Review: Unfit to Print by K.J. Charles

Unfit to PrintJLG: October was really stressful for me, in terms of politics and worldwide events. So, comfort reading became a bit of a priority. For the next two months or so, please enjoy this ride through my adventures with the excellent writing of author K.J. Charles.


This novella was a delightful read, perfect for a quiet night at home. Charles continues to impress me with her seemingly effortless way of immersing me into England of the past, with the bonus of portraying nontraditional characters that history has otherwise tried to erase.

Vikram and Gil were a precious find, as two characters of color, both fully formed and natural features of a real London. (Many bonus points for bisexual representation, as well!) Vikram especially appealed to me with his complicated relationship between his dual identity of Englishman and India — it reminded me greatly of my own strange relationship with aspects of my heritage.  Continue reading

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Review: The Flame (1001 Dark Nights/Desire Exchange novella) by Christopher Rice

FlameOften novellas either feel like a padded-out short story or a rushed novel. This was neither, giving all the background detail between each of the three main characters necessary to make the next step in their relationship feel natural and inevitable. Additionally, the supernatural element of the story blended seamlessly with the relationship arc between the characters.  Continue reading

Review: Escaping Exile (Escape #1) by Sara Dobie Bauer

Escaping ExileDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend; I received an electronic advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

The first thing you notice about this novella is the vibrant narrative voice. You learn everything you need to know about the main character and his circumstances within the first chapter, during the inciting incident, without any hint of the dreaded “info dump.” I was fascinated by this vampire before I ever learned his name.  Continue reading

Review: PRISON MADE OF MIRRORS by Jennifer Loring

If that author’s name sounds familiar, it’s because I interviewed her yesterday about a completely different project! Jennifer is one of the most prolific authors I know, and I was honored to receive an advanced copy of her latest fantasy novella to review. This story debuts today, and I highly recommend snagging a copy of your own if my (spoiler-free) review intrigues you.


prison-made-of-mirrorsABOUT THE BOOK

Aithne is a warrior kidnapped from her homeland during a Viking invasion and forced to marry her captor. Shortly before the raid that claims his life, she becomes pregnant with a child whom she believes cursed. Spurred by the dark sorcery she learns from relics her late husband’s mother left behind—including a magic mirror—Aithne descends into a madness that threatens not only her child’s life but also the lives of everyone around her.

Exiled by her mother, Brenna is taken in by a clan of dwarves who treat her like their own. They soon learn that no one is immune to Aithne’s lunacy—not even the prince to whom Brenna was once betrothed. Brenna must face and conquer death itself if she is to save the land that rightfully belongs to her, and to break her mother’s terrible spell on the man she loves.

Amazon


REVIEW

Disclaimer: I have promoted this author’s projects on my blog, and I received an electronic copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

This is not a fractured fairy tell so much as a retelling of the familiar Snow White story set within the realm of a new culture and environment. The level of research Loring did for this story is stunning, and fully immersed me into the world of Vikings during their era of plundering Britannia. The realistic details of running a chieftain’s longhouse intertwined seamlessly with the larger fantasy elements of magic, werewolves, and dwarves tailored specifically for the world the author created. Continue reading

Author Interview with Jennifer Loring

Late last year I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a novella for a holiday anthology, “No One on Earth” (part of Starstruck Holidays). Today, I’m happy to revisit this sexy speculative fiction story through an interview with author Jennifer Loring.


no-one-on-earthABOUT THE BOOK

Jon, a psychic since childhood, has never felt at home in the world, even less so after his lover died on Winter Solstice a year ago. Since his abilities failed him when he needed them most, he turns to alcohol and rejects his family’s assertion that he is a Star Child—an alien/human hybrid. When Jon’s sister suggests he should look into the legend of Handsome Fellow, Jon decides that if he cannot find happiness himself, he will bring it to others.

Erukkass’ people, a species of interdimensional aliens, have been observing Earth and interacting with humans for so many centuries that some Native American tribes believe their ancestors originated from the stars. After his lover passed away in what appears to be a medical accident, he accepts a scientific mission… but not for the reasons his government expects. He has located his beloved on another timeline, in another universe—ours—and he will not leave without him.

Jon returns home from work one evening to find a gift of his own—a strange young man waiting for him. Erukkass unveils one stunning revelation after another, including the truth behind his lover’s death and the nature of time itself. Can he and Jon forge a future together, or will two timelines that have always intersected, no matter when or where, finally be forced to diverge?


The mixture of themes for the Starstruck Holidays anthology is pretty unique. Did you already have your story written, or did you write it specifically for the anthology call?

I wrote it specifically for the anthology. That’s not something I do very often, but the call intrigued me enough to give it a shot. Plus, I really wanted to write something about indigenous culture. It’s largely untapped aside from some of the more horror-oriented legends like the skin-walkers and the wendigo. Continue reading

Review: HOME BIRTH (Kaiju Revisited #2) by Jessica McHugh

home-birthDisclaimer: The author and I share a publisher and I consider her a friend. I received an ebook version of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

Despite this being the second in a shared-world series by many authors, this story works well as a stand-alone tale. It included just enough science-fiction world-building to give me the information I needed for the story without feeling bogged down. In fact, I would happily read more set in this world because the details I was given were so intriguing. Continue reading