by Tiffany Roberts
When I was half way through Dustwalker, I knew it was going to be one of my 2017 favorites. This post-apocalyptic epic scores big with me in all my scoring categories: Complex characters, intricate plot, intense emotional situations, humanity being tested, slow-burning romance, interesting secondary characters and a really good villain. The story of human Lara and synth Ronin has all of this and more, including an epilog that will make you cry.
Best High-Tech Love Making
Wanted and Wired
by Viven Jackson
Technology, whether it is computers or programming or hackers or robots, is hard to make interesting to this reader. Vivien Jackson makes tech fascinating. She has a knack for stringing a bunch of words together to form a very readable sentence. Any subject is new and exciting in her hands. Even sex. I admit, I am the reader that just scans the sex passages in order to get to the good stuff. But Heron Farad, high-tech genius, puts a whole new spin on making love and I read every word when he and Mari got together. Mix the sizzling sex with a high voltage plot and you have one of my favorites of the year. Wanted and Wired was quickly followed by book 2 in the series, Perfect Gravity, which is also a feast of words!
Beyond Book 3 Award
Found Girl (Project Enterprise, #6)
by Pauline Baird Jones
There are many series that I stop reading after 2 or 3 books because the plot becomes predicable or the book is formulaic. Not so with the Project Enterprise series. Each book in this series has been so very unique. Connecting characters and technology are what hold the series together, but each book stands on it's own. Found Girl introduces some new aliens that are so not humanoid. Not even close. There is also a heroine, Arian, that gets more mysterious with each new thing you learn about her. Jones' creativity astounds me and never ceases to entertain!
Favorite Cat Hero
Cypher (The Dragon's Bidding, #2)
by Christina Westcott
Cypher was actually published in 2016, but I did not get around to reading it until 2017. I love The Dragon's Bidding series, and Jumper is the main reason why. Don't get me wrong, Cypher has galactic politics, an evil villain, a kick-ass heroine, a split-personality hero that really mixes things up, and heart-breaking emotions. All great things in a novel. But Jumper, the talking cat, is one of my favorite cats of all time. With his spot-on ability to state the obvious, a line like “Oh shit, we are so screwed.” lets you know that things are not going as well as they could.
Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover Award
Race to Redemption (Green Rising, #1)
by Shari Elder
We all do it. Get sucked in by a pretty book cover. Or put off by a cover because of preconceptions. Based on the cover of Race to Redemption (a lingerie-clad woman and a shirtless man), I would never have guessed the depth of the story that would be found within the pages. In addition to a slow-burning romance, you will find class conflict, a desert planet, flawed characters, sick kids and lots of high-flying action in this book. Shari Elder is a skilled, imaginative writer who wrote a thrilling book with a lot of twists and much less lingerie than you would think.