Tag: Short Stories

Book Review: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Author: Ray Bradbury
Release Date: 1949
Genre: Classic, Science-Fiction, Short Story Collection
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 303
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Blurb:
The strange and wonderful tale of man’s experiences on Mars, filled with intense images and astonishing visions. Now part of the Voyager Classics collection.

The Martian Chronicles tells the story of humanity’s repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. The first men were few. Most succumbed to a disease they called the Great Loneliness when they saw their home planet dwindle to the size of a fist. They felt they had never been born. Those few that survived found no welcome on Mars. The shape-changing Martians thought they were native lunatics and duly locked them up.

But more rockets arrived from Earth, and more, piercing the hallucinations projected by the Martians. People brought their old prejudices with them – and their desires and fantasies, tainted dreams. These were soon inhabited by the strange native beings, with their caged flowers and birds of flame.

REVIEW

★★★★

This is my first book by author Ray Bradbury and needless to say it was a compelling read.
I felt the same sense of a constant hovering of foreboding while reading this book as I felt while reading Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov. Though the writing styles are very different I think the tones of their works are similar to each other.

Even though this book was written ages ago, the arrogance of humans, sadly, still feels precisely fitting. The need to constantly want more, the urge to explore while being completely oblivious and ignorant to how it affects others and the need to be celebrated for doing something that is important to them and them alone is reflected very aptly in this book. The lingering feel of melancholy is something that greatly appealed to my taste.

I’d recommend this book to everyone as this has a lot more to offer than classy sci-fi entertainment. Though, let me give you a heads-up – if you are not into the classic writing styles, you might have to remind yourself constantly throughout reading this book to be patient as, in the end, I assure you that this book is totally worth it.

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So this is how I'm spending my time till we finalise about my spine surgery as till then (and for sometime after that also) I can't do anything that puts pressure on my lumbar spine or lower back like working out, yoga, stretches or even walking. Even sitting in car for longer than half an hour is hurting my spine badly, so my doctor has asked me to take rest. Vishal has warned me that if I do anything even mildly strenuous he'll be the death of me, so I have finally given up fighting against it and stopped feeling guilty about having to stop my training after only a month. Now I have embraced the fact that I need to chill out for this month so obviously the only thing on my list right now is – reading! So catching up with the books I had palnned on reading earlier and it feels like living in a dream… so bring on more coffee as I have loads to read 🥰 #authorlife #writerlife #amreading #catmom

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You can also read this review on Goodreads

A Winter Morning

I am a hopeless winter-person – you know, when a person goes overboard in hauling around shawls everywhere, wearing cardigans even when it’s barely cold, wearing socks while sleeping and using a heater or a hot water bag at night to warm the cold feet. I know I am not the only one so I decided to write this piece in order to give a shout out to all those beautiful people who love and adore and cherish winters as much as I do.

***

A Winter Morning

I wake up, suddenly from a dream, and feel the need to get some fresh air. Slowly I get out of bed, not wanting to wake him up as I know he had trouble sleeping early last night. But as soon as I set my feet on the wooden floor of our bedroom, I feel a sharp sting of cold and before I know it, it makes its way stealthily snaking and spreading through my toes and ankles, tickling the bare skin of my feet. I stand up quickly trying to find my slippers when a gust of cold breeze hits my face from the window beside my bed, suddenly my heart swells with happiness – winter is here!

Forgetting what I was about to do next, I quickly make way to the wardrobe, pulling it open frantically, taking out one of my favourite shawls – a pale blue one, oversized and thick. I slip into my slippers pulling the shawl over my shoulders and rush to the study room, which sits next to our bedroom. I open the curtains of the enormous window on the other side of the room overlooking the front garden of our home and the giant of a Gulmohar tree which happily covers half of the view. My hands tremble just a tiny bit with excitement and what I see fills my heart with such an enormous amount of content that  I haven’t known in a long time. It’s still somewhat dark outside, but I can see the faint orange-purplish glow of the rising sun slowly and steadily coming in view. I stand there in awe as the chirping of the birds gets louder and the leaves of the trees start rustling with their activity. The sun keeps rising ever so slowly as the world around me wakes up from their lazy dreams and cosy beds.

Both my cats come to me and rub against my legs purring with as much content as I feel from being a part of this beautiful morning. I sit down in front of the big window on the shag carpet and so does my little beauties. I scratch their backs as one of them settles in the crook of my folded legs and the other one curls right next to me on my shawl, her warm back resting against my thigh. They both start purring in a familiar rhythm, the younger one kneading on my legs looking lazily at me, while the elder one looking out the window considering if she should chase the birds off or sit in the warmth of my shawl.

The birds’ singing is louder now and it feels like they are calling out to the sun. Right then I smell heaven – the aroma of coffee wafting from the kitchen downstairs, not the instant one, but of strong espresso. I can also smell the faint undertones of hazelnut and smile that he has opened the new packet I bought 2 weeks ago. He was asleep when I woke up, but I think my shuffling through the cupboard woke him up and while I was enjoying the view with my furry-little girls, he went down and started the coffee machine. I think I fall in love with him a little more in that moment.

I look around me, then at my girls purring and sleeping and cuddling around me and when, at last, I hear the gentle footsteps of him coming upstairs, the smell of coffee leading ahead of him, I look at the sun that is almost risen completely now, showering me and the girls in its beautiful bright yellow rays that are filtering through the Gulmohar tree, I say a silent thank you to the Universe for all my blessings because at that moment I have everything that I have ever wanted, and will ever need, right there in that room with me.


 

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Book Review: Nameless Book: Everyone Has A Story by Deepthi Ayyagari

Author: Deepthi Ayyagari
Release Date: 30th October 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Short Story Collection
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 76
Publisher: WordBuzz Publishing
Blurb:
Everyone has a story. These are stories about people like you and me, about relationships, love and life. Stories that will make you laugh, cry, and feel deeply about. Some of them, you will not forget for a long time to come…

REVIEW

★★★★

Nameless Book by Deepthi Ayyagari is a collection of short stories that explore the broad themes of emotions and life intermingled with witty narration making it a breezy read. It was a very quick and refreshing read as the author did not burden the reader with the needless sentimental baggage of characters keeping her narrative as well as characterisation light yet eventful.

Ass the stories are full of life and essence and I enjoyed them all very much. I was able to read this book in less than an hour and would highly recommend it to those readers who are looking for a quick fix that they can read in their work-break or commute. Honestly, any person who enjoys reading will have a great time reading this book so I recommend it to everyone.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Tales of Adventure With Nap Lapkin by Lance Manion

Author: Lance Manion
Release Date: 17th September 2019
Genre: Cosy Mystery, Humour, Comedy, Short Story Collection
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 156
Publisher:
Blurb:
Finally! All of the stories under one cover. Nap Lapkin, America’s top agent, respected and feared by every agency in Washington, is both a lover and fighter and so much more.
And less.
But mostly more.
There can be no argument that this is the funniest book ever written.
No argument whatsoever.

REVIEW

★★★★

Tales of Adventure With Nap Lapkin by Lance Manion is a hilarious new book with a charming lead, who happens to be an agent, you will fall in love with! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book mostly because of the unique way it was written. The narration is in the second person and it completely blew my mind. The author’s sense of humour was out of the world and it made me chuckle more than a million times throughout this short and sweet book.

The lead character was very funny and I was able to form a connection with him right from the first story itself. I enjoyed all the story and surprisingly had no complaint from this book whatsoever. Again, the writing style is very unique and commendable and the author has done a brilliant job in keeping a tricky reader like me engaged throughout the book with the same level of interest I started reading this book. The stories were kind of cosies and I loved them all.

I’d highly recommend this book to all readers as you really can’t categorise such a good and read-worthy book.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

ARC Review: Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown

Author: L.M. Brown
Release Date: 15th March 2019
Genre: Short Story Collection, World Fiction
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 206
Publisher: Fomite
Blurb:
The stories in this linked collection are set in a small village in the Northwest of Ireland in the early 1980’s and 90’s. A by-pass around the village has rid them of their once busy traffic. The residents feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later.

The collection is not only about the characters need for salvation but it is about a society that is unraveling. In Amends, we hear about the Bishop who has fathered a child. A priest is beckoned by a dying man to be mocked. The world inside and outside the village is changing. In every story the characters need to make a choice on how they might carry on.

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown is a beautiful collection of short stories about a small town in Ireland in the early ’80s and ’90s. I had a very good time reading this book and the thing I found most impressive about this story collection is that each and every story bore a plethora of emotions that were very real and relatable. Being from a small town myself, I enjoy books that display the lives of people in small towns, the highs and the lows of living in a close-knit and ever-watching society. So I really enjoyed this book.

All the stories were related in some way or the other and so they felt more like chapters than individual stories which was another thing that I liked as this made the overall theme more interesting. The characterization was good, the writing was good and the pacing was very good. I’d say this book would make for an excellent coffee table book.

I’d recommend this book to everyone who loves exploring new cultures and distinct works fo literature.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: For The Lover Of Stories by Charlie Avinash Nicholas

Author: Charlie Avinash Nicholas
Release Date: 20th April 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Cross-Genre – Poetry Collection & Short-Stories,
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 316
Publisher:
Blurb:
Dear you,Welcome to my double feature. “For the Lover of Stories” contains two of my books:

1) “Sanity’s War” is an anthology of interlaced short stories and narrative poems. It depicts epic battles between kingdoms, against nightmarish forces, and within broken souls.

2) “Strange: And Other Accounts From the Taboo War” is a novella of short tales, poetry, and letters. It deals with the Unsung Heroes’ battles against the Grim Reaper’s strange sons.

Review

★★+1/2

For The Lover Of Stories by Charlie Avinash Nicholas is a cross-genre contemporary fiction that is an unusual and somewhat interesting collection of poems (mostly narrative), short stories and epistolary texts and overall it was an okay read.

The writing was okay, not great but not bad either, and the content of each and every chapter was also okay, but because of the different types of texts, I felt a bit disconnected from the book. The tone of the book, which was basically dark and war-based, some literal some metaphorical, was something I liked, but the real problem was that I wasn’t able to relate to any of the characters in any of the texts. Microfiction is tricky and I wasn’t overly impressed by author’s brevity in this book (which is actually a combined version of two books.)

If you like reading cross-genre fiction and won’t mind trying out both poetry and microfiction by a new author then you can go for this one, though I can’t say for sure if you might like it or not.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

Her

It was a cold, cold day and Emelia was stuck inside her SUV in a snowstorm. It was freezing outside as well as inside. She had been sitting in the car from last 48 hours.

She turned off the heater a while back because she knew the battery of her car won’t last if she’ll keep the heater running for long. According to the reports she heard before getting stuck in this hell, the storm would last for several of days. So far, it had been only 2 days.

The last two days had been the worst days of Emelia’s life, or so she thought. In the initial hours, Emelia refused to believe that she was stuck in the car in the middle of nowhere in a fucking snowstorm. But after a couple of hours when the wind continued howling like a hungry dog and the snow kept falling like there won’t be an end, she realised that she was stuck. Stuck here for good. Soon after this realisation followed panic.

For the next few hours, she cried for help; screaming her lungs out and almost rupturing her vocal cords. She tried to break the glass of her windows, but her fingers were already starting to get numb. Moreover, the glass of her SUV’s windows was not easy to break. This exhausted and frustrated her to no measure. She kept at it but in vain.

Hours later, exhausted, she closed her eyes giving up and that’s when she saw Will smiling at her. The smile she fell in love with, the smile that takes all her worry away, the smile she wanted to go back to. And then it dawned on her that the only thing that will keep her going was hope.

Yes, she can survive this and yes she will make it back. A lot of people do, and that too in much worse situations. So she forced herself to believe that she can too. In spite of the swelling in both her feet and the lower half of her back, in spite of the numbness spreading throughout her arms, she told herself, that it will be over soon.

She tried to focus on the conversation she had with Will just before she left her home – “I need a break, Will. Just a week off from being a wife. I’m tired and you know it. All I’m asking is for you to let me be alone for a few days.”

After a few hours of argument, she was able to convince Will, like she always does, to let her go alone to the Rhode Island. She made him promise to not call her, and knowing that he will, she left her phone at home in the drawer of her study table. How she missed her phone right now. If only she had her phone with her, everything would be fine. Will would come running to rescue her and this nightmare would be over, forever.

But now, that was not possible. Unless someone was stupid enough to leave their home in such a storm and come driving down this stupid forest, that Emelia wanted to explore before driving to The Resort in Rhode Island, no one would know where she was.

She’d been crying a few hours ago, but now crying felt too laborious in such a cold weather. What really scared her though was not the cold that was shutting down her nervous system, or the storm that covered her car with thick snow, or the fact that it was a forest and some big carnivore animal might be lurking around her car. No, she was a strong woman when it came to these things. But what did bother her was the gloom of the sunless sky and the scary sounds the wind was making every time it went swishing around her glass windows. And also, the feeling, deep in the pit of her stomach, that something was terribly wrong, other than this unfortunate situation in which she had landed up, something was not right.

At one point, she thought she heard something, a sort of wailing. But as brave as she was, she still felt fear grip her insides. The glass of her windows was completely covered in fog and snow and it was difficult to see what was outside. She was just able to tell that it was soon turning into night.

The wind was whipping wildly outside, and there it was again. She heard that wailing cacophony again. She sat straighter, and in order to ignore the blood-curdling sound, she started to hum a lullaby that her mother used to sing when she was a child. She tried to literally force herself to sleep, but the cold made it impossible. But the lullaby which she always found comforting, sounded like a death song which was both disturbing and frightening.

All of a sudden there was a loud thud just outside her door. She felt it as much as she heard it as if something heavy hit the door. She tried to peek outside through the frosted glass, but nothing was visible against the grey backdrop of the gloomy dusk. She thought it was some wild animal. Slowly she rose from her seat, and without making any noise shifted to the seat on the passenger side. She was sure that the darkness would conceal her movement.

She tried to calm down her thudding heart telling it that it was nothing but an animal and there was nothing to fear. But when she heard the sobbing of a woman just loud enough to make the hair on her neck rise, she knew, it was no animal. And just then the sobbing turned into a high pitched laughter, so crass and intense that it made Emelia’s teeth chatter.

She looked intently at the glass window on the driving side and thought that she saw a hint of a shadow – a shadow woman with a scarf draped over her head. But only for a second before the outline turned into black smoke and transformed into a shapeless mass.

Frozen, she knew that it was no woman; it was someone else. Someone who is not a living person because no living person will sit and sob and then laugh in the middle of a snowstorm, outside a car that is stuck in the lonely forest in the middle of the night… It was Her, whom no one was supposed to see…


Genre: Supernatural

Note: All views and opinions shared in this post are my own.

Please feel free to give your feedback in the comments section below.

You can read my other stories here.


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Book Review: Tears Of The Ancient And Other Stories by Jason R. Koivu

30374957Author:  Jason R. Koivu
Release Date: 7th June 2016
Series: –
Genre: Fantasy, Short Stories
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 128
Publisher: C Street

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Travel to new lands and visit old souls in Tears of the Ancient and Other Stories, a collection of short stories filled with demons and dragons*, betrayal and tomfoolery, a whipsmart goblin and a comedic mushroom!

**It’s more like an oversized lizard, if we’re being honest.

Review

Tears Of The Ancient And Other Stories by Jason R. Koivu is a collection of Fantasy short stories that turned out to be a really pleasant book.

As a fantasy lover, I absolutely adore reading about different creatures, worlds and concepts and this book gave me exactly that. I loved the first story; it was about a human-obsessed goblin who was really smart but was not liked by his fellow goblins. I felt so bad for him that by the end I forgot that I was reading a short story. I could have read a full-length novel on just this story. Another one of my favorites was the title story, Tears Of The Ancient. It had a beautiful concept and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I liked the writing style as it had an easy flow to it that made reading this book a pleasant experience. Author Jason did a wonderful job in crafting each and every story with beautiful detailing work and perfectly setting the tone for each and every story.

I enjoyed most of the stories, and the only complaint I have is that there were not enough stories for a fantasy lover like me. So I  hope that the author comes up with another such beautiful book soon.

I’d recommend this book to all the Fantasy lovers and to everyone who likes reading short stories.


Goodreads and Amazon

Derelict – #Blogbattle

BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge in which participants write short stories using a single word for inspiration. You can visit the BB’s blog to find out more about it: Blogbattle: Inspired To Write.

This week’s word is Derelict.

Derelict

sad-girl-1382940_640

Genre: Dark Fiction

The smell of his sweat repels me. The sweat-soaked hair under his arms makes me want to gag. They touch my cheek even when he doesn’t move. But I can’t let this repulsion show on my face. I have no strength to fight with him anymore tonight.

I love him, I remind myself for the thousandth time tonight. I love him. It’ll all get over soon.

I turn my face slowly and look at his face trying to understand what’s going through his mind. He looks shabby and I miss those days when he used to shave and take bath every day (or every other day at least.) He’s turned into someone else entirely. Someone I don’t know. Someone I don’t want  to know.

He laughs at something making an animal sound that starts from his stomach and vibrates in his throat. Sitting this close to him I can feel it when his laugh rises from his belly and comes out of his mouth like he’s throwing up, spittle flying in the air.

I feel his rough stubble on my forehead and try to wiggle out of his suffocating half-embrace. He looks at me annoyed and tightens his grips. He looks at me for a minute before smirking and turning back to the TV.

I can feel the remains of his stale breath on my face. I exhale deeply and try to calm down my nerves. I love him and deep down somewhere he loves me too. 

I try to console myself, but when I think about what he’s become I can’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes. And in that moment I hate myself. I begin to loathe what I’ve done, regretting the decision of leaving Ben and Adam for this bastard.

But I will not run away this time because this is what I deserve for leaving my baby and my loving husband behind.

***

Please note: This is a work of fiction. 
Any resemblance to any person or thing is purely coincidental.

Evening Tea – #Blogbattle (Jessie #5)

BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge in which participants write short stories using a single word for inspiration. You can visit the BB’s blog to find out more about it: Blogbattle: Inspired To Write.

This week’s word is Tea.

Evening Tea (Jessie #5)

silver-tea-set-989820_1280
Image Source: Pixabay

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

 

I set my cup of tea down on the table careful not to spill it on the white cloth beneath it and, taking a deep breath, I say after gathering myself, “It’s not as easy as you think, Mom.”

“But it is,” She puts her cup down too and leans forward in her seat, “Look, Jess, I know the past year has been really tuff on you – first the accident, then Rick’s affair and then this,” she waves a hand at my belly and continues as if she’s not talking about her only daughter miscarrying her 6 weeks old unborn child, but simply making an observation about a filthy sack full of crap.

Looking at me she sighs heavily and continues, “But sweetie this is not how you deal with your problems. You can’t just take  a break from your life and isolate yourself.” Adding more sugar to her tea, she continues, “You need to keep yourself busy. These things are not that significant dear. look at the bigger picture.”

When I start to protest, she raises a hand and continues her lecture, “All I’m saying is at least try to do something that’ll keep you busy and help you to get your mind off of such things.”

The clinking noise of her spoon makes it difficult for me to maintain a straight face. I start tapping my feet first slowly, then intensely and try to sound nonchalant, “And what exactly do you mean by ‘such things’?”

She looks up at me and furrows her brows for a second and then reclaiming her calm exterior she says, “You know what I mean, your accident, Rick’ betrayal, the baby and your failures on the whole.”

Unable to contain my anger any longer, my voice rises a notch, “My failures? What the hell do you mean by my failures?”

She sips her tea calmly and after patting her mouth with the napkin she says, “I didn’t mean to offend you, Jessie. It’s just a manner of speaking.”

The patting of my feet grows so intense that it starts to hurt me, “Seriously, mom?”

“What?” she says shrugging.

I pick up the spoon next to my cup and start pouring sugar in my coffee not wanting to fall for my mom’s sick game.

“Say something, Jessie. I came all the way here just to talk to you and this is how you treat me?”

I stop pouring sugar in my cup and tighten my grip on the spoon’s handle,”Stop it, Mom. Please. Just stop it!”

She sits straighter, making it clear that she disapproves my tone and says, “No, you stop it, Jessie. You need to face it. We both know that you’re blaming yourself for Rick’s affair. So say as much and be done with it. You can’t feel guilty forever.”

“No, that is so not the case, Mom. I’m not guilty of anything! He cheated on me not because I wasn’t good enough for him, but because he is a worthless piece of shit who doesn’t know what loyalty is. So please don’t go there because that’s really not the case.”

“Oh, but I know that this is exactly what’s troubling you.”

“Oh, so now you are what? A break-up specialist?”

“Well, considering my experiences I think you can call me that.”

Unable to contain the storm brewing inside me I look at her and fixing her with a glare I say gritting my teeth, “Stop it already. You’re doing it again.”

“What am I doing?”

Giving up, I get up with a jerk, pushing the chair behind me, and throw the napkin on the table, “Nothing.”

“Don’t you stomp off in front of me Jessie. I am your mother.”

I stop in my tracks and turning around I try to bite back the words that form in my mouth, but knowing her as well as I do, I let the words out of my mouth, “You’re again getting it all wrong, Mom. And that’s why I was trying to avoid meeting you in the first place. You just love assuming things. You don’t even try to find out what’s really wrong. All you know is to make others feel miserable for all the things that are going wrong in their life.”

“No. That is absurd!”

“Yeah? Well, tell this to someone who hasn’t spend 20 years of their lives living with you under the same roof.”

“That’s enough. I’m leaving.”

“Good for you. And please don’t bother checking up on me after today, because I won’t be staying here anymore.”

She gets up from her chair and throwing her purse over her shoulder she says, “Why? Is this place not good enough for you now that I know where you are?”

I shake my head and release a long breath.

“At least tell your old mother where she can find you in case if there’s an emergency or something.”

“Well, you won’t be calling me in any kind of emergency if you knew where I’ll be.”

She turns around and looks me in the eyes, “Where are you going, Jessie?”

“I’m going to Dewar.”

Her mouth falls open and she turns red. Throwing her off guard this way, even for a minute, makes me feel so much better. She quickly regains her cold composure and narrows her eyes at me as if I’m a 4-year-old girl, “And might I ask where will you be staying?”

“With dad.”

She studies my face for a long time and then quietly makes a beeline for the door but before leaving, she stops abruptly and turns around, “Goodbye, Jessie. I hope you have a great time with your father.”

She spits out the words so ferociously that it feels more like “Rot in hell with your father,” which, I think, is exactly what she wanted to say.

***

You can read the previous parts of Jessie: Story About A Girl series here:

  1. Baking A Pie (Jessie #1)
  2. Ruined Dreams (Jessie #2)
  3. The Sting (Jessie #3)
  4. Autumn (Jessie #4)

NOTE: This is a piece of fiction any resemblance to any person or place (living or dead) is purely coincidental.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.