Blood Lust by Zoe Winters

Likari’s rating: 3.99

The three novellas in Zoe Winters’ Blood Lust trilogy — Kept, Claimed, and Mated tell the story of how three couples in her world find true love and hook up. The series is a fast-paced and well-done introduction to the world of the Preternaturals series. (The full-length novel Save My Soul will be the next installment.)

You can’t write about Winters’ work without mentioning that she is an indie publisher — see? — and then remarking on how professional her presentation is — see?  Well, she is.  And it is.

I’ve enjoyed all three novellas. The stories are fresh and complex and full of smart humor.  Sentences like “Anthony has minions?” and “Cole didn’t have time to listen to his beta’s excuses.” Hilarious in context, delivered by an excellent story teller.

Oh, and as to the which did I like best question:  Claimed — but only by a hair’s breadth.

I’m so glad I read these novellas. I heartily recommend them all.

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A Happily Ever After of Her Own by Nadia Lee

Amazon Link.

Likari’s rating: 1.99

Nadia Lee’s charming fractured fairy tale demonstrates the pleasures and the pitfalls of indie publishing. But before I get to that, let me say: If one ounce of the joy of Story remains within your heart after all these years of Life on Planet Earth, you will laugh out loud several times over the course of this novella.

It is a delight.

From Ms. Lee’s product description:

Melinda Lightfoot, a preschool teacher with an unusual ability to flit in and out of fairy tales, never thought she would get into trouble…

…until the Fairy Tale Police arrest her while she is in Beauty and the Beast. They offer her a deal: Find Beauty, who left the story when Melinda trespassed into it, or be charged with the ultimate crime — Fairy Tale Killer. If that’s not bad enough the Beast tags along in search of his true love, and Melinda starts falling for the fairy tale prince. She must choose between doing the right thing and having her own happily ever after.

Now, about that Indie Publishing comment:

A Happily Ever After of Her Own is just the kind of thing for Indie Publishing. It’s too short and too quirky for any publisher to deign to notice, and yet it’s perfect for the Kindle. Ms. Lee has done a professional job on the production. The formatting is wonderful. I saw no typos or technical mistakes to take me out of the story.

It’s a wonderful story, but it could have been closer to fabulous with a stronger editor. There’s a streak of weak sentences that run through the piece, and at least one very minor story element that a good editor would discuss with the author.

But who cares? In a non-indie world, this story would still exist on Ms. Lee’s website and newsletter. Not impossible to find, but highly unlikely. In today’s brave new world, we get to enjoy it, the Olde Publishing Gods be damned, haha!

EDIT: In re-reading this review, I’m embarrassed to say it does not reflect my enthusiasm for this novella. I needed a strong editor! ha. I really, really, really enjoyed this story and I wholeheartedly recommend it. In fact, as I was reading, the pictures in my head were so vivid that it left me wanting to see the teevee movie version on SyFy. Sigh. Fie…

A note on my rating. I struggle with giving grades or rankings on reviews, so I’ve come up with this idea: I would have gladly paid 1.99 for this story, so this is my rating. (You can get it at Amazon for only .99!)

Bundle of Love

Free at Smashwords

A woman is contacted by the daughter she gave up for adoption years ago.

Lots of things drive people a little crazy. Waiting drives authors crazy all the time. I’m crazy right now, waiting to hear back on a submission.

Meanwhile, I watch the fantastic and fun antics of Zoe Winters as she romps all over the Amazon charts.

I want to play! I’ve been working on Space Junque to pass the time, but it’s not enough. I desperately want something to be out there.

Bundle of Love is on the literary side of things, not funny, not a romance, not even more than a few pages. But people who’ve read it have liked it. I hope you do too.

Blood Lust — Coming Soon

I haven’t read any of Zoe Winters’ stuff (yet!) but her meticulous attention to detail and professional calibre web presence make me want to buy this book as soon as it’s available.

Isn’t that cover by Anne Cain gorgeous?

Zoe is putting solid resources into her works. She obviously respects her readers and wants us to enjoy her books on every level. I intend to!

You can get Kept, the opening novella, free at Zoe’s site. BUT you can get it for .99 here at Amazon (yes, Amazon) if you’d like to put a little money in Zoe’s kitty and help raise her rankings.

At Fair Maison, we like to support authors!

Authors like Zoe Winters and Moriah Jovan are setting the standards for quality in self-publishing. I’ll be interested to see if Blood Lust is as well edited as it is well produced — but all the signs so far indicate it’s going to be excellent.

The Egyptian Demon’s Daughter by Ciar Cullen

Buy where Ciar Cullen gets the best deal.

I love Kasdeya, the Egyptian Demon from The Egyptian Demon’s Keeper. He’s just funny.

This novella from Ciar Cullen takes place in the future when Kasdeya’s daughter Tari, short for Nefertari, is a professor at Princeton. Tari gets into a bit of trouble when yummy Professor Grayson tracks her down to discuss immortality and other earthly delights.

Kasdeya gets to say things like “This scientist has hurt you in some way. I will kill him immediately.” Typical demon daddy! (If the daddy is Kasey).

Give yourself a treat and bop over to My Bookstore and More’s shiny new store. Heck, pick up both novellas. They are both fun stories told with intelligent humor.

EDIT: I just thought of a great opening line for this review, but I’m saving it for the third novella in the series. heh-heh.

Keeper of the Way by Shirin Dubbin

Buy where Shirin Dubbin gets the best deal.

Mainstream Romance: Urban Fantasy, Interracial/Multicultural
ISBN: 978-1-60435-345-7
Cover Artist: Shirin Nicole
Editor: Emmy Ellis
Word Count: 15,540
Release Date: June 04, 2009

I have three nits to pick with Shirin Dubbin’s funny and charming urban fantasy. One, after seeing Cold Comfort Farm a million and two times, I can never take the word “orbs” seriously. But that’s just me. Two — which has nothing to do with Dubbin — I didn’t like Red Rose Press asking me for my birth date and phone number before I could purchase the book. But that really wasn’t a problem, as I just made some numbers up, ha, and then bought the book through PayPal quite easily.

My third nit is serious: This novella was too short! And I don’t mean it was overpriced. I was satisfied with the value. 15K words is short, but $2.99 is barely the equivalent of a decent latte. And there is no fluff here. The story is dense, packed with action and solid description that kept me in all the scenes. Except when I saw “orbs.”

And that’s the problem as well as the virtue in Keeper of the Way. There are great characters and wonderful ideas in this world, and the story is strong enough to justify a novel’s length. Too many concepts are presented in a sentence — or a sentence fragment — that I would love to see develop over chapters.

I will definitely be looking for more of Shirin Dubbin’s work.

Max Under the Stars by Anne Frasier

Likari’s take: If you’re a writer who “can’t not write,” Anne Frasier’s new short story is for you. Give yourself a treat, click on over to Smashwords and grab this gem. Then sit down with your favorite adult beverage and enjoy.

[Smashwords blurb:] A writer is born…and his name is Max. Follow Max on his lifelong quest to produce the perfect novel. Touching, irreverent, hilarious and sad. Every writer should read this story. Every writer will relate to Max. Please note: This is a SHORT STORY consisting of 2,500 words.

Available now at Smashwords.