Traditional or self-published: Self? (I can't find any website for the listed publisher, other than one message board post claiming it's a very large, very old publishing house. Her main books are traditionally published, but have a different publisher listed than the short stories...)
Rating: Loved (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
What a wonderful little story! Told from the POV of Ancel (a "pet", a person owned for sex, but treated very well -- like a beloved pet). I loved the character's voice and his journey from a boy prostitute working in a small town whorehouse to a powerful (so to speak) pet. I really liked the Berenger character (the lord who bought his contract), and the difference between the two of them. I agree with everything hamsterwoman said in her review of the story, including that while it was interesting to have a different view of the rape scene, it didn't "fix" it (but I wasn't seeking a fix, so that was fine with me).
I wish I had remembered the books better though, I feel like I would have enjoyed this story even more if I had.
Bookkeeping note: This was a short story, not a book, but I have no system to track short stories, so I gave it a book number. I'm going to try to track down the other short stories from the series, and count them as part of Book #9 for this year.
Tarin of the Mammoths by Jo Sandhu
Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Okay (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
Like so many YA (or younger) books set in prehistoric times, the main character is a boy with a deformed leg (it's always a leg or foot, never an arm, neck, back or any other body part). Like all those other books, all he wants to do is be a hunter, but he can't because of his leg. This book was no different than those others: Tarin wanted to be a hunter, but could not. After he ruins an important hunt, he sets out on a journey to help his tribe in some other way.
When you're not the target audience of a book, you can't blame it for not being a good match for you. Tarin of the Mammoths was written for readers ages 9-11, so it's not surprising that the characters were just way too black/white for me. I did like the setting and the world building, but all the characters, from major to minor, just didn't work for me. There were way too many flaws in logic as well, everything from a long swim in "glacial runoff" doing nothing but making them shiver, to their packed clothing being dry after the boy and his pack were carried by a river and underwater so long that he nearly died (including going over a waterfall). I wanted to like this book, and it was a fast read, but after multiple nights of not wanting to continue it, I gave up at the 71% point.
Partial book credits:
Point reached in this books: 71%
Previous abandoned book total: 500%
New total: 571%