short fiction

Short Fiction Review: You Know When the Men Are Gone

In honor of Memorial Day: You Know When the Men are Gone

*****5/5 stars

41zvHLY+JhL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_When you read all in one sitting and get hit in the gut, right where you live, you give it five stars.

Recommended readers:

  • If you are a reader of short stories,
  • if you are in any way connected with the military,
  • and if you haven’t given your military and its wars much thought, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 5/5 for characters
  • 5/5 for plot
  • 5/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

While I don’t pick them up nearly as often as I ought, I have always enjoyed short stories: the all-to-brief glimpse into somewhere else; that vague feeling of unease and dissastifaction that comes with but a hint, or even a lack, of resolution. In You Know When the Men are Gone, Siobhan Fallon gives insight into the experience of soldiers and their families at war:  men and women, officers and enlisted, in Iraq and at home. Set in Fort Hood, Texas,  this series of interconnected short stories weaves together  the small details of  lives at war– separation and return, strained relationships, fear, loneliness and more– in a manner salient, spare, and devastating. It’s spot on, raw, edgy truth laid out in fiction, and goes onto my required reading list.

Available now on Amazon

 

 

The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill by Andrea Warren

Available now: The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas

**** 3.5/5 stars- Loved it – great for teens

A great read for any middle schooler (or adult really) who likes a taste of history.

Recommended readers:

  • Wyoming natives (have you been to Cody, the town founded by Buffalo Bill)
  • Western history buffs
  • Middle Schoolers

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 5/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

We all know the legend of Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show – but do we know what shaped and drove the man to be the charismatic, fearless entertainer that he was? Andrea Warren explores the sometimes sad, always challenging life that formed the man Billy Cody became. From the death of his older brother, to becoming the man of the house as early as 11. A fascinating read for an adult – and if you can get your teenager to read it too, even better.

Available now Amazon:  The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas

Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends

Available November 17: Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends (Kid Legends)

**** 4/5 stars- Loved it – great for kidsdstabler-kidathletes

A great read for any middle grade kid who likes sports.

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a soccer mom or dad (or baseball, football, hockey, etc)
  • Kids into sports – recommended middle grades
  • And if you’re just a sports fan

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 5/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

I loved the premise of this book – that amazing athletes who children idolize are real people too. As a parent, especially as my son is succeeding and failing at different activities, it’s a great perspective for him to have: That professional athletes are people who have won and lost throughout life. For my fourth-grader who is a Denver Broncos fan, he loved reading about Peyton Manning dancing the tango in front of his middle school. Other athletes included were Jackie Robinson, Yao Mind, Lionel Messi, Gabby Douglas, Tiger Woods and Danica Patrick. This is a fabulous read for middle grade kids who have an interest in sports – and covers a variety of sports, backgrounds and diversity with short stories and illustrations that make this especially good for middle grade readers.

Available now Amazon: Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends (Kid Legends)

Short Fiction Review: Margaret Atwood’s The Stone Mattress

The Stone Mattress: Nine Tales is available now

***3/5 stars

Leading lady Margaret Atwood returns to short fiction in nine cautionary tales.

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of Margaret Atwood,
  • If you enjoy short stories,
  • If your sense of humor tends more to the dark side,
  • and if you need to be made more aware of your own human failings and mortality, this book is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 3/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

You can say any manner of those things they say about writers like Margaret Atwood: she’s the mistress of dark storytelling, she has a way with painting a picture, she pens characters you can’t forget.  Stereotypical things that all happen to be quite true. I’m a longtime lover of Margaret Atwood and her dark humor, and The Stone Mattress does not disappoint, though it tends more to the dark than the humorous.   Read it today and consider of the dangers of aging gracelessly. Stark, enlightening, and mildly disturbing, these nine tales are what you might have come to expect from the woman who brought you Penelope’s version of the Odyessey and gems such as The Robber Bride.

Available on Amazon