Thursday, January 31, 2019

2018 SFR Galaxy Awards Round 7 - KJ Van Houten

Alpha Award: Best New Series

Edge of Eon (Book 1 of the Eon Warriors series)
by Anna Hackett

Summary: Earth finally develops space exploration technology to enable contact with an alien species, the Eon, who, while sharing a common ancient ancestor, want nothing to do with the humans. Then the insectoid Kantos aliens discover Earth as they attempt to take over the galaxy. Only the Eon can stop them, but human appeals for help fall on deaf ears. Earth Space Corps veteran Captain Eve Traynor is sent to kidnap the deadliest war commander of the Eon fleet to get attention, open communications, and get help before the Kantos annihilates Earth.

Reason Selected: This new series by amazing writer Anna Hackett has a very resourceful heroine that manages to kick the feet from under the toughest warrior in the Eon fleet and keeps him unsteady for the entire story. She teaches a lesson to both the Eon and the Kantos to not underestimate humans. I love that the heroine takes charge, kidnaps the hero, and never stops proving she is his equal. Best of all, the series sets up for more stories to come in an overarching plot of humans and Eon learning to trust each other in order to fight a common enemy.


Omega Award: Best End-of-Series

Hunted by the Cyborg (Book 6 of the Cy-Ops series)
by Cara Bristol

Summary: Carter Aymes, head of the Cy-Ops organization, comes face-to-face with his past, in the form of an ex-girlfriend. Old feelings stir even as the vision tells him she is his ex-girlfriend’s twin – Beth, not Liza, and that his former love died many years prior. Carter can’t shake the comparisons or the feelings growing between them. Beth feels the attraction, too, but has her own secrets to keep. All the while, Carter, the Cy-Ops organization, and the people around them are in grave danger. The Lamis-Odg terrorists are closer than anyone realizes, and Lamani’s dangerous followers will stop at nothing to spread their religious dogma throughout the galaxy and eliminate all those who disagree with them.

Reason Selected: The Cy-Ops series has been one of my favourite cyborg series to read. Throughout the entire series, Carter Aymes has been in the background, leading the cyborg effort to stop the Lamis-Odg. His character fascinated me from the beginning, and even more so when he suffered an accident earlier in the series that led to his own transformation to become cyborg. Finally, here is the book I’ve been waiting for – Carter’s story. Beth is a very interesting twist, as her secrets are unveiled against a backdrop of political intrigue and terrorism, while Carter proves he is as much of a hero as anyone that has ever stood up to terrorism.


Phoenix Award: Best Resurrected Series

Warleader (Book 1 of The Borderlands series, revised)
by Susan Grant

Summary: Brit Bandarr is one of the most bad-ass captains in the Coalition. She’s ruthlessly hunted down Drakken enemies for years. Finn Rorkken is a Drakken Warleader and former pirate. Or maybe not former, it’s hard to tell with the Drakken now defeated. Then there’s the Terrans, humans from Earth, newcomers on the scene, who have been a catalyst to end the centuries-long war between the Coalition and Drakken. The three species have formed the Triad Alliance to establish peace to the galaxy. With Brit in command of the new Triad diplomatic ship Unity and Finn as her first officer, peace isn’t going to be easy. Falling in love with your sworn enemy won’t either.

Reason Selected: Susan Grant is reworking her previous Borderlands series now that she got the rights back in her own hands. Warleader is a rework of Moonstruck, which was always one of my favourite SFR novels. I hadn’t realized she could make it better, but she did. Some characters have changed quite a bit – one gender switch has me intrigued about that character’s background now. Other characters’ attitudes and references to technology has been updated. Terrans are a little more prevalent throughout the story, better roles on board the Unity and they don’t seem as na├»ve -- or in some cases annoying -- as they previously did. Brit and Finn have not changed much though, and they still make sparks fly when they are together. Still one of my favourite couples in SFR.


Little Green Men Award

Collision (Book 3 in the Prophecy series)
by Lea Kirk

Summary: Flora Bock was only 10 years old when the first Anferthian ambassador arrived on Earth – now called Terr. She didn’t understand why anyone wanted peaceful relations with the hated aliens who had killed her biological parents, along with many other Terrans! She hated every one of the large, green-skinned Anferthians that existed, but most of all, she hated Fander, the 11-year-old green monster, small for his age, with reddish-brown hair and weird purple eyes. He was the grandson of the ambassador, and he had done something to her. She didn’t know what it was, but she felt an electric shock when their eyes met for the first time, and she fainted. Could anyone blame her for punching him in the face when she got the chance? This began a friendship that drew them closer over the next 4 years, ending in a first kiss on her 15th birthday. The same day Fander was forced to leave Terr and return to Anferthia. Nine more years passed, and the lives of both Flora and Fander have changed. A tragedy brings them together again, and they need to work together to solve a mystery, uncover old enemies, and deal with political intrigue that sweeps from Terr to Anferthia.

Reason Selected:. OK, so Anferthians are not little, being a tall race usually 9-12 feet tall as adults, but Fander is described as “eight-foot-tall” and “still the shortest Anferthian in the bunch.” Anferthians are a powerful, green-skinned race, with a lot of sex appeal and charm, when they are not murderous, xenophobic traitors. Fander is “adorable”, “impossibly handsome”, romantic, and probably one of the sexiest aliens I read the entire year!

Extra kudos for fun alliteration of names (Flora and Fander)


KJ Van Houten is a freelance graphic designer and a book reviewer on the Whiskey With My Book review site. Read more on the Judges page.

2018 SFR Galaxy Awards Round 6 - Chris Stock

Short, Sweet and Feisty Award

A Darkside Interlude: Darkstar Mercenaries 0.5
by Anna Carven

Set in the Darkstar universe that was created by Anna Carven, this is a very short, very fast, but oh so yummy story of the new earth commander, err, leader of security for the whatchagonnacallit, ah, yes, Dark Planet Warrior company. Fierce commander Iskar dislikes the hot planet and distrusts the humans that call his race allies. Then he meets a beautiful pickpocket and gets a tour behind the scenes when she steals something precious from him. The hunt is on! Those two clash with each other in every which way possible. He is a black and white guy (you’ll understand the pun if you followed the series), and she is a criminal he wants to punish, until he learns about the true struggles that humans face in this town he’s visiting.

It was hard to pick just one of last year’s releases of Anna Carven, but I think this one stands out because it is so tricky to write a short story with all characters fleshed out and not losing anything.


Best Similar but Different Out of Africa Award

Rage (Alien Breed 1 - English Edition) 
by Melody Adams 
(translated by Sylvia Corbisiero)

I am a fan of human women rescuing not-so-willing aliens, alien hybrids, alien pets--you name it, I read it. Many authors have included this theme, but some are just too fun not to read. This one comes to us from an author out of Bijilo, Gambia (West Africa). Human men were spliced with alien DNA by greedy humans which makes them extremely volatile. A young assistant stumbles upon such a hybrid, who is abused and scares her with his aggressive behavior. She can’t save him, but she snaps pictures on her phone and leaks it to the press. Years later, she gets a job on a planet where the freed (or are they?) hybrids are kept and is faced with the alien breed who thinks she betrayed him. The man hates her and doesn’t want anything to do with her, but the alien inside him chooses her and doesn’t want any human or other alien close to her. A mental tug of war for the hybrid and a rollercoaster ride for the girl begins. The really fun part are the side-kicks — good ones and evil ones — dangers Rage and the girl have to go through until a HEA. I loved the lingo and the bantering.


Best Out-of-Space Cop Award-Despite-the-Title

Beauty’s Alien Beast
by Linda Mooney

Linda Mooney has been writing a lot and for quite a while. Her newest book “Beauty’s Alien Beast” is the best one yet.

A rough, yet honorable, female intergalactic cop with some fierce mental power, called psionic abilities, is on a break when she sees a beast-alien from a mining planet getting ambushed by vicious, little mean aliens called Kronners. Instead of being able to help him, the cop gets caught as well and knocked out. Both awake in a container. The beast can’t use his strength to get to the enemies, and she’s got an implant that sends shockwaves of pain through her brain when she tries to use her power. Worse, their prison cells are hooked up on an alien version of dark-net and they are forced to “entertain” subscribers. Of course, they escape — after all, it is a SCI-FI Rom, but that’s when it really gets interesting. What they had to do to stay alive is illegal and they are facing their own planet’s judgements, which is just as dangerous as the criminal mind behind the kidnapping who is still out to get them.

I loved everything about this book, though I think a different title would have been a better choice.


Best Start of a New Series and Kidnapping Scene

Edge of Eon (Eon Warriors 1) 
by Anna Hackett

Anna Hackett stands for amazing books and series. Her worlds are so full and diverse that you can almost believe that they are real. (Please, tell me they exist. I promise, I won’t tell anybody.)

Edge of Eon is a new series with aliens, yes, but with a twist that is too good: Imagine the humans find out there are aliens, good looking, smart, technical advanced and…they don’t care a bit about Earth. When other aliens are planning to decimate Earth, the aliens don’t lift a little finger, even after Earth promises them everything, begging to be helped. Nichts, nada, nothing can convince that warrior race to get involved. Politicians do what politicians do best, they plot - in this case, they blackmail sub-captain Eve Traynor to do a suicide mission and kidnap the war commander Davion Thann-Eon.

This is such a fun book, hilarious how Eve outwits the commander and kidnaps him from his own ship, but she can’t haul him back to Earth because the evil Earth-decimating aliens intervene and they crash-land on a planet you would not want to send your evil stepmother to. The two must work together to survive, dodge the evil aliens and try to get the message out that it’s not only Earth the evil aliens are after.

I spent two nights until the wee morning hours reading. I am still having flash-back from that horrible planet. And Anna Hackett made me cry! Then laugh, so we are all good at the HEA.

I can’t wait for the next in the series because …Eve has two equally strong sisters ;)


Best Continuation of an Anthology that Makes You Feel Good

Pets in Space 3: Embrace The Passion
by S. E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, 
Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, 
Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner,
E D Walker, JC Hay and Kyndra Hatch

For the third time authors came together to write about what they love most: Alien love stories and alien animals or pets.

Best of it, they were able to raise with the sale of the anthology funds for Hero Dogs. Hero Dogs, Inc., a Maryland 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, that improves quality of life for our nation’s heroes by raising, training, and placing service dogs and other highly skilled canines, free of charge with lifetime support of the partnerships.

Best part of reading an anthology is that there is a story for everybody. Not every story will resonate with every reader, but the variety is so much fun. I am a big fan of strong women, soft ones who depend on heroes to save them drive me nuts. There were mostly strong women in this one.
I have read Smith's books in the past and her short story, that kicks off this anthology, is now one of my favorites. It is a tight and exciting written drama and has big cats. The best part is, even the bad guys are well-written. “Heart of the Cat” is worth buying the anthology alone.

Then, there is Anna Hackett's “Desert Hunter,” which plays in her alien gladiator world. A desert man hides something evil in his heart that forbids him to go after his love interest. When a weird animal is saved, the mystery unfolds and the desert hunter may just become the hunted if not for a fiery girl who is a fighter for his heart.

“Quashi” by Ruby Lionsdrake, is set in her Mandrake Corporation storyline. It’s a sweet and funny story with undercover fluffy critters versus spaceship mercenaries and has cute characters and an entertaining love story.

“Star Cruise: Mystery Dancer” by Veronica Scott is an exciting retelling of Anastasia. Fun to read and strong characters, including a mysterious cat-like creature. The story is part of Scott's Star Cruise world.

These anthologies are well-done, well-written and a perfect way to find a new favorite author, not to mention …alien pets. Bad news is, the anthologies only are available for a limited time, though most authors release the stories individually after a year.


Christina Stock is an editor at the Roswell Daily Record and in charge of the “Vision” section which covers events in Southeast New Mexico as well as art and book reviews. To read more see the Judges page. 

2018 SFR Galaxy Awards Round 5 - Marlene Harris

Home Again Award 
(Dance with the One that Brung Ya)

Edge of Eon
by Anna Hackett

It’s no secret to followers of the SFR Galaxy Awards that Anna Hackett is not just one of my favorite SFR authors, but one of my favorite authors of any genre. Period. Exclamation Point.

But as much as I love all of her work, my favorites of all of her books are those that hearken back most closely to the book that made me fall in love with her writing in the first place. I’m talking about space opera type science fiction romance like At Star’s End and her Phoenix Adventures series.

So I was really excited to see her return to space opera with her new Eon Warriors series, specifically Edge of Eon.

The Eon Warriors series is a delicious blend of so many of the tropes that made me love SFR in the first place.

We start with humans in charge being prideful idiots. Then follow with humans in charge covering their own asses. And then we get to the really good stuff - the kick ass heroine in the brig for a crime she didn’t commit, and the top brass sending her on a suicide mission to save their bacon and hopefully the planet from the really evil aliens who want to have us for lunch.

Where she manages to turn the whole thing on its head and stick it in their collective ears by not merely completing the mission but getting the super warrior race not so much on Earth’s side as on her side, personally. (I want to see some heads roll later!)

That Mars, or rather the Eons, turn out to need Earth women is just a happy accident, but certainly adds to the fun.

So if you like sprawling space operas, evil alien bugs, disgusting bureaucrats, hot warriors, kickass heroines and saving the world, this book is a terrific introduction to a marvelous series.


Firefly Redux Award

by Jess Anastasi

For a TV series that didn’t really last one full season, Firefly has cast a really, really long shadow over the science fiction romance genre. While not every Firefly-a-like has hit that “space western” vibe in the way that previous award winner Lace & Lead captured, there have been plenty of stories that tap into the “plucky underdogs subverting galactic tyranny” mindset that was also a big part of Firefly’s appeal.

However, while it’s the captain of the Imojenna who serves as this universe’s combination Mal Reynolds AND River Tam, this particular story in the series isn’t about him.

Instead, we have one of the really, truly fun staples of SFR - because we have a book about SPACE PIRATES! YAY!

Even better, this is the story of a space pirate’s daughter who decides to take a walk on the even wilder side with Captain Qaelan Forster, a former officer who has followed his crazy cousin (the aforementioned combination Mal and River) to hunt for the shapeshifting enemy who has them all on the run.

The romance between Qae the flirtatious captain and Cami the space pirate’s daughter provides the lighter moments - for select definitions of “light” - in what feels like a turning point in this multiple-award-winning SFR series.


Meow it Again Sam Award

Pets in Space 3: Embrace the Passion
by S E Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake,
Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta,
Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, 
E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch

Please tell me that you didn’t miss your chance to get Pets in Space 3? Because you don’t want to miss this treasure trove of SFR stories - and January 31 is your last chance to get a copy of this year’s collection.

But just in case you need a bit of convincing…

I’ve snagged a copy of this every year - because each year is a real treat - whether that treat is a galactic milk-bone or space-y catnip mousie. This collection is a combination of stories in familiar SFR universes with stories that are always new-to-me. I always discover someone I just have to read that I haven’t met before, along with several someones who woof, meow, squeak or squawk their way into my heart from worlds that I’m already in love with.

This year’s entry in the already in love with category was Fiend, making Desert Hunter a bit of a shaggy dog story in Anna Hackett’s Galactic Gladiators world. As much as I love both the Gladiators and the Earth refugees they fall for, this particular story was terrific because all of its characters are natives of Kor Magna, and none of them are gladiators. Not that Fiend doesn’t put up one hell of a good fight to protect the people that he’s decided to call his own - whether they’re ready for him or not.

When it comes to the new to me stories, I always gravitate towards the cat stories. You might say that there’s catnip in all of them, at least for this reader. And this particular collection had several kitties that made me purr.

But Fiend stole my heart!


Shoulda Been a Contender Award

by Amanda Bouchet

As someone who has been involved in best of the year awards at multiple venues, one of the unfortunate trends that I am all too aware of is the way that books that come out at the very beginning of the year tend to get lost in the shuffle by the end of the year.

Nightchaser was released on January 1, 2019 and should not be eligible for this year’s SFR Galaxy Awards. But, Nightchaser is also quite definitely an award-worthy piece of SFR - and I hope that others remember it come award time next year. But that’s a long time from now, in a galaxy far, far away.

So I’m giving it an award now - so it isn’t left out. Because it shouldn’t be.

Tess Bailey and her crew are on the run from the oppressive Galactic Overlords in this space opera type SFR. But there are plenty of twists in that “on the run”. Because Tess isn’t just running from the evil Overlord. She’s running away from “Daddy Dearest” who just so happens to ALSO be the evil Overlord.

An evil Overlord who used her as a lab rat, and created “super soldier serum” from whatever element it is in her blood that makes her “freakish” and him certain that he wasn’t the sperm donor no matter what his wife - his late wife - said. And not that there’s not plenty of really interesting story stuff wrapped around that bit of the plot.

And there’s a romance in the making. Tess doesn’t trust anyone - and why should she after her own father betrayed her? So when she starts trusting the slightly shady Shade Ganavan, things have to go wrong before they even have a chance of going right.

Nightchaser is a thrill a minute ride from beginning to end, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I won’t forget Tess and her crew in the meantime, and I want to make sure that you don’t either!


Marlene Harris is a professional book-pusher, being both a librarian and a book blogger at Reading Reality, as well as on the Book Pushers site. Read more on the Judges page.

2018 SFR Galaxy Awards Round 4 - Lee Koven

Most Intriguing Society

A Treason of Truths
by Ada Harper

Lyre is a child of the Cloud Vault: an isolated floating city-state made of scavenged ships that are transformed into biological constructs. Their government is composed of scientists. They’ve got more tech than any other known power, they tend not to share said tech and they have remained neutral in the war between the Syndicate and the Quillian Empire. They’re not uninterested in galaxy politics, though, and that makes them dangerous.

Sabine, the Quillian Empress, is invited to a Cloud Vault summit, and her spymaster Lyre knows they can’t be up to any good. She used to work for them, after all. As the two of them try to uncover the plot against Sabine, the reader can explore this complex and unique civilization.


Most Unusual Heroine

Delta V
by Elsa Jade

Okay, I said to myself. This is a space cyborg cowboy romance. The premise seems a little ridiculous. There are tropes in here that I typically don’t enjoy reading. But Elsa Jade pulled it off.

Why? Because Lindy is not your typical romance novel heroine. She’s fifty years old. She’s dealt with a lot of pain in her life, and the way she experiences grief is relatable. She’s grown up enough to handle some bizarre situations with…if not aplomb, then perspective. She acts as a mentor to some of her ranch hands. She’s realistic and relatable.

Her life gets crazy fast. And Delta V is just funny and sweet enough that I think he’s good for her.


Best Mobile Phone Replacement

by Lauren C. Teffeau

If you have a smartphone, you probably unconsciously reach for it at times when you’re bored or need reassurance. It’s become a wonderful tether to loved ones that are far away.

But it hacks your behavior. You do dangerous things, like use it while driving or crossing an intersection. Push notifications make you react quickly. Social media alerts you to the latest outrage meme. Your cell phone has you trained to respond to it, to identify with it. Try not using any functionality except emergency voice calls on your phone for 48 hours. Who are you without your phone?
The implants from Implanted magnify the risks and rewards of this . Teffeau presents the possible consequences of the evolution of smartphones. She also shows how much maintenance time we have to put into our technology, a cost we rarely think about critically.


Best Serial

Queen’s Gambit
by Jessie Mihalik

Samara Rani, Queen of the Rogue Coalition, tries to kidnap and ransom Emperor Valentin Kos. Her plan goes topsy-turvy early on, and the two are forced to work together and figure out what they want from each other.

Mihalik sets up a conflict wherein the ones who pay the price for war are often those who are least responsible for it. The first season has been collected into a novella. I look forward to further installments.


Best Bodyguard’s Buddy

The Protector Series 
(Dangerous Promise, Wicked Attraction, Forbidden Stranger)
by Megan Hart

Nina, the cyborg protagonist of the series, is a compelling character. But Nina’s friend Al is perhaps more so. The two meet as military test subjects, and later become coworkers at the same bodyguard agency. They’re also hostage to degrading cybernetic implants that will kill them in a few years.

When Nina makes contact with Al because she needs her support in getting the upgrades for their cybernetics, Max becomes Nina’s truest ally - perhaps even more than Nina’s lover Ewan is. Both women give as good as they get and are never ashamed of themselves or their work.

Al always drives her own ship, tries to look out for those she cares for, and risks her life to fight for what she believes in. She’s a buddy all of us could use.


Lee Koven is a computer programmer and server admin by trade who loves to read and discuss science fiction romance. Read more on the Judges page.

2018 SFR Galaxy Awards Round 3 - Heather Massey

Hottest Queer Sci-Fi Romance in a Superhero Universe

DC's Legends of Tomorrow
(Sara Lance & Ava Sharpe)
Greg Berlanti - Executive Producer
Showrunners - Sarah Schechter and Chris Fedak

What's a sci-fi romance fan to do when her reading in 2018 took a nose dive? Why, watch DC's Legends of Tomorrow, of course!

In a nutshell, Legends of Tomorrow is about the adventures of a ragtag team of B-list superheroes as they travel through time to save Earth from power-hungry villains.

Many fans of the show agree that it became better with age. We stuck with it despite a lackluster first season and our efforts paid off. There are dozens of reasons to enjoy Legends of Tomorrow (each more over-the-top than the last), and for me one of the standout elements is the romance between White Canary, a.k.a. Sara Lance (Cathy Lotz) and Time Bureau Director Ava Sharpe (Jes Macallan). Putting aside for the moment that the couple is a pair of eerily identical white women, it's been glorious to watch a compelling queer romance develop in a show with a firm sci-fi bent. Even when Legends of Tomorrow is at its wackiest ("Beebo the God of War," anyone?), Sara and Ava's romance anchors it with a relatable and meaningful bond.

Their romance, one between an ice princess and an assassin, unfolds across seasons three and four. Sara and Ava begin as professional rivals, which involves lots of testy exchanges even as sexual tension electrifies their every encounter. Then comes the angst as they struggle to make a romance bloom while facing barriers such as full-time jobs, managing a quirky superhero team, tragic pasts, dark secrets, danger, and, of course, an always-shifting timeline.

Throughout their romance we're treated to hot kisses, sultry looks, and witty banter galore. Another exciting aspect is that Ava and Sara are experts in their fields. Their smarts and skills are hopelessly addicting. Watching them battle alongside each other to defeat villains is nothing short of spectacular. Brains and brawn at its best!

Even better, as of right now Sara and Ava's romance has reached a happy point and shows no sign of ending nor heading towards tragedy. I sincerely hope that by the end of the series, Sara and Ava can stroll off into the sunset together. Or, more likely given their fantastical occupations, leap into another rollicking adventure.


Heather Massey is one of the founders of the SFR Galaxy Awards and has been a contributor to the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly, LoveLetter Magazine, Coffee Time Romance,, Heroes & Heartbreakers, SF Signal, and first gained recognition in the genre for her SFR-centered blog, The Galaxy Express. Read more on the Judges page.

2018 SFR Galaxy Awards Round 2 - Riley Moreland

Potent Post-War Setting Award

Aftermath (Hathe, #3)
by Mary Brock Jones

In Aftermath, the post war setting of Hathe and its people is a fascinating background. Because of the huge subterfuge the Hathe people pulled over on the Terrans (See books 1 and 2: Resistance and Pay the Piper), the Hathe population has become split between the population that stayed on Hathe and the rest of the population that escaped to the moon, Mathe, and hid there for the duration of the war. Known as the dirtsiders and the moonies, they are not re-integrating into the post-war world very well. The struggles between the two sides of the same people are often heartbreaking. Aftermath has a complex plot, engaging heroes and heroines, and disagreeable villains. The slow burning romance between Jacquel (the understated antihero of the first two books) and Rheia is satisfying. But their roles as revolutionaries in the post war situation are what makes this book a great read.


Best Steampunk Transport

Raven, Fire and Ice (Touch of Truth, #1) 
by Nita Round

I do love steampunk and here is a new-to-me author that is serving up what I want. In Raven, Fire and Ice, Nita Round describes an airship that anyone would love to take a ride on. The airship is THE steampunk machine in this story that seems to take on a life of its own. Or maybe that life is due to the very able crew. The three main female characters, Lucinda Ravensburgh, who adds a bit of mysticism to the story, Magda Stoner, very capable airship captain, and Officer Ascara d’Jharaena ael Korphen (Officer Ascara for short), security officer, have a lovely flirtatious thing going. While their relationship does not reach the lovers stage they are clearly a very close group and I am anxiously awaiting the next book to see where they go.


Arcane History Award

Infinity (Horizon, #2) 
by Tabitha Lord

Infinity was released in 2017, but I discovered Tabitha Lord's Horizon series in 2018. The series spans multiple worlds all caught up in both their own struggles and otherworldly problems. The main world, Almagest, has a spotty history. By that I mean, much of the history is unknown, lost during war. However, it appears to be very important. In Infinity, some of Almagest’s history is starting to be revealed through computer logs. But not all, so I can theorize all I want about what's what. Will my theories prove true? I'm waiting on the next book to find out. In addition to all the hidden history, Infinity includes Derek and Caeli, the hero and heroine from two different worlds who may be the key to saving everything.


Arachnophobia Award for Creepiest Villain

Lost Valyr (Project Enterprise, #7) 
by Pauline Baird Jones

Villains get a bad rap. Yet, they can make or break a story. You know I'm right. So let's talk about the malefactor in Lost Valyr. Have I given away anything about the villain yet? Specifically, let’s talk about Xaddek. So, a giant spider as a bad guy. Personally, I like spiders in my garden. But up close, they are creeeeepy. No two ways about it, Zaddek is really bad! He has been known to eat his own crew members. That has got to hamper his overall effectiveness as a captain. Lost Valyr also has one of the quirkiest romantic couples I had the pleasure to read about in 2018. Valyr rarely talks. Rachel makes up for it by filling in all the silent spaces. And did I mention they come from different planets?


Favorite Dog Hero

Not Fade Away (Interstellar Rescue, #4) 
by Donna S. Frelick

Not Fade Away's heroine Charlie has a dog that I love. His name is Happy. This loving pup wriggles his way into everybody’s heart. Well, maybe not everybody, but at least the important people. Including me, the reader. Hero Rafe may not be too sure about a dog at first. He is not from Earth and has never seen a dog before, but Happy knows a good person when he sees one and eventually they warm to each other. With part of the action taking place on Earth and part off planet, Not Fade Way has constant action that overlays the understated, but crucial romance between Charlie and Rafe. A fantastic addition the Interstellar Rescue series.


Riley Moreland is a book reviewer at Whiskey With My Book and a Library Director. Read more on the Judges page.

2018 SFR Galaxy Awards Round 1 - Jo Jones

Best Dream to Nightmare Plot

An Alien Exchange
by Keri Kruspe

A lonely woman. An exiled alien prince. Can two different individuals find a way to be together to save the galaxy from a malicious plot threatening to tear it apart?

Aimee Gwiazdowski has a passion for Alien Abduction romance stories. She vicariously lives through the heroines of her books to escape her lonely, loveless life. Until one morning, she wakes up in a strange, white room where an alluring voice invites her to the “Exchange” to find love and adventure in another world. Did she dare believe it? Could she leave everything behind and take a chance to become one of those heroines who finds true love among the stars?

Exiled Prince Qayyum E’etu and commander of the space vessel StarChance has a mission—transport the human women to the Exchange along with an offer he can’t refuse: find evidence against rumored human trafficking connected with the Exchange. If he can successfully bring the traitors back to Zerin for justice, it would give him a chance to return home. How was he supposed to know that meeting a human woman would put everything he was working for in jeopardy?

As unforeseen evil slowly brews discord within the galaxy, it works to tear Aimee and Qay further apart. If they don’t learn to overcome their fears and trust the love they have for each other, the coming cataclysm will devastate not only Zerin, but Earth as well.


Best Use of World Building and Back Story to Jumpstart a Plot

by Michelle Diener

Sofie lives in the shadow of Felicitos--the tethered way station built to funnel Garmen's mineral wealth off-planet. Because Garmen is a breakaway planet, not part of the Verdant String Coalition, the companies that control it are free to run things as they see fit, and Sofie is part of the resistance that wants to end their rule.

What she really wants, though, is to get away from Garmen altogether, and leave the drudgery and violence behind her. But when she meets Leo Gaudier, a shadowy crime lord who she admires for his ability to cheat the companies that own Garmen, her goals become less clear--and when she stumbles on a terrible new direction the companies are taking, she struggles with whether she should stay and fight, or take her chance to escape.

Leo is all too aware he doesn't know enough about Sofie, something his own security detail is not slow to point out, but he can't keep away. When Sofie reveals her links to the resistance, and shows him those in control of Garmen have begun swimming in dangerous waters, he realizes his plan to overthrown them in a careful operation of a thousand cuts is no longer workable.

The time has come for a single, lethal strike--and that will not be without consequences.


Best Improvement After Rewriting

Warleader [Moonstruck] (The Borderlands) 
by Susan Grant

Galactic Rules of Engagement: #1: Enemies must not become lovers. Welcome to the Borderlands, where rules are meant to be broken . . .

Admiral Brit Bandar is the Coalition's greatest starship commander. The outlaw known as the Scourge of the Borderlands taunted her in a galactic game of cat and mouse for years, but she never caught him. Now they're supposed to make peace and serve together on the same starship? Not so easy to do when your sworn enemy turns out to be the hottest piece you've ever seen.

Warleader Finn Rorkken doesn't care how many medals “Stone-Heart” Bandar has. He's going to show her what it's like to be pursued and caught by a master. Intergalactic peace is on the line, and if she wants his obedience, she'll have to pay his price. Challenge accepted, Admiral.


Jo Jones is a retired pilot who shares her love of reading on her blog, Mixed Book Bag. Read more on the Judges page.

Welcome to the 2018 SFR Galaxy Awards

Thanks for joining us for the Seventh Annual SFR Galaxy Awards, recognizing standout books in science fiction romance.

Special Tribute

We'd like to acknowledge that these awards were inspired by a giant in the Science Fiction/Fantasy community, author Ursula K. Le Guin, who passed on Monday, January 22, 2018. Her words created the context for the SFR Galaxy Awards. (More about that here.) She is greatly missed as both author and inspiration.

This year, we'll be presenting seven rounds of awards, beginning at 10AM Eastern Standard Time USA. We'd like to thank our panel of talented judges for their work in selecting the 2018 award recipients. This year we'll be presenting a total of 27 SFR Galaxy Awards.

We'd also like to thank the original designer of this site's award banner, the multi-talented cover designer and editor Danielle Fine, and also extend our thanks to the original award icon designer, graphic artist Kanaxa. The 2018 SFR Galaxy Awards banner was designed by Laurie Green.

More About the Awards

The SFR Galaxy Awards is an annual, multi-award event for science fiction romance books. The 2018 awards marks the seventh successive year the awards have been presented.

The theme of the SFR Galaxy Awards is inclusiveness. Instead of giving an award to a single book, this event will recognize the worth of multiple books and/or the standout elements they contain. The basic philosophy behind this approach is to help connect readers with books.

Each of seven judges are reviewers, book bloggers, librarians, editors and/or avid readers. You can find more information about them on the Judges page. Each judge may name one to multiple awards for standout science fiction romance, creating award categories based on their own criteria. They may also opt to provide additional details about the selectee and why they have made the selection.

Authors do not enter to win and are not aware they have won until the awards are announced.

The focus is on the award year titles, however the judges may also make a selection from a prior year and a selection can be a science fiction romance film, television series, video, graphic novel or game. (Further information about guidelines and eligibility can be found on the About the SFR Galaxy Awards page.)

Presentation of the Awards

As in prior years, the awards will be posted in rounds (Eastern Standard Time USA):

10:00 AM - Jo Jones
11:00 AM - Riley Moreland
12:00 PM - Heather Massey
1:00 PM - Lee Koven
2:00 PM - Marlene Harris
3:00 PM - Chris Stock
4:00 PM - KJ Van Houten

Read more about the 2018 judges on the Judges page.

Thank you for joining us for the 
2018 SFR Galaxy Awards.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The 2018 SFR Galaxy Awards are Coming!

Please join us on Thursday, January 31, 2019

for the presentation of the 2018 SFR Galaxy Awards.

The awards will be posted by round every hour 

beginning at 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time.