Icicles in a German street one January.
Romance, mostly mm, and with other elements:
Memories by Ruby Moone**** Well written historical thriller with a lot of excitement. A hussar returning from Waterloo finds himself declared dead and his inheritance sold. But his memories are also missing after severe injury.
One Trick Pony by Eli Easton**** I love this author’s work and at first I thought this was just another sweet romance (I prefer her paranormal books) but it ended up quite exciting with a kidnap and rescue.
The Beauty Within by HL Day **** A historical twist on Beauty and the Beast and The Frog Prince. I found myself suspending disbelief and reading avidly.
Painting with Fire by Lissa Kasey**** A lovely story involving abuse survival, doll painting, and fire fighting. Slightly marred by some careless proof reading e.g. at times it was clear the story had initially been written in first person and then changed.
His Shield by Sue Brown**** The writer ratchets up the tension to an almost unbearable degree and yet when the attacks come they arrive with a sense of shock. I loved all the three dimensional minor characters and will definitely read the sequel.
Moon’s Place by Blake Allwood**** Novella that is lifted from the ‘just a sweet romance’ level by the three dimensionality of the minor characters and the place itself. Obviously a shorter work can’t contain the same amount of excitement and mystery as, for example, the Big Bend series, but the story is well told and satisfying. I now want to visit the orange grove and the shop. Short stories and novellas definitely need exceptional writing to raise them to the four star level!
Life in the Land by Rebecca Cohen.**** Short, quirky romance with unusual magic. A family has hereditary abilities to interact magically with plants. Another beautifully written story.
Still Life by Val McDermid**** Good thriller, well written as usual, but I guessed both crime scenarios before the detectives got there.
Readable but not special:
A Soldier’s Wish by N R Walker*** So over-sweet it made my teeth ache.
Cowboys don’t come out by Tara Lain*** Very pleasant and well written romance but in the end that’s all it was.
Pickup Men by LC Chase*** Another pleasant and well written cowboy romance with well developed characters but there’s no added element of mystery or drama.
Careful What You Wish For by Helena Stone*** Identical twins, one dead and one alive…
Fated Hearts by Garrett Leigh*** The story was adequately gripping but although I like shifters, war stories don’t really appeal to me and that’s what this was. Also, although it was set in UK the details of the locations were sadly hazy. The war, I should add, was a shifter one, not a human affair. Part of the Shadow Bound series which I won’t be reading despite the fact that Leigh is an excellent writer.
Raising Kaine by Lissa Kasey** This novella is intended as an introduction to a series but manages to be totally confusing because the world building and character development don’t keep pace with the plot. The magic was interesting but lacked any explanation or back story. Seiran, apparently an avatar of the Green Man, helps to prevent a pipeline from going through Reservation lands, with the help of a powerful Fae. Topical, but weird. I usually like this author so I was disappointed.
Broken Wings by EM Lindsey (Book 3 of Broken Chains) This was advertised as a stand-alone but I was mystified and abandoned it. Also, I disliked the main characters so can’t be bothered to read previous volumes to clarify the plot.
The Pool Boy by Rachel Ember. It’s perhaps unfair to class this as not recommended. I downloaded it as free short story but didn’t read it once I’d read the blurb. I have no idea whether it’s good but the subject matter wasn’t for me. (Explicit d/s with rope.) However, she’s a good writer so if that’s your jam, try it!
Mouselet saves the day by Small_Hobbit***** https://archiveofourown.org/works/35920900 Only 573 words but a treasured gift fic for me, set in this writer’s Sherlock AU with talking animals. I also enjoyed John’s New Pet**** which was very short but very clever. https://archiveofourown.org/works/36383947
My gift was part of Twelve Additional Days of Christmas which covers various fandoms and can be found at
The Christmas Cat by fledge ***** A verse rendering (based on The Night before Christmas) of a story for Supernatural fandom. So far, it’s only on the challenge LJ but I think it should be viewable. I’m not an SPN fan but the author happens to be my daughter! She also writes on AO3 as Fledhyris, so I hope she’ll upload this there. https://spn-bigpretzel.livejournal.com/1499453.html
Colorblind by blackchaps*** AU SGA where everybody wears a different coloured collar to show their sexual status. From the author’s notes I gather this was an early fic. https://archiveofourown.org/works/14993054
The Sweep of Easy Wind by blackchaps*** Semi au SGA/SG1 – military use Go’uald tech on military prisoners. John/Rodney. Probably needs full familiarity with both shows to make sense. https://archiveofourown.org/works/785073
Pros Big Bang (October 2021)
Eight stories, of varying quality, but even the ones I enjoyed needed total familiarity with canon to be understood properly so I won’t go into details. For those of you who are familiar with Pros, you can find the collection, both stories and art, on