Category Archives: Short Stories

Short Fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016

Reviewed by Laurie Weatherlow

Short Fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016The Short Fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016 is a collection of 33 short stories, a novella and two graphic novels. Illustrations enhance each story, supplementing the readers experience and understanding. Peter Healy wonderfully illustrated the two graphic novels, which are the retelling of previous short stories in the collection.

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The characters and themes throughout this book are unique. While they share the connectedness of human struggles and moral issues, they do not intertwine. There are many messages taught through these stories which include unconditional love, acceptance, stereotyping, anguish, faith, death, birth, family values and narcissistic behaviors. Most of the stories are dark and have a miserable ending. Some offer a glimpse of hope, while others are down right horrifying.

I felt I could connect to many of the stories because they accurately portray the world we live in. I was left wanting more information and personality from some of the stories; characters that had a little more feeling. My two favorites were The Gift and SISTER CARRIE, the novella. I would highly recommend reading this contemporary collection of stories.

Author William H. Coles, has won many awards, including The Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition to name a few.

Stories of the Indebted by Jorge P. Newbery

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Stories of the IndebtedThe lives of too many Americans are absorbed by debt, becoming prisoners of a vicious cycle from which breaking free is difficult. However, Jorge P. Newbery offers an escape plan in the form of a book, Stories of the Indebted.

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The book is comprised of seven chapters, each revolving around how to handle specific types of debt. Jorge P. Newbery finds an engaging way to present information which can easily be perceived as boring or overly technical for those who are not versed in economics; he uses the art of storytelling to compel and teach the reader. With the help of his characters who seem as real as you and I, he shares their problems and also the solutions to each case. However, do not expect to read any classic success stories; as the author himself realized, these are not as efficient in grabbing the attention as stories about failures. The focus falls on how to rise once you have fallen and how to learn from your (and other people’s) mistakes.

Shots Fired: Stories from Joe Pickett by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Shots FiredMr. Box has put together a group of short stories in this book which is about the happenings in west. Several of them feature Joe Pickett, the Wyoming ranger and one even features Joe’s buddy, Nate Romanowski.

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In the opener (One Car Bridge) Joe gets involved with a very irate and prosperous ranch owner. The owner is mad at Joe and it seems like the world especially after his plan for a special wild game hunting exposition goes sour. When the state turns his idea down Joe has to pass the word to the Ranch Foreman and then to the owner. Quite an usual tale about what happens next.

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Reviewed by Ronnie Alvarado

There are few writers in the modern fantasy canon whose style is as definitive and whose prose is as magically transcendent as Neil Gaiman. For the last two decades, he has been delighting readers with his witty, chilling, and at times downright frightening stories. His latest work, Trigger Warnings: Short Fictions and Disturbances, does not disappoint, as its brims with fantastical tales of varying lengths and plots.

Ends of the World by Matthew Waterman

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Ends of the WorldAuthor Matthew Waterman treats readers to a unique reading experience with his debut thriller, Ends of the World; an interesting read that slickly captures reader’s attention by virtue of it’s distinctive characterizations and creative storyline.

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Author Waterman weaves a stimulating tale fraught with mystery and elements of fiction and reality that are both intertwined and apposed. Matt (the author) is also the story’s protagonist; however, this story is not quite a biography as there are strong fictional elements woven throughout the story.

Making It by Amanda Gibbs

Making It

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Love has many faces and Amanda Gibbs invites you to discover one of these through her book Making It. Her stories are not restricted to a single literary form, but take on whatever serves them best, so you can expect anything from prose and poetry to vignettes.

Actually, Making It is like a written photo album of a couple’s life. The chapters are like HD snapshots of adventures these two shared from the day they met to their 30th anniversary. The high-resolution imagery allows you to witness the smallest of details and the most intimate thoughts. What the reader sees about this couple is not restricted only to the material dimension, but it goes beyond that, to the magical and still largely unmapped minds of a woman and a man. The two main characters bare the burden of representing their gender, and they are both, in a sense the archetypal male and female. However, they bare the mark of our modern times. There is an interesting dynamic between what both of them think, say, and do. Their actions (just like ours) are not always smoothly linked to their thoughts and words. It takes time and dedication to get to truly know a person, sometimes it takes 30 years, and sometimes a lifetime is still not enough.

Christmas Stories from Georgia by Various Authors

Christmas Stories from Georgia

Reviewed by Allen Hott

This is quite a group of short stories, written by Southern writers, including Margaret Mitchell, Ferrol Sams, Joel Chandler Harris, and others. All of the stories in one way or another revolve around Christmas.

The one by Margaret Mitchell is actually a chapter from Gone With the Wind wherein Scarlett realizes just how much she really loved Ashley when he had come home on a short Christmas leave to be with his wife. Mitchell’s writing has always been a thing of beauty and interesting to read as she manages to get feelings across no matter what the story.

Another story tells of the nights before Christmas in a small drug store as one of the workers describes the various other workers’ methods of getting ready for the holiday while each doing less and less work but all enjoying the on-goings of their fellow employees.

Prism by Roland Allnach

Prism

Reviewed by Douglas Cobb

Just like prisms reveal brilliant colors of the spectrum, so does Roland Allnach’s collection of short stories, Prism, reveal a wide spectrum of brilliantly written short fiction written by a master storyteller. The majority of the 17 short stories in Prism have been previously published in venues ranging from Rose & Thorn Journal to Bewildering Journal. Prism is like a collection of greatest hits that just keep on coming, each successive tale better than the preceding one, but all of them crafted and refined by a genius wordsmith.

This review won’t discuss every single one of the gems within the pages of Prism, as that would somewhat spoil the joy that readers of this fine collection owe to themselves to experience firsthand. However, I will mention a few of the short stories to give you a tantalizing taste of the banquet of tales that await you.