The Grandmother with Enormous Eyes by A.G. Marshall

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Grandmother with Enormous Eyes by A.G. Marshall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“Grandmother, what big eyes you have!”

When young Red makes that statement to her grandmother Matilda, we all know where the story is going—or do we?—in The Grandmother with Enormous Eyes by author A.G. Marshall.

Having already enjoyed a different story in this series, I didn’t feel the need to check the blurb for this one. The title let me know which fairy tale would be retold here.

This short read took me into an area of fantasy I’ve never entered on purpose before, and I likely never will, but the twist turns out to be a great one for this reimagined story.

Granted, the way Red keeps addressing her grandmother as “Granny” over and over again is pretty tiresome, but the story is well-written overall, and wow, it’s a rather poignant one.

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Once Upon a Short Story Series

 

The Privileged by Renata Sterling

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Privileged: A Short Story by Renata Sterling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

In 1940 in the American South, there are privileges seventeen-year-old Helen Davis doesn’t have, due to the “drop or two of African blood” in her veins. But most people looking at her wouldn’t think she’s anything but white. And this winter, Helen wants to get a taste of what it’s like to be one of The Privileged, a short story by author Renata Sterling.

I enjoyed the half-hour or so it took me to read this. The story illustrates how “passing” comes with both advantages and (potentially dire) consequences for people of color whose color isn’t obvious.

While I like short reads, though, it seems this one essentially led me to a dead end, with no real moral to the story or a central message past the surface of the opening line. It’s apparent this isn’t so much a self-contained story but rather a setup for another book. Also, the writing style is a little awkward and simplistic, with minor grammar and punctuation errors.

Nevertheless, this read is about more than just a teenager’s adventure or the thrill of taking a risk. It’s clear that Helen has more to learn, so if I do find a book that continues her story later, I think it’d be interesting to read.

 

No Match for a Good Story by Rachel Kovaciny

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

No Match for a Good Story by Rachel Kovaciny

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

We are never so close to death as when we are bringing forth life, and well I knew it.

A blizzard is coming on the Nebraska frontier, and midwife Emma Owens is helping her step-daughter, Rosalind, give birth to her first baby. But when the new mother’s courage and strength sink dangerously low during the long hours of labor, Emma takes to telling stories to get Rosalind through it in No Match for a Good Story by author Rachel Kovaciny.

I’m quite pleased with how much I enjoyed this short read. I appreciated Emma’s voice and style. She’s warm and motherly, quick and lively, and clearly a woman of the West, but she doesn’t come off as an overdone Western caricature.

And the stories within this story are nicely handled: just snippets of accounts until fuller details are needed, but still not so many details as to stall the main story or take it off track.

A truly well-written holiday tale about the power of storytelling and the miracle of life.

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Once Upon a Western Series

 

An Unexpected Christmas: Stories of Holidays Wrapped in Miracles, Mishaps, and Mischief by Daphne Tarango

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

An Unexpected Christmas: Stories of Holidays Wrapped in Miracles, Mishaps, and Mischief by Daphne Tarango

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

The circumstances don’t have to be perfect in order for Christmas to be just right. Daphne Tarango and a bundle of co-authors share stories of Christmases that came together in ways they didn’t anticipate in An Unexpected Christmas: Stories of Holidays Wrapped in Miracles, Mishaps, and Mischief.

I found this book listed as fiction, but I wouldn’t call it that. Instead of fictional short stories, this is actually a collection of true, inspirational memoirs with some of the people’s real identities disguised. While that isn’t exactly what I was looking for, I enjoyed this fairly quick read anyway.

Some of these accounts delightfully surprised me, particularly a few of the deft, poignant moments and excellent endings, and “A Christmas Racket” is one of my favorites of the bunch. I also got a kick out of the flair of Latin American heritage included. The book does have some punctuation and letter case errors, but they’re not excessive.

Here’s a good read for anyone who’d like a collection of short holiday accounts with faith woven in.