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                Cee's FanFic Reviews

 

 

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Story Reviews    M-S

 

Madam President by T. Novan and Advocate

Novel - O/U

T. Novan and Advocate are two of the best fanfic authors writing today, and they deliver again with their latest novel, Madam President. It is the year 2020, and  Devlyn Marlowe has just been elected the first woman President of the United States.  Author Lauren Strayer is the woman she asks to document her presidency and write her biography. Madam President is an entertaining story that follows the first year of President Marlowe's term. Devlyn is a complex woman - still grieving the loss of her first wife and trying to juggle the demands of being president with the demands of being a single mother to young children. Lauren has her own obstacles to overcome as she tries to determine where she fits into Devlyn's life  while trying to maintain her professional integrity as a writer as she finds herself getting more and more involved with her subject. The story is also filled with very plausible ideas about how technology will affect our daily lives in the not so distant future. An entertaining, satisfying read. Recommended. (See more T. Novan story reviews on the Special Themes page)

 

Maleficent Beauty by Creme Brulee

Short Story - O

Crème Brulee has a wicked sense of humor and she displays it again with this new story. Maleficent Beauty is a tale of sorcerers and magic and a level of sibling rivalry usually reserved for guests of the Jerry Springer show. Maleficent is the youngest of 4 sorceress sisters who use their magic to try to keep her from the beautiful Princess Aurora. But true lust might overcome the spell blocking true love. It's witty and fun. Definitely recommended.

 

The Mary Incident by Sonia C. Barrera

Short Story - O

Don't read this one expecting the usual uber- type story. It's an original sci-fi story about a woman telling her daughter a little story about her birth. Let go of your expectations and just enjoy it. I won't give anything away, but it's well-written and definitely recommended.

 

A Memory Misconstrued by Sharona

Short Story - X/G

A memory loss story that's funny? You betcha. In this short story by Sharona, Joxer accidentally hits Xena on the head and she loses her memory. With her loss of identity, she suddenly sees things in her relationship with Gabrielle in a whole new light - and she acts on it to hysterical effect. Great Joxer characterization in this one, along with a new way of deconstructing the subtext from the first few seasons. Definitely recommended. (See other Memory Loss Themed story reviews on the Special Themes page)

 

 

Monsters by Ellianora

Short Story - O/U

This new short story by Ellianora is creepy. I like creepy. There is a monster on the loose in the moorlands outside the trading city of Luzon. It kills only at night and disappears at dawn. Ellianora is warned about traveling at night, but she is in hurry to meet up with her companion Venom and does not heed the warnings. She soon comes face to face with the fearsome beast. But finding out what the monster is and what it wants might prove to be more terrifying. Recommended. Slight CEA.

 

 

Moonstruck or I'd Plead the Fifth But I Don't Drink And Drive by S. berry

Short Story - O/U

Moonstruck is the story of Apathy Brown and her patient journey to love. It's short. It's funny. And there's a nice moral to the story: Slow and steady wins the race. A pleasant little diversion to brighten your day.

 

 

Ms. Communication by Crème Brulee

Short Story - X/G

Ms. Communication is Crème Brulee's self-described "shot at a campfire scene". It's definitely a shot in the funny bone. It's absolutely hysterical. Poor Xena's a mighty confused warrior in this one as she tries to figure out her bard. Some might call it acerbic, others tongue-in-cheek. Both would be right. It's definitely a different take on the usual X/G relationship. Highly recommended.

 

 

Mushy Merwolf Moments by Melissa Good

Bits of stories - X/G & O/U

These aren't complete stories; they are small bits selected from the writings of Melissa Good. There is an archive of MMM's, but I recommend the daily dose. They are available by subscribing to the Merwolf PackList or you can subscribe to the Updates Only list and receive only updates to Missy's stories along with a daily MMM (Mushy Merwolf Moment). Each MMM is a 2-3 page long bit of emotional mush. Some are Xena/Gabrielle; some are from the stories of Dar and Kerry. They're like getting a little bit of happiness in your day. Highly recommended.

 

 

Mystery Science Xena 3000 by Barron

Screen gabs with captions - X/G

This doesn't really qualify as traditional fanfic, but I thought it was pretty darn funny - so I'm recommending it! Fans of Mystery Science Theater will love it. MSX is a collection of Xena screen gabs with a 'running commentary' by Xena and Gabrielle. Very funny stuff from the early seasons of the series. Definitely recommended.

 

 

A Narcoleptic's Guide to Romance by Vivian Darkbloom

Short story - O/U

Vivian Darkbloom is probably better known for her scathingly funny White Trash series than for her more serious work, but I believe she is a brilliant writer whose talent is best revealed in stories such as this one.  NG is a joy to read. The writing is lyrical and intelligent. The words wash over you like a rejuvenating spring rain. Romantic purists be warned: This is not a typical gushy love story. There be angst and sadness here. Gets my highest recommendation.

 

 

The New Season and New Season: Joie's Story by Kim (KP) Pritekel

Short Stories - O/U

The New Season and New Season: Joie's Story are two stories by KP that tell the same relationship tale from each woman's point of view. Jenny and Joie are two college students who play on the University of Washington hockey team. Jenny is a transfer student who has returned to Seattle to care for her dying mother. The stories explore how one's point of view affects the perception of events. To Jenny, Joie seems to be the popular life of the party, at ease with her teammates and living a happy, care-free life. Joie's story reveals how those perceptions can be misleading, as we learn of her own insecurities and life problems. The two stories together weave an engaging exploration of how differing perceptions can lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding. The question is, will it keep them apart? The stories can each be read separately, but are better when read together. A nicely written pair of character-driven stories. Recommended.

 

 

Night Pick-up by Dee

Novella - O/U

Nick is a college student and cab driver given the task of picking up a fare at a deserted rest area late one night.  Beth is the penniless, world-weary woman she picks up and befriends. Nick invites Beth to stay with her until she can get back on her feet. Their love affair develops quickly, but Beth is a woman with secrets that can't be ignored. The give and take dialog is witty and fun, and Beth's secret past will have you guessing how it will all end. Slight CEA

 

 

No Pain by Smitty

Short Story - O

A poignant story about life and death and the way we leave this mortal plane. It is a moving and ultimately uplifting story that will help all of us heal from our recent national wounds. Highly recommended.

 

 

None So Blind by LJ Maas

Novel - O/U

If you haven't read the work of LJ Maas, you've been missing out on some great fanfic. None So Blind is my favorite of  her original works. It is the story of  Taylor Kent and Torrey Gray. They meet and fall in love while in college, but they are both unable to overcome their fear and insecurity and admit their feelings to the other. Their eventual parting leaves each woman heart-broken and empty. Fifteen years later Taylor is a successful artist living alone in California. Torrey is a best-selling author with a teenage daughter. When Torrey is unable to resolve  her growing problems with her daughter, she calls on her old friend for help. Torrey's daughter becomes the catalyst that gives them a second chance at happiness. The story of their past life together is skillfully interwoven with the present to give us a complete understanding of their complex relationship and why they ultimately parted all those years ago. This is an intelligent, well-crafted work of fiction. The writing is so powerful you can feel the pain these women are in, even when they deny it to themselves. The sense of unfulfilled passion is almost palpable.

An emotional, satisfying read. Gets my highest recommendation.

 

 

Northern Peace And Perils by WolfDragon

Novel - O/U

Set in the Canadian wilderness in the years just after the American Civil War, this story by Wolfdragon is a wonderful period adventure tale that has a nice romance as well. Alexandra Carmichael is a former Civil War soldier with a dangerous secret from her past. Michelle Laberge is a relay operator who finds the soldier as she is near death from wounds and exposure to the freezing elements. She takes the injured woman to her isolated cabin to let her heal. We learn Alex's story through flashbacks to her time in the Confederacy. The intricately constructed plot unfolds apace with the slowly building relationship between the two women. They are two kindred spirits -both living in a tough and unforgiving environment that takes considerable skill just to survive. The themes of isolation - both physical and emotional are explored to great effect throughout the story. With such strong characterizations and an engaging plotline, this one's a real winner. Highly recommended. (See other Western Themed story reviews on the Special Themes page)

 

 

Notes by R. G. Heller

Very Short Story - X/G

A short vignette with a few brief bits of dialog that capture the essence of the special relationship between these two women. Short and sweet.

 

 

Odd Love by L.B. Anderson

Short Story - O/U

Breaking away from the usual Uber confines, this short story by L.B. Anderson tells the story of Sharon, a hotel worker who dreams of finding her true love. She doesn't fit society's image of grace and beauty and is hesitant to approach the beautiful woman she meets while working. Will she allow her own doubt to hold her back, or will she take a risk on love? Anyone who has ever felt "different" or felt that they can’t have the happiness they want due to their own self doubt will have their faith renewed by this story. Recommended.

 

 

On The Way To Corinth by Xena’s Little Bitch

Short Story - X/G

A bit of  twist on the alternate timeline from the Hercules series where Xena never meets Hercules. Most of those are Conqueror stories with Xena in the role of the evil Conqueror. In this story, Xena is still a warlord on the rise when she comes across a group of slavers outside the town of Potaedeia. She defeats the slavers and sets the slaves free, including Gabrielle. On the Way to Corinth is an interesting exploration of the way Xena and Gabrielle might have met and how their relationship might have grown if they had met under this alternate timeline. Well-written with a creative premise. Recommended

 

 

A Once And Future Journey by Temora

Short Story - X/G

This post-Finale story is told by a slave who is "rescued" by a mysterious warrior woman known as the Little Dragon.  The mysterious warrior helps the entire town, but always spends her nights alone and under the stars. After a time, the former slave is determined to find out why. The writing has a dream-like quality to it, and the story provides some emotional closure to the ending of FIN. Recommended. (See other Finale story reviews on the Special Themes page)

 

 

Once Upon an Uber: A Fractured Fairy Tale by TaraKerry

Short Story - O/U

Once Upon an Uber is a light-hearted fractured fairy tale that borrows from many of your favorite childhood tales. There's some Snow White, some Sleeping Beauty, and of course a fairy godmother. There's also a dopey, but familiar, Prince Charming. Fortunately, he's not the one who gets the Princess in this cute, fun story. We all know who the Princess really needs to make sure they all live happily ever after.

 

The Oppression Engine by Penumbra

Short Story - O/U

Set in a future world that is recovering from mass destruction, Jo Bryant finds herself in possession of something the powerful Consortium wants. Villar the Interrogator is determined to get it back. You might call this one an Uber conqueror story. Or you could call it a futuristic sci-fi story. Either way, it's a suspenseful, well-told tale with a creative (if depressing) vision of our future world. But I warn ya, this one defies some traditional conventions. Recommended.

 

Passion's Plaything by Sally Budd

Short Story - U

Passion's Plaything is an hysterical parody of all things fanfic - every cliché, every grammatical error, every style flaw - you'll find 'em here. Written round robin style by an anonymous team of writers. Highly recommended

 

 

A Piece of My Soul by Alexiares

Short Story - X/G

In this short vignette by Alexiares, Gabrielle "talks" to Ephiny  about the depth of her bond with Xena - and the limits she has placed on it. She describes the depth and power of her feelings for the warrior, along with the changes and challenges their relationship has endured. In describing her own fears, her own actions, and her own personal journey over 6 years, she finally realizes she has one last piece of her soul to give. The story gives us a great explication of the bond the two women have and how their relationship has evolved over time. A nice summation of their relationship over the course of the series. Recommended.

 

 

Pieces by Moon7U

Short Story - O/U

Miranda is a woman whose life is falling to pieces - her job, her marriage, her relationship with her children - everything seems to be falling apart. Co-worker Alex is the only person in her life who sees her despair and has the courage to help her out of her depression. She might be the one who can help Miranda pick up the pieces of her life and find happiness. Moon7U makes excellent use of symbolism here without being too obvious. An ultimately uplifting story that is nicely told. Recommended.

 

 

Poetic License by Heather L.

Very Short Story - X/G

Ever ask yourself what Gabrielle and Xena would think about all those smutty fanfics? Poetic License has the answer - to great comedic effect. I love fanfic for those who read fanfic. Funny and definitely recommended.

 

 

Praise You by Xena’s Little Bitch

Short Story - X/G

Praise You is set just after events of To Helicon and Back and contains references to events of the 6th season. The piece is an exploration of Xena's thoughts about her bard and her desire to give comfort to her after the stressful events they've just endured. Lyrical, poetic, and loving, "Praise You" gives us a wonderful inner dialog that reveals that Xena is the real poet in the pairing. Recommended.

 

 

The Princess and Her Pirate - A Holiday Remembrance by S.X. Meagher

Short Story - O/U

Yippee!! It's a prequel to one of my all-time favorite Uber series! S.X. gives us a delightful story of a special Halloween for a little princess and her newfound pirate friend. The story works as a stand-alone short story, but it is a bit of a prequel to the I Found My Heart in San Francisco series. In this story, a 6-year-old Jamie spends a special day with her grandfather and meets a chivalrous young 'pirate'. It's a sweet, charming story that also offers subtle insight into the early lives of two of uberdom's best-loved characters. Very highly recommended.

 

 

Proxy Personals by Redhawk

Short story - O/U

This short story has an interesting set-up: We start with most of the gang from the series and put them in modern time. A meddlesome Salmoneous tries to jumpstart Gabrielle's love life by answering a personal ad. The ad is from a lesbian committee (Ephiny and Solari) who are  interviewing for a date for their friend - the unsuspecting Xena. The result is this humorous bit from Redhawk.

 

 

Quality Dying Time by Temora

Short story - X/G

This is not a story for the feint-hearted! It is a tense, taut, psychological thriller that is a glorious agony to read. Xena and Gabrielle are trapped in a rock slide on a mountain. Alive,  injured, but unable to free themselves, they are found by a young girl with some major psychological problems. I won't give away any more, but I guaranty you won't be able to stop reading it. You'll want to, but you won't be able to. Highly recommended.

 

 

Queen Of Hearts by Mavis Applewater

Short Story - O/U

I normally don't like PWP stories, but this one has a bit more plot than most. It has an interesting premise: One woman "wins" another in a poker game: PWP ensues. The story is part of  Mavis' Wednesday Afternoon PWP Series, and many of them are a lot of fun. The series is well-written. And they have enough plot to appeal to story lovers, and enough steamy sex to appeal to PWP fans. The Wednesday series is a  nice way to brighten up your "hump" days.

 

 

The Queen of Magpies by Jane Fletcher

Short Story - O/U

Very amusing little story about a thief and a princess. The writing is crisp and full of wit. It's a simple tale, but it's very well told and a lot of fun. Highly recommended.

 

 

A Queen's Ransom by Julia Ford

Short Story - X/G

This short story is a sequel, of sorts, to an earlier story "A Warlord Falls" (though it can easily be read by itself), and takes place during the time of Xena and Gabrielle's 25 year "nap" in the ice cave. Gaia is an ex-warlord who, with the help of gifted healer Deirdre, is on the road to reform She has a peace treaty with Gabrielle's Amazon tribe and becomes a key player in a plot to return the kidnapped Amazon Queen to the tribe.  But we're dealing with Amazons here, so there are council politics and moody warriors and dangerous warlords to contend with. It's got Amazons. It's got warlords. And, at the end there's a nice tie-in to Xena and Gabrielle and events in the 6th  season. What more could you ask for?

 

 

Raising Melosa by T. Novan

Short Story Series - X/G

Raising Melosa is an incredible, sweeping series covering decades in the lives of Xena and Gabrielle as they raise their family. TN has created her own take on the characters, yet it still has the 'feel' of the TV series.  The series is  filled with angst and heartache as well as great humor and joy. There are creative plot twists, tender relationship moments, and sweeping action  - all very much like the TV series. There are well-developed  secondary characters, and a wonderful interpretation of the Xena/Gabrielle relationship and their future together. It's terrific, and without a doubt one of the best X/G series out there. Gets my highest recommendation. (See more T. Novan story reviews on the Special Themes page)

 

 

Realizations: A Thanksgiving Story by Minerva

Short Story - O/U

Realizations is a nice holiday tale of love in a bookstore. Storeowner Rachel is forced to sell out to a major chain. Employee Terri finally gets the nerve to extend the hand of friendship and maybe more, just in time for Thanksgiving. They might discover that they both have a lot to be thankful for this year. Recommended.

 

 

Redemption, Retribution and Restitution by Susanne M. Beck (SwordnQuill)

Novels - O/U

Great. Amazing. Riveting. Well worth the wait for both sequels. These were the words that first came to mind when I sat to write this review, so I'm going with 'em. Retribution and its sequel, Restitution are the second and third books in SwordnQuill's epic trilogy that began with Redemption. Redemption stands alone as the ultimate "women in prison" story, and also serves as the first book in series. Retribution and Restitution are best read together to complete the saga of Angel and Ice as they struggle to maintain their new-found freedom from the Bog. One of the reasons I love these stories is that they are some of the only ubers that follows the larger themes and character arcs of the entire TV series. The last two books really examine the emotional and relationship consequences of loving a violent person. In some ways Sue's writing reminds me of the work of fellow Bard Jules Kurre.  They have vastly different styles, but you get the sense that both bards are "word perfect". Each word, each phrase, each metaphor has been carefully chosen - and each is meaningful to the plot or the character. The novels will take you on an emotional roller coaster. There are moments of intense pain and overwhelming joy, of utter terror and total serenity. But the emotions are always real, and the story will draw you in and hold you up until the very last page. Work like this raises the bar for the rest of the bards in the Xenaverse. All three novels definitely get my highest recommendation.

 

 

Relativity Theory by Markski

Short Story - X/G

Relativity Theory takes place after the episode Many Happy Returns. Aphrodite has some news for Gabrielle, and it provokes some interesting responses from the bard. Loving and sweet story that's also funny as hell. And it has a really great punch line! Highly recommended.

 

 

Resa by Journs

Novel - O/U

Resa is a well-written story that follows the more classic, true Uber style, incorporating many story elements from the series (along with the subtext-y nature of the early years of the show). It tells the story of college senior and budding writer Jennifer, a woman who is asked to write about former gang leader and ex-con Resa. Resa has lived a violent life, but Journs is successful at portraying her as a believable and sympathetic character. Set in the dangerous streets of East L.A., Resa is chock full of gun fights, fist fights, and narrow escapes - with some nuns and a convent thrown in for good measure! The characters and their relationship are richly drawn, and the plot is exciting and fast-paced. A real winner. Highly recommended.

 

 

Reticulating Lives by Lexibard

Novella - O/U

This new story by Lexibard breaks away from the more traditional uber canon of storytelling. There is a relationship story here between successful New York photographer Carrie and her new love Erin. But rather than focusing exclusively on Carrie and Erin, the story features a host of characters with enough problems and dysfunctional relationships to fill your average soap opera. They are all part of the intrigue and the charm of this entertaining story. While the love relationship is central to the main story, you'll find yourself wanting to know more about all of these very messed up people and their convoluted histories. Warning: Folks who need absolute closure to all story elements might want to wait for a sequel before reading this story. Recommended. Slight CEA.

 

 

Reunion by Angharad Governal

Short Story - O/U

Reunion is a short story about Lisa and Deanna who meet again at their high school reunion  and rekindle feelings never fully explored in high school. It is a sweet vignette that looks at the beginnings of a relationship and of two people who are re-connecting at a time and place where they are finally free to act upon their desires. Recommended.

 

 

The Right Question by Fanatic

Short Story - X/G

A sweet, romantic tale by one of the best bards in the Xenaverse. Set in a happier future than the one the series provided, The Right Question shows us a brief moment in the life of our favorite couple and their inquisitive (and sneaky) child. It's a tender, loving look at the warrior and bard and their family. Very highly recommended.

 

 

The Road to Doriscus by Dani Sheldon

Long Short Story - X/G

The Road to Doriscus follows the story lines from the TV show and picks up after the Episodes Ides of March and Chakram as Xena and Gabrielle are making their way back to Greece. Having just "ditched" their traveling companions Joxer and Amarice,  they are finally able to begin coping with the emotional fallout of the events in Ides of March. The author, Dani Sheldon, does a good job here of bridging the emotional gaps left unexplored on the show. We get some nice, romantic moments and see the softer side of a Xena who is dealing with her feelings of guilt at leading Gabrielle from her path of peace and of not being able to save her. This Xena is a woman who is also learning to be more open and communicative with her bard. Gabrielle is also struggling with her demons, trying to find a balance between dark and light in her life - to know when it's ok to fight for defense without abandoning her commitment to peace. Overall, a well-written story that does a good job of exploring the complicated emotional fallout from the end of Season 4. Recommended

 

 

Road to Glory by Advocate and T. Novan

Novella - O

Two of the best bards in the universe have collaborated again, and they've come up with another winner. It's the story of a truck driver named Leigh, and a handywoman RJ, and a quirky, mysterious group of folks living in Glory. Road To Glory is an original and imaginative story with everything we've come to expect from these two writers: richly drawn characters, tense, emotional drama, and great humor. The story stands alone, but if you are familiar with Advocate's "Untitled: The Story of Me", you can rejoice: The squirrels are back! And this time they've got a feline nemesis named Flea. Very highly recommended. (See more T. Novan story reviews on the Special Themes page)

 

 

RoadKill by Planet-solin

Novel - O/U

Detective Sergeant Sydney Davis is a homicide cop with the Seattle Police Department. Lieutenant Alex Marshall is an outsider brought in to overhaul  the department.  The two are soon paired together by their jobs and begin a relationship. But the political pressures threaten to end their romance before it can really begin. While building the relationship between Alex and Sydney, Planet-solin also gives us nicely developed family relationships that add depth to the emotional heart of the story. There is an interesting police case to solve, but the plot is more emotion driven as the two lovers struggle to overcome the problems of both job and family in order to be together. Recommended. Slight CEA.

 

Rules by DebK

Short Story - X/G

Set in the 6th Season just after Xena has awakened Gabrielle from her Nordic eternal sleep with a kiss. Rules tells the tale of two bored fairies as they observe a pair of humans setting up camp and going to sleep. They violate one or two Fairy Rules as they try to discover why the blonde keeps talking in her sleep. The relationship between fairy couple Dell and Seela is cute and funny. And the story premise provides an interesting look at the aftermath of Xena and Gabrielle's trip to the land of Odin. Recommended.

 

A Sacrifice for Friendship by DS Bauden

Novel - O/U

This story by DS Bauden has an intriguing and original story idea. Frankie, a woman from the present finds herself  thrown back in time  where she meets Crystal, a woman in need of a friend. Frankie finds herself drawn to this troubled woman, but she is then returned to the present. But was her experience real or imagined? If it was real how can she go back? When she discovers her soul mate's life is in danger in the past, can she find a way to help her? What kind of sacrifice will it take for the two of them to be together? Shifting from past to present, Sacrifice for Friendship is an engaging, well-paced story that is well told.  It will have you guessing all the way up to the dramatic ending. Highly recommended.

 

 

Say Goodbye to Boston by Barbara Davies

Long Short Story - O/U

This new story from Barbara Davies is a spy thriller, and it's a lot of fun. Ashley Blade is a British Intelligence officer on vacation in the Canary Islands recovering from the physical and emotional wounds of a recent assignment. While on vacation, some suspicious activities cast doubt on her loyalty as an agent. Jemma is a brand new agent whose first assignment is to determine if her "hero" agent Blade is really a traitor. There is evidence to support her treason,  but someone might be setting her up. The question for Jemma is: Can Blade be trusted? Jemma risks her career and her life if she helps Blade and guesses wrong. Say Goodbye to Boston has exotic locales, a James Bondian plot, and lots of action. It's sure to please. Recommended.

 

 

Scenes From A Relationship by Ardently

Short Story - X/G

Scenes From a Relationship is an X/G first time story, but it's not the usual fare - this one has some major bumps on the road to happiness. Ardently gives us a bard and warrior with very different ideas about how their first time should be. This leads to confusion, doubt, miscommunication, misinterpretation of words and deeds, fear, and anger. But, can if finally lead to understanding and love? A nice new twist on a familiar story. Recommended.

 

 

The Scream by Medora MacD

Short Story - O/U

Somebody help me. I can't stop laughing at this story!! As the disclaimer says, we all have different things that horrify us. Only a very select group of folks will identify with Althea Ashford, as she encounters something truly horrifying at a Halloween party. The story is a cornucopia of literary references and writing in-jokes. Special Beyond Spew Alert warning to all editors and copy editors: You might wet your pants with laughter over this one! Gets my highest recommendation.

 

 

The Seduction of Laura and Absolution by S. Anne Gardner

Long Short Stories -  O/U

How do I review these stories without giving things away? I'm providing only a bare hint of a plot for each of these stories, because the plot twists are the key to appreciating them fully. Even though they are completely unrelated, I'm reviewing them together because they have a similar "feel" to them. 

The Seduction of Laura

Laura is a woman trying to save her marriage by taking a relaxing vacation cruise. Charlie is a woman who also seems to be having relationship trouble. The two women end up shipwrecked together and begin a relationship of their own. When they are eventually rescued and returned to civilization, things get a little complicated.

Absolution

Christina Alcala's parents and sister were killed in a car accident when she was a child. The mysteries surrounding that accident haunt her, and as an adult she seeks answers to her troubling questions.  Francesca is a woman who seems to know some of the answers she seeks. But what secrets will she discover about her family and about the woman she loves?

 

You can't possibly guess the ending to either story. Just know that it won't be all sunshine and roses along the way. S. Anne Gardner's writing is haunting and, at times, disturbing. These stories and characters get under your skin. Absolute Romanticists be warned: There are some very unsettling things that happen in these stories. I wanted to know more about this author, so I checked out her web site. On the home page is a graphic of a lone figure standing in the bowels of hell. That should give you a pretty good idea about what to expect thematically in the writing. I recommend both of these stories, not because they fit the traditional uber canon, but because they are well-written and will definitely stick with you long after you've read them. To me, this is the mark of a good story - even if the feelings left behind are unsettling.

 

 

Send in the Warriors by MaryE

Short story - X/G meets U

Feeling depressed about the current administration in Washington? Reading this absolutely hysterical short piece by MaryE will help to cure those Dubya Blues.  This witty bit of satire answers the question, "What would have happened if they had let Xena solve the election dispute in Florida?" Until I read this piece I never really envisioned a corollary between Xena and the 2000 election, but where else would you find discussions of "gore" and "bush" in the same place? Why, in any work of ALT Xena/Gabrielle fanfic, of course! MaryE puts a wickedly acerbic spin on every aspect of the Florida debacle, finding wonderfully creative connections to the Xenaverse every step of the way: Alti, reincarnated as Katherine Harris? Joxer, the dimpled chad? After reading this, I have concluded that we would all be better off if our favorite gals had been allowed to work things out instead of the real bad guys. A great parody that definitely gets my vote. Highly recommended.

 

 

The Sense the Gods Gave a Horse  by T. Novan

Short Story - X/G

The Sense the Gods Gave a Horse is an hysterical short bit  told from Argo's point of view,  as she puts up with a distracted warrior who is too preoccupied with her bard.  It seems Xena's horse is more insightful than she is, and it is up to Argo to help the warrior take the next step in her relationship with the bard. Very sweet and very recommended. (See more T. Novan story reviews on the Special Themes page)

 

 

 

Shadow Play by Pink Rabbit Productions

Short Story - X/G

Shadow Play serves as an alternative look at events surrounding the Rift during the third season of the series. After the events that caused the Rift, Xena has returned to Amazon land intent on finding and killing a mysterious beast that has been attacking Amazons. Her quest to find the beast forces her to face her own inner demons.  The story is a riveting exploration of what it means to lose one's mind, and the struggle to try and reclaim one's grasp on reality. This one is gripping and is especially recommended to folks who weren't happy with the Rift arc of the series. (See other Memory Loss Themed story reviews on the Special Themes page)

 

 

She Said, She Said by K. Simpson

Short Story - O/U

A bit of a prequel to her incredibly witty and inventive Devil's Workshop stories, this short story by K Simpson tells of the very first meeting between advertising copywriter Devlin Kerry and account exec Cassandra Wolfe. Each woman has very different recollections of their first meeting. The only thing they do agree on is that sparks definitely flew - just not sparks of love (not then, anyway). Acerbic, sarcastic and funny as hell. This one is highly recommended

 

 

Sinful Adventures by Mil Toro

Short story - X/G

Takes places after Adventures In the Sin Trade I and II. Sinful Adventures is a dialog between Xena and Gabrielle where Xena fills Gab in on her adventures since they last met.  Trying to explain away all those beautiful young Amazons isn't easy, and things don’t look good for the warrior princess. One of the stories read aloud by Claire Stansfield (Alti) and Alexander Tydings (Aphrodite) during the Saturday Cabaret at the 2001 Pasadena Convention. Read it or risk the wrath of Alti! Highly recommended.

 

 

Slow Burn by Sandakat

Short story - O/U

A sequel, or sorts, to the novel length Burning Time. We catch up with firefighter Dina and ER doc Rene as they try, again and again, to "reconnect" after Rene's out of town trip. A fun, teasing story that will bring a smile. Recommended.

 

 

Snap Shots by MJ

Novel - O/U

It's shortly before Christmas, and successful photographer Tess Alexander has been given the unenviable task of shooting family portraits for the town Mayor and his family. She is not thrilled at the prospect of spending the day with the stuffy politician. However, she is intrigued by his older daughter Nicki, a woman who is blind. Their relationship soon grows beyond friendship, as Tess is one of the few people who treats her like an adult. Snap Shots is a sweet romance story, but it is also the story of a young woman whose mother can't accept her daughter's ability to make her own decisions. Overall, a nice little romance and coming of age story that makes for a fun read on a rainy day.

 

 

Solitaire by Temora

Short Story - X/G

Set early in the fifth season, this short piece by Temora describes events in a single night with a warrior who is intent on protecting her lover and child. A well-written vignette that provides a better character exploration than most of Season 5.

 

 

Someone's Justice by Anne Reagin

Novella - O/U

Author Anne Reagin gives us an original and welcomed change to the usual introduction of characters in her novella, Someone's Justice. When attorney Sterling Hayes meets realtor Samantha Hilliard sparks fly. Unfortunately, they are sparks of anger, not lust. They meet as adversaries in a lawsuit and must work to overcome their initial feelings of anger and mistrust. They soon move their relationship to friendship and something more. But just when you think things are settling into a typical, simple love story, we are thrown instead into a dramatic and dangerous thriller. Sterling has a past history with the Boston Mob, and now it seems someone is after her again. It could be someone from her past, her present, or someone completely unexpected. There seems to be no way out of the trap she's in. And even if she can somehow find a way out of this dangerous situation, will Samantha be able to forgive her for what she has to do?  The story is extremely well-written with richly detailed character histories, wonderful supporting characters, and none of the plot clichés found in so many ubers. Highly recommended.

 

 

Soul Searching  by T. Novan and Advocate

Novel - X/G Conqueror

Soul Searching is a great Conqueror story. I usually don't like Conqueror stories, but this one has a different take on the traditional evil Xena. Rather than an evil tyrant, we are given a woman who is trapped in the world she has created. She "escapes" from her own stronghold and ventures into a nearby village where she meets a young widow named Gabrielle and her son Jarrod.  Searching for a friend in her life, Xena is drawn to the young woman and her child and takes them with her back to her palace.  But back home, the conqueror has to deal with an evil, scheming Callisto who threatens to destroy her new relationship. We also discover that the conqueror is not as free as she wants to be. Callisto is conspiring with the God of War himself to keep Xena under his control and apart from Gabrielle. Soul Searching has nicely drawn characterizations and a sympathetic portrayal of the Conqueror. It's also action-packed and very well-written. This one comes highly recommended. (See more T. Novan story reviews on the Special Themes page)

 

 

Soul Vessels by Linda Crist

Short Story - O/U

Pwaise Hestia! More Kennedy and Carson! Not exactly a sequel to Bluest Eyes in Texas - more of a visit with a couple of old friends. The story successfully blends themes from the TV series, including the idea of eternal soul mates, with modern day romance. It's a fun visit with one of my favorite couples that might even be the set-up of new adventures (crossing my fingers and hoping). Very highly recommended.

 

 

Starry Sky by Bibbit

Long Short Story - O/U

Julie and Kimba were childhood best friends despite their 5-year age difference. But when Julie gets pregnant and marries her boyfriend John, she cuts Kim out of her life. When she finally leaves her unhappy marriage many years later she returns to her childhood friend. But husband isn't ready to give her up, and Julie might not be prepared for the consequences of having a relationship with a woman. There are some nice relationship moments in this well told emotional hurt/comfort story. Recommended. (See more Dysfunctional Family story reviews on the Special Themes page)

 

 

Stochastic Resonance by Barbara Buncle

Novel - O

This is fantastic story! It's an imaginative, well-crafted tale of a futuristic society populated by elbers (Live Birthers) and  C/H-ers (Constructed Humans) living aboard a space ship in a rigidly controlled society. Touching is not allowed; cursing is punishable by huge fines; and the C/H-ers are in control of the inferior elbers. Below the orbiting ship, we have a planet inhabited by alien life forms with its own repressive hive society. There are two separate stories here. One tells the story of elber Niner, a woman who has been sent planet-side by the C/H-ers to act as a spy in the alien society. She is soon thrown into a battle for survival on the harsh planet and must make her former alien enemy into an ally if either of them is to survive.  Up on the ship, Firsty, a C/H-er with compassion for elbers, has been re-assigned to the brig. When a pregnant elber is brought it, she risks her own life to protect the woman. She is eventually drawn into the secret world of the shipboard elbers and begins to question her own C/H-er society. Stochastic Resonance is a fascinating story of friendship and the struggle for survival in extreme circumstances. The story is complex and well-constructed. It's inventive, engaging, and a great work of science fiction. Gets my highest recommendation.

 

 

Stolen Moments by Brigid Doyle

Short Story - X/G

Set after the 6th season episode Who's Gurkhan, Xena and Gabrielle return Sarah to Poteidaia. While there Xena happens upon a group of scrolls written by Hecuba to Gabrielle chronicling her feelings about the bard and the life she chose to live with Xena. They are emotional letters written to a daughter who was very loved by her mother.  They serve to give Gabrielle the reassurance she needs about the way her mother truly felt about her choices in life, as well as some closure on her relationship with her mother. Poignant, tender, and very moving, the story also serves as a warm and loving summation of the long and emotional journey Xena and Gabrielle have been on these past six years. Recommended.

 

 

Stranger Paths  by Kandis Glasgow

Novel - X/G

Kandis Glasgow has found unique way to blend a modern character into a classic X/G story. When Gabrielle dies before her time, she strikes a bargain with the gods - if she can fine someone to fall in love with Xena, then she can come back from the dead. The person she chooses is Candace - a woman from modern time. Candace agrees to go back in time and settles in the Amazon village. She and Gabrielle both inhabit her body (their on-going inner dialog is half the fun in this story), but Candace must fall in love with Xena independently - and she's got a limited time to do it. Can Xena allow herself to give her heart away again? And why does this new Amazon remind her so much of her beloved soulmate? Of course Amazons being Amazons, there's plenty of sparring, honor challenges, and petty jealousy to spice things up along the way.  The story is nicely paced,  the relationship builds slowly, and there is plenty of plot action and suspense. I recommend this one for all classic X/G fans. There is also a sequel that completes the modern/ancient story arc.

 

 

Strings Attached by Inyx

Long short story - O/U

This story by Inyx has a slightly different twist - it's the story of two best friends: Kelly and Jessie. Everyone in their lives thinks that they are lovers who are destined to be together - everyone, except the two of them. That assumption is so strong that when Jessie gets pregnant, folks assume Kelly is the father! They finally get over their mutual denial and accept their true feelings for each other. They must then focus on getting through Kelly's pregnancy and face the fear of their impending parenthood. There are also some difficult (and very real) family relationships to deal with along the way. Strings Attached is a sweet story with witty dialog and some of the best chapter titles you'll ever find. Highly recommended.

 

 

Study as she goes...  by Harker

Short story - O/U

O.K., so this is a PWP, and I said I don't like PWP stories. But it's a really good PWP - although those of you who like PWPs probably won't like this one because there isn't really any sex in it either. So it's a PWP without the thing that makes it a PWP in the first place. Confused? So am I. Just know this: It's short; it's funny; it's a must read for any med student.

 

 

Surfacing by Paul Seely and Jennifer Garza

Novel - O/U

Surfacing was one of the earliest novel-length true ubers, and it's a good one. If you haven't discovered it, you're in for a treat. If you read it when it was first written a few years ago, it's well worth a second read.  It's got an engaging plot that is loaded with action, danger, suspense and emotional intrigue. Diana Starret is an agent in a secret government agency who has been mnemonically altered. All memories of her life have been wiped out. While on an undercover assignment she meets attorney Charlotte Browning and feels an instant connection.  In order to have a chance at a life with her new love, she must complete a very dangerous assignment that might have dire consequences for both women. The writing is crisp and effective and the characters are strongly drawn. This one comes very highly recommended. (See other Memory Loss Themed story reviews on the Special Themes page)

 

 

Survivor by J. Falconer

Long short story - O/U

This story by J. Falconer is the perfect uber for Anne Rice fans - or for anyone searching for a nice Vampire love story (and who isn't?). Carlisle Crowley is a vampire who meets and rescues  the young and beautiful Bronwyn Hunter. The girl manages to insinuate herself into Crow's life. Knowing that forming a relationship with a mortal is a bad idea, Crow finds herself powerless to cut Bronwyn from her life. Filled with disturbing details of a vampire's "life" - the constant need to feed on the living, remembering to "breathe" around mortals - Survivor still manages to be a romantic love story. I don't know how a scene of blood-sucking and death can be tender and loving, but somehow it is. There's also great action and suspense to sustain the story. Only in the land of Uber-fic can the undead find eternal happiness this way. Highly recommended.

 

 

Sweet Comfort Blues by Nene Adams

Short Story - O

Nene Adams is a master at creating atmosphere in all her stories, and this one is no exception. Sweet Comfort tells the story of a grad student in search of information about a famous yet mysterious Blues singer named Comfort McCall. The fantastical tale she uncovers seems to be nothing more than the ramblings of a half-crazed old woman. But the real story might be even more incredible. There is a creepy, suspenseful quality to the writing in this story of Voodoo, magic, and maybe even a few ghosts. Recommended.

 

 

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