Tag Archives: shorter stories

Stormy Nights, by Jules Jones and Stormy Duffy

17 May

There really is no rhyme or reason why books languish in my physical and digital TBR Cordilleras of Doom.

Case in point: it had been a long while since I read anything by Jules Jones, though what I have read, I have liked, and there are a number of her works in my digital TBR pile.

So why I haven’t read more of her stuff? (I got nothing¹)

At any rate, back in August 2017, Ms Jones very kindly sent me a copy of this anthology for review. And while my reading has been iffy at best for a long time now, I read all nine stories in the book in one sitting just a few days after that.

Sadly, then the “can’t write to save my life” curse struck, fueled by current events, and here we are now, nine months later. ::guilty wince::

Warning: there is explicit sex and some light kink in all of these. If that’s not your thing, stop here. None of these are genre romance stories, with HEA/HFN, though all are full of hope and joy. Also, Jules Jones and Storm Duffy are two writing facets of the same author.

Stormy Nights, by Jules Jones and Stormy Duffy

This is a collection of nine short stories of varying lengths and genres; some are very romantic, some are more short erotic vignettes than stories, and one is an incredibly poignant fantasy with very strong romantic elements. There are merpeople, and fae, and just plain contemporaries.

In competition for the shortest blurb EVER:

Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men.

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“Unlocked” by Courtney Milan

28 Aug

UnlockedBona, a fellow TBR Challenge participant, posted a review of this story over a year ago, on her blog. As I mentioned here, her review led me to–finally–reading this story.

Which in turn, leads me to a confession: I do have a few Courtney Milan stories in the digital TBR.

But, I hear you say, aren’t you the one singing Ms Milan’s praises and telling us how wonderful her writing is?

Yes, yes, I am one of the many who do these things–because pretty much everything I’ve read of hers, I’ve liked very well indeed.

However, well before I fell into the dreaded reading slump from hell, almost two years ago (dear dog, shoot me now!), I already had accumulated scarily ginormous TBR mountain ranges (both print and digital), so really, it’s not surprising some of Ms Milan’s stories had gotten lost in the shuffle there.

Be warned: there are people in love and sexytimes in here, so if you don’t care to read about either, you may want to stop reading here. You may also keep in mind that this story deals with the aftermath of bullying.

“Unlocked” by Courtney Milan

This story is set in the same ‘universe’ as the Turner brothers stories, and it’s about a fairly minor secondary character introduced in Unveiled, the first novel.

While this story is definitely shorter than, say, Proof of Seduction or Trade Me, it didn’t read like a novella. By which I mean, despite the lower word count, the pacing and structure of the story allowed me to believe in the characters’ feelings about themselves and each other, and how these changed over time.

Here, have a blurb:

A perpetual wallflower destined for spinsterhood, Lady Elaine Warren is resigned to her position in society. So when Evan Carlton, the powerful, popular Earl of Westfeld, singles her out upon his return to England, she knows what it means. Her former tormenter is up to his old tricks, and she’s his intended victim. This time, though, the earl is going to discover that wallflowers can fight back.

Evan has come to regret his cruel, callow past. At first, he only wants to make up for past wrongs. But when Elaine throws his initial apology in his face, he finds himself wanting more. And this time, what torments him might be love…

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Wild Embrace, by Nalini Singh

5 Jul

Wild Embrace, by Nalini Singh

This is the second all Psy/Changeling anthology, and the first with all new stories. (I reviewed Wild Invitation, the first anthology, here.)

Wild Embrace was released last year, after Allegiance of Honor came out; despite my utter disenchantment with that novel, I had already decided I would read the anthology, so I did at some point later in the year. I wasn’t awed by it, but I remembered enjoying it well enough.

After reading Silver Silence, I decided to re-read and review it, to satisfy my ‘completist’ tendencies.

I probably shouldn’t have done it so soon after, though, because I was hyper aware of all the worst of Ms Singh’s writing tics; none of these stories have aged well for me.

Reader warning: This anthology is part of a long series, so the review by necessity spoils some of the stories that came before. As with the rest of the series, there’s some adult language and explicit sex. Finally, I rant–a hell of a lot–about one of the novellas in this book. Continue reading

“The Warlord Wants Forever” by Kresley Cole

14 Jul

TheWarlordWantsForeverI’m still bouncing between the Immortals After Dark series, and other, semi-random re-reads.

So here I am, with a review of the novella that set up the IAD universe.

A couple of things to know: there’s a lot of explicit, graphic sex for the page count; both main characters are total dicks towards each other, though the male protagonist’s behaviour toward his mate may be especially triggering for some readers (explained in the review, so…here be mild spoilers?).

Oh, and there’s cursing. Proceed at your own risk.

Also, please note: I’m using the original digital release cover.

This novella was originally released in print, a full decade ago, as part of the Playing Easy to Get anthology, with two other stories; one was Sherrilyn Kenyon’s “Turn up the Heat.” The other was a story by Jaid-I-hate-romance-readers-and-will-sue-blogs-and-their-owners-Black, aka Tina-I-married-a-convicted-murderer-and-harasssed-his-victim’s-daughter-Engler.

If you have read this blog before, you already know how I feel about any of my hard earned money making its way to that asshole’s pockets. If you have not, you may start here, and lose a few hours of your life finding out why. The point being: if you must read the anthology, you may want to buy it used, so the aforementioned asshole gets no royalty money from your purchase. Otherwise, this story is available by itself digitally pretty much everywhere ebooks are sold.

All good? Okay, let’s start.

“The Warlord Wants Forever” by Kresley Cole

The protagonists are Myst, a two thousand plus years old Valkyrie, and Nikolai Wroth, a three hundred years old Forbearer Vampire.

If memory serves, I read this story fairly recently, and only after it was released digitally. At any rate, I had already read at least the first two, perhaps even the first three of the IAD full length novels. Obviously, at this point I knew quite a bit about the series’ world, but I think that this story does a really good job of introducing the series and providing background for the characters’ actions and thoughts, while avoiding infodumping all over the place.

As I don’t have the print edition, I don’t know if there was some sort of story-specific blurb somewhere, but here’s one from Fantastic Fiction:¹
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