I also love sci-fi and space opera.
Several years ago I read Rebecca Ore's Saga of Tom Red-Clay
now seemingly retitled The Alien Trilogy
. The three novels are:
1. Becoming Alien
2. Being Alien
3. Human to Human
There's some info at: http://www.aqueductpress.com/books/A...#becomingalien
and they're also available on Amazon.
I read the hardcover versions and have been waiting for them to become available as ebooks and they just recently have.
And if you love space operas, Orson Scott Card's stories in his Ender series are really good. Read Ender's Game
to start and you'll know if it's for you. Same goes for the first book in The Alien Trilogy.