Earth Fathers: Earth Fathers Are Weird – Lyn Gala
Captain Maxwell Davis and his entire unit scrambled to engage alien ships over Iowa. The aliens snatched him out of his destroyed jet before they continued on their interplanetary hot pursuit. Then they informed Max that Earth was too far outside regular shipping lanes to return him to his planet.
So Max ends up in an alien spaceport looking for work. To afford a ticket home he can either spend three hundred years working with linguists to improve the computer’s questionable ability to translate English or he can take a job as a nanny for an unpopular alien. That way he can afford the ticket in four years. The problem is that the computer may have mistranslated the word “nanny” and there might be a reason an alien is willing to pay such a high fee.
Sometimes, it pays to jump headfirst into something knowing as little as possible.
I started on Earth Fathers Are Weird with the knowledge that there will be tentacles. That’s about it. Now if you have told me beforehand I would be walking into three incubating octopods, me who wouldn’t go near mpreg if I can help it, I would have said blech! and consign this to the farthest reaches of space.
But much like our boy Captain Maxwell Davis who fell madly and deeply in stupid, I was thrown into a completely foreign world of tentacles and whale speak and loved every minute of it.
My biggest gripe with space stories is how authors tend to make things human-centric. For me, this is akin to how most movies almost always revolved around an MC that’s white and/or American while the rest of humanity are either villains or supporting characters. I don’t think aliens would think much of humans, heck we couldn’t even travel outside our own solar system. And in their part of the universe, the humans are the aliens.
This has something to do as well with my niggle regarding alien romances. Frequently, the alien love interest is usually just some guy with blue skin give or take an odd feature or two. Pfft, if you want to do alien, might as well go all the way.
Lyn Gala went full octopus with Rick. Now, he has multiple eyes and just as many tentacles. The genius of Earth Fathers is that I didn’t even feel a smidge of disgust between the pairing of an octopus and a human. Not even when Rick had his tentacles up Max’s business. Not even with Max pregnant with baby aliens. Nor the very graphic birthing scene. Far from it. I was rooting for Rick and Max all the way!
It’s not that you would forget Rick is a tentacled alien. You are constantly aware he’s an alien. I especially liked this fact wasn’t diminished as a way to establish a more ‘acceptable’ love interest. The author did a wonderful job showcasing his caring side, his patience, him being a good listener, him being dorky, his various nuances, his fantastic chemistry with Max despite extreme language barrier, colossal cultural gap and mismatched body parts
At the same time, Max’s humanity and open-mindedness gave him the strength to adapt and face things with good humor. He’s a pop culture enthusiast who regals his alien boyfriend with Darth Vader stories. Gotta love Max right there!
I really enjoyed how these two worked out their differences and learned about each other. With the help of the ship’s computer, Max did translations. They developed their own way of speaking English. I also enjoyed this part a lot because it felt very true to the set-up.
The world-building was one of the best I’ve encountered. Things just unfolded so smoothly even with Max’s limited understanding of Rick’s world. We discover things along with Max as he navigates this new reality he was thrust into. Normally, I would have preferred a dual POV, but seeing things through Max’s eyes really worked here.
And the children. You’d love them too! These three have very distinct personalities. Max named them after fictional characters. There’s Kohei, the eldest. He loves acrobatics. He’s also a very protective big brother. James, named after the captain of the Enterprise, because he loves exploring. And Xander, Max’s little boy who’s named after a Buffy the Vampire Slayer character. He’s the youngest and the smallest and gets cold easily. He loves learning English.
These little aliens brought out Max’s fierce protective side. I really loved how he went above and beyond here. He fought space pirates with a cleaning hook just to keep his family safe. So of course, Rick had to tangle tentacles with him. This human is a keeper.
Major props goes to narrator John Solo. Sometimes, he tends to overact some of his narrations but he performed this book to perfection. He did it so well and the story was so good, I listened to this in one sitting!
Earth Fathers Are Weird is a sweet, beautifully executed love story of two people who not only came from worlds galaxies apart but were of completely different species. How they bridged the gap that spanned this divide was a joy to witness. Hence, this book has gone where no book in my experience has gone before, an mpreg book that earned 5 absolutely perfect stars from me.
5 Stars – absolutely perfect
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Primrose Files: Aliens, Smith and Jones – Blaine D. Arden
“It’s not all about serving coffee and typing reports.”
Working for a secret organisation specialising in alien cover-ups, Connor Smith is no stranger to the abnormal or dangerous. His love life on the other hand… not so exciting. Until he reluctantly agrees to a blind date and meets the perfect bloke, Jason.
Things are finally falling into place for Connor, so of course that’s when he attracts an alien stalker.
Noah Jones, ex-alien, has been stranded on Earth and forced to live as a human since 1648. Alone and detached from the world around him, Noah has spent centuries observing and recording humankind. In all that time, he’s only experienced a connection with a human once… until he finds Connor.
Even knowing Connor is in a relationship, Noah can’t ignore their potential bond, or stay away.
While dealing with missing alien artefacts, a dangerous and shadowy group of collectors, and the ever-present Noah, Connor finds his orderly life crumbling around him. At least he still has the perfect boyfriend…
When Noah goes missing, Connor is forced to face the feelings growing between them and the mounting evidence that Jason isn’t who he says he is…
Aliens, Smith and Jones is a riff on the fated one/mate theme popular in animal shifter stories. Noah is a Rei, a purple alien blob of energy whose species visit other planets to observe and record. He was stuck on earth for almost 400 years. Somewhere along the way, he transforms into a human. The Rei absorbs energy and they have one particular individual, their mate, with whom they have a special connection. Noah had found this long time ago with Daffyd and he didn’t expect to find it again in this modern age.
Connor, whom I found bland and forgettable, works for Primrose, a Men in Black type of organization that handles anything and everything alien. He usually ends up a victiim of his bestfriend, Isa’s matchmaking schemes. Isa introduced him to Jason and they hit it off. On the surface Jason seems to be the perfect boyfriend.
The trouble with this set-up is that it’s hard to care about Noah and Connor’s romance when they are so hung up on other people. Going in, I knew Jason was in the picture. I just didn’t expect Noah would have his Daffyd too. Also Connor spent more time with Jason, time that could have been spent establishing his relationship with Noah. Aliens, Smith and Jones would have worked better had the romance given more time to blossom.
I also don’t understand the point of killing off an important secondary character. It really didn’t do anything to the story except give a little bit of unnecessary drama to the proceedings.
There were a bunch of more interesting characters who would be great leads in their own books like Lieutenant Matthews, Isa’s boss, and Francis the shy, geeky tech. It would also be great if there were aliens working in the organization as oppose to just herding them off to some island. I hope Noah does well as a consulting adviser in Primrose.
This is a good example of a 2.5-star book. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t quite like it either.
I received a copy of Aliens, Smith and Jones from
via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
2.5 Stars – far from hate but not quite a like
Shotgun Bastards and Other Stories – Andrea Speed
A collection of tales filled with monsters, be they human or beast, ranging in setting from dystopia to pitch black noir and even general silliness. From the ludicrous to the frighteningly plausible; from deep space to after the end of the world. There are clumsy werewolves and bloody revenge, monster sleep overs and a dieting fad sure to kill your appetite.
Whether looking into the past or the future, you’re sure to find that stuff gets really weird.
Shotgun Bastards and Other Stories is a collection of flash fiction showcasing Andrea Speed’s fertile imagination. These stories range from death by crab invasion, random futuristic adverts, your average vampires and mages, and adventures in alternate dimensions. I love the stories! They were usually just a couple of pages long but most felt complete, some have high-impact and the rest showed good promise if turned into full-length books.
The collection is divided into 5 parts. The first part is the apocalypse section where various world’s end scenarios were speculated. This is my favorite part. The first story When the Rains Came reminded me of Hitchhiker’s Guide but instead of saying good bye and thanking us for all the fish, the dolphins participated in the wholesale slaughter of humanity along with the rest of ocean life. “Clean the oceans, humans” I think is the takeaway message here. It’s the End of the World as We Know It and I Don’t Give a Fuck stood out the most for me. Not only the title says it all and the MC was ace, the unnamed MC did the things I planned to do in case people were wiped out by a virus. Magic welders, aliens and vampires were also featured and there was another interesting scenario where the world falls apart because people were infected by ennui. Very plausible really. A couple of times the author was inspired by Oscar Wilde’s idea of the end of the world. Not the brightest view of humanity overall in this part of the collection.
The second part is full of absurd randomness from The International House of Cthulhu where you either eat the food or the food eats you, to Mr. Fix-it, a sweet human+bot slash where a human named Elon, with the help of a nice bot name Slom, tries to survive aliens taking over the space station. In between these, there is a cute love story, Cartoon Logic, where comic strip characters step out of a door to the real world and the fun, Mad Monster Sleep Over where monsters try to find answers to a fellow monster’s death. It is also apparent Andrea Speed does not like Christmas. I like the idea of turning the beloved Christmas symbols into terrifying beings because a monster Santa is really scary. Probably inspired by the French film or by Billy Idol, Eyes Without a Face is about pesky disembodied eyes infesting a house where a gay couple lives. Where these things come from nobody knows but yeah, that’s how random this is.
Part three is what I like to think of as the Tarantino section. Keyword: hard-boiled. Think Jackie Brown or Kill Bill. Women exacting revenge, slitting throats, firing shotguns. The title piece Shotgun Bastards features a woman shooting her way through a mob to rescue her captured twin brother who has vital information. She Broke Gods was about a woman on a mission to save all the girls trapped by a sex slave gang. She pretends to be a victim then proceeds to slaughter the gang. The two are the most action pack of the entire book. I would love to see these as movies.
Part four is more randomness, probably sketches and ideas and more monsters. Wolf & Fox is a zombie apocalypse scenario that left me wondering whether Wolf and Fox were humans or anthropomorphic animals (I wouldn’t be surprise if they were animals standing on two feet/paws). I was also shipping them but I guess it wasn’t that kind of story. They Fight Crime is a fantasy story vaguely inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk where magic-welders Coy and Danay fight skreaks with magic beans. What skreaks are, I don’t know. Spark Joy was about a women who was so meh about life but found a way to bring the spark back, literally. This is something most bored potatoes (me) can relate to minus the pyrokinetics. Noise is about that weird neighbor you never know would go berserk any minute so you have to treat nicely. Probably the weakest story of all.
Lastly, we have the sci-fi/fantasy part full of vampires, rebels and space-pirates. Past Prologue has a Ghost in the Shell feel to it where a woman with cybernetic body parts is hiding from the Imperator. This one has a nice twist in the end. I would like to see this as a full-length novel because the futuristic setting and the world are really interesting. Discount Skin Ticket and Seven Days of Fang are stories about darkest desires and the price people are willing to pay for them. The desires are the usual desires (immortality and some such) so I’m hoping someday we can have stories where the darkest desires involves something like secretly wanting to be Rainbow Brite. Soulmates and My Bloody Valentines are dark and compelling romance stories the author created for the Goodreads M/M Romance Group and plans to expand someday. I hope she does.
Shotgun Bastards and Other Stories is my first Andrea Speed book. I think it’s a good introduction to her work. The stories grab me from the start and majority of them worked.There is a streak of dark humor in some and others are just plain dark which I really liked. If you have a short attention span like me or want an in-between book for those 1000+ page door stoppers, this is a good book to dip into for some bite-size fun.
I received a copy of Shotgun Bastards and Other Stories from Less Than Three Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits