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 Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by anex

This is a very short post-FIN story that explains the origin of Gabrielle’s dragon tattoo. I haven’t finished the series yet, much to the dismay of many of my friends, so I don’t know anything about the tattoo except that it’s pretty sweet. And I like seeing Gabby’s naked back.

For a story that took less than 5 minutes to read, I found myself drawn in and connected. I like her writing style, too. You can check it out at The Xena Library. Anex also has an author page over at The Athenaeum. Looks like she tends to write short stories. I know I’ll be checking them out.

Thanks to Rio from The Xena Library for letting me know about this gem.

Seven Days in Pompeii by DJWP

After reading The Conqueror’s Stone by DJWP for the conqueror episode of Cocktail Hour, my co-host suggested that I read Seven Days in Pompeii. Anyone who follows the show knows that I have a weakness for phalluses (phalli?) and there’s a scene in Seven Days that Andy thought I would enjoy. So I grabbed the story from PDAfiction.com and got to reading.

The story opens with Xena mourning the loss of Gabrielle when she fell in the pit at the Temple of Dahak – the finale of season 3, I think. The author says she wrote this during the re-run season while she waited to find out what happens to Gabs. So Xena is missing Gabrielle and decides to read some of her scrolls during her first night alone. She pulls out the story of when they spent a week in Pompeii – the week before the eruption of Mt. Vesuvious – during the lead up to a major harvest festival. DJWP moves pretty smoothly between Gabrielle’s writing and Xena’s memories so the reader gets the complete picture. I won’t give any more away than that.

I will say that I do enjoy DJWP’s work. It seemed, though, that the story was almost divided into three parts: the loss of Gabrielle, the lead up to and the festival, and the eruption/post eruption. The first and the last part were pretty serious but the middle was filled with some good humor and funny situations and characters. It felt like it was almost written by a different person and, even though I laughed out loud and enjoyed it, it just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the serious story. But I’d read it again so there ya go…

DJWP has several other stories posted on PDAfiction.com and I’ve downloaded them and absolutely plan to read them all.

http://pdafiction.com/djwp.htm

The High Pass by Jim

I’m a huge fan of Xena, but I have to admit I can probably count the numbers of Xena fan fics I’ve actually read on the fingers of one hand.

The other half, also an avid fan of the show, who voraciously read everything she could way back then, was a little taken aback at my admission. “Here!” she said. “Read this for starters!” and thrust The High Pass my way.

I’m grateful for her good sense in doing so. It’s exceptional. From the moment of the opening line I was hooked and couldn’t stop reading it until I reached The End.

It’s told in omniscient viewpoint. A narrator leads us into the story, setting the scene….of an impending tragedy. They even tell us this fact in the first sentence.

From there, Jim lets the story unfold. On a successful trip, heading back to Greece, tragedy does strike and Xena and Gabrielle face starvation and ultimately death. It’s Gabrielle that manages to provide them meagre sustenance, in a land ravaged by famine, by negotiating with inn keepers, that she will entertain the local villagers with her Bard’s stories, for a room and food and a share of profits. The bargain not always in their favour.

Over weeks, Xena painfully watches Gabrielle getting thinner and weaker. Resisting offers from local Lords to join them in collecting taxes from the starving villagers, for which she will be paid handsomely. She is torn by her one weakness: Gabrielle. Willing to do anything to keep her safe, yet knowing Gabrielle could accept nothing from such spoils.

Of course Gabrielle’s unwavering faith in Xena, and her belief that she will find a way out of their situation, never falters. Even when Xena makes the disastrous decision that their best bet is to head over The High Pass.

This is a brilliantly crafted and wonderfully written story. Just when you think there may be a possibility to take a break for a cup of tea, Jim slips in a comment from the narrator, once again hinting at our duo’s doom and you’re not going anywhere until you travel that path with them.

The characterizations of Xena and Gabrielle are just perfect. This ‘is’ the Xena and Gabrielle we know from the show, but Jim takes it a level higher in giving us a Xena as we all imagined her to be; the potential that was there, that never quite made it on screen. If only this story could have been an actual episode, what a worthy episode it would have been!

This was Jim’s debut fic. As yet, I have no idea if this author wrote any others. If not, then it’s a loss to the Xenaverse community. Thankfully, we have still this one. If they did, I hope someone knows where they’re posted.

If you’ve never read any Xena fics (or like me have only read few) or are looking to add one to your list to read, then I urge you to make it this one!

http://xenafiction.net/scrolls/jim_thp.html

And There She Went by Azul

Going through my emails this morning, I came across the link for this short story in my daily Uber Etc. update and thought I’d give it a shot. This Xena & Gabrielle short is an inner monologue Xena has after Gabby’s marriage. She reflects on how they met and how Gabrielle made her feel things she didn’t think she could.

This is the author’s first attempt at fan fic and it’s pretty good. The writing style is a bit awkward at times. Not sure if a beta was used but I think Azul has a lot of potential and a good beta could help with tightening up the writing. For example, in such a short piece, there shouldn’t be the need to repeat the same phrases and adjectives so much. Again, I tend to be tough on these things so take my criticisms with that in mind.

I hope Azul keeps writing and continues to hone her skills.

http://www.academyofbards.org/fanfic/a/azulbard_andthereshewent.html

Trouble by Della Street

Trouble is what Gabrielle usually finds herself in when she and Xena separate for any reason and this story holds true to that. But this time it’s really not Gabby’s fault. Well, not totally. This story is more of a serious tale of what happens when Xena drops Gabrielle off in Potaidaia to help with her ailing mother. What they don’t count on is an old enemy showing up.

This story is what I would consider a short story but not nearly as short as Whipped. Sort of a medium short story. On my ereader, it comes out to 76 pages in the epub format. Not sure if that helps at all… Della Street has a good style and I don’t remember coming across anything, grammar or plot wise, that made me break stride. It’s a story that I’ll probably leave on my reader to enjoy again another time.

http://www.ralst.com/Trouble.HTM