Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for December 2016

Indie Speculative Fiction of the MonthIt’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some November books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, epic fantasy, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic science fiction, dystopian fiction, science fiction romance, paranormal romance, vampires, werewolves, trolls, robots, starships, crimson queens, genetically engineered dragons, alien bounty hunters, Venusian affairs, telepaths, miracle drugs, brainwashed soldiers, monsters in the woods, Christmas in space and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Emperor of the Fireflies by Sarah AshEmperor of the Fireflies by Sarah Ash:

Sparks… glittering like fireflies against the night sky…

Kai and Masao, once enemies, are now condemned to the sea by the Tide Dragons Sacrifice. If Hotaru, the new emperor, is unable to summon the Tide Dragons of Ebb and Flood at the Autumn Moon Festival, he will forfeit the right to rule Cipangu. The two Sacrifices face a desperate race against time to free themselves from this ancient curse before Hotaru binds them with forbidden magic to obey his will – forever.

Sakami, Kai’s lover, has become a kitsune, a fox spirit. She is determined to do all in her power to save him – but is Hotaru, aided by his treacherous shikigami, Kurika, just too formidable an opponent to overcome?

Liquid Muse by Cora BuhlertLiquid Muse by Cora Buhlert:

Jonah Winter has developed the perfect creativity enhancing drug – one hundred percent effective, non-addictive and safe.

Ron Varnhagen has experienced the drug’s remarkable properties for himself and plans to invest in Jonah’s venture. But then he learns of the horrifying secret behind the drug and its production…

This is a short science fiction story of 2600 words or approx. 10 print pages altogether.

Ayers by Andrei CherascuAyers by Andrei Cherascu:

In the corrupt city of Mei Jhabo, a mysterious new thoughtenhancer has devastating effects on the consumer’s brain. Its emergence is linked to the sudden rise of one of the city’s most ruthless drug gangs. Leading the fight against it, Commissioner Celia Wallace employs the services of the famous Ayers-Ross Thoughtprotection Agency. Their mission: retrieve an undercover agent sent to infiltrate the gang and protect the information inside his mind.

For ambitious young telepath Alex Lea, this seems like the perfect opportunity to prove that he is a worthy successor to his idol, legendary Mindguard Sheldon Ayers. But, in this profession, the course of things can change in an instant.

After an ambush leaves him separated from his team, Alex must learn to become his own guardian first. Pushed to the limits of his ability, he comes across an enemy far more dangerous than anyone suspects and a plot that threatens the very future of the Federation.

AYERS is a prequel set a few months before the events of MINDGUARD. It can be read as a stand-alone or at any point in the series. For reasons pertaining to themes and character study the author recommends reading the books in order of publication.

Shadowrise by J.J. GreenShadowrise by J.J. Green:

In the void, the Shadows lurk, waiting to arise.

Jas Harrington and the crew of the Galathea have made it back to Earth. Now they face an investigation into the Shadow attack on the ship and the infiltration of the colony world of Dawn.

They find that things have changed since they went away. Strange disappearances and odd behavior lead them to the question: have the Shadows invaded their home planet?

When the former navigator Sayen Lee investigates, she’s taken hostage. Can Jas get her back? And can they find out what’s been happening on Earth before more lives are lost?

The Crimson Queen by Alec HutsonThe Crimson Queen by Alec Hutson:

Long ago the world fell into twilight, when the great empires of old consumed each other in sorcerous cataclysms. In the south the Star Towers fell, swallowed by the sea, while the black glaciers descended upon the northern holdfasts, entombing the cities of Min-Ceruth in ice and sorcery. Then from the ancient empire of Menekar the paladins of Ama came, putting every surviving sorcerer to the sword and cleansing their taint from the land for the radiant glory of their lord.

The pulse of magic slowed, fading like the heartbeat of a dying man.

But after a thousand years it has begun to quicken again.

In a small fishing village a boy with strange powers comes of age…

A young queen rises in the west, fanning the long-smoldering embers of magic into a blaze once more…

Something of great importance is stolen – or freed – from the mysterious Empire of Swords and Flowers…

And the immortals who survived the ancient cataclysms bestir themselves, casting about for why the world is suddenly changing…

Mission: A Venus Affair by V.A. JeffreyMission: A Venus Affair by V.A. Jeffrey:

Bob and his family are going on a much-needed vacation towards the hottest destination in the solar system: Vepaja City, Venus! But as soon as they reach Venus someone from his past makes an inconvenient request: make a secret deal that promises to benefit Bob, U-net and the Boss. Who is this mysterious character? Does this person really care about helping him or is there a darker agenda? Is this side mission really in Bob’s best interest? If he agrees to the deal U-net could reap an advantage in the coming war. But is this mission legitimate or is it a trap?

 

Of Cinder and Bone by Kyoko M.Of Cinder and Bone by Kyoko M.

After centuries of being the most dangerous predators on the planet, dragons were hunted to extinction. That is, until Dr. Rhett “Jack” Jackson and Dr. Kamala Anjali cracked the code to bring them back. Through their research at MIT, they resurrected the first dragon anyone has seen alive since the 15th century. There’s just one problem.

Someone stole it.

Caught between two ruthless yakuza clans who want to clone the dragon, Jack and Kamala brave the dangerous streets of Tokyo to steal their dragon back in a race against time before the world is taken over by mutated, bloodthirsty monsters that will raze it to ashes.

Of Cinder and Bone is an all-new sci-fi thriller from the author of the Amazon bestselling Black Parade novels. Don’t miss out on this explosive first-in-series!

Rayzor's One by Michele MillsRayzor’s One by Michele Mills:

Rayzor of Twelve, a lonely Bounty Hunter banished from his home world, is determined to follow his mission parameters: He must extract his target from a primitive planet called Earth with zero human casualties.

His plan unfolds with precision, until a human female gets in the way.

Rebecca doesn’t understand what the hell is happening. One moment she’s scared and alone in the spooky forest. Then a seven foot tall alien warrior is gazing at her with dark passion, his clawed hands touching her reverently. He’s kissing her, claiming her and saying, his voice hoarse with emotion—that she is his Bride.

His Bride? Wtf?

This stranger is swoon-worthy, but…She doesn’t know his name, or what species he is and he’s kidnapped her, thrown her on his goddamn spaceship and now she’s speeding away from Earth to parts unknown. And he expects her to fall into his arms?

Oh hell, no.

For Whom the Bell Trolls by Lindy MooneFor Whom the Bell Trolls, edited by Lindy Moone and John L. Monk:

It’s a Smorgasbord of Trolls!
Funny, touching, titillating and suspenseful, there’s a story for every adult reader in For Whom the Bell Trolls, a unique, illustrated “antrollogy” by 24 international authors. Arranged from light to meaty fare, the book’s “menu” offers up fanciful and farcical stories, family-oriented tales, romance, mystery, even magically surreal literary stories — starring all sorts of trolls, from the all-too-real Internet variety to the man-eating, bridge-dwelling trolls of legend.

South of the Spire by Neil MossparkSouth of the Spire by Neil Mosspark:

Three weeks after a southern exploration team left the Citadel to map the unknown lands to the south, their cartographer’s journal was found stuffed into the hollow of a tree. It accounts the southern exploration team’s journey, documenting the ruins of ancient man, and the threats encountered in the post-apocalyptic forest.

… There are more than just wild things in the wilderness.

 

Ghosts of Noodlemass Past by T.S. PaulGhosts of Noodlemass Past by T.S. Paul:

The War with Earth looms over everything. It is overshadowing even Noodlemass, the Holiday Celebration of Athena Lee’s planet. Refugees have no where to go and children are trapped out in the cold without shelter. The best solution is to use local Hotels to put them up for the winter. One problem with that. The owner won’t sell or even lease.

What will Wilson and his gang of cybernetic heroes do to help? Wilson provides his unusual spin on a Christmas Classic!

Hounds of God by Justin SloanHounds of God by Justin Sloan

Torn from her parents at a young age, Katherine is raised in a pack of werewolves like herself and brought into the ways of the Hounds of God: An army of werewolves that will bring justice to evildoers.

But when their leader is killed and everything Katherine has believed is thrown on its head, she sets off with a small group of friends in search of a cure to what she now believes is a curse.

This search for a cure leads her to a fight for survival where she’s challenged to embrace the beast within. Will she give up everything to stop the nefarious army of werewolves, betraying those she once considered family?

Justice Is Calling by Justin Sloan and Michael AnderleJustice Is Calling by Justin Sloan and Michael Anderle:

The History of the World wasn’t what Valerie was taught.

The daughter of a vampire and sister of a devil walking, Valerie finds out she has something neither her brother nor her father possess:

She has Honor.

Now, she needs to flee a brother who leaves her for dead. Because, if there is one thing Valerie understands?

It’s that Justice Doesn’t Turn the Other Cheek.

150 years after a near apocalypse, the world is rebuilding. Survival has become the only rule, and justice is in short supply. Now, Justice has come calling.

Shades of Honor by Sandy WilliamsShades of Honor by Sandy Williams:

She won her freedom. Can she win a war?

Commander Rhys Rykus is facing court martial. With his career on the line, he’s ordered to keep his distance from the brainwashed Ash and protect her from afar, but sinister elements threaten her safety. He accepts a new mission that puts them on the same warship, knowing it will take all his self-control to fight his feelings for her.

Lieutenant Ramie Ashdyn is no stranger to fighting for her life. Still under the influence of the Coalition’s brainwashing, she cares little for her own safety. She merely wants to protect the Coalition… and reconnect with Rykus.

Rykus knows how important Ash is to keeping all of them alive, but the target on her back is enormous. Will the growing threat to the Coalition take down Ash and Rip’s only shot at love?

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