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review 2015-09-30 23:48
Black Dog Short Stories by Rachel Neumeier
Black Dog Short Stories - Rachel Neumeier

I’m not going to begin with my usual “I don’t like short stories because reasons” disclaimer, because I really don’t think I applies here

 

This is an excellent short book with three separate stories in it. They’re all very compact, relatively simple stories but, above all to me, every last one of them is really useful and even necessary to the broader plot.

 

The first story, Christmas Shopping, addresses one of my underlying concerns of the story – the relationship between Keziah and Natividad. These two are the most prominent by far (and, to a degree, the only appreciable) female characters in the series – it is a very male dominated series, especially in major roles even if Natividad is usually the protagonist. Few prominent female characters and those female characters hating each other with the fiery passion of a thousand exploding suns is, alas, a powerful trope

 

So this story of Keziah and Natividad spending time together is an excellent story. They don’t like each other a great deal, certainly – but this is a rift brought about form vastly different experiences, tastes and lives. Them being together in this story both excellently showcases this while, at the same time, having them build more and more connections, more understanding and approaching, if not friendship, then perhaps mutual respect. It’s all nicely capped with something Keziah taunted Natividad about becoming a joke between them

 

It also comes with a nice bit of world building shouting back to the major war that defines this series. In all, an excellent story – though I do have a discomfort with how very awed Natividad is of towns and cities. Sometimes her POV gives the impression that Mexico has no great cities and isn’t very sophisticated.

 

The second Story, Library Work, also brings some really necessary elements to the series. In this case we get to see a lot more of Miguel, Natividad’s human twin brother who is often out on a limb in the world dominated by Black Dogs and magical Pure and vampires. This book helped emphasise his strength – he’s smart, he’s cunning, he’s patient and he is excellently skilled in not only navigating around the dangerous Black Dogs and their uncertain tempers – but also in outright manipulating them for his own well being.

 

 

On top of this we have the greater development of Cassie, cambiador, cursed human shifter who, again, is primarily empowered by her intelligence. She and Miguel work extremely well together in their cunning, setting themselves up as a very formidable couple who I really want to see more of. It also set them up as a potential romantic couple which is also excellently defined as much or more by respect of their intelligence than it is by physical attraction.

 

A Learning Experience brought some attention to Thaddeus and his history as well as, though she didn’t play a huge role, the importance of his wife DeAnn. This is important because they are the only Black characters in the series but also bring some very important lenses to the series by being the only Black Dogs with no connection to the Dimilioc. He gives us an excellent insight both into how Black Dogs outside the Dimilioc manage – but also how the Dimilioc appears and has developed from an outsider’s view.

 

 

Read More

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2015/09/black-dog-short-series-by-rachel.html
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review 2015-06-22 16:21
Mexican Mutts, Tequila Pups & Chili Dogs- David Gordon Burke

    This is a very engaging mix of short doggy stories from one of dogs' very best friends, David Gordon Burke. Most of these short stories lean towards the sad and tragic with some nice yappy endings. However, Burke's raison d'être is exactly that dogs are being mistreated, in Mexico in these cases, and we humans need to do a lot about it. The problem may be acute in Mexico though hopefully improving, but that is certainly not the case in all corners of the world.
    Burke makes very good use of newspaper reports between his conventional short stories, which greatly add to the ambient feel of seriousness behind his reflections. All the stories are based on general truths from real incidents, though some have been lightly fictionalised to make them more engaging and rounded.
    The stories are well written, though the version I read had a few very inconsequential typos. There is always danger in not mentioning this, as grammar fiends seem to so enjoy destroying great writing, like this, on such thin pretences and especially if they feel 'conned' into buying.
    As one of those people that actually prefers the average dog to the average human, I am bound to empathise deeply with this book, however, I feel even strange folks such as cat lovers and rodent fanciers will find plenty here to grab their attentions, stories drawn from the street-life of Mexico.

AMAZON LINK

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url 2015-06-17 21:11
A Home for Abigail by S. Marriott Cook

Alone and abandoned on a deserted street, a dog tries her best to tell people she needs help.When she has almost given up—a kind lady stops . . . .

 

Join Abigail on her journey as she becomes a beloved family member in a forever home.

Based on a true story, A Home for Abigail is a book to be enjoyed by pet lovers of all ages.

 

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review 2015-04-27 16:42
bysinginglight.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/recent-reading-series-extravaganza
Black Dog Short Stories - Rachel Neumeier

Black Dog was absolutely a favorite book of mine and I was very pleased to find out that Rachel Neumeier was releasing these short stories. They’re essentially little character sketches set after the events of Black Dog (except for one). While you probably could skip them, why would you? The stories do a lovely of job of filling in the characters and dynamics.

Source: bysinginglight.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/recent-reading-series-extravaganza
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review 2015-02-26 00:00
The Under Dog and Other Stories
The Under Dog and Other Stories - Agatha Christie THE UNDER DOG, BY AGATHA CHRISTIE (Short stories featuring Hercule Poirot)

I have read, I believe, all of Dame Agatha's books featuring Hercule Poirot; they used to be a big favorite of mine when I was 8-9 years old. I haven't read many of the short stories, though, so I thought this would be interesting.

I think the best way to review short story collections is to talk a little bit about each short story separately and (hopefully) briefly. I won't do that with this one, though; they were all very similar and my interest in them was different from what I usually have when reading, so I'll review the collection as a whole. And I'll skip the synopsis.

Overall enjoyment: Mmmmmm... well. It satisfied my nostalgic tendencies. Also, there is a certain naivité about her writing that I find very sweet and pleasant. So, yeah, I liked it.

Plot: Her plots are, usually, very naive. Also, she has a tendency to cheat: she purposefully withholds information from the reader to avoid giving the mystery away.

Characters: She tends to stereotype a lot. A lot. Which is a bit ironic, considering most of the solutions to her cases would have been obvious if you ignored stereotypes. Then again, maybe that's the whole point.

World/setting: The stories in this book happen, mostly, in (I guess it would be) rural England; usually creating isolated environments where the number of suspects is limited. She does love the closed-room mystery, doesn't she?

Writing style: That is my favorite part, she has a very distinctive voice, just a tiny bit sarcastic and very posh. Except for the first one, all of the stories in this collection also feature Captain Hastings, Poirot's friend who would be something like John Watson to him. The Hastings stories are all in first person, and I especially like to see the difference in the writing.

Representation: Nonexistent. But then, I suppose that's to be expected. Different times and all that.

Political correctness: Again, different times. There's lots of sexism, racism, and any other -ism you would care to mention. She's very much a snob. But I don't think anyone would read her books expecting equality, would they?

Although I did enjoy reading this book, I think, now, Poirot's stories would be better appreciated by children. I don't think I would have liked it at all if I had been introduced to the character as an adult. Maybe the stories are just too naive by now.

Up next: The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen
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