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review 2017-05-16 19:09
The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu
The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere - John Chu

This year I wanted to change a few thing about my reading habits. I have always read a ton of books but not much else. Well, if you've been following me for some time now, you may have noticed I started reading more graphic novels, manga, and non-fiction books. Along with them, I've also wanted to read a few more short stories and I've read a couple that were part of series I was reading, but never a stand-alone short story. Well, today I've decided to change that! I decided to read The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu. It's a short story that got a lot of buzz a few years back during the 2014 Hugo Awards and I wanted to see what the story was all about.

 

The story follows Matt, a Chinese biotech engineer, who lives in a world where if you lie, copious amounts of water rains down upon you. In this rain-filled world, Matt must spend a Christmas celebration with his family and work up the nerve to tell them he and his lover, Gus, plan on getting married. However, things become more complicated when his sister gets involved and refuses to let Matt have the chance to come out to his family. It's a hard-hitting tale most queer people must overcome with sci-fi elements thrown in.

 

I really enjoyed this story. John Chu has a very straightforward writing style. What I enjoyed most about it is how he incorporates his own language into the story. I don't read or understand Chinese, be it Mandarin or Cantonese, but I loved seeing Chu's language throughout the story. And he uses the language unapologetically. Mind you, he doesn't leave the reader hanging. You can figure out what the characters are saying either by the author giving you the translation right after the Chinese, or with enough context clues. I'm glad he decided to write his story in such a way.

 

The characters are all beautifully developed, complex characters! Matt is struggling with who he is as a person and not wanting to disappoint his family. He also is having a hard time admitting what he feels because of years of shame and guilt. His lover, Gus, is so loving and supportive but he, too, has his limits. He loves Matt and will do anything for him but also knows when he needs to give space to the one he loves. Matt's family also have many layers to them. I love Matt's mother so much for reasons I cannot describe because it's a HUGE spoiler to the short story but she is amazing! Michele, Matt's sister, is the only one that seems to have a problem with Matt being gay. It's mentioned multiple times throughout the story that she treats him poorly because she loves him and only wants what's best for him. But from the reader's point of view, she is selfish, cruel, and close-minded. One message that I took away from this short story is that, yes, you can love your family but if they are causing you harm, then a bit of separation is healthy for everyone involved. I love this short story.

 

If you love reading short stories about coming-of-age LGBTQIAP+/racially diverse characters with a sci-fi twist, then I highly recommend you give this one a read. The only downside to this story is that I, ironically, found it to be too short. If there were about five to six more paragraphs showing what happened after the last event, then I think it would have been a solid short story. As it is, it's a good story with a bit of an abrupt end. Still, I do recommend this short story. It's such a beautifully told tale about two men in love and the obstacles they must face just to be together.

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review 2017-05-10 18:19
"The Human is Late to Feed the Cat" by Beth Cato

A very short apocalyptic story from the perspective of a cat. Bad things are happening, and by the end of the story bad things are still happening with no indication that things will get better. But the woman does the best she can to make sure her cat will be okay.

 

I came across this today while looking for other things. It made me think of my own cat (who would probably be doomed because she doesn't have any experience killing anything larger and more nutritious than a cricket) and the stray cat I and at least five other people take care of.

 

The sliver of hope for the cat was nice, but I generally like stories and books to have more hope to them than this one. Especially these days. I'm to the point where I'm considering going through my book collection and offloading anything apocalyptic, grimdark, etc. because I just can't.

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review 2017-05-06 12:15
Everything I Want Is Nothing But You by mickeym
Everything I Want Is Nothing But You -... Everything I Want Is Nothing But You - mickeym

Sam has had a rough life working the streets to make ends meet, then a gorgeous green-eyed guy asks him for directions. A short well-written fic told from Sam's pov.

Source: archiveofourown.org/works/58416
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review 2017-04-29 06:04
Quick Thoughts: Storming the Castle (novella)
Storming the Castle: An Original Short Story (Audio) - Eloisa James,Nicola Barber

Storming the Castle
by Eloisa James

audio book narrated by Nicola Barber

Fairy Tales #1.5 (novella)

 

 

What Miss Phillipa Damson needs is a good, old fashioned knight in shining armor.  What she has is a fiancé she never wanted and a compelling urge to run away.  But if she manages to escape, will she find her happily ever after?



This novella started strong, and truthfully, I had been thinking that I liked it more than I liked it's preceding book, A Kiss At Midnight.  Because, truthfully, A Kiss At Midnight was just riddled with romance plot clichés and over dramatic angst, even if the book itself was pretty enjoyable.

The conditions of which Phillipa leaves her family and her betrothal to pursue a life for herself was exciting.  In fact, it was the best part of the novella, because it helps establish Phillipa's character outside of just being a Romance Novel Heroine, where everything revolves around a man and her love life.  I loved that she has a self-revelation about not wanting to continue being told what she should feel, how she should think, what she should want with her life, or how lucky she was to have her future taken care of for her.

That she took the initiative to step out of that mold to find her own way in life drew me in, and made me intrigued at what was in store for her.

That she would find Jonas Berwick, majordomo extraordinaire, in her future was also a bonus for me since I absolutely loved him from the first book.

The insta-lust that took place as soon as she enters the castle to become a nursemaid was not surprising.  And I was actually looking forward to the potential love story between her and one of my favorite characters from A Kiss At Midnight, Prince Gabriel's half-brother, Jonas Berwick.  Since the first book, I had found Berwick's character to be much more attractive and interesting than the main male character and had secretly wanted Kate to fall for him instead.

I had hoped he'd get his own book.

But a novella will have to suffice, I suppose, though, to be honest, after finishing this novella, I feel like Berwick deserved a much better story.

The moment we get to the castle, the story kind of plateaus and stops being exciting.  The love story feels supremely lukewarm, and while I like that Phillipa and Berwick don't fall in love at first sight, I never felt the chemistry between them.  I felt more chemistry between Kate and Phillipa, or even the castle's French cook and Phillipa, than between our resident main couple.  Berwick was severely underused in this novella, and honestly, I repeat, he deserves a full length novel and a better story.

When we get to the concluding chapter and find out that Phillipa had, yet another reason for not wanting to marry her betrothed Rodney... I guess that was it for me.  Because simply wanting the freedom to make her own choices wasn't enough?  I couldn't fault her for that.  But she announces another, much more superficial reason to her father, barely even mentioning the fact that she was tired of being strung around like a puppet by the people in her life.  No, Phillipa's reasons for not wanting to marry Rodney had more to do with the fact that Rodney isn't exactly the most physically appealing person, despite the fact that he was never a bad person to begin with.

That conclusion severely set Phillipa's character development from the first couple chapters backwards, and I stopped feeling bad for her that her father kept trying to force her into a life she didn't want.

Anyway, I can't deny that despite everything I disliked about this novella, Eloisa's writing style for the Fairy Tales stories are written in a distinctly "Once Upon A Time" like whimsical way that I like.  It truly feels like I'm reading (or in this case listening to) a fairy tale being told.

***

Booklikes-opoly


Roll #4:  (A third double landed me in Jail.)
Read 138 pages to add onto my 300 page Jail sentence.

No increase in Bank.

See Also:  Fourth Roll Activities

 

 

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/quick-thoughts-storming-castle-novella.html
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review 2017-04-26 00:15
Black-Eyed Susie by Kristen Mae
Black-Eyed Susie: A Short Story - Kriste... Black-Eyed Susie: A Short Story - Kristen Mae

Black-Eyed Susie: A Short Story by Kristen Mae has a surprise ending.

 

With "little Black-Eyed Susie, you’d better be careful what you wish for."

 

It is a disturbing story with strong adult content. I gave it three stars.

 

I received a complimentary Kindle copy in an Amazon promotion. That did not change my opinion for this review.

 

Link to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Black-Eyed-Susie-Short-Kristen-Mae-ebook/dp/B06Y1XMFRQ/

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