Best Futuristic Romance With Ties to Contemporary Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Sci Fi Romance By the Same Author
Sucker Punch (An Uneasy Future, #2) by Pauline Baird Jones
Prior to reading the An Uneasy Future series, I had already read books in both Ms. Jones' The Big Uneasy and Project Enterprise series. In Sucker Punch, I was pleasantly surprised to recognize names and technology from these seemingly unrelated series. Is that lazy writing? Or is that deviously imaginative? I pick devious.
Each time I finish a book by Ms. Jones, I appreciate her talent even more. Creative plots, smart-alecky writing, a sassy heroine and an intriguing hero are her sci fi trademarks that are present in Sucker Punch. Detective Violet Baker and alien partner Dzholh Ban!drn, otherwise known as Joe, are investigating a murder. The MITSC (Men in Top Secret Colors) are interested in the case too. I finished Sucker Punch last summer and I am still grinning as I recall the story to write this article. There are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments while Baker and Joe solve a serious case. And there is quite a bit of made up science fiction – another Pauline Baird Jones trademark.
Best Steam Powered Mechanical Costume
Of Silk and Steam (London Steampunk, #5) by Bec McMaster
One of the things I like about this series is that Ms. McMaster has created some of the best steampunk machines. I loved the Metaljackets in all the books. Well, not loved, because they are truly heinous automatons. But they are so deliciously, coldly evil, they deserved my appreciation. In Of Silk and Steam, the Cyclops come to life to combat the Metaljackets. Who would not want to own a Cyclops? Strong, flexible, and giant-sized, they are driven by people inside them. If I had my own Cyclops, nothing and no one could stand in my way. Well, they could, but it would be a really bad idea! The added height is sure to provide a great view, too!
Of Silk and Steam is the high drama, dark, atmospheric, action-packed, and very sexy conclusion to the London Steampunk series. I loved every book in the story of the struggle between London's human classes and the aristocratic blueblood class.
Dual Award: Best Alien Fancy Dress Party and Best Petite Kick-Ass Heroine
Rebellion (Alien Attachments, #2) by Sabine Priestly
This party was so fancy, it required a special shopping trip to a different planet just to get the perfect dress. Was it difficult for the petite heroine Ria Montori to find a dress that required minimal fitting? (Wondered the 4'10'' reader.)
I like this series. The involved plots revolve around a complex socio-political background. This background allows the series to delve into a variety of plot lines. At the core, the Portal Masters provide intrigue and mystery that ties the books together while the Cavacent family and friends make up the characters I like to cheer for.
Best Physics Lesson
Echo 8 by Sharon Lynn Fisher
In Echo 8, Ms. Fisher took me beyond the year of college physics I studied and have mostly forgotten. She made it understandable and then applied it to parapsychology, making it plausible. The addition of scientific language and information made the story so much more than a romance and added even more substance to the tale.
The basic but singular premise of Echo 8 was fascinating. With each chapter, the complications kept piling on, constantly making me wonder where the story was headed. I found Echo 8 to be complex, emotionally intense, scientifically speculative and one of the most intriguing books I read in 2015.
Best Interfering Sentient Ship
Traitor (Maelstrom Chronicles, #2) by Jody Wallace
Ship 1001 is a major character. In fact, Ship was my favorite character in Traitor. It has opinions on everything, considers Shipborn to be its children, and is not above interfering in their lives. Ship can be quite annoying and often provides comic relief during some of the tense situations in the story.