Tag Archive | short story

Review: Parlor Games Anthology – Fallen Angel by Jess Michaels

Parlor Games

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Do you dare open the door and enter a place like no other?

In these three historical tales of sensual awakening, nothing that stimulates and titillates is taboo, ecstasy comes in many sizes, and pleasure is its own reward . . . a world of seduction and sensation, where inhibitions are unlaced and desires long corseted are gloriously freed. . . .

Fallen Angel – Jess Michaels

London’s greatest beauty and most notorious madam employs the services of a disgraced Bow Street Runner to keep her safe from a stalker . . . and satisfied after dark.

 

 
Meh. Really, really meh.

Parlor Games was the third book I read using my Scribd trial. Scribd introduced me to Jess Michaels via the book Everything Forbidden – and suggested this title since I read Everything Forbidden. As of today this book is on sale at Kobo for $9.99. Since this story is part of an anthology I that already priced – I’m still counting this as book 3.

The heroine, Arabella, is being threatened. After receiving multiple written threats and surviving several attempts on her life, Arabella calls on Valentine, former Bow Street Runner, to protect her and pretend to be her lover.

Most of the short story focused on the sexual power plays between Arabella and Valentine – they both have been hurt by relationships – but these sections felt a little forced. To be honest, the entire story felt a little forced – especially the HEA. I did not believe in the HEA and I really didn’t enjoy [the story] that much.

I was able to figure out the antagonist from the first moment they were introduced on page. Meh.
 

 
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Review: Cat’s First Kiss (Forgotten Goddesses #2.5) by Stephanie Julian

Cat's First Kiss

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A short visit with Cat

Since taking on the powers of the Etruscan Goddess of the Moon, Catene’s life has been upended. Her parents don’t know how to help her. And Tivr, Etruscan God of the Moon, has seemingly deserted her. Amazing what a first kiss can do.

This story takes place after HOW TO WORSHIP A GODDESS and before GODDESS IN THE MIDDLE

 

 

This is a short (very short!) interlude in the Forgotten Goddesses series. I purchased this one myself as it was not available via Scribd.

I was not too happy about this short. I was expecting short but I wasn’t expecting what I got: 14 pages and atrocious formatting.

Cat’s First Kiss takes place after How to Worship a Goddess where Cat takes over the mantle of Goddess of the Moon. During How to Worship a Goddess the reader learns that Cat is destined to become the new Goddess of the Moon as well as the fated mate of the God of the Moon (Lucy’s son from How to Worship a Goddess). During that book the reader also learns that Tivr was avoiding Cat because she was so young and he is a couple hundred years older. Of course, none of this was explained to Cat. She was simply hurt that someone she loved so much was actively avoiding her.

The story is a total of about 14 pages. My book was so badly formatted that it shows up as 130+ pages: there was about 1 paragraph per page. 😦 The constant need to flip pages made me want more story. Which I did not get.

Other things I did not get in this story: any real discussion between Tivr and Cat. No, let me back track that a bit. NO real discussion between Tivr and Cat. He asks her to forgive him for being an ass, they kiss and it was over. That’s it. So yeah, I was expecting at least a little more – especially with all the loose ends left dangling around from How to Worship a Goddess.

Another thing I want to rant about: the cover. OMFG. I am so sick to death of this same freaking couple on every freaking NA romance that has ever NA’d (the books Easy, Reckless, the entire Devoured series, Walking Disaster, etc). Enough! The guy on the cover is turning into the Fabio of NA romance. And it’s driving me batty.

Box of 1Night Stands Anthology Review: Dominique Eastwick, L.J. Garland, & Desiree Holt

Box of 1Night Stands

Decadent Publishing presents some of the very best of the 1Night Stand series featuring NYT and USA Today Bestselling authors Jennifer Probst, Jen McLaughlin (writing as Diane Alberts) and J.M. Madden, along with 18 other trendsetting authors such as HOLT Medallion winner Desiree Holt. When Madame Eve arranges a date, you are guaranteed more than you’ll ever expect. More heat, more heart, more SIZZLE…

Strawberry Kisses – Dominique Eastwick
Can two introverts gamble on love and win…with the help of Madame Eve and a bowl of Strawberries anything is possible.

Dead or Alive – L.J. Garland
She’s a bounty hunter on a mission…but when she captures her man, will she shoot him or kiss him?

Night Mission – Desiree Holt
For Navy SEAL Gabe Walker his one night stand with Maggie Fitzpatrick might turn out to be his hottest mission yet.

As a recap:

Box of 1Night Stands contains 21 stories by 21 different authors. Each story is roughly connected to each other by the framework of a dating service named “1Night Stand” run by Madam Evangeline. The dating service allows people to pay absurd amounts of money to be hooked up with someone “suitable” and willing to have a night of sex. The service includes reservations to one of the Castillo hotels and resorts (owned and run by one of satisfied 1Night Stand clients). Madam Evangeline seems to be the world’s best match-maker as all of her single night stands turn into committed relationships. Thus far the included stories are all either vignettes or very short shorts. Most seem to be between 3-5 chapters long as well.

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Review: Box of 1Night Stands – 21 Sizzling Nights by Valerie Mann, Diane Alberts, & Stephanie Beck

Box of 1Night Stands

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Decadent Publishing presents some of the very best of the 1Night Stand series featuring NYT and USA Today Bestselling authors Jennifer Probst, Jen McLaughlin (writing as Diane Alberts) and J.M. Madden, along with 18 other trendsetting authors such as HOLT Medallion winner Desiree Holt. When Madame Eve arranges a date, you are guaranteed more than you’ll ever expect. More heat, more heart, more SIZZLE…

To Feel Again – Valerie Mann
The story that started it all: Jackson Castillo doesn’t have time for dating, Leah doesn’t have time to wait.

Broken – Jen McLaughlin (writing as Diane Alberts)
Is one night enough for Tiffany to convince Matt that she doesn’t see a crippled man when she looks at him…but a war hero instead?

Panties Optional – Stephanie Beck
Forever isn’t on Sam or Maggie’s minds, but maybe it doesn’t have to be.

 

I bought this book for $0.59 and it’s surely been worth the price! Box of 1Night Stands contains 21 stories by 21 different authors. Each story is roughly connected to each other by the framework of a dating service named “1Night Stand” run by Madam Evangeline. The dating service allows people to pay absurd amounts of money to be hooked up with someone “suitable” and willing to have a night of sex. The service includes reservations to a fabulous hotel, the Castillo hotels and resorts (owned and run by one of satisfied 1Night Stand clients). Madam Evangeline seems to be the world’s best match-maker as all of her single night stands turn into committed relationships.

Since Box of 1Night Stands has 21 different stories, I’ve decided to break the reviews up as to not be overwhelming. And so I don’t forget them. Thus far the included stories are all either vignettes or very short shorts. Most seem to be between 3-5 chapters long as well.
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Review: Tempting Tamera (Circle of Three #1) by Brynn Paulin

Tempting Tamera

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A new job, a new home, a new lifestyle… When teacher Tamera moved to Cranston to teach, she knew the lifestyle she’d encounter would take some getting used to. Though she was raised in an open-minded household she doesn’t have experience with menage relationships therefore her attraction to her fellow teachers, Kai and Brian, takes her by surprise.

When the trio is stranded together during a freak snowstorm, Tamera discovers her attraction isn’t one sided. In fact, the men have been waiting for the opportunity to show her how perfect three can be.

 

 

Tempting Tamara is the fourth book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the first book in the Circle of Three series. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $2.50. I located this book using Scribd’s search but I was doing a specific search for Brynn Paulin at the time. The book I was looking for is not available on Scribd.

So. This book. I was looking for something else by this author and settled on this book instead.

Tempting Tamera is short. Very short. And like most shorts – there are serious pacing issues due to the shortness of the story.

Short stories are really hard to write – the format is pretty unforgiving. I also tend to “grade” shorts harder than full length novels simply because the flaws are glaring in a short that would get glossed over in a full length.

So. Tempting Tamera. Uuuugh. The dialogue is quite often painful! And the plot is…hard to digest in such a short period of time. The story starts with the heroine and hero(es) having known each other for about…3 months or so. Even knowing that – the quick jump from making eyes at someone to being “in love” happened waaaaaay to fast for me. I was rolling my eyes most of the read.

Another issue I had was the introduction and plotline of the heroine’s….pre-arranged boyfriend? Not quite sure what to call him, to be honest. The whole situation was BS and caused additional eye rolling. Don’t get me wrong, I love a little menage and the plot (except Andy) all probably would work better in a longer format. The longer format just gives more time for character and plot building.

At the end of the day, this was an easy way to burn through 20 minutes or so.
 
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Review: The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick *light spoilers*

The Minority Report

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In the world of “The Minority Report,” Commissioner John Anderton is the one to thank for the lack of crime. He is the originator of the Precrime System, which uses “precogs”–people with the power to see into the future–to identify criminals before they can do any harm. Unfortunately for Anderton, his precogs perceive him as the next criminal. But Anderton knows he has never contemplated such a thing, and this knowledge proves the precogs are fallible. Now, whichever way he turns, Anderton is doomed–unless he can find the precogs’s “minority report”–the dissenting voice that represents his one hope of getting at the truth in time to save himself from his own system.

 

 

I’m still trying to decide how I feel about this read. On one hand…the story has a pretty fast pace that makes it easy to read. On the other hand…the ending is rather abrupt and did not feel satisfying. I have to wonder if the fact that I saw the Tom Cruise Minority Report flick made the story “less-than” for me. The differences in the story vs the movie are pretty vast – you can see the framework of PKD’s “The Minority Report” in the movie but Minority Report has a drastically different storyline while still maintaining the same basic plot: Anderton being accused of murdering someone he doesn’t know.
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Wings of Fire Anthology Review: The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin *spoilers*

Wings of Fire

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Dragons: Fearsome fire-breathing foes, scaled adversaries, legendary lizards, ancient hoarders of priceless treasures, serpentine sages with the ages’ wisdom, and winged weapons of war…

Wings of Fire brings you all these dragons, and more, seen clearly through the eyes of many of today’s most popular authors, including Peter S. Beagle, Holly Black, Orson Scott Card, Charles De Lint, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula K Le Guin, Dean R Koontz, George R. R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Garth Nix, and many others.

Edited by Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Eclipse) and Marianne S. Jablon, Wings of Fire collects the best short stories about dragons. From writhing wyrms to snakelike devourers of heroes; from East to West and everywhere in between, Wings of Fire is sure to please dragon lovers everywhere.

GRRM is…an incredible writer. He manages to jam a lot of things and a lot of emotion into few words (when he wants to).

GRRM also seems to be a big fan of rape. I’m NOT saying that he has/wants to/dreams of raping someone personally…but he damn sure seems to be unable walk away from any opportunity to rape someone in prose. *rolls eyes* And that shit makes me upset. I don’t want to hear any BS about “realistic” either – these are GRRM’s authorial decisions and nothing more.

So. “The Ice Dragon” is the story of Adara and her family. Adara was born during a very cold winter and her mother died in child birth. Adara was “full of winter” – she could be outside and barely feel the cold, unlike her siblings. Adara was not just physically cold, she was emotional cold as well. She didn’t smile, didn’t cry and rarely showed emotion. Adara could play with ice lizards when others could not – the body heat that other people created would melt and kill the ice lizards. Adara also had an Ice Dragon. Made from ice with the breath of pure winter, Adara’s ice dragon would come to her in the winter…extending each winter year after year.
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