Romance for Speculative Fiction Readers: Part 2

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Last week, as part of Read My Valentine, I posted some of my speculative fiction gateways into romance. This week I have invited a few of my friends to give their recommendations.

Donna Maree Hanson writes speculative fiction under her own name and speculative romance as Dani Kristoff. She’s not only recommended me some great books but has also loaned them to me from her personal collection.

City of Light, Keri Arthur, Outcast, dechet, Tiger, urban fantasy, paranormal romanceKeri Arthur is known for her dark urban fantasy, particularly the Riley Jensen series. The City of Light is a new series set in a post-apocalyptic future where science and fantasy are closely integrated. Tiger is a Dechet, a genetically engineered being, part vampire, part shape-shifter and part human. She’s a survivor from a war-torn era where humans battled shape-shifters and with the world in tatters savage vampires and wraiths inhabit the dark spaces, leaving humans and shifters clinging to the light.  Although not a warrior per se, Tiger goes to battle and it’s not pretty or light. There’s gore and death and hate and intrigue. Tiger’s character is thinking and feeling and noble. Next interesting is Jonas, the shifter, who is her enemy but there’s a strong attraction between them. I was thoroughly engaged throughout the reading of this story. I thoroughly recommend this story to spec fic readers.

Amanda Pillar is the author of Graced, a paranormal romance that has just been nominated for a Ditmar and that was one of my favourite books of 2015 (my review). Her latest book is a prequel novella called Captive, which will be reviewed here next week.

Slave to Sensation, Nalini Singh, Psy-Changling, urban fantasy, paranormal romanceI’ve been really enjoying the variety of urban fantasy and paranormal romance that is available at the moment. The Psy-Changeling series, authored by Nalini Singh, is set in an alternate version of Earth, with three races: the psy, changelings and humans. The beginning two books share much of the same plot, but after that, the books become more individual and the over-arching plot begins to ramp up. The series has a slow burn, but it’s well worth the read. I’ve also been liking Larissa Ione’s Demonica series. It’s a bit on the steamy side (featuring incubus demons), but it also has great world-building and a long term plot that is still continuing.

I’ve already mentioned Shaheen this week as being one of my favourite reviewers. She is the force behind Speculating on Spec Fic and #OzYAchat on Twitter.

These Broken Stars, Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner, YA, Young AdultThese Broken Stars is the first in the Starbound series by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. After their luxury spaceliner Icarus drops out of hyperdrive and crashes onto an abandoned planet, Major Tarver Merendsen (middle class, worked his way up the ranks) and Lilac LaRoux, (heir to the greatest empire in the world, doesn’t know what work is), are forced to work together to survive. Their attraction is inevitable but devoid of the usual clichés of YA romance. It’s slow, sweet, hesitant and, above all, realistic. There’s too much stacked against them for either to seriously consider it, but they find their eyes straying, their hearts pounding, their minds playing out hopeless fantasies. It’s riveting, incredibly powerful, and I loved every moment of it.

The Book Gannet is another I’ve mentioned this week as a favourite reviewer who has never steered me wrong and contributed significantly to my Mt TBR.

RIVETED, A Novel of the Iron Seas by Meljean Brook

I would suggest Meljean Brook. Partly because I think her books are wonderful, and also because I think more people should be reading them. Her Guardian series is a Paranormal Romance/UF epic that plays with angels and demons and vampires and nosferatu, with incredible heroines and some pretty amazing heroes. It’s complicated and clever and I love it. However, that’s not my recommendation. Instead I want to talk about her Iron Seas Steampunk series, asking what would have happened if Genghis Khan had conquered Europe instead of turning back at Vienna – with nano-tech, zombies, automata and airships. It’s clever and enjoyable and my personal recommendation would be Riveted. This is actually the third book in the series but stands alone perfectly well since it has all new characters and an all new setting. Much of the action takes place in Iceland, has a female-only community and a couple of protagonists who you don’t meet every day – in the romance genre or spec fic.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Pia Foxhall‘s fantasy erotica Fae Tales. She is also a very discerning reader who has given me some great recommendations.

Captive Prince, C.S. Pacat, gay fantasyThe Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat (previously S.U. Pacat, previously ‘freece’) has risen to the ranks as being one of my favourite series of all time. I say that as someone who has voraciously consumed epic fantasy, gay fantasy, gay erotica, gay romance and more. For me, there was a richness and consistency to the worldbuilding that I loved enough to follow it as a serial when it used to be released chapter by chapter on Livejournal. It contained many of the aspects I loved in well-written fanfiction, but executed in an original world with original characters. In the stories I found UST (unresolved sexual tension – also known affectionately as ‘pining’), a slave/owner format that was delightfully subverted over time, a world in which homosexuality (and bisexuality) was normal and integrated, and a political system filled with villains and unexpected heroes, and so many twists and turns that I didn’t try and predict the plot. Now completed, the Captive Prince trilogy showcases the adventures of the self-possessed Prince Laurent of Vere – described in the book as a ‘cast iron bitch,’ and the lion-hearted Prince Damen of Akielos – a warrior brought low by circumstance and betrayal. This series has made me laugh and cry and hold my breath and scream and tweet the author (and back when it was active on Livejournal, send long rambling walls of text to the author that were paeans of appreciation). Pacat has clearly poured a lot of love and soul into this book, and I believe it shows. This goes on the ‘reread for the rest of my life’ shelf for me, and I shall enjoy doing so, every time.

Thank you to all my guests for their recommendations. I know my Mt TBR just grew a little taller. How about yours?


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4 Responses to Romance for Speculative Fiction Readers: Part 2

  1. Jenny @ Reading the End February 19, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

    Meljean Brooooook! I saw the title of this post and thought “gosh I hope someone recs Meljean Brook.” I enjoyed her demony series, but I have LOVED the steampunk series. “The Kraken King,” which my library very kindly acquired in all its parts as it was coming out serially, was excellent.

    • Elizabeth February 19, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

      I confess I haven’t read anything my Meljean Brook, but I’ll definitely be rectifying that. I do love some good steampunk.

      Organising this post has done terrible things to my Mt TBR.

  2. Shaheen @ Speculating on SpecFic February 19, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

    I’ve found so many new blogs to stalk, um follow, just now 😀 You know I’ve never read Nalini Singh or Keri Arthur? I always think I’d love their books too – I think they’re so prolific that I have no idea where to start, so I just … never do. But I will change that. I promise.

    I have Captive Prince, it seems so interesting! I love the covers.

    Thank you very much for having me as part of your initiative! I really appreciate the opportunity – any occasion to thrown my favourite books at people, right?

    • Elizabeth February 19, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

      Isn’t the sole point of being a book blogger to throw your favourite books at people? If not, I need a new line of work :)

      I’m equally happy to throw my favourite bloggers at people, so I’m glad you found a few to check out.

      I understand what you mean about Nalini Singh and Keri Arthur. I’ve only just started exploring their works. In fact, I’ve got a review of my first Keri Arthur book (Fireborn) timed to go up during Natcon. I loved it a lot and I think it makes a good starting point. The series is only 2 books long so far, so if your adverse to waiting between books it might be best to hold off until the series is finished.

      The covers for Captive Prince are so wonderfully understated, aren’t they? Very stylish.

      Thank you again for taking the time to contribute to this post! I haven’t yet read These Broken Stars but it’s definitely on my wish list.

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