Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for August 2019

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
It’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 July 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 epic fantasy, urban fantasy, YA fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, science fiction mystery, space opera, military science fiction, feminist science fiction, vintage science fiction, humorous science fiction, dystopian fiction, Steampunk, gaslamp fantasy, time travel, witches, mermaids, shapeshifters, pirates, space marines, crime-busting witches, grim reapers, arranged marriages, time travelling taxmen, cyborg gladiators, sword and sorcery courtroom dramas, rediscoverey women authors of the Silver Age 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:

Buy and Spell by Stacey AlabasterBuy and Spell by Stacey Alabaster:

Sometimes you just need to solve a mystery because you’re the main suspect

Ruby Swift is settling into her life as a private investigator while protecting her secret magical life. When her new, unwanted neighbor turns up dead, she must find the real killer to clear her own name. Can Ruby come up with a spell to buy her way out of trouble?

Buy and Spell is part of the Private Eye Witch Cozy Mystery series. If you like fun paranormal mysteries, you will love Ruby Swift and her magical adventures.

Get Buy and Spell and start solving your next supernatural mystery today!

Claiming T-Mo by Eugen BaconClaiming T-Mo by Eugen Bacon:

In this lush interplanetary tale, Novic is an immortal Sayneth priest who flouts the conventions of a matriarchal society by choosing a name for his child. This act initiates chaos that splits the boy in two, unleashing a Jekyll-and-Hyde child upon the universe. Named T-Mo by his mother and Odysseus by his father, the story spans the boy’s lifetime — from his early years with his mother Silhouette on planet Grovea to his travels to Earth where he meets and marries Salem, and together they bear a hybrid named Myra. The story unfolds through the eyes of these three distinctive women: Silhouette, Salem and Myra. As they confront their fears and navigate the treacherous paths to love and accept T-Mo/Odysseus and themselves, the darkness in Odysseus urges them to unbearable choices that threaten their very existence.

The Night Court by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Night Court by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

The city of Vanadur suffers under the thumb of the Night Court, whose bailiffs snatch random people off the streets and whose masked judges know only one verdict: guilty.

Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, is one of those who are snatched off the streets and put on trial by the Night Court. The accusation: murder. But while Meldom may have done many questionable things in the past, he knows that he did not commit this particular murder.

However, the Night Court is not inclined to believe him and so it’s up to Thurvok, Sharenna and Lysha to save him from the gallows.

This is a short story of 7100 words or 25 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Knight Protector by Lindsay BurokerKnight Protector by Lindsay Buroker:

An arranged marriage she can’t escape.
A sexy bodyguard who will protect her at all cost.
A forbidden love she can’t give in to…

As one of the sultan’s fourteen daughters, and a successful businesswoman who puts money in the family’s coffers, Princess Nalini thought she would escape an arranged marriage.

She thought wrong.

Her father insists that an alliance with the savage and ambitious Star Kingdom is the only way to avoid a war at home, and for some reason, Prince Jorg—a man she’s never met—wants to marry her.

As if that weren’t bad enough, her father believes the betrothal may make her a target and is assigning her a bodyguard, the victor of one of his odious gladiator matches. She doesn’t want some brutish stranger intruding on her privacy.

But her new protector—Tristan—is not the brute she expected. He has a quick wit, a sexy smile, and even sexier things under the smile.

Unfortunately, Nalini can’t let herself fall in love with Tristan, not when she’s soon to be betrothed to another man. As her father’s daughter, it’s her duty to help her people by cementing this alliance. No matter how much she wishes otherwise…

~

As Tristan grew up on the streets, his father a convict and his mother a drug addict, all he ever wanted was to become one of the Star Kingdom’s elite knights, something that very few commoners ever achieve. After Tristan labors for years as a squire, the king is ready to appoint him a knight… if he accomplishes one simple task. He must infiltrate the sultan’s palace, gain the trust of Princess Nalini, and make sure she doesn’t run away from her marriage with Prince Jorg.

There’s just one problem.

Nalini isn’t the spoiled rich brat he expected—she spends her days working as hard as he does—and he soon develops feelings for her. With her betrothal looming, and the career he’s worked his whole life for at stake, Tristan can’t let himself act on those feelings.

But can he stand back while a man who doesn’t deserve her claims her for his wife?

Mermaid's Wish by Stacy ClaflinMermaid’s Wish by Stacy Claflin:

Every other princess prepares to rule her kingdom after her father’s death. Me? I have to get ready to rule all underwater kingdoms—after killing my father.

I already fulfilled the prophecy once. Kind of. I have no interest in killing again.

But no one asked what I want.

It’s this stupid Queen Sirena prophecy. My father—my real, biological father—is obsessed. And he’s the king, so he gets what he wants. Namely me, embracing a destiny I fear.

As I come to terms with my new reality, I find myself alone, cut off from my best friend and boyfriend and unable to convince my parents this is all a terrible idea.

My father, the king, wants me to kill him. He’s set plans in motion to make it happen.

I’m too weak to refuse. And hopefully too strong to succeed.

Peavley Manor by Robert DahlenPeavley Manor (Or, Introducing Macalley) by Robert Dahlen:

Alice Peavley was a sales clerk in a book shop, until her rich uncle left her his estate in his will. She moves to the manor, meets her new tenants and neighbors, and adjusts to life in the eccentric town of Darbyfield with the help of her valet, a sardonic gnome named Macalley. Alice gets mixed up in misadventures involving a concert gone askew, a chaotic baking competition, and a mischievous squatter, but there is a more sinister plot afoot to steal her land and her fortune. Can Alice get to the bottom of the conspiracy and save Peavley Manor? Find out in this comedy of manners, mayhem and magic!

Gullible's Travels and Taxing Rabble by Rachel FordGullible’s Travels and Taxing Rabble by Rachel Ford:

A shadowy interdimensional organization. A special assignment. A bizarre alternate universe.

When a recruitment agent from the Interdimensional Bureau of Temporal Investigations knocked on his door, there was no way Alfred Favero, Senior Analyst with the Internal Revenue Service, could just walk away. How could a man of law and conscience turn down the chance to stop crime across dimensions and times?

Now, he’s in bizarre alternate dimension, where suspicion is fact and fact is suspect. To succeed, he must question everything he thinks he knows about this new world – and even the mission itself.

Otherwise, Alfred Favero might have taken his last trip through time.

The Robin Hood of Couches by Aaron FraleThe Robin Hood of Couches by Aaron Frale:

Reese investigates corporate fraud and discovers some joker has been giving away free couches to the needy, because when a person can no longer afford the subscription service fees, all their furniture disappears. The bearer of sofas ends up in a ditch when blunt force trauma snuffs out the poor’s best chance of not living in an empty room their whole life. Reese rolls up his sleeves. Time to get to work.

 

 

Defender by Anna HackettDefender by Anna Hackett:

Rescued from alien slavers, the only place she feels safe is in the brawny arms of a big, gruff cyborg.

Astrophysicist Dr. Jayna Lennox’s life imploded the day her ship was attacked by aliens. Through months of captivity, she’s survived by shutting down and not feeling. Then she’s freed by the House of Rone cyborgs and finds herself in the arms of huge, tough Mace. Struggling to heal, Mace is the only thing that makes her feel safe. The only person who makes her feel like she isn’t broken. But there are more of her crew members imprisoned in Carthago’s desert, and Jayna will have to delve into her darkest memories to help save them.

Born to fight and bred for rage, Mace barely survived his gang-ridden homeworld. Thanks to Imperator Magnus Rone, he’s found a place at the House of Rone. Unlike the other cyborgs, he feels, but only anger and annoyance. When a small, wounded human woman works her way under his skin, Mace finds himself feeling things he’s never felt before…along with a powerful need to keep her safe.

Jayna vows to help find her fellow humans, even if it means revisiting her nightmares and being part of a dangerous mission into the desert. But as the passion between her and Mace explodes, she finds herself with two battles on her hands: the battle to free the humans from their captors, and the war to win Mace’s scarred heart.

Dark Dancer by B.R. KingsolverDark Magic by B.R. Kingsolver:

One Master survived the inferno that destroyed the Order of the Illuminati. He may know that I survived, but does he suspect that I betrayed the Order?

Rudolf Heine has sent Hunters flooding into Westport, wreaking carnage on vampires, shifters, and mages. Normal humans are taking notice, and the shadow world teeters on the verge of being revealed.

The Hunters also may be hunting me. Do I stay and fight for my new life and my friends, or run again?

Freaky Reapers by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Reapers by Amanda M. Lee:

Poet Parker put the past behind her. At least she thought she did.

Life on the streets wasn’t what she had in mind for her forever and she jumped at the chance to join Mystic Caravan Circus when an invitation was extended. She didn’t look back.

That was ten years ago, and now Poet is going back to the exact area she used to haunt … and she’s nervous.

The friends she left behind are scattered. Some are dead. Some have moved on to other things. Some turned out to be something else entirely. Others simply disappeared into the wind.

Unfortunately for Parker, forgetting isn’t easy … especially when a group of banshees start infringing on Mystic Caravan’s territory and the creatures seemingly have ties to the people Poet left behind.

Between the reapers also working the case – a crazy family called the Grimlocks who can’t stay out of trouble – and the guilt weighing Poet down given the way she fled, she has her hands full.

Someone is controlling the banshees, stealing girls from the streets and creating a merry band of monsters. It’s up to Poet to find out who and protect two street girls who remind her of herself.

Poet doesn’t want to look back but she has no choice … what she finds might be more evil than she ever imagined.

Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958 - 1963), edited by Gideon MarcusRediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958 – 1963), edited by Gideon Marcus, foreword by Dr. Laura Brodian Freas Beraha

  • Fourteeen uncut Silver Age science fiction stories by women
  • Fourteen introductions providing historical, biographical, and literary context
  • One foreword by Dr. Laura Brodian Freas Beraha
  • One introductory essay by Gideon Marcus

From the team that produces the Hugo-nominated Galactic Journey:

The Silver Age of Science Fiction saw a wealth of compelling speculative tales — and women authors wrote some of the best of the best. Yet the stories of this era, especially those by women, have been largely unreprinted, unrepresented, and unremembered.

Until Now.

Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958-1963) features fourteen selections of the best science fiction of the Silver Age by the unsung women authors of yesteryear, introduced by today’s rising stars:

Unhuman Sacrifice (1958) by Katherine MacLean, introduced by Natalie Devitt
Wish Upon a Star (1958) by Judith Merril, introduced by Erica Frank
A Matter of Proportion (1959) by Anne Walker, introduced by Erica Friedman
The White Pony (1960) by Jane Rice, introduced by T.D. Cloud
Step IV (1960) by Rosel George Brown, introduced by Andi Dukleth
Of All Possible Worlds (1961) by Rosel George Brown, introduced by Cora Buhlert
Satisfaction Guaranteed (1961) by Joy Leache, introduced by A.J. Howells
The Deer Park (1962) by Maria Russell, introduced by Claire Weaver
To Lift a Ship (1962) by Kit Reed, introduced by Gideon Marcus
The Putnam Tradition (1963) by Sonya Hess Dorman, introduced by Lorelei Marcus
The Pleiades (1963) by Otis Kidwell Burger, introduced by Gwyn Conaway
No Trading Voyage (1963) by Doris Pitkin Buck, introduced by Marie Vibbert
Cornie on the Walls (1963) by Sydney van Scyoc, introduced by Rosemary Benton
Unwillingly to School (1958) by Pauline Ashwell, introduced by Janice Marcus

“Female authors wrote stories about coming of age…cautionary tales…stories set beyond our universe…You’ll find these themes and more in this anthology. I hope that as you read their stories you don’t try to ‘feminine’ versus ‘masculine’ elements. What you are about to read is really good science fiction, plain and simple.” -from the foreword by Dr. Laura Brodian Freas Beraha

Wrecked Intel by Mandy M. RothWrecked Intel by Mandy M. Roth:

Operative: Cody Livingston (Shark-Shifter)

Wereshark and former Immortal Op Cody Livingston has spent decades keeping his head down and staying off the grid. Ever since he volunteered to be part of a test group when the government attempted to create super soldiers, he’s been in a fight for his life and those of the men he sees as brothers—fellow Outcasts. You see, his own government turned against him when the DNA manipulation attempts didn’t go as planned.

Now Cody spends his days trying to right the wrongs left in the wake of the experiments and protecting any innocents caught in the crossfire. This is easier said than done when he’s had to escape the clutches of a madman hell-bent on possessing Cody’s healing gifts and longevity. As old foes resurface, the stakes get even higher when Cody realizes he not only has a mate but that she’s in the crosshairs of the enemy as well.

Origins of the Tainted Bloodline by Rosie ScottOrigins of the Tainted Bloodline by Rosie Scott:

Alastor Cerberius is a troubled man.

After over a century enslaved in the oppressive underground, he and his best friend, Koby Bacia, escape their chains. They emerge onto the surface: a new world full of the unknown, freedom, and discovery. Desperate to leave his tragic past behind, Alastor changes his name to Calder and delves into the dangerous blood science of shapeshifting. With the new ability to transform into a lethal lizard at will, Calder finally has power after a lifetime of captivity.

Calder and Koby answer the ocean’s call with dreams of smuggling illegal goods as mercenary sailors. This is easier said than done, for the seas are full of horrors of their own, and each time Calder transforms into the beast, it further scars his damaged psyche. Worst of all, a botched business deal puts them at odds with a criminal ring of pirates that are determined to remain the greatest threat on the seas.

The Screening Routine by SMAThe Screening Routine by SMA:

[Tell me the secret you keep from yourself.]
It knows your joy.
It knows your fear.
It knows your desire.

After decades of war, a battered Earth begged the Routine—our most powerful artificial intelligence—to take control of the solar system and unite humanity.

Now, forbidden lovers must help the AI solve the mystery of a rising threat:

Itself.

A SCIFI ADVENTURE BEGINS
Weeks away from graduating into blissful civilian anonymity, Owen discovers that his fate has been hijacked by the Routine. Trapped within the Screening Complex, training school for the Routine’s chosen leaders, Owen is determined to resist the influence of his all-seeing artificial taskmaster.

…If only he could stop dreaming of the man with dark eyes.

Who is that stranger, and why has his presence stirred a new hunger in Owen—one more desperate than he’d ever imagined? Questions lurk around every corner, but there’s one truth Owen will never forget:

The Routine is lying to us all.

Join the discovery as Owen pursues the mysteries of the Routine—and learns the endless bounds of love and his own desire.

Exile by Glynn StewartExile by Glynn Stewart:

A dying world, shattered by a broken machine
A desperate flight, their only hope for refuge
A robotic race, ally and destroyer alike

The Republic of Exilium has grown in strength and confidence at the far end of the galaxy from the rest of mankind, sending out scout ships to survey the worlds around them as they try to learn more about the mysterious Construction Matrix AIs.

Finding one of the genocidal rogues of that mysterious “race” in the process of destroying an inhabited world, Captain Octavio Catalan takes his ship into a desperate battle. He is victorious—but he is too late. The world of the strange aliens he has encountered is doomed.

The distant Republic can barely help, but the honor of their leaders will not permit them to stand idly by. Ships and crews are set into motion to commence a desperate evacuation of their newfound friends, and debts with the strange Matrices are called in.

One branch of Matrices destroyed the planet. Another may well save it—but the AIs have their own agenda and the price they ask may be beyond the Republic and its new allies…

Conquest of Earth by James David VictorConquest of Earth by James David Victor:

When all else fails, blow up a bunch of stuff and hope for the best.

Solomon and the Outcast Marines have been pushed to the brink, but are still standing strong. When the Ru’ut plot is fully revealed, they must go on one last desperate mission to save humanity. If humanity has any hope, they must stop the invading aliens from conquering Earth. Can Solomon overcome his past, and his genetics, and save his friends and all of humankind?

Conquest of Earth is the ninth book in the Outcast Marines series. If you like science fiction with “heroes” who are anything but, the Outcast Marines will suck you into their battle to save humanity, from itself and the rest of the galaxy.

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