Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for August 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 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. We have a whole lot of epic fantasy this month, but also urban fantasy, portal fantasy, space opera, military science fiction, funny science fiction, hard science fiction, post-apocalyptic science fiction, Cyberpunk, paranormal romance, science fiction romance, fantasy romance, young adult fantasy, weird western, vampires, werewolves, witches, wizards, mummies, aliens, sentient spaceships, outlaw swordfighters, gender-swapped musketeers, sky slayers, wild mages, psychedelic coffee 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:

Deviants of Giftborn by Zuri AmarcyaDeviants of Giftborn by Zuri Amarcya:

Better deviant than dead.

Raised among hostile, violent beggars, Nemma longs for the safety of her family and a better quality of life. She uses trickery and brute force to survive, but living among the desperate has its risks. When she inadvertently kills two powerful magiens, with a power she didn’t realize she had, she is forced to flee and seek help. This sets in motion a chase that will have a fatal end for her if she is unable to escape the all-powerful Sovereign Order.

Ambitious merchant, Clisantha, manipulates others to work her way up the social hierarchy in Torak City. She uses her illegal powers to preserve her status, scrutinize her devious Lord stepfather and meddle with a mysterious magien. However, when hidden memories of her long-deceased father resurface, she becomes absorbed in the mystery surrounding his death, forcing her to put herself, her beliefs and everything she has strived for at risk.

Nemma and Clisantha’s lives collide and revolve as they fall deeper into the secrets of their past, revealing a truth far more devastating than they could ever have imagined.

Deviants of Giftborn is the first installment of The Etherya Series, a thrilling epic fantasy saga exploring the cost of consequence, justice and power. If you like compelling action, determined heroines, and magical societies, Zuri Amarcya’s adventurous and enchanting tale is perfect for you.

After the Pretty Pox by August AnselAfter the Pretty Pox: The Attic by August Ansel:

“It’s worse than that. God will ignore us entirely.”
A searing act of bioterrorism. A catastrophic plague they call the Pretty Pox.
Most of the human race is dead, and for two years Arie McInnes has been alone, riding out the aftermath of the Pretty Pox, waiting for her own inevitable end.

Hidden in the attic of her ruined home, Arie survives by wit and skill, ritual and habit. Convinced that humans are a dangerous fluke, a problematic species best allowed to expire, she chooses solitude…even in matters of life and death.

Arie’s precarious world is upended when her youngest brother – a man she’s never met – appears out of nowhere with a badly injured woman. Their presence in the attic draws the attention of a dark watcher in the woods, and Arie is forced to choose between the narrow beliefs that have sustained her and the stubborn instinct to love and protect.

In Book One of August Ansel’s captivating new post-apocalyptic series, After the Pretty Pox casts an unwavering eye on what it means to be human in a world where nature has the upper hand, and the only rules left to live by – for good or ill – are the ones written on our hearts.

Wild Mage by Joseph J. BaileyWild Mage by Joseph J. Bailey:

Heaven has fallen.
The legions of Chaos have overrun the world.
Uërth is in ruins.
With the Heavenly Host’s fall, Angel Swords rained from the heavens, littering the world in what was.
Only the most honorable and purest of heart are able to take up the Angel Swords and wield them against the throngs of Chaos. These mighty Empyrean Knights are all that stands between Uërth and annihilation.

Maeraeth is neither a hero nor a great warrior. Nor does he wish to become an Empyrean Knight.
He just wants to be left alone with his studies.
And not be killed by demons.
But, with the destruction of the Chaos Gate, Uërth may have a chance at redemption.
If the hordes of Chaos can be contained and if no more portals to the Abyss are created.

Maeraeth’s teacher, Master Nomba, has other plans for him. Plans that involve both containing demons and preventing their arrival.
So much for his studies.
And not being killed by demons.

Roko's Labyrinth by Michael BlackburnRoko’s Labyrinth by Michael Blackburn:

The world is dying.

And Nick Rose watches from the sidelines.

With an enhanced mind and born to the ruling class – The Board – Nick spends his days hacking AI. Tasked with eradicating the bots created by Roko Kasun, the long-dead architect of the Artificial Intelligence that’s crippling the planet, Nick takes refuge behind his keyboard. He’s no hero.

The Board had been severing ties with the rest of mankind, retreating to safety, unplugging and conceding the fate of the world, or so Nick had thought. Now, a summons from Leadership draws Nick into the very real disaster-zone on a last, desperate mission to save everything, and he’ll need to trust the most unlikely ally of all: Roko himself.

In the machine, evil never dies – fortunately, neither do heroes.

Fall of the Western Kings by J. Drew BrumbaughFall of the Western Kings by J. Drew Brumbaugh:

Gant is a commoner, forbidden from learning swordsmanship. He trains in spite of the law and ends up branded an outlaw. However fate intervenes while Gant is on the run and soon he is embroiled in an odyssey with forces of darkness that can only be vanquished with help from his friends, not all of whom are human. An epic that delivers the best in the tradition of classic fantasy.

 

 

Dreaming of the Stars by Cora BuhlertDreaming of the Stars by Cora Buhlert:

Even in a galaxy torn apart by war, the young still have dreams.

On Rajipuri, a poor planet in the Empire of Worlds, Anjali Patel and her two younger sisters look up at the stars and dream of escaping the limitations of a traditional and rigidly stratified society.

At the same time, in a camp for war orphans in the Republic of United Planets, Mikhail Grikov also looks up at the stars and dreams of escaping a life of pain and abuse.

One day in the far future, they will meet and change the galaxy. But for now, they’re merely dreaming of the stars…

This is a prequel novelette of 8500 words or approx. 29 print pages to the “In Love and War” series, but may be read as a standalone.

Lost Wolf by Stacy ClaflinLost Wolf by Stacy Claflin:

She’s hiding a dark secret. It already killed her once.

Victoria can’t wait to start college, but there’s a hitch—she can’t remember anything before arriving on campus. Her memories finally spark when she sees her ruggedly handsome math professor, but she senses something terrible happened. The shock on his face affirms her fears.

Toby is an alpha wolf who never thought he’d see his true love again—not after she died in his arms. Nothing could have prepared him for her walking into his class. But to his dismay, not only has she forgotten the past, she doesn’t even know who she is.

He’s determined to do whatever it takes to restore what they’ve lost. Can Toby help Victoria recover her memories, or will he lose her forever?

USA Today bestselling author, Stacy Claflin, brings you Lost Wolf, the first book in the Curse of the Moon series. It’s a paranormal romantic suspense saga that features gripping supernatural drama, surprising twists, dynamic characters, and heart-pounding romance.

The Sky Slayer by Joel CornahThe Sky Slayer by Joel Cornah:

All who kill a pterosaur are cursed. But Rob Sardan went a step further – he killed their King.
To break the curse he must escape a prison of ice and crystal, south of south, beyond all hope. With a ragtag team of former pirates, a failed thief and a strategist who cannot be trusted, they seek a ship that can sail on a sea of fire.
They must cross the grinding ice, challenge an empire, and face the dread pirate Skagra before she unleashes the Crown of Black Glass. But above all, Rob must face the ghosts of what he has become…
King Killer. Sword-breaker. Sky Slayer.
‘Glory is like a circle in the water which never ceaseth to enlarge itself, till, by broad spreading, it disperse to naught’.

Bite the Hand that Feeds by Lucy EldritchBite the Hand that Feeds by Lucy Eldritch:

The leader of the new breed, Robert James, is missing. The few remaining vampires are being picked off, one by one.

Vampiress Elaine Sullivan is keeping her head down, working as a barmaid and trying not to attract attention. Until, that is, she falls for a man who claims he can cure her vampirism. It’s her only hope for survival and she grabs it. The trouble is: he lied.

‘Bite The Hand That Feeds’ is the follow-up to ‘The Young Vampire’s Survival Guide’ and the second in the ‘New Breed Vampires’ book series. Written in British English, it can be read as a standalone novel. This new adult horror book contains bloody violence, swearing, lashings of vampires, paranormal strangeness, sex and other good times.

61B9a4pIs7LThe Bloody Frontier by Jim Johnson:

The first three books in the Pistols and Pyramids series (an ancient Egyptian-themed spaghetti western with magic and mummies), now available in one collection at a great price!

Kekhmet, the empire of the Two Lands, is a faded shadow of its former glory. Once the shining jewel of the world, the empire has been split apart by the invasion of foul Hesso marauders and the depredations of corrupt governors. The gods and goddesses of Kekhmet are all but silent, and the people struggle to find hope in their hardscrabble lives.

RANGER OF MAYAT: When Tjety, an exiled Ranger of the goddess Mayat, discovers a ransacked fishing village along the lawless northern frontier, he marshals his training and divine hekau magic to hunt down the vicious cultists responsible for the attack. But can he find them before their prisoners are twisted into mindless slaves serving a ruthless necromancer bent on shattering the tenuous balance between order and chaos?

FLIGHT TO THE FORT: Tjety, an exiled Ranger of Mayat, and Ruia, a young fisherman’s daughter, team up to guide the survivors of a bandit attack through the dangerous and rugged Kekhmet frontier. Can they reach the safety of Fort Sekhmet before foul cultists and their horrible mummified creatures can capture them?

HOUSE OF THE HEALER: After surviving a brutal cultist attack on her village, Ruia led the other survivors to the safety of Fort Sekhmet with the help of Tjety, a Ranger of Mayat. With Tjety’s life now hanging in the balance, can Ruia gather enough help and learn to use her newfound hekau magic to heal Tjety before the forces of darkness close in and snuff out all hope?

That Day in the Desert by Carol Holland MarchThat Day in the Desert by Carol Holland March:

A romantic fantasy of love spanning worlds

The First Storyteller Tale: Through the Portal
If Larreta is your destiny, you will find it.

Valerie finds herself on Larreta, but it looks so much like California, she doesn’t believe she has entered a new world. Leo knows his chance for love has come and gone, but when he meets Valerie, the beautiful newcomer makes him wonder if there are second chances.

As the Storyteller begins her tales of the dreamwalkers of Larreta, Valerie and Leo are thrown together to forge their destinies on what looks like a perfect world. But as Valerie learns about Larreta, she discovers not everything is as it seems.

That Day in the Desert is the first tale of the dreamwalkers of Larreta, a romantic fantasy that spans worlds and time, an adventure of eternal beings who must overcome the legacy of their journey into the human world so they can reclaim their heritage.

Lizzie in the Land Beyond by Susan McDonough-WachtmanLizzie in the Land Beyond by Susan McDonough-Wachtman:

Lizzie is a teenager, an AP student, and a singer of folk songs. She wakes one day in a strange world. The women who revive her tell her they have summoned her to help them understand the aliens who have landed on their shores. They also tell her she can never go home because they scooped her up when she was about to die. Captured by witches, kidnapped by a dwarf, enraptured by river sprites — Will Lizzie ever find her way home?

A beautiful mixture of sorcery, mythical beasts, and aliens, Lizzie in the Land Beyond is a fantastic read from beginning to end. I love the characters, the voice of Lizzie and her bumbling youthful arrogance, the larger than life Adeline, and curmudgeonly Sculdar, and the strong and silent Osric. — Cynthia Varady on Goodreads

Red Horizon by Salvador MercerRed Horizon by Salvador Mercer:

The truth of discovery is on mankind’s horizon, a Red Horizon.

For nearly two long years, the world’s superpowers have mobilized their people and resources in preparation for the next discovery, Mars.

The race against one another pales in comparison to the inherent dangers of travelling through the vastness of the cosmos, going where mankind has never gone before. Facing the hostile and challenging environment of space, and nations ready to do anything it takes to win, Richard, ‘Rock’ Crandon pulls his team together in an attempt to reach the alien technology on the red planet first, and discover the intent behind the alien species.

Will mankind tear itself apart in the name of discovery, or will the truth reveal something more sinister, the true intent of the aliens?

The Harvest Moon by David NethThe Harvest Moon by David Neth:

A legacy of magic and danger.

All Danielle Bowen wants is a normal life: white picket fence, kids in the nursery, and peace and quiet with her husband Simon. But she can’t escape the fate her family has wrought for her. Born into a tradition of witchcraft, she has also inherited a deadly enemy: Toxanna, a dark witch who will stop at nothing to destroy the last of the Bowen line.

But will Danielle’s powers be enough to save her family—or even herself? And when Toxanna sets her sights on Holly, Danielle’s only daughter, will anyone have the strength to rescue the newly fledged witch? The darkness is closing around the last of the Bowens. In a world of wizards and powerful demons, how can one family of witches survive?

Bound
(Exclusive to the Deluxe Edition of The Harvest Moon)

Orphaned by the shocking murder of both his parents, thirteen-year-old Drew must conceal his magical powers as he navigates the foster care system. But it might be easier for a young wizard to control his cracking voice than his magic. When one of Drew’s spells attracts the attention of a local coven called the Fire Wizards, Drew sees his chance to solve the mystery of who killed his parents with the coven’s help.

There’s just one catch: once you enter the coven, you’re bound for life. And the more involved Drew becomes with the Fire Wizards, the faster his façade of safety crumbles. Can he find justice for his parents without binding himself to a world of magical peril?

Venturi by Annie NicholasVenturi by Annie Nicholas:

I grew up in space.
Never been on a planet, let alone an alien one.
We crashed—I crashed—our ship on a huge green world.
Communications were down, the ship was broken in two, the crew mostly injured, and there were things out there. Animals with razor sharp teeth.
The emergency beacon lay on the other side of the jungle, our only way to call home, and I drew the short straw.
I was doomed before I ever stepped out of the airlock.
But we weren’t alone…

Part one of a serial about a human traveler, her alien mate (not that she knows that yet), and an adventure through which he’s determined to keep her alive, and safe, and entirely his.
Warning: hot aliens, short serial, cliffhanger.

Musketeer Space by Tansy Rayner RobertsMusketeer Space by Tansy Rayner Roberts:

“I haven’t got a blade. I haven’t got a ship. I washed out of the Musketeers. If this is your idea of honour, put down the swords and I’ll take you on with my bare hands.”

Dana D’Artagnan longs for a life of adventure as a Musketeer pilot in the Royal Fleet on Paris Satellite. When her dream crashes and burns, she gains a friendship she never expected, with three of the city’s most infamous sword-fighting scoundrels: the Musketeers known as Athos, Porthos and Aramis.

Even as a mecha grunt, Dana has a knack for getting into trouble. She pushes her way into a dangerous political conspiracy involving royal scandals, disguised spaceships, a tailor who keeps getting himself kidnapped, and a seductive spy with far too many secrets.

With the Solar System on the brink of war, Dana is given a chance to prove herself once and for all. But is it worth becoming a Musketeer if she has to sacrifice her friends along the way?

MUSKETEER SPACE is a gender-swapped, thoroughly bisexual space opera retelling of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel The Three Musketeers.

Liberty by Alasdair ShawLiberty by Alasdair Shaw:

Struggling with newfound sentience and desperately trying to repair itself, The Indescribable Joy of Destruction is a ship trying to find a new home. In a galaxy torn apart by generations of civil war, that isn’t an easy task. Tired of being used as a killing machine, it has a huge decision to make: hide and save itself, or help other artificial intelligences achieve freedom. Unable to make the decision alone, it revives the sole human aboard – the enemy officer who crippled it.

 

Uncommon Life by T.S. PaulUncommon Life: The Minerva Lee Story by T.S. Paul:

Minerva Lee is her planets greatest living commander. From her command chair on board Freedom Station She rules the space above her planet. But it wasn’t always like this. She once wanted a different life, a life more simple. It was all ripped away from her and she had to chose another. Read how Athena Lee’s older sister fought battles that captured the hearts and minds of an entire planet.

 

 

Of Bots and Beans by Colin SpindlerOf Bots and Beans by Colin Spindler:

Colin Spindler’s CULT Group Coffee Sequence is a mystical space yarn for lovers of psychedelic science fiction.

CULT Group, a corporate entity shrouded in mystery and connected somehow to humans’ colonization of Mars, is promising the impossible. It claims that the human mind can be separated from the body via a strange VR-like process called Sequencing. If CULT Group’s claims check out, then human beings might just be able to cheat death.

Could disembodied immortality be at last within humanity’s grasp? Or is CULT Group full of beans? The mysterious Participant sets out to investigate.

Of Bots and Beans introduces readers to the reclusive actress Dame Saffron Von Scruplescotch, the fumbling Director Jerubimbo Gripebagger, the mysterious Participant, the eccentric ideas of Sir Francis Buildobare, and the ever-present metamorphic nanobiotech bots crawling all over everything.

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