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 April 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, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, YA science fiction, science fantasy, dystopian fiction, steampunk, mannerpunk, witches, vampires, demons, robots, superheroes, diplomats, space pirates, space prisons, bounty hunters, fighter pilots, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts, time-travelling tax collectors, the devil’s daughter 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:
The Eye of the Gods by Odette C. Bell:
Vivian Bond has a secret that could bring down the Milky Way. Special Commander Jake Trace doesn’t care – he hates her.
When Jake meets the irritating Vivian at a gallery, and she steals a painting he’s been tasked to secure for his superiors, he locks onto her like a hunter to prey.
It’s the only thing that saves her life. For Vivian Bond has enemies. Everywhere. She has a twisted destiny she’s run from her whole life. Now it will catch up.
Vivian and Jake are thrown together in a fight for the Milky Way and beyond as an ancient power rises once more.
Convict Fenix by Alan Brickett:
Exiled to the most secure prison in the realms for a crime he really, certainly, undoubtedly did commit, Fenix must overcome the amnesia all convicts are magically infected with to survive long enough to enact his forgotten plan for escape.
All prisoners have their memory wiped when they arrive, no matter the being, creature or monster they may have been. Most skills are lost and only instinct remains. Fenix’s instinct is survival, and an overpowering need to escape, somehow driven by the slimmest of chances that he can…
The prison is an amalgamation of landscapes smacked together hodgepodge in its own pocket dimension, each piece of it floating around the giant creature that carries it through space and time. There is no escape because there is no way out.
The door only drops people in.
It is the cosmic penal colony where the worst beings in the universe spend their life sentences.
If you do not get executed, you get sent here, which means someone really wanted you to suffer.
Fenix has a plan, or he did before he was imprisoned, the problem is that he must regain his memories quickly enough to make his plan work for him.
Shockwave by Lindsay Buroker:
What if being a hero was encoded in your genes?
And nobody told you?
Casmir Dabrowski would laugh if someone asked him that. After all, he had to build a robot to protect himself from bullies when he was in school.
Fortunately, life is a little better these days. He’s an accomplished robotics engineer, a respected professor, and he almost never gets picked on in the lunchroom. But he’s positive heroics are for other people.
Until robot assassins stride onto campus and try to kill him.
Forced to flee the work he loves and the only home he’s ever known, Casmir catches the first ship into space, where he hopes to buy time to figure out who wants him dead and why. If he can’t, he’ll never be able to return home.
But he soon finds himself entangled with bounty hunters, mercenaries, and pirates, including the most feared criminal in the Star Kingdom: Captain Tenebris Rache.
Rache could snap his spine with one cybernetically enhanced finger, but he may be the only person with the answer Casmir desperately needs:
What in his genes is worth killing for?
Great Chief by Lindsay Buroker:
Yanko White Fox is used to expectations.
Since he was a small boy, his father has expected him to become a powerful mage and redeem his family’s honor. Even if his heart was elsewhere, Yanko always accepted his responsibility. He’s learned all he can about magic, practiced to become powerful, and fought great evil to free thousands of imprisoned people.
But it’s not enough.
Prince Zirabo tasks him with claiming a new land for their nation and keeping it out of the hands of all those who covet it. Even though Yanko has a few good friends to help him, he’s daunted by the enormity of the task. But securing the continent and turning it into a lush farmland may be the only way to end the civil war at home and bring peace to people who are hungry, beleaguered, and divided.
Yanko will have to use all of his power and draw upon everything he’s learned to succeed and bring peace to his war-torn nation. If he can’t, he’ll lose his home, his family, and all that he loves.
Bounty Hunted by Ian Cannon:
A few new problems. One big mystery. A whole new struggle.
While Ben fights to survive the gloomy bowels of Sarcon’s dungeon prison, Tawny navigates the endless bickering of the Sarconan courts to free him. After their efforts meet with failure, it seems the whole world is against them … until an old ally makes her appearance.
But even bigger problems loom.
Enjoying their newfound freedom, they soon realize a mysterious new presence has arisen amongst the Solar Twin System, and it has one purpose: Destroy Tawny and Ben Dash.
With no one to turn to and nowhere to hide, they find themselves in a race against time to discover what this new foe is and unravel its systematic plot to destroy everything they love … before it rips them apart.
Hell or High Water by G.A. Chase:
A light conversation over coffee tosses the devil’s daughter out of the frying pan of life’s problems and into the fiery depths of hell.
Sere Mal-Laurette was warned against meeting Jennifer, the real woman behind her doppelgänger body. However, she didn’t mention that instruction to Jennifer during their numerous psychically bonded moments. So when Jennifer shows up in front of Sere’s apartment, the doppelgänger doesn’t see much choice other than to invite the housewife in for a cup of coffee.
Before the day is out, Myles’s sweet little dog has turned into a hellhound, Sere’s friend and sidekick Fisher has succumbed to his demonic possession, and supersized crawfish have emerged from the swamp. Sere is forced to wonder if she should have heeded the warnings about Jennifer. But is the widening of the hell mouth a result of one morning’s coffee conversation, or is something more sinister at work?
Sere has plenty of other explanations to choose from. There are the lost souls of the damned that Marjory Laroque cast into hell in her attempt to raise a new devil. There’s the fact that Sere’s sweet angel and mother figure, Sanguine, has been imprisoned. Worst of all, Sere’s very presence among the living could be the cause of the impending apocalypse. Once again she needs help curbing the chaos, but this time, she’ll call on her support system in hell.
Monster by Karen Diem:
Tax season. It’s all forms and games until someone loses a murderer.
Authorities have abandoned the search for a sadistic serial killer with a grudge against Zita Garcia’s family. Never one to sit still, the sometime superhero and reluctant tax preparer will do whatever it takes to find him.
With her loved ones at stake, she’ll call in her best friends and questionable new allies to help. If finding her quarry means Zita has to fight literal monsters, wrangle glitter-obsessed vampires, or go to a nightclub, she’ll do it. Even if the undead and line dances make her skin crawl. She needs to get her mask on and solve this fast—before things go from bad to hearse.
A shovel to get through the three feet of snow wouldn’t hurt either.
Monster is the fourth book in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series and includes immoderate language, lame sexual innuendo, and comic book violence.
A Dark and Stormy Day by Charon Dunn:
3748 crashes to a halt as Sonny Knight visits Times Square to ring in the New Year.
He’s a little sad because his girlfriend – one of the terrorist clones holding his family prisoner (but she’s one of the nicer ones) – has dumped him. Or maybe she’s being held prisoner by a different band of terrorists, and would appreciate being rescued?
Sonny’s going to have to pull himself together if he’s going to help her. He needs to deal with his grief issues, residual anxiety from everything that happened to him in the last two books, and a blossoming substance problem. Then there’s his fresh anxiety from all the new and exciting dangers that befall him in this one.
Which include more pliosaurs, explosions, avalanches, crowds, true love, assault, battery … the usual.
This is the conclusion of the Adventures of Sonny Knight trilogy.
Blind into the Breach by Timothy Ellis:
Christopher Ecclestone has lived in the dark for a long time.
As a fighter pilot on the old Ark Royal, on the very day all his wishes came true, fate took them away again.
Seven years later, all he can do is listen, as a galactic core wide war begins.
Only the brand new Imperium had space fighters, and they were a liability, not an asset.
Now the Trixone have them, they’ve swept their frontier clean, and invaded Ralnor and Keerah space.
The Ralnor asked the fledgling Imperium for help.
But the Imperium only has a small number of fighter pilots, with nearly half being rookies without a combat launch to their names. And half of the veterans are flying a brand new untested carrier based fighter.
How do you keep an outnumbered force of veterans and rookies alive, when the enemy has a new weapon no-one knows anything about? Are the Imperium’s fighters even a match?
With the need for every available pilot, Jane walks into Chris’s life, gives him back what he lost, and recruits him to join the fighter wing on Orion’s Belt.
The legend of Dreamwalker has begun, with Orion’s Belt jumping Blind into the Breach.
Liberation by Rachel Ford:
A mutineer fleet commander. An abandoned miner. A reformer’s widow. A convicted Protector.
Four destinies. One empire.
From the frozen prison planets to the glistening streets of Central, corruption and cruelty is tearing the Tribari Empire apart. Four unlikely heroes find themselves on a collision course as they work to save their worlds. If they can’t find a way to bridge their differences, there may be no empire left to protect.
Time Slips & Tax Thieves by Rachel Ford:
A simple mistake. A slip through time and space. A strange new world.
He should have been more careful. But Alfred Favero, Senior Analyst with the IRS, wasn’t. Now he’s stuck in a world of opposites, where everything he knows is called into question.
To survive in Yngil-wode, the taxman must rely on a mysterious band of outlaws and tax thieves. But he risks getting drawn into a war with a tyrant. He risks sacrificing every principle he holds sacred.
How far will a man of the law go to save his own neck? How far will he go to save the woman he loves? Alfred’s about to find out.
Red Crystal Desert by Patty Jansen:
The conflict has brewed for generations, until it has become too big to handle.
Cory and his association finally return to Asto on the invitation of his father-in-law, for his official induction ceremony into the Domiri clan. They are housed in a magnificent villa overlooking a valley, away from the hustle of cities or the military base.
But why can’t they stay with their host? Is it for security? Is it because their host fears upsetting his household?
With Thayu heavily pregnant, Cory has no appetite for adventures. But something is brewing, and listening bugs, a nightly attack and invasion are all part of the deal.
Wouldn’t it be nice if for once Asto’s elite was upfront about the nature of the problem?
Raiders: The Secret War by Simon Haynes:
Everyone has been scarred by the war, and Sam Willet is no exception.
Sam is convinced she has what it takes to become a fighter pilot… to hunt down and destroy the enemy in deep space.
Instead she’s assigned to Tactical Operations training. It’s vital work, but it’s still a desk job, far from the front line.
Then, terrible news: Sam’s older brother is killed in combat.
Sam is given leave to attend his memorial service, but she’s barely boarded the transport when the enemy launches a surprise attack, striking far behind friendly lines to take the entire sector.
Desperately short of pilots, the transport’s captain asks Sam to step up.
Now, at last, she has the chance to prove herself.
But will that chance end in death… or glory?
Flip the Witch Switch by Amanda M. Lee:
Bay Winchester and Landon Michaels are looking for a romantic outing, revisiting the past now that they know they met as children. That trip leads them to the camp they visited back in the day … and to a new adventure.
It’s a happy excursion down memory lane until they happen upon the old pool and discover a hand poking out of an ancient cover. That means their day off becomes an official investigation.
Once identification comes through, Bay starts digging … and hard … to find out why a young woman writing a book would go missing in Hemlock Cove. The information she finds is disturbing … and the answers to the present case may come from the past, and a long-forgotten missing person’s case.
There’s a lot going on. Mrs. Little is trying to buy the property and wants the crime kept secret, which means Aunt Tillie is on a rampage to make sure her mortal enemy doesn’t win … even if the prize is something she doesn’t really want.
The Winchester witches are in turmoil. The local police chief is officially dating Bay’s mother, one of their own is keeping a huge secret, and they have a wedding coming up so that means dress fittings and place setting decisions galore.
Bay is on deck and has to figure it all out. She’s going to need help to do it. Even then, with her team in place, she might not come out on the winning side.
There’s a killer hiding in the shadows and death is coming. It’s going to take everyone working together to uncover the truth.
Can they pull it off?
Incursion at Elea Station by Jamie McFarlane:
An alien invasion. A home-world destroyed. Can an embattled captain survive a daring fight to save the remnant of his colony?
Privateer Liam Hoffen can’t wait to reunite with his family. But after he emerges from a 20-year stasis, he’s shocked to discover a hostile enemy has razed his home and exiled his people. With his foes dependent on a gas-mining platform to keep their ships fueled, Liam’s last-ditch hope is to cut off the vicious aliens with the help of a brother he never knew he had…
Armed only with ancient combat-damaged clunkers, he and his stubborn sibling must lead a dangerous assault on the enemy’s critical resources. Grossly outnumbered and far from reinforcements, Liam fears he’ll have to put everything on the line to defend the people he loves from annihilation.
Can Liam stop the powerful adversary from killing his family and taking over the system?
Incursion at Elea Station is the 17th standalone book in the epic Privateer Tales space opera saga. If you like intergalactic crusades, spirited sibling rivalry, and underdog heroes, then you’ll love Jamie McFarlane’s riveting sci-fi adventure.
A New Beginning by M.A. Nilles:
On a remote mining station, Nyalin hides a secret that would make her a hunted woman—she is a Crystal Keeper, a protector of a shard of the powerful Starfire crystal. However, when a strange shuttle falls through a portal near the mining station, she can no longer avoid her responsibilities. The human pilot, Vellin, is part of a research team that has developed gateways for instant travel anywhere in the universe without requiring a Starfire crystal, and he has been followed by an enemy through the portal.
To stop dangerous forces from possessing the gateways to spread destruction, Nya must team up with Vel and risk exposing her secret. In their race to destroy the gateways, they will find allies and enemies… and a new reason to worry.
Conspiracy by Jenn Nixon:
Mari Yosoto has been keeping a dark and dangerous secret from everyone for the past three years. No one would believe her anyway, her ex-fiancé had seen to that. Instead of wallowing in misery, she stays busy, shuttling cargo to the Moon and back, enjoying the easy work and time alone. An old EarthCorps acquaintance asks for her help, and Mari can’t say no, even if it means working with the ex’s former best friend.
Although Trevor Nash took the missing person’s job to help his former commanding officer, deep down he needed to see Mari again. After trying and failing to find out what happened to her, Trevor makes the best of an odd situation, hoping he can remind Mari of their budding friendship and finally get some answers. When the mission goes sideways and they find the not-so-missing girl, a centuries-old conspiracy theory comes to light and the only thing more unfathomable is learning Mari’s secret.
Together with their newly formed ragtag team, Mari and Trevor team up and undertake a mission unlike anything either of them has faced before with life-altering and possibly deadly consequences.
Condor Rising by Jaxon Reed:
The Republic has a new type of ship. The Condor-class is huge, deadly, and carries a secret weapon.
One spy has all the details, but he’s trapped and unable to share with his handler. She sets the wheels in motion to get him to Lute, the pirate stronghold, where they can meet and freely transfer information.
As the League gathers an overwhelming force to take Gotha Mu, the tiny golden planet in the Seychar system, Captain Christopher Raleigh and his crew race to prevent League spies from leaking the surprise in store for them.
Action, thrills, spies, gadgets, and deception await in this third installment of the Pirates of the Milky Way saga!
How to Hire a Vampire Consultant by Hollis Shiloh:
Steve isn’t used to being the responsible party. He’s not even a real agent at the Paranormal Research Agency—he’s here on parole. But right now, a lot of the PRA’s people are missing, and Steve and the librarian might be the only ones who can save them. While she researches like her life depends on it, Steve’s running around mopping up monstrous messes. He needs all the help he can get—even from a sassy vampire. Barnaby the vampire is kind of hot (for a twink), and not nearly as badass as he likes to think. Even if he did save Steve’s life. Between the three of them, they might just have what it takes to save the day.
Much Ado about Wicked Witness by Lotta Smith:
A tricky art theft and talking teacup… Throw in a perky ghost and a perkier toddler!
When a slightly tricky art theft takes place in an upscale Upper East Side neighborhood, Mandy and Rick are called in to crack the case.
With their daughter Sophie and Mandy’s ghost pal Jackie in tow, the USCAB duo tackle a baffling switcheroo. An art dealer’s pricey Japanese vase has been replaced with a cheap fake and an attempted murder complicates the situation. The only witness: a talking teacup. Can Mandy coax the spirit of an ancient Samurai with a fuzzy memory to spill the tea on who nabbed the Shino while wrangling a demanding toddler and wrestling with worry about taking a baby to a crime scene?
Join the Rowling clan as they attempt to literally save the Day in the latest adventure of the Manhattan Mystery series.
Running Start by J.A. Sutherland:
What if you discovered you’d been sold?
For Mason Guthrie, a sudden arrest, railroad trial, and quick conviction for the “vandalism” of fixing things around his tenement building come as a shock.
For Rosa Fuentes, it’s just more confirmation that, to Earth’s rulers, they’re nothing but commodities to be bought and sold.
Together — along with Rosa’s disturbingly capable AI — they break out and make their way off Earth to start a new, free life.
Unfortunately, the folks they stole a billion credits from along the way would like those back.
A Quiet Rebellion: Posterity by M.H. Thaung:
In a land where paranormal powers are transmissible, but their recipients condemned as a threat to society, Queen Eleanor struggles to improve life for all her subjects including the afflicted. Rocked by a recent betrayal and disillusioned by her late father’s secret scheming, she fabricates threats of an external attack to push for social reform.
Her ploy meets with initial success, easing her guilt about misleading the entire realm. However, evidence comes from an unlikely source that the threat is real. The realm must prepare for war, and Eleanor stands to lose everything she has fought for.
This is the final book in the Numoeath trilogy.
Alchemy’s Air by Stacey L. Tucker:
Skylar Southmartin is not the naïve girl she was a short year ago. She’s made some mistakes and learned a few secrets to life, all the while clinging to the faith her mother instilled in her as a child . . . in herself. And now that she has discovered her life’s purpose within the pages of the ancient Book of Sophia, she knows what she must do: restore a vital memory to the Akashic Library, located deep within the Underworld of Earth. This library is sought after by many who are aware of its existence, for they know the future of human potential rests at its core.
Meanwhile, Devlin Grayer has been elected as the 46th President of the United States and his wife, Milicent, is miserable in her new role as First Lady—especially because the Great Mothers have asked Milicent to use her new status to help their cause, and she has no interest in tackling that task.
With the help of friends in the unlikeliest of places, Skylar’s journey reveals the significance of the darkness within all of us, and its potential to save or destroy the most precious part of us all: our soul.
The Tide of War by Lori A. Witt:
Lieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Unified Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones.
Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave.
Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.