Short Stories For Autumn

November 8, 2017 in Book Reviews, Short Stories

There’s something about this time of year that lends itself beautifully to curling up in a favourite chair with a cuppa, a blanket and a compilation of short stories. Don’t you think? So today I thought I’d share with you two of my recent reads that I think are perfect for reading right now!

Short Stories For AutumnThe Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
on 26th September 2017
Genres: Short Stories, Fantasy
Format: Hardback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

I’ve long been a Leigh Bardugo fan and her Grishaverse is one of my favourite worlds to visit. So when she announced she’d be publishing a collection of Grishaverse short stories inspired by myth, fairy tale and folklore I was beyond excited! Like many folk, I’d read a few of the tales years ago but this collection brings together three of these stories and three brand-new tales! What’s more they are packaged within the most gorgeously finished book I think I’ve ever seen!

This beautifully illustrated edition contains imagery which changes with every turn of the page – the more you read, the more of the image you see until the final page when we are introduced to the final full-spread illustration.

As you’d expect from Bardugo, her stunning, rich writing pairs perfectly with these illustrations. Each tale is beautifully crafted – each page one to savour. I can’t recommend this enough, it’s just a thoroughly breath-taking book.

 

Short Stories For AutumnThe Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell
on 2nd November 2017
Genres: Short Stories, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Format: Hardback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-half-stars

'These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button.
That's why I bought her heart online.'

Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows.
A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island.
A boy is worried his sister has two souls.
A couple are rewriting the history of the world.
And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.

I’ve been excited for this book for a long time – Jen Campbell’s first collection of adult fiction. Up until now, she’s written non-fiction, poetry and this year she released her first children’s picture book (it’s fab) so I couldn’t wait to dive into this collection of short stories. I wasn’t disappointed!

Jen shares with us 12 tales which draw upon her love of myths, fairytales and their histories. Her writing is captivating as she weaves stories that are all individual and highly memorable. It’s dark at times, strange and whimsical too – and you’ll find it impossible to put it down after each story. I intended to savour this book but I devoured it, I didn’t want to leave Jen’s writing. The perfect mixture of fantasy and magical realism, this book is not to be missed.

I hate to mention the word Christmas so soon but this would make the perfect Christmas gift, and Jen will even sign, dedicate and wrap copies for you if you order through her website – the ultimate special gift!

Review: Here I Stand: Stories That Speak For Freedom

August 4, 2016 in Book Reviews, Charity, Short Stories, YA

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Here I Stand: Stories That Speak For FreedomHere I Stand: Stories That Speak For Freedom Published by Walker on 4th August 2016
Genres: YA, Short Stories
Format: Hardback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

Did you know that ... government spies can turn on your phone and use the microphone to listen to your conversations? ... that lesbian and gay relationships are illegal in 78 countries and can be punished by death? ... that Amnesty recently recorded the highest number of executions globally for more than 25 years?

Through short stories and poetry, twenty-five leading authors and illustrators explore the top human rights issues facing young people today.

Contributors include:

*Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell
*Newbery and Carnegie Medal winner Neil Gaiman
*Scottish poet laureate Jackie Kay
*Costa winners Frances Hardinge, AL Kennedy, Christie Watson and Bryan and Mary Talbot
*CILIP Carnegie Medal winners Sarah Crossan and Kevin Brooks
*Australian author Tony Birch
*Irish Book Award winner John Boyne
*Waterstones Prize winner Sita Brahmachari
*Graphic Novel of the Year winner Kate Charlesworth
*Newbury Honor winner Jack Gantos
*Much-lauded Ryan Gattis
*Multi-award-winning Matt Haig, Elizabeth Laird, Bali Rai, Tim Wynne-Jones and Sabrina Mahfouz
*Best-selling Liz Kessler
*Performance poet and singer Amy Leon
*Betty Trask Award winner Chibundu Onuzo
*Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning, currently serving 35 years in US military prison
*Prominent human rights lawyer Jules Carey

Amnesty International have teamed up with Walker Books and numerous bestselling authors to publish a compilation of stories and poems that explore human rights.

Within the pages of this book, you’ll find poems and short stories addressing a huge range of issues from race, identity, exploitation and bullying, to slavery, refugees, beliefs and FGM. This little book packs a huge punch!

Before I go on, I have to first mention the stunning cover of this book, illustrated by Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. Believe me when I say it’s even more stunning in real life and absolutely captures the contents.

As is the case with any short story collection, I had my favourites, stories that I found incredibly powerful. However every single piece in this book makes an impact. Had I to pick three stories to share, Matt Haig’s The Invention of Peanut Butter, A Suicide Bomber Sits In The Library by Jack Gantos and The Colour of Humanity by Bali Rai would top my list.

This is a truly thought-provoking, emotional collection of works. For a relatively short book this covers a vast amount of ground.

While it may be more aimed at a YA audience, there is absolutely no reason adults shouldn’t be reading it. Indeed, in our current society, where hate is on the rise, I implore all to read this!

I can’t praise this book enough. That such high profile authors contributed to this book speaks volumes about its importance and Amnesty International as a whole.

All royalties from the sale of this book go to Amnesty International, which, personally, I think adds yet one more reason to buy it. For more information about the book see here.

 

five-stars

Review: I Am Because You Are

November 5, 2015 in Book Reviews, Short Stories

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: I Am Because You AreI Am Because You Are Published by Freight Books Genres: Short Stories
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

In November 1915 Albert Einstein published his now world famous General Theory of Relativity. It made key predictions around gravity’s influence in space and time. It introduced to physics new concepts around the curvature of space, the passage of time, the bending of light, black holes and the behaviour of bodies in freefall.

I Am Because You Are is a timely collection of new fiction and non-fiction from novelists and science writers, all inspired by the theme of Relativity. Each contributor treats the subject in their own unique way. The results are charming, witty, sometimes challenging but always accessible, presenting complex science themes in imaginative, easy-to-understand and highly entertaining ways.

Contributors include novelists Andrew Crumey, Dilys Rose and Neil Williamson, alongside popular science writers like Pedro Ferreira, Jo Dunkley and Lance Miller. Edited by acclaimed, award-winning writers Pippa Goldschmidt and Tania Hershman, I Am Because You Are will be the perfect vehicle for both press and public to engage with this important centenary.

I’ve recently been enjoying collections of short stories, and making more of an effort to discover new reads. When I saw that Freight Books had an anthology out inspired by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, I was sold. The scientist in me couldn’t resist reading I Am Because You Are.

This month it’s actually 100 years since Albert Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity. To mark the occasion science writers and novelists have come together to create this collection of new fiction and non-fiction pieces.

Naturally, I found the non-fiction articles very interesting – I knew I would. What I wasn’t sure about was how I’d feel about the fiction but, on the whole, I loved it! Each writer has taken inspiration from the theme of Relativity to create short stories which draw upon this topic.

Honestly, the range of writing in this book was fascinating. Many were very obviously Relativity-related while some more far more subtle – I enjoyed both extremes equally.

I do want to mention just a couple of the stories I particularly enjoyed, the first being The Two-Body Problem by Ruby Cowling. Focusing upon the lives of twins, the page is split down the middle with Stella’s thoughts and story on the left, and Esther’s on the right. It was very impactful.

There was one story in this book though that affected me more than the others, Eric’s Mum Has A Black Hole Inside Her: A Science Project by Clinton and yours truly (Eric) by Rosa Campbell. I was NOT ready for this story and ended up in tears. It’s quite different from the other pieces of writing in the book, written from the perspective of Eric, a young boy whose father has left and whose mother is spending most of her time in bed. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful, and is a story I know will stay with me for a long time.

The balance of non-fiction, fiction and poetry in this anthology was perfect. I loved the range of ways that Relativity influenced the writing and the different take the authors had on the subject. All in all, a very good read and a great way to mark the centenary of this life-changing theory.

four-stars