Out of Rhythm by Shona Husk – (bought ebook) Gemma and Kirsten shared a kiss that ruined their friendship before Gemma went on tour with her band, but now that she’s back how will they deal with it? With a lot of tell instead of show, that’s how. I’m usually not too bothered with the show don’t tell rule – honestly, sometimes it’s useful for a character to be clear that they know themselves, or to summarise plot that would take too long to show and warp the pace of the plot – but this was too weighted in favour of telling. This was a short book, but I think all the exposition made it feel even slighter. Some elements of the story could have been described or shown through actions to make the story more convincing, and with a lot of the exposition cut out it wouldn’t have been any longer. It was difficult to get a feeling for the characters. Fine, but not good.
Pictures and Memories by Lauren E. Mitchell – (ebook ARC via Netgalley) I liked the idea of a short story exploring a holiday romance that a person doesn’t want to let go of and that lingers in memory. However, this felt too short. There were too many characters for a short story. It did feel like the story relied on cultural stereotypes, too.
I think a romance short story can be done well – but they tend to work better as a sense impression or a memory of the first time I met my partner type of story. This story just underwhelmed me, unfortunately.