Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Reasons for Inclusion: F/F romance, characters are racially diverse
Publisher’s Summary: Admiral Dael Caydoc heads up the Advance Fleet to find a new homeworld for the Oconodian people. Joined by Commander Aniwyn “Spinner” Seclan, larger-than-life, reckless, and not Dael’s first choice as CAG, Commander of the Air Group, she has to admit Spinner is a brilliant pilot.
Spinner finds Admiral Caydoc an uncompromising, rigid, pain of an officer in the Oconodian Space Fleet. Dael is also the most stunning woman Spinner’s ever met. When the two women clash immediately, it only confirms her suspicion it’s going to be hell to work with a woman who both exasperates and attracts her.
While running into countless dangerous situations, Dael and Spinner realize they have more in common than they thought. It takes brave words of love for them to persevere when disaster strikes, and it’s up to Dael and Spinner to save the future for the people of Oconodos—and each other.
On a scouting mission to find a new planet after a series of “mutations” on their homeworld, by-the-book Admiral Caydoc and flashy ace pilot “Spinner” Seclan must learn to work together- and more than that- all while facing numerous challenges along their journey.
Most of the story is taken up with the exciting adventures the fleet runs into along the way. Spinner’s talent for daring rescues saves the day multiple times, both impressing and aggravating Dael, who is no less heroic, but wants to do it properly. The fleet has to deal with refugees from a ruined planet, disease, hostile aliens, and more. Thanks to Spinner and Dael, the heroics are all done in style. Which doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences- they can’t win every fight.
The relationship grows slowly, as the two women come to care about each other more than they expected, despite their opposite attitudes. It takes time for both to recognize their attraction, and more to act on it, uncertain if their affections are returned.
A little more backstory might have been needed, especially about the “mutation” epidemic. Just enough of the characters’ histories were revealed over time, but I’m left to wonder what really happened back home.
Advance is an exciting space adventure, hopeful even through times of darkness. The romance and action are balanced perfectly, interesting the audience as much in the fleet’s mission as in Dael and Spinner’s romance. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!