and Sadie. It is not that I don’t like Logan, the other love interest in the Saven books, I just prefer the type of relationship between Sadie and Ax. Logan and Sadie are a love and passion at first sight type of relationship. Ax and Sadie started as friends which seems to make their bond even deeper in their romantic relationship. Don’t worry, Sadie isn’t a cheater. The time travel and memory altering in the books makes sure of that. If you want to know what I mean by that, you better download the series ASAP. The Heir and the Human is another beautiful sci-fi masterpiece by the magnificent Siobhan Davis. I highly recommend it!
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
The Cliffhanger Queen has done it again!
Saven Defiance does not miss a beat. The action picks up right where it left off in Saven Denial. If Saven Denial is the book which reveals Sadie’s past, Saven Defiance is the book which reveals the past of the parental generation of the book series and I was surprised on all accounts. Twist after twist and secret after secret is exposed. But don’t worry, there is still a lot left open for the final book to be released in December. Thank the book gods that we only have to wait a few short months!
I loved seeing the main characters together again in this book. I felt the first few books of the series had them separated for a majority of the time covered. I understand that it had to be done for the storyline but I crave having the main crew all together. I adore Ax from Saven Denial and regardless of what went down in Saven Defiance, I am still rooting for him (#TeamAx). I adore Sadie too. She is a strong main character and I thoroughly enjoy experiencing the story from her point of view.
Although the galaxy is at war and there is violence and loss throughout the book (you have been warned *tear*), I am hesitant to call it the darkest of the series. There are bright moments, which I will not give away, and some blissfully happy scenes to balance it all out. It was exciting to get to experience different places throughout the galaxy. Siobhan does a superb job describing the characters’ surroundings so you can visualize the new planets and worlds being explored. Nothing like a good sci-fi romance with hot aliens and thrilling adventures through new galaxies to warm a bookworm’s nerdy heart.
Siobhan Davis has truly outdone herself with this one. She is easily one of my new favorite authors and all of her upcoming releases are already on my reading list. I can’t wait to read the last book of the Saven series and any extra novellas that come along. If you have not read the Saven series yet, check out Saven Deception (book #1) first, followed by Saven Disclosure (book #2), Saven Denial (book #2.5) and Saven Defiance (book #3) available August 22nd. I simply cannot get enough of this series. I highly recommend it!
Self-published author Siobhan Davis has taken the young adult science fiction genre by storm since she arrived on the scene in 2014. The True Calling Series, Siobhan Davis' publishing debut, proves writing is her true calling and leaving her successful corporate career was a risk worth taking. She writes sci-fi that can appeal to everyone, converting the non-believer one page at a time. Readers will soon fall in love with her intriguing characters and their worlds full of new planets to explore, telepathic powers, aliens, romance, action, memory erasing, controlling governments, epic futuristic technology; and the list goes on.
The True Calling Series follows the journey of Ariana Skyee, a teenager from Earth who is living on the planet Novo with her parents and siblings while training at the military academy. To help increase population on Novo, it is mandatory for residents to be matched through a government pageant style program when they reach the age of seventeen. While being forced into the pageant, Ariana is also confronted with dreams about a boy who appears to still be on Earth and the disappearance of her father. The more Ariana learns about this new world she lives in, the more she begins to question everything and everyone around her. This series has many secrets fans will take pleasure in unraveling with each installment.
The Saven Series by Siobhan Davis features Sadie Owens, an impoverished girl living in New York in a segregated and futuristic version of the United States. Sadie has always felt different, with her silver ash blonde hair and bright red lips, but never understood why. She applies to the Thalassic City pilot program to test life in the new underwater city hoping it will be the fresh start she has been yearning for. Unforeseen events will put her on a life course she never expected and she will begin to question everything she thought she knew about her world and beyond. Warning: this series contains hot, sexy aliens and readers will want to date one of their own by the final page.
The True Calling Series is a completed trilogy with the final book published in August 2015. A spin-off series with two books announced is expected in 2017. The Saven Series currently has fans hanging from a cliff courtesy of The Cliffhanger Queen with the final two installments expected by August and December of this year. Siobhan Davis is a fan-friendly author who loves to e-mail with her readers and interact with them on social media and Goodreads.com. By signing up for Siobhan Davis’ mailing list, you will receive several free eBooks, such as The True Calling Series bonus novellas Lovestruck and Light of a Thousand Stars. You can find her other eBooks available for download at Amazon.com. For more information, please visit the author’s official website here.
I am thankful for the opportunity I had to publish book reviews on Examiner.com for six years. Unfortunately the company decided to discontinue their news site but I have decided to post my book reviews here. Enjoy!