Heist (L is for Librarian Book 2) by Tom Bruno

“So the Library, eh?  You’re the guys who travel through time and steal books.”

More librarians in space – in this episode, exploring the limits of space-time, trying to cheat the Muse of History without triggering a Hawking crisis!  I’m really enjoying the L is for Librarian books. Not quite a series, each book is unrelated except by topic. In this book, future librarians travel back in time to rescue the holdings of the great Library of Alexandria before they’re destroyed.

I actually referenced the predecessor to this book (Bibliophile, L is for Librarian Book 1) in my own book (Self-Publishing and Libraries) as an example of the micro-niche of self-published books by librarians about librarians! I was thrilled to discover that it was part of a series.

The attention to historical detail in this episode and the neat little intertwining anachronisms really made this story a lot of fun. Fans (and alums) of Harvard will find this especially entertaining:

“….Harvard College Library’s collections, which at the time were overflowing their designated holding place at Gore Hall.  Widener Library, it was called, a living tribute to Harvard alumnus and avid bibliophile Harry Widener, who had perished along with his father aboard the British passenger liner Titanic….”  Except, of course, that he hadn’t! Widener is one of the main characters, along with Mehmet Sohrabi, a classics scholar who, “wasn’t prepared for many aspects of time travel, but the worst of it in his opinion was the lack of coffee.”

This is a great, fun read!

 

Bibliophile (L is for Librarian Book 1) by Tom Bruno

Bibliophile is an adorable little book – a sci-fi tale discussing the importance of librarians in space! I actually referenced this book in my own book (Self-Publishing and Libraries) as an example of the micro-niche of self-published books by librarians about librarians! (Ya gotta luv the symmetry!)

The book itself is a wonderful read. Between references to Emerson and Plato, you’ll find Neo-transcendentalist settlers and anarchist librarians on the outer rim. The references to “future” authors were in themselves a hoot. I found myself thinking that I’d kinda like to read, “Hesprus, a fantasy writer from the Lesser Magellanic Cloud whose works had developed a small but cult following.  His Robar Trilogy detailed the epic struggle of good versus evil on a planet where humanity had awoken from millennia of cryogenic slumber to find that their dreams had manifested themselves into reality while they’d slept.”

Overall I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the next two installments (currently out) in this series. My only complaint here is that the author needs a better proofreader. While there are only a handful of typos (“operating” instead of “operator”, “offer” instead of “author”) a work this length really should be typo free.

39 pages

Vampire Love by Brigitta Moon

“Any mosquitoes in your room? Unsettling dreams? Sweet nothings in your ear?”

Questions you should probably ask yourself when checking in to a castle feared by locals, accessible only by miles of walking, and known only to outsiders drowning in grief and desperately trawling the Internet…

Vampire Love is a fun paranormal short by Brigitta Moon.  It starts slow, then builds. I found a few of the early descriptions slightly awkward, as if the author was still struggling to find her voice.  As she finds it, that early crawl quickly climbs to racing pace.

When the story picks up, it moves quickly and unexpectedly.  VERY unexpectedly.  Definitely worth the read.  [Just FYI – this is clearly intended for adults. Expect “adult” material. It’s related to the plot, and not grossly graphic but you should be aware that it’s there if you find that kind of thing objectionable…]

 

Eating My Words: 2014 National Flash-Fiction Day Anthology

Eating My Words is an eclectic selection of short “Flash” fiction.  The book doesn’t actually define this, but the general definition puts Flash fiction at under 2,000 words.  There’s also a selection of Micro fiction at the end – stories that cap out at 100 words. The micro fiction really didn’t do it for me. The length just didn’t provide time for me to engage with the story, or for the author to complete a full story arch.  The Flash fiction was very entertaining though.

One thing that struck me about this anthology was the range of genres. In addition to the expected “literary” fiction, I think that almost every genre but romance was covered. You’ll find horror, detective story, fantasy, science fiction, drama, western, and even a few tales that approach (but don’t quite reach) erotica. Cannibalism pops up in two different tales, as do cinemas – a 5D film that leaves its audience in pieces and a cinema candy seller who comes to a sticky end. There’s a discarded mute son who finds maternal love through alchemy. A vixen picking up grieving men at the local cemetery. There are even unusual references to animals. We see Darwin’s experiments from the view of the earthworms. A London in which residents and rats are interchangeable – “The rat was better company, she said, and less domineering about the TV.”  A rather risqué school fair at which, “Suspicions about the true nature of the Bare Back Riding tent were raised only after someone noticed the lack of horses.” And a really off the wall tale about a man who swallows kittens in his sleep.

Some of the stories were quite poetic: “His age is a wrinkled suit. It fits. You inspect the dismantled origami of his face and feel he used to smile a lot, all the lines are there.” Others quite humorous.

I think there’s definitely something for everyone here.

My only criticism would be that there is some strange hyphenation at points where words are hyphenated in the middle of a line (not the end) such as “sug-gestions?”, “eng-agement” and “prog-ramme”. This appears to be a formatting error.

Overall, I definitely recommend this selection for readers who appreciate short fiction.

(Currently included in Kindle Unlimited. 6-6-2017)

 

The Cost of Business: A Dragonfire Station Short Story by Zen DiPietro

I enjoyed trader Cabot’s innovative solution in this short freebie. The glimpses of Briveen culture provided were also intriguing. I’m now trying to imagine a sapient evolved from dinosaurs with cybernetic arms… If the author’s goal was to interest me in his longer works, he succeeded. Even better, the longer series is available on kindle unlimited! Book 1 is downloading now…

37 pages

What Happened In Dingle by Fiona Cooke Hogan

I don’t often read romance. When I do, it’s usually because some other aspect of the book drew me in – space aliens, warm and fuzzy critters, a historical setting I find fascinating, etc. In this case, it was the Irish setting.  I had the privilege to visit Ireland a few years back with my youngest daughter. So I enjoyed the main character’s observance of the tour group she joined to escape for a few hours. “She watched her own country through foreign eyes in the dripping shelter of a shop doorway.” Ruth’s observations were pretty spot on. I was especially amused by her internal assessment of the tourist reaction to a near miss with another tour bus. “Would it be a dreamlike roll and crash to the soundtrack of Celtic music and screams? …. Would the railing hold? Jees, could we get out and maybe video it?” [And yeah, we totally would have tried to video it!]

I thought the author elegantly captured Ruth’s ambivalence. “Unsure of what to do, stay or go? She was weak, nervous but excited all at the same time. This is what young feels like, she thought.”  Her assessment of “old” love is also poignant: “We were like you, she thought, smugly in love. In our own indulgent bubble, oblivious to the trials and struggles of others…. Over time lovers forget that they hold each other’s hearts and they eventually harden and close against their keepers.” Ouch!

I didn’t find Neil as convincing as Ruth. His character seemed a bit flat. Then again, he wasn’t actually IN most of the story. I suspect that if this were a longer work, he’d be more developed and believable.

Definitely a worthwhile short read. And PS. Thanks to the author for making me aware of a new and different curse word (“pegging”). Throw it into Wikipedia if you’re curious – and Ohhhh myyyyy.

33 pages