At many points this year novellas and short stories have been just what I needed to read. I am always amazed what authors can do with a limited word-count. The emotional stories that they can cram into small packages. I am huge fan of the Rogue Anthologies project and the range of authors that have participated in them.
Two of my favorite romance short stories of the year came out the same volume, Rogue Acts.
- Cover Me by Olivia Dade is a Marriage of Convenience between good friends for insurance purposes that ignites into so much more. The sweet hero is determined to care for his new wife. Loved the incandescent scene at a town hall meeting were Elizabeth roasts her congressman & opens James eyes. (mf, contemporary) CW: Cancer scare
- The Long Run by Ruby Lang is a Gently funny & hopeful story of neighbors who get off on the wrong foot. It is all about the small efforts toward change & community building that truly make a difference when things seem dire. It is about finding hope & joy even when things are hard. Loved Annie’s too-loudness & Monroe’s chill-hiding shyness. (mf, contemporary)
I've read two very different but truly charming novellas in the last couple of weeks that catapulted on to this list:
- Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder Pinky has moved back town to help her parents run their Indian restaurant in small-town Indiana. She has developed an unhealthy attraction to the handsome motorcycle club enforcer who stops in every night and taunts her by mouthing "soon" to her when he catches hers looking. It is a story of secrets and identity crises, from Pinky taste for wildness despite to the seeming contradictions between Trucker's menacing persona and their comic book /musical theater fueled banter. It was a rollercoaster full of sweetness and hotness ( mf, contemporary) CW: Cancer diagnosis for parent.
- Craft of Love by EE Ottoman I loved the gentle pacing of this sweet novella. Ottaman crafted a satisfying romance that slowly unfolds from Benjamin & Remembrance's tentative admiration & respect. I loved how Ottoman illustrated the growing attraction & how regard built into fondness. Both Benjamin & Remembrance has reasons to be anxious and tentative when it comes to love & friendship and Ottoman get it just right.(mf, trans MC, US-set Historical novella)
This year I also read a mystery novella set in a PNR world. I don't know how to catalog it as it didn't have a romance, but it is really a coming of age story. It was a fantastic bridge transitioning the series to a new lead character.
- In Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews, Catalina is entrusted with finding a Rogan family heirloom before Rogan & Nevada’s wedding. The only way she can solve the mystery in time and make sure her sister and family and safe is to use her powers something she has always been scared to do. Catalina tests herself and find new skills and challenges ahead. (Paranormal Mystery)
What short-stories and novellas gave you just what you were looking for this year?