by G.G. Andrew
I’ve noticed this past year that several book bargain and review sites expressly state that they don’t feature novellas, those 20,000-40,000-word stories that fall under novel length.
I understand that some readers like to sink into a long, involved novel, but I feel like the novella is underappreciated. Of course, I’m biased; several of us here at Lady Smut, myself included, have published novellas. But in addition to liking to write novellas, I also love to read them. (It’s one of the reasons “a short, hot novella you read in one sitting” is one of the items on our #ReadHotter book challenge.)
Want to know why you should be reading these short, hot reads, if you aren’t already? Read on for the ways they’re awesome, with recommendations of novellas that I’ve read or are sitting at the tip-top of my TBR.
*You can read novellas in one sitting.
After a long, hard day at the salt mines (or wherever your place of work or earthly toil), there’s just something great about coming home, pouring a glass of wine, and reading an entire story in one sitting. Of course, some of you speed-readers can read an entire novel at once, too–but I can’t, and I’m willing to bet there are many others like me. Reading a whole story in a night feels complete, and productive, and allows you to tell someone the next morning, “I read a book last night.” Because you totally did.
Recommendations: The hot reads Brazen by Cara McKenna or Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker
*They’re a quick way to sample new authors or genres.
If you’re like us, you probably have a staggering pile of books you want to read, but it’s hard to know where to start–which authors or genres are really going to be your thing. Reading a novella gives you a chance to sample an author you’ve been wanting to try, or see if science fiction romance is right for you, without the commitment of a big book. Of course, you can sample the first few pages from a longer novel, but that’s not like reading a story to, er, completion. It’s helpful to know if an author not only begins a story well, but ends well, or if a subgenre delivers what you expect.
Recommendations: The paranormal romances Hot as Hades by Alisha Rai or Three Wishes by Paula Millhouse
*You can read more subgenres, historical time periods, and authors over time.
Similar to above, if you insert more novellas into your reading life now, you’ll probably be exposed to more writers and types of stories by the year’s end. Paranormal romance, early twentieth-century love stories, m/m–if you haven’t tried them out by now, read some shorter stories and see what you think.
Recommendations: Waiting for Clark by Annabeth Albert (m/m), or the 1960s romance Strawberry and Sage by Amanda Gale
*You can get introduced to a story world or characters.
In addition to short reads allowing you to sample authors and genres, they also allow you to meet characters and decide if you want to spend another novella or even a whole novel with them. It’s like that first, brief date over coffee to decide whether you like someone enough to have dinner with them.
Recommendations: The bookstore owner and the billionaire in Tamara Lush’s Tell Me a Story or the workaholic and forest ranger in Tina Ellery’s White Pine
And last but certainly not least:
*Novellas are cheap, and often free.
Since novellas are shorter, and often used to introduce readers to a world or cast of characters, they’re often .99 or under, and increasingly are free. (Check your favorite authors; some may have free reads, too.) And, really, right up there with free coffee and free love, free books are really the best thing ever.
Recommendations: Cath Yardley’s Level Up or A Midnight Clear by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner are both free now. (Craving Flight and Waiting for Clark from above are currently free on Amazon, too.)
Want more recommendations? Check out the novellas and short stories the Lady Smut authors have written. They’re short and hot, we promise. And follow us here for more on books, the short and long and everything in-between.
G.G. Andrew writes quirky romantic comedy–stories about people who fall in love with the most unlikely person, and stumble through some awkward conversations, mistaken identities, and ill-advised kisses along the way. Her latest book is GRAFFITI IN LOVE, a romance between an infamous British graffiti artist and the American woman who hates him.