Short, Diverse Reads for Max TBR Takedown


Novellettes: All the fun in a quarter of the time.


So, we're halfway through October, and I know that for the competitive among you, this is the time of year when you start to look at the looming total of books you still have to read to complete either GoodReads or blog-based challenges with a feeling of panic.

Don't fear! I'm here to help you.

All of these great stories can be read in under an hour based on the average reader speed of a page a minute.

As an added bonus, every single one of these feature either a LGBTQIA main character, a POC main character, OR BOTH.


Genre: Fantasy












Title: Hunting Monsters

Author: SL Huang

Publisher: The Book Smugglers

Length: 50 pages

Read Time: Less than 1 hour

Diversity: Intersectional: on page  lesbian couple, POC cast by a POC author


Ever since she was a small girl, she has learned to be careful on the hunt, to recognize the signs that separate regular animals from human-cursed grundwirgen. To harm a grundwirgen is a crime punishable by death by the King's decree – a fatal mistake that her Auntie Rosa and mother have carefully prepared her to avoid.

On her fifteenth birthday, when her mother is arrested and made to stand trial for grundwirgen murder, everything she thought she knew about her family and her past comes crashing down.

Mini Review: I was struggling for a bed time read, flipping through things in my kindle, but when I started this, it instantly grabbed me. I loved the build up the relationship between Rosa/Mei, and how the child narrator gradually became more aware of complexities over time. Beautiful, vivid writing. A fascinating fairy-tail mashup of Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast.

My Rating:





















Title: The Vishakanya's Choice

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Publisher: The Book Smugglers

Length: 27 pages

Read Time: Half an hour

Diversity: POC cast and mythology by an author of colour. #ownvoices


Early in her life, Sudha's fate was divined to be a lonely, fruitless future of young widowhood. So, it was considered a blessing when she was brought to the Hastinapur harem to become a vishakanya–a weapon, an assassin, a poison maiden whose very touch is toxic.

Mini Review:

A beautifully written (who expected anything else from Roshani Chokshi??), dark little short story. Considered death incarnate as a result of her star-chart, Sudha is fed poison and turned into a living weapon. Her agency is stripped away and she's treated like a dangerous possession. The depiction of setting is super vivid.

This story is about a girl taking her choices back, standing up for herself, becoming powerful and it's wonderful.

My Rating:






















Title: The Rainbow Flame

Author: Shveta Thakrar

Publisher: Uncanny Magazine

Length: 16 pages

Read Time: 20 minutes

Diversity: Full POC cast by POC author. #ownvoices

Mini Review:

This is the absolutely beautifully told story of Ripali, the last in a line of magical candlemakers who mix parts of their own imaginations into the candles they create. The candles are used by Spell Singers, who use them to protect the population. But Ripali isn’t happy with her situation – why should she be the one to lose her visions and her memories?

The prose and ideas in this are stunning. Shveta is basically the master of gorgeously constructed imagery and metaphor. This is a portal fantasy of sorts, but the transition is so seamless you almost forget.

My rating:




Read it Online Via Uncanny Magazine!













Title: The Terracotta Bride

Author: Zen Cho

Publisher: Zen Cho

Length: 51 pages

Read Time: Less than an hour

Diversity: POC cast and mythology by a POC author. #ownvoices


In the tenth court of hell, spirits wealthy enough to bribe the bureaucrats of the underworld can avoid both the torments of hell and the irreversible change of reincarnation.

It's a comfortable undeath … even for Siew Tsin. She didn't choose to be married to the richest man in hell, but she's reconciled. Until her husband brings home a new bride.

Yonghua is an artificial woman crafted from terracotta. What she is may change hell for good. Who she is will transform Siew Tsin. And as they grow closer, the mystery of Yonghua's creation will draw Siew Tsin into a conspiracy where the stakes are eternal life – or a very final death.

Mini Review:

A totally fascinating blend of mythology and modernity. This is a super quick read novella read with a unique and interesting cast of characters. Beautifully written and easily readable in an hour.

I loved the way the story talked about hell and reincarnation. It's not always a peaceful process, but something that a lot of the souls dread. Siew Tsin's naivety made her a perfect narrator.

My Rating:










Genre: Paranormal












Title: The Artist and the Devil

Author:  Shira Glassman

Publisher: Shira Glassman

Length: 15 pages

Read Time: 20 minutes

Diversity: Gay Romance


Noah has an uncomplicated life–he teaches art at a high school, then sketches outside all afternoon until he gets hungry and has to go home, and finally spends the night grading papers. His life is thrown into confusion when he encounters a mysterious burly businessman one day in the park. Noah keeps finding clues that the man is Satan–and the worst part is, he's growing more attracted to him every day.

Mini Review:

When I first started reading, I was little bit skeptical. I kept thinking, wait, hold on Noah, you have absolutely no evidence for your accusations? Where are you getting these thoughts from?

And I read on, thinking, well this is cute But

BUT THEN: THE TWIST. THE BEAUTIFUL DIAMOND TWIST that turns this from simply a cute gay romance short, into a larger commentary on stereotypes and jumping to conclusions.

Love it.

My Rating:










Genre: Sci-Fi













Title: The Siren Son

Author: Tristina Wright

Publisher: Lightspeed Magazine

Length: 19 pages

Read Time: 20 minutes

Diversity: Very, very queer 😀

Mini Review:

Read and adored Tristina Wright's "The Siren Song." I loved the beautiful ocean imagery and the sweet love between Killian and Neal.

ALSO the image of a merking living in a coral castle being rammed with a battleship … one of my favourites lines of all time! <3

My Rating:







Read the story at Lightspeed!