Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.
When author Ruthie Knox emailed me about a review copy of the Summer Rain anthology, I jumped on it when I saw the lineup of authors contributing to this collection of "novelettes." In addition to Ruthie, favorites like Molly O'Keefe and Mary Anne Rivers also contributed to the anthology which supports the important work of RAINN.
Each of the nine novelettes is a complete story (unlike so many anthologies which are too often stuffed with teasers for other books *shakes fist*), thematically bound together by the idea of summer rain. The major are contemporary stories, but there are a couple of science fiction/fantasy entries and there's also a "new adult" entry from Audra North.
I expected quality stories from the authors I was familiar with, but what really surprised me was Amy Jo Cousins' contribution, The Rain in Spain, about a married couple whose differences are thrust to the forefront when they attempt to travel together. I really loved this one, and it alone is worth $3.99 for the book.
I also was surprised at Ruthie Knox's edgy story, Redemption, which I would have passed on after reading the first page, were it not for the trigger warning which "spoils" the first chapter. (It read like a coercive situation, which it's revealed to not be.) I will be interested to read the reviews of this story that come out of the romance blogging community, because it's barely a "happy for now" ending, but it's appropriate for these two characters.
And, the other two authors I'd read before, Molly O'Keefe and Mary Ann Rivers were as excellent as I'd expected--and I was particularly happy that Mary Ann's contribution was a different sort of situation than I expected from her. There's an art-making element that really did it for me. And, I continue to be impressed at how well Molly writes the male points-of-view, and the men are each so different and distinctive in her works.
I have mixed feelings about the two science fiction/fantasy contribution, partly because I'm not the best critic when it comes to those types of stories. I think Cecelia Tan's fantasy story was well-written (it's very evocative), but it's so far from my taste, that I don't think I'm a great judge. Charlotte Stein's android-human futuristic romance was actually pretty fun, and reminded me of Marge Percy's fantastic backlist novel, He, She and It (if you haven't read that novel, you should probably fix that ASAP).
I was really impressed with how each of the authors embraced important concepts such as consent, shame and self-acceptance in such short works. These are important ideas and for an anthology benefiting RAINN.
I've been relishing shorter works lately, such as short stories, graphic novels and verse novels--I've been a bit overwhelmed with work and managing, like, my life (Seriously, how to people keep houses clean? I am baffled by this.)--and Summer Rain was perfect for picking in the evening and lazily reading a story or two. If you're in the mood for a few good stories, this is a lovely pick for a fantastic cause.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by one of the authors.