Best Excuse for a Re-read – Break Out (revised and expanded edition) by Nina Croft
When Break Out came out in 2011, the premise was one of those things that could have gotten seriously, seriously out of hand. Just think about this for a second: "Vampires in space." If you don't hear the Muppets saying "Pigs in SPAAACE!" somewhere in the back of your mind, you've missed some great Star Trek parody. But Break Out and its sequel, Deadly Pursuit, aren't intended as camp. Rico Sanchez ' character is a vampire for a reason, and it worked for the story. But the original version of Break Out was too damn short at 140 pages and there wasn't enough worldbuilding. I still loved it. In 2012, Croft released the expanded edition. At 400 pages, there's enough time and space for the backstory and the worldbuilding I craved, and still a kick-ass story. My award for the Best Excuse for a Re-read goes to author Nina Croft for seamlessly adding marvelous new background and sideplots into what was already a great story in the expanded edition of Break Out from Entangled Publishing. Published August 14, 2012.
Closest experience to "Boldly Going" – Isolation by A. B. Gayle
Until we get off this planet, we'll have to settle for reading about getting off this planet. There are a lot of space operas about far-flung empires, but not so many about the experiences of someone signing up to crew the early ships, and what it's like to be a volunteer to leave your regular life behind and know you can't come back. And to realize that there are still politics and human skullduggery in space. No matter where we go, we take ourselves with us. There was one book that captured the exuberance of early space travel and the isolation of being one of the first explorers, as well as including a marvelously nuanced love story. The award for "Closest Experience to Boldly Going where no one has gone before" goes to author A.B. Gayle for the first book in her Sa'ar Chronicles, Isolation, published March 5, 2012 by Total-E-Bound. 271 pages in length.
Best time-travel romance – The Mine by John A. Heldt
It's not about how Joel Smith travels back 60 years, it's about what happens when he gets there. Partly because he leaves the year 2000 as a boy-man with a fortunate memory for obscure baseball statistics, and arrives in 1941 in America's last golden summer before Pearl Harbor. Yes, he falls in love. But so do we. Partly with Joel but mostly with the life he makes for himself and the essence of a world and a time that is gone. He has to hide everything he knows (except for betting on baseball) because he can't change history. And he has no idea whether or not he already has. This is a story that left me lying stunned at the finish. My award for "Best Time-Travel Romance" goes to author John A. Heldt for his independently published book, The Mine. Published February 12, 2012. 290 pages in length.
Best disaster re-write – Wreck of the Nebula Dream by Veronica Scott
There were a boatload of books written about the 100th anniversary of the one and only voyage of R.M.S. Titanic in 2012. That supposedly unsinkable ship has fascinated people since she was a gleam in her engineer's eye. Of course the Nebula Dream is not that ship. And her story is not that story. In some ways, it's better. It's in space! But the bones of the story are similar. A wealthy passenger list, and a shipping line attempting to set a record. But instead of icebergs, we have construction shortcuts and very definitely piloting stupidity. And aliens. Along with some serious heroics on the part of a supposedly washed-out officer. Mysterious ninjas thinking he might have a chance to save a small group. And just the possibility of romance. If they live. Everything is better in space, if there's the possibility of a happy ending. The Wreck of the Nebula Dream was published by the author. March 16, 2012. 274 pages.
Cutest Android (also best use of the Winter Solstice) How the Glitch Saved Christmas by Stacy Gail.
Noel Conrad is the "glitch" in How the Glitch Saved Christmas by Stacy Gail. In this tale of a futuristic Chicago where all members of the Chicago Police Department, except for one stubborn cop, have body-mods, this one android-who-thinks-he's-a-boy saves Christmas for one woman who refuses to be anything but original issue. And one "walking-toaster" who still has a very human heart--as well as a lot of very human (and very nice) other parts. How does the "glitch" do it? By proving that it is still better to give than to receive. He gives them a crime to solve that brings them together. His crime? Breaking into people's houses and giving them Christmas presents. Cute, sweet, with plenty of heat between the "opposites attract" cops and a teary-ending. How the Glitch Saved Christmas was published by Carina Press, December 4, 2012. 86 pages.
About Marlene Harris
Marlene Harris is a professional as well as an amateur book-pusher. By day, she's a not-so-mild-mannered librarian. By night, she's an intrepid book blogger of anything that strikes her fancy. She got hooked on Star Trek a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away) and never looked back. Along with her on her journey (which is currently stopped in Seattle) is her husband Galen and three completely spoiled cats.
Because she loves SFR so much, she doesn't just blog about it on her own blog at Reading Reality, she's also "The Rocket Lover" at Book Lovers Inc.