Review | Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions & Heretics by Jason Porath

An entertaining mix of biography, imagery, and humor written in a fresh, young, and riotous voice, this thoroughly researched exploration salutes these awesome women drawn from both historical and fantastical realms, including real life, literature, mythology, and folklore. Each profile features an eye-catching image of both heroic and villainous women in command from across history and around the world, from a princess-cum-pirate in fifth century Denmark, to a rebel preacher in 1630s Boston, to a bloodthirsty Hungarian countess, and a former prostitute who commanded a fleet of more than 70,000 men on China’s seas.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoy the trend of books coming out that specifically calls out extraordinary women, or women who took charge of their lives in a time that they were not expected to. This was the first of those books I had seen, so I was excited when I received it as a gift. It’s the perfect type of book to pick up and read a story here or there, which is how I read most of it.

I really appreciate the fact that each story comes with content warnings which are explained at the beginning of the book. Not only specific warnings of types of content, but each story has a maturity level. This is great if you might be sharing some of the stories with children.

Also of note are the footnotes, some of which are serious and a good info dump and some of which are hilarious. I really felt this collection was a great introduction to some rebellious women in the past and the author’s writing style perfectly fit the stories he was telling.

Happy reading!

Highly Anticipated Releases | Anthologies

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my favorite things to read are short story collections/anthologies. Now, I already have a pile on my TBR that I need to read, but that doesn’t stop me from hearing about upcoming ones and immediately wanting them – so I thought I would share a few of the ones I’m really excited about.

Come On In: 15 Stories about Immigration and Finding Home – From some of the most exciting bestselling and up-and-coming YA authors writing today…journey from Ecuador to New York City and Argentina to Utah…from Australia to Harlem and India to New Jersey…from Fiji, America, Mexico and more… Come On In.

With characters who face random traffic stops, TSA detention, customs anxiety, and the daunting and inspiring journey to new lands…who camp with their extended families, dance at weddings, keep diaries, teach ESL…who give up their rooms for displaced family, decide their own answer to the question “where are you from?” and so much more… Come On In illuminates fifteen of the myriad facets of the immigrant experience, from authors who have been shaped by the journeys they and their families have taken from home—and to find home.

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite – In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.

Welcome to the evolution of the vampire―and a revolution on the page.

Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.

A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology – In the fourth collaboration with We Need Diverse Books, fifteen award-winning and celebrated diverse authors deliver stories about a princess without need of a prince, a monster long misunderstood, memories that vanish with a spell, and voices that refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice. This powerful and inclusive collection contains a universe of wishes for a braver and more beautiful world.

AUTHORS INCLUDE: Samira Ahmed, Jenni Balch, Libba Bray, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, Kwame Mbalia, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tochi Onyebuchi, Mark Oshiro, Natalie C. Parker, Rebecca Roanhorse, V. E. Schwab, Tara Sim and Nic Stone.

Are any of these on your radar? What are you looking forward to?

Happy reading!

Review | Robots Vs. Fairies

A unique anthology of all-new stories that challenges authors to throw down the gauntlet in an epic genre battle and demands an answer to the age-old question: Who is more awesome—robots or fairies?

Rampaging robots! Tricksy fairies! Facing off for the first time in an epic genre death match!

People love pitting two awesome things against each other. Robots vs. Fairies is an anthology that pitches genre against genre, science fiction against fantasy, through an epic battle of two icons.

On one side, robots continue to be the classic sci-fi phenomenon in literature and media, from Asimov to WALL-E, from Philip K. Dick to Terminator. On the other, fairies are the beloved icons and unquestionable rulers of fantastic fiction, from Tinkerbell to Tam Lin, from True Blood to Once Upon a Time. Both have proven to be infinitely fun, flexible, and challenging. But when you pit them against each other, which side will triumph as the greatest genre symbol of all time?

There can only be one…or can there?

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Anthologies are one of my favorite things to read and this one has been on my ‘currently reading’ stack for quite a while, so I’m super happy to have finished. While there wasn’t really any stories that I didn’t enjoy, there were a lot that were just ok. Entertaining and enjoyable, but didn’t blow me away. I did enjoy the back and forth, plus the letters from each author about their stance and a little more about their stories, but I just found myself really wanting more, and there were a few stories that took me way too long to read. All in all, it was definitely a fun read and there were a few stories that were stand outs for me.

Here’s a full breakdown of how I felt about each story-

Build Me a Wonderland by Seanan McGuire – 4 stars
Quality Time by Ken Liu – 3 stars
Murmured Under the Moon by Tim Pratt – 4 stars
The Blue Fairy’s Manifesto by Annalee Newitz – 3 stars
Bread & Milk by Sarah Gailey – 2.5 stars
Ironheart by Jonathon Maberry – 3 stars
Just Another Love Song by Kat Howard – 4 stars
Sound & Fury by Mary Robinette – 3 stars
The Bookcase Expedition by Jeffrey Ford – 3 stars
Work Shadow/Shadow Work by Madeline Ashby – 3 stars
Second to the Left & Straight On by Jim C. Hines – 3 stars
The Buried Giant by Lavie Tidhar – 3 stars
Three Robots Experience Objects by John Scalzi – 4 stars
Ostentation of Peacocks by Lila Bowen – 4 stars
All the Time We’ve Left to Spend by Alyssa Wong – 4 stars
Adriftica by Maria Dahvana Headley – 2 stars
To a Cloven Pine by Max Gladstone – 3 stars
A Fall Counts Anywhere by Catherynne M. Valente – 3 stars

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | Out Now | Review

A follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Out anthology, Out Now features seventeen new short stories from amazing queer YA authors. Vampires crash prom…aliens run from the government…a president’s daughter comes into her own…a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a cynical social media influencer…a selkie and the sea call out to a lost soul. Teapots and barbershops…skateboards and VW vans…Street Fighter and Ares’s sword: Out Now has a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the page!

This essential and beautifully written modern-day collection features an intersectional and inclusive slate of authors and stories.

Buy Links | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | AppleBooks | Google Play

I haven’t yet gotten the chance to read All Out, but after seeing glowing reviews for it, I had to read Out Now when I got the opportunity. While not every story was 5 stars, I enjoyed the anthology so much that I have to give it 5 stars for pure entertainment. It features so much diversity that’s presented as perfectly normal, which is always so refreshing. So many of the stories had elements that made me both laugh and cry and it was obvious that they all came from the heart, even if they happened to be humorous in nature.

Saundra Mitchell has been a phone psychic, a car salesperson, a denture deliverer and a layout waxer. She’s dodged trains, endured basic training and hitchhiked from Montana to California. She teaches herself languages, raises children and makes paper for fun. She is the author of Shadowed Summer and The Vespertine series, the upcoming novelization of The Prom musical, and the editor of Defy the Dark. She always picks truth; dare is too easy. Visit her online at http://www.saundramitchell.com.

Social Links
Author website: wwww.saundramitchell.com  
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Saundra-Mitchell/164136390442617
Twitter: @saundramitchell
Instagram: @smitchellbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52172088-out-now

Happy reading!

Review: The Red Coat

In these nine heart wrenching stories, Vidhipssa Mohan explores the lives of Indian women and the problems they face and have been facing through the ages. These women are caught between who they really are and what society expects them to be. The stories are poignant, suffused with joy, pain and suffering.

In the title story, “The Red Coat”, a young student understands the price you have to pay for your dreams when you come from poverty. In “Going Home”, a young girl understands what home really is. In “Noises”, the father of a young bride understands what it means to be a woman in the 18th century India.

In this collection the author tells the story of a number of different characters in varying situations, but always illustrating many of the challenges Indian women have faced in the past and continue to face today. It is obvious that some of these subjects are dear to the author as there is real life within some of the stories.

The writing was very simplistic at times and sometimes didn’t flow as well as I would have liked it to, but there were also some passages and paragraphs that were beautifully descriptive and had real emotion woven into them. This was especially evident in the moments when we are getting the internal thoughts of the characters.

Overall the collection was insightful and in some ways a heart wrenching read. It really was a glimpse into some of the struggles that not only Indian women but women in general can face.

Thank you again to the author for reaching out to me and giving me the opportunity to read her book. Happy reading!

Review: Grumpy Old Gods

What happens when gods wane, retire, or just decide they need a change of employment?

13 writers took up the challenge and let their imaginations run wild in this anthology that is nearly-always amusing, somewhat insightful, and completely irreverent as we imagine the gods of yore in retirement.

The premise of this book alone was able to interest me. Anything incorporating mythology will typically pique my interest, so when it was pitched to me as a short story collection with gods who are perhaps…past their prime.

I loved the hijinks that were detailed in the stories. Some stories were based on either one god within one mythology, while others had a lovely mix of different cultures and religions. So many of the stories ended up being hilarious as the gods had to cope with their retirement or advanced ages in worlds that perhaps didn’t worship them anymore.

I can’t think of any particular story that I didn’t enjoy, but there were definitely some that were absolute gems and left me laughing and thinking about them for a while afterwards.

Happy reading!

Review: Scream and Scream Again

Being an 80s/90s kid, I was ecstatic when I heard that a new anthology was being released by none other than R.L. Stine, full of scary stories.  I was determined to pick it up and make it one of my reads during October.  Scream and Scream Again is an anthology of 20 spooky stories that either begin or end with a scream – or both.

scream and scream againI was a little disappointed that none of the stories were truly scary, but I was entertained none the less.  Every story had a unique concept and setting.  These stories are definitely middle grade and are perfect to feed your Goosebumps or Are You Afraid of the Dark? cravings. While it wasn’t exactly what I expected, it was still enjoyable and a fun time.

Some of my favorite stories in the collection were Kamikaze Iguanas by Alison McMahan, Area Code 666 by Carter Wilson and The Unknown Patriot by Chris Grabenstein.

I hope this is just one in a long line of new stories and books from R.L. Stine.  For me this book was more nostalgic than anything else.  It took me back to the times when I read Fear Street and similar books as a teen.  Be sure to check it out if slightly spooky and funny stories are what you are looking for!

Happy reading!

Anthology Appreciation

Not everyone enjoys anthologies, but they are some of my favorites.  I’ve always been a lover of the short story and that love was fostered by some teachers who also thought they were a great medium.  In some ways they can be more difficult to write as they must be much more concise and concentrated than a full length novel.  In this post I’m going to talk about a few I’ve recently read as well as some of my favorites.  All pictures of the covers will be linked to the book’s Amazon page so that you can pick them up if you want to.

Recently I was given the opportunity through NetGalley to read two anthologies which recently came out.  They were very different genres and subjects, but I thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

Toil and Trouble CoverToil and Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft, which was edited by Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood, included stories that represented a number of cultures, mythologies and genres.  My detailed review of each story is on my Goodreads so I won’t rehash that here, but I can say that while there were some stories I didn’t enjoy as much as others it was an enjoyable read.  It would be perfect for reading not only around Halloween, but anytime during the year.

The other anthology I received on NetGalley was Fresh Ink, which was done in Fresh Ink Coverpartnership with We Need Diverse Books.  Having already read Flying Lessons, I was super excited to be able to read this one ahead of time.  I wish there were more anthologies like these two as they explore topics and situations that often need to be explored and discussed by wider audiences.  Again, I didn’t love every story in this anthology, but it exposed me to a number of authors I had not previously read. That’s another great thing about anthologies, you get to read stories from so many authors who you often may not have read from before.

My True Love Gave To Me CoverI have a number of anthologies on my bookshelves, so picking out Summer Days and Summer Nights Coverfavorites is not always an easy task.  I have anthologies in different genres and with different subject matter, but I’ve chosen a few that I really loved when I read them.  My True Love Gave to Me and Summer Days & Summer Nights are collections which were edited by Stephanie Perkins. One has love stories based in the winter while the other is set during the summer (bonus, the story in Summer Days & Summer Nights by Perkins is a continuation of the story she wrote for My True Love Gave to Me and I LOVED them both).

Slasher Girls and Monster BoysSlasher Girls and Monster Boys and Unnatural Creatures both tackle Unnatural Creaturesdarker subjects and were both amazing. They are perfect to read closer to Halloween and each have a spooky vibe that I enjoyed immensely.  There are some stories in them which are definitely not for the faint of heart.  I especially loved that Unnatural Creatures was edited by Neil Gaiman.  A lot of the stories in these two anthologies had great twists and were very addictive.

Meet CuteMeet Cute is an anthology purely about the initial interactions between characters that lead to a romance, or the “Meet Cute.” There are some stories in this one that are absolutely amazing and each one leaves you wanting more, but in a good way.

 

Do you enjoy anthologies and short stories in general? Feel free to comment and let me know!  Happy reading!