Tag: Books: Short Stories

Review: Hair Side, Flesh Side

Posted 28 May, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Hair Side, Flesh Side
By: Helen Marshall
Format/Source: eBook; my copy

A child receives the body of Saint Lucia of Syracuse for her seventh birthday. A rebelling angel rewrites the Book of Judgement to protect the woman he loves. A young woman discovers the lost manuscript of Jane Austen written on the inside of her skin. A 747 populated by a dying pantheon makes the extraordinary journey to the beginning of the universe.

Lyrical and tender, quirky and cutting, Helen Marshall’s exceptional debut collection weaves the fantastic and the horrific alongside the touchingly human in fifteen modern parables about history, memory, and cost of creating art.

I read her second short story collection, Gifts for the One Who Comes After (review), when I won a eCopy from ChiZine Publications in October 2014. However I was really keen on picking up this first collection of hers after hearing so much about it, first through an interview I had with author Robert Shearman a few years ago (see post) and then from various tweets from ChiZine Publications.

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Review: Harrowing the Dragon

Posted 25 May, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Harrowing the Dragon
By: Patricia A. McKillip
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

A fantasist without equal, Patricia A. McKillip has created worlds of intricate beauty and unforgettably nuanced characters. For 25 years, she’s drawn readers into her spell, spinning modern-day fables with a grace rarely seen.Now she presents a book of previously uncollected short stories, full of beautiful dragons, rueful princesses, and handsome bards, and written in the gorgeous – and often surprisingly funny – prose she’s known for. This is her world, wrapped up in the finery of fairy tales.

Whoo-hoo, picked up another Patricia A. McKillip book some time ago 🙂 This is an earlier collection of short stories by her featured in various publications. What strikes me about this collection is that it feels a lot more like her novels than her later short story collectiom, Wonders of the Invisible World (review). Fairy tales, mysteries, strange magics, and love, this is classic Patricia McKillip. Like many short story writers, I’m amazed at how much story and magic and mystery she’s able to tell and infuse in such a short span of time/word count.

While the collection is quite eclectic–from Baba Yaga to even a story set after Romeo and Juliet–it is a bit of a mixed bag; I found that some stories were more interesting than others. My favourite stories from this collection would have to be “The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath”, “Baba Yaga and the Sorcerer’s Son”, “The Snow Queen” (I thought this one was really sad; it’s also the only one in the collection that’s more or less set in our world), “The Stranger”, “The Lion and the Lark”, and “Star-Crossed.” “A Matter of Music” was the longest of the collection and was fleshed out enough that it could’ve been a novel of its own.

Overall, Harrowing the Dragon is a nice collection of stories that once again showcases Patricia A. McKillip’s imagination and storytelling skills. Definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of her novels and/or are a fantasy reader.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Learn more about the author on Wikipedia || Purchase a copy from the Book Depository

Review: Selected Stories

Posted 1 May, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Selected Stories
By: Alice Munro
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Spanning almost thirty years and settings that range from big cities to small towns and farmsteads of rural Canada, this magnificent collection brings together twenty-eight stories by a writer of unparalleled wit, generosity, and emotional power. In her Selected Stories, Alice Munro makes lives that seem small unfold until they are revealed to be as spacious as prairies and locates the moments of love and betrayal, desire and forgiveness, that change those lives forever. To read these stories–about a traveling salesman and his children on an impromptu journey; an abandoned woman choosing between seduction and solitude–is to succumb to the spell of a writer who enchants her readers utterly even as she restores them to their truest selves.

This was actually the first collection of stories by Alice Munro that I bought, but I ended up reading all the other books by her that I bought afterwards before finally getting around to this book. I had picked this book up shortly after it was announced that she won the Nobel Prize in Literature; I thought it would be a good place to start as I had never read any of her stories. Well, now that I’ve exhausted all of the collections on my TBR pile, I finally turned to read this one 😉

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Review: Runaway

Posted 29 January, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Alice Munro
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

The incomparable Alice Munro’s bestselling and rapturously acclaimed Runaway is a book of extraordinary stories about love and its infinite betrayals and surprises, from the title story about a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband, to three stories about a woman named Juliet and the emotions that complicate the luster of her intimate relationships. In Munro’s hands, the people she writes about–women of all ages and circumstances, and their friends, lovers, parents, and children–become as vivid as our own neighbors. It is her miraculous gift to make these stories as real and unforgettable as our own.

I finally got around to reading some of Alice Munro’s books last year and found that I love them so much, I couldn’t believe I didn’t get around to her books sooner. I still have her first collection, Selected Stories, on my shelf waiting to be read, but this book was on sale at Kobo Books late last year, I just had to pick it up 🙂

This book is part of the Clean Your Reader – Reading Challenge that I am participating in January 2015.

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Review: Unfettered

Posted 15 January, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Edited by: Shawn Speakman
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

You define life or it defines you.

In Shawn Speakman’s case, it was both.

Lacking health insurance and diagnosed with Hogdkin’s lymphoma in 2011, Shawn quickly accrued a massive medical debt that he did not have the ability to pay. That’s when New York Times best-selling author Terry Brooks offered to donate a short story Shawn could sell toward alleviating those bills—and suggested Shawn ask the same of his other friends.

Unfettered is the result, an anthology built to relieve that debt, featuring short stories by some of the best fantasy writers in the genre.

Every story in this volume is new and, like the title suggests, the writers were free to write whatever they wished. Authors contributing are:

  • Walker and the Shade of Allanon by Terry Brooks (a Shannara tale)
  • Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks (a precursor to the Word/Void trilogy)
  • How Old Holly Came To Be by Patrick Rothfuss (a Four Corners tale)
  • River of Souls by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (a Wheel of Time tale)
  • The Old Scale Game by Tad Williams
  • Martyr of the Roses by Jacqueline Carey (a precursor to the Kushiel series)
  • Dogs by Daniel Abraham
  • Mudboy by Peter V. Brett (a Demon Cycle tale)
  • Nocturne by Robert V. S. Redick
  • The Sound of Broken Absolutes by Peter Orullian (a Vault of Heaven tale)
  • The Coach with Big Teeth by R.A. Salvatore
  • Keeper of Memory by Todd Lockwood (a Summer Dragon tale)
  • Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn
  • The Lasting Doubts of Joaquin Lopez by Blake Charlton
  • The Chapel Perilous by Kevin Hearne (an Iron Druid tale)
  • Select Mode by Mark Lawrence (a Broken Empire tale)
  • All the Girls Love Michael Stein by David Anthony Durham
  • Strange Rain by Jennifer Bosworth (a Struck epilogue tale)
  • Unbowed by Eldon Thompson (a Legend of Asahiel tale)
  • In Favour with Their Stars by Naomi Novik (a Temeraire tale)
  • The Jester by Michael J. Sullivan (a Riyria Chronicles tale)
  • The Duel by Lev Grossman (a Magicians tale)
  • The Unfettered Knight by Shawn Speakman (an Annwn Cycle tale)
  • and artist Todd Lockwood, who donated artwork as well as a story.

With the help of stalwart friends and these wonderful short stories, Shawn has taken the gravest of life hardships and created something magical. Unfettered is not only a fantastic anthology in its own right but it’s a testament to the generosity found in the science fiction and fantasy community—proof that humanity can give beyond itself when the need arises.

After all, isn’t that the driving narrative in fantasy literature?

I had been eyeing this collection of short stories for a very long time, but didn’t get around to picking up a copy for myself until this past year when it became available on Kobo for purchase (if I could’ve purchased it earlier, I would’ve). This book is part of the Clean Your Reader – Reading Challenge that I am participating in January 2015.

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