Gold Leafing, by Hannah A’enene

Poetry is a popular form of expression. Let me tell you, this is the most expressive collection of poetry I’ve come across yet.

Everything from observations of people milling about, to sex, to relationships—the author is blatant and straightforward with what they mean. Yet it’s done in a rhythmic way with lots of imagery. This collection starts with a bang and continues on from there.

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My Shorts, by Arthur Doweyko

Fans of science fiction—more specifically, time travel—will enjoy this collection of short stories. They’re the kind of short stories that always end abruptly, but leave enough information for the reader to piece together what happens. They vary from “holy crap” to “nuh-uh!” endings. While the stories hold similar themes, they do differ greatly between them; different theories and methods of time travel and different consequences. The author at least knows their stuff and it shows.

The one drawback is that these are short stories, so whatever world and characters the author creates are short-lived and not very fleshed out. Most of them are interesting enough that I would love to read a full-length novel.

Sidewalk Stories, by Francis DiClemente

Sidewalk Stories took the reader on a guided, observational tour of New York through the eyes of the author. As far as poetry went, the ebb and flow of the words read more like annotated journal entries. It was free-form without much rhythm. All the entries told a story, which was very nice. It was clean, well-written, and overall not bad.

Thread and Other Stories, by Eric Halpenny

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4 stars

 

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A series of short stories over different genres, with a running commentary between them. While reading the stories as individuals, they certainly felt disconnected—different eras, genres, and subject matters. However, the short story interspersed throughout felt like a narrator’s conversation with a reader, and for whatever reason, made the stories feel linked on some weird level. In fact, it separated them like chapters.

 

All of the stories were well-written. Since there were a few, it stands to reason that not all would be liked. Which is true. There were a few boring ones that took a lot of time to set up. By the time the reader got to the heart of story, quite a bit of interest was lost.

 

There were some excellent ones as well. Ones that didn’t take the beaten path in their execution. Deception was easily my favorite of them; the nasty bully getting outsmarted because he was overconfident, and it happens in a brutal way. Chance was my second favorite. I loved the supernatural elements to it, but also the family structure. I feel as though the broken family is a trope that everyone wants to use for a tragic backstory—which is fine—but this one utilizes a loving family. A family that really comes together to beat evil.

 

I felt as though there was a little bit for everyone in this novel. There are long-winded windups and lots of exposition or backstory with nothing else really going on. Then there are some that make that windup worth it and leave you wanting a full-blown story.

 

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Two Hundred Very Short Stories, by Helen Keeling-Marston

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4 stars

 

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In an attempt to lessen the heartaches of not having enough time to properly finish a book, the author created a clever way around it; instead of one long book that you have to try and remember your place in, how about many teeny-tiny stories that make you feel like you’re reading a full-length novel, without the commitment and responsibility.

 

…I feel like I just wrote a sales pitch.

 

A lot of these stories have the same formula to them—lots of dialogue, some vague happenings, and then a punchline (twist). Most of these were meant to be silly, lighthearted tales. There’s a few, more serious ones sprinkled in, so don’t just think it’s all fun and games. They were simple compositions designed to get it all out and move along.

 

Definitely a book designed to be read in multiple sittings. The formula eventually grew repetitive. Quite a bit of creativity went into the stories, and it certainly shows.

 

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