Little Birds/A Few Loose Ends Review

Since Anthony found Little Fiction, we’ve both been really interested in reading and reviewing a few pieces. So we did! Little Fiction is site that publishes short stories with dedicated covers the first Wednesday of every month, normally two stories at a time. Learn more about them on their About page.

Today we’re looking at “Little Birds” by Sarah Flynn and “A Few Loose Ends” by M.W. Fowler.

Little Birds by Sarah Flynn

Anthony: Little Birds by Sarah Flynn is a collection of three very short stories. All three are different and unique, but after reading all of them you can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some common thread that you’re missing. This book was my first exposure to Little Fiction and my initial thoughts on the whole thing were forgettable, but the stories stuck with me. A few days later I was still thinking about them and have since re-read the book several times. They’re beautiful in their simplicity, they don’t force you into a story, but rather give you the main points and let you draw your own world with them. I still am not entirely sure if I understand what Sarah wrote, but the beauty of her words, almost like poetry, are what stick with me. Little Birds is a wonderful introduction to a talented writer and an equally wonderful website. 

J.M.: I spent a large portion of reading “Little Birds” seeking out the underlying meaning.  I thought that there must be a connection, a lasting theme or thought that’s placed there for me to chew on. But to be honest, I didn’t find it. It was enjoyable writing with interesting details, style and deliberation, but unless the message is we’re all miserable and make it worse on ourselves, I missed it. And without a discernible theme, Sarah Flynn’s set of stories fall a little flat. I think they would have done better if they were completely separate, since as stand alone shorts, they’re wonderful.

A Few Loose Ends by M.W. Fowler

Anthony:  Loose Ends by M.W. Fowler is a fascinating story of a woman looking for love and ultimately being able to nearly choose her dream man. The stories I’ve read from Little Fiction have all been wonderfully creative and imaginative, something I feel most modern and popular novels lack, and Loose Ends fits in perfectly. Sometimes a little rough and unpolished in his story telling, M.W. Fowler takes us on a woman’s desperate and slightly creepy journey to find the man of her dreams. Reminiscent of the movie May, Fowler crafts a unique and intriguing story even though some parts seem awkwardly worded and others virtually unnecessary. The flaws in the story, few though they are, do not detract from a fun and interesting story worth reading. 

J.M.: I couldn’t stop reading “A Few Loose Ends” once I started. The desperate, almost frantic emotions of the  main character were impossible to look away from. I saw in this frazzled woman a little bit of each woman. The familiarity boxed in such a fantastic and in its own way, chilling story is an enjoyable read. The details seem realistic, as I think these are all the things woman in her state of mind would focus on and the style is entrancing. M.W. Fowler paints an interesting story with what could be a handful of underlying messages. But what I got from it? You can nitpick all you want. No one will ever be perfect and you’re going to have to work for it. Prick your finger a few…dozen times. 

Read the full stories on Little Fiction. What did you think?

-Anthony & J.M.

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Little Fiction Blurb by Anthony Angeline

In one of my boredom induced link clicking tours of the internet I stumbled across a site called Little Fiction. From the first moment I was struck by the style and beauty of the site. It was simple and easy to read. The emphasis was placed on the content of the stories they put out, not on generating traffic, ads, followers, or any of the normal things you’re told to do with websites.

Little Fiction publishes short stories in electronic format (.pdf) for free. They stories come from new and indie authors. They have simple and beautifully designed covers and the whole presentation is very professional. The first moment I stumbled onto this site I knew I had to read everything they had. So far I’ve only read a few but they’ve ranged from wonderfully imaginative to well crafted stories to brain cramp inducing confusion, but they’ve all been worth the time.

Go check them out and down load some readin’.

They have downloads for phone, tablet, computer, and compatible e-readers. Then, go tell the whole world about this wonderful site and the product they put out.

 

-Anthony

The (De)Evolution of a Reviewer by J.M. Blackman

Lately, I’ve been thinking about why I started reviewing books in the first place.

It was because I like books. Because I like to talk about the books I’ve read. And because I wanted to share that with other people. That’s still true today, which is why I initiated Operation Super Reviewers (I’m like a recently/equally bald Nick Fury, but a chick).

Today, while closing one eye, I glanced at the first review I ever wrote for my blog. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but boy, was it rigid. The plot was like this, the setting was like this, the characters were like this. I rated each segment, too. I graded it basically, which seemed cute since I’m a teacher, but now it really just seems to be…obnoxious.

I’ve drifted away from that format and wing it for the most part now, putting emphasis on the parts that stick and explaining what worked and what didn’t when I read it regardless of structure (unless that was a plus/subtraction from the book).

A few months ago I went for a more relaxed use of language in my reviews when I applied for a place on a review team and was denied due to the fact that my writing might confuse the readers considering the reviewers there already had a certain style and mine…was too collegiate.

I guess I get where that came from. I’m still in school, working on my graduate degree and I can’t really drastically change the way I write. It’s how I write anything—books, short-stories, flash-fiction. If I change that…well, I won’t really be the same writer.  Or reviewer. I don’t want to “dumb anything down.” I say what I mean and I say it plainly, if only with a bit of flourish.

I’m pretty sure that incident is what planted the thoughtworm of the Super Reviewers. And once it had burrowed in there, it wouldn’t leave. And once I knew I wanted a review team, I knew I wanted to do something different, too.

And the rest of it is a short, quickly outlined history on the first blog post on the site. 😉

-J.M.