I have to declare my own story a highlight, don’t I? (Insert smile-faced emoticon or evil cackling laugh as suits your mood…)
Honestly, reading through all the stories in this anthology was so much fun. It helps to be an animal lover, like I am, since the variety of animals and scenarios were a large part of the fun. (For example, the action begins in the story “Jonno,” when the eponymous Indian palm squirrel bites the main character.)
I’m not going to write a full a review but here are some of my favorites in Animal Magnetism.
Sweetest story: My vote goes to “Butterbean and the Pretty Princess Make a Home” by R. Cooper. OK, I love cats, so a cat story was going to have an advantage. But this awesomely written tale of two roommates who realized they have more in common when caring for two homeless kitten melted my heart.
Hottest story: There were several really hot stories, but my vote here goes to “Stripped Bare” by Lily Velden. A brooding artist, a sexy mysterious stranger and a foul-mouthed parrot all combined to make this story one of my favorites.
Most unusual use of animals goes to “Along Came Spiders” by Matthew Vandrew. A nurse and a cop race into a basement during an earthquake to rescue an injured man. Then, another shock hits and they are trapped, along with the man’s exotic spiders whose terrariums have all been broken (of course).
I could go on, there were so many fun stories in this book. “Tears for a Broken Sun” was sweet and hot and touching, set against the backdrop of a natural disaster. “The Conch Republic” gets an honorable mention for using the conch as the animal — and also marks the second appearance of a hermit crab in the book. I enjoyed the story of a disillusioned man returning home after a break-up only to meet a stranger who wasn’t exactly a stranger after all.