Recommendations

Recommendation: 10 Best Stories Under 100 Pages – Part 2

Here is the second part I promised – five stories between 40 and 70 pages that you should absolutely read.

The Stable Boy by Megan Derr – Amazon (Free!)| My Review | 40 pages

This is one of the two m/m short stories on this list – a fantasy story about two princes who have to overcome betrayal and curses before they can get married. While I felt like that the resolution could have been more detailed, I still enjoyed this story and rooted for the princes to be happy together.

The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist by S.L. Huang – Amazon | My Review | 46 pages

This dark reverse retelling of The Little Mermaid classic has a female scientist fall in love with and transform to join – well, not a mermaid exactly, but you’ll see that if you read this amazing short story. I adored it despite the fact that it broke my heart.

The love interest presents as feminine due to our standards and uses she/her pronouns, but she comes from a species with only one gender. There is also a nonbinary supporting character in the story who helps the main character. Warning: This story does not have a happy ending – it’s closer to the original Little Mermaid story than the Disney version.

Beauty, Glory, Thrift by Alison Tam – Amazon | My Review | 55 pages

I am Thrift and I want to leave this place, and see the far ends of the universe, and never spend another moment in stasis ever again. Take my hand and bring me with you…

Would you ever still a goddess? This thief would. The goddess Thrift is perhaps the most insignificant of her sisters, and yet she’s the one who gets to see the universe with the help of the thief who eventually captures her heart. This is an f/f short story set in space that you will absolutely adore, though I cannot say much more about it without spoiling the story.

The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz – Amazon | My Review | 65 pages

How do people even come up with all these beautiful and magical stories?! I can’t tell you, but The Cybernetic Tea Shop is a masterpiece. The main characters are a fully autonomous robot, Sal, a technician specialising in Raise AIs (small robot companions), and of course, Joanie, the hummingbird-shaped Raise AI herself. This is a story about a woman who can’t settle, a tea shop that is almost 300 years old, moving on, and finding new purpose. I recommend it to everyone.

Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live by Sacha Lamb – Amazon | My Review | 67 pages

This is the other m/m story on the list – in fact, it is an #ownvoices story about a romance between two trans gay teenage boys, one of whom is Jewish. The author describes it as a “romantic, #ownvoices fairy tale for trans boys”, and nothing I can say would really explain it better than that. (It does deal with topics of suicide, although nobody actually commits it in the story.)

~ Alexa 🐉

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Recommendations

Recommendation: Chameleon Moon + Others

Let me tell you about the Chameleon Moon universe and why I adore it.

(Disclaimer: I am not getting paid or compensated for this in any way, I just really love this author and this world, so here’s why you should love it too and also the best ways you can get extra content.)

Love yourself, love the people around you, and never give up. If you need help, reach out. If you’re drowning, make some noise. There are people who love you, who will throw you a life preserver. That’s what it all comes down to, love. That’s how we’re gonna get through this. And we are gonna get through this.

Chameleon Moon and its sequel, The Lifeline Signal are both hopeful dystopian novels by RoAnna Sylver. What is a hopeful dystopia, you ask? The world sucks, but we’re still here. We support each other, we carry on, and everything is going to be okay.

I cannot emphasize how much I admire the world, and especially the characters RoAnna Sylver created. Not only is the cast incredibly diverse in terms of sexual and romantic orientation, race, disability and personalities, but there is also a huge focus on anxiety, PTSD and related mental health issues. The story of Chameleon Moon is all about standing together.

I could talk forever about the different types of representation in Chameleon Moon, so let me highlight my favourite parts: it has several asexual and aromantic characters (although in the first book the aromanticism is only word-of-god), and also plenty of polyamory. Over here, there is a trio of three women (one of them transgender) married to each other with a kid. And over there… like 5-6 guys and nb people dating each other in all kinds of combinations. (There are also several nonbinary characters using they/them pronouns, as well as at least one of them using xie/xir pronouns – and it’s all completely natural.)

Another huge part of why I love the Chameleon Moon books is the author, RoAnna Sylver themself. They are not only an incredibly skilled writer with a wonderful soul (I mean, you have to have a wonderful soul to be this committed to writing books about hope and love), but they are also super approachable and open to me fans screaming at them about the various characters.

The best place where you can buy the author’s works is Gumroad – you can find all of the stories plus some extra stuff there (including What You Remember, the Chameleon Moon theme song, which is honestly worth every penny), and you can even choose to tip if you can. However, if for some reason you can’t afford the five dollars for the first book, it is actually cheaper on Amazon.

I actually got almost everything by RoAnna Sylver (the two Chameleon Moon novels, a bunch of short stories, as well as their other projects – Stake Sauce with punk gay vampires and Death Masquerade with 19th-century lesbian vampires) either for free or incredibly cheap – all through legal means and from the author themself. Two of the short stories, Runtime and Always Be You are free on both Amazon and Gumroad, and a third one, Un-Dead is included for free in the second edition of Chameleon Moon. (The ebook, at least – I can’t speak for the physical book.)

Signing up for RoAnna’s mailing list (link on the sidebar here) also gets you free stuff, and just paying one dollar per update on Patreon gives you access to a crapton of posts with extra content (with higher tiers getting you exclusive commissions!).

All in all, this is honestly one of my favourite book series, and apparently there are at least five books planned?! I’m here for the long-run, and you should be too.

~ Alexa 🐲

Recommendations

Recommendation: 10 Best Stories Under 100 Pages – Part 1

While 500-page novels can be wonderful, sometimes they just feel overwhelming and I prefer to read something shorter. In this post, I compile my favourite short stories or novellas under 100 pages that I read recently. These are ordered according to page numbers and not based on how much I loved them, because I love them all 🙂

I picked 10 short stories to share with you, but I decided this post would get too long if I posted all of them at the same time – so have the first five and look forward for the second part (with five stories between 40 and 70 pages).

Swelter by Jules Kelley – Amazon | My Review | 20 pages

This wonderful story is about a girl called Grace who attends her older brother’s wedding and hooks up with her childhood crush. Who is her brother’s friend and has a motorcycle.

I adored the writing and the characterisation here, and isn’t that cover just the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? Also, as you may have guessed from the title and the description, this story has some steamy scenes – be aware of that before reading.

Gunrunners by Cecil Wilde – Amazon (Free!)| My Review | 20 pages

Retired intersolar troublemakers (criminals, revolutionaries, lovers, spies, gunrunners) reunite for one last adventure, and perhaps a little redemption.

Things go well, until they don’t.

This is not necessarily a happy story, but it is also not necessarily a sad one.

There’s not much I can add to that description by the author. It was amazing to see older queer characters, one of whom is nonbinary, getting into adventures. There’s so much implied history between them and I would have loved to read more, but this story is still complete on its own.

Out of Her Depth by Pike Martell – Amazon | My Review | 24 pages

This story is about a school where human students go together with supernatural students, and the first mermaid who tries her luck. It’s a love story between a human girl and a mermaid girl who have a happy ending together, even though there are some difficulties and things they have to sacrifice along the way.

Warning for mentions of self-harm scars.

The Witch Sea by Sara Diemer – Amazon (Free!) | My Review | 28 pages

Another f/f fantasy story about a witch, a selkie, sea gods, old grudges, and expectations placed on the younger generations by those who came before them.

Keep in mind that this story has a slightly bittersweet ending instead of a real happy one, but I enjoyed it immensely and I think you will too.

Green Toes by Avery Flinders – Amazon | My Review | 31 pages

This short story is set in a world that is mostly realistic, except for one magic element. The protagonist is a bisexual girl who moves from her rural town to the big city in search of a queer community… she just happens to have magic boots that make gardening a lot more easier.

In the end, she finds the community she was looking for, although not the way she expected. This story has a genderqueer love interest and supportive friend characters, as well as a happy ending.

~ Alexa 🦊