Tag Archives: short stories

Book Review: Math City by Ahmad Amani

18 Jan

10828018Title: Math City

Author: Ahmad Amani

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: May 5, 2012

About the Book:

Math City is a place where is into Math book, and also the pages of the book are the streets of Math City.

In this City, Monster Number was grossly overweight and had a shaggy body, like a mammoth. In the beginning, Monster Number could not walk very well. Though he swayed a little, tottering and often falling, my father trained him for detecting and killing. After a few days, we attacked Math City.

Math City was bombarded, the doors and the walls shaking while the dark shade of the Monster Number came down, covering the city. Monster Number threw big stones, one after another; and like a repulsive ghoul crashed through any barrier.

Then, after many horrible explosions, Monster Number entered the city, and we followed him. He smashed countless numbers as he put down his steps on the earth.

My Review:

I received a free ecopy of this book for an honest review.

I understand that Ahmad Amani was using Math City to make the reader think and that it’s supposed to have social implications. The problem is that the story is difficult to follow and I was confused most of the time. I can’t relate a fantasy story to real life when I can’t follow the story. This is a book that might work well in college classes where they analyze fiction.

I don’t recommend this book unless you’re looking for something to analyze. I do support and greatly admire authors. I wouldn’t know where to begin to write a novel or even a short story. Just because this book is not one I would recommend, I applaud this author for the time, thought, and courage to not only write a book but to write something out of the ordinary that I’m sure others will find to their taste.


About the author

4728475Ahmad lives in the Middle East. He is a graduate of the Art University in Tehran. He has worked for many newspapers in Iran as a journalist.
He hopes that his books make you think, while you enjoy it.


Book Review: The Widow Smalls & Other Stories by Jamie Lisa Forbes

17 Nov

11-16-2014 6-01-19 PMTitle: The Widow Smalls & Other Stories

Author: Jamie Lisa Forbes

Publisher: Pronghorn Press (October 20, 2014)

Category: Short Stories, Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Available in: Print & ebook, 231 Pages

Thirty years of browbeating from rancher Bud Smalls has penned his wife, Leah, into emotional isolation.  Now Bud is gone and Leah owns the ranch, but there is no help forthcoming from Bud’s brothers who want to force her out and take the ranch for themselves.  When their attempt to humiliate her instead becomes her opportunity to succeed, Leah begins to find her way back to herself and learns how much she can gain by opening her heart.

The Widow Smalls is just one of the stories in this collection by the WILLA Award winning author of Unbroken, Jamie Lisa Forbes, who writes about the hardships of making a living from the land with an understanding that comes from first-hand experience. 

Her deftly drawn characters include star-crossed lovers, a young rancher facing his first test of moral courage, an inscrutable ranch hand claiming an impressive relative, a father making one last grasp for his daughter’s love and a child’s struggle to make sense of the world around her.   Each will pull you into the middle of their stories and keep you turning the pages.


I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

This series of short stories are all about people live on ranches. They all depict the hard work that is required on a ranch. Other than that, all of the stories are completely different.

Some of the stories are a little dark: in Ramona Dietz all of the characters lead sad lives, although Ramona Dietz has it worse than most; Her Mild Yoke is narrated by a young girl who experiences some things that would devastate a girl, like losing her pony, but she just observes what is going on with no emotion; and then there’s Crack the Whip which is narrated by a jerk of a father. By the end of the story, he gets an inkling that maybe he wasn’t the best father, but overall he is clueless and has caused his children to hate him.

The other stories aren’t so dark but are interesting and the characters are all unique. Lincoln’s Nephew shows up on a ranch and breaks the monotony of ranch life for a while. The Good War is about a family that loses their ranch but keep on going, working a ranch for someone else. The one thing that breaks them apart is the war since both of their children are in their late teens. The Widow Smalls was my favorite. The widow has to learn to move on after her husband of 30 years dies. I liked how she stood up to her brothers-in-law and how she ultimately moved on in her own way.

This is a good book to read if you enjoy short stories. Jamie Lisa Forbes has a nice writing style.


About Jamie Lisa Forbes:

11-16-2014 6-00-09 PMJamie Lisa Forbes was raised on a family ranch in southeastern Wyoming.  She graduated from the University of Colorado with honors in 1977 and then lived in Israel until 1979, when she returned to her family’s ranch and raised her own family over the next fifteen years.  Today, she writes and practices law in Greensboro, North Carolina.  She enjoys spending time with her grandsons and playing old time Appalachian fiddle.  With her Arabian horse, Cody, and her cattle dog, Reb, she still devotes part of her life to the outdoors.

Buy Widow Smalls:

Barnes and Noble
Book Depository


11-16-2014 6-00-50 PM

Book Review: An Ancient Gift and Other Stories by Jeanne Grunert

31 Aug

22435248Title: An Ancient Gift and Other Stories

Author: Jeanne Grunert

Publication Date: June 2014

Book Description (from Goodreads):

An Ancient Gift and Other Stories is a collection of three “light” horror stories. These tales of the paranormal are akin to old-fashioned campfire stories – stories that offer a sense of the uncanny without the gore.
“The Glove” offers the chilling tale of a woman recounting how her grandfather’s prejudices – and gift for sorcery – terrorized a neighborhood boy. Is her son at risk, too? “Friday Night Visitor” features the old trope of a deal with the devil. But unlike fiddle contests of old, Rita, our heroine, must guess a riddle to unveil the identity of the visitor and save the guy she loves.
“An Ancient Gift”, the title tale, offers glimpse at a reluctant psychic. Anna and her sister Amy are charged with clearing out her grandmother’s house for the real estate agents when they uncover an unusually wrapped package in her father’s childhood closet, a deck of antique tarot cards. Did their father have the ancient gift of divination, and does one of the sisters have it, too?


I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

This book contains 3 short stories that are creepy. I like the cover choice because it kind of gives me the willies.

All of the stories are well written and kept my interest although this is a  very quick read. The title story, “An Ancient Gift,” is spooky and has a good ending. “The Glove” was about typical kids in a creepy situation and the ending was scary. My favorite was “Friday Night Visitor” which was a tension filled story but I liked the ending.

I definitely recommend An Ancient Gift and Other Stories. It’s a quick read but all of the stories keep your interest.

About the Author

jeanne_nov2012Jeanne Grunert is an award-winning author, blogger, content marketing, entrepreneur, teacher, gardener, cat rescuer, and Cadbury chocolate aficionado.  She’s the president of Seven Oaks Consulting, a marketing writing and writing services firm in Virginia, and of EquinArt Creations, a model horse hobby company.

Book Review: Saturday Date by Ken Doyle

30 Aug

20737871Title: Saturday Date

Author: Ken Doyle

Publication Date: February 2014

Description (from Goodreads):

Mary roams the Goan and Anglo-Indian neighborhoods of Bombay, singing for money so she can feed herself and the child who accompanies her. A night watchman befriends her and offers a chance to get off the streets. Mary seeks guidance from the mysterious visions that haunt her, but she alone must decide her fate.



I received a free ecopy of this short story for an honest review.

I was confused when I read the first few pages of this story but, eventually, it made sense. Once I got into it, it went quickly and I was wishing there had been more. Ken Doyle has the ability to make the reader care as much about a character in a short story as they would in a full length novel, which is pretty impressive.

I did have to check on the definition of a few words and 1 or 2 weren’t listed in the kindle dictionary which takes away from the enjoyment of a story when I have to search for a definition.

I like Ken Doyle’s character development and writing, which flows well. The ending was also interesting…definitely not what I expected.

This short story is free on Amazon right now. I definitely recommend grabbing a copy.



A Short Story vs. a Novel

23 Mar


Review: Archangel by Andrea Barrett

8 Aug


Layout 1Title: Archangel

Author:  Andrea Barrett

Genre:  Short Stories

Publisher:  W.W. Norton

Publication Date:  August  2013

Description: Winner of the National Book Award for her collection of stories Ship Fever, Andrea Barrett has become one of our most admired and beloved writers. In this magnificent new book, she unfolds five pivotal moments in the lives of her characters and in the history of knowledge.

During the summer of 1908, twelve-year-old Constantine Boyd is witness to an explosion of home-spun investigation—from experiments with cave-dwelling fish without eyes to scientifically bred crops to motorized bicycles and the flight of an early aeroplane. In 1920, a popular science writer and young widow tries, immediately after the bloodbath of the First World War, to explain the new theory of relativity to an audience (herself included) desperate to believe in an “ether of space” housing spirits of the dead. Half a century earlier, in 1873, a famous biologist struggles to maintain his sense of the hierarchies of nature as Darwin’s new theory of evolution threatens to make him ridiculous in the eyes of a precocious student. The twentieth-century realms of science and war collide in the last two stories, as developments in genetics and X-ray technology that had once held so much promise fail to protect humans—among them, a young American soldier, Constantine Boyd, sent to Archangel, Russia, in 1919—from the failures of governments and from the brutality of war.

In these brilliant fictions rich with fact, Barrett explores the thrill and sense of loss that come with scientific progress and the personal passions and impersonal politics that shape all human knowledge.

Review by Judy G.:

I received an ARC of Archangel at a book conference. It is about scientific experiments and inventions and the people involved in them. It shows their passion and personal loss and the hardships they endured.

The five stories take place in the span of the two World Wars and the characters and places are intertwined.

Archangel is well written and gives you a look behind the scenes of the scientific discoveries. I found it interesting and recommend it, especially if you’re interested in personal history. It can be ordered from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Marty is an organism

26 Jul

Marty is an organism. An organism is defined to be an individual chosen to carry on the activities of life by means of a body consisting of parts performing a function, or cooperating in an activity with separate functions, but all mutually dependent; or in short, a living being. When this organism was born, his life was simple. He was left to his own devices, received the occasional swat from nearby siblings, many smaller than he, though these did leave some terrible scars. He cried and cried until it appeared that he had covered himself with tears in an attempt to drown himself. Eventually, these tears dried and his skin could be seen clearly again, a nice rough brown. Marty has matured into a very big organism and therefore moves very slowly, but with a very determined stride he makes his way onward. Marty is so focused on this journey that he doesn’t notice the parasites and fungus that grow on his skin, he is much more worried about his journey. We find him at a certain point in his journey where he has first noticed a growing irritation on his back side. However this is not a parasite or some fungus, but a virus. And as many other viruses, this will spread quickly.


The sun strikes the top of the mountain as the trees gently dance with the wind. The sound of rushing water is heard and disturbed with the cupping of a hairy hand. A creature of some kind has come forth from the edge of a forest, being followed by several others who appear to travel in a similar fashion. These barren bipeds approach their brother and observe silently. As this “drinker” continues slaking his thirst, he glances at his family; his gaze slows as his eyes find the female he is infatuated with. These creatures, their bodies blanketed with matted, stiff hair, lay on the ground, resting from the journey to this sacred waterway. As the majority of this peaceful family rest, a male and the “drinker’s” love wander off. The “drinker,” no longer parched, follows these two, keeping his distance as to not be seen. Back to the woods they travel, male chasing female, until finally they rest in a meadow, tired from their games. The sun, now falling down the side of the mountain, shines on these two, the wind increases, bringing with it several dark clouds, and this pair mate. As they enjoy their minute of ecstasy, rain trickles down from the heavens. The “drinker” sees this and, for the first time in history, a creature feels true jealousy and anger. He grabs a rock, rushes to the meadow, and as he howls with the wind, the rock falls on this pair’s heads. The “drinker” screams in misery, wondering a thought which might be translated as, “why?” He lays in the rain, next to his dead lover and weeps, his fur matted with her blood. He will want more of these intense feelings, and he will find them. The “drinker” has become the first man.

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