Tag Archives: short stories

Book Review: Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices

Amulet Books
TBP: May 5th, 2020
272 Pages

Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it’s waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it’s the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it’s the gift-giving and holiday parties to come that day.

Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.- Goodreads

I did not convert to Islam until I was in my twenties. However, for years as a teen I identified as a Muslim as my parents were studying and taught my siblings what they learned. With that being said, I want to note that although I have never experienced the Muslim way of life as a teenager, I felt extremely connected to this book as an adult.

These stories are simple yet complicated and have an extreme depth of emotion. They are not only reflective but informative. Each author adds in information about Islam that I was extremely happy to see.

But what stood out to me in the most surprising and wonderful way was to see Black stories. What I mean by this is the first story within this novel is about a Bi-racial girl spending time with the African side of her family (this was written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow). Having this as the first story was powerful and intended as stories about Black Muslims are rarely heard. I appreciated it as well as seeing other Black authors within this book ( Candice Montgomery and Ashley Franklin).

Before writing this review, I sat and thought about what was my favorite story and it was Perfect by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, Generous by Asmaa Hussein and Searching for Blue by N.H. Senzai. All the stories within this book were amazing but these three stood out. All the stories connected with a theme of well obviously about EID but about growth, love, and self-discovery. It flowed very well.

Overall, there is nothing that I didn’t love about this book and I am so happy I was able to read it.

4 Pickles

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color by Nisi Shawl & Rebecca Roanhorse (Contributor)

Solaris
TBP: March 14,2019
384 Pages

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color showcases emerging and seasoned writers of many races telling stories filled with shocking delights, powerful visions of the familiar made strange. Between this book’s covers burn tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their indefinable overlappings.

These are authors aware of our many possible pasts and futures, authors freed of stereotypes and clichés, ready to dazzle you with their daring genius.- Goodreads

I am trying to expand my reading tastes; especially when it comes to Black or other authors of colors. It is so easy to pick up more white authors especially if they are the ones being promoted more.

So when I came across this book I was extremely excited for it despite my dislike for short stories. With that being said, I wasn’t exactly disappointed in this book; there was a lot of good but then a lot of so so.

Dear Dancer written by Kathleen Alcala was the first short story that showed promise. The author was able to get me interested in the who and what the main character Tater was. There was a backstory that called for more and then ending left a ‘well why’ sitting at the tip of my tongue. This could be extended into a longer story or at least a novella leading to a full novel.

The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu is great as it is. I don’t enjoy reading stories about Djinn as a Muslim they creep me out. This story was no different but beyond that it packed a punch. It was creative and there was a twist that was well thought out. *insert shocked gif* This was good.

Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex by Tobias S. Buckell gave me Fifth Element vibes. Was it as good as the movie, no but it was a solid read that deserves attention not only in the story but in the author.

The remaining stories weren’t bad but they were not my cup of it. They didn’t draw me in nor did they provide the wow factor.

This collection is worth reading because it brings attention to new authors that given a longer word count may be worth investing time into.

Overall, since there were more eh stories than good ones

2 Pickles

Book Review: Binti Series by Nnedi Okorafor

Tor.com
Published Sept 22nd, 2015
96 Pages

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.- Goodreads

*This review is for all three books. 

I am going to start with the rating. The first two books, I gave 3 Pickles while the last book I gave 2 Pickles.

The thing about this series is although it is considered science fiction, there wasn’t a whole lot of science fiction in it. Yes, there is space, mathematics and the use of advanced technology but all those things came second. They weren’t are prominent in these books as I thought there would be. I don’t necessarily have an issue with this as I am not the biggest science fiction fan and am slowly trying to get into that genre. However, strangely enough I wanted more of it. The really cool thing was the use of math in this series but I wanted more about the technology and how it is used and who uses it in what way. For the most part, it was brushed over.

What I loved about the book was the culture. Ms. Nnedi may not breakdown every tribe  in full detail. But the ones that are focused on in this book had a lot of detail, imagery and life. It didn’t feel like I was reading a history lesson. My only issue with this is because this is a short story, there was still so many questions I had in regards to each tribe. I am glad Ms. Nnedi didn’t go so far into the history because it would have taken away from the book but a companion book would be fantastic for this series.

But here is why I gave the book 3 & 2 Pickles.

Binti.

She is an amazingly talented, strong and smart girl. At 17 years old, she does a whole lot to prove herself not only knowledgeable but also capable. My issue with her is she whines and complains every step of the way. I get not wanting to change but her who action is change. She set herself up for change and then when there are consequences to the decisions she makes, she starts having a fit. Crying and all of that. This is throughout all of the books. She has some character development, which you see in book two but in book three, I didn’t see it at all. Bigger things are at stake in book three and she just a short of falling out on the floor and kicking her feet screaming.

Binti is way better than this and the fact that all personal growth stopped at book two bothered me. Does she increase her knowledge? Yes. . . reluctantly but yes. But did she grow as a person not necessarily. She is a child and most if not all her actions reminded me of such. With that knowledge and everything she went through, she didn’t mature enough. Her constant complaining and crying really made the last book more difficult to read.

So overall, the entire series gets a total of 2.7 Pickles if you average and total. I enjoyed it for what it was and really love Ms. Nnedi writing style and have every intention of reading her other books.

Quick Five© Roshani Chokshi Star-Touched Stories Blog Tour Edition

Via goodread

 

Name: Roshani Chokshi

Twitter: @Roshani_Chokshi 

Website: http://www.roshanichokshi.com

Genre: Fantasy

Books: The Star-Touched Queen series, The Glided Wolves, The Star-Touched Stories,

Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and other online and brick and mortar stores

I have had the pleasure of participating in the Blog Tour for Roshani Chokshi new collection of short stories: Star-Touched Stories. The Star-Touched Stories are part of the world of the Star-Touched Queen universe, so you do not need to read the original series, to get into these short stories. However, I recommend it.

Beautifully woven words, that even without the romance have a very romantic and poetic nature to them. So to be able to be granted the opportunity to post a quick interview from Roshani Chokshi is, for the lack of a more refined term, cool lol

Please enjoy :)

What inspired you to create this fictional world? Were there anyRomo mythologies that particularly inspired you? 

I was really inspired by the childhood stories that my grandmother told me. To me, they were so rich with details and texture that it really shocked me how these worlds and mythologies were never explored in mainstream literature. I was particularly inspired by Greek and Hindu mythology.

Favorite myth and how has it inspired your writing? What was your inspiration for these stories?

I think my favorite myth is Hades and Persephone. I love the atmosphere, the goth undercurrent, the power dynamic. I love the movement of princess to Queen.

Why did you feel it was important to add Star-Touched Stories to this world you’ve created?  What do you want readers to gain from the stories? Do you think there are any more stories to tell from the Star-Touched world, and if so, who you most like to write about next?

For me, this collection of stories is my farewell to the world that I created. It was extremely cathartic to write these three stories. I want readers to gain a sense of closure. I want readers to feel as much as I did when I with the stories. Who can say whether or not there are more stories left to tell in this world? ;)

How is writing short stories different than writing a full-length book? How different is it to write YA and MG? How has your writing evolved?

Writing short stories is really different from writing a full-length book because you’re ultimately writing to a punchline in a shorter amount of space. There is less space to explore so the language must be very deliberate. I think my writing has evolved to become a lot more character focused than I once was. I still love gorgeous, decadent prose, but I believe that the best kind of language is that which is emotionally filtered through the feelings of a character.

What do you want readers to take from your writings?

I want readers to take away a sense of wonder and adventure. I hope I made you feel something. I hope you feel like you traveled somewhere else for a while. And I hope you leave hungry because I work very hard on my food descriptions…

 

 

Faves: Short Stories

But Tanya, I thought you didn’t like short stories? I don’t. Short stories are not my go to reads but that doesn’t mean I won’t read them and that there aren’t some good ones floating around.

So this is an appreciation post, so to speak, of short stories that ruined my life I love.

First published: June 26th 1948
32 Pages

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

One of my favorite short stories that was able to bring out a range of emotions from curiosity, intrigue to oh snap. Although it doesn’t answer the questions that I had in mind, while reading the book, I didn’t necessarily needed it answered. It would have been nice to know but I think what makes this short story great is the author took time to present the world as it is and what happens during a particular time as opposed to building a backstory and creating an ending that leaves you wanting more.

This short story is well written and I felt satisfied once I finished reading and that is what I look for in short stories.

 

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

First published 1894
32 Pages

Small backstory. I read this book in high school and I remember exactly how I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the ball to dropped. I was so sucked into the story. I had mixed feelings for  Mrs. Mallard’s up until she gets by herself and her true feelings come out. There was sense of joy because you hear and read so many stories about women during that time that you’re like, yeah.. good for you! But here is the kicker. When we got to the end of the book, I laughed so loud in my classroom, I got the death stares. And the teacher asked me, why I found that so funny. And I said “the irony of the whole thing. The people were so sensitive around her so caring for her heart and her lost not realizing that she is now the happiest woman in the world but it was taken away from her so fast that yes, she died of a broken heart but not because of the “great”  news.”

To this day, I will never forget that or the story. It showed me how powerful emotions can be. But most importantly, this author was able to bring you at such a high and just like Mrs. Mallard, bring you down so fast that you have to catch your breath. The build up to the end was fantastic and grade A work.

Tor Books
Published November 2nd 2011
32 Pages

Hello Moto by Nnedi Okorafor

This story took me by surprised and what surprised me about it was how I didn’t want a backstory or more information on the characters, I wanted to know the outcome. The author was able to develop the characters and provide more than enough information on them that you know who you are rooting for and why.

There was a build up, that tied such detailed imagery, without you feeling the author was doing too much to get nowhere. I loved the combinations of modern times, technology and witchcraft. It was done tastefully and it was a great introduction to this author.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Originally Published 1820

This is my top favorite short story ever written. I cannot tell you enough, how hard I ship for this story and how passionate I am about any retelling done. If you do it wrong, I will call you out on that. But back to the original story, when I first read this, which was crazy young, my thought was Ichabod Crane was a lame but didn’t deserve what may have happened to him.

I loved the historical aspect of the book i.e. the headless horseman is rumored to be a ghost of a Hessian trooper that got his head shot off by cannon during the American Revolutionary War. I loved the setting, the details the author puts into the book. I was transported into the world; I always am when I read this book. A little side note: I went to see a ballet perform this short story and it was one of the best live performances I have ever . . . ever seen in my life.

It Books
Published December 6th 2011
87 Pages

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Vol. 1

I am considering this a collection of short stories even if most of the stories are 3 lines deep. The words in this tiny book are extremely powerful and relatable, which took me by surprised. If nothing else, this book reminded me that it doesn’t take a whole lot of words to move you. It doesn’t take a whole lot to bring out a memory or put you in a specific space or see what the author wants you to see. I loved this book and bought it. Volume one and two.

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

First Published 1982

Now what would be a list of favorite short stories without mentioning Edgar Allan Poe.I share an interesting memory of this short read because it happens to be my little brother’s favorite as well. And us cornballs enjoy spotting this story reference in almost every movie or t.v. show. Think the Spongebob “Squeaky Boots” episode. But this short story was the first thing I have ever read from EAP. It was and it still is creepy but it is one of those creepiness that slowly walks up to you and surprises you with how far it has come.

 

 

Short stories are not my thing and I will keep saying that no matter short stories I read. It takes a lot to get me to love it. Most short stories have no problem, bringing me into the world. The issue is always the ending. I like conclusions. I like knowing that the story is done as opposed to me wanting the story to be longer. Short stories should leave you in awe that the author can pack so much into so little amount of pages.

The short stories above are simply the most memorable to me but there are other good ones out there. Maybe one day my list will grow.

 

<3

Book Review: How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation

Wednesday Books
TBP March 1st, 2018
320 Pages

Now, more than ever, young people are motivated to make a difference in a world they’re bound to inherit. They’re ready to stand up and be heard – but with much to shout about, where they do they begin? What can I do? How can I help?

How I Resist is the response, and a way to start the conversation. To show readers that they are not helpless, and that anyone can be the change. A collection of essays, songs, illustrations, and interviews about activism and hope, How I Resist features an all-star group of contributors, including, John Paul Brammer, Libba Bray, Lauren Duca, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita, Alex Gino, Hebh Jamal, Malinda Lo, Dylan Marron, Hamilton star Javier Muñoz, Rosie O’Donnell, Junauda Petrus, Jodi Picoult, Jason Reynolds, Karuna Riazi, Maya Rupert, Dana Schwartz, Dan Sinker, Ali Stroker, Jonny Sun (aka @jonnysun), Sabaa Tahir, Daniel Watts, Jennifer Weiner, Jacqueline Woodson, and more, all edited and compiled by New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson and Lambda-winning novelist Tim Federle. -Goodreads

I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting when I began this book. Nevermind that is not true. What I was expecting was fictional short stories about ways the author either sees themselves or the current political situation and how they resist.

What I got was non-fiction, personal stories authors shared to show how they resist and how you should resist. This is not a bad thing. It is simply what I was not expecting.

When reading this, you can feel the emotion each other put into their piece. It is an inspiring read but most importantly it is full of questions. Questions of not only how do I resist but questions of what exactly am I resisting. Before the internet decides to eat me up, let me explain.

Not everyone’s fight is the same nor do each person resist in the same way. What is great about this read is that the different point of views, the different methods, the different experiences are noted and highlighted without overshadowing someone else. A particular author, that I felt most connected to was Rebecca Roanhorse. Her story was realistic in the sense that it beings up the question are you doing enough or anything at all? Her story really brought everything together for me.

Another point about this book, are the interviews. Not all authors wrote short stories but instead gave an interview. I liked this mix up. It made the readings more personal and it built questions and sparked ideas and thoughts.

There is nothing to say bad about this read. It is perfect for a classroom setting and it is honest. Even when a particular author made me side eye her (I am not stating who), you had to respect the honesty that came from her and every other writer. It is important and I know I keep saying this but this leads to conversations that needs to be had. Because like it or not this current presidency affects everyone.

3 Pickles

Impatiently Waiting For: The Sea Beast Takes a Lover: Stories by Michael Andreasen

Dutton Books
TBP Feb. 27, 2018

Bewitching and playful, with its feet only slightly tethered to the world we know, The Sea Beast Takes a Lover explores hope, love, and loss across a series of surreal landscapes and wild metamorphoses. Just because Jenny was born without a head doesn’t mean she isn’t still annoying to her older brother, and just because the Man of the Future’s carefully planned extramarital affair ends in alien abduction and network fame doesn’t mean he can’t still pine for his absent wife.

Romping through the fantastic with big-hearted ease, these stories cut to the core of what it means to navigate family, faith, and longing, whether in the form of a lovesick kraken slowly dragging a ship of sailors into the sea, a small town euthanizing its grandfathers in a time-honored ritual, or a third-grade field trip learning that time travel is even more wondrous–and more perilous–than they might imagine.

Andreasen’s stories are simultaneously daring and deeply familiar, unfolding in wildly inventive worlds that convey our common yearning for connection and understanding. With a captivating new voice from an incredible author, The Sea Beast Takes a Lover uses the supernatural and extraordinary to expose us at our most human. – Goodreads

Short Story Book Review: A Trinity of Wicked Tales Volume One- Jilted Love by Kyla Ross

Self Published
Jan. 29th 2017
94 Pages

In this collection of dark tales lives will be savagely twisted, inner demons will be reawakened and deception will reign supreme. A quest for a fix turns bloody for two heroin addicts as their vicious endeavors land them into a gruesome pitfall. A marketing executive and car salesmen are deceived by the ones they love. Armed with rage, they set out to slaughter those responsible. -Goodreads

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting with this collection. It was a suggested read from Amazon, while I was on vacation. I am really glad I read this book.

It literally gives you a taste of what the author can do. Seriously… all you get is a taste because each of the stories take care to not dip too much into a specific character or the overall plot.

The first story called Junk for Two was a great start to the book. Ross leaves no hints to where the story is going and I am completely for that. It provided enough of a backstory and details regarding the main character, Trev, that I didn’t feel as if something was missing. As I was reading this short story, I had a sense of satisfaction, which is my biggest issue in short stories.

Story 2, Iris, was extremely quick and came off more as a shock factor then a story that can grown to become a full novel or even novella. With work it can become something bigger but in its current state, it doesn’t leave much to be desired. But it does get credit for showing off writing skills. Ross can build a story, so it is easy to get sucked in.

My favorite story, which happens to be the last is story 3, Phil. Sticking with the obsessive theme, Phil provides a much more detailed and intense story-line than the previous stories. This story can become not just a single novel but a series if written correctly. What I loved about it was how easy it was to see the events happening. I don’t mean predictability even though it is there slightly. What I mean is the flow was so easy and seamless that getting sucked into the story and wanting more was inevitable. If the first two stories does not show you the skill, Ross has then this one does.

Overall, I enjoyed this quick read. I would recommend it as a introduction to Kyla Ross.

3 Pickles

July Wrap-Up

 


The month of July was big on Manga. I was in a really bad reading slump, so reading novels was not a priority. But that is not to say that there wasn’t a few thrown in there.

Manga 

 

Novels (With Future Reviews)

 

Current Twitter Followers: 312 ⬆️ by 60 followers from June :D

Total Posts:

Beyond Motif by Tanya, life overall was interesting in July.

Vacation to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 🏖was amazing.

 

And a exciting scary turning point happened that has led to a opportunity that I am ready to put my all into. Changes are needed in my career and I am looking forward to the next step :) Also school kicked my behind; it wasn’t my best semester but I have 2 semesters down and looking forward to the third.

Overall guys, the website is going in a new direction, with a lot more posts and interactions (fingers crossed). I’m getting my mind and emotions right. I look forward to this time and I hope you guys do too!😘