Discover 12 short stories about love in Pixie Forest Publishing’s anthology, Love Dust.
Thank you to Donise at Pixie Forest Publishing for sending me a free copy of Love Dust in return for an honest review.
I reviewed Pixie Forest Publishing’s death-themed anthology, At Death’s Door, earlier this year, so I was excited to read this! Love Dust is a collection of short stories from Pixie Forest Publishing, published in September 2018. Each of the 12 stories has the theme of love — whether romantic love, parental love, or the love we have for our friends.
Each story is well-written and engaging, managing to captivate me in a very short time. There is a mix of genres as well as some LGBTQ+ characters. Some of the stories are fast-paced with lots of twists, while others are slower and explore relationships. There’s definitely something here for everyone!
Here are some of my favourite stories:
- Peppermint Kisses, by Susan Gibbons. This is the first story in the collection! Sam is a proud great-grandfather to Serena Joy. He plays a game with her, eating peppermint sweets and then blowing minty breath in her face. It’s a cute story about the love and pride that great-grandparents (and grandparents!) have for their great-grandchildren.
- Sugar and Ink, by Alisha Massenet. Arlan goes to the same cafe a few times a week as he is in love with Niko Jones, the daughter of the family who owns it. Things change when Nana Jones dies — she leaves a card with a watercolour and a note for him. Arlan then asks Niko to go to dinner with him to get the painting back. It’s a beautifully written story, with a bit of magic rolled in too. I enjoyed reading the prose and descriptions of love so much: “He fell for people the way waves crashed into shores: sometimes gently, sometimes storm-whipped, but always consistent. Like waves, his emotions washed up many treasures, but mostly troubles, making life one hardship after another. Just like waves, his crushes receded, and the next infatuation came along.” The relationship between Arlan and Niko was great too and lots of fun. I’d love to read more about these two.
- Tootsie, by M. R. Ward. Lula Mae Baker carpools every Sunday to church with two sisters, Betsy Gainer and Juanita Sinclair. After their trip to church she asks to go home rather than go with them for lunch. While sitting in her living room she has a knock on the door from a man who claims to be her late husband, Elmer. It’s a very surreal story, filled with magic! If you could start again with the love of your life and go back to the first time you met to relive it all again, would you? (It’s a no-brainer for me!) I loved re-living Lula Mae’s memories, they were descriptive and vivid! I could picture them so clearly. I liked the dilemma too, and the lovely ending.
- The Beech Tree Carving, by Brandy Bonifas. This is another romance story, with a great twist at the end! Kelly broke her arm in a car accident in which her father died. She has been living with her mother since, to try and recuperate and grieve. To help with her guilt and grief, she has taken up painting again. She decides to go into the nearby woods to paint and comes across a beautiful Beach tree with ‘NL + KL, 12, 13 + 16’ carved into it. She is mesmerised by it and decides to paint it. It’s a lovely story, with a surprise twist ending that I hadn’t expected!
- Sparkly Human Conundrum, by Sara Mosier. River is a merman, who transforms and walks into town for the first time. His first stop is to get ‘shoes’, where he meets Tommy. This is a sweet and romantic story. I loved both characters, and especially River’s excitement about the world around him. It was touching to see their relationship develop. I would love to read a full novel about these two!
- Shattered, by William Thatch. “It’s been three years since I died.” What a first line! I was grabbed straight away. This is a story of a loving partner who died of a cardiac arrest in their apartment while waiting for Anne to come home. They are trapped, haunting the apartment they lived in, watching Anne as she moves on and then moves away. It’s a heartbreaking and beautifully written story — full of regret about their past life. “The only paradise I’d ever believed in was Anne. That infectious laugh that no matter my mood, could make me smile. The way she would take me in her arms and hold my head to her chest when I felt inadequate or had a bad day; everything wrong in the world would melt away. The smell of her hair, the comfort of her gaze, the taste of her lips; there’s nothing I would ever change.” It’s a loving reminder to appreciate your partner (and tell them so!) while you are able to.
- To The Moon and Back, by Alan I’Anson. Again, another beautifully written and heartbreaking story! The main character (we don’t know their name) is dying from lung cancer. When they were 28, they worked as an engineer at a top secret science research facility in New York. Here they met Sophie and the two of them fell in love. They decide to propose to Sophie — but that night, Sophie is working late and doesn’t arrive at the restaurant. They go home and find out that she died in an explosion at the facility, and have been single ever since. The opening line grabbed me from the start – “Today’s a good day. My mind’s clear and lucid. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve just awoken, though I haven’t been sleeping, and I’m afraid because I don’t know where I am, or where I’ve been. But with the clarity comes the knowledge that I’m dying, and the painful memories of what was and what might have been.” This one had some sci-fi elements to it that I really enjoyed, and I really loved the ending, and the power of true love.
- Her Mother’s Ring, by Barbara Ristine. Eddie has been married to Dolores for 56 years. He has always had problems with gambling, and a few years before he gambled too much on the slot machines at their local casino. Eddie has promised Dolores he won’t use the slot machines again. But when he disappears and her mother’s ring is missing, Dolores fears the worst. This is a wonderfully written story, with perspective shifting between both Eddie and Dolores. I loved them both instantly! I loved hearing their thoughts on their neighbours fake flowers — for example, Eddie thinks it’s a good idea and Dolores thinks it’s hideous. Eddie made me laugh a lot, too — “After 56 years of marriage, he couldn’t understand how all that fussing made any difference, but it sure made her happy.”
It is hard to pick a few of the stories as they are all well-written, captivating short stories. If you are looking for a short story collection then I recommend picking this one up!
Blurb for Love Dust
Become immersed in worlds where love is key. In these twelve stories, enjoy tales of new, unexpected, and lost love.
Open the pages to discover love that fights through war, abuse, curses, death, and withstands time itself. These stories will touch your heart, make you laugh, and make you cry. Let the authors show you the many ways love can tug at your heartstrings in Love Dust.