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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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2 03, 2016

Review: The American Lover by Rose Tremain

By | March 2nd, 2016|Categories: Contemporary, Literary, Literature & Fiction, Short Stories|Tags: , , |8 Comments

Rating:

the american lover book coverReviewed by Cal Cleary

A small town finds itself inundated with drama when a legendary writer falls ill there and must prepare for his death. A former model relives a life-changing romance years after everything she had was taken from her. A hairdresser comes to terms with how easy it is for routine to conquer adventure. An old man comes face to face with his own mortality on his daily walk. These are just a few of the stories that can be found in The American Lover, a thoughtful new short story collection by Rose Tremain.

In any short story collection, there will almost inevitably be some ups and downs. The American Lover is no different. Some of the collection’s shorter stories, like “Man in the Water,” end before they can really connect. Tremain seems to use

16 02, 2016

Review: What You Don’t Understand by Lance Manion

By | February 16th, 2016|Categories: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Short Stories|Tags: , |5 Comments

Rating:

what you don't understand book coverReviewed by Neriza Billi

A book that contains a collection of short stories has always been a good distraction for me. I have always found it easier to put aside and come back to compared to a regular novel.

What You Don’t Understand is precisely one of these books. It contains a compilation of Lance Manion’s reflections, childhood memories, odd observations and sometimes peculiar people from his past. Some of them are remembered fondly, some are analyzed in hindsight, but always with a bit of wit. He has touched on pop culture, reality TV and famous people who he thinks should not be given a minute of our attention (and I wholeheartedly agree on that one).

Reading the book made me feel like I was in a standup club, surrounded by people with mixed reactions on the

10 01, 2016

Review: Mendocino Fire by Elizabeth Tallent

By | January 10th, 2016|Categories: Literature & Fiction, Short Stories|Tags: |2 Comments

Rating:

mendocino fire book coverReviewed by Alisha Churbe

Mendocino Fire is collection of ten medium-length short stories. They are well written and the prose is beautiful throughout. Tallent captures conversations well, her characters always say just enough, never too much. Tallent’s stories are filled with characters that are very real and memorable–she does a great job of illustrating human behavior. In the title story, a hippie’s intelligent daughter turned environmentalist spends a large of amount of time in a tree that cannot be saved. “Eros 101” is a story of an obsessive affair between a Virginia Wolff scholar and a junior professor.  The story is written in a question and answer interview format. “Nobody You Know” follows the story of “X” who receives a note from her ex-husband. In the note, he describes his new life and X goes back to

18 10, 2015

Review: The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

By | October 18th, 2015|Categories: Genre Fiction, Literary, Literature & Fiction, Short Stories, War|Tags: , , |7 Comments

Rating:

tsar of love and techno book coverReviewed by Jax Kep

The history of Russia is told through separate, but interwoven stories in Anthony Marra’s exceptional The Tsar of Love and Techno. While expertly playing with narrative points of view, Marra crosses through time and moves the stories of several families through Russia’s volatile past. Each separate story (divided into “A” and “B” sides of a cassette mix tape with a longer story, or “Intermission” breaking them up) adds a little more to the vast, sweeping story, and careful readers will take note as to what happens to main characters in one story, who morph to ancillary characters in the next.

As Marra did in his excellent A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, the wars that have plagued Russia since the early twentieth century are told through the eyes of those living them – the horror, the hunger, the acceptance of cruel

27 09, 2015

Review: Charlie Martz and Other Stories by Elmore Leonard

By | September 27th, 2015|Categories: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Short Stories|Tags: , , |3 Comments

Rating:

charlie martz book coverReviewed by Alisha Churbe

You’re going to have to be patient with me for this review since it’s a bit of a departure from my usual. First, it was very hard for me to rate anything by Elmore Leonard a 3.5. It’s heartbreaking and not for lack of good stories. This collection, Leonard’s last, was published posthumously, and contains some of his early work. The stories show Leonard’s power as a writer and they show his start with writing and include engaging characters. These are stories with great potential and a bit of the grit that Leonard is most known for. But, the collection is early, unfinished, endeavors that were never quite fully fleshed out, polished or given the care that all of his great stories eventually received. There are fifteen stories in the collection–the first four are undated, the

16 09, 2015

Review: Led Astray by Kelley Armstrong

By | September 16th, 2015|Categories: Literature & Fiction, Paranormal, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Short Stories|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

Rating:

led astray book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Long before Goodreads or my Prime membership on Amazon.com, I selected which books to read the old-fashioned way: wandering up and down the sci-fi/fantasy aisle at Barnes & Noble, selecting a book that had an interesting cover, and giving it a shot if I liked the blurb I read on the back of the book. This is how I discovered the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong in 2007, and I’ve been a fairly faithful reader ever since.

But once Goodreads, used-book swapping services, book blogging, and Kindle were introduced into my life, so were new authors and titles, and it became difficult to keep up with my auto-buy authors at the time (Kelley Armstrong, Laurell K. Hamilton, Rachel Vincent, Vicki Pettersson, to name a few). I somehow managed to stay pretty on task

4 09, 2015

Review: Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai

By | September 4th, 2015|Categories: Genre Fiction, Historical, Literary, Literature & Fiction, Short Stories|Tags: , , |3 Comments

Rating:

music for wartime book coverReviewed by Alisha Churbe

Rebecca Makkai’s short story collection, Music for Wartime, is a fantastic, well-written collection. All of the stories are interesting, deeply moving and addictive. Some of the stories are legend and lore based on her family history. Makkai is known for her novels, The Hundred-Year House and The Borrower. I haven’t read either, but based on how daring and compelling her short stories are, I can’t wait to add the novels to my reading list.  It’s no surprise that the stories have been published in magazines such as Tin House, Harper’s, Ploughshares, and twice in The Best American Short Stories.

Near the beginning of the collection, you’ll encounter the story, “The Worst You Ever Feel,” a story about a boy who, while listening to a concert given in his home by a famous Romanian violinist, begins to

15 07, 2015

Blog Tour: Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone

By | July 15th, 2015|Categories: Christian Literature & Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Romance, Short Stories|Tags: , , |5 Comments

Rating:

picture perfect love book coverPlease join Melissa McClone, author of Picture Perfect Love, as she tours the blogosphere with Litfuse Publicity!

Reviewed by Charity Lyman

Every time you pick up a book by a new author, you never know what you will be getting. You could find your new favorite author or one whose books you would never pick up again. But it is always the fun of finding out that makes me go for new-to-me authors. And today I get to review a new favorite, Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone!

Picture Perfect Love is actually book seven in a series of novellas. It is kind of a fun way to read different stories as they all correspond with a year of weddings. And yes, there will end up being twelve of them all written by various authors. Melissa McClone pens

14 04, 2015

Review: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

By | April 14th, 2015|Categories: Literary, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Short Stories|Tags: , , |3 Comments

Rating:

trigger warning book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

Trigger Warning is a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman. In the foreword, he warns that many of the stories have the potential to trigger certain reactions from the reader–possibly unpleasant reactions. Personally, I wouldn’t call any of the stories unpleasant, though many did make me think and I did ‘react’ to quite a few. I’ve read books I found disturbing before and this wasn’t one of them, not even close.

Four of the stories in this collection really grabbed my attention. The first one was “The Case of Death and Honey”, a Sherlock Holmes homage. It takes place long after his famous escapades in London and ties in very well with his cannon ‘retirement’. It was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Nothing O’Clock” is a Dr. Who story. I haven’t watched a single episode

5 01, 2015

Review: There Once Lived A Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

By | January 5th, 2015|Categories: Literary, Literature & Fiction, Short Stories, Women's Fiction|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Rating:

there once lived a mother book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Initially the title drew me to Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s book, There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In. With lots of little feet currently in my house, I could imagine how someone might have such a sentiment. But, I mistakenly assumed it might have a humorous undertone. As it turns out, this book falls into a category of stories called “extremal” in the Russian culture. As that term suggests, this collection of novellas is extreme and shameful. They include violence, mental illness and imprisonment. These are not happy tales. They are way too real. They represent the hopeless existence lived by many, and in that sense, these short stories are tragic.

There are three novellas included in this book. The first one, The Time is Night, tells the