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. We have science fiction, space opera, science fantasy, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, YA fantasy, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, Asian fantasy, grimdark fantasy, weird western, demons, djinns, witches, werewolves and other shifters, space pirates, exiled princesses, desert planets, Wild West mages, lots of LGBT characters and much more. We also have a whole lot of books by women this month.
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:
Two tales of love and loss and nuclear war.
Caught in a supermarket, when the alarm goes off, Michael and David admit some unspoken truths to each other before the bombs fall.
Four Minute Warning
Tracy and Jimmy know you can’t survive a nuclear war, even if civil defence leaflets and radio broadcasts claim otherwise.
Runespell by Sela Carsen:
In most fairy tales, the prince rescues the princess. It’s not often she gets to return the favor.
Mai Westenra is pulled into a centuries-old quest for vengeance and magic, never realizing that she’ll find love in the midst of danger.
Tyr Halvarsson has waited lifetimes to be rid of his curse. Resigned to his immortal half-life, one selfless act of humanity can redeem him. Or kill him.
Together, Mai and Tyr must work against time and magic to perform the runespell that will save their lives and give them a chance at love that lasts.
The Tale of Yin by Joyce Chng:
The duology of Oysters, Pearls & Magic and The Path of Kindness sees the stories of Mirra and her daughter, Kindness, as they struggle to find their identities and selves on the planet they have called home. A feminist YA novella, the Tale of Yin looks at magic, privilege, the landscape and compassion.
Hunted by Shei and Annathesa Nikola Darksbane:
Dakota Shepherd is such a newb: newly Awakened, rookie werewolf, supernatural investigator in training. Her command of the wolf inside is shaky at best, and her grasp of the unstable magic she wields is worse. She sure has a lot to learn about her new life in the supernatural world. So why would anyone want to stalk her?
A trespasser in pack territory. Blood on the mountain. An urban legend, spoken only in whispers.
Can Dakota rise to the challenge of a deadly foe?
There’s no shame in being new: everyone starts out that way. But in a world of powerful supernatural threats, being a newb could get a girl killed. And if Dakota isn’t up to the job of protecting herself, how can she hope to protect her loved ones from the ancient supernatural killer that hunts them?
This is the sequel to Awakened.
Pierce: A Vampire Serial, Episode 1 by Jolie de Pré:
When vampire warning signs flog the city and people mysteriously disappear one by one, Alicia avoids the nightly hours like the black plague. This attractive, African-American lady spends her days waitressing all while struggling to make a living after a devastating breakup. Her city is already a danger zone, and the arrival of a Caucasian, blood-thirsty trio (Dagon, Vince, and Bess) only amplifies the dilemma. Dagon is a romantic treading between the lines of hopeless and hopeful, whereas Vince’s sexual compulsion doesn’t leave him with any room for true love. Bess is clearly attracted to the much-flaunted Dagon, but alas, her interest is unrequited. Could it be that someone else—of non-vampiric origin, has grabbed a tight hold on his non-beating heart? And with all these monstrosities running about, is Alicia truly safe in the comfort of her own home between sunset and sunrise?
Gods of Blood and Bone by Azalea Ellis:
My name is Eve Redding. I am the new god.
I never wanted to become a Player in the Game, never intended for any of this to happen. I was content with my ordinary, invisible existence among the millions of civilians crowding my city. But the monstrous creators of the Game forced me to Play, and I’m the type to cling to life by the tips of my bloody fingernails.
At first, I was enamored by the ability to augment everything about myself, to become smarter, stronger, prettier…better. But after my teleportation to that first Trial - a death tournament held on a beautiful, vicious alien world?I would have done anything to escape the Game.
I needed power to protect myself and those I cared about from the Game and its creators, so I took it. But every deadly choice I made along the way eroded not only what once made me weak, but what also made me human.
Riot of Storm and Smoke by Jennifer Ellision:
War draws closer, like a tide to the shore.
Bree and her friends have escaped the clutches of the Egrian King, but their troubles are far from over. Still reeling from the secrets that drew new breath when her father took his last, Bree sets off for the safety of Nereidium– the kingdom she’s just learned is hers.
But with the King’s ire at its peak and war a certainty, Nereidium is no longer safe. As Prince Caden rallies the Egrian people against his tyrant father, Bree, Princess Aleta, and Tregle race to the Nereid shore to warn them of the incoming danger—and to put the Nereid Princess on the throne.
The only trouble there: Bree can’t bring herself to reveal that the Princess is her.
It’s not a dilemma she can waste time pondering. With a new weapon in his arsenal, the King’s strikes are sure to be bolder than ever before. And Bree may not be ready to wear a crown… but she won’t let her kingdom down without a fight.
This is the sequel to Threats of Sky and Sea.
Taming the Wolf by Irma Geddon:
Jared is a young medical resident with a quick wit, a ripped body and a heart of gold. He has a terrible secret—one that has always stopped him from baring his heart to any girl.
Paige is a smart girl, but she’s hopelessly shy and awkward—that is, until Cupid stabs her with his golden arrow, and all she can think about is getting in the pants of perfect but secretive Jared.
Will Cupid’s decision to make Paige fall hopelessly in love with Jared spell trouble for them both?
To the Gap by Kyra Halland:
The secret of Lainie’s forbidden magical gifts has been exposed, and Silas wants to take her far away from the Wildings to a place where she can be safe. To earn money for the journey, Silas signs them up to work on the big annual cattle drive to the Gap.
Lainie dreams of making the Wildings into a place where she and Silas and other mages can live in peace. The cattle drive is the perfect opportunity for her and Silas to show the Plain settlers of the Wildings that not all mages are wicked, heartless monsters.
While Silas has reason to believe that the danger to Lainie is worse than he thought, Lainie can’t agree that leaving the Wildings is the answer. As they travel with the herd, Lainie and Silas must avoid being captured or killed by mage hunters and discovered by the mage-hating Plains, while protecting the herd from renegade mages looking for money and trouble. And they have to find a way to resolve the disagreement between them – do they seek refuge in a faraway land or stand and face the dangers of being outlaw mages in the Wildings? – before it tears them apart.
This is Book 4 of Daughter of the Wildings, western fantasy romance for adults and older teens.
Revolver by Michael Patrick Hicks:
Cara Stone is a broken woman: penniless, homeless, and hopeless. When given the chance to appear on television, she jumps at the opportunity to win a minimum of $5,000 for her family.
The state-run, crowdfunded series, Revolver, has been established by the nation’s moneyed elite to combat the increasing plight of class warfare.
There’s never been a Revolver contestant quite like Cara before. The corporate states of America are hungry for blood, and she promises to deliver.
The “stunning and harrowing” short story, originally published in the anthology No Way Home, is now available as a standalone release and features an all-new foreword written by award-winning science fiction author, Lucas Bale.
Old Ways by Paul Kleynhans:
Saul escaped the capital with the blood of the Emperor and Princes on his hands, but the recently crowned Empress seeks revenge. She will not rest until her father’s murder is avenged, and sends her Inquisitors, the Dark Legion, to bring him to justice. While hunted by the Inquisition, monsters of the deep, and pirates, Saul sets off to free his brother, the rightful King of Ubrain, from the arena in Qash—a city built on the backs of slaves.
This is the sequel to Dark Legion.
Legend of the Jinn – The Teapot Storm by Jennifer Liu:
And the Jinn break their lamps…
In the vast Arkazian Desert, stories of the magical wish-granting Jinn tantalize the sands. Awe-inspiring and life changing all hope to cross their path. All except Verity.
Verity has angered the Jinn and now their magic laces her blood in a poisonous race. Cursed, she must find the cure her grandfather has hidden in the sands. But before she can save herself, the Jinn demand she save another.
A girl for a girl, the trade must be completed
Liam and Hank are two villagers from the Smoke Stacks. Poor and ill-equipped they trick Verity into joining their rescue mission – a girl from their village has been taken. A girl they both seem to love.
As the three race across the sand, dark shadows trail close behind. The Kingdom’s greatest soldier has defected and, now with dark magic on his side, he is nearly unbeatable. And he has one mission – to stop Verity.
Time is running out
Chased from all sides, Verity is caught in a desperate struggle. The magic inside of her is addictive and seductive, but as it grows, her humanity diminishes. If she doesn’t find the cure, the Jinn will win and she will be forced to join their ranks as they stage a rebellion to overthrow the human world.
Oasis by Floyd Looney:
Oasis is a desert world, a backwater world ignored by the Star League for generations. The people have subdivided themselves into “tribes” over time. When space pirates and their unknown benefactors try to take over, a teenager named Jake tries to rally people to the defense of their world.
The Last of the Ageless by Traci Loudin:
Three centuries ago, humans and aliens fought for control of the Earth, ending in an apocalyptic disaster known as the Catastrophe…
Dalan is a shapeshifter
He hails from a tribe of mutants dedicated to preserving fading species by taking their forms. To become fully recognized as an adult, he must pass a trial in the wastelands far from home.
Nyr is a killer
When her lust for bounty yields an ancient artifact of mysterious origin, everything she knows is turned upside down. Once a hunter, now a pawn, she must learn to rely on others to survive what’s coming.
Korreth is a slave
Without any extra talents, he depends on nothing more than his strength and wits as he flees the army of mutants that enslaved him. He must return home to warn his people before the swelling ranks of monsters threaten his family.
…but in the shadows, a new threat rises—one that could end what little remains of civilization: The Last of the Ageless.
Casimir’s Journey by Lisa Manifold:
When Casimir looked up, the last thing he saw was Thea. He saw nothing after that and he didn’t expect to.
Until he saw bright, white light, and heard someone talking to him. This was nothing like he expected.
Follow Casimir as he works his way back to Thea – or will he? Catrin is determined that Thea is a waste of his time, talent, and certainly of his heart.
Who will prevail? A great power, or an even greater love?
Casimir’s Journey is Book Two in the Sisters Of The Curse series.
Witch’s Curse by Chrissy Moss:
Hunted since birth, now Okira must use the power she’s been hiding…or die trying.
Trained in secret, hidden from the rest of the Sea of Tears, Okira felt safe; until fate had other plans for her. When a playful sylph pulls Okira into the ocean it sets off a chain of events that lead her down a deadly path.
Danger lurks around every corner. To survive Okira must tap into the abilities she has only begun to understand, stretching her knowledge to the brink.
Now Okira must travel across the Sea of Tears with the shape shifter, Brother Hawk. Together they must find a way to stop the acolytes in their mad lust for power before the high priest unleashes the kraken and destroys everyone.
Witch’s Curse is the second book in the Witch’s Trilogy.
The Blood Moon by David Neth:
Brother witches Josh and Chris have sacrificed a great deal for their magical responsibilities. Their Aunt Kathy is the only family they have left, and together they must face their enemies to keep them from targeting any more victims. But when Kathy is put in the hospital after an attack, the boys are a witch short.
With the brothers at their weakest, they uncover a growing new power trying to organize the demonic hierarchy. Josh and Chris are left alone to battle an evil stronger than anything they’ve ever faced. An evil so strong it might cost them their lives.
The Melding by Claire Ryan:
THE MELDLING is a tale of epic fantasy, set in a world where humans have been driven underground by a war not of their making, and one woman must find the truth of her existence within her own heart.
She was rescued from a darkened dungeon; brought out into the light with no memory of her past. Her only certainty was her name: Suzanna.
Her flesh marks her as a daemon, one of a race of deadly warriors locked in a war with their mortal enemies, the daevas, that has scoured the surface of the world. Humans are irrelevant to them both. But it was Lukas, a human knight, who carried her from the dungeon, nursed her back to health, and protected her from harm. Her body may be daemonic, but her soul is not, and there is a far deeper connection between her and Lukas than either of them will say.
Lukas decides to bring her to Bastion, the hidden underground city of the humanva, to face the judgment of the Distant Nine. On the journey, the truth is revealed: Suzanna is a meldling, a rare fusion of daemonva and humanva. Meldlings are unstable, dangerous, and prone to total madness. Suzanna may be the first to keep her sanity, but if the Distant Nine decide that she is a threat, she will also be the last.
Suzanna must accept her past, and finally learn who or what she really is, underneath her daemonic skin. Drawn into events beyond her control, the meldling will become the key to ending the war – but will it be with the destruction or the salvation of the daemonva?
And are her feelings for one human knight real?
Final Sacrifice by S.M. Schmitz:
Lottie is determined to end the nightmare her resurrection has caused and the constant threat she and her friends face because she exists. She has organized a war against the leaders of the company that transports people from her home planet to Earth, and the time has come for her battle to begin.
In the final book of the Resurrected series, Lottie and her friends must attempt to destroy the business that has spent years trying to kill them, and now, there are thousands of people all over the world who are participating in Lottie’s insurrection. If she fails, she and her friends will lose their lives. But if she succeeds, she and her friends will finally have the freedom to live.
This is the sequel to Resurrected and Insurrected.
Bear and Fox by Hollis Shiloh:
Dane is a lonely bear shifter who doesn’t know if he’ll ever find a mate. Then one day he finds himself defending a fox from a brutal wolf attack. He’s found his mate—and the fox shifter is scared of him.
Will Dane ever earn the trust of his mate, a shy, handsome, suspicious man who’s had little reason to ever trust anyone?
Contains a honey-loving bear, a sweet, suspicious fox, gay uncles, a tiny bit of shifter politics, and enough food to shake a stick at.
Heat level: very low
Shasharia En Garde by Sherwood Smith:
First published as two books — Once a Princess, and Twice a Prince — this romantic fantasy has been revised and published as one book, as first intended. It is set in the same world as Crown Duel, to which Sasha’s mother, Sun, was once swept away by a real prince.
But not to happily ever after. Her prince vanished, and a wicked king took the throne. Since then, Sasha and Sun have been hiding on Earth, both training in martial arts until Sasha is tricked into going back to Khanerenth.
She’s more than ready to kick some bad-guy butt, but is the stylish pirate Zathdar the bad guy? Or artistic, dreamy Prince Jehan, son of the wicked king?
Meanwhile Sun is determined to cross worlds to save her daughter. She might not have been a very good princess, but nobody messes with Mom!
Revelations by Ella Summers:
Five tales of magic, technology, and adventure plunge deeper into the fantasy world of Sorcery and Science.
Silas sees a young Prophet girl fight off a band of elite soldiers during Silas’s Vacation.
In Solstice Games Assassin, Silas alone can stop an assassination that could catapult two empires into war.
Fireworks tells the story of Marin’s explosive plan to revolutionize airship travel.
In Agent of SIN, Selpe spy Leonidas Chase and his partner find themselves neck-deep in an investigation that could pit them against their empire’s most powerful aristocrats.
When one of Elitia’s greatest researchers goes missing, Ariella and Davin track him to a renegade camp in Portal Keys.
Revelations is Book 3.5 in the Sorcery and Science series.
Noontide Sun by Jessie Thomas:
For seven long years, Sarah has heard nothing but her betrothed’s voice against a perpetual storm.
After incurring the wrath of a spiteful Redcoat officer capable of wielding magic, Sarah was separated across centuries from Gabriel, the young man she intended to marry. While Gabriel languishes in a prison where the years pass without aging him, Sarah is trapped in a present that isn’t her own with the key that can free him.
When the key starts to disintegrate, Sarah is forced into a race against time to rescue the young man she loves before they’re both lost to the depths of waning magic.