A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In the moments between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends her free time trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 18 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.
The Bones of the Sea - a scifi short story.
Myasi has been contracted to destroy an obstruction in the shallow seas of Ulto Marinos. But her attempt to do so reveals something more beneath the surface ...
This started off almost like a someone daydreaming on a summer's afternoon, but soon the sorrow and the tragic history of the narrator seeps through, and you share the pain of their decision. Very moving.
In the interest of full disclosure - I have a story in this anthology. My review and rating is based solely on the the other seven stories in the collection, and NOT my opinion of my own.
Allure - I had the privilege of beta reading this before it was even submitted, and it still had me swallowing tears after the first couple of pages. Short and achingly sweet. If you aren't sniffling by the end you have no heart.
Nobody's Present - normally I don't go for the Mars needs women type story - one of my least favourite tropes - but this one pulled me right in and made me love it. *salutes author*
The Stranger - another short and sweet story, of love rediscovered. I would like to see this developed as a longer story.
Nam Selan - I'm a relative newcomer to Linnea's work, pointed there by Laurie Green, but I have read Games of Command. That book is a favourite because of Kel-Paton and Sass, so meeting them again was such a pleasure.
Prime Sensations - another I got to beta read, and despite disliking creme brulee I think of it with fondness everytime I hear it mentioned after this story. How to write sensuous without the sex. ;)
Envy's Revenge - grim and gritty view of a dystopian future. Despite that, the romance is very sweet and believable.
Whiskey and Starshine - a definite tang of Firefly! Lovely descriptions, intense romance and evocative of the Wild West in space.
Each story had a very distinctive flavour, and in spite of being short, I had no problem visualizing each 'world'. The characters were believable and often enthralling. I would love to read more stories set in each universe. This is one of the few books I've read recently that I would go back and read again.
I'll admit it - I was originally going to give this a 4* rating at the beginning, but I'd probably say 4.5* by the end. Why not quite 5? Because of the head-hopping, my personal bug bear. With several key characters being introduced quite quickly at the start, I found it particularly jarring and confusing. However, farther into the story I stopped noticing it so much. I was so in love with the characters, the in-depth and intriguing world-building, the snarky humour, and the two storylines full of romantic tension, I could almost forgive it.
I think I adore Ethan most, despite his frequent moments of being an asshole (I have a definite thing for human mecha). In fact, both male MCs needed a good slapping. Although Orynn's regular slips into self pity might irritate some, I found them understandable and acceptable. Hank irritated me extremely, but I can blame that on his youth. And Merick - ah, Merick! Such a bad boy (and not what I'd normally go for) but I have a soft spot for the warped little masochist.
The sex scenes are detailed but sweet and focus on the emotional and empathic connection as much as bodily descriptions. Some might find the use of expletives offensive, but they fit the settings and characters. The tension, both in the overall arc and the character relationships was good and generally the story zipped along (there were a couple of areas where it dragged a bit, mostly where back story was involved). Very, very few typos or grammatical errors that self published works are often notorious for.
A recommended read for fans of Firefly/Farscape, and those who've enjoyed Jaine Fenn's Hidden Empire series, and Linnea Sinclair's Sass and Kel-Paton stories. And a full length novel for free? Bargain!
(BTW, gorgeous cover).