Book Review: Of Mice and Fairies by A.R. Geiger


Some of you may remember that a while back I posted a mini-review of A.R. Geiger’s Birdwoman, a collection of short stories. Well, Of Mice and Fairies is a second collection–very different from the first!–of short stories put out by Geiger, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Of Mice and Fairies is a collection of inter-connected stories in which a very endearing and old-fashioned kind of narrator tells us of the adventures of her woodland friends — mice, fairies, gnomes, and the like. It’s a short, delightful read – really! I sort of laugh at myself for typing “delightful” but it’s the best word for it. The stories are fanciful and fun and contain little, not-overbearing moral lessons. It’s very light reading and was perfect for my grouchy, I’m-mad-about-being-on-bedrest mood that pervaded the last couple of days (yesterday especially). Its style is old-fashioned and charming, and I’m thinking about reading it aloud to my kids (my oldest LOVES fairies – we just had a fairy-themed 7th birthday party for her). I love that peppered in through the stories are also profound truths such as, “Lumpkin is an adventurer at heart. And an adventurer is never quite happy at home for too long (Kindle Location 479).”

I read the whole thing with a smile on my face — both for the adventures of Lumpkin, Belinda, and associates and for the beautiful way Geiger describes the scenery, giving life to such things as shadows as they dance and hide among the grasses. I should also note that I loved the illustrations! There are beautiful, black-and-white drawings throughout the stories done by Geiger’s sister, E. Noel. I couldn’t help but think that they’d make a really fun adult coloring book!

Geiger’s biography at the end says she’s working on her debut novel – I’m eagerly looking forward to it, because through these two very different collections of stories I can clearly see her talent for writing and I’m eager to read what she comes out with next!

Four stars!

Book Reviews: “The Birdwoman” and “Evocation”

I don’t usually read short stories, though not really for any particular reason, but the two collections I’m reviewing here today make me wonder whether I should more actively seek them out. When I was brand new to Twitter a few short months ago I went on a book-accumulating spree (translation: I followed lots of authors, and every time an author advertised a book as free to download from Amazon I clicked the link and downloaded the book), and these are two of the books I happened to “buy for free,” as Amazon puts it. In any case, they are both worth actually buying.

The Birdwoman: . . . and other short stories

The Birdwoman and Other Short Stories by A.R. Geiger

This collection of stories is phenomenal. I was captivated from the very beginning, commenting on my Kindle after the first story, Stowaway, “I want more!” The stories are truly short–several pages, on average–but they pack in a lot of action and emotion. I found myself stopping to make comments on my Kindle like, “raw, reflective and thoughtful;” “beautiful and painful;” and “powerful imagery.” Geiger doesn’t shy away from heavy topics, exploring issues such as mental illness and slavery, from many different viewpoints. Her characters include: a twelve-year-old orphan boy; a hospitalized mentally-ill woman; an African boat captain fighting the slavers kidnapping his people; a young child; and a widowed mother, among others.

Geiger’s ability to write convincingly from many varied viewpoints is a true testament to her talent for storytelling. I recently read a review of a short story collection over at Bibliobeth where the reviewer describes short story collections as typically having peaks and troughs, with some stories better than others – not in this case: Geiger’s work is all peaks.

Five stars!

Evocation: The First AI Stories Collection

Evocation: The First AI Stories Collection by Sergio Flores

So not only do I not usually read short stories, but I also don’t often read science fiction. That said, I’m glad I picked this up. As the title suggests, this is a collection of short stories centered on artificial intelligence. The stories are interesting and thought-provoking, opening my eyes to the importance of the issue. I feel like since reading the book I’ve been seeing references to AI all over the place–there’s even a new show on Nickelodeon about a teenager who’s actually an android which I watched while babysitting a friend’s kids–and I’ve started to pay a little more attention.

In reading the stories I was impressed by the author’s ability to write so that someone like me–technologically-challenged–could understand them. I liked how some of the stories share similar settings and seem to follow on from one another as if they are all part of a larger story. What I gained from the book is an overall sense of the power and danger of AI if not properly managed…or, even scarier, that perhaps it can’t be managed at all. If you like books that make you think (like I do), then it’s definitely worth a read, even if it’s not your normal thing!

4 stars!