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Tales of the Elder Statesman

Tales of the Elder Statesman by Edward Faith is a series of short stories involving the Elder Statesman character, although not necessarily from his point of view. All the tales are set in the fictional town of Rough Edge, Alabama. They feature an interesting cast of characters, including the Elder Statesman’s wife, Lillian, and a host of their friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. The highly original short stories are all no more than two or three pages each. The tales are concise and typically do not follow the format of having a beginning, middle, and end. Rather than stories, they are brief snapshots of life in rural Alabama.

The structure makes more sense when reading about Faith’s intention with this book to record the funny stories he collected from several old gentlemen of his youth. The tales are amusing, and readers will especially find the story of Mrs. Swaf to be the most entertaining. It is about a woman called Nancy who frequented a fabric shop in a nearby town. The shop had many features to recommend, including a warm and helpful shop owner, Mrs. Swaf, whose name was above the door. However, after many visits over the years, Nancy is finally informed that the owner’s name is not Swaf; in fact, the SWAF at the front of the shop is an acronym for ‘Southwest Alabama Fabrics.’ This story is hilarious in the telling, and the author portrays his sense of humor in his writing. However, the author does have an amusing turn of phrase from time to time, such as “a managerial group severely infected with inflamed bottom line mesmerism.”

Tales of the Elder Stateman are entertaining and a quick read. This fictional collection of humorous short stories will delight readers of all kinds looking for humor in their life.

Pages: 161 | ASIN : B08ZRYK7PH

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Three Dimensions – Lizzie’s Histories

Three Dimensions – Lizzie’s Histories is the second installment in Elizabeth Reinach’s Three Dimensions collection. As opposed to the first anthology, in which the short stories mostly verse on the bizarre and horrifying, this piece’s motif is the reapproaching of 19th-to-20th-century British historical events.

Some of the tales’ themes are power disputes, royal troubles, the raging inequality between high society and the commoners, and the hypocritical breaking of traditional values. Readers are met with well-known British political and literary figures, such as Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens. In addition, a maid named Claudine, a member of the royal house that is first in line to the throne and must overcome his wife’s displeasing demeanor to produce an heir, and the alcoholic Anne-Marie who suffers the misogynistic blows of her future husband and of 19-century England.

This book will be pretty entertaining to history aficionados who enjoy reading between the lines to pick up references and do their own research to complement the stories and learn more about niche historical nuances that might escape the average reader. The twelve stories that are included will provide readers with various topics to comb through. However, it is worth mentioning that the order of stories makes for a somewhat confusing read at times. Another noteworthy feature is the comic relief provided in the initial stories, where Reinach explores how famous historical marriage and paternity disputes would have taken place had reality TV existed at the time. This thoroughly entertaining section adds a lighter tone to this otherwise thought-provoking piece.

Three Dimensions – Lizzie’s Histories takes a considerably different turn when compared to the first book, but it is still entertaining nonetheless. With well-researched storylines it should prove to be an interesting read to those familiar with modern British history and otherwise entertaining to anyone interested in reading intriguing stories with a one-of-a-kind voice.

Pages: 118 | ISBN : 9781984593108

Something Went Cold

Something Went Cold by [Glenn Reschke]

The short story collections’ lesser popularity, compared to the novel, boils down to inconsistency. Just like an album, there are bound to be one or two skips in almost every short story collection out there.

This was my mindset coming into Something Went Cold, Glenn Reschke’s short story collection. With just 5 short stories across 160 pages, I thought that all of them had better be good. And with my experience when it comes to short story collections, five is almost never enough to keep the whole boat afloat. 

Well, I’m happy to report that I’ve been proven wrong. After reading the book, I put it down on my desk with a sigh of relief. Reschke did it – he made me enjoy a short story collection from cover to cover. 

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, he seems to have created a piece of literary work that feels right at home with the Netflix Generation. The synopses for the short stories vary wildly, with “#MeToo” being about an abused woman’s revenge and “The Afterlife of Adolf Hitler” which imagines how the late dictator and monster moved to the other side. I would be remiss not to mention the boldness of the latter. 

The diversity of the stories and their fascinating topics capture the readers’ attention immediately. There’s never a dull moment or a narrative that goes too long. And just like the “Next Episode” button on Netflix, it’s pretty hard not to turn to the next page once you’ve finished a story. 

Instead of being one unified piece, the book feels more like a portfolio or showcase of Reschke’s writing. It’s all over the place in the best way possible, but it leaves you wanting to know who Reschke is as an artist. This collection doesn’t satisfy that question. But at the end of the day, that’s a minor flaw compared to the quality and talent that he displays here.

Pages: 162 | ASIN: B096586Q9L

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The Inquisition and Other Stories

The Inquisition and Other Stories is the second volume of short stories written by Michael Tabor. This collection includes an eclectic mix of thirteen exceptional stories. Each of these fascinating stories has a separate setting and cast of characters so each one can be read on its own. The genres for each original story range from historical dramas to love stories and even mysteries. This varied collection will give readers plenty to look forward to.

Readers of this collection will find the gripping stories varied and well written making it hard to pick a favorite. Catherine Lescault is a historical drama that heavily features Nicolas Poussin. Bright Stars on the other hand is a clever little mystery story for any literature nerds out there. Without giving away spoilers it is a story in which Keats shadow looms large. It’s a clever story and really demonstrates Tabor’s love of literature as an academic. This love of literature is evident in Tabor’s writing. Tabor plays with literary devices constantly.

The collection could almost be used as a textbook for creative writing classes. However, Tabor never forgets that a story should be entertaining first. Each of these gripping stories is a fun and often challenging read. The pacing is excellent. Each story is given its own time to breathe without feeling rushed. Some of them could most definitely be turned into full novels, but they do not suffer from being in the short story format either.

The Inquisition and Other Stories is a riveting and through-provoking collection of short stories. With Tabor’s imaginative and suspenseful writing style readers of all kinds will find something they enjoy in this collection. Anyone can pick it up and enjoy it but there’s even more for history and literature fans to enjoy here.

Pages: 264 | ISBN : 97809986778

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Fireside Stories

Short stories are sometimes just what the doctor ordered. It is, however, difficult to find an author who can successfully convey an engaging plot, well-developed characters, and a neat and satisfying conclusion in a few short pages. Loyst R. Streeter has the remedy. In his Fireside Stories, Streeter delivers fifteen unique short stories, each complete with fantastically drawn characters and plots that move swiftly after grabbing readers’ attention within the first paragraphs. Streeter masterfully writes on a variety of topics and manages to effortlessly cover everything from the Bible to intrigue and mystery.

Fireside Stories, by Loyst R. Streeter, is a must-read–period and no questions asked. I found myself immediately lost in one story after another. Streeter simply has been gifted with the ability to capture readers’ attention, swiftly create an emotional bond between readers and main characters, and still manage to surprise readers every time. Each short story is the ideal length and somehow manages to leave readers both satisfied and wanting more.

I have to say, I was not expecting to become as invested in Streeter’s stories as I did. Right out of the gate, I read the first short tale, “The Thief,” believing I could see exactly where and how the story would end. The author, I feel, has a talent for predicting how readers will perceive his characters, and he takes them on a journey that ends with a sudden and much appreciated twist.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to choose a favorite among Streeter’s stories. While his stories are a wonderful mix of genres and each contains memorable and relatable characters, they are all fantastic reads in their own right. If I had to choose a standout among the fifteen shorts, I would have to say “The Stranger” resonated with me. In fact, as soon as I finished it, I reread it. Streeter is a real gem for fiction fans.

Readers will have a difficult time finding another short story writer who delivers so completely. Streeter’s stories stick with you long after reading and beg a reread. I highly recommend Fireside Stories to anyone looking to fill some rainy afternoons or those relaxing moments before bed. Streeter’s stories are amazingly satisfying and truly memorable.

Pages: 175 | ASIN : B09LJ4KPMP

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Three Dimensions: Lizzies Scaries

Three Dimensions, by Elizabeth Reinach, is a collection of short stories with themes ranging from crime mysteries to family secrets and greed. In The Trio, you will meet an elderly couple terrorized by three creepy adolescents; Grandma introduces Johnny, who is entangled in a family drama that arises from his wealthy family matriarch’s revelations on her 80th birthday; a Christmas night’s sketchy deal goes awry in White Witness; an unusually close relationship of love and jealousy among siblings is explored in The Tennis Party 1885 by Sir John Lavery; The Seànce reveals the tragic fate of a recently deceased man to his acquaintances; an old multiple homicide case resurfaces in William?, and a deathbed confession from a ill woman sparks her daughter’s search for the truth in the final tale, Margaret Donald Was Only a Typist.

The anthology begins with relatively mild and seemingly unrelated topics. This choice of pace might seem tone-deaf at the first glance – which might be the book’s main caveat -, but the approach soon spikes the reader’s interest and the temptation to skip through the pages to satisfy their curiosity. As the tales grow increasingly more eerie and uncomfortable, sometimes even prompting external research for plot twists and “Easter eggs”, this edge-of-your-seat book grapples with the reader’s sense of familiarity: the stories consistently present daily-life topics with an obscure twist that gives off the stomach-churning sensation of accessing a forbidden something you should not have been.

Three Dimensions, by Elizabeth Reinach showcases vastly different characters that range from the gullible that struggles with her fashion choices in Aladdin’s Cave to acclaimed 20th-century European psychoanalysts from Oedipus in Furs and the overtly polite staff that hides a rotten cynicism in Beneath the Surface. Illustrated by Salvador Capuyan with comical and satirical artwork, this collection of short stories will appeal to readers who enjoy an unique style of casual entertainment.

Pages: 67 | ASIN: B0823GFW2K

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A Challenge In Itself

Tamel Wino
Tamel Wino Author Interview

Ékleipsis: the Abyss is the second collection of short stories that explore humanity’s degeneration. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this collection that is different from the first collection of stories?

I wanted my stories to be less predictable than those in the previous book. But in the attempt to be relatable and believable (human dark tendencies & desires), it proved to be a challenge in itself.

What has been the most surprising reader reaction you’ve received so far?

One of my readers is an aspiring writer of the same genre and they told me that my stories are not only entertaining but also inspiring. That meant a lot.

What is your creative process like in bringing these stories to life?

Most of my stories are character-driven. So, usually early in the developmental stages of a story, I create my protagonist(s). With the aid of research, interviews and other methods, I would try my best to put myself in their shoes, predicting how they would react, talk, think, etc.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m currently working on my third collection in the same vein as the first two. Projected publication date is late 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

The seed of evil has been planted …

What will happen when its roots take hold?

Ékleipsis: The Abyss is the second short story collection by the award-winning author.

Tales of depravation and insanity are woven together with unrelenting style and depth, scrutinizing human nature’s degeneration when compromised by tragic, vicious circumstances.

These complex, wretched individuals and the irremediable conditions they are desperate to claw out of—or into—invoke the unfathomable question: What devastation are we truly capable of when left with no way out but down . . . into the obscurity of the abyss?

The Red Grouse Tales: The Little Dog and other stories

The Red Grouse Tales: The Little Dog and other stories. by [Leslie Garland]

The Red Grouse Tales consists of four thought-provoking short stories written by author Leslie Garland. The setting takes place in a local bar among several patrons who all take turns telling their intriguing metaphysical tales. Although this is somewhat of a philosophical collection of stories I felt that the opinions and ideas expressed came about organically and this makes the reader question how they would feel or act rather than forcing ideas on the reader. Spiritual concepts are also explored, which allows for a lot of reader interpretation.

Each story is told at the bar on a Thursday night and each story feels like they are part of a casual conversation, like a friend is telling you a story, regardless of ‘who’ is telling their story, it always feels authentic, even with the supernatural elements. Each patron tells a story that is relatable to the reader, in one way or another- such as conveying life lessons or depicting circumstances that are commonly faced.

I started reading the book without any prior knowledge of author Leslie Garland or their writing, but I was impressed with the authors literary skill and ability to convey some abstract ideas in a fascinating and easy to understand way.

The reoccurring theme in The Red Grouse Tales is evil, whether it is a person that is evil or perceived as evil or the world as a whole containing evil. These stories are written from the first person perspective which provides an interesting and unique lens through which evil is interpreted in the story. While I enjoyed the book overall, I felt that book started off slowly and I was worried I was not going to be pulled in, but thankfully this is more of a slow-burn style of storytelling that lures you in with the subtle but compelling storytelling and thick atmosphere, so that by the end I was completely engrossed.

I enjoyed how bits of true crime were incorporated into the stories, and made them sound eerily familiar to real life and some cases you may know or have followed. In the end the reader is left to wonder what they think is right and wrong in this compelling collection of short stories.

Pages: 370 | ASIN: B018VWOVIU

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