Tag Archives: short story

Book Review: Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta

TBP June 4th 2019
272 Pages

Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle — of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a “true” Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too “faas” or too “quiet” or too “bold” or too “soft.” Set in “Little Jamaica,” Toronto’s Eglinton West neighbourhood,

Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig’s head in her great aunt’s freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother’s house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents.- Goodreads

There are books that have a very clear audience and then there are books that do not. This book has a clear audience and I was not the intended audience.

Frying Plantains is a well written, detailed book that is narrated by Kara. I don’t say that the book is about her because it is and then it isn’t. The book focuses on her, her mother and then her grandmother. What ties these stories together is Kara and her growing up but it doesn’t exactly give you a focus on the main picture or point of the novel.

What I mean is Kara’s mother doesn’t have the best relationship with not only Kara but with her mother. You can see from the point of contact that Kara’s mother is trying to make it being a single mother but cannot get past her attitude and in general the chip on her shoulder. This affects her relationship with Kara because she is extremely hard on her.

You can see where she gets this from when you met Kara’s grandmother. However, she isn’t as hard as you think and that is more than likely due to her losing steam. But I slightly digress with my point.

This book gives you a look into the life of a young Canadian/Jamaican girl, who initially you believe is trying to balance being “true” Jamaican. This is the point you start off with but it is quickly lost as Kara gets older. You begin to wonder what is the point of the book? Is it meant to just show a life of a young Canadian/Jamaican girl, is it suppose to show the dynamics of family in the United States or is it just to show you that what you think you know, you really don’t?

When I mentioned earlier that this book was intended for a specific audience, nothing in me believes its audience is for Black women but for other women who may not have had to deal with specific expectations from their family, dealing with the past mistakes of the women in their family and having to grow on your own in all of that.

The fact that Kara is Jamaican plays a background part into this story. It pushes the story to remind you the struggles of an immigrant parent and how they raise their child(children).

Its a good solid story. A good book to read in between books. Its colorful, detailed without being boring and I can see, without a doubt, this book winning some awards.


I recommend reading this book because it provides a different outlook that most people do not even consider or see.

3 Pickles

Short Review for a Short Story: Harlem by Eric Jerome Dickey

Published Nov. 15, 2018

When Harlem gets off on a murder charge due to insanity, the asylum he’s sent to feels worse than death, with one exception: the beautiful nurse Daphane. As their relationship grows, so do the stakes: she has the ability to help him escape, and he has the ability to set her free from her abusive relationship.

Yet Harlem has one big secret: he was perfectly sane when he committed his crime. But in the end, Daphane’s own secret may be the deadliest of all. . . .- Goodreads

It has been a very long time since I have read a Eric Jerome Dickey book. My top is Friends and Lovers and I am thinking about doing a re-read for it but that is another story.

I came across Harlem during the December crunch trying to find short stories and mangas to meet my Goodreads goal. Since I have a previous love for Dickey, I decided to pick it up even though I was side eyeing the summary.

Harlem is not likable by any means but he is real; a lot more real than I expected. His bluntness took me by surprised but so did his past trauma. I was fully expecting this to be a I did what I did because of my past but I really am a good man. Completely ready to completely trash this book because of that.

However, that was not the case. Harlem is unapologetic, from beginning to end but he wants this woman Daphane and she wants him despite his flaws. My problem with this book was simply I couldn’t take listening to Harlem speak. Even as I write this, his voice is in my head and I am just like dude, shut up.

His interactions with Daphane came off really strange to me that is until the end of the novella. At that point everything made sense, even though I couldn’t deal with Harlem. The ending to this novella is what saved it from being rated a 1 Pickle out of 5 Pickles.

Was the pace good? Yes, steady with the promise of something big about the happen. Was the conclusion satisfying? Yes, nothing in me wants to read more about Harlem or Daphane. Was it well written? I can say that it was for what it was. This novella is the definition of short story, so you walk in wanting a quick read and leave feeling that is exactly what happened.

Will I recommend this book? Ehhh that I do not know.  Because not only are there are a lot of trigger warnings i.e. abuse, child abuse, murder but I also didn’t like the book.


2 Pickles. 

Book Review: The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

Published Oct. 3, 2017
128 Pages

The rule is simple: don’t bleed.

For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she’s been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction.

Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she’ll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?

Short review for this one.

What can I say about this book? Its intriguing and the vagueness of it catches your attention a lot more than I am willing to admit. It is also slow and a bit of a let down.

The premise that Molly can reproduce other Mollys by bleeding is interesting. At first glance, I thought… well how is that actually going to work. But the author was able to make it make sense. As reading it, the light bulb went off and I was like alright I can dig this.

I didn’t jump into this knowing that this was a novella so a lot of how the story played out made sense. My biggest issue was it did feel like the author was trying to make this novella last longer than it should. There is a lot of Molly did this, Molly did that or Molly simply talking in her head. I wanted more interaction between people and more emotion. Everything was really monotone. Molly didn’t have a whole lot of emotions, which is understandable but I wanted some growth from her towards the end… some humanity that I didn’t really get.

Despite that I did enjoy this read and I want a continuation because this definitely feels like a backstory and also the continuation can be really really good if done right.

2.5 Pickles

Short Story Review: Hello, Moto by Nnedi Okorafor

Tor Books Published Nov. 2nd, 2011 32 Pages
Tor Books
Published Nov. 2nd, 2011
32 Pages

There is witchcraft in science and a science to witchcraft. Both will conspire against you eventually.- Goodreads

*Short Review*

The summary doesn’t really give away anything. So I really took a chance on this read. Also I will say this time and time again, me and short stories do not get along. It is rare that I enjoy a short story or a short story collection…. This is one of those rare times.

As short as this was, I enjoyed it. I was captivated mainly because I wanted to know more. I wanted a backstory to the witches and I wanted more details to why things were turning out the way they were.  The story doesn’t really lead up to anything. You are right there at the beginning of a battle scene.

My biggest with this is the fact that it is a short story. The ending stops mid scene, which pissed me off because it is like how can you do that? Right when everything was happening :(

Overall, for what it was I enjoyed this but wish it was leading to a larger story.

3.5 Pickles

NetGalley Review: The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

Jo Fletcher Books Originally Published 2009 144 Pages
Jo Fletcher Books
Originally Published 2009
144 Pages

A woman watches her father take his last breathes and while doing so, she relives the past week and thinks about what brought her family together and what tore them apart. As the middle child in a family of five, she has secrets; one in particularly that keeps her at her childhood home and that keeps her waiting for the darkness. 

*Short review for a short novel*

Dangggg Tanya, what’s with you and these short stories?!!? I know I have said constantly that I do not enjoy short stories and yet I keep reading them. I don’t know why I do it but I do it.

So anyway, I actually really like Ms. Pinborough’s writing, which is why I requested this book. She can paint a pretty picture or in this case a chilling picture.

I liked this short read but I did feel it was very dull and drawn out. This feeling had nothing to do with the fact that from beginning to end, we are waiting for a man to die. It comes from the lack of color from the narrator or even the other characters. I did not expect it in present time but more so from the past. It was even hinted at one point but the that was it. I get the whole point of this book is to be despair but some kind of life would have made this book perfect and much more chilling.

Beyond, this I liked the creativity shown in this book. I like what the author was able to draw out of the story and I really loved how she made this much bigger than simply a daughter watching her father die alone. There is so much depth to this 144 page story, you can’t help but be in awe.

The pace could be improved but I am not complaining that much. Overall,

3 Pickles

Book Review: Waylaid by Kim Harrison

Pocket Star To Be Published April 4, 2016
Pocket Star
To Be Published April 4, 2016

This is a novella featuring two characters from the Hollows and the Peri Reed Chronicles.

The magic of the Hollows runs full force into the technological sophistication of The Drafter when a device capable of carrying a city’s data stream pulls Rachel, the bounty hunter witch of the Hollows, between realities, marooning her in a world where the supernatural holds no sway. To get Rachel and Jenks home, Peri, the dangerous renegade of 2030, must decide what will chart her future: her blind trust in those who grant her power, or her intuition telling her to believe. -Goodreads

*Short Review

I picked this book up because it was a short read and I don’t recall ever reading anything by Kim Harrison. So this was an introduction and to say the least I wasn’t impress. To put it bluntly, I didn’t like this book.

There could be several reasons why I didn’t like this book and the biggest one is probably because I do not know anything about the stories: Hollows and the Peri Reed Chronicles.  So I am guessing there is some strong disconnect there. But I don’t feel that it is my problem. Why? Because it is the author’s job to make me feel familiar with the plot and the characters.

I couldn’t grasp the story; not only because I felt displaced but also because it felt like a rush job. Do not get me wrong, I thought in the short amount of pages, the author was able to develop a story but it felt slightly all over the place and it felt like the author was trying too hard. Also to be perfectly honest I just didn’t like it.

Will I let this be a deciding factor as to will I read any of Kim Harrison’s books? Probably not. But I know I won’t be in a rush to read them.


1 Pickle



NetGalley Review: A Neophyte’s Tale, An Abbey Thorne Short Story (Netherwalker 0.5) by C.K. Dawn

Smashwords Edition Published April 27, 2015 Ebook
Smashwords Edition
Published April 27, 2015

There is a power that is calling to Abigail Thorne. It is a single word that promises her power that she has never dreamed of. But Abigail has no idea that by uttering that single word she is reveals a world most humans do not know of. 

*Short Review*

This probably would have been a better read if I read the first book in the series. It is really easy to get lost within this book and by lost I mean confused.

Abigail is having a rough life. Her mother is a good intention-ed drunk. She knows her daughter is special but she can’t help but blame her daughter for the lost of her husband (he abandoned them).  If this book was any longer, Abigail would be a drunk herself. She doesn’t hesitate to take one of her mother’s bottles or drink when the worst happens to her.

The confusing part of this book is the line between what is really happening and what is in Abigail’s head. It took a lot away from the book because I had to go back and re-read the chapter to figure out what happened.

Overall, this short story was missing a lot for me to actually want to read the first book. Will I read the first book? Yes, because it seems like an interesting story but not because of this short story.

2 Pickles

Kindle Review: What She Didn’t Know by I. Ronik

      Self-Published    Published Dec. 8, 2013        36 Pages Kindle
Published Dec. 8, 2013
36 Pages Kindle

Adult ONLY

Cassie has been looking after her sister, Jessica,  all her life. This includes her approving or disapproving the men in her life. When Jessica begins dating someone that Cassie feels is a threat, Cassie decides it is time to meet him.

Jessica sets up a double date with her man, his cousin and Cassie. Come to find out that his cousin is Cassie’s boss who not only wants Cassie but has a dark secret to reveal.

This book was a surprise and a half. Before I begin to explain you have to understand that this is a parody.

I didn’t know this book was a parody at first. So I was taken back because the characters were so wrong (hahaha). Cassie is the smart good girl, that works at a bookstore,who is not as attractive as her sister (so she says). Jessica is the beautiful girl that goes after rich men.

The sisters are close; Jessica comes to Cassie for advice and Cassie voices her opinion and support. This was a breath of fresh air to have two sisters although totally different and it doesn’t feel like there is resentment between the two. Yeah, Cassie seems annoyed by her sister’s men but nothing makes me believe it is toward Jessica.

What makes this book funny is Cassie and the ridiculousness of her relationship with her boss. Yeah you got your steamy sex scenes but the writing just like Cassie and her boss are a bit immature and too hard to believe. The love is too at first sight, paranormal aspect of it is seriously completely out there you can’t help but laugh as you read it. The boss is a sap which is completely unexpected because he begins as the not too aggressive extremely sexy alpha male.

The author laid it on thick and made a point of laughing at the typical romantic paranormal novels.

Overall I loved this short story and it gets: 5 Pickles

Book Review: Troll’s Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Before I begin to speak about this collection of short stories, let me explain why I picked it up. I love fairy tales and I love twisted fairy tales; so when I saw the cover of this book I said “WOW! I have to read this; it looks like it can scare me.”  The cover is perfect for a twisted fairy tale or for any horror book.


With that being said I was disappointed with the book because there was nothing scary or even gross within any of the short stories. The authors range from Wendy Froud, Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, Jane Yolen and plenty more.

I am going to take the time to mention three stories. “Wizard’s Apprentice” written by Delia Sherman was the first story that had a lot of potential about an evil wizard, who wasn’t really evil at all. Mean? Yes, but not evil. The story was well written about a boy who runs away from an abusive uncle and end up at an evil wizard’s bookshop. But the story feels cut short, obviously it’s a short story, but it doesn’t need to feel that way.

Another story called “Rags and Riches” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman and this story was disappointing because it was done before. A princess takes her servant to go a new kingdom in which she is to marry the prince. The servant, when they are alone, forces the princess to swap clothing and horses, so she can pose as the princess and get all the riches and of course the prince.  This is the one story that I thought lacked originality.

Finally, my last short story spotlight wasn’t a story after all but a poem called “Faery Tales” by Wendy Froud. I wasn’t expecting a poem in a short story collection; a cute poem but in my eyes not suited for a supposedly twisted fairy tale.

This collection of short stories was a bit misleading due to the title. Although there were some good stories most just didn’t click. This book gets an

 5 out of 10.