Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Shorts: Curious? By Amy Lane et al

To end m/m week, I have an anthology--a dozen shorts to pick from! These are super-shorts, so it's the perfect way to sample this genre. I hope to feature more m/m titles in the future (hey, I have to work in the entire Marie Sexton backlist that I devoured somehow! And my newly expanded TBR pile), so be sure and let me know if you'd like to see more (and if you have any recommendations for me, share those too!)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Despite the rather insipid title (made far better by the very yummy cover), this is actually a great anthology of shorts and excellent introduction to several authors. These are short stories and run the gamut from very sweet stories with no love scenes to mildly sensual ones to a few scorching hot ones. And while, as with most short stories, we get a lot of HFN endings, we do get several believable HEA endings, which is very tough to pull off. My favorite selections had me cursing my nook--I wanted MORE. This is why I don't read more short stories--I like at least novella length selections simply because if I emotionally invest in great characters I want to spend more time with them!

One of my favorite selections is M. Jules Aedin's "We are Stardust" set at Woodstock. I was so desperate, I had to stop reading and frantically search to find out if this was possibly the opening chapter of a full length novel. It isn't, but is awesome just as it is too. A great slice of American history that we don't see nearly enough of in Romance and fabulous characters. I wanted more! And more!

Chrissy Munder's Spontaneous is the same way--I wanted to spend more time with her great characters: a geeky guy meets his HEA (we hope) in a construction worker with a heart of gold. Both of these pieces are very mild on the sensuality scale, giving them broader appeal than a lot of m/m fiction, which tends to be firmly in the romantica camp.

Ashlynn Kane pulls off the impossible with a believable HEA tale of love between best friends that felt complete within the small word count in "The Meaning of Significant Digits." Note to others looking to pull off her feat, she started with gay best friends--if you have under 20,000 words, you can't have a guy go from confused to HEA believably. She also gives her characters a focused purpose and tight timeline of one week to prepare for a friend's wedding.

Isabelle Rowan's Snowman is a haunting, evocative tale of broken souls moving on after different kinds of loss. The ambiguous ending was perfect for this lovely tale. "In His Eyes" by Bethany Brown is one of the longer stories in the collection and does feature a nicely done love scene. I love city slicker meets cowboy tales of all kinds, and this one is particularly fabulous with a nice slow build and complex characters that belie the shortness of the piece. The other stories in the collection offer up different perspectives, and I read the entire collection, which isn't usually the case for me with short story anthologies.



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