TTT: Favorite Shorts/Novellas

For more information on Top Ten Tuesday, click here.

I haven’t done these in a while! The topic this month is something I actually do want to highlight once more because while I do love reading novels, I also appreciate the short story form. Must be because I tend to write in that format from time to time, and while I haven’t gotten much traction lately, I tend to do well in them!

So I’m actually just going to highlight a few short stories from book collections I’ve read, with different authors.

Top Ten Short Stories

“Hatchling” by Laini Taylor (Lips Touch: Three Times) – The short story that began it all! Okay, not entirely, but I fell in love with Taylor’s collection and I honestly did not think short stories could run so beautifully.

“Silver” by Patricia Briggs (Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson) – While I certainly love many of the short stories that Briggs has come up with in her Mercy Thompson world, I loved this prologue the best. Mostly because I adored going into Bran’s past and seeing how badass he and his sons are.

“Bougainvillea” by Carrie Ryan (Zombies vs. Unicorns) – This is one post-apocalyptic story I loved reading. It had death, it had zombies, it had kissing and hijinks…what’s not to love?!

“Black Dog” by Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances) – Anything American Gods inspired is always a good thing. Yep.

“Nawat” by Tamora Pierce (Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales) – I will admit that the Trickster series is my least favorite (if there’s such a thing, gasp!) of the Tortall series, but I really liked this short! Much more respect gained for Nawat in any case.

“The Moth and the Flame” by Renee Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn) – A prequel look at how Jalil and Despina meet. Which is lovely, because I ship these two almost as much as I ship Khalid and Shazi. And the flirtation is absolutely adorbs.

“Wild Magic” by Ann Aguirre (Corsets and Clockwork) – FAERIES AND STEAMPUNK WHUT. This was definitely one of the standouts in this book, though I really liked a lot of the stories here. The book itself was one of my favorite steampunk collections in any case.

“Mudboy” by Peter V. Brett (Unfettered) – Still need to catch up on my series, but I really loved this origin story of one of Brett’s Demon Cycle characters. Such a good read, albeit really depressing!

“Fairy Vasyl” by Steven Harper (Clockwork Fairy Tales: A Collection of Steampunk Fables) – Genderbent version of the Vasilisa story, and it. Is. AWESOME. But then again, I’m biased to the Baba Yaga tale. Then again, I think I’m pretty biased on the fairy tale slant to begin with!

“Love Struck” by Melissa Marr (Love is Hell) – I haven’t actually read much on Little Mermaid retellings, but this short was adorable and cute and romantic, and has to do with selkies. Hmmm…kind of like Shape of Water, ain’t it? Ah, dammit, it is.

OH. CRAP. An honorary one goes to “Winner Takes All” which was actually the last short story I absolutely loved, which is by the ever amazing V.E. Schwab, from her Shades of Magic series. Honestly, she can write whatever and I’d love it, but “Winner Takes All” is written in the POV of the craziest, most vile villains ever: the Dane twins.

Alright, until next time!

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Mini Reviews: The Killing Joke, Trigger Warning

More minis! I’m clearly making up for my lack of reading two months back, so there’s a few more of these in the foreseeable future, that’s for sure.

Also, my library finally resettled their audiobook collection, and I can now return to listening to those while I multitask, which is a big plus, because now I can polish off even more books than usual.

The first is a comic book I’ve been meaning to read for the longest time, and after having seen the animated movie that was based on The Killing Joke (which was pretty damn great though the first 30 minutes were not altogether accurate or welcome), I just had to pick it up.

The second is an audiobook short story collection narrated by the author. I’ve been a fan of Gaiman’s longer works, and some of his short stories are pretty awesome. Despite being called Trigger Warning, though, there was probably only one instance where a story got super-creepy. (That’s saying something about my morbidity tolerance, lmao).

I rated Trigger Warning pretty high, though in retrospect, the high rating was due in large part to the longer, standout stories. If you consider the fact that I only really enjoyed four out of 24 stories, the percentage is pretty steep. Just saying.

Have you read either of these? What did you think?

Mini Reviews: Wrath & Dawn short stories, King George

Do short stories garner reviews? Even mini ones? Why yes, yes of course! Because why the heck not. Also, I went back into a The Wrath & the Dawn kick after re-reading the first book and falling in love with the characters all over again. So why not continue that love by reading the prologue-y chapters?

The first one, The Moth & the Flame, is pretty much the larger of the two pieces, owing to the fact that Ahdieh has written Despina and Jalal’s first encounters with each other. The two had ample chemistry in the books, but in these first few meetings, they’re short and sweet and altogether worth reading.

The second, The Crown & the Arrow, is a reflection piece in Khalid’s POV. It takes place exactly around the same time the novel begins, with Shazi on the verge of walking up to her husband and caliph for the very first time. Khalid’s always a fun POV, because he’s a very poetic and romantic one.

And…because the first two ARE short stories, I’ve thrown in a non-fiction I’d read because it was one of those books I had assigned to my literature voldies.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

The SEA Is Ours: Indiegogo Campaign Now Up!

seaisoursJust, you know. I’m putting this here. ‘Cause, you know. steampunk. Southeast Asian stuff. My story is in it. Wink wink nudge nudge huzzah huzzah blow nose–erm, I mean yes.

Mostly I’m just here to throw out the exciting fact that Rosarium Publishing has finally put up the Indiegogo campaign for The SEA Is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia, which will begin its distribution on November 1st. Oh, yes. As if NaNoWriMo isn’t enough, you’ll find me lamenting my writing and shamelessly plugging it when I can in the same month. Aren’t you guys ECSTATIC?!

No?

Okay, fine. Be like that. I’ll still love you anyway.

So yes, this anthology.

It’s a lot of steampunk, and I don’t want to say “it’s not your typical kind of steampunk” but it probably is because I don’t think there’s much in the way of Vicky London going on in there. Of course there wouldn’t be, it’s tales of Southeast Asia after all. Still, in a way it is your typical kind of steampunk, because you’d have to recognize it as steampunk as well. Ugh. Maybe I’ll just leave it to editrixes Joyce Chng and Jaymee Goh to define it:

Commonly assumed to be “Victorian Science Fiction,” our fancy steampunk recipe combines alternate history, technofantasy, and retrofuturism.

It’s got a lot of explosive writing, not just because my particular story has to do with erupting volcanoes but I so wanted to go there. I so went there.

It’s got pretty pretty artistic depictions of said explosive stories! Did I say they were pretty?

Hell, just go to the campaign page. Small or big, any contribution helps!

(And depending on how many contributor copies I get, I might be willing to part with one in a giveaway. And I’d totally deface it with my autograph inside because why not. Wouldn’t that be neat?)

TTT: Short Stories

ttt

For more information on Top Ten Tuesday, click here.

For some reason I have a harder time thinking up freebies than I do on a normal Top Ten Tuesday topic. This time around, I wanted to highlight the wonderful world of short stories!

I don’t know about you, but I tend to have a short attention span when I’m reading. There are days where I am able to read one book at a time and other days where I can’t focus long enough before going to a different book and then switching back and forth between several books I’ve put on my bedside table.

When my attention span is really taking a beating, I go to short stories, because they are exactly what I’m looking for. Anthologies can be picked up and read whenever you want, and most of the time, reading one short story is pretty much good for a single sitting. Short stories also help me find writers I want to read more of novel-wise, and often I gravitate towards authors I love who also happen to have short stories littering different anthologies.

So this list is for those anthos out there, for keeping my attention span happy, one short story at a time.

Freebie: Ten Anthologies Worth Reading

Corsets & Clockwork edited by Trisha Telep – Before I started reading steampunk, there was this anthology. C&C pretty much introduced me into this subgenre, literature-wise, and it probably explains why I constantly think of intricate clockwork dresses and thensome.

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier – “For a good time, call…” Seriously, though, this antho was pretty fun to read, and there are different short stories by different authors in various genres. By the end of it, you’ll wind up picking a side. Go team zombies!

Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs – Alright, so context might be needed to enjoy this anthology, but whatever. If you’re familiar with supernatural romance, urban fantasy, and werewolf/vampire/fae fiction, then likely you’re familiar with–and have an idea of whether you like–Mercy Thompson. I read Moon Called first before I delved into this collection, and I haven’t regretted it since.

Unfettered edited by Shawn Speakman – If you’re looking for a collection put out by masters of high fantasy, this collection is definitely one I’d recommend. There were numerous shorts penned by authors I looked up soon after (Rothfuss, Vaughn, and Brett being a few of them) and some shorts penned by authors I loved (Sanderson, Hearne).

The Arabian Nights – It doesn’t even matter which version of the collection you pick up, and whether or not you’re reading the canon stories spoken aloud by fabled Scheherazade. Just pick up a copy and read the stories. They’re fantastical and marvelous and every bit as magical as the ancient East.

Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce – I totally bought this collection of short stories the first few days it was released. There were a lot of different stories here that I loved, particularly because most of them occur in Tortall. Of course, not all of them do, but since they were penned by Tamora Pierce, every single one of them was worth a read.

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor – I’m not sure if the last story should count as a short, since it took me two sittings to read it. BUT. The three shorts in Taylor’s collection are fantastic, and it’s hard for me to pick a proper favorite since I loved all three of them to pieces.

Aesop’s Fables – These fables pretty much takes a good minute or two to read, probably less for a number of them. Yet they’re rich in imagination, and there are certainly morals to some that I’d totally heed.

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner – There wouldn’t be a complete short story collection without a book on fairy tales. This particular one made me laugh a lot. It was also easy to follow, considering the tales Garner used are well-known.

The Periodic Table by Primo Levi – Veering off from your regular SFF stories to bring you nonfiction! I read this in college, and I recall rating it two out of five stars. I wouldn’t change the rating, but in retrospect, I’d still say reading this collection is worth your time. It follows Levi’s experiences pre-WWII, and he ties each short to a periodic element, which I thought was pretty cool.

And because why the hell not, a shoutout to the last few anthologies I’ve been honored to contribute to:

Ancient New edited by James Tallett – Alternate historical stories, involving technology in ancient times and vice versa.

Kisses by Clockwork edited by Liz Grzyb – A collection of steampunk romance stories, of the steamy or cutesy variety. Yes, this is a kissing book.

2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide edited by Corie and Sean Weaver – A science fiction antho for the young and impressionable!

The SEA is Ours: Tales From Steampunk Southeast Asia edited by Jaymee Goh and Joync Chng – Steampunk of the Southeastern Asian variety, where technologies include flying whales and volcano-powered airships.

(I have noticed the past few short stories that have been accepted were scifi/steampunk as opposed to fantasy. I’m not sure what that’s saying about my mentality here.)