April Mini-Reviews

I’ve read 17 books so far this year. For the month of April, I focused primarily on reading library books. Bellevue Public Library started the 2018 Adult Library Program and I wanted to participate. It’s been fun trying out different books and authors.

The following reviews will cover what worked well in the books. If you wish to discuss what didn’t work in the books—or better yet, your own reading goals for the year—I’d encourage you to comment on this post.

Without further ado, here are the mini-reviews for this month. (Mild spoilers may follow.)


Palaces

Palaces by Simon Jacobs

Before I began reading library books in earnest for the month of April, I decided it was time to read another Two Dollar Radio book. Palaces by Simon Jacobs caught my eye right away with that startling black, white, and red cover. After reading the synopsis, I decided to give the novel a try.

Synopsis from the Two Dollar Radio website:

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Quick Reads (April 2018)

Due to starting a new job, I wasn’t able to read as much as usual. I managed to get a few stories in despite being so busy. Here is the list of everything short I read this past month. Please remember: this list is not necessarily meant to act as a review, a show of favor, or a “best of” list. Feel free to share your own findings in the comments!


Fathers” by Amanda DeNatale (Toasted Cheese)
[Note: Amanda is a good friend of mine. She also graduated from the Creighton MFA program.]

Rainbow, Fungus, Rainbow” by Liam Johnson (The Molotov Cocktail)

The Clearing” by Alexi Zentner (Orion Magazine)

To Live and Die in E.V.” by Oscar Mancinas (Storm Cellar)

No One Worships What They Find Under Their Fingernails” by Kathryn McMahon (Booth)

Better than Healed” by Michael Harris Cohen (Apparition Literary Magazine)

March Mini-Reviews

I’ve read 13 books so far toward my goal of 52 books for this year. I’m mostly excited to share my thoughts about what I’ve read this month. I write “mostly” because I was surprised how strongly I disliked one of Neil Gaiman’s books. As a huge fan of Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Coraline, and Fragile Things—and an appreciator of The Graveyard Book—I was shocked to realize American Gods would rank among my least favorite books of all time.

Nevertheless, the following reviews will cover what worked well in the books. If you wish to discuss what didn’t work in the books—or better yet, your own reading goals for the year—I’d encourage you to comment on this post.

Without further ado, here are the mini-reviews for this month. (Mild spoilers may follow.)


flash fiction, chapbook, Split Lip Press, shasta grant

Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home by Shasta Grant

After seeing Shasta Grant‘s name appear in some of my favorite literary journals and magazines, I became really curious about her work. Perusing the Split Lip Press store, I noticed Grant’s collection of stories, Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home, was runner-up for the 2016 Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest. I decided to purchase the chapbook and I’m glad reading it gave me the chance to become even more acquainted with Grant’s work.

Summary from the Split Lip Press website:

Quick Reads (March 2018)

Here is the list of everything short I read this past month. Please remember: this list is not necessarily meant to act as a review, a show of favor, or a “best of” list. Feel free to share your own findings in the comments!


The Town of Milkcarton Kids” by Ali Rachel Pearl (Redivider)

No Girls Allowed” by Anna Valente (Fairy Tale Review)

Raw Materials” by c.a. schaefer (Superstition Review)

Forty-Five Feet” by Joshua Jones (Split Lip Magazine)

Girl in Dog House” by Carol Guess and Aimee Parkison (New Delta Review)

Red City” by Ashley Kunsa (Sycamore Review)

Rattle and Spin” by Jeanette Sheppard (Bare Fiction)

Investigations on the Theft of Heaven” by Abhishek Sengupta (Outlook Springs)

TOMWABFAM” by Matt Tompkins (Puerto del Sol)

The Ones Who Chose the Rain” by George Edwards Murray (Daily Science Fiction)

Everything Red” by Emily Lackey (Monkeybicycle)
[Note: I met Emily at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts during her residency there.]

Alien Love” by Jennifer Lynn Christie (Atticus Review)
[Note: I read this on the 2017 Best of the Net website.]

Rut” by Maria McLeod (The Journal)

Swayze” by Natalia Hero (The /tƐmz/ Review)

What Strangers Do” by Christopher Allen ([PANK])

A Priest of Vast and Distant Places” by Cassandra Khaw (Apex Magazine)

Quick Reads (February 2018)

Here is the list of everything short I read this past month. I’m going to cheat this time and include some nonfiction and poetry with the flash fiction and short stories. Please remember: this list is not necessarily meant to act as a review, a show of favor, or a “best of” list.

Feel free to share your own findings in the comments!


Paper Shackles” by Sean Enfield (Lunch Ticket)
[Note: I worked with Sean—namely, performed some minor edits—on his piece “Colorblind Passengers,” which was printed in F(r)Online.]

Prom Night” by Jayne Martin (Crack the Spine)

Life Without Anesthesia” by Kristen M. Ploetz (Crack the Spine)

Death and Dying in America” by Bailey Bridgewater (Crack the Spine)

Forever Jung” by Leah Mueller (Crack the Spine)

The Diamond Girl” by Courtney Bird (Fairy Tale Review)

The Clowns” by Rodney Gomez (Fairy Tale Review)

Ashes” by Aimee Pokwatka (Fairy Tale Review)

Delicate” by Jasmine Sawers (Fairy Tale Review)

Interrogation” by Michael Chin (Prime Number Magazine)

Devil’s Hopyard” by Donald Hubbard (The Harpoon Review)

The World for a Heart” by Kenneth Otani (The Harpoon Review)

Trajectories” by Alex Miller (The Harpoon Review)

Otherwise Panic” by Mary Kuryla (Shenandoah)

Resort” by Mary Miller (Wigleaf)

Now That the Circus Has Shut Down, the Human Cannonball Looks for Work” by Meghan Phillips (Wigleaf)

Parliament of Owls” by Jeff Ewing (Smokelong Quarterly)

Princess Shipwreck” by Tessa Yang (Smokelong Quarterly)

Ueno Zoo” by E. J. Koh (Smokelong Quarterly)

חלב חם” by Lea Klibanoff (Smokelong Quarterly)

New Yorker Story About Michigan” by Carolyn Nims (Smokelong Quarterly)

The Jumper” by Geoff Kronik (Smokelong Quarterly)

The Cartographers” by Joshua Jones (Smokelong Quarterly)

The Noises from the Neighbors Upstairs: A Nightly Log” by Amber Sparks (Smokelong Quarterly)

All the shortlisted flash fictions for the VERA (Vestal Review)
[Note: James R. Gapinski’s story, “Tuxedos and Evening Gowns,” appeared in F(r)iction #6]

Moorish Architecture” by Erinrose Mager (The Adroit Journal)

Check My ID” by Krys Malcolm Belc (The Adroit Journal)

The Cry of the Butterfly” by Matthew Baker (The Adroit Journal)

Chinaman, Run” by Kathryn Hargett (The Adroit Journal)

Harvest” by Stephen Case (Bracken)

poltergeist ii” by Candice Wuehle (Sonora Review)

We Are Trying to Understand You” by Joy Baglio (TriQuarterly)


[Note: I’m pretty sure I missed a few.]

 

February Mini-Reviews

With eight books now read, I am closer to my goal of reading 52 books this year. For the short month of February, I decided to check out the collected novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin and revisit some of the books I read in college.

The following reviews will cover what worked well in the books. If you wish to discuss what didn’t work in the books—or better yet, your own reading goals for the year—I’d encourage you to comment on this post.

Without further ado, here are the mini-reviews for this month. (Mild spoilers may follow.)


the found and the lost

The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin

With Ursula K. Le Guin‘s passing, I felt the need to read her collected novellas as an act of mourning. She was such a talented writer and the breadth of her work could not be contained by any one genre.

Summary from the Simon & Schuster website:

Ursula K. Le Guin has won multiple prizes and accolades from the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to the Newbery Honor, the Nebula, Hugo, World Fantasy, and PEN/Malamud Awards. She has had her work collected over the years, but never as a complete retrospective of her longer works as represented in the wonderful The Found and the Lost.

Includes:
-Vaster Than Empires and More Slow
-Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight
-Hernes
-The Matter of Seggri
-Another Story or a Fisherman of the Inland Sea
-Forgiveness Day
-A Man of the People
-A Woman’s Liberation
-Old Music and the Slave Women
-The Finder
-On the High Marsh
-Dragonfly
-Paradises Lost

This collection is a literary treasure chest that belongs in every home library. 

Quick Reads (January 2018)

Hey, everyone! How is your New Year going? Are those resolutions a habit yet or are they falling by the wayside? What goals have you made for your writing or reading this year?

One of my less rigid goals for 2018 was to read more flash fiction and short stories. I figure it’s cooler to read and share, so these monthly posts will cover all of the individual pieces that I’ve read in a 28+ day period. This list is not necessarily meant to act as a review, a show of favor, or a “best of” list—so please keep that in mind when I’m sharing these stories. Hopefully, my resolution to do this will become a habit and not fall by the wayside. 🙂

Feel free to share your own findings in the comments!


Something Elemental” by Alyssa Jordan (CHEAP POP)
[Note: Alyssa works for Tethered by Letters, where I volunteer.]

Wind Warning” by Traci Skuce (Varnish Journal)
[Note: Traci’s work is in Issue #2 along with my flash fiction story!]

In the Corner Under Baby Jesus on the Cross” by Dawn Wilson (Paper Darts)
[Note: Dawn leads Inklings, which is a new writing group I attend.]

Aphorisms of Someone More Famous Than You” by Frankie Bielfeld (Laurel Magazine)
&

The King’s Last Meal” by Philip Charter (Laurel Magazine)
[Note: both flash fiction stories appear before my flash fiction story in this issue!]

Nature.” by Cheryl Pappas (SmokeLong Quarterly)

There Are Songs That Only Echo in the Belly of the Sea” by Rebecca Saltzman (SmokeLong Quarterly)

Mechanical Martyr” by Rachel Levy (Atticus Review)

Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories” by Gwen E. Kirby (Guernica)

The Beast” by Megan Cummins (CRAFT)

Pigeon Forge” by Jenny Xie (The Offing)

The Changeling” by Matt Jones (Ruminate)

In the Lakewater” by Monica Wang (The /tƐmz/ Review)

The Little Transient” by Lorri McDole (Prime Number Magazine)

Homecoming” by Noël Rozny (Prime Number Magazine)

Nebraska” by Nathan Knapp (The Collagist)

Sleeping Beauty is Not Well” by Cezarija Abartis (Bennington Review)

Fantasy World Has Fallen Into Disrepair” by Alexandra Tanner (Nashville Review)

On Top of the World” by Len Kuntz (Wigleaf)

Clemency” by Cady Vishniac (The Lascaux Review)

Excerpts: Half of What I Say by Anil Menon (Mithila Review)