Cherry Kisses by Erica Hayes

There is something so tantalising about a main character that is so obviously not good. Whether it’s someone like Cherry Kisses’ Lena Falco, or a morally ambiguous hero like Batman, the blurred line in morality makes these characters both more relatable and scandalous. Especially when the tale ends in a truly moral dilemma and the choice made really isn’t what the truly good heroes would make.

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Bacon by Charlaine Harris

I’m not normally a huge fan of stories that are all about revenge – it seems like most of the time it is a twisted pursuit that leaves the perpetuators shells of their former selves. However, I liked the gradual and manipulative way in which Dahlia pursues her vengeance in this short story. Not only is it a pursuit in the name of love, but the sass and flash with which she carries out her retribution completely makes up for my usual distaste in such a story.

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There Will Be Demons by Lori Handeland

I really don’t have many words to describe this short story. Basically, I loved it, but at the same time, I was a little mad at the end of the story. It felt like a good beginning of a series, but also another tale about a strong, independent woman losing her identity for the sake of a man – not something that I am a huge fan of in the least. However, the writing and slow filtering of information that Handeland uses is a perfect counterbalance to create an enjoyable storyline that would probably otherwise have really, really, really annoyed me.

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How Do You Feel? by Simon R. Green

How Do You Feel? was a completely unexpected short story – it was quite dark, with a twisted and unexpected strain of humour throughout it. The completely unforeseeable love story that rounded it out just polished it off to make me want to read the rest of the Nightside series. The use of a main character whose name is Dead Boy should have given me a hint to what kind of story I was in for though.

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The Girl With No Name by Chris Marie Green

A lot of stories rely on a character that is completely removed from their familial life. Whether it’s an orphan, someone who has been removed from their clan, or they’ve watched everything around them die and go up in flames, most good characters have nothing they can return to in their past. They either have nothing to lose, or everything. Lily in The Girl with No Name takes this one step further. This story is a literal journey of self-discovery – a girl who is unable to remember her own name, let alone her past.

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Vanish by Tess Gerritsen

Even after reading the blurb, this story was NOTHING like what I expected. Which was wonderful. Rizzoli’s soon-to-be-born child and the way in which she copes with this is a heart rending storyline that travels along beautifully with the overarching tale of conspiracy, mystery and hostage taking. Again, Gerritsen's use of altering points of views brings this story to life in a way that makes it completely impossible to put down.

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Hecate’s Golden Eye by P.N. Elrod

I didn’t really know what to think about this story – I liked the idea of a moral private investigator with a vampire sidekick, but some of the suave present in past stories by P.N. Elrod is missing from this short tale. However, the voice of the narrative helped to bring me back to the story when I wasn’t entirely sure it was what I was in the mood for. The tone of the tale had just the right balance of cheerful self-deprecation and intrigue to keep me interested in the chief protagonist and his quick journey into re-stealing a gem for its rightful owner.

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Snow Job by Carole Nelson Douglas

The use of the tale of Adam, Eve and Lilith was a unique way to approach of tale of paranormal fantasy. A lot of mythologies and beliefs seem to inform fantasy stories, but very few utilise the Christian faith and stories to do so. The use of Lilith, and even the name Delilah have its roots in Christianity and the use of the two sisters’ names in their characterisation was a great reminder of the importance in naming one’s characters.

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The Parlor by Lucienne Diver

I love to read about mythologies reimagined for the modern day, and this was an excellent way in which it was done. Where Riordan takes Greek mythology and spins it so that teenagers have a place in the world, Diver gives the tales of Olympus a much more adult and sensual twist. A tale of Apollo, Arachne and gladiators, there really isn’t much more that you could ask for in a short story inspired by the Gods of Olympus.

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Buying Trouble by Karen Chance

This story took a lot of unexpected turns – first, the journey started at an auction house, then Clare finds out that she’s actually up for auction, and then she finds out more about her true heritage. All in all, the combination of these facts created a tumulus ride which spanned a number of beautifully constructed settings. The fact that the alliances and loyalties of the obvious love interest within the story were vague and difficult to pin down helped to add to the unpredictable, fast-paced track of this novella.

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