Short Stories

Book Review: The Hero Next Door

The Hero Next Door
Author: 
edited by Rhuday-Perkovich, Olugbemisola
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

The Hero Next Door is published as part of a partnership with We Need Diverse Books. It's a collection of short stories by 14 award-winning authors. It's a celebration of everyday heroes that make a difference in their worlds and challenges each of us to be a hero in our world. While every story may not speak to you, there's something in this book for each of us as we work to make the world a better place.

Reviewer's Name: 
Carol

Book Review: The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried book jacket
Author: 
O'Brien, Tim
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Things They Carried follows through the perspective of a soldier within the 23rd Infantry Division. Enlisted during the Vietnam War, the book covers over the soldier's, as well as the platoons experiences throughout. The Things They Carried is a collection of stories that correlate to one another, bringing an ultimate immersion to those that are interested of any war, or historical context.

The Things They Carried is a book that has a deeper insight within the emotional, mental, and physical state of the soldiers that went through the Vietnam War. Having a darker and more serious tone than other novels, it is one that stands out and deserves recognition.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T

Book Review: Take it as a Compliment

Book Review: Take it as a Compliment book cover
Author: 
Stoian, Maria
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

A graphic novel featuring true reports of sexual harassment and assault in its many forms. A really powerful, quick read. My only problem with it is I wish it was longer. I read it in about 30 minutes. I did like the format of graphic novel. It made it seem more lighthearted than it actually is, which further illustrates the darkness of the subject matter.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

Book Review: Assignment in Eternity

Assignment in Eternity
Author: 
Heinlein, Robert
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Back in college, my first introduction to Heinlein was Stranger in a Strange Land. I had to read this book for my “Science in Literature” course, and I found it moderately interesting. Since then, I’ve read other Heinlein books like Starship Troopers and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but I didn’t realize how dedicated Heinlein was to some of his “supernatural” themes until I read Assignment in Eternity. Sure, most authors will have some concept or idea that they like to revisit. Still, the fact that a majority of Assignment in Eternity ’s included short stories deal in some way with “superhumans” must mean something.

The whole concept of ESP and “evolved” humans isn’t interesting to me since I don’t think there’s much that can be done with the concept. While Stranger in a Strange Land covered most of the bases, Assignment in Eternity doesn’t really expand the ideas any further. If anything, Stranger in a Strange Land was the culmination of Heinlein’s obsession with this topic. I think, in the end, the whole idea of telepathy and other mind powers isn’t science fiction as much as the ideas explored by Ray Bradbury or Isaac Asimov.

Because Heinlein could fill a book with short stories mostly centering on this theme speaks volumes about the overall topics in his writing. If you’re into this kind of story, then Assignment in Eternity is an excellent addition to the classic that is Stranger in a Strange Land. If anything, Heinlein is consistent in his style, even if it makes short stories like this somewhat repetitive to the other stories and books he’s written. Like other short story collections, I would have liked to see some more variety in what was presented here, but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers.

More of the same Heinlein, just in smaller chunks, I give Assignment in Eternity 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: Tales of Falling and Flying

Tales of Falling and Flying
Author: 
Loory, Ben
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book is a compilation of short stories, which are filled with humorous tales and great short stories. I personally really liked this book because of how every story was a perfect duration. I often find it hard to commit to a book for more than a week, with this book, I was constantly entertained by the fun theme of all the stories. If you're looking for a great compilation of bed time stories, or just don't have the time to commit to a long chapter book, this book is perfect for you. If you are looking for one great story to start the adventure, my favorite was The Squid Who Fell in Love With The Sun.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: 
Kyle Y

Book Review: Messenger's Legacy

Messenger's Legacy
Author: 
Brett, Peter V.
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

In a series that’s full of exposition and backstory, I found it a little odd that these extraneous details weren’t relegated to side-story novellas so the plot of the main series of books could focus on the current action. What’s even more curious is that Messenger’s Legacy, a side-story novella in this series, doesn’t explore anything new or interesting that hadn’t already been covered in the main books. The only new information I learned in this novella was slightly more detail about bog and swamp demons, which seems unnecessary with all things considered.

Following somewhat minor characters from The Warded Man (who haven’t appeared in the series since), Messenger’s Legacy shows it is easier to survive in demon-infested nights than the series initially indicated. While I’m not sure if any of these details will come into play in the main-line books, it does help expand the world-building just a little bit more than if this story hadn’t been included at all. As always, the demon-infused action is exciting and a strength of the author’s writing.

I’m sure there are much more interesting backstories and side-stories to tell in this series, so it’s curious that this one was written about at all. I’d much rather read about the original Deliverer or the society that crumbled away in the desert (leaving behind powerful wards in the process). Sure, there’s some personality explored in this story that helps pull the reader back to less god-like individuals and their struggles against the demons. However, with so many more interesting stories to tell, I’d suggest that anyone reading this series can skip this novella and not miss anything important.

A curious side-story that doesn’t add anything to the series, I give Messenger’s Legacy 2.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Last Wolf

The Last Wolf
Author: 
Krasznahorkai, László
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

This bundle of stories is an interesting read. It contains three stories about a writer facing an identity crisis, a hunter gone mad, and a final story about the impact of the hunter’s actions. The way this story is written can be often confusing and difficult to understand for casual readers. I personally didn't like this book, due to the bland, depressing, atmosphere of the setting, and the complexity of the sentences. Often times, it is difficult to tell when the narrator is talking or when he is thinking.
Regardless, I still believe it is a fine read for readers with an advanced vocabulary. Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: 
Kyle Y

Book Review: Song for the Unraveling of the World

Song for the Unraveling of the World
Author: 
Evenson, Brian
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

At the beginning of this year, one of my reading goals was to try a new genre. The short story genre is the genre I never new I needed until I read this book. The strength of short stories, in my opinion is the ability of the author to do a lot within a small amount of space; creating strong character development, great world building and meaningful messages within each story.

Within a few pages Everson manages to create character driven stories that are terrifying, full of paranoia and delusion and at the same time haunting and beautiful. From a girl without a face, to a therapist who never leaves his patience alone, to a film director willing to do anything to get the perfect final scene, these stories evoke a sense of fear and explores exactly what we will do to fulfill our most inhuman impulses. These stories provide a great introduction to a genre I now love. I can’t wait to see what else Everson does, he is definitely one to watch. Thank you to Eidelweiss and Coffee House press for the Digital Review Copy for review!

Reviewer's Name: 
Tawnie

Book Review: All Out

All Out: the no-longer secret stories of queer teens throughout the ages
Author: 
Mitchell, Saundra
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

All Out is a collection of short stories from different times in history.
These short stories keep you on the edge of your seats with every page. Being a LGBTQ+ Short story book I was delighted with detailed stories keeping with historical values and cultures. Everything from Pirates to Runaway Brides this book has it. Lovely storylines and flow. Definitely a must read for teenagers.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: 
Lizzy B
Awards: 

Book Review: Gwendy's Music Box

Gwendy's Music Box
Author: 
King, Stephen
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

While most people think of Stephen King's book as being scary, this book was more suspenseful than scary. It is the story of Gwendy, a 12 year old girl who decided to run the suicide stairs in her neighborhood to lose weight before school starts. She meets a man wearing a black hat at the top of the stairs. This man calls her over by name and gives her a specialw box that will give her chocolate and silver dollars. The box has buttons on top and Gwendy can control what may happen by pushing one of the buttons. Once she takes the box, good things start happening in Gwendy's life. Gwendy becomes obsessed with the box and keeps it with her until after college, when she comes home one day to see a familiar black hat in her apartment. The story moves quickly and keeps you interested throughout the phases of Gwendy's life. If you are interested in Stephen King books but don't want to read anything too scary, this is a great book to start with.

Reviewer's Name: 
Brenna C.

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