Review: Pets in Space 7: A Science Fiction Romance Anthology

Cover for Pets in Space 7 anthology

Title: Pets in Space 7

Author: S. E. Smith, R. J. Blain, Grace Goodwin, Skye MacKinnon, Carol Van Natta, Honey Phillips, Carysa Locke, S. J. Pajonas, JC Hay, Kyndra Hatch, Leslie Chase, Winnie Winkle, and Candace Colt

Series: Interstellar Brides Program; The Intergalactic Guide to Humans; Central Galactic Concordance; Cyborgs on Mars; The Kimura Sisters; After the Fall; Bags Shore Romance

Pages: 1369

3 stars out of 5
3 stars – I liked it

The overall rating is the average of the following ratings. 

Winter and the Stone Dragon by S. E. Smith 
Series: The Rings of Power
Pages: 123
Rating: 4 stars – It was really good

This was a surprisingly wonderful story of two people who keep being pulled apart. Wynter had a fascinating magic that allowed her to jump between worlds/realms and I really loved her pet stone dragon, Pow Pow. Khalid fell fast for Wynter. I enjoyed their relationship a lot. I would totally read more from this series because the travel between worlds was fascinating. 

Trigger warnings: death of parents; poisoning; 

Tropes: Childhood friends, pinning, 

Life-Debt by R. J. Blain 
Pages: 170
Rating: 4 stars – It was really good

This was a wonderful space exploration romance. Viva is a salvage operator who is known for her rescue operations. When she rescues a man from a ship that is dead in space, she never expects to find love to. I really enjoyed everything about this story. Viva was smart, sassy, compassionate, and a great heroine. She is known for her morals and doesn’t discriminate from smugglers or lawful space travelers. Her adventures with Veloc culture and life-debt system were hilarious and so much fun. The romance between Viva and Delta is very sweet and I enjoyed them struggling to understand the courting process. I would totally read more books featuring these two and their adventures in space. Also, I loved her pet Pandora who is a vulpes vulpes, which is basically a genetically enhanced red fox. 

Trigger Warnings: death; child kidnapping; 

Tropes: forced proximity; 

Marked Mate by Grace Goodwin
Series: Interstellar Brides Program
Pages: 64
Rating: 3 stars – I liked it

This was a short fated mate’s romance with Stark finding his mate while on a mission. I enjoyed Stark and Rebecca’s story overall but did feel like there wasn’t much relationship building between them. Also, it kind of sucked that Rebecca was so determined to help the kids at her community center but as soon as she met Stark that basically was over. Basically, short and very instalovey. 

Trigger warnings: drug overdose mentioned; 

Tropes: fated mates, instant love

Alien Abduction for Unicorns by Skye MacKinnon
Series: The Intergalactic Guide to Humans
Pages: 81
Rating: DNF chapter 4

This one just isn’t really keeping my attention.  

Tropes: fated mates

An Entanglement of Griffins by Carol Van Natta
Series: Central Galactic Concordance 
Pages: 100
Rating: 2 stars – It was ok

This was ok. The story was mostly about illegal traders stealing pets, including the heroines griffins, and then Lark and her new friend Pim rescuing them. I mostly enjoyed the adventure to rescue the animals but some of the dialogue is confusing because it’s written with alien slang with no explanations so I was confused at what was trying to be said at times. Also there is no background information given about this world really so you are just expected to understand the different abilities and why they are being targeted for them. The romance was nonexistent. Pim and Lark just meet each other and their whole focus is on rescuing the griffins. Then right at the end Pim is like I love you and that is that. The whole story was just a bit disappointing and anticlimactic. 

Trigger warnings: abusive and toxic family; animal injuries 

Tropes: instant love, 

Cyborg Rider by Honey Phillips
Series: Cyborgs on Mars
Pages: 77
Rating: 4 stars – It was really good

“Because you’re the one who finally reached the man inside me.”

Dr. Sadie Tucker is on Mars to use her genetically engineered moles to help terraform the planet. What she doesn’t expect is to instantly fall for the cyborg sent to escort her to her lab. I really enjoyed Sadie and Zeb’s story. They had an instant love romance that was very sweet, especially considering how much Zeb tried to resist it at first. Also the vibrating cock probably helped. LOL. 

I loved the pets in this one! A cyborg horse is a very interesting animal companion and I really loved Eggie, the mole, because she was cute and smart. Also, you don’t have to read any of the previous Cyborgs on Mars books to understand this world. Phillips does a good job at presenting enough background about this world that it’s easy to understand what is going on, especially for such a short story. But, I do recommend this series because it’s great. 

Tropes: grumpy/sunshine; forced proximity, stranded together

Healer Heart by Carysa Locke
Series: Telepathic Space Pirates
Pages: 97
Rating: 3 stars – I liked it

This was an interesting world. Nayla Hikaru is a telepathic healer who can basically see into the body and heal. She has been helping a planet of telepathic assassins try to reconnect with their emotions and is also falling for the assassin Sevan Aros. I enjoyed this one. It was a very interesting world with all different kinds of psychic abilities. I would be interested in reading this series from the beginning to better understand why a war is happening and how important her brother-in-law is. 

Tropes: forced proximity

Myra’s Big Mistake by S.J. Pajonas
Series: The Kimura Sisters
Pages: 142
Rating: 3 stars – I liked it

This was a good romance but I did have a few issues with it. Myra is a very strong woman but has no self-confidence because of how she has never lived up to her father’s exacting standards. Her father is the mayor and expects everyone in his family to be the perfect image. She is also body shamed by the public and it is hinted that her father shamed her as well. Over the course of the story we see Myra finally start to gain confidence and start to stand up for herself and set boundaries. I really loved the progression of Myra’s character. Also I loved her companion because pet skunks are very rare. 

My main issue was with Nosuke and how he used his position to coerce Myra into a dinner, which he meant to be a date. Because of this, it leads Myra to believe all his actions towards her have been for monetary gain not for actual feelings. I liked how Myra handled the situation but it made me not really like Nosuke, even though he truly seemed to care for her. Overall, I did enjoy this story, I just didn’t love how their initial relationship started. 

Trigger warnings: body shaming; self confidence issues; family pressure to be the best; toxic father

Tropes: friends to lovers, years long pining for the girl

Desert Flames by JC Hay
Pages: 104
Rating: 3 stars – I liked it

This was a great story about a security officer falling for his xeno-archeologist charge. I really enjoyed Cerri and Kalthosk’s story. It was fast, sweet, and filled with great banter. Kalthosk’s pet Erkosth was very interesting. It was a bit of a eyeless dinosaur and I really wish there was a picture of it because I really want to see how the author is envisioning it. 

Content Warnings: Kathosk was kicked out of his family for not gaining a fire ability. 

Tropes: Security guard/Client, forced proximity, 

Death Angel by Kendra Hatch
Series: After the Fall
Pages: 105
3 stars – I liked it

This is a short enemies to lovers, fated mates story. Vonda Rhodes has been in stasis on her dead-in-space ship for 10 years. When she awakens she finds herself on a strange ship, with an enemy Korthan cyborg, and with two Mogha hellhounds. She is also hearing voices in her head. Vonda initially struggles to understand all the change that is happening to her and the fact that T’ren is apparently her mate. I enjoyed this story. It was a very unique world with sentient ships, telepathic hellhounds and alien cyborgs. It did get a bit confusing trying to understand how Vonda was the ship but also human. Also, Vonda went from hating T’ren for being a Korthan to instantly loving him very quickly because of their bond. So not a lot of romance build up between these two. 

Tropes: Enemies to lovers; Fated Mates

Written in the Stars by Leslie Chase
Pages: 85
Rating: 2 stars – It was ok

This was an ok story. It is an instant love story featuring Drask, a mercenary, who basically has an emergency landing on Talbrek Station and finds himself instantly in love with bookstore owner, Megan. This was very fast paced with them meeting and falling for each other basically in the same day. There wasn’t any build up really so I didn’t really feel the love between these two. I did like Megan’s alien cat Nebula. She was fierce and contrary, much like a normal cat.

Tropes:  instant love

Liquid Courage by Winnie Winkle
Pages: 72
Rating: 3 stars – I liked it

This was an interesting one. We have a sea witch from Earth who is trying to save her ocean creatures from aliens who are dying. I enjoyed this one, mostly because of how unique it was. Morgan had some fascinating abilities and I really wish we had learned more about her backstory. Tony was an alien empathy tasked with taking care of the creatures stolen from Earth. Their relationship was ok but it felt overshadowed by them trying to protect the octopi. 

Tropes: fated mates; tiny bit enemies to lovers

Rhea’s Conundrum by Candace Colt
Series: Bags Shore Romance
Pages: 84
Rating: 3 stars – I liked it

Rhea Tanner is a witch who has the ability to travel in the past and present. What she doesn’t realize is that she can also travel into space. When she finds herself on C’tloc’s spaceship she struggles to cope with her sense of adventure, her growing feelings for C’tloc, and her grief at leaving her family behind. I enjoyed this story of two older characters finding love again. Rhea and C’tloc had an interesting adventure and fast paced romance. I do wish that Rhea’s abilities were better explained.

Tropes: older characters (both have grown children); a widow; single parent; forced proximity

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