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Mosaics: A Collection of Independent Women (Independent Women Anthology Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Nineteen authors (20 if you count the foreword) are published here... two that submitted poems, one essay, and a number of flash fiction-- genres varied... there was even some art attached to the opening of some stories. Most of the readings here are pretty short. About four stories were clearly humorous. A lot more were somewhere on the serious side and carried a literary quality and tone.
Overall, I was pleased at the selection and caliber of writing here. I'm especially happy to note that Volume 2 will be primarily different writers... that means plenty of new female authors to explore.
I totally enjoy all woman-centered themes, but as someone who didn't choose motherhood, I'd love to see other female-related themes as a key focus in future volumes. Also, a couple of readings were inspired by old folktales or legends or had references to such... this would be confusing for a reader not familiar with them. It would be helpful to make a footnote of such or what they mean to add clarity, understanding, and increase appreciation of such readings.
My personal reaction and ratings for each reading:
"The Wax Anatomist's Daughter" by Deborah Walker
About mothers and daughters and the inevitable destinies we share with our flesh and blood. An independent and career-focused single Scottish mother has the unique profession of creating anatomical wax models she sells primarily to medical institutions. 17 yr old daughter just wants a normal life of domestic bliss and rejects her mother's path. Nice theme and strangely fascinating profession, but didn't care much for the ending... rushed and resolved too easily. 3.5 stars
"The Girl Made of Glass" by Ari Harradine
More mothers and daughters. How we gravitate to outside female figures when we struggle with our own female figures at home and need that support to be free. Equally about the limitations and healthcare issues a woman is burdened with due to disease and ill-health. Set in England sometime in some conservative past, Attie is 17, struggles with her glass heart (as we are repeatedly reminded), and is tired of being told what she can't do. Befriending the neighborhood pariah redirects her future. Just okay... some unrealistic bits/ending. 3.0 stars
"Somaleze's Children" by Chelo Diaz-Ludden
Four interwoven flash fiction stories set in South Africa. While focusing on a mother and her two daughters, we see what father brings into the family dynamic and how each manages to cope. Not a huge fan of flash fiction, but I really liked what this author did here and I didn't feel short-changed by the short length. Touching, revealing, and well-done. I would read more from this author. 4.3 stars
"Happily Ever After in Twelve Stained Glass Panels" by Keyan Bowes
Different take on the Rumplestiltskin fairy tale. The king's dead and Queen Omyra's son has come of age and so she tells him the true story of what went down with that little imp... via artwork laid out on 12 stained glass panels. A woman has only so many negotiables. Interesting idea but executed a bit too dry for me. 3.0 stars
"Kaguya at Leisure" by Carol Cao
A poem based on the centuries-old Japanese folktake of Kaguya. Review the tale that inspired this poem (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) for a better understanding/appreciation, which is basically about a beautiful girl who comes from the moon and can't be won by suitors due to the impossible tasks they must complete. In this poem, a girl sees beyond the suitors and sadness in the legend for a more positive take on Kaguya's existence. 4.0 stars
"Book of Lilith" by P.K. Tyler
Engaging and entertaining story set in the Garden of Eden (and beyond) where we meet Adam's first wife (and sister) who defies her appointed place in the world. Well-written look at the biblical origins of inequality between men and women... naturally strong-willed, mouthy, and determined to have what Adam has, Lilith manages to piss everyone off and will have hell to pay. Mild sexual content. I'd have given it 5 stars if she'd of seduced Eve... 4.8 stars
"Adventures in Gaming" by Tonya Liburd
Very short nonfiction piece. Adult black female gamer with PTSD discusses rampant bad behavior while gaming in a male-centered universe: rape culture, misogyny, racism, homophobia... all of which adds up to a distorted sense of power and entitlement in today's youth. Eye-opening nastiness for the non-gamers out there. But nothing new about the anonymity of the Internet... or the youth. Plenty of sensitives roaming the wild west. Content is more interesting to me than the style/execution. 3.5 stars
"Pain Relief" by Julie Rea
In a wheelchair, paralyzed, and very much alone... a woman struggling with chronic and severe pain as the result of a spinal cord injury has a beastly time dealing with the additional burden of poverty, medication, helplessness, and the frustrating bureaucracy of the Social Security Office. Pretty bleak. Maybe too bleak. Maybe that was the point. 3.5 stars
"Open Space" by Kelsey Maki
Poignant mother-daughter story as well as moving commentary about how we treat the old. Enna is turning 80, has buried two husbands, and now lives in a retirement home where she feels neglected and exploited by her narcissistic daughter. A rare visit from her daughter ignites a lifetime of (selective?) memories and new convictions. Well-written and insightful portrayal of an elderly mother returning to the needs of her own youth, yet facing the harsh reality that your children don't always grow up to be good people but never quite seeing why. I would read more from this author. 5.0 stars.
"Star Girl and Captain Obvious Meet the Troll" by Kim Wells
Satiric flash fiction. This was weirdly amusing but a little silly for my tastes. I liked the ideas here. It's narrated by what sounds like a childish pre-teen who encounters a chain of oddities in a comic book shop. The sexual comments that came from her mouth just seemed a bit wrong lol. But since a bar scene comes up later, I guess she's older. Maybe it's my lack of interest in comics and superheroes... not that into it. Maybe it was too PG. I'd say pour on some real misogynistic terror and cray cray from the boy-world likes of "Adventures in Gaming" to inflate the contrasts. Would have been much more interesting and hilarious for me to watch this dopey-naive narrator navigate that harsh reality. 3.4 stars
"The Day the Wind Stopped Blowing" by Patty Somlo
A woman with a cheating man is pissed enough to affect the weather on this island... the silenced wind brings a new clarity to the natives and the connectedness of all things is in effect. Inevitably, people see what they wanna see. Odd ideas about the source and perception of a woman's power... probably better appreciated with a second reading. 3.7 stars
"Synergy/Contradictions" by Elizabeth S. Wolf
Two poems. My take is that it's about surviving in that place between extremes where contradiction reigns. Nonsensical cultural norms that show how the everywoman survives oppression and abuse. Pretty obscure and hard to understand, but I took a shot. ugh... poetry... 3.4 stars
"The Chinchorro Boy" by Sarina Dorie
Professor Margarita Castro is grieving heavily on the anniversary of her son's death. A late night at the museum where she works and one creepy mummy exhibit force her to process her grief a little differently this year. Sad yet compelling idea for a setting... I mean, it really is the perfect setting and exhibit to parallel the idea of grief over the dead... but not as creepy or atmospheric as I wanted it to be. Nice streak of humor for the somber topic. 3.8 stars
"The Last Automaton" by Jordanne Fuller
A female robot struggling to survive in a hostile world inadvertently provides the reader a tour of her physical make up and programming as she fuels up and does self-repairs. Lots of technical, action and sci-fi stuff... normally this isn't my thing at all. But this is very well-written and ultimately quite odd... final scenes just stuck in my head for days. I actually liked it, including the art. Might have liked it much more with less of the technical talk which dragged on a bit too long. I'd read more sci-fi from this author if she throws in a lesbian or two. 4.0 stars
"Femina Virtus" by Keira Michelle Telford
Naughty lesbian retelling of the Cinderella story set in Edwardian-era London (early 1900s). Here Cinderella prefers a buxom suffragette on the run to Prince Charming. Wicked, smutty and hilarious... the erotic tone is a loner in this collection, and still, it's a welcome and playful reprieve from the more serious, literary tone of so many of these stories. No graphic sex, but I say this still rates a content advisory warning. Realistic and engaging historical dialogue and setting. Might have loved it entirely if not for the preachy/contrived ending. Fun teaser for her novel Never Come to Rest (non-fairytale) where you'll find more of the same lesbian suffragette goodness. 4.0 stars
"Space Loses Its Allure When You've Lost Your Moon Cup" by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
Getting your period in space can be a pain, especially when you're suddenly short on supplies. Not a theme I'm wild about on earth and it wasn't any prettier in space... at least it was humorous and short. Just okay. 3.3 stars
"The Reluctant Flesheater" by Naomi Elster
A wife is banished to existence as a zombie when her husband gets involved with a black magic voodoo priest and his cult. She's more successful than him and it gives him an inferiority complex. Told from the point of view of the coherent zombie wife who plots her revenge... because strong women make strong zombies lol. Just okay. Needed more... humanity? I don't know that she was scary or sympathetic. She married an oaf. Just didn't move me. 3.0 stars
"The Living Wood" by Karen Heuler
Mayra is a village midwife and healer who investigates this bizarre dilemma of seven very young children who suddenly appear to be made of wood. Live, breathing wood children with heartbeats and such, no less. An old legend leads her on a journey to the mountains to solve this mystery... possibly at her own peril. Original and imaginative and very well-written. I loved it and thought the writing style was beautiful. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next! I'd read more from this author. 5.0 stars
"The Queen of Lakes" by L.S. Johnson
Strange and dark fantasy involving the each-uisge, a mythological/supernatural creature... a water horse, a shapeshifter. A dangerous creature in Scottish myths. Here we meet an imaginative girl with fairy tale dreams of action, romance, and adventure, but growing up means a hard reality for dreams when you're a female. When your life consists of choosing between a monster and a monstrous suitor... you realize fairy tales are a tad darker when you're grown up. What a creeper. Some sexual content and non-consent content. Review the mythology to better appreciate this story. 4.4 stars
I realize that everyone's tastes are different, and the stories that struck a chord with me may not with another person. That being said, my favorites were Book of Lilith by P.K. Tyler, Adventures in Gaming by Tonya Liburd, Star Girl and Captain Obvious Meet the Troll by Kim Wells, The Last Automaton by Jordanne Fuller, Space Loses Its Allure When You've Lost Your Moon Cup by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley, and The Queen of Lakes by L.S. Johnson. Some were VERY dark and others more light hearted, but all were well written and enjoyable.
Most recent customer reviews
I have plunged into this collection with great enthusiasm.Read more