From the TBR: cleaning out the short story shelf

So, it’s finally Summer vacation. Woo-hoo for 3 months of no pressing obligations. Deep, fortifying breath to face 3 months of bored children and an ever present husband. Gotta love ’em all, but there goes my routine. Yep, there it goes, right out the window and with it most of my reading time.

On the up side, that never missing mate can take those antsy children away some days, leaving me time to concentrate on my own writing. It’s been so long since I’ve had undisturbed writing time that I hardly remember how to fill it. But there is no way that I’m missing out on the opportunity should it present itself. 

I mention all of this because it heralds a change in my review schedule. The less I read, the less I review. It makes sense, right? I don’t think I’ll be able to post a review a day as I have been for the last few months. 

I might crawl right out of my own skin without a fiction fix though. So I’m making an effort to change what I read, rather than give up reading entirely. I’m not usually a huge short story fan, much preferring full length books. But a short story enables me to read a quick piece, but still have a blank slate in the morning when I want to write. (‘Cause lets face it. If I’m half way through a book I won’t be able to concentrate on anything else until I finish it.)

In an attempt to give this new review routine something akin to order I am trying to group them by subject matter. This week I’ve been reading M/M romances. All of them came from Amazon’s free list and many of them are still available for no charge. Here they are:

bonds of fireOh, I want so much more of this. It worked well as a short story, but there was enough to be expanded into a full length novel (always my preference). I love that, despite being short, the romance didn’t feel rushed. In fact it doesn’t really even come to a head in the story. I did feel a little bit like Malachi was shorted. Drekken’s attraction to Yakov is so overt that, despite being told Drekken is falling for Malachi too, he feels secondary. I was a little disturbed in the beginning because Yakov and Malachi are referred to as youths for so long that I was visualising them as 12ish. So when the attraction started heating up I got a little scared. I heaved a huge sigh of relief when their ages were finally addressed. They are 19 & 20. 

I adored the way the reader is keyed into Drekken’s emotions and even though he is a ‘big bad warrior’ he is able to show soft emotions without ever looking weak. I also really liked the way humans and dragons for families. It made for a really intriguing world. 

All in all I thought this was a touching, well-written story that I would love to see more of. I’m curious about the cause of the war, how Drekken and Miri manage as parents, and how Yakov and Malachi progress. I’d love to witness Drekken’s attempt to live near his mothers again and to see him try to keep from being further organised. Thrilled to have read it.

fire song

While I appreciate that the story was written for Hurricane Sandy relief (charity), it isn’t very well developed. It has a really interesting premise, a crippled Phoenix falling in love with an scarred human, but the writing is rough. There are a number of misused words and the plot seems really rushed. I did really like both male leads, though I didn’t think the family deserved the easy forgiveness and unearned happy ending. With a little work this could be really good though. I hope the author (who I suspect is quite young) puts the time and effort into a 2nd edition.

17673045I quite enjoyed this, but like many of the previous reviewers I think it would be best described as a teaser for something longer. Certainly it ends with the promise of more to come. It definitely isn’t anything standalone. There is no denying the baseless insta-lust/insta-love between the two main characters. I liked them both though. The single sex scene was plenty steamy and it’s well written. I’d happily read more of the story if there ever is one.

taming the foxThis was a sweet little M/M, shifter romance. Though in all honestly it could have been almost the same even if the two main characters hadn’t been shifters. In the end the challenge to overcome wasn’t even shifter related. Be that as it may I still enjoyed seeing the two characters find a way to come to terms with their circumstances and each-other. I would have liked to see a little more closure with Shane’s family. They seemed to accept everything a little too easily, all things considered. Plus, as hard and long as Harlan resisted he seemed to give in awfully easily in the end. I was especially pleased to find it a stand alone story. Those seem to be getting rarer these days. Worth reading.

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