Review of In Our Words: Queer Stories from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Writers by Victoria Villasenor & Anne Shade (Editors)
I have a hard time reading short stories but I watched the Zoom leading up to the release of this anthology and was hooked. The stories vary greatly, romances, hookups, spec fic, fantasy, literary. No two are alike in any way but there’s great energy in all of them. There is an almost 55/45 split between f/f vs. m/m stories. Some of the works are small gems, others make me wish for a full book. I would definitely recommend the anthology. My favorites:
Sweet Potato by Brianna Lawrence
Solid coming out story with warm language that pulled me right into the cozy setting of a Sunday after-church supper. Nice twist too. Strong opener for the anthology.
Wash and Set by Mason Dixon
An absolute tease of a story and I want to read more. A classically told trope in which sophisticated Aundrea and stunning younger Désirée banter their way to some sizzle. Now we need the book to watch the story play out. Please, Mason Dixon aka Yolanda Wallace.
Pale Moon Rising by Celeste Castro
Celeste Castro can spin a tale, for sure. Four researchers are out studying raptors in the north Mexican desert when the coming of a pale moon ushers in fears of a mythical creature. Scary, fun, and steamy.
The Depth of Love by Anne Shade
Sweetly passionate story of how love can conquer grief. Also, a fine mermaid named Ebele. Prepare to feel the heat because I definitely felt every bit of it.
A Revolution of Masks by Brent Lambert
Sable grieves the death of his parents. Spec Fic notoriously takes a long time to jump off but this writer does a good job of showing just enough of the story-world to pique curiosity about the Red Masks/Purple Masks ongoing war and the truth about his family.
A Sunday Kind of Love by Yolanda Wallace
Zapped again by Yolanda Wallace. A journalist interviews a hot, young singer (Rhianna like). Sparks fly. There’s plenty of fiery promise here. Where’s the rest of the story, author? Sigh.
Venus in Aquarius by Malik Welton
Drama-llama of the best kind. Marcelo is having issues with his boyfriend. He figures a night out in DC with his buddies will clear his head. But why invite the guy he’s been chatting up on soc media? The main character is relatable and there’s a tenderness to the story that makes you understand Marcelo’s actions. Smooth flow.
Reclamation by Virginia Black
Two buff goddesses at a programming competition take their afterparty somewhere private. High heat.
Her Mother’s Lover by Namrata Verghese
A heart-wrenching story of a woman’s loss of her adult daughter. Gorgeous writing but still so sad.
Granddaughter of the Dragon by Victoria Villaseñor writing as Brey Willows
A perfect little fairytale about the love of family. The moon, dragons, and female shapeshifters. What else could you possibly want? I need this book too. Plus, the characters also speak some Spanish which always makes my day.
Barbara in the Frame by Emmalia Harrington
Babs shares a dorm room at her university with 3 other students, The Soul Food Sunday Girls. She’s quirky and very reserved but respect for food as a potent healer makes her venture out towards connection. Slight paranormal aspect. This one stands out. The author’s voice is unique and she surprised me in a good way. Strong closer for the anthology.
4.5 stars rounded up.
Read ARC courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.