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Story Reviews A-F

 

1971 by Tonya Muir and CN Winters
Novella - O/U

Set in a turbulent era of social unrest, 1971 tells the story of hippie flower child Erin and police office Carol. Each woman is struggling to overcome societal perceptions from within their own social groups and from society at large - Carol is a 'female' cop in a world of men, while Erin's friends see Carol as just another part of the repressive 'establishment.' Erin is a thoughtful philosopher in a world of protest-happy students while Carol's peers see her as just another rebel hippie. They must also overcome their own stereotypes about the other. The characters are complex and well developed and the story is very well written. 1971 is a story that has been around for a while, but it's an engaging read and definitely worth a second look. Highly recommended.

 

Above All Honor by Radclyffe
Novel - O

Radclyffe has proven to be very good at spinning classic romance tales, so it's no surprise that Above All Honor is another winner. This one tells the story of Cameron Roberts, a no-nonsense Secret Service agent, and Blair Powell, the President's rebellious daughter. Blair hates being protected by the Secret Service, unable to live the life she wants. She rebels by purposely eluding them and engaging in unsafe behavior. Newly assigned Agent Cameron seems to understand her feelings. They begin a prickly relationship. But Cameron is all business, determined to keep her professional responsibilities from over-riding her growing feelings for Blair. The story is well written and the characterizations are strong. Neither woman is perfect, and their relationship success is by no means guaranteed. It's an engaging read that's definitely recommended.

 

Absolution and The Seduction of Laura 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.

 

After the Siege by The Upside Down Kiwi-Bard (UDK_Bard)
Very Short Story - X/G

Set just after the famous, "I felt something" line at the end of Season 5's episode Amphipolis Under Siege. This little vignette gives us the rest of that conversation between warrior and bard. Short and sweet; funny and sexy. It packs a lot of relationship exploration into a compact, well-written package. Definitely recommended.

 

Aftermath: The Tree of Life by XWPFanatic
Novel - X/G

What can I say about XWPFanatic? The woman can flat out write. Period. Only a really good writer can create a Conqueror story that stays true to the series story and makes it believable to me. In Aftermath, Gabrielle has been crucified but has survived. She enters the Conqueror's contest to define what truth is and is selected to be the Conqueror's Oracle of Truth. She is allowed to live so long as she always tells the truth. Gabrielle accompanies the Conqueror to the Temple of Artemis, where they run into Amazons, Caesar's army, and a few other surprises. Fanatic deftly blends elements from the Hercules story with those from the early years of the series. The story is very well crafted, with an intricate plot full of twists and turns and lots of action and suspense. It stands alone but is also the first in an unfinished series of stories of the Seven Wonders of the World. Aftermath stays true to the storyline laid out in the original Hercules episode AND presents a believable relationship story of understanding and, eventually, love. This one gets my highest recommendation. (See more Conqueror story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

Alias Smith & Jones by Advocate and T. Novan
Short Story – O/U

Delilah Foster and her partner Dixie Wagner are con artists, traveling the countryside in their “Spam Can”, preaching and taking money from the innocent. Bruce and Charity are rival cons who try to con the con artists forcing them to retire to eliminate their competition in the con game. It’s the White Trash series meets “The Grifters” in this wacky story. It’s funny and blasphemous and a lot of fun. It’s also highly recommended.

 

Alix, Valerie, Alix and Valerie by Dreams
Novel - O/U

Although listed as separate stories, these three tales are all parts of a trilogy that form a single story. The first story focuses on Alix and is told from her point of view. Alix is a college student who has been in love with Jessica, her straight best friend, for many years. She meets Valerie just as Jessica is getting married. For the first time in many years, she finds herself interested in another woman. But can she let go of her obsession with Jessica, and is Valerie who she claims to be? In part two we get Valerie's story from her point of view, and things get a little more complicated. Part three is their story told from an alternating point of view. The story is best when it focuses on the interactions of Alix and Valerie and has some of the wittiest dialog you'll find in fanfic land. Dreams also does a good job of capturing the thoughts, worries and interests of your average college student (Aerosmith fans will understand).

 

All Through The Night by Rebekah
Short Story - X/G

One of the earliest fanfic stories, and one of the first that truly raised the bar for the writers that followed. Set between the early episodes "Is There a Doctor in the House" and "Orphan of War," Xena is injured in a battle with a band of thugs, and Gabrielle takes care of her. Rebekah's story focuses on the relationship between warrior and bard and has some moving, emotional moments. Before the long, painful night is over, each woman gains some understanding of the other and the profound ways their friendship is changing both of them. Very highly recommended.

 

Almost Over by Denic
Very short story - O/U

This very short story by Denic is definitely not your usual fanfic romance. A short vignette that portrays a relationship on the verge of collapse. Nicely done.

 

Amazon Way by Rachel Hahn
Short Story - X/G

If you've ever wondered what life was really like in the Amazon village, then this is the story for you. Amazon Way focuses on the antics of our favorite early season Amazons: Ephiny, Solari, Eponin, and Terreis. We see them in their younger, more carefree days, before they become more hardened warriors. Here they are occupied with the things all young people are doing: dating and mating, pulling practical jokes, gossiping, and forming the strong bonds of lifelong friendship. The young warriors eventually meet Xena and Gabrielle, and we follow the story told in "Hooves and Harlots" from the Amazon's point of view. Amazon Way is a fun and entertaining story that also gives a new and interesting perspective to that first encounter between the Amazons and the Warrior and Bard. Highly recommended.

 

The Amazon's Boy by Day
Novel - X/G

This novel has been around for a while (written just after season 4), but it's a good one. Following events of Season 4, Xena and Gabrielle are returning from India where Gabrielle has renounced violence for peace. Along the way they meet up with Lykeas, a friend from Xena's past with some mysterious connections to the Amazons - and to Xena as well. Returning to Amazon Land, they discover an army preparing to attack Gabrielle's Amazon village. In addition to dealing with an invading army, Xena and Gabrielle must find a way to cope with the changes in their relationship. As the story unfolds we also learn more about the secret history of the Amazon's Boy, and those secrets could have dangerous repercussions for everyone. At times this is an angst-filled, emotionally draining story. Relationships are strained, people are dying in battle. A small warning: some folks won't be happy with what happens to our girls along with way. It is also an epic tale that is filled with lots of slash 'em up action and big battles. Overall, a good classic X/G style tale that is well-told.

 

Anam Cara by moon child
Novel - U

Drug lords, Federal agents, money laundering schemes, and ex-husbands are all part of the excitement in this action-filled story by moon child. And that's just part of the fun. Taylor James is an Irish expatriate who has fled a life of violence and danger and now runs a neighborhood pub in San Diego. She meets photographer Camryn Wells and begins a friendship. But each woman must come to terms with Taylor's dangerous past and present if they are to have a future together. Lots of action and suspense in this one. It's a nice debut from a new bard. Highly Recommended.

 

And It’s Only Love by Kamouraskan
Short Story - X/G

In this short story by Kamouraskan, Xena and Gabrielle are trying to return to his mother a child who was kidnapped by his father years ago. But the teenage boy is unwilling to return to a family he no longer knows. Xena and Gabrielle must convince him that returning to his mother is for the best. At the same time, Xena and Gabrielle are mending their own relationship wounds. This is a poignant, moving story that is beautifully told. Recommended.

 

Another Lonely Day by Xfjnky
Short Story - O/U

Another Lonely Day is a refreshing change from your usual Uber. It's the story of Kia and Anne, two women whose decade old relationship ended badly. They are given a second chance, but will unhealed pain and misunderstanding keep them from getting it right the second time around? The story is told, in turn, from each woman's point of view and successfully conveys the hurt and regret and anger each woman is experiencing. Nicely done. Recommended.

 

Anybody Listening? by Harpy
Very Short Story - X/G

Set in the very early days of their relationship, Xena and Gabrielle are snowed in, and we get the thoughts of each woman as they try to fill the hours. The vignette is a nice reminder of a more innocent time with just the first hints at changes in their relationship. Recommended.

 

Armageddon Tired Of Conquering by Joanna Sandsmark
Short Story - X/G

A Conqueror story that's funny? You betcha. It's written in screenplay format. In the story, Xena the Conqueror meets her noon crucifixion, who is none other than Gabrielle, the Rouser of Rabble. Trust me on this one. It's funny. It's tongue in cheek. It's also very highly recommended. (See more Conqueror story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

As Good As It Gets by Kamouraskan and Lariel
Short Story – U

As Good As It Gets offers a unique twist on the Xena story. It features Xena and Gabrielle as modern day office employees. The story is told with the same cast of characters from the series, including Darphus, Borias, and Callisto as they challenge each other in the cutthroat world of office politics. Told in a very tongue-in-cheek style, there are some very funny moments, including the funniest character development for Perdicus I’ve ever read. It’s definitely recommended.

 

Assume This by Poto
Short Story - O/U

Sometimes it's nice to sit and read a quick short story - nothing too complicated, just a well written little story. This one by Poto fits the bill. Claire is a pink-haired girl who captures the attention of Jo, and the rest is history.

 

At a Distance by Melissa Good
Novel - X/G

There's a reason Missy Good is called the Alpha. She's one of the best writers in the Xenaverse. At a Distance is probably my all-time favorite Xena/Gabrielle first time story. I've read it multiple times, and it always makes me smile. It's romantic; it's emotional; it's suspenseful. It's a wonderful interpretation of the characters. Xena and Gabrielle are just starting to acknowledge the changes in their relationship, but they become separated when Gabrielle is called to the Amazon village. Enemies operating within the Amazon tribe and Xena's fierce determination to protect her bard are part of an exciting plot that culminates into one of the best first kiss scenes ever written. I know everyone in the Xenaverse has already read this one, but there's nothing stoppin' ya from reading it again. I guarantee it's just as good the second time. This one gets everyone's highest recommendation.

 

Azuyama - The Eastern House by Nene Adams
Novel - O/U

Azuyama is the first book in a wonderful series of books that are set in a fantasy world that evokes ancient Asian feudal systems. Ayumi is a female Samarai-style warrior who is sworn to serve her master - at any cost. The young aristocrat Lady Fujiwara hires her. In a world with rigid societal rules, tedious ritual and intricate courtly politics, the naive Fujiwara's infatuation with her warrior threatens both their ways of life. There is a sly humor in the writing, and Nene Adams gives us richly drawn characters, along with an incredibly detailed depiction of this society she has created. You'll be caught up in this Asian feudal world and won't want to leave it. This entire series gets my highest recommendation.

Babes Behind Bars by Halls
Short Story – O/U

Babes Behind Bars is a pulp fiction tale of two babes under guard. The new kid behind bars meets an older, wiser veteran of the system who helps show her the ropes. O. Henry fans will find this one especially entertaining. It’s very funny and very recommended.

 

The Babysitter by WordWarior
Short Story - X/G

A story that's been around for a while, The Babysitter tells the story of an early meeting between our favorite gals. A 13-year-old Xena is asked to baby-sit for a few hours when 5-year-old Gabrielle's parents are in Amphipolis to attend a festival. The young teen is unhappy at being asked to look after a little kid instead of being able to play with her friends. But she is soon won over by the bard-to-be. It's a sweet story of an innocent time in their lives. Recommended.

 

Back in Our Teens by Red Hope
Short Story - O/U

Back in Our Teens tells the story of two teenage girls in boarding school. They are ordinary high school kids with normal activities and worries: playing on the soccer team, going to the movies, and worrying about getting into college. As their relationship changes into something beyond friendship, they must grapple with the difference in their ages and their impending separation during the next school year.  A sweet, teenage romance that rings true and will remind you of your own high school years. Recommended.

 

A Bad Dinar by Mark Annetts
Long Short Story - X/G

Xena and Gabrielle are immortals living in modern times. Their eternal enemy Alti returns to challenge them again. This time she has the power to kill Gods and immortals. Can they stop her before she kills them and the remaining gods?  The story has a different take on the eternal lives they would lead as immortals. This Xena and Gabrielle are not joined at the hip through all time. There is some nice Cloak and Dagger action and intrigue in the story, as our heroes try to track down their age-old nemesis. There are also some appearances by old friends. It's an intriguing story with a plot that will keep you guessing and an interesting look at how Xena and Gabrielle would operate in modern times.

 

Bar Girls by Jules Kurre
Novel - O/U

Keagan and Rudy are two college English majors who meet in a bar and begin a complicated relationship dance that may or may not have a happy ending. Absolute Romantics Be Warned: This is not a syrupy sweet, romanticized love story. Theirs is a complicated relationship that is not perfect.  This story cleverly avoids most fanfic clichés - no "blue eyes met green, and they knew it was destined to be forever". Keagan is able to write about love but doesn't seem to be able to feel it for herself. Her relationship with Rudy is filled with witty, verbal gamesmanship reminiscent of Addie and David from TV's "Moonlighting".  We also get a great love scene that manages to be funny, witty, intellectually challenging and still incredibly hot! Smart, engaging and fun - this one gets my highest recommendation. And it's available from Renaissance Publishing!

 

A Bard Day's Night by DJWP
Novel - X/G

A Bard Day's Night is an early classic Xena/Gabrielle novel-length story, and it's still one of the best. Xena and Gabrielle meet Sappho and find themselves in a wild and crazy adventure with the Tenth Muse and her entourage. DJWP gives us an absolutely hysterical characterization of Sappho, as the poet finishes what could be called the original Lillith Fair tour (with Xena along to provide security). Along the way they'll run into more than the usual mix of assassins and mischief, including Gabrielle's first exposure to mind-altering substances, and a very amusing visit to a leather store. They also have to cope with a meddlesome Tenth Muse who is determined to get a certain clueless bard and warrior to see what the rest of the world sees about their relationship. The writing is smart and witty, and the storyline is original and clever. Read this story and then think about the 6th Season Episode Many Happy Returns. It'll make ya wonder where TPTB got some of their ideas for that ep. A real winner of a story that gets my highest recommendation.

 

A Bard's Convenient DIY Erotic Fiction Generator by Claire Withercross
Very short stories - X/G

Who doesn’t enjoy a great quickie? These are really quick and fun. Each time you "Refresh" the page you are given a new combination of characters and activities. There isn't really a story here - it doesn't even qualify as a PWP. But it's a lot of decadent fun.

 

A Bard’s Work is Never Done by T.Novan
Short Story - X/G

Another post Finale story that has a clever way of explaining it all away. It's also an interesting exploration of the relationship between the Bard and Xena, Warrior Beta Reader. T. Novan's stories are always entertaining, and this one is no exception. Recommended. (See more T. Novan story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

Bedtime for Warriors and Bards by L.N. James
Very short story - X/G

A very short and very funny vignette by one of the original bards of the Xenaverse. This one explains why Xena and Gabrielle have the sleeping arrangements that we all know they have. Very cute. One of the stories read aloud by Claire Stansfield (Alti) and Alexander Tydings (Aphrodite) during the Saturday Cabaret at the 2001 Pasadena Convention. Recommended.

 

Bedtime Story by Brian Davis
Short Story - X/G

When Gabrielle runs out of bedtime stories to tell to Joxer, Xena takes a turn and comes up with a uniquely Xena-esque twist to a classic fairy tale. We also get a surprising relationship moment at the end. Recommended.

 

Beginning of Forever by Nanabelle
Short Story - X/G

With the rapidly approaching ending of the TV series, now is the perfect time to read this short story by Nanabelle. Set in the twilight of their years, our warrior has reached the end of a long and happy life spent with her beloved bard. Gabrielle is determined to never leave her partner - even in death. But is it really their ending, or a new beginning? Beginning of Forever is a sweetly emotional goodbye to the show and to our warrior and bard.

 

A Best Friend's Magic by Advocate
Short Story - X/G

A children's story that grown-ups can enjoy too. A Best Friend's Magic tells a story of Xena and Gabrielle as children. Gabby has lost a tooth and - though she doesn't really believe in fairies - Xena stays up all night to try to catch the tooth fairy. When the fairy doesn't deliver, she goes to great lengths to earn the quarter dinar so that her little friend's belief in magic and fairies is restored. Very cute and very highly recommended.

 

Black by Gaslight by Nene Adams
Novella - O/U

This is the first in the wonderful Gaslight Series by Nene Adams. The stories are told in a Sherlock Holmes style, and they are terrific. Set in late 19th century London, the stories tell the adventures of Lady Evangeline St. Claire, a wealthy member of British society, and former prostitute Rhiannon Moore. This first novella centers on the mystery of Jack the Ripper. Each story in this series is extremely well written and suspenseful. Nene Adams does an amazing job of recreating London society with her writing - the language, the social conventions and attitudes, the dialog - everything is richly detailed and true to the period. You'll feel like you've been transported to Victorian England when you read these stories. You won't be disappointed. Very highly recommended.

 

The Blessing by T. Novan
Short Story - X/G

The Blessing is a sweet little first time story that has our warrior and bard ready and willing to take their relationship to the next step. But Gabrielle is waiting until their union is blessed by Artemis. It will take some godly interference from Athena before that will ever happen.  A very loving, tender take on the X/G relationship and a nice bit of romance to brighten your day. Recommended. (See more T. Novan story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

The Bluest Eyes In Texas by Linda Crist
Novel - O/U

Hold on to your keyboards, folks, this one's gonna blow you away! The Bluest Eyes in Texas is a sweeping romance that is also a great thriller. You like well-developed, three-dimensional characters? Look no father. It's the little human details that make the difference between characterizations that are merely O.K. and ones that are exceptional - and this story has 'em in spades.  Dallas paralegal Carson Garret and Austin attorney Kennedy Nocona are real flesh and bone characters - with human insecurities and flaws. Their emotional journey together is enough to sustain the story, but just as their fledgling relationship is just starting to heat up,  we are thrown into an intriguing mystery that could prove to be fatal for both women.  This bard skillfully builds the tension as she lets her characters piece together the clues that will help them try to stop the bad guys before it's too late. This story has great edge-of-your-seat suspense and a wonderfully developed romance. You'll love it. This one gets my highest recommendation.

 

Bonding of Souls: The Karmic Cycle Just Ran over My Dogma by T.Novan & CN Winters
Short Story - X/G + U

A short story that answers the question, "What happened to the cloned versions of Xena and Gabrielle who were turned loose in modern times?" It's one of the few fanfic stories to feature Harry and Mattie, and it's the first I've found that deals with the clones from "Soul Possession." It also manages to throw in some Post FIN elements. Has some clever ideas and explores new fanfic territory. But what else would we expect from these two Bards?

 

Break Out '99 by Barbara Davies
Novella - O/U

This story by Barbara Davies is a welcome change of pace from the more serious, somber stories out there. When your main characters spend most of their time dressed as Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz, you know you're probably not going to be dragged through an emotional wringer. Don't ask me to explain how and why everyone's in costume running around the Welsh countryside. It's all part of the fun in this sweet, goofy story. (There's even a Tin Man who may remind you of another familiar character). It's well-written and a lot of fun. Recommended.

 

Breaking Chains by Rooks
Novel - O/U

Breaking Chains is a re-telling of the movie titled Dead Again (starring Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh). Faith Dickinson is a private investigator who takes on the case of a young woman suffering from amnesia. As she searches for clues to young woman's identity she finds herself entangled in a fifty year old murder mystery  - a murder she and the young amnesiac seemed to be linked to as well. The writing is suspenseful and in many ways the story works better as a novel than it did as a movie. Here we have interesting character inner dialogs, and the gender changes add a fun new twist as well  (and I couldn't get past Kenneth Branagh's accent in the movie). Breaking Chains is a great mystery story with lots of plot twists and turns. Even if you've seen the movie, it will keep you in suspense all the way to the end. Highly recommended. (See other Memory Loss Themed story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

Broken Faith by Lois Cloarec Hart
Novel - O

If you're looking for a nice, long read for your summer vacation, then Broken Homes is an excellent choice. Marika and Rhiannon both come from broken homes that have left them emotionally scarred and uncertain about relationships. Fortunately for them, they have insightful and supportive friends who help them overcome their pasts and find the courage to live and love.  Broken Homes offers well-defined, layered characters, a satisfying romance, and enough thrills and chills to keep you entertained. It's the perfect novel to take with you while you soak up some rays in the sun. Definitely recommended. (See other Dysfunctional Family story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

Camping with Joxer by Oversoul
Short Story - X/G

A short story about the difficulties of life on the road with Joxer - and the ways our gals find to get around them. There's a reason this one won an Amazon Ice Award. It's very steamy and very funny and very highly recommended.

 

Candy or Chaos By CN Winters
Short Story - X/G

Candy or Chaos is a classic Xena/Gabrielle story that is reminiscent of the 'good ole' days' of fanfic. Xena and Gabrielle return to Potiedaia to visit the bard's family during the great Potiedaia Harvest Festival. When a couple of old friends get into a bit of trouble, it's up to Xena and Gabrielle to help them out. Along the way, our favorite gals manage to invent many of our favorite Halloween traditions. It's a kinder, gentler story that's fun for the whole family (Read: No sex, no violence, just an enjoyable story). Recommended.

 

Caretaker's Daughter by GabGold
Novel - O/U

The Caretaker's Daughter is an historical romance set in 19th century England. Bronte is newly married to John Baptiste, the Lord of Markby.  When he is gravely injured, she must take over the running of the estate. However, several of the servants are uncooperative, and when going over the receipts she discovers that some things just don't add up. Enter Addison Le Claire, the caretaker's daughter who befriends the young bride as she struggles in her new roles. But Addison is a  woman with many secrets of her own. GabGold interweaves the blossoming relationship with the unfolding mysteries quite well, resolving both in a dramatic conclusion. Recommended.

 

The Case of the Hollywood Homicide: A Janice and Mel Pulp Novel by Palomine
Long Short Story - Janice/Mel

The Case of the Hollywood Homicide is a murder mystery told in the classic Pulp Fiction style. Set in Hollywood during World War II, Janice and Mel are hired as historical consultants for a Hollywood Hercules movie. They find themselves embroiled in a murder mystery that reaches from their movie studio to the military supply industry. The story is filled with fun (and accurate) details about society and culture of that era. It's not a romance, but the writing is smart and stylish, and the characterizations of Janice and Mel are a lot of fun. Definitely recommended.

 

Castaway by Advocate and Fanatic
Completed series - O/U

Castaway is an hysterical parody of the TV show "Survivor" that follows the format of the show in a series of 11 Episodes. Survivors include Ryan Stryker, a survivalist from Kentucky who is just a little bit obsessed with government conspiracies; and Shannon Muldoon, a network "plant" who is placed on the island to help ratings with her girl-next-door sex appeal. Unfortunately for the producers, Shannon is the lesbian-next-door who finds herself helplessly  drawn to the paranoiac Ryan. In addition to the weekly survivor challenges, Shannon must also battle the network bosses as they try to quash her relationship with Ryan. To make matters worse, she must also compete with Tiffany - the 'other woman' in Ryan's life. Each hilarious episode will have you in stitches. It has it all - action, suspense, humor, conspiracies (real and imagined). And the most hysterical cast of over-the top characters ever assembled (just like on the real show). To enjoy the full Castaway experience, you must check out the wonderfully creative web site which features "Cast" profiles, maps, quizzes, and commentary.  Highly recommended.

 

Castle Walls by Redhawk
Novel - O

Castle Walls is a fun adventure tale of castles and kings and danger and romance. The evil Invader has been terrorizing the region, capturing smaller kingdoms and killing the royal families. Katerin is a royal princess who finds refuge with Ros and her traveling circus. But the Invader is determined to track down the princess. And there are other possible traitors are close at hand. Nicely woven tale with well-crafted characters. Recommended.

 

Celebrate Me Home by BlackFox
Short Story -X/G

It's a Wonderful Life, Xena style. Set in the early days of the series. On the way to Amphipolis for Solstice, Xena and Gabrielle get caught in a storm, and Gabrielle nearly dies. Xena's guilt over placing Gabrielle in yet another dangerous situation and the life they lead together prompts a visit from the Fates who show her what would have been if the young girl had not left Potadiea behind to follow the Warrior Princess. An emotional and sweet little story that is very highly recommended.

 

Chakram Toss by Stacia Seaman
Short Story - X/G

Set in the earlier days of their relationship (think time of the BGSB), Gabrielle has a little too much to drink one night and tests the patience of a certain warrior princess in more ways than one. You'll never think about olives the same way again. Recommended.

 

Changes of Heart Series by CN Winters
Series of Short Stories - X/G

Changes of Heart is the title of an excellent series of short stories set at the end of Season 5. After the events of Season 5, including Xena's lusty encounter with Marc Antony, Gabrielle is fed up with the increasing distance in their relationship and leaves Xena, seemingly for good. She strikes out on her own, leaving Xena to travel with Eve and a newly-mortal Ares. Their separate journeys will each find them meeting up with some old friends, including Aphrodite and Hercules. They are eventually reunited, but the status of their relationship is still decidedly uncertain. They must find a way to work through the hurt and anger before they have a chance at reconciliation. The series has it all - gods and goddesses, old friends, new friends, exciting sub-plots, and slice and dice action. What more could you ask for? CN Winters successfully captures the feeling and tone of the series and provides a very plausible and emotionally satisfying alternative exploration of the X/G relationship after the events of Season 5. The series is well-written and extremely enjoyable. Highly recommended.

 

Christmas Remembered by Helen Adams
Short Story - O/U

Set in a futuristic world where personal freedoms are limited, Christmas Remembered tells the story of 10 year old Leigh and her Grandmother Saffron. In this world Christmas is nothing more than a vague reference found  in an old journal. Saffron vows to help her grandchild solve the mystery of what Christmas is. Along the way we get some poignant moments of remembering a lost love and the struggle to find meaning in an unfeeling new world. And, in the end, a child will help her grandmother rediscover the true meaning of the holiday. A sweet, emotional story that I highly recommend.

 

Christmas Wishes, Christmas Gifts by Shadowriter
Short story - O/U

After a 10 year estrangement 18 year old Julie's Uncle is visiting for Christmas. He's bringing his wife and children, including his adopted daughter Kristen. She's not looking forward to spending Christmas with her young cousin, and she's struggling with her controlling parents. They want her to go to her mother's alma mater: a local, conservative finishing school for girls. Julie wants to go to DePaul to study art. But her new cousin proves to be nothing like she expected, and Julie will discover that sometimes you do get what you want. Nicely written, uplifting story by a talented writer. Definitely recommended. (Note: This story is due to be in the short story anthology "At First Blush" by Jane Doe Press. Since all proceeds from that book will be going to charity, Shadowriter has asked that it be pulled from the web. When info on how to order the book is releasted, I will post it here.)

 

The Claiming of Ford by T. Novan
Novel - O/U

T. Novan has come up with a new sub-genre of Xenaverse fic - the Uber Conqueror story! Claiming of Ford is also an inventive science fiction story. Set in a futuristic world, Garron Ford wins a battle and takes slave girl Marra as part of her conquest. The story is filled with inventive fantasy elements like serpentine beasts and characters with the gift of prophecy. We also have a richly detailed and complex society in which the rules for slaves and ruling family members are rigidly defined. But  Marra and Ford will break all the rules - and they will pay a price.  Claiming of Ford is an imaginative, original story that all sci-fi fans will love. Highly recommended. (See more T. Novan story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

Cobb Island by Advocate
Novel - O/U

The perfect novel for Halloween! Doug and Marcy are a couple of teenagers in love. Kayla and Liv are the respective older sisters of the young teens. They all take a trip out to Cobb Island, where fun and romance ensue. Advocate gives us a story filled with ghosts, the supernatural and not one, not two, but three romance stories in one! We get a modern day romance between paranormal researcher Kayla and budding genealogist Liv; we get a tension-filled, exciting historical romance between a couple of Liv's long-dead ancestors; and we get a very funny teenage romance between young Doug and Marcy. It's well written; it's entertaining; it's suspenseful; it's funny! Go read it - you'll love it. Very highly recommended.

 

Coffee Break & Dinner With the Family by Mavis Applewater
Short Stories – O/U

These two stories are part of the author’s Wednesday Afternoon Series. Monica is a divorced mother with a 5-year-old son. She meets Candice in a coffee shop and they go out dancing that night, a date that proves to be the start of a passionate relationship. In the sequel, Dinner With the Family, Candice finally gets to meet Monica’s son. Unfortunately, she meets him along with the rest of Monica’s family, including her ex-husband. The Wednesday Afternoon entries are mostly PWP stories, but when read as a pair, these two make for a much more fully realized relationship story. Recommended.

 

Cold by Midgit
Novella - O/U

Cold tells the story of Lady Joanna Holbrook-Sutherland and a young homeless woman she sees in a photograph and is strangely drawn to. The story has an original premise and well developed characters. There's lots of angst and heartache in this story. Rocky is a woman with a trunkful of emotional baggage and secrets in her past, and Jo is an over-privileged heiress who has never had a successful, loving relationship. They will each have to come in from the cold in order to have a future together. I also loved the style in this one: It's very British (So you have to read the dialog with an accent
J). Recommended.

 

Connecting Hearts by Cephalgia & MJ
Novel – O/U

Connecting Hearts tells the story of successful British poet DJ Jennings and American nurse Randa Martin. They begin an Internet friendship when DJ’s beloved aunt is stricken with ALS. Randa eventually moves to England to help care for the aunt. The relationship between DJ and Randa is well developed and realistically portrayed. In addition to the stress of her aunt’s illness, the poet must also battle her own reclusive nature. The authors also give us an emotional and insightful look at the devastation of this disease on patients and their loved ones. This one rates high on the Hurt/Comfort scale, but it’s definitely worth the loss of a few Kleenex. Highly recommended.

 

Conquered by Leslie Ann Miller
Novella - X/G

Conquered is a Conqueror story with a different premise than most. Gabrielle is a one-legged poet who lost her limb after she was crucified by the Conqueror. Seven years later, the Conqueror is defeated by Alexander and put into prison on Shark Island. Gabrielle goes to speak with her to record her history. She finds a woman who is receiving the punishment everyone thought she deserves, but facing the human being behind the evil isn't as easy as Gabrielle thought it would be. Xena also has her own demons to fight. Even if Gabrielle can forgive her, can anyone else, and can Xena ever forgive herself? The story gives us a close examination of the ideas of redemption, forgiveness, and how we deal with the aftermath of evil acts. It's a fascinating character study that is very highly recommended. (See more Conqueror story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

The Conqueror’s Stone by DJWP
Novella - X/G

This Conqueror piece uses key story elements from the original Hercules episode to create a clever cross-alternate universe tale. In the original Hercules story, the Chronos stone is responsible for the creation of the Conqueror. In DJWP's story, "real time" Xena wakes up in the bed of the Conqueror. With enemies lurking behind every corner, she must figure out who and where she is, as well as figure out a way to get home. She seeks out the Amazons (guess who is the Queen?) to help her find another Chronos stone to restore the real timeline. The story is filled with familiar supporting characters from the series. There's lots of action as suspense in the well-crafted plot. The story would have worked well as an actual Xena episode. It stays true to the series' style of storytelling. It's a Conqueror story without the presence of Xena the Evil Conqueror! An imaginative story idea that is well executed. Gets my highest recommendation. (See more Conqueror story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

Conspiracy of Swords by Shadowriter
Novel - O/U

I love mysteries and thrillers, and I was absolutely blown away by this story by Shadowriter. Conspiracy of Swords is an excellent plot-driven thriller that will keep your guessing until the end. The story starts with a bang (literally) and will soon take you on an emotional roller-coaster ride of scheming and espionage. Alexia Reis is an FBI agent investigating the assassination of the former head of the NAACP.  When their investigation leads them to a CIA connection she is teamed with Teren Mylos, a CIA assassin. They will soon become embroiled in an intricate international conspiracy that will take them across the country and half of Europe trying to unravel a complicated web of lies, cover-ups, betrayal and murder. This story has it all: Nazis, spies, conspiracies, shoot-outs, car bombs,  and leaping housecats. You won't be disappointed. Highly recommended.

 

Convergence by LA Tucker with Sage Walker
Short Story - O/U

This new story by Light Fantastic author L.A. Tucker is a bit of wacky fun. Cop wannabe Bernadette and New Age, Shirley MacLaine nemesis Andi are trapped in a convenience store with a bungling burglar and a TV-watching store clerk. Before it's all over, Bernadette will discover that all things happen for a reason. The story has some very funny moments. It's a sweet, fun story that's definitely recommended.

 

Creative Accounting by Mazrat
Very Short Story - X/G

A cute little story that harkens back to the "old days" of Xena when Gabrielle was still wearing the BGSB. Filled with every accounting pun and play on words you ever thought of - and a few you didn't - this one's a fun bit of comic relief. Breathes some new life into the classic X/G first time story. Recommended.

 

Crystal's Heart by B.L. Miller
Novel - O/U

Crystal's Heart is a classic 'opposites attract' love story.  When smoker/toker/all-around slob Crystal becomes roommates with anal neat freak Laura, can anything but true love result? While there are some comedic elements, it is a serious story about overcoming personal demons and childhood abuse. Both women bring plenty of emotional baggage to the relationship. There's dysfunction here, but there's also a strong romance and a serious look at some deeply emotional issues. Recommended. (See more Dysfunctional Family story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

Damn! Why Can't It Just Be Sex?  by Crow & Barbara G. Smith
Short Story - O/U

Damn is actually part one of a three part story (see other two:
It's So Much More Than Just Sex & Sex Is Good…Love Is Better). Part one is told from the point of view of mechanic Megan who stops to help a stranded motorist. Part two is from the point of view of loan office Jodie, a.k.a., the stranded motorist. Part three brings everything all together. As we discover in each part, things aren't always what they seem. It really depends on your point of view. A clever story idea that is well written and sure to entertain.

 

Dark Elf by J. Falconer
Novella - O/U

Dark Elf is an engaging fantasy tale from writer J Falconer. Falconer excels in this genre. Elven princess Sunstar is captured by a group of dark elves and taken as a gift for their evil King and Queen. The dark elf drows are emotionless killers, but half-breed drow Nightshade is struggling with her conscience over her life as a drow. If she attempts to rescue Sunstar, they could both suffer painful deaths, and there is no guaranty that they could make their way safely back to Sunstar's home. Dark Elf is a tale of magic and evil that's imaginative and definitely recommended.

 

Dark Heart by C.E. Gray
Short story - X/G

Dark Heart gives us a re-telling of the series premiere, Sins of the Past. The story captures the spirit and tone of the early days of the series and gives us new insight into why a young village girl would follow an older ex-warlord. It will make you nostalgic for that young, innocent Gabrielle, as well as the stoic, world-weary ex-warlord Xena. A fun, quick read.

 

A Date to Remember by Barbara Davies
Short Story - O/U

I just love a good ghost story, and Barbara Davies has provided one. A Date to Remember chronicles the first date between Leigh and Ellie. Leigh takes her date to the abandoned Shivering Sands sea fort, a series of old World War II sea towers used for defense during the war. It's an interesting (and educational) setting for the story and provides an atmosphere that is somehow both eerie and romantic. These two gals have a heckuva first date, as they discover the history and the mystery of the Shivering Sands. The writing is effectively spooky, and the plot works well as a Halloween treat. The story also serves as a fitting tribute to the soldiers of WW II. Definitely recommended.

 

Daughter of Egypt by Shadowriter
Novel - O/U

Daughter of Egypt is a fantastical story of gods and goddesses and ancient Egypt. It is also a more modern day story of an orphaned young homeless woman who is rescued from a life on the streets and given a unique opportunity to have a better life. To say much more would give away what is an imaginative and original story. In Conspiracy of Swords, Shadowriter established her strong talent for action and suspense, and she proves herself again with this well-crafted story. Filled with plot twists and surprises, it will keep you guessing until the very end. An entertaining read that is highly recommended

 

The Day After by Journs
Novella - O/U

The Day After is a sequel to the excellent first novel Resa and takes up where the original ends. It starts the morning after Resa ends and follows Resa and Jennifer through a single day. And it's a heckuva day! In a single day Jennifer begins to come to terms with being gay, Resa reconnects with her family, they explore their own relationship, and each will have a crisis of faith. That's a ton of character and relationship development in their one day - yet, somehow Journs makes it all work out in a believable way. The Day After is a great sequel to a strong original story. Highly recommended.

 

The Day Lucy Broke Down by  damnation
Short Story - O

Kelly Preston is not having a good day. Her faithful companion Lucy has died (Lucy is her laptop computer - fanfic lovers can relate to her plight). She attempts to be social and meets a hairdresser who seems to be a potential love interest. She also meets the infuriating Mach, a woman who seems to be purposely trying to antagonize her. By the end of the story she might have her relationship struggles resolved and maybe even her first kiss. The Day Lucy Broke Down is a fun, light-hearted story that is definitely recommended.

 

Dead Fall by Anne Azel
Novella - O/U

Dead Fall is the first in a murder mystery series that is a spin off from Anne Azel's Seasons series. The stories will make more sense if read after that series, but it is not necessary to do so. The series chronicles the investigations of forensic anthropologist Aliki Pateas. This first story also introduces us to Dawn Freeman and her mute young daughter. After a 14-year absences Aliki returns home to her family and becomes involved in a mystery involving a plane crash that killed members of Dawn's family. Each story in the series features very detailed scientific investigations and an interesting look at the world of forensic science and how it works. In addition to engaging mysteries, we also get some nice character development and an exploration of larger relationship issues over the course of the series. The series is a real winner, and each story is highly recommended.

 

The Deal by Maggie Ryan
Novel - O/U

Set in the exciting world of TV news, The Deal is a smart, funny, well-written story. Laura Kasdan is a news director who takes a "deal" to transfer to a smaller market station after an incident with the news anchor at her larger Dallas station. Christine Hanson is the talented and popular anchor in her new newsroom. She also has a talent for destroying news vehicles.  The Chris/Kaz relationship that develops isn't all sunshine and roses. So many ubers have a completely romanticized, frictionless relationship. It is refreshing to see a relationship with a few flaws - still grounded in love. Their relationship is complex and imperfect. Their jobs are an added complication - Chris is especially vulnerable to the cost of being outed. And Kaz is a newcomer to the world of romantic relationships. The Deal is also a fascinating look at the world of local news. The action is fast-paced, and the relationship story is romantic yet realistic. It's a real winner all-around. Gets my highest recommendation.

 

Death, Resurrection, and Taxes: A Comedy by Trisha Von Doss AKA Xenamour
Short Story - X/G

Death, Resurrection, and Taxes is a very funny story about one of the only things in life Xena was afraid of: the tax man. In the story, Xena and Gabrielle are being audited, and things don't look so good for our gals. With that twenty-five-year slumber, it seems they haven't filed a joint return in over thirty years. Their dealings with the auditor are laugh out loud funny. The story has some hysterical Itemized Deductions taken from their six years of travels. There's also an action plotline that involves government corruption and the usual band of unwashed thugs. Very funny and very highly recommended.

 

Dénouement  By Bel-wah
Short Story - X/G

This story by Bel-Wah focuses on the inner thoughts of Xena and Gabrielle in the hours immediately following the events in "When Fates Collide". It's an insightful, thoughtful exploration of each woman's dreams and emotional fulfillment in both worlds. They each realize that they seemingly had all they ever wanted in their other lives, yet they were both empty and unfulfilled without the other. Bel-Wah is a very good writer, but she's really in top form here. The story reads like poetry. It's beautiful, lyrical, emotional writing that is very highly recommended

 

Destiny Conquered by Linda Crist
Novella - X/G Conqueror

Normally, I don't like Conqueror stories. The Conqueror usually commits such horrible acts against Gabrielle, that I have a hard time buying the transition from victim to lover. This story by Linda Crist is different. Rather than giving us a conqueror who is a heartless monster, we have a woman who is tired of being the Conqueror; a woman who is no longer satisfied with meaningless military conquest. More importantly, we see that this woman is as much a slave to Ares as her subjects are to the conqueror. And, for once, most of Gabrielle's mistreatment is not at the hands of Xena. The story has familiar characters and relationships from the series that are cleverly incorporated into the alternate reality Xenaverse. The author also gives us a literary three-pronged attack: we get a fully developed relationship between Xena and Gabrielle; we have a believable character arc from hardened Conqueror to compassionate leader; and we get a suspenseful plot that includes a vengeful god, crazy Callisto, a kidnapping, and Amazons! What more could you ask for? An entertaining read that is highly recommended. (See more Conqueror story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

Destiny's Bridge by Carrie Carr
Novel - O/U

This story by Carrie Carr is the first in a series of stories chronicling the lives of modern-day rancher Lexington Walters and realtor Amanda Cauble. The series itself is enjoyable, but this first story is my favorite. I'll give Carrie Carr credit for writing one of the most exciting ways of bringing two characters together. Lex rescues Amanda from a life-threatening flood, but it is Amanda who ends up saving her friend from her life of loneliness in this heart-warming romance.  The story is character-driven, as the well-developed relationship between the two women is at the heart of the tale, but there's plenty of action here as well. In addition to the perilous flashfloods, we've got cattle rustling and gunfights, too. The supporting characters are also well developed and help to round out the story. This one's an action packed romance that won't disappoint. Definitely recommended. (See other Western Themed story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

Did We? by Rocky Macelli
Short Story - O/U

A fun little first date story about a couple who have a little too much to drink and can’t seem to remember exactly how they spent their evening. They wake up together with a few unusual clues to help them figure things out.  A fresh approach to the usual first time story. (See other Memory Loss Themed story reviews on the
Special Themes page).

 

Dolorosa - Our Lady of Darkness by Nene Adams
Short Story - O/U

Dolorosa is another entry in Nene Adams' wonderful Chamber Of Horrors series. In this story, an artist's obsession with her lover and model leads to unimaginable and horrible consequences. She then descends into madness and guilt over what she has done. Can the power of love lead to forgiveness? There's tons of great atmosphere in this psychological study of guilt and love. Highly recommended.

 

Down Home by CN Winters
Short Story - X/G

This one takes place after the 6th season episode, Old Ares Had A Farm. Xena decides to let Gabrielle know about her nocturnal Ares groping. It's short. It's funny. One of the stories read aloud by Claire Stansfield (Alti) and Alexander Tydings (Aphrodite) during the Saturday Cabaret at the 2001 Pasadena Convention.  Gets the Official Alti and Aphrodite Seal of Approval. Who am I to disagree? You'll love it. Highly recommended.

 

Dragon's Child by Domenica
Short Story – X/G

This is an incredible story. Set in the early years of the series, Domenica gives us a very different interpretation of the Xena/Gabrielle relationship. They struggle to define their relationship and separate for a time, but they ultimately realize it’s all about love. Written in a style unlike any other story I’ve read, it’s emotional and powerful with an almost dream-like quality to the writing. This one gets my highest recommendation.

 

Echoes Of The Battling Bard by IseQween
Short Story - X/G

This short piece by IseQween tells the story of the Battling Bard, a well-known bard who travels the countryside telling tales of a brave warrior and her companion. The story is told through the eyes of a fledgling bard who meets her in a tavern, listening to her tales and seeking advice. He is unaware that the tales are told from first-hand experience and is surprised at the bard's reaction when a mysterious stranger enters the bar. The story is a fond remembrance of a brave warrior and friend. A nicely told tale of a possible ending to the story of Xena and Gabrielle. Recommended.

 

Echoes From the Mist by Advocate
Novel - O/U

A sequel to Cobb Island that's just as good as the original. Advocate continues the story of Ghostbusters Liv and Kayla as they travel to Scotland to investigate a haunted house. They also go to Kayla's ancestral home, Cobb Manor, where they learn more of the story of Faylinn and Bridget and what happened to them. The writing is strong, and the characters are realistically drawn. You'll be drawn into both stories. And, like every good ghost story, it has a surprise ending. Highly recommended.

 

Elven Queen by J Falconer
Short Story - O/U

From the language,  to the setting,  plot and characters, this story by J Falconer reads like an old-style, traditional fairy tale. Addison is a girl who never seemed to fit in with her family or village. She sets off to travel the world but never seems to find what she's looking for. Exhausted after a day of traveling, she goes to sleep beside an ancient tree, and an ethereal voice in her dreams compels her to go on several mysterious quests. She soon encounters knights and witches and fantastical creatures. The story is magical and fun to read. The writing is colorful and true to form. J Falconer does an excellent job of re-capturing the feel of those great old fairy tales. Recommended.

 

The Emeth Stone by Maytee Aspuro
Novella - X/G

Set in the time of the 6th season, The Emeth Stone is a wonderful X/G story that reads much like an episode of the series. Gabrielle is the mysterious protector of a woman known as Ravin. She is a woman with no memory of her past who has become an adopted member of a tribe of desert dwellers and seems content in her life, but Gabrielle believes her to be her beloved Xena. Maytee gives us an engaging plot with many mysteries to solve.  Is Ravin really Gabrielle's Xena, or is that woman lost forever? What are the mysteries of the Emeth Stone and the women who guard its temple? Who can be trusted, who has something to hide? There are also greater questions of how we define who we are:  Are we defined by are past or our present? How important is a shared past and years of memories. The story is well-written and well-paced. It is a loving exploration of the 6 years of history these women shared and the changes they have been through together. Recommended.

 

The Empress and The Playwright by Xena's Little Bitch
Long Short Story - X/G

The Empress and the Playwright is an intriguing re-telling of the episode When Fates Collide that is told from Gabrielle's point of view. It is an interesting and insightful look at events from Gabrielle's perspective. The author continues the story from the ending of the episode and explores the lengths Gabrielle will go to in order to be with her warrior. The story is well-written and true to character. A thoughtful further exploration of a very emotional episode. Recommended.

 

Endless Twilight by Rainbard
Long Short Story - X/G & U

Centuries ago, Ares cursed Xena with immortality. The only way to life the curse is to kill the one who cursed her. She tracks him to modern day New Haven where she meets his new wife - a woman who is none other than the reincarnation of her soulmate,  Gabrielle! It's an interesting idea that is somewhat adopted from a story by SwordNQuill titled The Stranger in Your Eyes.  A fanfic that's based on another work of fanfic! Rainbard's story is well-written and entertaining.  The detailed descriptions of New Haven made me long for another Pepe's Pizza (but I had a hard time buying the availability of cabs in that town). Recommended.

 

Engravings of Wraith by Kiera Dellacroix
Novel - O

I love to read fanfic that makes me say, "Damn, what a good story!" and this one does. It's an all-nighter of a read, but it's worth the loss of sleep. After serving a fifteen-year career as an unwilling assassin, Bailey Cameron is the only member of a mysterious government hit squad known as The Secondary who has ever been allowed to go inactive. Now, someone in the Secondary is attempting to draw her back in to the life she worked so hard to escape from. She is also starting a relationship with her new assistant, Piper Tate. It's part La Femme Nikita and part Terminator, but it also manages to be a really sweet, innocent love story as well. How does that happen? Good writing, that's how. There's great spy vs. spy intrigue and suspense here. There's also a nicely developed relationship story between Bailey and Piper. Great characterizations, great action, and great romance. Gets my highest recommendation.

 

Etermal Night by Red Raven
Novella - X/G - Janice/Mel
Eternal Night combines classic Xena/Gabrielle elements with a modern vampire tale. In the story, Xena and Gabrielle are immortal vampires. An emotional rift has left them separated from each other for over 300 years. The rift was so bad that Gabrielle is actually trying to kill Xena (apparently, Gab can really hold a grudge). They are reunited and must work together to stop a new breed of vampire hunters who have developed a new weapon to kill their kind. The story also has references to Janice and Mel and the original Xena Scrolls episode from the series. Eternal Night is a new spin on a familiar genre that is definitely recommended.

 

Exposure by T. Novan and Fanatic (with Tonya Muir)
Weekly Series - O/U

In my opinion, this is the best continuing series in the world of fanfic. I'm amazed at the consistent quality and creativity these bards exhibit every single week. "Exposure" follows the adventures of  TV news magazine reporter Kelsey Stanton  and her producer, Harper Kinglsey. Sounds tame enough, doesn't it? Heh! The series is laugh out loud funny, emotionally wrenching, sweet and romantic, often in the same episode. Each "season" is an emotional roller-coaster ride of near-death experiences and extended-family dramas. It is truly a delight to read and is often the highlight of my week. Screw "Friends" and "ER", this is the real Must Read Event of Thursday nights! Gets my highest recommendation. Available at MaryD's site, but subscribers to the mailing list get episodes without a delay and also get special bonus episodes. Note: this series has finished its weekly run, but future "specials" are possible. (See more T. Novan story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

Eye of the Needle by Annemaart
Novella - O/U

Eye of the Needle is a fun, action-packed pirate adventure. Set in the waters off Australia at the time of penal colonization, Catherine is a prisoner on a ship bound for Sydney where she and her fellow inmates are to become virtual slaves for life. Lara is the Captain of a ship that seems to have rescued them from their fate. They are soon on the run from English war ships and taking a risky path through the Eye of the Needle. The story has all the chills and thrills you expect from a high-seas adventure tale. And the relationship between Captain Lara and former prisoner Catherine is teasing and fun, very reminiscent of Xena and Gabrielle in "A Day in the Life". While maintaining its own original story and characters, Eye of the Needle will remind you of the earlier seasons of X/G in its more light-hearted tone. A fun and enjoyable read.

 

Fall of the House of Amphipolus by Nene Adams
Short story - X/G

Nene Adams is one of my favorite authors in the world of Fanfic. Fall of the House of Amphipolus is a frightening horror story based on the Edgar Allen Poe story, The Fall of the House of Usher. In this story, Xena is asked to help an old friend whose lover is gravely ill. But something is seriously wrong at the House of Amphipolus. Nene Adams gives us a chilling, nightmarish tale of obsession and insanity that successfully captures the Gothic horror style. Highly recommended.

 

Family by Magenta
Short Story - X/G

The Coming Out story everyone wants to experience! New lovers Xena and Gabrielle return to Potadeia to tell her family about their new relationship - but it seems the cat's already out of the bag and the family's reaction is anything but what they expected. A funny and cute story that is definitely recommended.

 

Fate Is The Hunter by Peribear
Short Story – X/G

A story from the earlier days of fanfic, but it’s still a good one. Villagers gather around every night to hear an old woman tell her stories about a famous Warrior Princess and her Bard. Not wanting to repeat her stories, one night she finally tells them a story of a warrior’s last battle. It’s an emotional, moving story that captures the spirit of the early days of the series. Be sure you read this one all the way to the end! Highly recommended.

 

55-Word Xena: Warrior Princess Fan Fiction by Various Bards
Very, Very, Very Short Stories - X/G & O/U

This is a actually a large group of stories by various bards. Each story is ONLY 55 words long.  A bard named Wishes issued the challenge to fellow bards to create these stories, and the results are quite varied and impressive. Some are funny; some are sad; some are Classic X/G; some are Uber. Some of my favorites are "Uber In A Nutshell" by Beth Gaynor, and Liz's 3 Part Trilogy that encapsulates each of the first three seasons in 55 words. It is amazing how much one can say in just 55 words. Definitely recommended.

 

Finding Honor by Windstar
Novell – O/U

Finding Honor is sort of an Uber Crossover with the popular Honor Harrington series by Science Fiction author David Weber (I personally don’t know much about this series, but I’ll definitely have to check it out now). Aeris Thornson becomes a house guard for Honor Harrington, but she is also keeping dangerous secrets and has multiple identities. The alternate world created by David Weber is imaginative and fun, and the crossover with the Uber world works well. Windstar’s Aeris character is mysterious and the plot intrigue she creates will keep you guessing about who the good guys and the bad guys really are and what secrets Aeris has to hide. It’s well written and definitely recommended.

 

Finish What You Started by Magenta
Very Short Story - X/G

An extremely short bit of fun. The first in a promising series of stories. Could also be titled, "Things That Sound Dirty…"

 

Fire and Ice by Friction
Novella - O/U

Another story from the early days of Uber, this work by Friction is definitely worth a second read (or a first). Professional thief Alex Lord burglarizes the home of Danielle’s uncle. Danielle is tied up, but left alive. In addition to expensive jewels, Alex also steals Danielle’s personal journal. After reading it, Alex becomes intrigued by the young woman and can’t stop herself from making contact. She will soon play the role of protector and savior to the woman she once terrorized. But will Danielle be able to forgive her when the truth is revealed? Friction is a wonderful storyteller, and the characters are complex people with human frailty and flaws. A really well done early uber that is highly recommended.

 

First by Kim (KP) Pritekel
Novel - O/U

Get out your handkerchiefs for this one, folks. It's a weeper. But it's a really good weeper. "First" tells the story of Beth and Em who were best friends as children. The story of Beth and Em unfolds as Em prepares to return to her childhood home to attend Beth's funeral. Em reflects on her life and her relationship with Beth and the mistakes she made. "First" is a powerful, very emotional story that is highly recommended.

 

First Date or Cuppa Jo by Seana James
Short Story - O/U
Jo is working her way through college as a barrista. High-powered union attorney Mia becomes a regular customer. Over time, it seems that something more than coffee is brewing between them (OK, it's a bad joke, but the story is really good). Seana does a nice job of slowly building a flirtatious, tentative relationship between the two characters in a story that comes highly recommended.

 

First Solstice by Melissa Good
Very Short Story - X/G
Sweet vignette of the first Solstice shared between warrior and bard. Caught in a horrible snowstorm, they both find something to be thankful for. Short and sweet and very highly recommended.

 

Fixing a Betrayal (FIN) by Silence
Short Story - X/G

A Finale story that "fixes" the plot in FIN right at the time it all starts to fall apart, logic-wise (which is somewhere in the first half-hour!). A much more satisfying way to tell the story of how Xena and Gabrielle once again save the day. (See other Finale story reviews on the
Special Themes page).

 

The Foundlings by GabGold
Short Story - O/U

Set among a native tribe in the frozen north, The Foundlings tells the story of Fox and Kia. Because there is no man in her family, Fox is allowed to hunt with the tribe. Kia has been promised to the hunter who makes the first kill of the season. Guess who makes the first kill? In spite of the odd circumstances, Kia and Fox are joined. They begin their life together as best they can, but if they don't learn to communicate their fears, they may lose each other forever. The Foundlings provides a twist on many uber-esque conventions and makes for a satisfying read.

 

Four Mondays by MJ
Short story - O/U

Four Mondays is a wonderful cross between the X/G episode "Been There, Done That", and a modern romantic uber.  Alice is a computer support assistant whose Monday keeps repeating itself. Leah is the bike messenger she is strangely drawn to. She soon discovers that Leah is somehow the key to unlocking the mysterious time loop. There are some great humorous moments here as the day repeats and Alice knows what will happen before her co-workers do. A recommended read.

 

Fractured Tapestry by Kiera Dellacroix
Novel - O/U

Kiera Dellacroix returns, and this one's bound to stir things up a bit in FanFic land. Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore. Fractured Tapestry is a classic PI story, told in a tongue-in-cheek Pulp Fiction style. Private dick Maddie Ledoux is out to find the killer of her surrogate father. The list of suspects is long, including a new lover who may not be what she seems. If that weren't enough, Maddie's own lack of social graces might prove fatal to her new relationship. It's Mike Hammer meets a modern day Archie Bunker (if Archie was a big dyke with an attitude). In keeping with the established Kiera Dellacroix style, don't expect some treacly love story here. Just expect a very funny, very witty murder mystery that will keep you guessing up until the very end. Another one that comes very highly recommended.

 

Free to Wander on this Earth by Chantal
Very short story - O/U

An emotional story about lovers separated by death who get to enjoy one night together each year on Halloween. "Free to  Wander" is an ethereal, bittersweet and beautifully written vignette about eternal love. Recommended.

 

Friend in Need of Therapy by K. Simpson
Short Story - X/G

A Finale story that will make you laugh? Thank the Gods! This story will help soften the blow caused by the FIN. It explains away the entire episode and makes everything ok again. Even manages to get in a few playful zingers about the Big Giant Head. Highly recommended. (See other Finale story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

A Friend In Need: Part III by T. Novan
Long Short Story - X/G

Leave it to T. Novan to find a way to give us a happy ending to the series that makes sense and manages to explain some of the other big, unanswered questions we were left with. This story picks up where FIN II ended. Gabrielle has changed her mind about accepting Xena's choice to stay dead, and (with the help of an old friend) returns to Japa to make things right. T.Novan fills most of the gaping plot holes we were given in the original story and gives us an emotionally satisfying way to say goodbye. Highly recommended. (See other Finale story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

Friend In Need, The Way It Should Have Been by Marion D Tuttle
Short Story - X/G

This short tale by Marion Tuttle continues the story told in FIN. On their journey from Japa, Xena and Gabrielle start to question the recent events that have left them where they are and the decisions that got them there. Upon closer examination, some things don't seem to make as much sense as they should. The question is, what can they do about it? Answers some good questions about the plot in the series Finale. (See other Finale story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

 

Full Boat by T. Novan
Novella - O/U

Full Boat is a wonderful period romance by the incredible T.Novan.  Morgan Delaney is a gunslingin' gambler. Gabrielle Stafford is a reporter with a eye for gunslingin' gamblers. There's great action and suspense in this fun story with a Western theme. A high stakes poker game, a riverboat of potential bad guys, and dead bodies. Sounds like a sure-fire prescription for fun, and it sure is! Definitely recommended. (See more T. Novan story reviews on the
Special Themes page)

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