Tag Archives: Megan Derr

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2021 Clearing Off the Short Story Shelf

As a personal shorthand I called anything under 100 pages a short story, even if that isn’t technically the correct term. And during my Christmas Reading Challenge I made a point of collecting all of the Christmas-themed short stories I owned, reading them, and reviewing them in a single post. I’ve done this sort of thing in the past. It’s always satisfying to sweep a large swath of my TBR away. (Especially since some of the short stories I own have been hanging out on my TBR for a LONG time, a few since 2012! That has to be around the time I got my first Kindle.)


I felt so accomplished reviewing all my Christmas short stories, that I thought I might as well do the same for non-holiday themed ones and clear away some of the clutter on my TBR; start fresh(ish) next year.

I literally just went to my Goodreads shelves, ordered the ‘books’ by length, started at the shortest one, and moved forward from there. I started around Christmas and gave myself until the New Years Eve. Anything I read during that time…or anything under 100 pages that I read during that time, I would review here with a mini-review.

I had 198 of them when I started. I swear that I think short stories breed in my Kindle. I never know how I come to own so many! Of course, not all of them can or should be read as stand-alones. Several are part of series that I intend to read all together. But I planned to read as many of the stand-alone stories and ones in series I’ve caught up with as I could between Christmas (when I started) and New years Eve. I thought it would feel like an end-of-year TBR clean up.

I started with the shortest stories (some of those being 12, 13, 14 pages). But then I focused on those that had been on the TBR the longest (2012!), and stories/novellas that had been featured on Sadie’s Spotlight. Then I just read whatever I felt like from the short story shelf.

For order’s sake, I’ve alphabetized them for you. Here are the 48 stories that I read, in alphabetical order (by author’s last name) and, below them, are the reviews:

2021 cleaning off the short story shelf


Fangs, by Sarah Andersen
This was simply super cute. There’s no progressive story, as such. It’s more a series of vignettes that show what a relationship between a vampire and werewolf couple is like. It’s irreverent and silly, but I wanted more. (Not technically under 100 pages, like the rest. But it’s a 112 page graphic novel. Short enough to include, I decided.)

A Tale of (Two) 3 Witches, by Barbra Annino & Christiana Miller
I’ve not read the rest of this series yet, but I was told I could read this as a stand-alone. So, I gave it a go. It was rushed; definitely would have been better if developed into a longer piece. But the characters seem likeable and the world seems interesting.

The Forester, by Blaine D. Arden
I really liked this. I think it builds just enough world for the shortness of it and I liked the characters a lot. I did think Ianys was forgiven far too easily for the amount of hurt he was supposed to have caused and all of his excuses felt after-the-fact.

Yurine’s Pot, by Richard Auffrey
Meh. The writing was fine, but there was nothing new or particularly exciting here.

Loose Cannons, by Kasia Bacon
Another short but satisfying vignette of life with Ervyn and Lochan.

Playtime in Vella Dera, by Benzon Ray Barbin
This was a fine short story. It tries to do a lot in its 54 pages, maybe a little too much. I definitely felt like there was a lot of history and context lacking. But it was never quite enough that I didn’t understand what was happening, just why. But it was worth the read.

Beast, by Erin Bedford 
Super short. This is labeled as 34 pages. But the story ends at the 50% mark; the rest being a teaser for book one. So, it’s basically 17 pages long. I didn’t particularly care for the characters and there isn’t enough world to know if I might like anything else about the series. Plus, the editing is a bit dodgy, especially around punctuation.

Deliverance, by Hunter Blain
This starts out really bad—like someone trying to textually write a comic book. It just does not work…or didn’t here. But that faded out by the halfway mark (thank god). The problem is that John is just too much of a Joss Whedon-esque douche-bag to enjoy. Yes, all his assholery is put on, but it all feels like someone trying far too hard to garner a laugh or two.

The Peace of Elias, by Martin Bolton
A fine tale of horror, but I wouldn’t say there was anything exceptional about it.

Ice Cracker II and Other Short Stories, by Lindsay Buroker
It’s been several years since I read the rest of The Emperor’s Edge series. I remember little about it, but that I enjoyed the heck out of it. This collection of 3 short stories reminded me of the sarcastic characters, fun action, and why I liked the series so much.

A Note Below,  by Andrew Butcher
This was a fine short story. But there were no surprises here, nothing unexpected or exceptional.

Introducing Mr. Winterbourne, by Joanna Chambers
I enjoyed the heck out of this one. I liked both characters and really felt for the difficulties both were facing, Winterbourne especially. I’ve had this on my TBR for a while, but now look forward to finding the rest of the series.

A Case Of Spirits, K.J. Charles
This turned out to be a reread. But, since I’d never written a review, I wasn’t sure if I’d read it previously or not. As with the rest of the A Charm of Magpies series, I enjoyed this.

Remnant, by K.J. Charles & Jordan L. Hawk
A fun pairing of four characters I’ve enjoyed elsewhere. I read The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal relatively recently, but it’s been several years since I read Widdershins and I never finished the series. This reminds me to pick it back up.

Jago’s Journey: A Gryphon’s Walkabout, by Chrys Cymri
It’s been several years since I read any of the Penny White series. So, I wasn’t up to date on a lot of what was referenced in this short story and I felt the absence of that knowledge. But it stood alone tolerably well. This is a sweet little (younger) YA story of self discover.

Wraith’s Awakening, by Virna DePaul
Ends on a cliffhanger, but seems like a fun start to a series. There are hints of an interesting world and characters.

Spell Weaver,  by Megan Derr
This was a cute little Cinderella-like (Cinderfella?) story. There was enough world-building to give it all context, but not so much that the story or characters felt lost in it. I did think the villains a bit thin. But the writing was sharp and I enjoyed it.

Unfortunate Decrees and Iced Coffees, by Laura Greenwood
This was a cute little short. I’d not read the Cauldron Coffee Shop series. So, I wasn’t familiar with the characters. But it stood alone well enough and I enjoyed it.

Glass, by Alexis Hall
Beautiful, though I would expect nothing less from Hall.

Rise For Me, by Kristal Dawn Harris
Meh, it’s not bad, but it tried to do too much in too few pages. The characters gave me whiplash with their changing agendas and emotions and the happy-ending felt forced. But the writing is pretty good and it had an interesting idea.

Sammy, by Dianne Hartsock
Pretty much exactly what it says in the blurb. It’s sweet, but a little bland.

Corrupting Chris, by Santino Hassell
Basically just a sex scene, a hot one to be fair, but that’s it and it’s been too long since I’ve read any of Hassell’s work to particularly remember the characters. (I stopped after the whole hoo-ha a couple years ago.)

The Taming of a Wicked Rogue, by Samantha Holt
This was a fairly standard historical novella. Nothing stands out about it, but nothing was horrid either. The cover makes it look a lot steamier than it actually is though. It’s really quite sweet.

Resurrection Man, by Laylah Hunter
I liked the story, but it’s WAY shorter than it’s labeled. (MOST of the file being a preview for something else.) Outside of that complaint, I was intrigued enough to want more.

Tow Trucks & New Year’s Kisses, by Lila Leigh Hunter
Meh, might have been OK if it hadn’t been SO very rushed. Nothing is given time to develop and the come-ons start too suddenly to feel anything but forced.

Out in the Blue, by Kelly Jensen
I liked this a lot more than I expected. Maybe because I’m 44 and just starting to feel my age, so I can relate. But I liked both characters, that they had emotionally intelligent conversations, and I thought this was sweet.

Jacinto’s Voyage, by Daniel A. Kaine
This was OK; would have been significantly better if it had been longer and allowed to develop more. My main issue was that Dane was so obsessed with bedding Jace (from the moment they met), and thought about it or tried so many times, in so many questionable ways and situations, that he felt predatory to me. I sense that wasn’t how Kaine meant him to come across, but it was. So, in the end, when he finally did get Jace in his bed, it didn’t feel like the culmination of a romance, so much as a groomer finally getting his victim. Ick.

For The Glory Set Before Them, by Matt Karlov
I found this story thought provoking and emotive. I’ll be checking out more of Karlov’s work.

Kogitsune, by Xia Xia Lake
I thought this was very sweet. I liked the characters and the writing style.

The Forest God’s Favor, by A.T. Lander
Meh, mostly just not my thing. This is flat out erotic romance. So, sex is the point. The little bit of plot is basically just there to give the sex context. Which is fine. Erotica is what erotica is. But I’m not a huge fan of one party being made out to be especially sexy because of how small, youthful, child-like they are. That is just SO not my kink. But mostly I just thought this was predictable and pedestrian.

Creation, by Bjørn Larssen
Interesting and thought provoking, with a dry wit. But it also eventually got tedious.

Prisoner 374215, by Angel Martinez
Really lovely—as odd as it may seem to call a story of torture lovely. Martinez pack a whole wallop into a few short pages.

A Real Boy, by J.L. Merrow
I didn’t care for the story itself, but I thought all the fairy-tale cameos clever.

Good Breeding, by J.L. Merrow
I didn’t much care for it in the beginning, but Merrow brought me around by the end.

Hawthorn, by Stephanie Mirro
Amusing—I appreciated Emily’s sarcasm—but it’s just a taste of something. There’s enough world-building to feel like there should have been more to the story. Maybe there’s more to come.

Wolf’s Heart, by Lynn Nodima
Meh. It was fine, but contributes nothing new to the genre. We’ve all read similar things before. Oh, and so steeped in the patriarchy. If not told, I honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell which was father and which was mate/husband. Basically the troublesome girls is passed from father to husband and acts the same towards both and is treated the same by both (like a stubborn child).

I Left the Room Burning, by Beth O’Brien
I don’t consider myself to have any skill at reviewing poetry. So I’m reduced to ‘did I like it or not.’ But I’ll say I liked the juddering, staggering story the poems told when strung together and my favorite one was the title poem I Left the Room Burning.

Fire Thief, by Jordan Castillo Price
Basically just a brief hookup in a bar, but a surprisingly interesting one.

Baehrly Beginning, by Elizabeth A. Reeves
This was cute, but barely the beginning of anything (pun intended). Editing is a little rough.

How (Not) to Play With Magic, by Elizabeth A. Reeves
Meh. Cute, but just a taste of something, not really enough to decide on the series as a whole. I liked Cindy fine, but really disliked the twins. I didn’t find them impish and cute, just selfish and arrogant.

Tea and Sympathetic Magic, by Tansy Rayner Roberts
This was a completely mad cap and ridiculous adventure, but in the most endearing way. I’d be well up for reading more.

The Lost Weekend, by Andrea Speed
It’s been years since I read the beginning of the Infected series. So, I don’t remember much beyond crying my eyes out. But I liked this little short.

Pretty Monsters, by Andrea Speed
Super cute and enjoyable. At only 15 pages there isn’t much to it. But I enjoyed all 15 of them.

Guardian, by Jordan Taylor
Just marvelous. Romantic, but not a romance in the standard sense—really hits you in the feels.

The Fourth Law of Kanaloa, by Johan Twiss
I enjoyed the character and the story. However, I thought some of the dialogue got cheesy and the romance felt artificial. Plus, the ‘come be my magical queen’ was super cliched. But mostly I liked the story.

We See You, by Miki & Garrett Ward
This was an OK story, though I wasn’t blown away. I liked the characters and the idea. But I was confused about some things that were unexplained or just confusing. How did five kids with powers gather? Was this common in the world, or an aberration? Did I understand that they had divine assistance or not? That sort of thing. Also, I thought the sexual aspects felt out of place. Both because the characters were 17 (I’m not much bothered by this, but I know some will be) and because it just didn’t fit the tone of the rest of the story. All in all, this was pretty middle of the road for me.

Man In the Mirror, by A.E. Wasp
A cute story about a husband dealing with some body issues. Very clearly part of another series, as there is some very clear history mentioned but not delved into. The tense gets shaky the farther into the story one gets, but its still a nice read.


Might as well keep going

At the start of this year I set out to clear off my novelette/novella shelf, basically read everything I have that is less than 100 pages and not part of a series that I have. And while I started this because of a pesky broken wrist that kept me from typing, I can’t help but want to finish what I began, even though my wrist is mostly healed now.

So, I’ve made it up to stories that are  70-79 pages in length.* Some of these have been on my TBR for a long time and I’m glad to see them get read. I should also apologize in advance. This turned into a very long post, even with a few DNFs in there. My life would probably be easier if I didn’t have a tendency to do things like double check books’ page lengths against Amazon, “just to be sure.” I kept finding more and more and more that fit here. I thought I had finished three times.

Maps (Life According to Maps, #1)by Nash Summers:
I completely adored this. It occasionally tripped over the line between funny and ridiculous, but not too often to make it anything but a fun read. I laughed so hard and so often that my cheeks cramped.

Wolf & Bear (Omega Heart, #1)by G.G. Géricault:
I flipping HATE serials. Seriously, what is the point? Why would I want just part of a story, with no conclusion? *sigh* Outside of wasting an hour on a story that ends before it accomplishes anything, the writing was fine and I liked the characters and story. If it was a whole story, I’d probably rate it fairly highly. But it’s not, so…

Still Watersby Alex Gabriel:
I enjoyed this a lot. I liked that it’s told from the Nix’s perspective, complete with his confusion over human actions. I liked that it’s just barely a romance. Actually, it almost isn’t. What it is is an example of sex=love. The two heroes  distrustfully circle each-other until they have sex and then it’s all good between them. But that’s really only a small part of the story. The writing is sharp and the editing clean. A+

Return of the Warrior (Sleag’s Quest, #1)by G.K. Hayes:
Return of the Warrior isn’t so much a story on its own as the first couple chapters in a longer adventure fantasy story. It reads well enough, though also in the tradition of adventure fantasy everywhere, I (as a female reader) was disappointed to find women only relevant in so much as they gave men reason to do things. All topped off with casual references to the indecipherable, turbulently emotional female mind. On the flip side, I was pleased that Sleag had his own moments of indecision and even tears at one point, though he wasn’t likened to the insane for them. All in all, if you’re the sort who liked quest fantasy and don’t mind the serialized format, it’s worth picking up.

70s 1

Stranger at the Hell Gateby Ash Krafton:
I think if this had been further developed, given more character depth and world building it could have been something really nice. Instead, it just felt rushed and incidental. I didn’t feel any connection to any of the characters or the conflict and the ending was anticlimactic. The mechanical writing is fine, but the story just isn’t all that.

A New Beginning: Elyograg = Gargoyleby Lorraine Beaumont 
This is not a stand alone book AT ALL. In fact, another reviewer who read the rest of the series stated that this is literally the first chapter of the first book, so it’s not even its own piece of writing. Talk about a waste of time! What’s more, while the actual writing is fine the story if not. It starts out with something mildly interesting and then moves backwards through the day leading up to that point, getting progressively less interesting, until it is reduced to describing bedrooms and where people buy make-up brushes. Boring. And of course, you never learn anything more about the mildly interesting, unexplained thing that happened in the beginning.

Safe, by C. Kennedy
Basically just a laundry list of what two boys do while exploring their sexuality form age 12-18. Unfortunately, it’s about as erotic as a laundry list too. All topped off with repetitive writing, heavy dependance on cliches such as the wealthy, larger, blond boy with a supportive family who protects the working class, smaller, Italian boy from an abusive family, and a sickly sweet, forced happy ending.

The First Nightby M.S. Fowle:
An interesting idea that I don’t think was particularly well executed. There seemed to be a problem with the timeline and the whole reason behind the roaming chimera never sat well with me. It was like a straw man set up to fight. The whole thing felt rushed and unfounded. The story could also do with a bit more editing. There were some odd word uses, like maybe English wasn’t the author’s first language (though I see from her bio that she’s from Maine). Like I said, interesting idea and twist on vampires, but ultimately a bit of a fail for me.

70s 2

Elemental Inferno, by A.J. Locke:
Ugh, insta-lust followed by a series of dry sexual descriptions—we did this and then this and then this, instead of any sort of meaningful, buildup of tension and feeling—a paper thin plot, flat,undeveloped characters and a hero who is wholly without flaws. Not much to recommend it, honestly.

Lifeline, by Kit Power:
I don’t know that enjoyable is the right word for this one. It is, after all, a story of a man who is kidnapped for the purpose of being tortured to death. But it certainly keeps you on the edge of your seat. With the exception of one scene in the middle, which I thought dragged a bit, it was wire taut for the entirety.

Once Upon a Tiger (Tiger Shifters, #1), by Kat Simons:
The writing is fine here, but I’m afraid I’m just opposed to most of the plot on principle. We’re supposed to respect the heroine because she so strong that she refuses the mating run (which is basically an institutionalized rape of any women in estrus), but that ignores the fact every other female in the society is basically a broodmare who has no right to refuse to have sex when fertile and apparently has to submit to whomever can catch her (again, without the right to refusal). I mean that the whole act is predicated on running away kind of highlights that. And this run was instituted to prevent rapes……..um…….she (any she) can’t refuse……the main character here faces five men sent to mate with her against her will……..who will chase and mate her, even if she tries to refuse……even if she fights against it…..um………THAT IS RAPE. I suppose we’re supposed to assume no other woman wants to refuse. But really am I really supposed to believe that no other woman wants a career or wants to start bearing children as soon as she starts menses? Beyond all that, I didn’t feel the characters’ chemistry at all. They were supposed to have loved each-other for years, but they avoid each-other, basically almost never spoke. So, what was that love based on? The repeated “I love you” got incredibly redundant, the sex was abortive and formulaic and, if the need for child-bearing woman was so severe, I don’t buy she’d have been allowed to avoid mating in the first place, making the events of the book unbelievable to boot.

She’s Got Ballsby Mia Watts:
The plot is utterly contrived and unrealistic. It’s also probably an affront to women, because, really, with all of the FBI and police department to choose from, they couldn’t find a single woman more suited to go undercover AS A WOMAN than a man in drag? Not to mention the inability of the author to let a drug ring of suburban wives go without a man to lead and think for them. Grr. Why? But if I look past that, I found it an amusing read. Though I thought it would have been stronger without the rushed declarations of love.

70s 3

1301: The Marquis (The 13th Floor, #1)by Christine Rains:
An interesting start to a new series of novelettes. (It’s also a stand alone. I think each story is a different resident of floor 13.) I liked the idea and the characters. I especially appreciated that the heroine was a mature woman. But I thought the writing itself was only so-so. It was heavy handed and somewhat repetitive. But I’d be willing to read another if I came across it.

Hell Hounds Are For Suckersby Jessica McBrayer:
This was a passable read. I thought it was absolutely ridiculous. But that was part of its charm, purposeful on the part of the author, I think. But that fell apart towards then end, when characters had drastic changes in behavior, the whole ‘romance’ element was thrown in and was just clumsily handled. I did think the writing was all right, except for one thing. Why do authors so often need to use names in dialogue so much? It’s like the fastest way to take otherwise passable dialogue and make it stiff and unnatural.

Adam’s Flight, by Penny Wilder:
An interesting set up and, I believe, faithful to the prompt, but I didn’t think the story flowed well. It seemed rushed in some parts and dragged in others. I appreciated the twist with Eli’s characters. It’s nice to see trans characters, but it didn’t seem relevant to the plot. Which to be honest wouldn’t have bothered me (because diversity is good and that’s a good enough reason to be there) except that it felt like just one more, ‘why is this here’ aspect. There seemed to be a lot of things that happened or were thrown in that were not particularly relevant and it made the story feel unfocused. I love dragons and dragon shifters, but I didn’t feel connected to Frost or Flint. I was excited about the romance, but it felt forced and sudden. All in all, I liked the idea of this story a lot more than the actual story.

A Fairy for Bin Laden, by Stephen M. Holak:
Short stories is not a genre I am overly fond of, but this one managed to be tightly compacted enough that I ended it happy. There is humor here and just enough description to carry you through. I don’t think it’s as long as it’s listed as, I finished it in about 1/2 an hour, but a fun read all the same. (Just don’t think too deeply about the logistics of it.)

70s 4

Drago Star (Toy Soldier Book 1)by J. Johanis:
Rape/torture porn. Yes, I knew going in that this was a kinky read by the BDSM group. I like an occasional kinky read. But this was just 65 pages of gang rape, topped off with a far too quick Oh Never Mind. This was way beyond my comfort level and I was just like nope, nope, nope, nope, nope all over the place.

Rage (Karen Bechard Adventures)by J. Carrell Jones:
The writing here was fine. It could do with a bit more editing, but mechanically it is fine. However, as much as I love a kickass heroine, even action can get boring if there is nothing else in a book. Rage is basically just Karen running from one heroic, action packed scene to another. She is just too calm and perfect at all times. There is nothing to her character but fighting, making yippee ki-yay type comments, defeating endless foes easily, getting the girl (and the guy and the job) and riding off into the sunset. Similarly, there is no reason given that the super-genius suddenly started an apocalypse or was utterly unable to maintain sanity in the face of Karen’s mere presence.

My Husband and the Fireman, by Sara Sizemore:
I do get my hands on some unexpected things sometimes and I’m not even sure how this made it onto my kindle. But it is exactly what the title suggests, no elaboration. The writing is simplistic, but it’s surprisingly enjoyable in that it happily glorifies in itself. It’s not trying to be gritty or literary or meaningful it is just married woman fluff with a happy ending. It’s a little problematic in that it’s unabashedly using gay m/m sex for the amusement and satisfaction of straight women (one in particular), which is appropriative, but in this too it is so up front about it that I have trouble remembering to be cross.

Seconds, by Megan Derr:
I do not think I’ve read a Megan Derr story that I didn’t enjoy. This was no exception. Cute.

70s 5

*There are a couple in here with approximated lengths, as well as one or two catch-ups that should have been read for previous posts but got missed or updated page lengths.

novelette clear out


I had planned to do this all in one post, but I obviously underestimated how many shorts I have. Do those things breed in the cloud, you think? Anyhow, I basically just started with the shortest and have been reading them in order of length, skipping anything that’s part of a series I have the rest of. You can go here to see those that were between 15 and 39 pages in length. I’m picking up 40-50 pages here, which technically puts us in novelette territory. I suspect I’ll need a second or third post to get them all in, so I’m breaking them up by 10s. (These are mere approximations, of course.)

As a reminder of why I’m doing this: it’s difficult to type with a broken arm, so I’m concentrating on things I can write short reviews of.

The Nog Sistersby Ian Fraser: Much better than I expected. Complete stand alone story that’s a bit like Peter Pan in that children could read it and not grasp some of the adult inferences (which were my favorite parts). I wouldn’t call it a children’s story though. Good for making readers think about the importance of perspective.

A Calling for Pleasure (Damned If You Do)by J.L. Merrow: Really cute and hot. Extra points for Rael’s tail and being a freebie, but minus for the cliched ‘scorned woman turns murderous’ schtick.

The Witch Who Made Adjustmentsby Vera Nazarian: I enjoyed it quite a bit. Tommy was delightful and I liked the witch’s calm demeanor in the face of the town people’s anger.

The High King’s Golden Tongueby Megan Derr: Cute and well-written, as has been everything I’ve read by Derr. This one was a bit sappy for me and I’d have liked a bit more development in the relationship.

Angel All Yearby Sally Clements: Meh, rushed, overly romantic, uses pointless misunderstanding as the climactic event and has odd word usage. Didn’t light my fire, not even a little bit.

Daywalker: The Beginningby Tessa Dawn: Meh, ok, I guess, if you’re into snarky heroines. I thought there was too much unnecessary background that was obviously meant for the future series and not enough meat to the story itself and I dislike sudden understanding and success with a power a character never knew they had until that moment. Not much point to reading it unless you plan on reading the rest of the series, which isn’t out. So…

A Very Sacrati Christmas… or Late Wintermas, by Kate Sherwood: Super cute. I enjoyed it every bit as much as the book (Sacrati).

The Trouble With Troubleby Kathleen Lee: It was ok, cute, but a little too heavy on the ‘been hurt before so can’t get close to another human.’ I thought dude who wouldn’t take no for an answer was a little creepy and I thought the ‘jump to worst conclusion, react without verification’ schtick was cliched. It also ended with the pre-2015 m/m romance version of a wedding proposal, which was too pat for a short story.

The Whalerby Steve Roach: Kept me interested and is a complete, stand-alone tale.

Rorie, by L.L. Loremir: Can’t say this one was a winner. Rushed, far too wordy, too much sex, and repetitive. Rorie’s name isn’t even introduced until 43% and even then authors insistence on calling him ‘the royal,’ ‘the nymphling,’ ‘the half-nymph,’ ‘the young man,’ etc was infuriating. ‘The royal’ is the worst though. The story is only 43  pages long and the word royal is used 116 times!

Mountainby Liu Cixin: Not my favorite Liu Cixin so far. Creative & science heavy, as always, but felt very much like it focused on the unimportant in the face of other, wider-scale, more important things. It did eventually culminate in an interesting epiphany for the MC though.

Something Realby Julia Alaric: A little rushed toward the end, but cute. Two awkward geek boys (one maybe a little asperger’sy) meet and find love on an international space station.

Savage Possession, by Moira Rogers: Basically just Porn With Plot, but I thought it fairly un-erotic. Too much indelicate pounding and what I consider ugly language. Plus, I thought the bondage made no sense in context and the ‘romance’ felt unsupported. I did think it interesting that they were at war with the humans. Don’t find many stories about our enemies.

Spirit Flightby Jory Strong: Literally, almost ALL sex, from start to finish. Ugly wording and I marked several passages with variations of ‘what does that even mean’ or ‘how does a XXX even do that?’ Far too much emphasis on male ownership and far too little female agency in evidence.

The Last Rebellionby Lisa Henry: I am super conflicted about this one. Marvelously written, and I’m told true to the prompt, but so much rape and torture that I just felt bad reading it. And outside of Stockholm Syndrome, I just don’t get the men’s eventual actions. But the magic of FICTION is that sometimes the last chapters can absolve the first and the book, as a whole, can simultaneously be horrifying and gratifying. By the end I was enjoying it.

Vampire Slave, by Yamila Abraham: I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. I’ve read the beginning of several of Abraham’s stories now and I have the exact same response to all of them. I always get sucked in by the manga-like covers (this, like the others, is not manga or yaoi BTW) and enjoy the writing and characters but HATE the serialization. This is not a complete anything, not a complete story, not a complete chapter. It’s barely a start and I’m not about to pay, what ends up an exorbitant amount, to finish it. Even having said all that, this is not my favorite of their works.

Chances Are, by Lee Brazil: I quite enjoyed it and would be interested in continuing the series, though there seemed to be a lot of missing back story. I don’t really understand the whole Pulp Fiction, four overlapping series thing but I simultaneously liked seeing the characters from Wicked Solutions and Triple Threat here and am annoyed at the chaotic reading order it creates. But I liked the story.

Wicked Solutionsby Havan Fellows: I quite enjoyed it and would be interested in continuing the series, though there seemed to be a lot of missing back story. I don’t really understand the whole Pulp Fiction, four overlapping series thing but I simultaneously liked seeing the characters from Chances Are and Triple Threat here and am annoyed at the chaotic reading order it creates. But I liked the story.

Triple Threatby Laura Harner: I quite enjoyed it and would be interested in continuing the series, though there seemed to be a lot of missing back story. I don’t really understand the whole Pulp Fiction, four* overlapping series thing but I simultaneously liked seeing the characters from Chances Are and Wicked Solutions and am annoyed at the chaotic reading order it creates. But I liked the story.

*Technically this is four overlapping, five book series (20 stories + a joint conclusion) but I only have the first of 3.