I don’t read much science fiction, and when I read paranormal, I focus more on the “normal.” Fiction that is too “out there” generally doesn’t appeal to me. But last week I finished two books that I ordinarily wouldn’t have selected, except that I got to know the authors through Six Sentence Sunday.
Both of their books kept me turning pages, and I couldn’t put them down. The first was Girl Under Glass by Monica Enderle Pierce, a science fiction romance, the other was Mayan Afterglow, the first book in a paranormal romance series by A.S. Fenichel.
Girl Under Glass is part A Scarlet Letter (yes, the classic you read in high school), part Lord of the Flies, and part Star Trek. It also will be part of a series (but only the first book is complete so far). In the novel, a woman strives to protect her young daughter following an apocalypse. She’s forced to seek the protection of a Stranger, a member of the alien race that has herded the humans into concentration camps, following the 100 Day War between the two races that wiped out most human life on earth.
It has authentic, believable characters and author Pierce is not afraid to torment them. What stood out for me was the setting. The world that the author creates on Earth as well as the spaceship felt so real, it put me in the scene with the characters. It was more like watching a movie than reading a book. And the pacing was excellent. The story moved. There were no slow parts.
Mayan Afterglow was also well-paced. I’d call it paranormal rather than science fiction, but the theme was similar: life after the “end.” December 21, 2012 corresponds to the end of the Mayan calendar. In Mayan Afterglow on that date, most human life on earth vanishes and winter settles over the world. The real problems begin about ten months later when evil strives to take control of what’s left. One woman with psychic powers meets that evil in a showdown to save humanity.
Mayan Afterglow is an erotic romance novella, about ninety pages – short enough to read in an evening, but long enough to have substance. What I particularly enjoyed was the plotting and the hero Ian Scott. I liked the obstacles the author threw at the characters, and I found Ian Scott refreshing. He’s a thief. He was a thief before the end, and afterwards he continues by looting the homes of the people who’ve vanished. While he’s robbing a house, he sees the heroine battling with a demon in another dimension and pulls her out. He’s a great example how an “anti-hero” can become the hero. The second book of the series Mayan Craving, and the third, just released, is Mayan Inferno.
I was impressed with the writing and the creativity of both Girl Under Glass and Mayan Afterglow. If you’re looking for something different to read, I recommend them both.