Small Press Week is an event conceived of and organised by Upper Rubber Boot Books to “talk about exciting new releases, classic back-catalog titles, and what makes small press publishing so fearless, intimate, creative, and heart-warming”.
For day six we get to share books that we’re loving from other presses. Asking us about books we love has the potential to turn into a long conversation but don’t worry, we’ll try to control ourselves.
Oh man. Asking me to chose my favourite small press reads is like opening a massive door to the land of Temptation. The thing is, a great deal of the reading I do these days is for either Pen and Kink Publishing or World Weaver Press. That means most of my small press reads comes from those two places as well. Since the idea of today is to talk about books from presses other than our own P&K is out, but World Weaver Press titles would still count… except that I’ve got a wee bit of a bias there, don’t I? So I decided not to choose any WWP titles… but I really, really wanted to. Even though I can’t, in good conscience, pick any WWP titles to share on this post, I definitely suggest you pop over and take a look at their catalog –> http://www.worldweaverpress.com/
When it was time to look at my favourite books from small presses (other than P&K or WWP) over the last few years, three titles came to mind right away. They all had one thing in common–they were short story collections or anthologies. Go figure.
Vacui Magia: Stories by L.S. Johnson is one of my favourite story collections of all times. Johnson’s fantastical work frequently tackles
themes about the struggles of women and often melts across the border between ‘dark fantasy’ and ‘weird’. It’s a wildly imaginative collection of stories with lyrical prose of the type that makes you think, “Man, I wish I’d written this!” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29408844-vacui-magia
Glitter and Mayhem edited by John Klima, Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas surprised me and that’s not easy to do. I received an ARC of this anthology, but I was hesitant about reading it. The theme–“Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror tales of roller rinks, nightclubs, glam aliens, party monsters, drugs, sex, glitter, and debauchery”–didn’t really speak to me a whole lot. But I recognised the names of some of the authors so I gave it a shot, and wow. Anthologies are often tricky to recommend, because frequently I’ll like a couple stories, but dislike just as many, that is not the case with this one. I adore 99% of these stories. The only part about this collection that disappointed me was when I turned the last page and realised there was no more left to read. –> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17902184-glitter-and-mayhem
Sing Me Your Scars by Damien Angelica Walters. I think Damien is one of the most talented short story writers producing work today. Her stories are skillfully crafted, contain evocative descriptions, three dimensional characters, lyrical prose and pluck at emotions that continue to reverberate long after you’ve finished reading. I love this short story collection and I will never not suggest it whenever someone asks for a recommendation for dark fantasy short stories. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24700222-sing-me-your-scars
There’s some titles from small presses that I’d love to share with everyone I know because I enjoyed them so much!
BLACKBIRD SUMMER by Em Shotwell
Honestly I was afraid to read this one because I’ve gotten to know Em over the last couple of years. What if I didn’t like it? Well, as it
turned out that fear was unfounded. I LOVED it! I couldn’t put it down. This book made me laugh and cry.
Blackbird Summer is the first in a series about the Caibre family who have special, X-Men like powers. Tulluah was resigned to setting her dreams aside and following the path her family had chosen for her–having a husband picked for her and helping her mama home school the other children. But when she meets Logan, she wants more from life. Unfortunately her dreams are put on hold when tragedy strikes her family and the town’s people, who have never really liked the Caibres, turn against them. Tulluah is determined to discover who is targeting her family, even if it means risking her own life. Check it out here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28366638-blackbird-summer
TIGER LILY by Wende Dikec
This one is a young adult novel that seemed like a fun read and turned into another one I couldn’t put down. This was Wende’s debut novel, which is filled with laughs and tears. I quite enjoyed it!
After a car crash, Lily discovers she has the ability to see little black blogs–ghosts. Though one doesn’t appear as a blob. Nick doesn’t know what happened to him and thinks that Lily is the only one who can help him. Lily’s not so sure she wants to get involved but since Nick won’t quit pestering her, she has no choice. As she helps him, with the help of Zoe and Mr. Wan (her manicurist), Lily isn’t so sure she wants Nick to know what happened to him because it means she’ll have to say goodbye. Check it out here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28093639-tiger-lily
ASHBY HOLLER by Jamie Zakian
Ashby Holler is a different novel with lots of sass, grit, and angst. It was a bit intense, and a different read, one that I quite enjoyed and am looking forward to the next in the series.
Sasha’s family business is running drugs. Now that she’s old enough, Sasha’s got her eye on the sergeant at arms position, providing her mother doesn’t find out about her girlfriend. That’s when her best friend Vinny suggests they pretend to be a couple, since Sasha’s mother wants to see them together anyway. Sasha goes along with it, but after getting intimate, things get complicated between them. Then Vinny’s brother, Dez, returns from jail and swipes the sergeant at arms position away from Sasha. No matter how angry Sasha is with Dez, she can’t stay away from him. Sasha needs to figure out what she wants before she destroys her family’s business. Check it out here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30618776-ashby-holler
One more series I really enjoyed was FATE OF THE GODS by Amalia Dillin.
I love mythology and this new take on Adam and Eve mixed with various mythologies had me from the start! Through her many lives, Eve is determined to hide from the cruel Adam. In her current incarnation, he finds her, and falls in love with Eve’s sister so there’s no getting rid of him. Unknown to Eve, long ago Thor swore to protect her and is right on Adam’s heels to ensure her safety. The trilogy covers their struggles and hopes of redemption as they head for a bigger problem…Ragnarok, the end of the world.
There’s no way I can cover all three books in a little burb, but check them out here: