These are Short Story Collections I have read, loved and recommend

In alphabetical Order

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I am reading. 

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Bird Wing - Dreena Collins

"The night you left us, I stayed awake until the sky woke up. The light through the curtains was a fresh bruise, stirring from black, to blue, to grey..."

From the author of 'The Blue Hour' and 'The Day I Nearly Drowned', 'Bird Wing (and other stories)' is a powerful flash fiction collection exploring love, loss - and revenge.

A young woman struggles to read; an elderly man stares at the sky and contemplates loss; a niece plots murder on the bus. Often tender, sometimes uplifting, always relatable - these tales explore the emotions and challenges that ordinary people strive to overcome.

Bird Wing contains stories shortlisted and long-listed in competitions including Flash 500 and Fish Publications.

My Review

I love a bit of flash fiction. So much can be said in such a small number of words and Dreena Collins makes every word count. The short story writer’s mantra “Get in, share, get out” applies here. The briefest glimpse tells us so much about the characters and their lives, you feel you know more than is being shared in the visit to their lives. Flash fiction requires a skill it is clear Dreena Collins has mastered.

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Collected - Dreena Collins

"Dreena Collins simply paints with language" - Simon Gary, author

This omnibus edition, Collected, brings together the complete stories from the first three volumes by Dreena Collins, and features additional, bonus material.

Listed in Mslexia; The Bridport Prize; Eyelands International, Fish Publications, Flash 500, Furious Fiction and Retreat West competitions, Dreena Collins lives in Jersey, Channel Islands.

The Blue Hour: a collection filled with lost voices and authentic characters waiting to be heard.

The Day I Nearly Drowned: an exploration of the challenges faced by ordinary people, at pivotal moments in their lives. A father is reunited with his daughter; a woman attends a funeral; a child almost drowns.

And Bird Wing: a powerful flash fiction collection exploring love, loss - and revenge.

Collected: Short Stories for the modern world.

My Review

The Blue Hour, The Day I Nearly Drowned, Bird Wing and a little bit more are contained within this volume. It illustrates the authors gift for short stories and flash fiction all in one place.

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Dragon Gift - Cheryl Burman

Lille herself avoided mirrors. They startled her with their frankness: her white froth skin, her too green eyes, sea thrift lips, and hair which shifted and tumbled like the yellow dunes.’
(Runner up in Graffiti Magazine 25th anniversary short story competition 2020)

'Provisioned with nectar of orange cordial, and slices of the softest bread filled with white and gold fragments of egg and carried in elf-made baskets of satiny tupperware, hunger could not call us away for hours at a time.’
(Winner of the Ottery St Mary adult section writing competition 2020)

Cheryl Burman is an award winning writer of short stories, flash fiction and novels. Here she has gathered a collection with fairytale, myth or fairytale-like themes of varying length and gravity. A short read.

My Review

A collection of past and future award winning short stories from one of my favourite authors (it's a short list). Cheryl Burman is indeed a master storyteller, painting images that transport you into the worlds that exist in her fertile imagination.


This is a varied collection with a mix of serious stories which tug at your emotions and light hearted ones. Some have familiar characters but all are presented in the authors unique fashion. If you are a writer you can learn a lot from Cheryl Burman. If you are a reader, just sit back and relax and let her do what she does best - tell you a story - in this case 10. Consider yourself thoroughly spoilt.

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She Had Met Liars Before - Dreena Collins

“You are safe here, you know. I mean, it’s our job to look after you.” It’s an awkward speech, clumsily delivered, and I appreciate the intent. But I have always hated lies.

Six stories of strength and survival. This new collection by Dreena Collins continues an exploration of the challenges faced by ordinary people, at pivotal moments in their lives.

Praise for Dreena Collins:

"That Collins is a highly skilled writer is not in doubt. She is a master of the short story format."Simon Gary, author.

"Dreena creates strong images with her writing, often focusing on the little details. I felt more like a fly on the wall, a fly that has somehow found its way into the house to spy on people’s private and intimate lives…" Georgie Bull, blogger.

Listed and placed in numerous writing competitions, including Mslexia; Bridport Prize; Fish Publications; Flash500 and Retreat West competitions, Dreena Collins lives in Jersey, Channel Islands. Her flash fiction collection, Bird Wing, was an SPR Book Awards finalist in 2020.

My Review

Dreena Collins is an award-winning short story writer and it is not hard to see why. It takes skill to convey a full story in a limited word count. The brevity is only in words not in quality.

6 stories. 6 looks at life. Short but not necessarily sweet. Take time to read the facts at the end too. 6 is lovely number for a collection but you will return to see what else she has to offer. As they say “leave them wanting more” and she does.

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Taste - Dreena Collins

“No one had ever taught Geraldine to read and write. They thought that because it was hard for her, that she wouldn’t want to. Or couldn’t.

 

But hard doesn’t mean impossible.

 

And sometimes things that are difficult are good.”
 

From the author of The Blue Hour, The Day I Nearly Drowned, and Bird Wing, comes a collection of six short stories to give you a bite-sized taste of her work - readers' favourites from earlier collections.

 

A young girl struggles to read; an elderly man has an unexpected dinner guest; a woman counts the reasons why her lover should stay... These tales explore the emotions and challenges that ordinary people strive to overcome in the modern world.


 

Praise for Dreena Collins

 

"Beautifully written – filled with descriptive, sensory text.’ AWC, Furious Fiction.

‘I find it remarkable that some people have the skill to write like this.’ Rose Brookins, author.

‘That Collins is a highly skilled writer is not in doubt. She is a master of the short story format.’ Simon Gary, author.

‘I believe that her style is one that will serve as a model to others. She is a gifted writer, with a unique style of character presentation.’ Amanda Snook, copywriter.

‘Dreena creates strong images with her writing, often focusing on the little details. I felt more like a fly on the wall, has somehow found its way in, to spy on people’s private and intimate lives…’ Georgie Bull, blogger.

'Collins is able to make ordinary struggles emotionally poignant and powerful, reminding us that we all go through more than we think.' MadHatter Reviews

'A richly intimate and heartfelt assortment of short stories from an insightful and talented writer.' - Gregory Williams, author.

My Review

This is labelled six of the best. Having read the collections they are taken from I would have found it very hard to choose just 6. I think from this book I am going for the 91 and a half reasons why it can’t be true. It speaks to me of holding on to every little meaningful moment of being aware yet unaware of the temporary nature of life. The recall of evidence, the sense of unbelief, it comes across so well in such a short piece. Dreena Collins is one of my favourite short story writers – read this and you will know why.

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The Blue Hour - Dreena Collins

“Powerfully observed stories, exquisitely tense, beautifully poised, and deliciously deceptive.” Julie Brominicks, landscape writer.

By turns poignant, moving and humorous, this is a short story collection with unexpected twists and turns, crafted in beautifully bite-sized tales.

Mysterious children, desperate parents, and lonely adults: The Blue Hour is a collection filled with lost voices and authentic characters waiting to be heard.

An exhausted husband considers his options; an elderly man has an unexpected dinner guest; a silent little girl holds many secrets... these stories are filled with unlikely heroes and insightful observations on everyday life.

My Review

Dreena Collins does not shy away from the emotional side of life. Her characters do not always act in the best way possible but each one is presented sympathetically from a place of understanding. The unexpected twists keep you guessing. This collection is a small illustration of the author’s range. I was happy to see that there is more to come.

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The Day I Nearly Drowned - Dreena Collins

"The day I nearly drowned, I was wearing a new swimming costume. Mum had always given me plain, navy, one-piece suits: sometimes second-hand, I realised now – their thin, elastic threads poking through the sheen of the fabric in barbs...".

The second collection in The Blue Hour series, The Day I Nearly Drowned continues an exploration of the challenges faced by ordinary people, at pivotal moments in their lives. A father is reunited with his daughter; a woman attends a funeral; a child almost drowns.

Dreena Collins again brings us characters that will resonate - in tales full of twists, humour and emotion.

"I find it remarkable that some people have the skill to write like this, to let the reader in just enough to make us care and make us wonder and want to know more." Rose Brookins, author.

"That Collins is a highly skilled writer is not in doubt. She is a master of the short story format."Simon Gary, author.

"Dreena creates strong images with her writing, often focusing on the little details. I felt more like a fly on the wall, a fly that has somehow found its way into the house to spy on people’s private and intimate lives…" Georgie Bull, blogger.

Listed in Mslexia; Bridport Prize; Wells Festival of Literature; Eyelands International, Fish Publications, Flash500 and Retreat West competitions, Dreena Collins lives in Jersey, Channel Islands.

My Review

This second collection from the talented short story writer looks at life from a different perspective. It illustrates that life is not simple, it’s messy and complicated. Jessica was nice stood out for me perhaps because I have wondered about the subject. Dreena Collins gets inside her characters and coaxes their thoughts and feelings out sharing them with us allowing us to identify with them as if they were stood in front of us. Relatable fiction told by a talented author.

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The Stars Will Guide Us Back - Rue Sparks

The special ability of a jellyfish may be one man’s only hope to save his husband.

 

In a world where the gods have returned, their only folly was not expecting humanity to fight back.

 

When trauma disconnects someone's soul from their body, one person has the ability to reunite them.

 

A family gift of reading the spirits in flames has taken everything from her, but can it give her everything she needs?

 

In The Stars Will Guide Us Back, thirteen short stories encapsulating the elements of speculative fiction and magical realism travel the themes of mental health, loss, mortality, self-confidence, and finding hope through difficult circumstances. Explore the immersive worlds within, along with a range of peculiar, distinct, and queer characters.

 

Sometimes confidence comes from knowing we have no other choice, and the ones who rescue us come from the strangest places. Dark and light collide in this collection that highlights the liminal spaces of the human experience.

My Review

I invite you on a journey to places you have never been and maybe wouldn't choose to go. Leave behind improbability and rational thought and let yourself play. Just accept things as they are presented and have faith.

Rue Sparks takes us to 13 places I have never been before. I didn't even know what speculative fiction was never mind read any. Magical realism is a recent discovery. This book has Rue Spark's name on it so I went for the "if you haven't read the genre but you have read the author" approach. This doesn't mean I can explain speculative fiction but given that this book deals with things that would be firmly in the I can't explain category I guess that fits. As writers we are taught to ask "what if?" and Rue certainly has done that. This book is amazing and inspiring.

We are firmly in Rue's safe hands. Remember The Stars Will Guide Us Back.