The best novellas with the most humorous heroes/heroines, a splash of magic, spark of romantasy and dash of space opera

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to read, and sometimes I want to be lost in a story or world for just an hour or two.  Oh, I’m always sorry when a good story ends, no matter how long or short. But a good novella is like a slice of homemade chocolate cake. I might want to eat more, but if it’s perfectly done, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as that first, warm slice out of the oven.


I wrote...

Ghost Town

By Maria Schneider,

Book cover of Ghost Town

What is my book about?

Ghost Town is based on a real ghost town in New Mexico, an old mining town.  The story brings to life the whispers of the paranormal that exist in all ghost towns. The old train station houses a library like no other. The dragon and porcupine, well, they’re old friends of mine.  

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Junkyard

Maria Schneider Why did I love this book?

Lindsay Buroker weaves great characters into her books and novellas. This is the best of space opera with an important “rescue” at the heart of the mystery. No worthy man, guard dog, or even android will be left behind.

The series develops into a romantic series set in outer space. This book stands on its own, with a lovely main character who has enough brains and talent to solve a mystery and enough heart to save those worth saving. It's a fun read and a great introduction to Buroker’s work.

By Lindsay Buroker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Junkyard as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

McCall Richter works as a skip tracer, tracking down criminals, con men, and people who stop making payments on their fancy new spaceships.

Her job description says nothing about locating vast quantities of stolen maple syrup, but thanks to her helpful new android employee, she finds herself tramping through a “sugar house” on a frosty moon full of suspicious characters. The only witness to the crime? The junkyard dog next door.

Junkyard is a stand-alone novella set two years before Fractured Stars.


Book cover of Of Swine and Roses

Maria Schneider Why did I love this book?

Ilona Andrews has written several novellas, most of which go with one of her series or perhaps even the start of a series. This one was hilarious; it was the greatest dating disaster ever.

The story doesn’t fit into any of Ilona Andrew’s series, but it contains their trademark humor and shenanigans. My favorite Ilona Andrews book is probably On the Edge, and my favorite series is the Innkeeper series. But for a quick afternoon read when I needed a smile, this was the perfect cake with tea.

By Ilona Andrews,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Of Swine and Roses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A young adult story about a girl, a pig, some magic, and the worst date ever.

Chad Thurman is a thug, who carries brass knuckles in both pockets and lays magic traps for intruders into "his" neighborhood. The last thing Alena Kornov wants to do is to go on the date with him. But when her family pressures her, she can't say no. Now the ice-cream is absent, the pig is running for its life, and we won't even mention the dead guy...

This story previously appeared as a free read on our website.


Book cover of Wistril Compleat

Maria Schneider Why did I love this book?

This is one of those books with three novellas that add up to a novel. The first introduces our intrepid wizard, a man happy with a beer and his laboratory tucked deep inside his castle. He does not wish to be bothered by quests, adventures, or distressed maidens. 

The stories are fun and funny, and there’s enough suspense to keep me eagerly turning the pages. The main character is a bit of a bumbling fantasy version of “Columbo.”  He is a wizard who can’t use violence to win, so he must use his brains.

The romantasy is told from the male POV and doesn’t occur until the last, longest story of the set. I loved all three stories and also love Frank Tuttle’s Markhat series.

By Frank Tuttle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wistril Compleat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All three of Wistril's magical misadventures are included in this complete compilation of cantrips and catastrophes!

Wistril Besieged --

Wizard Wistril's wants are simple -- four meals a day, a steady supply of honey-gold Upland beer, and above all else, peace and quiet.

All but the latter are in plentiful supply at Castle Kauph. Despite secreting himself on the edge of the Wild, Wistril finds himself battling an army of relentless mercenaries while the entire population of the nearest village takes refuge in his home. Even Kern, Wistril's long-suffering, sharp-tongued apprentice, isn't sure whether the army or the houseguests will…


Book cover of Vampires Drink Tomato Juice

Maria Schneider Why did I love this book?

A wonderful mix of humor, mystery, and a delightful tendency to land tropes upside down (Vampires drink tomato juice, for example).

This volume has three stories, and it serves as a nice introduction to K.M. Shea’s whimsical style. Fits easily into the cozy paranormal genre. I’ve enjoyed many other K.M. Shea books, but this was one of my first reads of hers. I love the zany, unexpected character traits and the unique tangents of the main plots.

By K. M. Shea,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vampires Drink Tomato Juice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

High School student Morgan Fae is beginning to question her sanity.

After witnessing a weird incident involving a werewolf, a substitute teacher/possible vampire, and a thermos of tomato juice, she is taken to the Magical Beings' Rehabilitation Center. The MBRC is an organization that strives to integrate magical beings into human society and hides itself in Chicago’s Union Station. It’s also a massive secret, and Morgan’s accidental initiation into it breaks every rule the place has.

Until MBRC officials can figure out how to undo the damage, Morgan is given a part-time job at the center so its residents can…


Book cover of All Systems Red

Maria Schneider Why did I love this book?

This entire series is awesome. The humor is out of this world funny (pun intended). It didn’t take me more than a few pages to warm up to Murderbot, even if he/she is a robot. Oh, there’s enough of a human brain stem left to ensure a soul filled with humor and the best parts of humanity: self-sacrifice, empathy, and cleverness, not to mention a bad attitude towards life and work in general that I could totally sympathize with.

This first adventure includes kidnappings, rescues, intrigue, and burgeoning friendships. These books are a mix of space opera and science fiction. My husband, not much of a reader, listened to the audiobooks and is also a huge fan of the series.

By Martha Wells,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked All Systems Red as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All Systems Red by Martha Wells begins The Murderbot Diaries, a new science fiction action and adventure series that tackles questions of the ethics of sentient robotics. It appeals to fans of Westworld, Ex Machina, Ann Leckie's Imperial Raadch series, or lain M. Banks' Culture novels. The main character is a deadly security droid that has bucked its restrictive programming and is balanced between contemplative self discovery and an idle instinct to kill all humans. In a corporate dominated s pa cef a ring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by…


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Exchange Student

By Michael R. Lane,

Book cover of Exchange Student

Michael R. Lane Author Of The Gem Connection

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

As an avid reader, I read a wide variety of books. Of the fiction genre mystery and suspense remain my favorite. From the classics to the gritty, a well-told mystery is a literary gem. As my mystery palette has aged—like my taste in wine—so are my demands of what makes a good mystery novel. The best mysteries for me contain more than a serpentine journey toward the hidden truth. They have intriguing characters, crisp dialogue, interesting settings, formidable foes, and of course indispensable heroes or anti-heroes. My writing goal is aimed at achieving the same level of literary penmanship of the mysteries I enjoy reading so much.

Michael's book list on African American mysteries

What is my book about?

Daniel “Dan” Bluford is the Director of Polar City Single Organism Research Lab Facilities. A business he helped to create. The world’s leading architect of sustainable, ecologically conscious products for energy, manufacturing, water treatment, waste management, and environmental clean-up equipment. A company whose mission statement read in part, “Better environment through industry.”

Unable to stay awake on his drive home after work, the loving husband and father stopped for coffee at a familiar coffee shop. The place was empty, aside from a lone barista. A young woman with a sacred Maori chin tattoo and an infectious smile. Shortly afterward, Dan…

Exchange Student

By Michael R. Lane,

What is this book about?

Daniel "Dan" Bluford is the Director of Polar City Single Organism Research Lab Facilities. A business he helped to create. The world's leading architect of sustainable, ecologically conscious products for energy, manufacturing, water treatment, waste management, and environmental clean-up equipment. A company whose mission statement read in part, "Better environment through industry."

Unable to stay awake on his drive home after work, the loving husband and father stopped for coffee at a familiar coffee shop. The place was empty, aside from a lone barista. A young woman with a sacred Maori chin tattoo and an infectious smile.

Dan decides to…


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