Sean Bai I know I'm four years late, but there's The Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson that has some space battles and some great humor. There is also the Earthrise series for some space battles, but it's a lot darker, if you don't mind feeling the PTSD of the main characters. The author is very good at character development but the series drags on a little longer than it should.
Shaun Perilous Waif is what you are looking for. However the author has gone missing so no book two. However you could read book one its not a cliff hanger ending and it ties up enough that you don't need book two, just want it.
Stephen Bennett I have to say that I started this series because I wasn't finding what I wanted to read. There is a book, called The Genome by Lukyanenko, about a future with genetic engineering. I personally didn't like how that future society was depicted, but it may be more realistic than how I portray the changes coming. You can read/listen to a sample on Audible. First Contact stories are really quite common. Type that as a search parameter in eBooks, then check to see if they have Audible formats.