Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for July 2021

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 and small press authors newly published this month, though some June 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, dark fantasy, YA fantasy, science fantasy, paranormal mystery, science fiction mystery, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, steampunk, horror, vampires, werewolves, demons, space marines, alien spies, alien parasites, crime-busting witches, crime-busting single moms, washed-up country singers 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:

Ariadne, I Love You by J. Ashley-SmithAriadne, I Love You by J. Ashley-Smith:

Jude is dragged out of Alt Country obscurity, out of the dismal loop of booze and sadness baths and the boundless, insatiable loneliness, to scrub up and fly to Australia for a last, desperate comeback tour. Hardly worth getting out of bed for—and he wouldn’t, if it weren’t for Coreen.But Coreen is dead. And, worse than that, she’s married. Jude’s swan-song tour becomes instead a terminal descent, into the sordid past, into the meaning hidden in forgotten songs, into Coreen’s madness diary, there to waken something far worse than her ghost.

 

Forgotten Stars by Odette C. BellForgotten Stars by Odette C. Bell:

A new realm has awoken. A new threat has emerged. So new warriors must take the helm.

Amber is an ordinary ensign whose only claim to fame is throwing toast on the most important soldier on the station. Then everything changes. When she’s lost on an alien world and her true powers awaken, she must keep them secret from the Coalition or pay the price.

But it’ll be hard to keep her secret around the ever-watchful Commander Starsmith. When she draws his eye, he can’t look away. For deep within him, something is arising. Let it sink, and the station might survive. Let it rise, and the Coalition will never be the same again.

An Uneasy Alliance by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. CheneyAn Uneasy Alliance by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. Cheney:

The war is over. Peace has at last descended over the humanity . . . or so it would appear.

The Centaurs may no longer pose a threat, but a new war is on the horizon, though it hides in the shadows of two empires.

Rumors of alien tech have set governments against each other, and with attention focused on defeating the Centaurs, criminal elements have gotten their tentacles firmly entrenched in the very fabric of civilization.

Staff Sergeant Rev Pelletier of the Perseus Union Marine Corps has now been assigned to the Home Guard, the elite unit made up of members from each military force in human space.

A new age is upon us. An age of exploration, treaties, and new enemies. But with tensions rising, can the Home Guard function as a viable, unified force to combat the growing lawlessness throughout the galaxy?

Vapor Trails by Joshua DazelleVapor Trails by Joshua Dazelle:

Marine Lieutenant Jacob Brown was on borrowed time, and he knew it.

He was a rogue element, disobeying orders and pursuing mission goals of his own. His Scout Team had been burned, disavowed by his chain of command and the owner of the stolen ship he was flying was after them to get it back. To make matters even more complicated, the man Jacob had stolen the ship from is an infamous outlaw and mercenary named Jason Burke… his father.

Being hunted down by both the United Earth Navy and the mercenary group that called itself Omega Force, Jacob has only one chance to keep his team out of a military prison and bring down the head of the One World terrorist faction that always seemed to be three steps ahead of him… and that was only if his father didn’t catch him first.

Wicked Magic by Margot de KlerkWicked Magic by Margot de Clerk:

Nathan is a vampire hunter on the cusp of graduation. He’s been training for this his entire life: the moment he qualifies and joins the rest of his family in their noble calling.

If only it were that simple.

His grades are a mess, his social life is a disaster, and what’s worse, his best friend is a witch! Add to that, his vampire uncle is back in town and his crush might just be supernatural too, and you have one big melting pot of potential parental disapproval. Nathan doesn’t think he can take much more, and then the dark mages come to town.

As bodies begin piling up in the streets, Nathan finds himself pulled deeper into political intrigue and a deadly plot that will pit him against his own family. When the girl he likes comes under threat, Nathan races against time to solve the mystery… well aware that with every step he takes, he comes closer to his father exposing all his secrets.

The Builders by Chris FoxThe Builders by Chris Fox:

All things must end. Welcome to the final Deathless novel.

The builder Yoggoth has arrived in our Solar System, but his goal is not to conquer our world. He has locked the sun in a Yoggothian Sphere designed to siphon our star of all power.

Earth is hurled into darkness, denied the lifegiving heat of our sun, even as Yoggoth’s fleets move upon our world. Our heroes, led by Blair, Liz, and Isis, must deal with the new winter before they can even hope to oppose them.

In Australia Jordan has used the intervening five years for one purpose. To become a Builder-slaying dino-enhanced death machine. Under Uluru’s tutelage he has mastered combat, and stands ready to face Yoggoth, whatever the cost.

Outnumbered and outmatched Liz leads a desperate assault on Yoggoth’s flagship, where Excalibur’s destiny will finally be realized. If the blade breaks our world will be annihilated. If it holds, then Liz will provide Blair one chance to save everyone.

One desperate gamble to rewrite history

Atmospheric Pressure 3: Last Breath by Aaron FraleAtmospheric Pressure 3: Last Breath by Aaron Frale:

Olson returns to the Union to discover he can breathe the noxious outside air. However, he soon finds out that he isn’t the only one involved in the sinister plan Erik is hatching. Both of the cities that weathered the apocalypse now depend on Olson unraveling what Erik has in store.

Meanwhile, a small community not too far from these cities sees the buildings burning from Erik’s coup of the government. They possess a nuclear warhead from the forgotten world and send a small team to see what is happening.

In the St. Paul Collective, Natalie is pregnant with Olson’s offspring. She finds out that her unborn child is wanted by the people in power for study because of Olson’s natural ability. She will do anything to protect her kid.

Find out how it all plays out in the third and final installment of the Atmospheric Pressure series.

Sibyl Sue Blue by Rosel George BrownSibyl Sue Blue by Rosel George Brown:

Stop a murder, save two planets!

Who she is: Sibyl Sue Blue, single mom, undercover detective, and damn good at her job.

What she wants: to solve the mysterious benzale murders, prevent more teenage deaths, and maybe find her long-lost husband.

How she’ll get it: seduce a millionaire, catch a ride on his spaceship, and crack the case at the edge of the known galaxy.

A thrilling, ground breaking story of mystery, crime, action and romance!

Awakening the Gods by Kristin GleesonAwakening the Gods by Kristin Gleeson:

A failed barista, a reclusive blacksmith. Can they avoid the call of the Irish Gods?

Saoirse knows playing traditional music once a week in a local Dublin pub won’t get her a career, but it’s all she’s got, especially after she’s fired from her barista job. But then her father dies and her life is set into a spin, especially when an unknown grandmother comes calling..

Music is Smithy’s one joy that is left to him that has a residue of the magic he lost long ago. Creating things in his forge, tucked away in rural Cork, increasingly reminds him of what he’s lost and why he must resist the requests of the Tuatha De Danann. They want him to join their efforts to battle their biggest nemesis,a powerful god who is threatening the destruction of Eire, the land they hold so dear. But events and gods conspire to bring Saoirse and Smithy to the path that was meant to be. It’s time for the gods to awake and answer the call to defend the land. But answering that call could mean risking death.

A music-filled romantic urban fantasy with a Celtic twist that will delight fans of Charles de Lint.

Wicked Whispers by Lily Harper HartWicked Whispers by Lily Harper Hart:

Jack Harker says the honeymoon will never be over, but it’s back to reality for him and his wife Ivy. Unfortunately for them, that means murder is on the menu … and this newest body is dropped in Ivy’s nursery parking lot.

Jack is a mess when he realizes a sniper took out a local woman. Ivy, although shocked because it happened right in front of her eyes, is also intrigued. When the duo starts digging, they find themselves drawn into an ugly underworld that’s happening right under their noses.

Shadow Lake might be a quiet town but it has an ugly side … and apparently there are a group of people looking to profit. The harder Jack and Ivy look, the more ugliness they uncover.

Ivy’s abilities are growing by leaps and bounds but even she can’t fight off a bullet. When her busybody nature makes her a target, it’s going to take everything she has in her arsenal to fight off the inevitable.

Jack loves his wife. Ivy will do whatever it takes to protect her husband. Will one of them have to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the other in the end?

It’s a hot race to the finish, and Ivy’s magic will have a say in the outcome.

Galaxy Bound by Vidar HokstadGalaxy Bound by Vidar Hokstad:

The Centauri Gate has opened, and humanity has taken its first steps into the unknown.

When an Earth freighter is destroyed in Centauri space, Zara Ortega and the crew of the Black Rain are sent to investigate, accompanied by an Earth military officer and a Centauri diplomat.

It’s apparent something is wrong, and when they chase down the leads, they end up facing off against heavily armed warships that should not be there.

Soon they are in another desperate race to survive. They seek shelter in a Centauri colony near Proxima. But those following them mount a brutal assault, and they pay a high price to flee.

They need to get word out, or it means war.

Absolute Unit by Nick KolakowskiAbsolute Unit by Nick Kolakowski:

Absolute Unit is a dark carnival ride through the underside of the American Dream, where hustlers and parasites fight to survive against gun-toting furries, sarcastic drug kingpins, old ladies who are startlingly good with knives, and angry ex-girlfriends. It’s a hardboiled slice of modern American horror that asks the deepest question of all: Is the human race worth saving?

Bill is a nobody, a health inspector who’s not above taking a few dollars to overlook a restaurant’s mouse problem, and hated by nearly everyone except his long-suffering girlfriend. His nephew, Trent, isn’t much better: sexually and morally confused, he’s probably the worst teenage con artist on the East Coast. But today, these two losers are going to become the most important people in the world.

That’s because Bill and Trent harbor a sentient parasite with a sarcastic sense of humor and a ravenous appetite. As the parasite figures out how to control its new human hosts, the focus of its desires grows from delicious cheeseburgers and beer to something much darker and more dangerous.

The apocalypse might come from within us…

Great Hexpectations by Amanda M. LeeGreat Hexpectations by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter thought she was getting a grip on the paranormal world she never knew existed until recently. She was wrong. In the shadow of a massive shifter retreat, she finds she knew absolutely nothing.

Her live-in love Galen Blackwood has his hands full with the conference. Not only is his mother pressuring him to make his presence known but it’s also up to him to keep the not-so-friendly factions from going to war. Things only get stickier when a member of the Michigan wolf contingent ends up dead on the docks.

Hadley wants to help Galen, as does his cousin Aric Winters, who has brought his magical mage wife Zoe and their daughter to the island at the behest of his father. Aric prefers distance when it comes to shifter politics but he’s happy to see his cousin, and be introduced to Hadley for the first time.

Because they’re not shifters, Hadley and Zoe are considered outsiders. That allows them to join together to track down a murderer.
Hadley is out of her element but she’s determined to help Galen by any means necessary. Unfortunately for her, the other wolves don’t like it … and decide to make it an issue worth dying for.

A wolf war is brewing and Hadley is at the center of it. Not only that but she’s a target. It’s going to take all of her witchy energy – plus a little help from a new friend – to make it through to the other side.

Somebody else has different plans … and they’re deadly. It might be the wolves warring, but Hadley is the one who might die on the battlefield.

The Sightless City by Noah LemelsonThe Sightless City by Noah Lemelson:

Kidnapping.
Enslavement.
Murder.

Those are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to actions some will take to protect their interests in æther-oil, the coveted substance that fuels the city of Huile.

As both veteran and private investigator, Marcel Talwar knows this firsthand, and he likes to think he’d never participate in such things. However, that naïve idea comes to a crashing end when he takes on a new case that quickly shatters his world view. A trail of evidence points to someone in Marcel’s inner circle who’s using him as a pawn to conduct grisly experiments-experiments that could lead to genocide.

Now, Marcel is more determined than ever to discover who’s pulling the strings to this sinister plot. But the further he gets, the larger the target on his back becomes, and it’s not long before Marcel has to ask himself how much and how many he’s willing to sacrifice to get to the truth.

Kingdom Come by Nazri NoorKingdom Come by Nazri Noor:

Hell hath no fury.

Mason Albrecht’s anger issues have finally come to a head, attracting another member of the Seven. The Prince of Wrath reveals his hand, striking at Mason where it hurts the most: his mother. Abaddon possesses Josephine Albrecht’s body, then disappears, taking her with him.

Plunged into despair, Mason and his allies rush to find Abaddon, and a way to stop the Prince of Wrath. How can he destroy the demon hiding inside his mother’s body? Mason must swallow his pride, bare his soul, and beseech old friends and enemies… one of the Seven among them.

Baswin by Aurora SpringerBaswin by Aurora Springer:

An alien spy on the run.
Two human sisters chosen to train as astronavigators.
Their paths are destined to converge.

Psychic sensitives, Holly Moon and her sister Rosie, are chosen as candidates for Warrish training as hyperspace navigators. The sisters are eager to promote humanity’s advance into space. Will they succeed? They must pass a series of rigorous tests and adapt to the alien neuro-implants.
Alien merman, Baswin Kenton Tallis, Second of his Triad, lives on Earth disguised as a human. When Earth agents discover the secret identity of his older brother, Baswin must flee to the Warrish embassy in the Pacific Ocean.

Holly and Baswin are swept together on an island in the Pacific Ocean, but their destiny lies farther away and many forces threaten to drive them apart. Can they overcome the obstacles and find a haven?

Follow the adventures of the three brothers of the Flaming Comets Triad in Baswin, Book 5 in Taxyon Space.

Breaker Marine by James David VictorBreaker Marine by James David Victor:

As a reaker, she was destined to live a hard life serving the whims of galactic corporations. As an Earth Alliance Marine, she has a chance to change the balance of power in the galaxy.

Holly Cropper grew up as a Breaker, mining the outer reaches of space. Now, she’s an up-and-coming lieutenant in the Earth Alliance Marines. Her mission: keep the peace and help humanity survive in the endless darkness of space. When a distress call comes in from a large mining vessel, her orderly world gets turned upside down. What starts with a simple pirate takeover turns into a hostile alien invasion. This Breaker Marine and her small team might be the only thing standing between humanity and annihilation at the hands of ancient aliens.

Breaker Marine is the first book in the Star Breaker series. If you like fast-paced space adventures with interesting characters who battle aliens, evil corporations, and space pirates, Holly Cropper and her team of Marines are ready to share their epic adventure with you.

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