Sunday, September 9, 2012

Just Finished: Spellbound Hearts

I never used to be a fan of short stories. I didn't think I could get the full experience from a little snippet of a story. My mind was changed in the last few years as I encountered several short stories that gave me everything a novel did. But...the anthology Spellbound Hearts left me wanting a lot more.

Before I get too much into my thoughts, here's the synopsis of these four stories:
Boxers or Briefs by Jillian Chantal
Magical Foundations, so much more than a lingerie shop.
The Beauty Within by Olivia Devereaux
Adele lives a privileged life. When one of the Council of Eight decides Adele needs to be taught a lesson, the pixie is cast down into the world of the sprite. Without the finery that made her one of the privileged of the society, Adele must find the meaning of true beauty and what love entails or be cast out forever.
Witchy by Clara Waibel
Love spells are illegal. The Council sends witches to jail for much less, but when Sally falls for the new guy at the office, resorting to an evil Fae's help will be her only hope.
Temptations Touch by Liv Rancourt
Geri cringes at the thought of a single touch, but when she finds herself stranded in the Fae world, the temptation is too strong to resist, connecting her to a binding love.
Let me start out by saying that I'm usually a fan of magical stories. I adore Harry Potter and devoured (the more grown up) All Souls Trilogy featuring witches, vampires, and daemons. I've always enjoyed these kinds of stories - confession: I had a huge fairy obsession when I was younger - so I'm not really sure why I didn't love the four stories in this anthology.

I think some of my issues came with the writing itself. Magical stories can be tricky to write and read. If things aren't written well or explained in a relatable way, they can seem sort of...well...hokey, I suppose. Maybe I just notice these things more now that I've been blogging for almost two years. I never used to pay attention to the way things were written but I now find myself editing the books I read when they're not working for me. Mostly I found some flow issues and some awkward phrasing and dialogue. Could I have done better? Probably not, but, as a reader, these little things did make a negative impact on my enjoyment of the stories.

What makes all this negativity surprising is that when I think about the actual stories, I can't find anything about them that I disliked. It was interesting to see how the witchy matchmaker fared when faced with a curious stranger. The relationship between the pixies and sprites was reminiscent of the class struggles we all face as humans. I wondered what I would do if I was a powerful witch who couldn't seem to find a guy who liked me. And I was intrigued about the Fae world that orphan Geri found herself in.

I've read stories by some of these authors before and enjoyed them so I found it odd that these ones didn't connect. Because of this, and because of the fact that I didn't dislike the stories themselves, I'd still give this anthology a recommend. I will say that you should definitely be into magic and fantasy stories to enjoy these though. If those kinds of stories only sometimes thrill you, I'd check out one of the other anthologies Still Moments Publishing has to offer (I'd recommend those anyway - they've got something for everyone!). A bit of a downer review, I know, but just know that this less than stellar reading experience hasn't deterred me from reading more short stories in the future.

Happy reading :)

Thank you to Still Moments Publishing for the copy to review.

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