Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for January 2020

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 December 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, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, science fantasy, fantasy romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, dystopian fiction, Cyberpunk, Hopepunk, Steampunk, aliens, angels, dragons, shifters, superheroes, pirates, ghosts, druids, fae, crime-busting witches, supernatural serial killers, alien mating rituals, planet killers, space marines, living swords, life after death 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:

Strange Love by Ann AguirreStrange Love by Ann Aguirre:

He’s awkward. He’s adorable. He’s alien as hell.
Zylar of Kith B’alak is a four-time loser in the annual Choosing. If he fails to find a nest guardian this time, he’ll lose his chance to have a mate for all time. Desperation drives him to try a matching service but due to a freak solar flare and a severely malfunctioning ship AI, things go way off course. This ‘human being’ is not the Tiralan match he was looking for.

She’s frazzled. She’s fierce. She’s from St. Louis.
Beryl Bowman’s mother always said she’d never get married. She should have added a rider about the husband being human. Who would have ever thought that working at the Sunshine Angel daycare center would offer such interstellar prestige? She doesn’t know what the hell’s going on, but a new life awaits on Barath Colony, where she can have any alien bachelor she wants.

They agree to join the Choosing together, but love is about to get seriously strange.

Magic Lies by Fatima BaderMagic Lies by Fatima Bader:

Hunting a serial killer can be hazardous to your health.

My name’s Selena Valeron, and I’m the Supernatural Bureau of Investigation’s best undercover witch. After three years, the bureau has just handed me my biggest case: hunting the magical community’s most prolific serial killer, Xavier.

Lately the dead women on the morgue table bear an eerie resemblance to me. A shocking revelation indicates the killer is someone from my past—if I can remember it. Years ago, an accident wiped out my memory and threatened to end my career. Now my magical powers seem to be manifesting into something stronger.

Was my memory loss really an accident, or a failed murder attempt?

Time’s ticking as I dig through my past to find the killer. I need answers. If I can’t get them in time, I’ll lose friends, family—even my own life.

MAGIC LIES is a fast-paced urban fantasy mystery with plenty of thrilling twists and turns that will keep you guessing. Agent Valeron may have lost her memory, but she hasn’t lost her snarky attitude and she’s still a badass witch. Jump into this magical world and start reading the Selena Valeron series today!

King of the Republic by P.J. BermanKing of the Republic by P.J. Berman:

Queen Silrith has fallen. Now she must rise again. However, when her army lands in Etrovansia in search of reinforcements and political support, their welcome is far from warm. Their retreat from one war could start another.

Ezrina, a vengeful Hentani priestess, feels the weight of expectation placed on her by her tribe. Without Jezna by her side, her headship is a lonely one. Will the arrival of strange new allies prove a welcome help or complicate matters further?

Zethun, an ambitious young politician, rides a wave of public support amid the passion of revolution. Now he must restore order before the mob descends into anarchy.

All three rebels stand on the precipice of their defining moments. There is no going back now.

Meanwhile, the tyrannical usurper, King Jostan, brings new violence to the Verusantian reign of terror over Bennvika.

Planet Killer by Lindsay BurokerPlanet Killer by Lindsay Buroker:

Casmir has survived against impossible odds, and now he longs to return home. But an invasion force is blockading the Kingdom’s wormhole gate, and it would be suicidal to fly through it now. Worse, his family and friends are stuck on the other side, with hostile forces attacking their home world.The only way Casmir can help is to find out who’s behind the invasion… and convince him to stop. But Casmir isn’t known for his ability to strong-arm people, and this is one enemy who won’t be won over by his friendly demeanor. As he soon finds out, he must face the very rich and very powerful person who’s been trying to have him killed for months.

Firebird's Lair by Rachel FordFirebird’s Lair by Rachel Ford:

A mysterious warlock. A ruthless band of wyvern poachers. A marriage neither of them wants.

Tsar Kirill’s only daughter is ailing. Poachers and robbers plague his kingdom. He doesn’t want a wife. Especially not that one.

Tsarevna Yuliana has a home already. She doesn’t want to leave everything she’s known, the seaside that she grew up by, to start a new life in a strange land. Especially not with him.

But Tsar Fyodor, his ally and her father, has other plans. He wants to forge an empire. And empire building by marriage is so much less taxing than empire building by war.

Or so he thinks.

First at odds, Yuliana and Kirill unite to outwit Fyodor and save themselves from his machinations. But as a mysterious sorcerer and a dangerous band of wyvern poachers threaten the future of both kingdoms, the two must risk everything – including their hearts – to save the hard-won peace.

A humorous fantasy novel, full of lovable characters, dangerous villains, and laugh-out-loud moments.

Osmium War by Thomas GreenOsmium War by Thomas Green:

He betrayed her. Her revenge will shake their worlds.

Captain John Lang has devoted his life to his duty. Raised as a child soldier, he has never known another life.

And since the cold war between Earth and Mars has been going on for over two centuries, he never will.

To save his lover, Raina, from the same fate, he sent her to Earth.

But things didn’t go for Raina the way John expected them to. Wearing an artificial face, she works as a corporate assassin for the Earth’s largest weapons manufacturing syndicate.

On Earth, she’s an escaped prisoner while on Mars, she’s officially dead. And has neither forgiven nor forgotten.

So, when Earth bans deep core mining, creating a system-wide osmium shortage, she seizes the opportunity and escalates the crisis.

For if she manages to make Earth and Mars go to war, they are sure to destroy each other. And her syndicate would then rule over the wasteland.

After all, she could have no better revenge than for John and all his soldier brothers to die in a nuclear apocalypse.

Ever the Hero by Darby HarnEver the Hero by Darby Harn:

Superheroes are big business. Imagine not being able to afford them.

Kit Baldwin just wants to make rent. The only work she can find in the ruins of her devastated city is scavenging for alien technology. When she finds a powerful alien weapon, her discovery pays off more than she could have hoped: it draws the attention of the most powerful of the superhuman Empowered, Valene.

Valene hears everything, everywhere. She suffers for it, and as they begin a precipitous romance, Kit believes she can use the weapon she’s scavenged to mitigate Valene’s pain. If she can’t, Valene will retreat to the soundlessness of space. Without Valene’s compassion, the stricken city is left to the mercy of Valene’s ruthless father, who denies the assistance the city needs unless it can pay for it.

As Valene’s condition worsens, Kit becomes more desperate and unleashes the full power of the alien weapon. In an instant, she is transformed into a being of cosmic power. She can acquire the knowledge and energy of anything – or anyone – she touches.

Ghostly Charms by Lilly Harper HartGhostly Charms by Lilly Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow thought the only thing she was going to have to worry about in the shadow of spring was planning her wedding. She was wrong.A string of break-ins in Whisper Cove have caught the attention of the cops, including her fiancé Jared Monroe. Things take a turn for the worse when one of those break-ins results in the death of a local barber. It seems what was once written off as teenage hijinks is something else entirely. In addition to the break-ins, Harper finds herself distracted by a new resident. He’s bringing an art gallery to town … as well as his troubled sister. Rain Porter doesn’t want to be in Southeastern Michigan and she’s hiding a big secret. Harper is determined to help the girl until the young woman pushes the exact wrong buttons. Things aren’t what they seem and the deeper Harper digs the more she worries that she doesn’t really want to find an answer. When a ghost from the other side of the state shows up and starts invading her dreams, things go from bad to worse. Jared wants nothing more than to protect Harper, but there are some things he can’t fight … and a ghost is one of them. It’s going to take everyone working together to find a way out of this one and even then survival is not a given. Jump on the ghost train with Harper, Jared, and Zander … because this one is going to be a wild ride.

Mother Savant by A.L. HawkeMother Savant by A.L. Hawke:

It is now 2244 and the all-female society of Arkite is on the brink of revolution. Only the return of the Mother Savant can hope to maintain order.

Savant Elise Jackson, Arkite’s supreme leader, is stricken with terrible grief over the recent loss of her lover. She has spent the last two years with her assistant, Sara, trying to repair and genetically engineer her lover’s damaged body and mind.

But the Viceroy of Pyramid City and her followers in the Savant Council have no interest in squandering the city’s resources for Elise’s personal gain. With the help of the mainframe AI, they will vie for power, even attempting collusion with Sara and sabotage.

And even if her enemies fail and Elise somehow manages to revive her lover, Elise knows she’ll have to vie for something she covets even more—her lover’s love. For Sara once loved her just as much, if not more.

Mother Savant is the sequel to Candy Savant—Book 2 in the Candy Savant Series.

The Living Sword 2: The Road Ahead by Pemry JanesThe Living Sword 2: The Road Ahead by Pemry Janes:

Eurik & Leraine have escaped the land of the necromancers, but still face a long journey. Eurik is looking for answers about who his parents were and how they ended up adrift at sea. Leraine must carry the news of her teacher’s death back home, yet also has a debt to Eurik for helping her to avenge Irelith.

Together, they’ll have to traverse the Neisham Hills, where lone travelers are snatched in the night and even numbers don’t guarantee safety. And beyond the hills, all along the long Inza Road, the drums of war beat louder and louder.

But the greatest threat may not be goblins, elves, or bandits. It may be the people they’ve chosen to travel with.

Trinary by Gaja J. KosTrinary by Gaja J. Kos:

Cairo MacKennon doesn’t give a shit about rules, save for one. Avoid SCAR Force at all costs.

When a high-end heist goes south and not even the best stealth ship in the Vedrina trinary system can keep her off SCAR Force’s radar, Cairo’s thieving ways become the least of her problems.

The Space Combat and Retrieval Force doesn’t forget past sins.

And what they have in mind for Cairo’s transgression beats even her worst nightmare.

Scroll up and start reading the first episode in the action-packed sci-fi serial with a slow-burn romance, daring pilots, and space ships galore!

Halfax by Joseph R. LalloHalfax by Joseph R. Lallo:

If you can’t have good luck, you should at least have a good dragon.

The princess has inherited the family curse. Plagued by terrible luck, it is all the palace staff can do to keep her safe from herself. When her father pricks himself with an assassin’s needle meant for her, her mother Queen Jade knows there is only one thing they can do. They must seek a cure. To reach it, they will need the help of their greatest protector. But even the great dragon Halfax may not be ready for the challenges ahead.

Halfax is a direct sequel to Jade. It takes place many years after the events of the Book of Deacon series.

Hex Type Thing by Amanda M. LeeHex Type Thing by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter is feeling on top of the world.

She’s embracing her new home on Moonstone Bay and coming into her own as a witch. Her boyfriend Galen Blackwood, who happens to be sheriff, is even involving her in his investigations.

Unfortunately, the peace on Moonstone Bay is about to be threatened.

A local millionaire and a one-hit-wonder songstress are hosting the Skyclad Festival, a paranormal beach extravaganza that features a bevy of famous faces in paranormal circles … and those who want to hobnob with them. There’s only one little problem ….

One of the local influencers, a woman whose only job is to rave about things on the internet, ends up dead. Then, in short order, the organizer himself goes missing. That means Galen is on the case … and Hadley insists on serving as his sidekick.

There are a lot of witches on the island. The question is: Is magic to blame for murder or is something more insidious happening?

It’s going to take everyone working together to find the correct answers – and keep each other safe – as the problem on the beach deteriorates.

Someone has murder on the mind and Hadley is determined to find the culprit. All she has to do is survive long enough to uncover a mystery that has roots in a past long since forgotten … well, and not step on the wrong witchy toes.

The odds of doing both seem long but where there’s a witch, there’s a way.

Druid Vices and a Vodka by Annette MarieDruid Vices and a Vodka by Annette Marie:

I’ve said it before, but sometimes I’m a bad person. I cheated on my twelfth grade math final, I’ve run countless yellow lights, and I gossip about how hot my kickass best friends are. (Good thing my job as a guild bartender doesn’t require moral perfection.)

But there’s bad, and then there’s bad. And I’m not sure which applies to a certain dark druid/wanted criminal/reluctant friend of mine. His transgressions include black-magic dealings, kidnapping, and murder, and he’s about to add “revenge-fueled killing spree” to his resume—if I don’t stop him.

Should I stop him?

He and his nemesis are gearing up to tear each other apart, rogues and vultures are converging with their sights on the spoils, and the guilds that would normally stomp them into the ground are under attack. We’re on the verge of an all-out criminal turf war, and my time to decide is almost up.

Who’s the real bad guy … and do I dare stand in his way?

Sky Scorcher by Harlan J. MeadeSky Scorcher by Harlan J. Meade:

James Blackwin and his body guard, Misty, are appointed to provide security for the King’s Ball, but their plans are soon disrupted after Misty has a dangerous encounter with a mysterious man with ill intentions. Join James and his crew on board his flying airship as he attempts to defeat pirates, recover stolen plans, and save his friend. Will he prevail or will the obstacles he must face be more than he can handle?

 

 

Fallen Reign by Nazri NoorFallen Reign by Nazri Noor:

Half human, half angel, 100% pissed off.

Mason Albrecht’s life changed the day the angels tried to kill him. As the son of a fallen angel king, Mason is an abomination, one who can command the Vestments, divine arms and armor summoned from heaven’s own arsenals. And everybody wants a piece: death witches, demon princes, even deities of ancient myth.

Then an enterprising enchantress offers to cloak Mason from those who would corrupt him into a living weapon. But will Mason run from supernatural entities forever, or embrace his unholy birthright and defy the very forces of heaven and hell?

Sins of the Father is a new adventure series from Nazri Noor, bestselling urban fantasy author of the Darkling Mage series. Follow Mason’s first steps in Fallen Reign, a humorous, high-impact supernatural suspense story filled with magic, mythology, and plenty of mayhem.

The Last Mystic by Susan Kaye QuinnThe Last Mystic by Susan Kaye Quinn:

What if you knew there was life after death?

Eli is back from the dead… and determined to stop the powerful ascenders who blasted him out to the void. But in the three days he was gone, the world moved on. The girl he loves is determined to build an army of augmented humans to fight the ascenders—with herself as the next Offering. The ascenders are lining up in a death cult based on the charismatic ascender Eli accidentally released from storage—and all the restraints that have kept the ascender world in balance are now off. Everyone is rushing to be the first to bring a Second Singularity—to reach the numinous world from which Eli just returned—regardless of the cost. And the chaos and bloodshed of the first Singularity show just how high that cost can be. How can he stop the world from hurtling off the cliff when he’s the one who proved there’s something to reach, if only you could learn how to fly?

The Last Mystic is the thrilling conclusion to the Singularity series. This philosophical, HopePunk sci-fi series explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity

Price of Imperium by Dave RobinsonPrice of Imerpium by Dave Robinson:

The Imperium is on the brink of annihilation, and only one person can save it.

After centuries of peace, the Enemy has returned, and the only one who can unlock the Imperium’s last line of defense is the rightful emperor. Unfortunately, the throne has been empty for a decade.

The sole remaining heir is rumored to be on a backwater planet where no one has heard of the Imperium. Can he be found before the Imperial system is dissolved and the ships of the Imperial Guard are sent to the Wreckers?

Tam’s a destroyer skipper who’s been passed over for promotion one too many times. He’s on a routine mission in his last command.

Meanwhile, on Earth, a homeless man dreams of the stars. John doesn’t know who he is, or where he’s from. He just knows someone will come looking for him and he needs to be found.

Jayne is a woman who works at a homeless shelter in Seattle and finds herself a long way from home.

Who among them will be willing to pay the Price of Imperium?

Alarik by Aurora SpringerAlarik by Aurora Springer:

Two people fleeing their planets discover a shared destiny.

When an alien spacecraft crashes on Mars, the repercussions sweep throughout the solar system and endanger the fragile new alliance with the Warrish mermen.

Alarik Kenton Tallis, Eldest of three brothers, was forced to infiltrate human society on Earth as a spy to insure his injured brother receives proper medical care. But, when his transmissions are detected, he must flee the planet.

On Mars, Phoebe Wong, a veterinary scientist with dubious family connections, is desperate to escape the underworld gangs terrorizing the domed city. She jumps at the chance to join the colonists bound for a distant exoplanet.

Their paths converge on a space ferry bound for the outer planets. Troubles created by the mysterious spacecraft pursue them to Jupiter. Will their flight end on Europa, the hyperspace gateway to the stars protected by three diverse species?

Shifters and Sabotage by Lily WebbShifters and Sabotage by Lily Webb:

All’s fair in love and roar…

Zoe Clarke’s life is changing shape. After solving a litter of paranormal mysteries, Zoe’s ready to slow down and focus on domestics with her new live-in shifter boyfriend, Beau.

But someone in Moon Grove is eaten up with jealousy about their relationship — as Zoe learns from the series of disturbing anonymous letters addressed to Beau in their mailbox. So when Zoe finds Beau trapped in his golden retriever form, it’s up to her to sniff out what happened.

From his obsessive co-workers to the secretive community of shifters surrounding him, Zoe’s convinced the attacker is someone in Beau’s pack — until another prominent shifter is found locked in their animal form.

Can Zoe track down the culprit and reverse the shifter curse? Or will the attacker take a bite out of her too?

Shifters and Sabotage is the seventh book in the Magic and Mystery series of witch cozy mysteries. If you like shady shifters, raving reporters, and magical murder mysteries, then you’ll love this lighthearted seventh entry in Lily Webb’s spellbinding series.

Steel City, Veiled Kingdom by Danielle WilliamsSteel City, Veiled Kingdom: The Complete Edition by Danielle Williams:

Jerimin Icarii’s life is in shambles. Once an ambitious young scientist, years of hardship on the streets of his homeworld have transformed him into a desperate man, willing to do anything to get his life back.

In his darkest hour, he strikes a deal with the bizarre Queen of the faerie world. Now her supernatural powers help him keep up appearances while he claws his way back into society. The longer he keeps up the charade, the closer he gets to respect, wealth, and glory. But one slipup will get him killed.

And that’s not even the dangerous part. Because the cost of the Queen’s aid is obedience to her every whim. And Jerimin never knows what she’ll make him do next…

Steel City, Veiled Kingdom is a science fantasy overflowing with intrigue, adventure, and colorful characters you’ll love (and a few you’ll love to hate). It’s the perfect story for any sci-fi/fantasy lover looking for an immersive, inventive read.

Steel City, Veiled Kingdom: The Complete Edition presents the entire story as it was originally envisioned–as a single, complete, epic-length novel. The Complete Edition is only available in digital format at this time. However, all 5 parts of the story are offered as individual volumes in both digital and paperback and are listed here:

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