Cheri’s Funk Reading List

As some of you already know, I’ve been feeling a bit off the past couple of months. When I’m in a funk, I reject most of the reading I should be doing for reading that I want to do. That means that reviews that I should have done are still waiting to be done. And I’m not sure when I’ll get all caught up because I’m still a bit funky.

Since my funk reading list tends to be only old favorites, I thought I’d share what made the list. There are a few other books on the list because they were selected as Books of the Month for the Mostly Lesfic Goodreads group or for Cocktail Hour.

Ok, here we go! These are not in any order because I can’t remember in what order I read them. Some of them have already been reviewed here so I provided links to the older reviews.

Open to Persuasion by Allie (CanadaBadGirl) – This is one of my favorite SVU fics. I think Allie aka CanadaBadGirl or CBG is a great storyteller and I’ve read everything she’s written in the Bad Girls fandom but I think there are other SVU fics that she’s done and she may also write for other fandoms. Not sure. This story not only has a very good depiction of a relationship between Alex and Olivia but two good cases. I highly recommend it. Andy and I also featured this one on an episode of Cocktail Hour and I reviewed it previously here. I haven’t read that review recently so who knows what I said…

My Lord by Mayt – This is a super long, super angst filled, and super good Conqueror fic. Are there some issues grammatically? Sure. Does it take away from the epic tale? Not at all. This is possibly the best Conqueror story I’ve ever read. There are a total of 7 books and some are better than others but, overall, just a great series. Be sure to keep a box of tissues nearby. Mayt has plenty of other fics available and a published series that starts out with Hesed by Maytee Aspuro Y Gonzalez

Snowbound by Queenfor4 – I came across this story awhile ago during a browsing of Calli’s Creations galleries of covers. I’m one of those people who will pick up a book because the cover grabs me… I had forgotten about it until Cari Hunter’s Snowbound was selected as the Mostly Lesfic book for May and it came up during my search. So I read it a couple of days ago. I very much enjoyed it! Megan Galagher is a homophobic mystery writer who ends up snowbound with a lesbian doctor, Randi Oakes. The unfolding of the story is good and the relationship building is good, too. I’d read it again and do recommend it. A nice Xena Uber. I also just noticed that UK reviewed the story here awhile ago so you should see what she had to say, too.

Snowbound by Cari Hunter – I just reviewed this one here.

Bonded by CBG – One of my very favorite stories in the Bad Girls fandom. CBG does angst like nobody’s business. She also has a very good grasp on the essence of the characters. A joy to read.

Biography & the sequel Plus Ca Change (or Ties That Bind) by CBG – Another favorite! AND this one has been published! You can find it under the name A Walk in the Rain by Alison Barnard. I grabbed the sample from Amazon to see if it started out differently and it appears to be exactly the same with the exception of changing the names of the characters that appeared in Bad Girls. I will, eventually, buy it to support the author but will probably wait until the next time I get the urge to read it. Shouldn’t be too long. Incognito also reviewed both of these stories here and here.

Reapers, Inc.- Brigit’s Cross by B. L. Newport – This was the April book of the month for the Mostly Lesfic group. We all agreed that it was pretty damn good. It’s the story of a newly dead woman who becomes a grim reaper. Initially, it was hard for me to get the image of Dead Like Me out of my head but as I got into it, it was definitely a good read. It’s the first in a series and you’ll probably want to pick up the second one just before you finish the first so you can move on. You’ll know if you want to continue by mid-book.

Soiled Dove by Brenda Adcock – I love westerns – especially westerns with brothels and whores. I didn’t really love this one but I didn’t dislike it either. It was ok. I enjoyed it mostly. I guess it just didn’t move me but it did give me a few hours of entertainment. I don’t not recommend it. You know what I mean?

The Road to Glory by Blayne Cooper & T. Novan – I’ve read this one before and enjoyed it but I enjoyed it even more the second time. I just love Cooper’s sense of humor and Novan’s ability to write angst and there’s lots of both here.

The Story of Me by Blayne Cooper – This short story is, in my opinion, fantastic. It’s classic Blayne Cooper. Stalkers, squirrels, and mishaps make this a very funny, well done romp.

None So Blind by LJ Maas – This is one of my very favorite romances of all time. It’s got the classic formula but Maas, I think, was a fabulous storyteller and I fell in love with both Torrey and Taylor. Yes, there are some issues – lots of flashbacks and many times when the lack of communication between the main characters makes you want to shake them violently – but I just don’t care. My dear friend, incognito, reviewed it here a long time ago so you can see what she had to say, too.

Balance of Forces: Toujour Ici by Ali Vali – I read this one for my appearance on Cocktail Hour with Andy and Ali Vali. It had been awhile since I read a book of Vali’s that I honestly enjoyed. I enjoyed this one. I don’t know if it was because it started out as an online fic – I love her old fan fic more than just about any book she’s put out – or if it’s just a good story, but I do recommend this one!

There were a few more but I can’t remember what they were. I’m still on the edges of the funk so who knows where that will take me!

The Conqueror by Mavis Applewater

I’m pretty sure I’ve said before that I love Conqueror stories. I do. Really. And I liked this one quite a bit also. It’s a short story that begins with The Bitch of Greece having a slave cut down from the cross. That slave is Gabrielle, a rebel, and she’s being cut down because she killed two of Xena’s enemies awhile before. Of course, she had already had her legs broken so Xena has her healer attend to Gabrielle. And has her put in the small room just off of her own. You know, the room that usually houses the body slave.

Xena’s not sure why she’s drawn to the little blonde, but she is. She’s also determined not to take her by force. She’s convinced that Gabrielle will offer her body to the Conqueror.

This isn’t particularly original but it is pretty well written and I liked it. The end was a little different. If you like Conqueror stories or just want a quick read with some nice little sex scenes, give this one a read.

Soul Searching by Advocate & T Novan

From my favorite writing team, Blayne Cooper (as Advocate) and T. Novan, comes Soul Searching. It’s a tightly written Conqueror story that I’ve enjoyed reading a couple of times. It begins with a bored Xena leaving her palace in the middle of the night and finding herself hiding out in the small village of Poteadia where Gabrielle works in the tavern/inn.

This story has pretty much everything you’d want in a Conqueror piece – blood, sex, intrigue, love, and family – along with many of our favorite characters: Ares, Callisto, and Autolycus are some of them. The plot is pretty fast paced and it can be difficult at times to put it down. It’s a long work and I didn’t feel that there was any filler in it. The characters were well developed and I felt invested in their story.

There are a few places when the authors forgot to remove words after finding one they thought fit better and a handful of typos but the story is well worth it. By far, one of my faves.

Unconquered by Pallas

This Conqueror story begins with Xena surrendering herself to an Amazon outpost. Gabrielle, who by then lives with the Amazons after being forced by Xena to watch her husband and sister burn to death, demands vengence. She travels with Ephiny and a contingent of sisters to bring Xena back from the outpost for her trial. She plans to murder Xena before she reaches the main Amazon camp to be judged.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t finish this one. I got about a third of the way through and just couldn’t go any further. The mechanics of the writing were fine, good even. But I found the story and the execution of the plot just unbelievable. I wanted to feel it but I just couldn’t. Gabrielle, in less than five minutes of actually meeting with Xena, begins to have conflicting feelings toward the Conqueror. Ephiny asks her if she’s in love with her, explaining how close the emotional strength of love and hate is. The supposed connection between Xena and Gabrielle felt very forced to me and, with that and the storyline, I just had to stop.

This is the first fic I’ve tried to read by this author but I did grab another one so I’ll see if I have the same issues with that one or if this was a fluke. And, it may just be me. I found this on someone else’s recommendations page so I know at least one person liked it enough to list.

The Last Conqueror by Kamouraskan and Lariel

My favorite Xena fics tend to be Xena the Conqueror stories. Almost all of them have that transformation from Xena, Destroyer of Nations, to Xena, Leader of the People. With the help of Gabrielle, of course. Gabrielle takes on all sorts of different roles in these stories, from freedom fighter to body slave, but the outcome is usually the same. I like the conqueror stories because Xena usually gets to show off her fighting and manipulation skills much more than when she’s Xena, the repentant ex-warlord fighting for the greater good.

This story was good and had a bit of a twist right off the bat. Alti is the Conqueror, having dethroned Xena. With very few exceptions, everyone believes Xena has been killed. The reality is that she is being held in the dungeon. Alti still needs her and her inner power. There is a prophecy waiting to be fulfilled and it involves Alti, Xena, and a third person: Gabrielle, of course.

This piece has plenty of mysticism, intrigue, Amazons, and some angst thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t the best Conqueror story I’ve read, but certainly nowhere near the worst. I enjoyed it the most because it was different. And after you’ve read as many fics as I have, different can be very, very good.