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Review by Riley

About Embrace the Romance

The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Review of Embrace the Romance

Embrace the Romance is a large volume made up of 12 original stories and 826 pages. 826 pages! Personally, the idea of 826 pages of SciFi Romance with pets makes me giddy. What’s not to love? After hours of enjoyment, I can firmly say it was time well spent!

I am not going to review all the stories in Embrace the Romance, but I will highlight a few….

First, I will mention Pet Trade, by Carol Van Natta. Pet Trade takes place in the Central Galactic Concordance universe. There is no need to have read any of her books in the series to appreciate this little gem.

Ms. Van Natta has a knack for writing down-to-earth characters that don’t even live on Earth. Bethnee Bakonin’s past experience in the shady pet trade business has left her damaged, both mentally and physically, but on frontier planet Del ‘Arche, she has found a home and a life as a veterinarian. Axur Tragon crash landed on Del’ Arche, only to discover his cargo included a stash of designer pets. He needs help taking care of those pets and that is how Bethnee and Axur meet. It is a tenuous meeting, but the animals, which they both love, making the meeting the start of a budding relationship.

What follows is a story of two people helping each other heal from a past that has betrayed them. The abundance of charming animals in the story is delightful and their loyalty to Bethnee and Axur will become an important part of the story when the bad guys show up. Pet Trade is one of the few in this collection that reads like a novel to me, as opposed to a novella or short story. Complex characters and a rich plot make Pet Trade a story to really get involved in.

The next story I want to bring to your attention is Time Trap by Pauline Baird Jones. Once again, Ms. Jones tackles time travel with her usual quirky humor. This time, she uses a manhole cover to effect the time travel. It’ll make you think twice about stepping on one of those when you walk down the street.

The animal in this story doesn’t seem so much a pet. Sir Rupert is a parrot. A very smart parrot. He talks. Yes, I know parrots talk, but Rupert has actual conversations. Rupert is more of a co-worker to Madison, who is trying to ferret out a mole working against the Rebellion. (See how I snuck in another animal or two there.) Escaping the traitor’s trap sends her right into the arms of Sergeant Briggs (via the manhole cover). Briggs is a well-liked character from a previous Project Enterprise novel, so I was very happy to see him get his own story. The interaction between Madison, Briggs and Sir Rupert is entertaining to read and they really do make a great team. Of all the stories in Embrace the Romance, Time Trap was the most fun!

By the way, Sir Rupert is only one of several amazing birds in this collection. Birds are cool!

I have time to mention one more story. Meet Luna. Made up of a mixture of dog, cat, mongoose and weasel genes, Luna the stardog is the pet heroine of Courting Disaster by Laurie A. Green. Are you a cat person or a dog person? I love both, so I think Luna may be the perfect pet.

Courting Disaster takes place in the Inherit the Stars universe. Since I loved that book, I was very happy to get another story. In this one, the Ithians are back. They were the bad guys in Inherit the Stars, but as you know, whenever a major military or political revolution takes place, there will be pockets of malcontents leftover. This is a great tie-in to the previous story.

But you want to know about the hero and heroine don’t you? Captain Navene Jagger, successful, about to get the appointment of a lifetime, is sorely disappointment when he gets assigned to a wreck of a cargo ship. His mission is to escort Ketsia and her companion through the Bradley Rift, a rogue-infested area of space.

To begin with, there is a major lack of understanding about the past that Jagger and Ketsia must work through. That will take some time – as it should. There are some major complications to overcome, such as Jagger’s ego and the Ithians. I had to chuckle just a little at the excuse to get Jagger and Ketsia naked before they were ready to, you know, get naked. But it served it’s purpose. 🙂 Overall, the romance moves at good pace, taking up a good portion of the story before love is declared.

Luna is as much a heroine as the humans in this story. Not only does she like to sit on your lap, cuddle and just be a pet, she is very smart and will do her best to make sure Jagger and Ketsia have their happy ending.

Embrace the Romance isn’t just a fantastic collection of stories. It also has a greater purpose. Hero-Dogs.org will receive 10% of the profits of the first month’s sales. Really, I don’t think there is a better reason to spend money – getting a book you enjoy and helping a really good cause.

The styles of the authors of Embrace the Romance are as varied as their pets are unique. You may not love every story in the collection, but Embrace the Romance has something for everyone that claims to be an animal lover and a SciFi Romance lover. The variety is, perhaps, the best part of this collection. You can remain planetbound, visit a space station or take an interstellar flight. The pets range from purely speculative creations to pets that resemble earth animals. And if you imagine your favorite type of heroine or hero, Embrace the Romance will have the story for you. Embrace the Romance is 826 pages of pure fun!

I received an advance copy of Embrace the Romance so that I could bring you this honest review.

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Dedication

This review is dedicated to Ozzie. 14 years ago, Ozzie the kitten, was found alone and hungry on a school bus on a Monday morning. He came to our home and befriended our other cat Maddie, who had been lonely. He slept in the Christmas tree the first year. He chased and retrieved balls just like a dog. He shared the Lazyboy with my hubby and the bed with both of us. He was always in the room, needing to be a part of everything that went on in his house.   Ozzie enjoyed sitting by me while I was reading SciFi Romance.  And he purred at the drop of a hat. He warmed our heart for all those years. Ozzie passed away on October 9, 2017. He is missed.

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