Christine’s Review of Everblossom by Larissa Hinton

When I read the description of Everblossom by Larissa Hinton, a collection of poetry and short stories with “a dash of everything from dark fantasy to the paranormal to even romance”, I was definitely intrigued as I’m a sucker for short stories. Give me a Eudora Welty, Dawn Powell or O’ Henry Prize collection and I am a happy and content reader.  Poetry, however, is something I am still learning to love, although I have found I enjoy it most when it is read aloud by my favorite resident of Lake Wobegon. So I was interested to read the collection and see how I reacted to the poems in Everblossom as compared to the short stories.

The collection is divided into three parts: Seed, Bud, and Blossom. Each section included poems and stories relating to childhood and beginnings, adolescence and middles, and adulthood and ends. The concept is interesting—which also sums up my thoughts on the poems and stories. They are interesting, but fall short of what I enjoy and consider a good story.

I thought that many of the short stories had great potential, whether it was a tantalizing plot or unusual character. Unfortunately, they were either confusing or felt incomplete and too short. While I enjoy ambiguous endings and reading between the lines to piece together a complete plot, I don’t think that was the case with these stories. Several read like the beginning of an interesting story, and just as we were figuring out who these characters were and what this story is about, it’s over. As a reader, I felt as if the plot and characters were cut off mid-sentence rather than reading a full story that left me wanting more. One story was so short, it read like a few paragraphs lifted from a chapter of a book. In fact, I don’t think I can summarize the stories without giving away the entire beginning, middle, and end.

As for the poems, like I said earlier, I really like the idea and concept, but I thought many of them were a bit heavy-handed and didn’t think they quite fit in with the stories in the collection. I did enjoy the “WSV” (Words Speak Volumes) poems, which were composed of single word lines and reminded me of Radiohead’s “Fitter Happier“.

I did notice in the table of contents that over half of the stories contain characters from two of the author’s books, of which only one is available. However, that book was published after Everblossom was released, so I don’t think the author intended readers to have previous knowledge of the characters and world those stories are from to understand what exactly is going on in them.

Overall, I think this collection is full of interesting ideas and characters; I only wish they had been fleshed out more. As it is, I was left feeling unsatisfied as a reader.

2.5 out of 5 Stars

Everblossom by Larissa Hinton
Larissa Hinton (2011)
eBook: 61 pages
ISBN: 2940013099647

Special thanks to Ms. Hinton for my review copy!

The October Round Up!

I can’t believe it’s time to write yet another round up post.  October wasn’t super packed with stuff, so I got a lot of good reading time in.  The highlight of the month though was definitely heading to my favorite bookstore, R.J. Julia, and seeing Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis discuss their newest book Invisible Murder.  The book is the second in their Nina Borg chronicles, the first being The Boy in the Suitcase (which I reviewed here).  Hearing them discuss the research that went into the book, their travels through Hungary, and the tragic stories of what life is like in Hungary for gypsies was harrowing.  I’m excited that I have some background on the real life instances that parts of the book are based on.  It’ll only add that much more to my reading of it.

Me and two of my best friends Kate & Ashley!

We also participated in our second read-a-thon of the year!  Todd and I made it through an hour longer than our first read-a-thon and completed more books as well. We considered it a success and are already looking forward to the next one in the spring.

Besides the read-a-thon our month was spent celebrating our birthdays and Halloween!  Our birthday celebration consisted of Todd, me, and 12 of our friends hitting up downtown New Haven for pizza and beers.  Following dinner we took the group saki bombing!  Those unfamiliar with the term – you take a glass and fill it about halfway with beer (preferably Japanese beer) and then balance a shot of hot saki on top.  You bang the table, let the shot drop in the beer, and then chug down the rest. (Sounds gross but is actually really delicious!)  It was a fabulous celebration and I can’t wait till next year!

Our Halloween party was as always a ton of fun.  Todd’s home-brewed pumpkin beer was a huge smash. (Such a smash all 5 gallons was drunk in one night!)  Everyone went all out on their costumes this year! (Todd and I were newsies) I’m already anticipating how we’re all going to top ourselves next year.

October was a fantastic reading month!  I met my second reading goal of the year of 160 books and have decided to up the goal to 200 books by year-end.  As of today I’m at 176, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can make it through 24 more before year-end.  I completed 19 books in October with my favorite being The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley (my review is here).  Great great great book.  I really hope y’all will add it to your to-read piles.

The staff has been diligently working on getting through a whole slew of books this month. Adam’s been reading the historical fiction novel Deal With The Devil Part II and recently posted his review for it.  His next review is for a young adult mythology book, Pantheons.  Todd’s been reading a new thriller novel Targets of Deception and the fiction novel Believe Like A Child.  Christine’s been reading a short story/poetry anthology called Everblossom.  Jess is reading the memoir Taking Flak, while Charlie’s been working on a review of the film The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I do also want to inform all of you about the addition of another staff blogger for the Reflections team, Sam!  Sam’s been working on a young adult dystopian thriller, The Tube Riders.  You can find out more about Sam and her reading tastes on The Staff page!

Let us know what you read last month and what books we should be adding to our to-read piles! As always, happy reading!