Friday, June 23, 2017

Trisha Telep - Anthology Mammoth Book of Futuristic Romance

The good news is, in the future there will be no shortage of romance. On space ships, on newly-colonized planets or on a barely recognizable Earth; life forms, whether human, alien or something in between, will find their way to love.
As giant corporations grasp new opportunities for profit and future armies clash, both in deep space and 'dirtside', former romantic partners try to put the past behind them and time-travelling rebels set out to romance the past.
These science fiction stories of future love and lust - by Marcella Burnard, Biana D'Arc, Jess Granger, Linnea Sinclair, C.L. Wilson and many more - are brimming with passion and humour. So, even though in space no one can hear you scream, they might just be able to hear you laugh.

Comment: I got this anthology last year, after realizing some stories could be to my taste. As it often happens, some stories have impressed me more than others. All of them, however, are too short to be read as a complete work. I'm sure some would have gained a lot from a bigger page count or maybe follow ups would have been great in the case of some (especially the ones I liked best).

There are several different themes explored but the main idea is that there is always a romance to happen and the possibility if love helping in dire situations. I applaud the idea but this means the stories are easily seen as insta-lust or too simplistically presented which can be a let down.
Nevertheless, I had a good time reading most of the stories and I'll leave a quick comment on them.

1. Flying is Faster by Jeannie Holmes 
A human doctor in a colonized planet inhabited by birdlike humanoids helps a female of that species to save her brother. There are problems and they spend some time together.
It was a sweet story but the connection between them not as good as it could be, especially when we understand they admire each other. 7/10

2. Star Crossed by Cathy Clamp
Two sort of enemies are in a ship fighting an apparent losing battle against an enemy of the planet. Something happens and they must work together on a final attempt to attack the enemy.
Not a favorite, the end of the world to be scenario didn't make me eager to read this one and the personal relationship wasn't exciting. 6/10

3. Naturally Beautiful by Jaime Leigh Hansen
In the distant future, a genius female is rescued by a special Ops offier while another helps her father. Father's team ends up captured, but heroine and her officer aren't. Sparks fly while they try to help the others.
It was interesting but the secondary situations seemed stronger than the romance part. 7/10

4. Seven Months of Forever by Linnea Sinclair
This is a follow up to the author's book Games of Command (which I liked!) but it might not be easily understandable without having that book read first. A situation causes something to malfunction and Captain Sass needs to try her best to make Kel-Paten realize he's been free and in love for the past seven months.
I liked it just because I knew the characters and could sympathize with them. 8/10

5. Memories of Gravity by Patrice Sarath
A woman comes back from Jupiter to deal with her grandfather's death and will. A ghost plays havoc during her stay back in Earth but she realizes someone else might be the real troublemaker.
Some readers disliked the more ghost content than futuristic but it sounded more suspense in general to me. The romance was quick but had some base to be acceptable.
It was an OK read but I didn't miss ending it. 6/10

6. Fade Away and Radiate by Michele Lang
Weird story about a woman alone in a planet, her husband was killed and now someone arrives to rescue her from death as well.
I didn't really connect with the characters. She was still sort of mourning so the romance felt unnecessary and untimely. 5/10

7. New Earth Twelve by Mandy M. Roth
Interesting story. In a space ship to a 12th attempt on colonizing a world like Earth, the space ship captain tried to kill some people, they were rescued and have aged ten years sine the beginning of the trip. One of the key elements has synchronized his mind with the ship and he becomes friends with one of the rescued girls, now a woman. I wouldn't mind reading more about the characters and the new world. 8/10

8. Red Dawn by Delilah Devlin
I actually liked this one. Mars is now being colonized by different people and Mary, a lone woman has been granted the chance to have a mate, which happens to be a prisoner doing his penance. She can control him but they soon realize they do match one another. It can be seen as an unfair situation but the promising future makes up for that. I'd read a follow up on them. 8/10

9. Racing Hearts by Kiersten Fay
This is a second chance story, which I normally don't like much. A couple will be entering a space ship competition along with a team. The problem is they have been apart and now need to be polite to one another if they want their team to succeed. Plot is basically them patching up and the reason why they split was so silly, I mostly dismissed it at the end. 6/10

10. In the Interest of Security by Regan Black
In the past, an evil guy has used genetic transformations to create special soldiers. His niece escaped and now lives as a smuggler along others and her small son. One of the security guards at the complex they live is told to protect her now that she feels ready to leave her job. The story has strong points, the romance isn't too bad...but in general, it wasn't as fascinating as it could. 7/10

11. End of the Line by Bianca D'Arc
A really good story, suspending disbelief in the human behavior. A woman pilot has her small ship destroyed and is caught by the enemy race who wants to overpower Earth. It turns out the ship's captain is her mate and they end up going to his planet. I liked it and would have liked to read a sequel or more books in a series, were it to exist. 9/10

12. Space Cowboy by Donna Kauffman
A florist sees an man from the future simply appear in her shop. He tells her he is a bounty hunter from centuries ahead and she might be caught by an evil man who kidnaps women for trafficking. They are attracted to one another, months later he returns to be with her. I thought this romance was too quickly presented, it didn't feel realistic within the "rules". 6/10

13. Tales from the Second Chance Saloon: Macawley's List by Linnea Sinclair
A second story by this author. This is a second chance story where Macawley has the opportunity to go back in time, after his death, and try to change the course of his life in a point where he can find happiness. It was interesting but I admit I wasn't very impressed and the fact the heroine wasn't developed didn't help. 6/10

14. Wasteland by Jess Granger
I liked this story! So far what I've read by this author has been very positive! Truly sad she stopped writing as Granger and now writes YA under another name :(
In this story, a woman is sent through a portal to another dimension where the criminals of her corrupted world are all sent to. She still wants to denounce her brother but first she needs to escape. She meets a man who helps her and with time, they start to be friends and caring for one another. When it becomes possible, will she choose to go with him instead? I just liked spending time reading about these characters and the world building felt complete. 9/10

15. Nuns and Huns by Charlene Teglia
It was a bit weird. A ship full of women comes to Earth after another ship who entered Earth in the past got here and now women arrive in the present so they can get the genetic material which will enable life in their own planet/reality. The ship's captain seduces a man for the first time, Caleb, who apparently is a descendant of those first men. The romance was too quick and the end not totally realistic to me. 7/10

16. Song of Saire by Leanna Renee Hieber
Confusing story for me. Two people with powers have decided to help others of their kind from genocide. But although they can't be romantically together, they love each other. Apparently they get to a new universe/reality? and find peace and a paradise along those of their kind. Interesting prose and ideas but weirdly executed details. 6/10

17. The Noah by C.L. Wilson
An obvious Bible inspired story about Adam and Eve shows us a planet in decay and about to be destroyed. No one lives in the planet anymore except Eve and her four "sisters" which are simply clones of a previous Eve, which was an important and clever scientist. Besides them, only ghosts exist too, basically zombie-like humanoids. The Noah is a man who had the task of overlooking Earth. The planet is close to be gone so the noah and the Eves will need to go somewhere else. Quite tragic and depressing, it's interesting and hopeful but not overly exciting. 8/10

18. Written in Ink by Susan Sizemore
A woman from the future, where society is ruled differently, goes to the past to interfere with a certain fact. She doesn't arrive in the right place, though, so she asks the help of a "mailman", whose job is to pass messages in dangerous places. This is an adventure, the relationship has potential but the atmosphere seems too dark. There are zombies as well, never a favorite of mine. 6/10

19. Nobody's Present by Marcella Burnard
The last story was cute and interesting about a woman going on a job interview, she gets kidnapped by aliens who need sex with humans to survive because of a genetic issue. This was a funny story and ends up with a HEA that, although not very romantic, can become so. The main couple shares their life stories which allows some more intensity between them to be credible. 8/10

đź’§I'm positively surprised with most of the stories, I'd definitely read more books in two or three worlds included here for certain. It's really unfortunate that the stories are so small, some of them would have gained a lot with more pages.
Considering all the grades I gave to a summary, this ends up being a good book for me.
Grade: 7/10

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