Monday, February 2, 2009

New Reviews!

The start of the month is always grand as new reviews show up and I get to hear that someone enjoyed one of my stories. That makes my day.

Here's some new ones - please click on the reviewers link for the full review:

Hearts and Flowers - Reviewed by Brett at Rainbow Reviews - (4 stars) A truly delightful short story and a quick read. As the book title suggests, this story is cute, humorous, and sweet. The only “flaw” by my estimation is the slightly forced and hurried interactions with the therapists the main character goes to see. This is hardly detrimental for the story because of the fast pace and size. A fully enjoyable read that I recommend.

Thank you Brett, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Hearts and Flowers was also Reviewed by Whitney at Fallen Angel Reviews -
Jesse Pearce is a CPA with a very unsatisfying personal life. His therapist tells him that he has intimacy issues, and he’s not going to argue with that. Veteran of several divorces, he has come to the conclusion that he simply prefers men to women. Not that it matters, anyway, since he hasn’t seen action of any kind lately. It’s downright depressing. When Jesse’s assistant rescues an adorable puppy from the dumpster and brings it to the office for safe-keeping, Jesse insists that an ad be placed in the paper to find the pup a home before it can totally destroy the carpet in his office. Unfortunately, the ad is botched somewhere along the line, and instead of an ad for a puppy, a personal is placed in the paper with Jesse’s telephone number as the contact. But how unfortunate is that, really? The voice on the other end of the phone call that Jesse answers is warm and friendly, and Jesse’s intimacy issues seem to dissolve into nothing but a memory.

Chrissy Munder’s short story Hearts and Flowers is a lighthearted visit with a man, a puppy, and a misplaced personal advertisement. As usual, Ms. Munder’s knack for characterization shines. Jesse, his assistant Dennis, his love interest Kyle, and especially the puppy Fred all spring to rich and colorful life within just a few pages. While we laugh a bit at Jesse’s sad-sack life, we still wish him well, and so it is with not a little bit of delight that we watch Jesse unwind enough to get tipsy and flirt on the phone with a complete stranger. We have already been introduced to the stranger, Kyle, so we know that he will make a perfect complement for the conservative Jesse. Of all the characters, it is the puppy Fred that steals the show. All wriggling body and shiny black nose, Fred is more than just a depositor of faintly odorous stains upon Jesse’s floor. He is the catalyst that brings the story together. Even those readers who aren’t “dog people” will have their hearts stolen by this cuddly canine.

In all, Hearts and Flowers will leave a smile on your face, and that makes the story more than worth the read. Good show, Ms. Munder!

Thank you so much Whitney!

Whitney was busy this month as she also reviewed A Gift of Ash and Frost:
Mathias Oakes is the son of the village whore. The oldest of seven children, he makes his living with his strong back and watches the world through quiet and stalwart eyes. When the new owners of the local manor called the Grange advertise for temporary help over Christmas, Mathias applies in hopes of making enough money to feed his family for a season. The local reverend calls his new employers “abominations,” but Mathias has neither the time nor the inclination to worry about what he means. Although the work at the Grange is heavy, Mathias enjoys his life there. He doesn’t expect the fascination and attraction that he feels for his supervisor, Mr. Mason. When he finds that the owners of the Grange are what are called sodomites, he is surprised but not offended. He feels a certain kinship with them and finally begins to understand the truth about himself. Just as the object of Mathias’s desire appears to be in reach, an act of hate and violence tears through the Grange on Christmas Eve, and the aftermath could very well destroy all Mathias holds dear.

Chrissy Munder’s A Gift of Ash and Frost is a holiday-themed short story about a young man’s journey of self-discovery and his realization that although he may not fit the mold imposed upon him by society, honesty is preferable to self-delusion. This is an engaging read with characters that are well-developed in spite of the shortness of the story. Mathias quickly captures the sympathy and affection of the reader, and although less time is spent with the secondary characters, we still get to know them through Mathias’s eyes. Throughout the story, Mathias repeats his mother’s philosophy: Be careful what you wish for. In the beginning, this is a negative and somewhat self-defeating adage that suggests that reaching for something above one’s station in life will lead to disaster. At the end, however, this takes on an entirely different connotation, as Mathias realizes that being true to himself can actually lead to positive results. Readers picking up A Gift of Ash and Frost should expect an enjoyable experience. This story is well worth the read.

Thank you! Whitney!

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