Advent: Collected Shorts by SL Armstrong and K Piet
Length: 175,000 words (433 pages)
The tradition of the Advent calendar goes back as far as the beginning of the 19th century. Special calendars were produced, counting down the days until Christmas, usually with a small poem or gift accompanying each day. The authors of this collection of erotic fiction bring a steamy twist to that practice, by offering a free, never-before-released short for each day of the holiday season. In addition, Advent: Collected Shorts also includes Love and Agony—seventeen additional stories and shorts not released as part of the free Advent event, that are only available in this collection!
While I didn't read every story in this collection—some involved pairings that weren't to my taste—I have to give what I did read a strong score. The Advent stories are a bit repetitive if read straight through, as they involve lots of hot, steamy sex with various pairings (mainly m/m, but some m/f, f/f, plus a few sets of multiple partners, and some incestual involvement). I only read the m/m stories, and they were plenty hot. I'm not big on straight erotica...erm, I mean only erotica...but these stories were excellent. Plus, while sex was the focus, there were plenty of teases for the stories to come.
Speaking of which...most of these pieces involve characters from works that are still in progress. I was never too confused about who was what doing what, and these definitely peaked my interest and I look forward to reading the longer works that these characters come from. If you want smokin' holiday sex, this will have a little of everything...enjoy the buffet!
As for the Love and Agony section: I liked these stories, although romance/sex isn't the focal point as much as it is in the Advent section. Not all the stories are happy (although even some of the Advent stories aren't completely happy), but the set is called “Love and Agony.” Enjoyable, although they didn't leave quite as lasting an impression as the Advent set.
I'm not big on sex in stories. Mainly it needs to further plot/characters or be really well done. Most of this stories were really well done. Smut for smut's sake? Perhaps. But sometimes you need a foursome with a set of triplets who all share a soul that is soul mate to the fourth. There is variety in character pairings, type of sex, level of kink, and number of partners. I recommend not reading these at work though *cough, blush*.
Although these stories don't have much plot, they hint at plot that has happened previously or is going to happen in the future. These really made me look forward to some stories that are coming. Maybe not a strength, since it can be considered a good sales ploy, but I felt the teases of plot helped carry those stories that didn't have much plot within their pages. Those stories with plot were interesting; a taste of what is to come.
At 175,000 words for the price of $5.99, this is definitely worth its weight. Although I read this after the holidays and enjoyed it just fine, it would definitely work well to warm readers through the month of December with a story or two each day.
Not every story will be to everyone's taste. Most readers will be going in for the m/m angle, so it's relatively easy to skip those that don't satisfy that. Readers going in for just f/f or m/f will find little to go for.
While I can understand why the stories are separated into “Advent” and “Love and Agony,” part of me wishes that the Advent stories were dispersed between the other stories in order to break up the sex—which for me became repetitious. Still delicious, but like eating too many pieces of candy.
Storm Moon Press usually does an exemplary editing job, but they may have rushed out these stories a little quicker than normal, as I found more typo mistakes than normal. They were by no means prolific, and they weren't very distracting from the story, but I do have to warn (although mine was an earlier copy and said errors may have been removed since).
Received this book for review.