At First Bite by Caitlin Ricci


At First Bite by Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: eXstasy Books
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Other: M/M, Masturbation
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

On his way home from work, Castor, a werewolf, is grabbed by a group of young vampires. Thinking quickly, he tells the vampires that he will only submit to their elder first, which means that they can’t bite him until that elder gives them permission. But Alexi isn’t interested in sharing his new wolf with anyone, and after they realize that they’re mates everything starts going to hell.

Not what I expected and it’s a good thing.

I like the work of Caitlin Ricci. Her books are always interesting and pack a punch. This book was no exception. Instead of the usual, vampires using humans, the vampires run the show. They can bite whom them want, but don’t always kill. I liked how Alexi wasn’t out for vengeance or anything. He was rather reluctant. He’s a solid vampire, don’t get me wrong, but he’s still got a human side. I wish I could’ve been able to see him more, but I did like him.

Castor took a little time to get to know. I liked him because he didn’t back down, but he was so tense. I didn’t get right away why he was tense, but once I did, it made perfect sense.

The two character didn’t seem to be compatible at first. I liked how they had to work themselves out. The ending was a tad abrupt and I would’ve liked more–but that’s because I enjoyed the story. I wanted to see them flesh out the relationship. What made them change their mind?

There isn’t a ton of sex in this novella, so if you’re looking for a stepping stone into paranormal or vampire romance, this might be the one to start with. If you’re looking for a quick book for a lunch hour read, then this is the one you want.

Partners In Love by Rebecca Brochu


Partners In Love by Rebecca Brochu
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (31 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When an unplanned and unwanted remodel of his apartment leaves Detective Dylan Vancarr homeless, the natural thing for him to do is turn up on the doorstep of his best friend and partner, Tyler Wilky.

An arrangement meant to last only for a night quickly turns into a surprisingly comfortable new life for the both of them.

While living with Tyler and realizing just how easily their lives mesh, Dylan quickly begins to realize that he may have found a partner for more than just the job.

He may have found a partner in love.

When Dylan’s apartment is wrecked who else could he possibly crash with except his colleague and partner, Tyler? Can they each take this chance to act on the simmering attraction boiling between them and build a relationship together outside of their work?

I found this to be a funny and rather macho M/M romance. Written in the first-person perspective I would have personally preferred to get to know Tyler’s character a little better, but can understand how difficult this task would have been for the author given the very short page-count. I was also left a little puzzled by the manner in which Dylan and Tyler’s relationship grew. For two men whom I found to both be rather macho to have almost the entire relationship seem to almost accidently flourish it just felt odd to me. Neither man made overt moves and while a part of me absolutely loved this incredibly different and fresh tactic in an M/M romance, a larger part of my brain just couldn’t find it at all believable. Two macho, alpha men and neither made the first move? Neither wanted to rock the boat or stake a claim? Neither man even hinted at the deeper undercurrents in their relationship? It just didn’t jibe with anything remotely logical or believable to my mind.

That said, I truly enjoyed this book. I laughed a lot, I really liked both men’s characters and felt attached and invested in their relationship – I just struggled to find the growth of their relationship realistic. Once I disconnected my brain and simply sat back and enjoyed the ride though, I really did find myself enjoying the story far more. The story seems to be told very tongue-in-cheek and while completely from Dylan’s perspective (and I really did miss hearing at least a little from Tyler’s) the jovial, macho story really was a fun ride to be a part of.

With just the one short – but very steamy – sex scene readers looking for a hard-core, sex-laden M/M might not find this the right story for them. But readers who relish the build up and chemistry between their heroes should find this a great, short read.

Betting on Kincade by Devon McKay


Betting on Kincade by Devon McKay
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (228 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Everyone Cassie Wilcox loved is gone. And now, thanks to her drunken stepfather, her house and family business will be taken from her, too, unless she can find a way to buy back the ranch from the new owner. With less than two months to come up with money she doesn’t have, her options are running out, and apparently, her common sense as she rents out rooms to an eclectic group of strangers.

Returning home for Dalton Kincade is bittersweet. Not a damn thing has changed. Two years on the rodeo circuit weren’t able to shake free the memory of the feisty redhead who’d broken his heart into a thousand pieces. Nor the sting of her parting words…Never trust a Kincade.

Winning her beloved ranch in a drunken bet is the last thing he expected to happen, but at least he saved it for her. Now, he has to figure out how to break that news to a woman who never wants to see him again. Renting a room in the house he now owns might be a risk, but it’s nothing compared to betting his heart on winning back the love of his life.

This is purely a feel good book that is quick and easy to read. I have read a huge amount of contemporary western romance stories so I recognized a lot of familiar tropes; some I liked, some were just okay. There was one scene that I can safely say was unique and I know beyond of a shadow of a doubt that I’d never read this in a story before because I’d sure remember that particular scene. Despite relying on a lot well-worn storytelling techniques, I can classify this novel as an entertaining read that was worth my time.

Dalton Kincade is the hero in this romance and he carried the momentum for me in this story. He had his reasons for leaving the heroine, Cassie Wilcox, to join the rodeo for two years. Cassie should have understood. Yes, she suffered a broken heart when he left but under the circumstances, she should have had a less selfish perspective, especially after two years. It obviously hurt him to leave too.

Cassie’s stubbornness and pride was borderline annoying. For that reason I had a hard time connecting with her “woe is me, I must save the ranch all by myself” attitude. It was a broken record to hear Cassie constantly talk about how she can make more money to save the ranch. I’d say that Cassie was the most presumptuous character I’ve ever read. Some of her solutions to make money were surreal and unrealistic. All I know is that Dalton had way too much patience and clearly loved her more than she loved him. Although their past love was well established, the chemistry in the present was lacking. There were some good moments when Cassie let down her walls and showed some vulnerability. I wished there were more scenes like that. It would have helped.

Cassie viewed Dalton as bossy, stubborn and a man who will always try to step in and save her. I didn’t view Dalton as bossy and stubborn at all. I actually viewed the heroine as ungrateful that she didn’t appreciate his stepping in to help her. What’s wrong with a man who loves you wanting to protect and help you? I’m not saying Dalton was perfect but I sure liked him more.

Some upbeat and positive elements were when Cassie and Dalton kept making wagers back and forth between themselves. That added a bit of humor into the story and helped me to connect to them as a couple. They did have some sizzling scenes but that only reinforced my impression that Dalton was too good for Cassie.

Some characters were more developed than others. Cassie’s stepfather, Gary Evans, was definitely a loser, a dirt bag, and a pathetic piece of life. He added suspense and drama to the story because he was the main conflict throughout the book. How his character was handled at the end didn’t exactly work for me. One of my pet peeves is not having all the plot threads tied up. I need absolute, complete closure. There must be justice. I don’t want to speculate in my head that everything worked out. I love happy endings with a pretty bow. There at least could have been an epilogue. If it weren’t for Dalton, then this entire book would have been infuriating to me.

Betting on Kincade was a good read. It was mostly enjoyable. I made it through and didn’t consider it a waste of my time, because time and time again Dalton drew me back into the story and kept my interest. I know not all romance books can be smooth sailing. Reading this book was like being in a car with a manual transmission whose driver didn’t know how to drive a stick shift. You’re just glad to be out of the house and going for a ride. You just have to hang on even when you hit the potholes because spending time with Dalton Kincade is SO worth the risk.

Coming On Strong by Faye Avalon


Coming On Strong by Faye Avalon
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (55 pages)
Other: M/F, Spanking
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Lexi McKenna nursed a crush on James Mallory since forever, but he was the bad boy who never looked her way, except to protect her. Until the night she turned eighteen, and he noticed her. But just when things were getting interesting James called a halt, crushing her teenage heart. Seven years later she’s finally in a position to make him finish what he started. And this time she’s not taking no for an answer.

As a professional escort, James Mallory has learned to separate sex from emotion. He’s made himself into a sophisticated lover adept at pleasing his clients, but dark memories haunt him and bad blood still flows in his veins. So while Lexi seems determined to tempt him, there is absolutely no way he intends on dragging her down to his level.

But Lexi has other ideas, and faced with her considerable seduction skills, just how long can James hold out?

When Lexi worked a two-week stint, temping at the Talbot Escort Agency she discovered that her childhood crush, James actually worked there as an Escort. Lexi had wanted James practically forever, but he’d made it crystal clear that his best friend’s little sister was off limits and – even though he might be tempted – he wouldn’t go there. James finds himself somewhat trapped when Lexi hires his services. His reputation as an escort is flawless and he’s proud of it – for good reason. Sex is just his work. Clinical. Emotionless. How can he keep his pride, his career and his sanity when Lexi gives him an offer he simply can’t refuse?

This is an interesting short story. I was really pleased that the first part of the story was told from James’ perspective. While the perspective does change from James to Lexi back and forth through the story I was especially pleased to get this insight into James’ character.

I also found the whole story was actually quite emotional – and I found this was wonderful. James had been pretty harsh in his turning Lexi down seven years previously, and James got major brownie points to my mind by admitting he hadn’t thought through his rejection of Lexi and how it might effect the young woman. But when we as readers are shown that James had been at war previous to this rejection, had served his country and seen things that forever change a person, my heart totally went out to him. No one likes an unfeeling character – but I personally am willing to give an awful lot of lee-way to a hero who hasn’t fully recovered from his experiences out in the field. I felt it completely explained – and absolved – his actions and really set James up as an impressive character and hero in my eyes.

It took me a while longer to really enjoy Lexi’s character. While I felt for her and was impressed that she’d decided to take matters of setting herself up with James into her own hands and into her own control – I really feel like she overstepped a little. Her machinations felt a little too close (in my personal opinion) to emotional manipulation – Lexi stating pretty clearly that if James decided to not have sex with her at the end of their evening then Lexi would simply go out “trawl a bar or two” until she found a man who would be intimate with her. And throughout the start of their evening “date” she continually tried to twist his arm into giving her what she wanted, simply so she could dump him and “pay him back” for the previous hurt. It all just felt a little too harsh and mean to me. Additionally, regardless of whether someone has paid for sex, I feel pretty firmly that anyone (man or woman) saying “no” should be respected and adhered to. Sure, Lexi convinced James – but again, it was all just a little too close to emotional blackmail for me to really enjoy it and feel comfortable.

I think plenty of readers, however, won’t get the strength of this vibe from the story that I did. I have no doubt that a lot of readers will really enjoy this steamy story. It’s sexy and modern, and while I personally didn’t believe the chemistry between Lexi and James, I feel that readers who don’t get bogged down with the questionable antics of Lexi might be able to appreciate their attraction to each other. The sex is hot and plentiful and I thought it was really well written. Readers looking for an emotionally complicated, sizzling and sexy read might find this a quick and interesting story.

Flirting with Fairies by Peg Pierson


Flirting with Fairies by Peg Pierson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (233 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Literary agent, Nicole McConnelly is in trouble. Her career’s in the toilet, her bank account overdrawn, and she’s a wanted, fugitive fairy, from the Realm of Imagination, with a price on her head and a ruthless bounty hunter, who happens to be Satan’s brother, on her heels.

Lonely young writer, Kaleb Whalen, lives in a rundown apartment with his pet cockroach and dreams of becoming a best-selling author. But after a run-in with a Boston city bus, he may have lost any chance of a future at all.

When both agent, and author, magically appear center-page in Kaleb’s jungle adventure novel, Nicole finds herself faced with something more terrifying than her long-time nemesis…the possibility of something she has artfully avoided for three centuries. True Love.

This is the other side of the printed word where books come alive in the Realm of Imagination. The combination of author and agent are dumped into the Realm where they meet the author’s characters. The consequences are hilarious and bring the story to life with a jungle man complete with ape, a cannibal and of course the ditzy heroine.

I loved how the author didn’t stop at the characters’ written lives, Ms Pierson also brought in other characters such as a vampire, bounty hunter and a dead sister. When mixed together this made for a book reminiscent of a comic strip but with more depth.

All the characters are larger than life and intertwine with each other to great effect. Just when it seems things have worked out well for everyone, another event happened to stir the plot up again. Good book but not if you want something deep and meaningful; this one is for laughing and enjoying.

Secret Valentine by Cherry Christensen


Secret Valentine by Cherry Christensen
Publisher: EsKape Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Inspirational
Length: Short story (77 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Professor Hannah Wagganer spends her days teaching and her nights dating Glen Arbor’s new mail carrier, Jasper Morgan. Not only does he spark Hannah’s heart, but he has become best friends with her cat, Jingles.

As Hannah prepares for the church Valentine’s Day potluck and makes cards for local veterans, her relationship with Jasper takes a detour when a snowstorm hits town and she seeks refuge at his cottage. While there, Jasper is a warm and gracious host, but at the same time, he’s turned as cold as the February wind. Doubt creeps in, leaving Hannah worrying that she’ll end up spending another holiday alone.

Once again, blessings and suspicions abound when an anonymous donor pays to have the church pipes repaired and other locals suddenly find solutions to their problems. Is it coincidental or the work of a secret valentine?

Hannah is in love with Jasper and is willing to keep his secret past from the rest of Glen Arbor. Valentine’s Day is approaching and she wants to make it a day for them to remember.

As with all good romances there is some misunderstanding which brings doubt to Hannah regarding Jasper’s feelings for her.

The book is definitely inspirational, although I usually enjoy inspirational books I found the references and phrases from the Bible tended to take over the story and these interrupted the flow to the point where it became irritating. On the whole this was a nice tale of love and belief which could be a really good inspirational book had it been just a little less heavy handed.

The storyline is good and their evolving love for each other is well handled as is the developing attachment of their two best friends. The characters are well rounded and Jingles the cat adds a bit of humor to the story.

Jayden’s Innocence by Sue Perkins


Jayden’s Innocence by Sue Perkins
Publisher: Caishel Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short story (77 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Life is hard when Jayden is released from prison.

No one wants to employ him and his family want nothing to do with an ex-con. He retreats to a quiet village with no amenities to hide from the world.

Jayden decides the only option is to clear his name. He did not embezzle the money from his employers but knows all prisoners swear they are innocent.

Will anyone believe him?

Sophie lives in the same village and is willing to help him prove his innocence plus she has the skills to do the investigation.

Their quest draws them closer but danger follows every move they make.

Will their search make things worse for Jayden or will they clear his name?

Newly released from jail, Jayden is trying to figure out how to go on with his life. Wrongly convicted for fraud he couldn’t revert back to his old job in finance. With his family refusing to acknowledge him and no one from the local village willing to take a chance and hire him, Jayden quickly starts to lose all hope. Knowing he needed to clear his name to start his life again, Jayden is determined to prove his innocence.

I enjoyed this sweet story – it had the feel of an old-style romance novel. I was a little intrigued by how stand-off-ish the local villagers were. Initially I was quite skeptical – since I know in a small town the comings and goings of other residents is usually frightfully important and talked about endlessly – but it was the reluctant attraction that Jayden felt towards a pretty neighbor, Sophie, that sold me on this story. At first Sophie’s character seemed quite simple to me – a pretty, nice and sweet local village girl. But just like the other residents of the village neither Sophie – nor any of them – are exactly what they seem at first.

With an interesting plot and a few subtle mysteries that unravel at a deliciously slow pace I found this to be a fun and character-driven sweet mystery/romance. Between the plot of who framed Jayden and sent him to jail for embezzling money that he never touched, to what exactly is going on in that strange little village I slowly found myself getting more and more thoroughly invested in both the small town and particularly the characters of Sophie, Jayden and Jayden’s elderly neighbor, Geoffrey. While the story isn’t precisely realistic (Sophie’s occupation and the other villagers’ secret were a little too coincidental/serendipitous for my liking), I did find both the plot and characters to be excellently written and I personally really enjoyed the slower pace of the story as a whole. The romance unfolds slowly and I thought it was very sweet – just a few kisses right near the end of the story – and honestly the mystery and characters were what captured my attention, the extremely light romance was just a bonus, not a main factor of the story to my mind.

Readers wanting a light and well-written mystery with strong characterisation and just a hint of romance should find this as satisfying as I did.

Lie to Me by J. T. Ellison


Lie to Me by J. T. Ellison
Publisher: MIRA
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full length (416 pages)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

They built a life on lies

Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.

Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

The suspense starts from the first page and continues onward. A mystery intro with a warning, a body being found and then Sutton Montclair has left her husband Ethan a note that she needs time away and don’t look for her. Why did Sutton leave? Will Ethan be able to find her? Who is the sinister voice?

The opening quote “Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds” takes on a whole new meaning by the time you finish this book and reflect back on the events. When you get to the end of the book the pieces will come together. It appears that Sutton and Ethan have a strange and strained relationship. There are secrets that should have been revealed before marriage. The chapters alternate from events that are happening now to past events. The plot has many twist and turns with a lot going on. I feel as if the book was so long. I think the beginning half of Ethan’s story was too long while the second part of the book was quick and to the point.

The main character was Sutton; her friends, her past, her family – all about her. There was little mentioned about Ethan but his voice gave him weight in the story. I ended up liking Ethan. He wasn’t perfect and was man enough to admit his wrongs even though he had reason to dispute or not claim his misdoing. Things aren’t always what they appear. At first I thought Sutton and Ethan had a weird relationship of secrets and arguments but as the story is told I knew that Ethan loved Sutton and that he wanted a family with her. Sutton was naive and too open to sharing information. This fault proved to be a part of the breakdown in their marriage.

I figured out who the antagonist was early on in the story but there was more to solve in the puzzle. The ending was not predictable. The book is excellently written, and the plot is well planned and staged out. A sinister plot of revenge and planning to get back at those that have been wronged. Each chapter delivers more clues to bring the reader closer to solving the mystery.

I enjoyed the police women Officer Holly Graham and Inspector Amelie Badeau. They were fair and both were interested in the facts and not going by what was implied. They both worked off of the clues and logic. Officer Graham was up for promotion but instead of calling the case closed she continued to work the case to solve it.

My book club members enjoyed the book and so did I. This is highly recommended for those who enjoy suspense with lots of twist and turns.

Please Be My Valentine by Jennifer Wenn


Please Be My Valentine by Jennifer Wenn
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (77 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Benjamin Emerson is determined to honor the dying Mrs. Brody’s last wish, that her granddaughter shall not spend Valentine’s Day alone. But as the special day is closing in, he still doesn’t know how to reach the stiff, correct librarian.

Broken by her psychopathic former fiancée, Leonore Brody moves back into her empty childhood home in Barnesville, numbly taking one day at a time. When Ben asks her to help his daughter, she can’t refuse, knowing how much he meant to her grandmother.

Caught at the Emerson Farm by a snow storm, Leonore finds herself drawn to the charismatic Ben. But the scars from her past are deep – can she ever trust a man again?

After being dumped almost at the alter by her long-term fiancé, Leonore knows that her mood is volatile and that she’s far too easily irritated. She knows that her Granny would hate the snappish, waspish woman Leonore had become, but Leonore just can’t seem to help herself. Even Ben – whom she’d known since childhood – wasn’t safe from her temper and annoyance. When Ben comes to the library to get a book explaining about puberty in females – his almost-teenaged daughter suddenly mystifying him – Leonore a can’t help but try and help the humble, shy man and his delightful no-longer-little girl.

This is a lovely and mostly sweet story about a very hurt woman trying to find herself again and in the process helping a caring and loving young man raise his teenage daughter. I found it to be full of heart-warming emotion and definitely with that “small town” type of feeling. I sympathized with Leonore and her initially crabby mood – she’d been harshly treated by her ex and hadn’t really healed from the painful break up. While I felt for her, I didn’t really particularly *like* her in the first half of the book. Leonore’s actions – her anger and cynicism – were completely understandable, but I didn’t feel as connected to her or like her as much as I would have hoped. Ben, however, I felt smitten with almost instantly. A shy, sweet, humble farmer who simply wants to do hard work, love and raise his family and keep his nose clean – he was absolutely hero material to my mind and I was eager for him to receive his (well deserved – in my opinion) happy ending.

I found this story to be a very interesting, if character-based, plot. Again with a “small-town” kind of feel Ben’s relationship as a single father with his almost-teenaged daughter, and then the growing friendship/relationship with Leonore was definitely central to the storyline. Readers who want an action filled, fast-paced style of story might not find this as satisfying as I did. But I honestly feel sometimes everyone needs to sit back with a slower paced story, with vibrant, relatable and believable characters and read something a little sweeter and in those respects this book completely exceeded my expectations. While I admit a part of me would have been ecstatic had I found Leonore more appealing as a heroine, she was real. She had a temper, she was hurt and needed to complete her healing process. I might not have enjoyed her as a heroine as much as I could have – but I could certainly respect her and understand where she was coming from.

This is definitely a slow-moving romance story. Leonore takes quite a bit of the book emotionally healing from her ex and I wasn’t keen how she compared so much of who Ben was to what her ex had been like. I found for me, personally, that got old pretty quickly, but again it was understandable and realistic. When Ben comes clean on his promise to Leonore’s Granny and Leonore finally starts to look at Ben with romantic interest their relationship really starts to build. While they became intimate fairly promptly after this, I didn’t find the singular sex scene graphic – the bedroom door wasn’t “closed” as such but it absolutely wasn’t drawn out or described in explicit detail. I would think most romance readers who enjoy a bit of spice (but not erotic levels of it) in their romance should find this satisfying without being overly graphic. There are only a few passionate kisses and the one sex scene – so really to my mind the majority of the story revolves around the characters and their growing relationship to each other – not the physical and intimate side of the romance.

Readers looking for a story with a whole bunch of characterization, realism and good, warm-fuzzy type of feelings, this is a great story to kick back and relax with. While absolutely not perfect, it is a great read and one I fully intend to enjoy again in the future.

Totem Poles by Bruce Sterling and Rudy Rucker


Totem Poles by Bruce Sterling and Rudy Rucker
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (25 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The saucer aliens are here. They’re healing the planet. They’ve got to be stopped.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Are these aliens truly friendly, or is there a darker purpose to all of the kind things they’re doing for humanity?

Mr. Sterling and Mr. Rucker are both talented writers. They have writing styles that are simultaneously poetic and conversational. There were several times when I needed to stop, chuckle, and reread a sentence not because I didn’t understand it the first time but because I wanted the pleasure of reading it again.

I would have liked to see this story go into far more detail about why Kalinin, one of the main characters, was so certain that the aliens were cleaning up the pollution on Earth for nefarious purposes. He leapt to that conclusion without having any evidence to support it. As much as I enjoyed the rest of the plot, it didn’t make sense to me to be this paranoid about cleaning up the environment when the aliens had given the humans absolutely no reason to assume that they meant harm to anyone.

The paranormal elements of the plot weren’t something I was expecting to find at all. Ghosts and flying saucers aren’t generally included in the same storyline in this genre from what I’ve observed, but I was pleased with how the authors combined those two ideas. It ended up making perfect sense for them to coexist in this particular universe because of how much effort was put into showing all of the ways they intersected.

It was confusing to switch between the perspectives of so many different characters due to how short this story was in general. I was never able to get to know any of them well. As soon as I began to form an impression of their personalities, a different narrator would take over in the next scene and I’d have to readjust to other characters all over again.

The final scene tied up all of the loose ends of the plot nicely. While it was something I saw coming in advance, it was still interesting to see if my predictions would turn out to be correct and how the characters would react to what their futures held. I was quite satisfied with the ending when it was all said and done.

If the thought of an alien invasion fills you with a quiet sense of foreboding, Totem Poles may be right up your alley.