Five 20th century science fiction books I love

Five science fiction books that helped build my love for science fiction

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

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I read some of these books in the 20th century and others during the early years of the 21st century. The first three books on my list are space opera and/or military science fiction. The Postman is a post apocalyptic book and Doomsday Book is a time travel science fiction.

I plan to write a future post about 20th century classic science fiction authors I read as a teenager.

The main character in Once a Hero is Esmay Suiza who doesn’t come from a famous Navy family. However, she becomes the senior surviving officer during a space battle.

What happens after that makes for a good space opera/military science fiction. Elizabeth Moon writes some of my favorite science fiction.

I didn’t find out about the following two books until the early days of the internet in the 1990’s. At first I had to search for the books in used bookstores and libraries. Both of these books are in series which were started in the 1980’s and are still being written.

Conflict of Honors is one of the first books I read by Lee and Miller. The world the authors built in their books is so interesting. The Liadens are all about manners which might make someone think they’re weak, but that’s far from the truth. Much lies beneath the surface. Most of the books in the Liaden Universe series show one important Liaden family and the problems their honor can bring them both within Liad and with other races. I also like that there’s some romance in these books!

The Warrior’s Apprentice is the second book in The Vorkosigan Saga, but was the first one about Miles Vorkosigan. I was really impressed that Bujold wrote about a hero with physical limitations growing up on a warrior planet where physical strength is the measure of a man.

The Postman is a post apocalyptic book set in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. Since that’s where I grew up the book was especially interesting to me.

It’s the first post apocalyptic book I remember reading and it hit me hard–both because it’s setting was one I recognized and because I grew up during the Cold War. We worried a lot about Nuclear War in those days.

The Doomsday Book is one of my all-time favorites. I read it in the 1990’s and it has stuck with me ever since. The book takes place in the future when time travel is possible. The time traveler goes back to the time period of the Black Plague. All sorts of unexpected things happen both in the past and future. A wonderful, sometimes heartbreaking book.

Do you like to read science fiction? Have you read any of these or other books by these authors?

Connect 5 Friday: Self-published sci-fi/fantasy that needs more buzz

Self-published Scifi/fantasy authors who don’t always get the buzz they deserve

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

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This week I’m talking about five science fiction-fantasy books I’ve enjoyed recently from authors who either self-publish their books or publish them through a small independent publisher. (I have to admit I have trouble telling sometimes whether a book is self-published or the publishing name listed is the name of an independent publisher.) I think all these are self-published. If you know otherwise let me know.

I enjoy highlighting authors who aren’t as well-known as some of the authors who get lots of buzz and/or are published by the big publishing companies. Each of these authors write interesting, fun, well-edited and well-written books. I don’t always get reviews written, but I do want to give a shout-out to these authors.

Between Walls by W.R. Gingell

W.R. Gingell is one of my favorite writers. She mostly writes fantasies. I’ve read most of her books and always enjoy them.

The City Between series is one of my favorites. It’s an urban fantasy series and is a delight to read. Between Walls is number 6 in the series and was published at the end of May 2020.

The main character in the series is Pet who is cheeky and irreverent with a strict moral compass.

Ascending by Meg Pechenick

I’ve read both the books published so far in this series and really hope the author writes more books set in this universe.

Avery Alcott is a linguistic student who learns to speak the language of the aliens who came to Earth 25 years before and then abruptly vanished. When the Vardeshi return she’s recruited to go on a one year mission on one of their ships. She learns it’s not as simple as she had thought to become one of the crew on an alien ship.

Mantivore Dreams by S.J. Higbee

I really enjoy S.J. Higbee’s books. They have adventure, a protagonist to cheer for and usually a bit of romance.

She’s a good story teller and I’ve enjoyed each of the books she’s written. The third book in this series came out at the end of August.

This first book starts in a small village, but soon Kyrillia has to leave the village and many adventures ensue! It’s a fun book with a few twists and turns I didn’t expect!

First Flyght by S.J. Pajonas

Vivian is set to inherit the family business–a large farm. (Their society is matriarchal.) However, her brother has bankrupted the farm and the bank confiscates nearly everything.

Vivian follows leads to other planets in her search for her brother and the missing money. The series is full of adventure, many problems and some romance. Vivian is such a fun character and I really enjoy being inside her head!

Note: Some women in this society have more than one husband–often to build alliances. The first book mostly talks about Vivian’s need for consorts. However, by the third book there was more sex than I was comfortable with! (And I realize this is just how I felt–others may feel differently.)

I don’t mind romance and even some sex in a book, but find that too much sex often takes away from a story. I do enjoy the story the author is telling in these books and the characters are great–especially Vivian. And I do like the fact that Vivian has feelings for the men has sex with.

Termination Shock by Gillian Andrews

This is a good military science fiction. Ryler Mallivan is on a training ship that’s attacked. He has to step up to try to save his own life and other lives.

From there the book continues at a furious pace as this group of survivors find themselves having to try to save the universe. The characters are a diverse group that come together to create a crew that are loyal to each other.

Have you read any of these books? How did you like them? Do you like to read self-published authors?

My favorite books of the last decade

50 Favorite books from 2010 – 2019

Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy did her best books of the decade post which I thought was great so I’ve created my own. It was lots of fun to look back at the last 10 years and remember books I’ve loved. I’ve kept a spreadsheet of the books I’ve read every year since 2004 so I went back through my spreadsheets and picked out these books. I didn’t give all of them an A, but these are the ones that have stuck with me.

I’ve listed anywhere from three to six favorite books a year. These books span a number of genres and some are books published that year and some are books published years and years ago. I don’t review all the books I read so if I have a review for the book on my blog I will show a link after the book covers. (I started my blog during 2013 so there are no reviews before that.)

2019

Doggirl by Robin Brande

2018

What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

2017

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

2016

Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima

Cold in the Earth by Aline Templeton

In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany

2015

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

Lock In by John Scalzi

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Martian by Andy Weir

2014

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron

Iron Night by M.L. Brennan

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

2013

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Death Masks by Jim Butcher

The Touchstone Trilogy by Andrea K. Höst

2012

2011

2010

Have you read any of these books? How did you like them? Are any of them favorites of yours?

Books I hope to read during Fall 2019

Mysteries, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Time Travel–all for this fall!

That Artsy Reader Girl has hosted Top Ten Tuesday since January of 2018. This is a fun meme with specific topics each week. If you like to make lists and talk about books be sure to check it out.

These are books I hope to read during the fall of 2019. I have more than ten books because some of these books are books coming out this fall and some of the books are ones I already own or that I’m getting from the library.

Most of my choices are from favorite series or authors whom I’ve already read at least one book.

Books coming out during Fall 2019

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves, Two Rivers #1 (Mystery, Police Procedural)

Christmas Cow Bells by Mollie Cox Bryan, Buttermilk Creek #1 (Cozy Mystery, Christmas)

A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie, Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #18 (Mystery, Police Procedural)

Blind Search by Paula Munier, Mercy & Elvis Mysteries #2 (Mystery)

Dead Blow by Lisa Preston, Horseshoer Mystery #2 (Mystery)

False Value by Ben Aaronovitch, Rivers of London #8 (Urban Fantasy)

TBR Books

Poor Man’s Flight by Elliott Kay, Poor Man’s Flight #1 (Science Fiction, Military Science Fiction)

Last Boat to Camden Town by Paul Charles, Detective Inspector Christy Kennedy #1 (Mystery)

Please Don’t Feed the Mayor by Sue Pethick (Mystery)

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths, Ruth Galloway #9 (Mystery)

No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor, The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #5 (Science Fiction, Time Travel)

Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch, Rivers of London #7 (Urban Fantasy)

What books are you hoping to read this fall?

Review: The High Ground by Melinda Snodgrass

the high ground by Melinda snodgrassThe High Ground by Melinda Snodgrass

Series: Imperials #1

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Military SF

Setting: The Solar League

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2016

356 pages

Synopsis: Emperor’s daughter Mercedes is the first woman ever admitted to the High Ground, the elite training academy of the Solar League’s Star Command, and she must graduate if she is to have any hope of taking the throne. Her classmate Tracy has more modest goals — to rise to the rank of captain, and win fame and honor. But a civil war is coming and the political machinations of those who yearn for power threaten the young cadets. In a time of intrigue and alien invasion, they will be tested as they never thought possible. 

My thoughts

I enjoyed this book by Melinda Snodgrass a lot until the ending. I did think the ending was realistic, but it wasn’t the way I wanted it to end! So on the whole I enjoyed the book. It’s a story of cadets at the High Ground which is the elite training academy for officers in this world. At least one year of the training academy is required for the eldest son in each aristocratic family. A few students from the lower class are given scholarships each year. The aristocrats look down on them and scorn them whenever they can.

In this book Tracy is one of the scholarship students and he doesn’t want to go to the academy, but there aren’t really any other choices for him unless he wants to become a tailor like his dad. Also in this class of cadets the Emperor’s oldest daughter Mercedes is the first woman admitted to the academy. Her father has only daughters so he has gotten the laws changed that say that the succession only goes to the eldest son. Now his eldest daughter is named heir to the throne, but first she must graduate from the High Ground. Neither Tracy nor Mercedes want to be at High Ground, but they both have to persevere and succeed.

The beginning of the book gives foreshadowing of bad things to come for this empire from what looks like some sort of alien race. I don’t really know if that was necessary in this book. I guess by the end of the series I might know what I think of that.

There are many things I like about this book. I like that there are aliens in the book. These are races that were conquered by the empire. Most people in the empire treat them as though they aren’t very intelligent. They work as servants and have very little power. However, there’s lots of evidence in the book that they are much more than they seem.

Women are also treated much differently than men in this society. That’s because they need women to have large families to help increase the population. Women are expected to get married and have children. When Mercedes enters High Ground it causes all sorts of tremors through the empire. Women aren’t supposed to learn how to fight or how to govern an empire.

All in all, even though I didn’t like the ending too well this is a good book. And it caused me to think about government, society, aristocracy, hereditary government and groups of people who have little or no say about what happens to them. That’s not to say the book isn’t entertaining. It’s very entertaining and fun to read. After all, it’s my favorite science fiction genres combined–space opera and military science fiction!

My Rating: B

Have you read any books by this author?

Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Privilege of Peace by Tanya Huff

 

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months.

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

the-privilege-of-peace-by-tanya-huffThe Privilege of Peace by Tanya Huff

Series: Peacekeeper #3

Published by DAW

Publishing date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction

336 pages

Synopsis: Former space marine Torin Kerr returns for one final adventure to save the Confederation in the last book in the military science fiction Peacekeeper trilogy.

Warden Torin Kerr has put her past behind her and built a life away from the war and everything that meant. From the good, from the bad. From the heroics, from the betrayal. She’s created a place and purpose for others like her, a way to use their training for the good of the Confederation. She has friends, family, purpose.

Unfortunately, her past refuses to grant her the same absolution. Big Yellow, the ship form of the plastic aliens responsible for the war, returns. The Silsviss test the strength of the Confederation. Torin has to be Gunnery Sergeant Kerr once again and find a way to keep the peace. 

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Torin Kerr (the main character) is such a heroic character. I love reading about her. She’s not perfect and she has her own demons as well as finding it hard to fit in after the end of war. Tanya Huff has done a good job of showing the difficulties warriors and the military sometimes have fitting in to a “peace” society–especially one that isn’t as peaceful as it tries to appear.

This series is a continuation of her military science fiction Confederation series with many of the same characters including Torin Kerr. The second book of the this series really worked for me (better than the first Peacekeeper book) so I’m excited to read this book when it comes out.

A Peace Divided by Tanya Huff

A Peace Divided by Tanya Huff

Peacekeeper 2

Publication date: June 6

e-ARC (from NetGalley and the publisher)

–All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Military Science Fiction

The second book in the action-packed Peacekeeper series, a continuation of Tanya Huff’s military sci-fi Confederation series following Torin Kerr.

Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr had been the very model of a Confederation Marine. No one who’d ever served with her could imagine any circumstance that would see her walking away from the Corps.

Although the war is over, the fight goes on and the Justice Department finds its regular Wardens unable to deal with violence and the people trained to use it. Ex-Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr has a solution: Strike Teams made up of ex-military personnel, small enough to maneuver quickly, able to work together if necessary. Justice has no choice but to implement her idea and Torin puts her team of independent contractors back into uniform. It isn’t war, it is policing, but it often looks much the same.

When the scientists doing a preliminary archaeological dig on a Class Two planet are taken hostage, Torin’s team is sent to free them. The problem of innocents in the line of fire is further complicated by the fact that the mercenaries holding them are a mix of Confederation and Primacy forces, and are looking for a weapon able to destroy the plastic aliens who’d started and maintained the war.

If Torin weren’t already torn by wanting that weapon in play, she also has to contend with the politics of peace that have added members of the Primacy–former enemies–to her team. Before they confront the mercenaries, Torin will have to sift through shifting loyalties as she discovers that the line between”us” and “them” is anything but straight.

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My thoughts

I’ve read the first book in this series as well as the Confederation series where the saga of Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr began. Now she’s ex-Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr. Now she’s Warden Kerr and the Confederation is supposed to be at peace.

I love reading about Torin Kerr so I am very excited Huff has begun another series featuring Kerr and her compatriots. Kerr is no longer military. Now she and her team–mostly ex-military–are Wardens for the Justice Department. So even though the Confederation is at peace outbreaks of violence are not uncommon. The Confederation has the problem most governments have when they’ve been at war for years: a huge military is no longer needed so what happens to all the retired soldiers? How do they adapt? And if they can’t adapt what will they do to survive? This is exacerbated in the Confederation, because the three species known as the Younger Races (humans, Krai and di’Taykan) were brought into the Confederation specifically to fight the war for the original members of the Confederation who were too “evolved” to fight their own war. When the war ends with a whimper the Younger Races are unhappy since the Elder Races in the Confederation have always viewed them as too violent to have around. Groups like Humans First formed (they show up in An Ancient Peace–the first book in the Peacekeeper series).

I like that Huff shows Kerr has still not completely adapted to civilian life. She’s still troubled by all the death she’s seen–especially the deaths of her troops. She’s had counselling, she knows she still has problems, but like many soldiers she doesn’t like talking about her feelings or her innermost thoughts or problems. She’s doing better, but still has anger issues.

It is so nice that Huff has brought back a number of characters from the original series. Presit is one of my favorites. As always Presit is her lovable, annoying self. When she first appeared in the books I didn’t like her very much and she’s still annoying especially to Kerr, but she’s a fun character to read about. And she moves things along in the plot. Even though Kerr finds her annoying and doesn’t want the press and noncombatants along, Kerr and Presit have a grudging admiration for each other and like each other more than they admit.

It’s also great to see Craig still hanging in there with Kerr. He has his own problems he’s had to deal with. As a former civilian salvage operator he’s used to operating alone on a spaceship where he doesn’t see or interact with anyone for months at a time and no one invades his personal space. At one time he couldn’t tolerate anyone in his ship with him so he’s come a long way now that he’s a Warden and pilot of their ship. He is a counterpoint to Kerr’s military outlook. It is great to see both points-of-view.

I really like some of the Primacy forces who were the enemy in the original series–especially Firiv’vrak and Vertic–and hope we will see more of them in the future. Huff always does a good job making even the strangest sounding alien believable.

If you haven’t read any of the books in either the Confederation series (books 1 through 5) and the Peacekeeper series (books 1 and 2)  you could start with the Peacekeeper series, but don’t forego the pleasure of reading the Confederation series. So many adventures and so many twists plus the truth of war. Such good books!

My rating: B+

WWW Wednesday: April 26

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Taking on a World of Words. The idea is to answer the three questions below. For more information check out the Taking on a World of Words blog.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading

I’m not too far into this book yet, but so far I’m really enjoying it. Li at Me and My Books highly recommends this series and I’m finally starting to read it.

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #1

Science Fiction, Time Travel

“History is just one damned thing after another.”

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary’s, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don’t do ‘time-travel’ – they ‘investigate major historical events in contemporary time’. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power – especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document – to try and find the answers to many of History’s unanswered questions…and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back – to the death. And, as they soon discover – it’s not just History they’re fighting.

Recently finished

The new Peacekeeper series is a continuation of some of the characters and stories from one of my favorite series–the Confederation series. Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is the main character in both series. She’s human, but many other characters in the book aren’t. I really like how creative Tanya Huff is writing the many other species we encounter.

This is a NetGalley book and I will review it closer to the publication date. I did really enjoy it!

A Peace Divided by Tanya Huff

Peacekeeper #2

Military Science Fiction

Publication date: June 6

Reading next (perhaps)

I haven’t started The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, but perhaps I will in a few days. It’s an audiobook and we have had a lot of company lately so I haven’t had a chance to listen to any books for the past couple weeks. In fact, our son is coming to visit and we are taking him to see his grandpa and some other family members so we will be gone a couple of days so I may not get a chance link up this post on Wednesday. Since we’re leaving on Tuesday I might post this before we leave and then I think I can probably comment and link the post on my phone. I’ll give it a try!

A couple other books I want to start reading: Silent City by Carrie Smith and Gambrelli and the Prosecutor by Laurence Gilotti. These are both mysteries and mysteries are long-time favorites of mine.

What books have you been reading lately? What do you plan to read next?

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Favorite space opera & military science fiction

Top TenTop Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted at the Broke and the Bookish blog. Each week a different topic is introduced and it is fun to see what everyone writes each week. Check out their blog for more information.

This week we talk about our all-time favorite books in a genre of our choice. I’ve decided to talk about my favorite space opera and military science fiction books.

I lump these two genres together because they so often overlap. I think almost every military science fiction is space opera. And many space operas also involve military.

Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, as well as chivalric romance, and often risk-taking. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it usually involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology. (from wikipedia)

Military science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction that features the use of science fiction technology, mainly weapons, for military purposes and usually principal characters that are members of a military organization involved in military activity; occurring sometimes in outer space or on a different planet or planets. It exists in literature, comics, film and video games. (from wikipedia)

My choices:

The Warrior’s Apprentice

  • by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Vorkosigan Saga #2
  • This series is a favorite of mine and this is the book where I fell in love with Miles Vorkosigan and the way he can reinvent himself. Even though he has severe physical limitations he’s able to become a warrior and military leader.
  • Space opera and military science fiction also.

Old Man’s Warold-mans-war

  • by John Scalzi
  • The first book in the Old Man’s War series is my favorite.
  • Very inventive. I thought the idea to use old men and women from earth to fight mankind’s wars is very interesting. How the space military manage to turn them into soldiers is fascinating. The characters–the old soldiers–make the book great, too!

Marque and Reprisal

  • by Elizabeth Moon
  • Book 2 of Vatta’s War
  • Elizabeth Moon has written several series. I have read all of them and love them all. (Though I have decided I need to reread some of them!)
  • I would classify this as space opera with some military science fiction overtones.

Agent of Change

  • by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
  • Liaden Universe #9
  • There are so many books in this series I love. Lee and Miller have created a great universe and their books span generations within one family. I really like the characters in this book. I think it’s my favorite in this series, but it’s hard to choose.
  • Space opera

The Price of the Starsprice-of-the-stars

  • by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald
  • Mageworlds #1
  • Such a fun series. Lots goes on in these books.
  • Space opera

Armada

  • by Ernest Cline
  • A rare stand-alone book
  • Videogames are the perfect training ground for the military…right?!!
  • Military science fiction (and space opera)

Valor’s Choice

  • by Tanya Huff
  • Confederation #1
  • Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr is such a great character. She epitomizes what you hope an NCO is for her troops and for her officers.
  • Military sci fi and space opera.

Honor’s Knight

  • by Rachel Bach
  • Paradox book 2
  • It took me until the second book to be totally sold on this series, but Devi Morris won me over in this book!
  • Space opera with a little military science fiction vibe

Terms of Enlistment

  • by Marko Kloos
  • Frontlines #1
  • This was one of my favorite books in 2013. Especially good book about the life of a military recruit in basic training.
  • Military science fiction (and space opera)redshirts

Redshirts

  • by John Scalzi
  • Standalone
  • Such a fun book. John Scalzi is one of my favorite authors!
  • Space opera

What about you? Do you like science fiction? Space opera? Military science fiction? What are your favorites?

May books on my list

These are the May books on my list. I keep a list of all the books that I might want to read and then each month take the books for that month to post on my blog.

books-on-my-listI don’t buy all the books (not during the month they’re released at least)–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget.

But the list I make each month helps me not forget books. The Goodreads links help me keep track of these books.

And I hope people reading my post may find some new books, too! I also hope they will point me toward books I missed.

May 3

only-belovedOnly Beloved

by Mary Balogh

Series: The Survivor’s Club #7

Published by Signet

Genre: Historical Romance

400 pages

Synopsis: For the first time since the death of his wife, the Duke of Stanbrook is considering remarrying and finally embracing happiness for himself. With that thought comes the treasured image of a woman he met briefly a year ago and never saw again.

Dora Debbins relinquished all hope to marry when a family scandal left her in charge of her younger sister. Earning a modest living as a music teacher, she’s left with only an unfulfilled dream. Then one afternoon, an unexpected visitor makes it come true.

For both George and Dora that brief first encounter was as fleeting as it was unforgettable. Now is the time for a second chance. And while even true love comes with a risk, who are two dreamers to argue with destiny?

admiralAdmiral

by Sean Danker

Series: Evagardian #1

Published by Roc

Genre: Military Science Fiction

320 pages

Synopsis: He is the last to wake. The label on his sleeper pad identifies him as an admiral of the Evagardian Empire—a surprise as much to him as to the three recent recruits now under his command. He wears no uniform, and he is ignorant of military protocol, but the ship’s records confirm he is their superior officer.

Whether he is an Evagardian admiral or a spy will be of little consequence if the crew members all end up dead. They are marooned on a strange world, their ship’s systems are failing one by one—and they are not alone.

the-woman-in-blueThe Woman in Blue

by Elly Griffiths

Series: Ruth Galloway #8

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Genre: Mystery

368 pages

Synopsis: Known as England’s Nazareth, the medieval town of Little Walsingham is famous for religious apparitions. So when Ruth Galloway’s druid friend Cathbad sees a woman in a white dress and a dark blue cloak standing alone in the local cemetery one night, he takes her as a vision of the Virgin Mary. But then a woman wrapped in blue cloth is found dead the next day, and Ruth’s old friend Hilary, an Anglican priest, receives a series of hateful, threatening letters. Could these crimes be connected? When one of Hilary’s fellow female priests is murdered just before Little Walsingham’s annual Good Friday Passion Play, Ruth, Cathbad, and DCI Harry Nelson must team up to find the killer before he strikes again.

 warrior-witchWarrior Witch

by Danielle L. Jensen

Series: The Malediction Trilogy #3

Published by Angry Robot

Genre: YA fantasy

384 pages

Synopsis: Cécile and Tristan have accomplished the impossible, but their greatest challenge remains: defeating the evil they have unleashed upon the world.

As they scramble for a way to protect the people of the Isle and liberate the trolls from their tyrant king, Cécile and Tristan must battle those who’d see them dead. To win, they will risk everything. And everyone.

But it might not be enough. Both Cécile and Tristan have debts, and they will be forced to pay them at a cost far greater than they had ever imagined.

the-summer-dragonThe Summer Dragon

by Todd Lockwood

Series: The Evertide Series #1

Published by DAW

Genre: Fantasy

512 pages

Synopsis: The debut novel from the acclaimed illustrator—a high fantasy adventure featuring dragons and deadly politics.

Maia and her family raise dragons for the political war machine. As she comes of age, she anticipates a dragon of her own to add to the stable of breeding parents. Her peaceful life is shattered when the Summer Dragon—one of the rare and mythical High Dragons—makes an appearance in her quiet valley. Political factions vie for control of the implied message, threatening her aspirations, her aerie, her entire way of life.

The bond between dragons and their riders is deep and life-long, and Maia’s desire for a dragon of her own to train, ride, fly, and love drives her to take a risk that puts her life at stake. She is swept into an adventure that pits her against the deathless Horrors, thralls of the enemy, and a faceless creature drawn from her fear. In her fight to preserve everything she knows and loves, she exposes a conspiracy, unearths an ancient civilization, and challenges her understanding of her world—and of herself.

the-raftThe Raft

by Fred Strydom

Series: Unknown

Published by Talos

Genre: Science Fiction

432 pages

Synopsis: “The day every person on earth lost his and her memory was not a day at all. In people’s minds there was no actual event. . . and thus it could be followed by no period of shock or mourning. There could be no catharsis. Everyone was simply reset to zero.”

On Day Zero, the collapse of civilization was as instantaneous as it was inevitable. A mysterious and oppressive movement rose to power in the aftermath, forcing people into isolated communes run like regimes. Kayle Jenner finds himself trapped on a remote beach, and all that remains of his life before is the vague and haunting vision of his son. . .

Kayle finally escapes, only to find a broken world being put back together in strange ways. As more memories from his past life begin returning, the people he meets wandering the face of a scorched earth—some reluctant allies, others dangerous enemies—begin to paint a terrifying picture. In his relentless search for his son, Kayle will discover more than just his lost past. He will discover the truth behind Day Zero—a truth that makes both fools and gods of men.

a-front-page-affairA Front Page Affair

by Radha Vatsal

Series: Kitty Weeks Mystery #1

Published by Sourcebook Landmarks

Genre: Historical Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: Kitty Weeks is nineteen, well-traveled and well-off. She’s just arrived in New York and writes for the New York Sentinel Ladies’ Page.

New York in 1915 is an exciting place. J. P. Morgan has been shot. The Lusitania has been sunk. America tries not to take sides as war rages on in Europe. And that’s before Kitty comes face to face with murder at a Fourth of July party.

a-useful-womanA Useful Woman

by Darcie Wilde

Series: Rosalind Thorne Mysteries #1

Published by Berkley

Genre: Historical Mystery

368 pages

Synopsis: Inspired by the novels of Jane Austen, this new mystery series set in 19th-century London introduces the charming and resourceful Rosalind Thorne, a woman privy to the secrets of high society—including who among the ton is capable of murder…

The daughter of a baronet and minor heiress, Rosalind Thorne was nearly ruined after her father abandoned the family. To survive in the only world she knew, she began to manage the affairs of some of London society’s most influential women, who have come to rely on her wit and discretion.

So, when artistocratic wastrel Jasper Aimesworth is found dead in London’s most exclusive ballroom, Almack’s, Rosalind must use her skills and connections to uncover the killer from a list of suspects that includes Almack’s powerful patronesses and her former suitor Devon Winterbourne, now Lord Casselmaine.

Torn between her old love and a growing attraction to a compelling Bow Street runner, Rosalind must not only unravel the mysteries surrounding Jasper’s death, but the mysteries of her own heart as well…

May 10

children-of-earth-and-skyChildren of Earth and Sky

by Guy Gavriel Kay

Series: Unknown

Published by NAL

Genre: Historical Fantasy

592 pages

Synopsis: The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel, Children of Earth and Sky, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands—where empires and faiths collide.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor’s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world…

the-wolf-in-the-atticThe Wolf in the Attic

by Paul Kearney

Series: Unknown

Published by Solaris

Genre: Historical Fantasy

320 pages

Synopsis: A novel that will enchant readers of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman. The fantastical appears in the middle of 1920’s Oxford as a young refugee looking to escape her grim reality rubs shoulders with two of the founding fathers of modern fantasy, Tolkien and Lewis.

1920s Oxford: home to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien… and Anna Francis, a young Greek refugee looking to escape the grim reality of her new life. The night they cross paths, none suspect the fantastic world at work around them.

Anna Francis lives in a tall old house with her father and her doll Penelope. She is a refugee, a piece of flotsam washed up in England by the tides of the Great War and the chaos that trailed in its wake. Once upon a time, she had a mother and a brother, and they all lived together in the most beautiful city in the world, by the shores of Homer’s wine-dark sea.

But that is all gone now, and only to her doll does she ever speak of it, because her father cannot bear to hear. She sits in the shadows of the tall house and watches the rain on the windows, creating worlds for herself to fill out the loneliness. The house becomes her own little kingdom, an island full of dreams and half-forgotten memories. And then one winter day, she finds an interloper in the topmost, dustiest attic of the house. A boy named Luca with yellow eyes, who is as alone in the world as she is.

That day, she’ll lose everything in her life, and find the only real friend she may ever know.

clouds-in-my-coffeeClouds in My Coffee

by Julie Mulhern

Series: The Country Club Murders #3

Published by Henery Press

Genre: Mystery

256 pages

Synopsis: When Ellison Russell is nearly killed at a benefactors’ party, she brushes the incident aside as an unhappy accident. But when her house is fire-bombed, she’s shot at, and the person sitting next to her at a gala is poisoned, she must face facts. Someone wants her dead. But why? And can Ellison find the killer before he strikes again? Add in an estranged sister, a visiting aunt with a shocking secret, and a handsome detective staying in her guesthouse, and Ellison might need more than cream in her coffee…

too-like-the-lightningToo Like the Lightning

by Ada Palmer

Series: Terra Ignoti #1

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction

432 pages

Synopsis: Tor Books is proud to launch the first novel in a new political science fiction series, Too Like The Lightning by debut novelist Ada Palmer. Palmer’s unique vision mixes Enlightenment-era philosophy with traditional science fiction speculation to bring to life the year 2454, not a perfect future, but a utopian one, described by a narrator writing in an antiquated form to catalog the birth of a revolution. The result is The Iliad meets I, Claudius mixed with the enthusiasm of The Stars My Destination and Gene Wolfe style world building.

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer–a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life…

Perfect for fans of Jo Walton, Robert Charles Wilson and Kim Stanley Robinson, Too Like The Lightning is a refreshing change of pace from the current trend of gritty, dystopian novels. Much like Homer telling of heroic deeds and wine dark seas, Mycroft Canner’s narration will draw you into the world of Terra Ignota—a world simmering with gender politics and religious fervor just beneath the surface, on the brink of revolutionary change.

walleye-junctionWalleye Junction

by Karin Salvalaggio

Series: Macy Greeley Mysteries #3

Published by Minotaur

Genre: Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: When outspoken radio talk show host Philip Long is kidnapped and murdered, Detective Macy Greeley leaves her young son in the care of her mother and heads up to remote Walleye Junction, Montana to take charge of the investigation. It is initially believed that Long’s murder is the result of a controversial radio show he’s done on the rise of far right militias in the state. Within days the two kidnappers are found dead following a massive heroin overdose, and the authorities are hopeful the investigation is finished. But there are too many discrepancies for Macy to settle for obvious answers. The kidnapper’s bodies have been moved, their son is on the run and a series of anonymous emails point investigators toward the murky world of prescription painkiller abuse. Macy soon finds herself immersed in small town intrigues as she races to find who’s really responsible for Philip Long’s murder.

Meanwhile, Philip Long’s daughter Emma is dealing with her own problems. It’s been twelve years since she left Walleye Junction after her best friend died from a drug overdose. Emma finds that little in Walleye Junction has changed in her absence. She is also becoming increasingly uneasy as the familiar surroundings stir up memories that are best forgotten.

With Walleye Junction, a taut, propulsive mystery, Karin Salvalaggio will once again grip readers from the opening page to the stunning conclusion.

central-stationCentral Station

by Lavie Tidhar

Series: Unknown

Published by Tachyon Publications

Genre: Science Fiction

288 pages

Synopsis: A worldwide diaspora has left a quarter of a million people at the foot of a space station. Cultures collide in real life and virtual reality. The city is literally a weed, its growth left unchecked. Life is cheap, and data is cheaper.

When Boris Chong returns to Tel Aviv from Mars, much has changed. Boris’s ex-lover is raising a strangely familiar child who can tap into the datastream of a mind with the touch of a finger. His cousin is infatuated with a robotnik—a damaged cyborg soldier who might as well be begging for parts. His father is terminally-ill with a multigenerational mind-plague. And a hunted data-vampire has followed Boris to where she is forbidden to return.

Rising above them is Central Station, the interplanetary hub between all things: the constantly shifting Tel Aviv; a powerful virtual arena, and the space colonies where humanity has gone to escape the ravages of poverty and war. Everything is connected by the Others, powerful alien entities who, through the Conversation—a shifting, flowing stream of consciousness—are just the beginning of irrevocable change.

At Central Station, humans and machines continue to adapt, thrive…and even evolve.

May 17

company-townCompany Town

by Madeline Ashby

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor

Genre: Science Fiction

288 pages

Synopsis: Meet Hwa. One of the few in her community to forego bio-engineered enhancements, she’s the last truly organic person left on the rig. But she’s an expert in the arts of self-defence, and she’s been charged with training the Family’s youngest, who has been receiving death threats – seemingly from another timeline.

Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city’s stability – serial killer? Or something much, much worse…?

runtimeRuntime

by S.B. Divya

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Science Fiction

128 pages

Synopsis: The Minerva Sierra Challenge is a grueling spectacle, the cyborg’s Tour de France. Rich thrill-seekers with corporate sponsorships, extensive support teams, and top-of-the-line exoskeletal and internal augmentations pit themselves against the elements in a day-long race across the Sierra Nevada.

Marmeg Guinto doesn’t have funding, and she doesn’t have support. She cobbled her gear together from parts she found in rich people’s garbage and spent the money her mother wanted her to use for nursing school to enter the race. But the Minerva Challenge is the only chance she has at a better life for herself and her younger brothers, and she’s ready to risk it all.

Runtime is S. B. Divya’s exciting science fiction debut.

the-god-waveThe God Wave

by Patrick Henstreet

Series: The God Wave Trilogy #1

Published by Harper Voyager

Genre: Science Fiction

400 pages

Synopsis: A team of neuroscientists uncover amazing new capabilities in the brain that may steer human evolution toward miraculous and deadly frontiers in this spectacular debut work of speculative science fiction—Limitless meets James Rollins—that combines spirituality and science in an inventive, mind-blowing fashion.

For decades, scientists have speculated about the untapped potential of the human brain. Now, neuroscientist Chuck Brenton has made an astonishing breakthrough. He has discovered the key—the crucial combination of practice and conditioning—to access the incredible power dormant in ninety percent of our brains. Applying his methods to test subjects, he has stimulated abilities that elevate brain function to seemingly “godlike” levels.

These extraordinary abilities can transform the world, replacing fear and suffering with tranquility and stability. But in an age of increasing militarization, corporate exploitation, and explosive technological discovery, a group of influential powerbrokers are determined to control these new superbeings for their own manipulative ends?and their motives may be far from peaceful.

roses-and-rotRoses and Rot

by Kat Howard

Series: Unknown

Published by Saga Press

Genre: YA Fantasy

336 pages

Synopsis: Imogen and her sister Marin have escaped their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, be it art or love.

What would you sacrifice in the name of success? How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.

the-crowns-gameThe Crown’s Game

by Evelyn Skye

Series: The Crown’s Game #1

Published by Balzar + Bray

Genre: YA Fantasy

416 page

Synopsis: Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love… or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear… the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

May 31

hot-flashHot Flash

by Carrie H. Johnson

Series: Muriel Mabley

Published by Kensington

Genre: Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: READY, AIM…

She sweats every detail as a forensic firearms specialist—and as a forty-something single mother. She’s got more responsibilities than she can count, more baggage than she wants to claim, and way too many regrets. But Muriel Mabley will do whatever it takes to put Philadelphia’s most vicious killer in lockdown for good…

BURN…

Until her troubled younger sister in witness protection receives a terrifying warning—and Muriel’s long-time partner, Laughton, reveals he knows more than he should about her and Muriel’s shattered past. And when Laughton’s ex-wife and her new husband turn up dead, his own secrets will send Muriel down a twisted trail of lethal leads, disappeared witnesses, and the ultimate wrenching betrayal….

………………..

The books I plan to read soon:

  • Runtime by S.B. Divya
  • Hot Flash by Carrie H. Johnson
  • Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

The books I’ve already read:

  • Admiral by Sean Danker
  • A Front Page Affair by Radha Vatsal
  • A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde
  • Clouds in My Coffee by Julie Mulhern

What books are you excited about this month?