June 4, 2021

#FridayReads for June 4, 2021--checking out the #PrideStoryBundle

For this week's #FridayReads, I am spotlighting a great deal on a whole bunch of awesome books that is available right now, but only for a limited time. I'm talking about the 2021 Pride Story Bundle, curated by Catherine Lundoff and Melissa Scott, and available exclusively at StoryBundle.

This bundle features 16 ebooks (available DRM-free in various digital formats), and you can snap them all up for a bargain price. How does this work? Well, you can get all the details here, but here is the quick version:

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you're feeling generous), you'll get the basic bundle of five books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.

  • No Man's Land by A.J. Fitzwater
  • Silver Moon by Catherine Lundoff
  • Dropnauts by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • Burning Bright by Melissa Scott
  • Highfeil Grimoires by Langley Hyde

So how do you get all 16 books? Easy:

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular books, plus eleven more books! That's a total of 16!

  • The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg
  • Succulents and Spells by Andi C. Buchanan
  • City of a Thousand Feelings by Anya Johanna DeNiro
  • Mother of Souls by Heather Rose Jones
  • Blood Moon by Catherine Lundoff
  • Spellbinding by Cecilia Tan
  • Glitter + Ashes edited by Dave Ring
  • Queens of Noise by Leigh Harlen
  • Stone and Steel by Eboni Dunbar
  • Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • Stories to Sing in the Dark by Matthew Bright

And if you're able to pay $20.00 for the full bundle, then you can also donate part of the purchase price to Rainbow Railroad:

StoryBundle has always allowed its patrons to donate part of their payment to a related charity and once again we're supporting the Rainbow Railroad, a group helping LGBTQ people escape persecution and violent worldwide. If you choose, you can donate part of the bundle's price to them — a gift that can save a life. –

No matter how you slice it, this is an amazing deal on a collection of awesome books. If you're interested in the Pride Story Bundle, I highly recommend springing for the bonus books too, and I want to spotlight three of the bonus books because I've read them and I love them.

The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg

R.B. Lemberg’s novella The Four Profound Weaves is a lyrical and gripping journey that begins in a sunlit desert full of sand and bones, continues into a city haunted by memories and ghosts, and eventually takes the reader into the the light-less depths beneath the earth. It’s a story that delves deep into themes like resistance, courage, and endurance. With both gentleness and sharp precision, Lemberg explores the importance of our connections to the world around us and to other people, and how powerful those connections can be in shaping us and our lives.

One of the things I love about this novella, is how it emphasizes that change is a vital part of life: both in the sense that we can change ourselves, and in the sense that the world, and the passage of time, will inexorably change us, too. 

Ultimately, the characters in The Four Profound Weaves must confront their own pain, their own doubts and ghosts, while also confronting a corrupting and evil force that intends to warp the world, to imprison and use people and magic for its own selfish and destructive ends.

For me, Lemberg’s novella emphasizes that resistance is important even when victory is not guaranteed, and even when achieving victory will not solve all the world’s problems. Resistance is an important act in and of itself, because it determines how we live, and how we treat and care for those around us. Finding courage for our friends, for other people; confronting evil in order to help others and ourselves, is important even if we do not win, and even if the victory is short-lived.

(Read my full review.)


City of a Thousand Feelings by Anya Johanna DeNiro

I first fell in love with DeNiro’s writing when I read her divine (literally) story “Faint Voices, Increasingly Desperate” in Shimmer some years ago. City of a Thousand Feelings is further evidence of DeNiro’s deft skill at writing stories that are both strange, beautiful and profound, full of surreal imagery and gleaming with lyrical prose.

In this novella, DeNiro blends bold brushstrokes of epic fantasy and social allegory with an intimately detailed and wrenching portrayal of a long and complex relationship between two people who have both been bruised and battered by a hostile world. 

 One of the many things I love about City of a Thousand Feelings, is how the story goes for difficult and complex emotional truths rather than facile answers as it deals with the fallout of trauma, grief, and defeat. Nothing comes easy here, and every small victory is dearly paid for, but even so, DeNiro shows us the power and possibility of hope and love, solidarity and friendship.

This novella also has one of my favourite quotes about love:

The hardest thing in the world–this world–is to allow yourself to be loved. Love is the groundswell and the bedrock, the tide and the shore.

(Read my full review.)


Glitter + Ashes edited by Dave Ring

This short story anthology is such an excellent read, and if you love speculative short fiction, it's a must-read. What I particularly love about Glitter + Ashes, is its focus on hope, particularly queer hope, even in various post-apocalyptic futures. AND it includes stories by so many great writers:

  • Saida Agostini
  • Elly Bangs
  • Phoebe Barton
  • Christopher Caldwell
  • C.L. Clark
  • Josie Columbus
  • Trip Galey
  • Blake Jessop
  • Marianne Kirby
  • Jordan Kurella
  • L.D. Lewis
  • Otter Lieffe
  • Darcie Little Badger
  • A.Z. Louise
  • V. Medina
  • Michael Andrew Milne
  • Anthony Moll
  • Mari Ness
  • Aun-Juli Riddle
  • Lauren Ring
  • Adam Shannon
  • A.P. Thayer
  • R.J. Theodore
  • Izzy Wasserstein
  • Brendan Williams-Childs

The official blurb:

Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World That Wouldn’t Die is an anthology of post-apocalyptic fiction centering queer joy and community in the face of disaster. What does hope look like when everything is lost? Now, more than ever, we need to revel in the bright spots amidst the darkness.

The twenty-three stories (and two poems) contained here, as well as the roleplaying game Dream Askew by Avery Alder, imagine queer community in myriad futures interrupted by collapse. Post-apocalyptic futures glittering and bleak, challenging and eerie.

Glitter + Ashes is here to hold up a torch. Come gather round the fire.


Pick up the Pride Story Bundle right now at StoryBundle!


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