Fairy Debt by Gail Carriger
Crudrat. Incredibly, there is a blurb on goodreads, so I include it here for your delectation (and to save me coming up with my own summary):
Cups is a fairy with a problem. She can't grow wings because is she under a death promise to a local king. So she takes service at his castle as the Least Jester, hoping to earn her wings and learns a great deal about cupcakes, tea daemons, and Earth dragons along the way.This was an amusing tale of amusing contract shenanigans and, of course, fairies. I enjoyed it, especially the dragon. The narration wasn't my favourite, but I think I'm always going to feel that way about US-accented audiobooks. It was a fun, quirky read and a pleasant way to spend slightly longer than a car trip (it's 27 minutes long). The story and style put me in mind of some of Tansy Rayner Roberts' short stories (which I read before blogging), so if you're a fan of those (or of Splashdance Silver/Ink Black Magic), then give this one a go. If you're not into audiobooks, you can buy the ebook from SmashWords and the usual suspects. I should also note that as part of the same backer perk I have the audiobook of "Marine Biology", but I've already read it in ebook form, so I won't be listening to it. There are more coming, too, including another I haven't read, so yay.
Not the Worst of Sins by Alan Baxter
"Not the Worst of Sins" appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies 133 and I will admit up front that I read it because it made the Ditmar ballot and am not very familiar with the magazine at all. You can still (as of writing) read "Not the Worst of Sins" online here.
This is a Western horror story about a teenage boy out to chase down his father. The main character wants vengeance for his father running out on him and his mother and has teamed up with a ghost to track him down. I won't spoil the ending, of course.
Westerns aren't really my thing and the style of this one didn't really do it for me. I'm hoping I'll enjoy Baxter's upcoming novel more. The backstory with the mother "breaking" after the father left and having to go to a nun-run sanatorium didn't really sit well with me either. Nor did the complete lack of female characters, although I suspect that is primarily a symptom of the Western setting. I liked the twist at the end. Definitely give it a shot — it's not that long, after all — if it sounds like your cup of tea.
I also read a bunch (read: all) of other Ditmar shortlistee stories, but they all belong in larger collections or anthologies which I will review here in full when I get around to finishing them. I'm currently feeling a bit stressed about my reading, so I don't want to make any predictions about when and in which order those might appear in.