Series Review

Series Review: Calvin’s Coffee and Donuts by Layla King (2019)

Heat Factor: It’s not hot–closed door and very tepid. 

Character Chemistry: Some are a little more zingy than others, but for the most part there’s not a lot of ka-zam going on here.

Plot: At Calvin’s Coffee Shop, we meet a group of employees who all end up finding their true loves during the course of the winter season.

Overall: Honestly, I’m usually the queen of low-drama, easy-on-the-bedroom-scenes type smut but this series dragged a bit too much for me.

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Dueling Review, Recommended Read

Dueling (?) Review: Headless by Aveda Vice (2021)

For our final monster smut of October, we’re talking about Headless. This is not so much a duel as a short discussion because (spoiler alert) we all liked it. Definitely recommended if you’re in the mood for some Halloween reading.

Heat Factor: It’s very much about how their sexual relationship keeps them connected, but it’s more evocative than squelching body parts.

Character Chemistry: Big sad feels that they only have their throuple together one night per year!

Plot: After Brom disappears one Halloween, Abe and Katrin spend the rest of their Halloweens awaiting his ghostly return

Overall: I was expecting Headless Horseman throuple sexytimes and this is that but…it’s completely different than I expected

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Review

Mini Review: Prompted 2: 14 Flash Fiction Stories, Sweet to Spicy by Elva Birch (2021)

I’m going to do something a little different for this review, because these short stories are *short*—flash fiction typically clocks in at 1,500 words. None of these stories has much in the way of plot. They’re more like snippets in time, each showing a single moment in a relationship. 

The benefit, therefore, to reading a collection like this, is in getting a sense of the author’s voice, without the time commitment. The downside is that in stories this short, you will likely not get worldbuilding AND character AND conflict AND romance, so if you want a fully immersive reading experience, flash fiction is not a good bet. 

So what did I learn about Elva Birch here? She writes shifter romances. Her stories have a sense of wit about them, which I expect would translate into her other writing. I mean, the very first one in the collection is about a Dodo shifter, and the shame he feels about turning into such a lame animal (this one was one of my favorites, by the way—even in a small space, I got a great sense of the world, the Dodo hero, and his internal conflict about asking out his co-worker). She explores different kinds of shifters beyond your standard apex predators, and how people’s animal identities might impact their lives. The stories tended to lack tension, which is likely attributable, at least in part, to the form; but given how much I got a sense of the way she plays with shifter tropes, I would say that tension and conflict is either a weak point in her writing or something she chose to downplay in this collection.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

Buy Now: Amazon

Looking for something similar?

Anthologies!

Short Stories are tiny tasty treats of smutty delight!

Paranormal Romances means shifters galore (plus some vampires)

Tell me about Elva Birch’s full length books…

Review

Anthology Review: Love Gone Viral: Five COVID-19 Related Romances (2020)

Heat Factor: Really ranges from fairly hot to more heartwarming.

Character Chemistry: A wide variety of people clicking in different ways.

Plot: This anthology examines different scenarios where people are able to overcome obstacles, find ways to cope together, connect, and ultimately find love during the pandemic.

Overall: I was pleasantly surprised by this after wondering if I was ready for pandemic lit.

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: Be Not Afraid by Alyssa Cole (2016)

Originally published in the anthology For Love and Liberty: Untold Love Stories of the American Revolution.

Heat Factor: Just a little bit warm

Character Chemistry: Surprisingly believable emotional connection considering the length

Plot: Two enslaved Black people choose opposite sides in the Revolution and find themselves thrown together in a British encampment

Overall: The depth in this short story was marvelous

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