Fragments of Life’s Heart: Vol. 1 – Laura “Munchkin” Lewis and Stefano “Mando” Zocchi

They say Love is the oldest story on Earth, but we don’t have to tell it the same way every time. How many ways are there to explore our feelings that we may have never even considered? Countless fragments of different worlds, all held together by the greatest force of all.

Join us as we explore the many different forms of love—family love, forbidden love, love that embraces what society always taught was wrong. Seasoned veterans and brand new talents bring you seventeen anthropomorphic stories with all different forms of sexuality and relationships, in a journey across genres, worlds, and time.

Love can bloom, thrive, and end. Love can heal, mesh, and blend. We’re all Fragments trying to stick together.

Tending the Fires – Jess E Owen

Transitions – Mog Moogle

The Mistress of Tidwell Manor – Renee Carter Hall

Yet Time and Distance – Kris Carver

Polynomials – Fever Low

Raise Your Voice – Stefano “Mando” Zocchi

Going Out – T C Powell

Harvest Home – Altivo Overo

The Foreigner – Dwale

Trade All the Stars – Watts Martin

Draw to the Heart – Ocean Tigrox

Paint the Square-Cut Sky – Slip-Wolf

Hearth Soup – Laura “Munchkin” Lewis

Brass Candy Girl – M C A Hogarth

Footsteps – Televassi

Rain Check – Field T Mouse

The Soul of Wit – Daniel Lowd

Edited by Laura “Munchkin” Lewis and Stefano “Mando” Zocchi

Cover art by Darkomi

Published by Weasel Press

I was really looking forward to reading this book, mostly because I tried getting a story in as well, but unfortunately didn’t make the cut. After reading this anthology, I can easily tell why. However, it’s not about me at this moment, so allow me to stop right there.

When we hear the word “love” we all know what to expect in stories, but Fragments takes it to a way deeper level by showing us different kinds of love, most of which are by no means cliché in any way, when it comes to books. It sheds new light on the old concept, by showing facets that by no means get the attention they deserve.

My favourite stories in this anthology have to be Tending the Fires by Jess E. Owen (author of the Summer King Chronicles), Raise Your Voice by Stefano “Mando” Zocchi, Draw to the Heart by Ocean Tigrox, and Paint the Square Cut Sky by Slip-Wolf. These stories all touched my heart in different ways. Slip-Wolf actually managed to catch me off guard with his story. What these four stories have in common, is that they all managed to rope me in with their enjoyable characters and wonderful narrative. I wanted to fight with Nara’s mother, take Treyo home with me, throw Chad down a long flight of stairs, and run away with Leida.

Fragments is a pretty good anthology all-in-all. I was actually quite surprised by the big number stories featuring humans as the norm, and having anthropomorphic animals either as an alien species or a human creation. It definitely added a little extra to a few of the stories, where it did nothing for other stories that had this concept as well.

I would like to suggest that the stories get to be a little longer in the next volume. A lot of the stories were simply too short to actually grab me, or ended way too quickly and left me dissatisfied and wanting more. I also regret saying that there were two stories that left me quite cold. They just didn’t manage to grab me at all.

I will definitely buy the next volume when it comes out, which the words “volume 1” kind of promise, as I have enjoyed reading most of this anthology. Thank you for shedding much-needed light on the different aspects of love.

Also, to Daniel Lowd:

Well played, good sir. Well played.

– Faolan

fragments

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Fragments of Life’s Heart: Vol. 1 – Laura “Munchkin” Lewis and Stefano “Mando” Zocchi

Bonds of Silver, Bonds of Gold – Kristina Tracer – (18+)

To save his family from starvation, Stannis of Barony Jazinsk makes the ultimate sacrifice: selling himself into slavery. When he’s sold to an envoy from neighboring Barony Deterikh, he’s thrust into the middle of a feud twenty years in the making. Rumors of dark alchemy and hints of betrayal threaten to break the fragile peace between the baronies, and Stannis’ arrival at the court may be the blow that shatters it. With war drums beating on the horizon, can a lowly pleasure-slave persuade his new owner into preserving the peace?

Bonds of Silver Bonds of Gold is set in a time and place where countries are still divided into different baronies and ruled by barons. Slavery is not abolished and the secret magic of alchemy can influence people’s lives greatly. Also, humans as we know them do not exist. Instead, the people we encounter in this story are anthropomorphic animals. We follow Stannis on his journey he started by selling himself into slavery, a journey that is not without problems.

This book is definitely not for the faint-hearted, as the events that take place in it are quite extreme. I had no real expectations aside from the questions that arose from reading the blurb. I personally feel that someone with sexual appetites that point in the direction of BDSM and S&M will greatly enjoy this book. People who are more vanilla will probably be shocked by the events that take place in this story.

The characters in the book are really enjoyable. You’ve got those you want to love, those you want to learn more about, and those you want to punch in the face. If an author manages to make me feel this way, I know it’s a good one.

I’m not quite sure if I’d pick up another book by Tracer in this genre, but others may enjoy it more than I did.
– Faolan

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Bonds of Silver, Bonds of Gold – Kristina Tracer – (18+)