Tuesday, July 17

Bite Sized Fiction: Our Favorite Short Stories and Novellas

Short stories and novellas are my saviors when it comes to getting out of a reading slump. I mean, when you're in a slump, is there anything better than a story that gets to the point incredibly fast and is easy to get through? I don't think so. 

Today, Clare and I have brought you 5-5 of our favorite short stories and novellas, hoping to give you some quality recommendations. Have fun browsing through our lists! 

by Courtney Milan


I don't believe I talk enough about Courtney Milan on the blog, even though she is one of my favorite authors, and I definitely think you should give her novels a try if you enjoy romance. Both these novellas are part of series, but they can be read as standalones, and will give you a taste of Milan's style. (With that being said, I'd fully recommend reading the series in order, they're worth it.)

In Her Every Wish, Daisy, our heroine, sets herself an impossible challenge when she takes part in a competition designed to give people (aka men, because of course) a financial boost to start their own business. She lacks confidence when presenting her ideas on the stage, but no worries - enter Cash, who is as smooth and confident as they come, and who is fully prepared to help Daisy win this thing. The only problem? They have HISTORY together, and it ain't good.

Meanwhile, Talk Sweetly To Me is the story of Rose, a young, black, ├╝ber-smart woman doing her best to stay under the radar, because 19th century England has not been kind to her. But then comes Stephen to complicate things for her. Scandalous and well-known guy he is because of his newspaper column, he is super-sweet and his kindness and patience is making Rose's determination to keep him at a distance waver. 

On a side note, list of my faves by Courtney Milan: Brothers Sinister series (Talk Sweetly To Me is part of that!), Cyclone series (hella diverse NA Contemporary), The Worth Saga (Her Every Wish is in that!) 

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I properly love The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, still I hadn't yet had the chance to read any of his short stories prior to "Babylon Revisited", so I was excited, but also worried it would disappoint. Thankfully, it didn't - actually it skyrocketed all my expectations and made me feel EMOTIONS, which is like, woah, because 1) I have a limited amount of them, 2) I usually require a longer story to get truly invested. 

"Babylon Revisited" is the - somewhat real life inspired - story of Charles, a man who lost everything at the end of the roaring 20s - his wife died, his daughter was taken from him and he was left with little if any money to live on. Now that he finally has a reliable source of income and a stable home, he is ready to take back his daughter,but his past, as well as his daughter's guardians will make this hard for him. 

by Talia Hibbert

This list is turning into a proper mess of all the different types of titles, because next up I'm here with a contemporary romance. Talia Hibbert's stories are one of my newest obsessions: they're emotional, funny and so darn lovely that I always finish them with a smile on my face. 

Damaged Goods is about Laura, who is going through a rough divorce after suffering through years of emotional and physical abuse. In an attempt to find her way back to her true self before her baby is born, she moves out to her family's old beach house on her own. What she didn't count on was that her old sweetheart and first love will still be living there, and that their chemistry will be even stronger this time around. Will he simply confuse her, or will he be of great help in her self discovery?

by Edgar Allan Poe

I absolutely adore Poe's works - be that his poems or short stories - and "The Tell-Tale Heart" is one of my favorites by him. I'm not going to write you any sort of blurb for this, because anything I could say would be too much, but if you haven't read it, know that this is the perfect short story: fast-paced, tension-filled and, as Poe usually is, dark.

Other great Poe stories: The Masque of the Red Death, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Cask of Amontillado, The Black Cat

Also, Cat Winters, aka one of my top favorite authors has written a YA novel about Poe's teen years!! It is coming in May 2019, and the title is The Raven's Tale. If you couldn't tell, yes, indeed, I'm very excited.

by Jason Porath

Aaand, I add even more to this cluster-fuck I nicknamed 'a list' by including a collection of non-fiction stories, featuring women who were - for one reason or another - outstanding figures in history. You might have heard about Mackenzie Lee's Bygone Badass Broads? Well, this is like that - but I actually like the illustrations more. They're very cartoon like, plus I think it's awesome that Porath - who is the writer and the artist - included notes on many of his pictures. 

by Henry James
The Turn of the Screw

I genuinely find I'm never scared by books. Movies - 100% but books not so much. The Turn of the Screw is the total exception to this. I was thoroughly creeped out the whole way through and I love that even having read it multiple times I can never be entirely sure what was real and what wasn't. The sanity of the main character is always in question as are the actions of the children and her employer. I love reading other people's theories as well. 

GR BLURB: A very young woman's first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate...An estate haunted by a beckoning evil. Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows- silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls...

But worse-much worse- the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil. For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them.

by Marissa Meyer
Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)

I will forever love the Lunar Chronicles. All the characters are incredible and unique and the world is so well crafted. These short stories were pure fan service (my favourite kind) and just added some backstory to favourite characters or (my personal favourite) an actual wedding for two of the main characters.

GR BLURB: The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

by Tessa Dare
Lord Dashwood Missed Out (Spindle Cove, #4.5)

This as such a delightful pocket romance. Obviously everything develops a little bit fast because of the page limit but it still felt totally natural and I was rooting for the couple the whole way through!

GR BLURB: Miss Elinora Browning grew up yearning for the handsome, intelligent lord-next-door…but he left England without a word of farewell. One night, inspired by a bit too much sherry, Nora poured out her heartbreak on paper. Lord Dashwood Missed Out was a love letter to every young lady who’d been overlooked by gentlemen—and an instant bestseller. Now she’s on her way to speak in Spindle Cove when snowy weather delays her coach. She’s forced to wait out the storm with the worst possible companion: Lord Dashwood himself.

by Lisa Kleypas
A Wallflower Christmas (Wallflowers, #4.5)

Pocket romance combined with total fanservice which is obviously entirely my kind of book. This tells a new romance post Wallflower series events and as well as the cute (but not all that well developed) romance, you get to see the previous Wallflowers live their happy ever afters. Which, let's be honest, is the main thing I love about this book.

GR BLURB: It’s Christmas time in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed.

Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallfowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants.

by Henry James
Daisy Miller

Look, Henry James again! Ok so I haven't read a lot of short stories and I tend to have go-to genres or authors. Henry James is my absolute favourite for novellas. He does such a great job of developing characters and atmosphere and story in a limited amount of space. Daisy Miller made a huge impression on me when I first read it - I love that we never really get to know Daisy because we only ever see her through the eyes of those around her. Which is a pretty common James theme.

GR BLURB: The young Daisy Miller, an American on holiday with her mother on the shores of Switzerland’s Lac Leman, is one of James’s most vivid and tragic characters. Daisy’s friendship with an American gentleman, Mr. Winterbourne, and her subsequent infatuation with a passionate but impoverished Italian bring to life the great Jamesian themes of Americans abroad, innocence versus experience, and the grip of fate.

Let's chat!
Have you read any of these? Perhaps something else by the mentioned authors? Hit us with some short story, novella and anthology recommendations of your own! 


  1. This is such a great topic as I feel like often short stories are forgotten in the book community! My favourite short stories are the fluffy ones in Stephanie Perkins’ Christmas and summer anthologies. I find them so adorable!

  2. Ooh Poe- I remember as a kid seeing some of those old movies with Vincent PRice, based on his stuff, and they were creepy!

    And I agree with paperbackprincess, I really liked those holiday/ summer antholgies from a couple years ago...

  3. I read so many romance novellas that I can't even remember enough to make a proper list lol I have a read a few Courtney Milan's that I loved.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  4. The Tell-Tale Heart was a good choice.

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

  5. The Tell-Tale Heart! I read it for an English class earlier in high school and I remember enjoying it (while being slightly creeped out). We watched a video animation to go along with it, and I wish I could recall the name/creator because it really brought the story to life. I haven't read any of the other stories on this list but I do love F. Scott Fitzgerald's Gatsby, so I'll have to add his story to my tbr. Thanks for sharing :)

    claire @ clairefy

  6. Great list! I wanted to put “The Tell-Tale Heart” on my list, but I had to limit myself to 10.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  7. I have read so few novellas, so I skipped this topic. Though I read Poe, like all his stuff, back when I was a moody teen.

  8. Rejected Princesses is getting added to the TBR pile :)

    And I love how you can spot a Tessa Dare cover a mile away. Sometimes I like a romance shortie as opposed to getting to page 400 and the MCs are just sharing their first chaste kiss! Haha

    Dani @ The Restricted Section

  9. Rejected Princesses sounds interesting.

    The Tell Tale Heart is very creepy. I listened to it on Halloween last year.


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