Category Archives: Short Story

Before Your Memory Fades by Toshikazu Kawaguchi -a review

before your memory fadesBefore Your Memory Fades by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

The third novel in the international bestselling Before the Coffee Gets Cold series, following four new customers in a cafe where customers can travel back in time.

In northern Japan, overlooking the spectacular view Hakodate Port has to offer, Cafe Donna Donna has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

From the author of Before the Coffee Gets Cold and Tales from the Cafe comes another story of four new customers, each of whom is hoping to take advantage of the cafe’s time-travelling offer. Among some familiar faces from Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s previous novels, readers will also be introduced to:

A daughter who couldn’t say ‘You’re an idiot.’
A comedian who couldn’t ask ‘Are you happy?’
A younger sister who couldn’t say ‘Sorry.’
A young man who couldn’t say ‘I like you.

Published 30 August 2022  |  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

Right now, in front of you in a room that only one person can enter. If you enter it, you will be saved from the end of the world.

If the world were to end tomorrow, which action would you take?

  1. You enter the room.
  2. You don’t enter the room.

I absolutely adore this series of interconnected short stories. Admittedly, the rules around time travel in this book sound absolutely ridiculous and this is acknowledged in the book too. However, it is what it is and you can take it or lump it. Basically, you cannot move from that spot, you have a very short & limited time, and you cannot change the past/future whatever you do/say. So, what’s the point? Well, there is a point as it is illustrated by each story and I will leave you to read them for yourselves 😉

In this third book of the series, the setting changed in location. It is still a cafe owned by a Tokita BUT it is not in Tokyo!! However, we still have most of the staff from earlier books with some new additions. I do recommend that you read them in order as the lives of these people change chronologically in each story. However, each story is really more about the people to took the chance to travel in time. These stories are about their lives and struggles and how/why they made the decision to travel in time despite not being able to effect actual change.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a series I’d truly highly recommend even if time travel isn’t your cup of tea coffee. The writing is gracefully poetic and that’s the English translation! This book really made me wish that I can read it in Japanese; it must be 10x more wonderful in its original language. I am a bit of a cry baby so I did pour out buckets of tears as each story unfailingly squeezed my heart and my tear ducts. They are stories of love, hurt, friendship, death, hopelessness, betrayal, and over all that, hope and life itself. Please do yourself a favour and read them.

My thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for gifting me a copy of this book. Thoughts are mine own.

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads

Review: Meet Me at the Intersection

Meet Me at the Intersection edited by Rebecca Lim & Ambelin Kwaymullina

Meet Me at the Intersection is an anthology of short fiction, memoir and poetry by authors who are First Nations, People of Colour, LGBTIQA+ or living with disability. The focus of the anthology is on Australian life as seen through each author’s unique, and seldom heard, perspective.

With works by Ellen van Neerven, Graham Akhurst, Kyle Lynch, Ezekiel Kwaymullina, Olivia Muscat, Mimi Lee, Jessica Walton, Kelly Gardiner, Rafeif Ismail, Yvette Walker, Amra Pajalic, Melanie Rodriga, Omar Sakr, Wendy Chen, Jordi Kerr, Rebecca Lim, Michelle Aung Thin and Alice Pung, this anthology is designed to challenge the dominant, homogenous story of privilege and power that rarely admits ‘outsider’ voices.

Published September 2018 |  Publisher: Fremantle Press  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I’m so excited to see a book, an anthology, dedicated to #ownvoices ! Finally, something for everyone (or almost). Editors did a fine job in collating stories of representation from a cross-section of those who are different, unique; of voices whom we rarely hear.

There are a couple of poetry which I struggled with… I don’t know how to read poetry! Although what really helps is the blurb at the beginning of each chapter describing who the authors are and sometimes, what their pieces are about. Each one of these authors are amazing humans!

Of course, I am absolutely partial to the Asian stories / authors as I understood them better from the cultural perspective. However, this did not diminish my enjoyment of the other stories (except for poetry as I mentioned above) for each of these stories help me to better understand their side of the story. I mean why else do we read but to open our minds to others and in listening to them, be better able to love as they deserve to be loved. I highly recommend this anthology for all who seek to understand.

Thanks to Fremantle Press for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

Rebecca Lim is a writer, illustrator and lawyer based in Melbourne. Rebecca is the author of eighteen books, and has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award, Aurealis Award and Davitt Award for YA. Rebecca’s work has also been longlisted for the Gold Inky Award and the David Gemmell Legend Award. Her novels have been translated into German, French, Turkish, Portuguese and Polish.

Find Rebecca on:  goodreads

Ambelin Kwaymullina is an Aboriginal writer and illustrator who comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. She is the author and illustrator of a number of award-winning picture books as well as a YA dystopian series. Her books have been published in the United States, South Korea and China. Ambelin is a prolific commentator on diversity in children’s literature and a law academic at the University of Western Australia.

Find Ambelin on:  goodreads

Review: Fable

Fable Image 2

Ashenputtel ~illustration by Ricardo Jorge

Fable by various authors
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: complete digital copy courtesy of publisher

When I was first approached for a review for this collection of stories, I’ve not heard of The Pigeonhole previously.  It’s an interesting concept of serialised books accompanied with rich illustrations and the capability to discuss, with readers and authors, one’s thoughts on margins.  A stave is released per week so you’d have something to look forward to, in the week; just like looking forward on receiving that shiny new mags.  I couldn’t say no since Kate Forsyth, one of my favourite authors, was contributing to this particular book.

This collection of short stories (or fables) are divided into 8 staves.  The first stave contained 2 classics: Ashenputtel by Brothers Grimm (better known these days as Cinderella) and The LIttle Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson.  Both are very well known stories featuring intelligent and courageous girls with a happy and an unhappy ending each.  And so, the tone of the book is set… all stories featured bright, resourceful girls each unique with their own real struggles of life (whether it be identity, love, equality, justice, etc.) and some emerged victorious.

‘I fear you not, I shall hold fast,’ she said.  ‘You are my one true love and I shall not leg you go.’ ~Heart of Flesh, Heart of Stone: a Retelling of ‘The Ballad of Tam Lin’ by Kate Forsyth

Fable Image

The Farmer and the Badger ~illustration by Ricardo Jorge

Typically, fables are short in length but clear in its message, utilising mythical beings or nature to illustrate their meanings.  The stories in these collections (the old, the new, the new but old stories) have set forward life lessons but have also incorporate some modern (even recent) issues.  These are stories that will never age… no matter how old you are, which century you live in, there are lessons to be learnt.

Whilst I’m familiar with Kate Forsyth’s works (many fantasy novels and a few fairy tale retellings), I don’t know any of the other authors.  I loved Forsyth’s wonderful characters here (was a little sad that the stories were short!) but was gratified with the array of talent in the proceeding staves.  I’m looking forward to getting to know these new authors better.  Do check out these stories, there are so many things to be dissected and discussed!

Thanks to The Pigeonhole for copy of book in exchange of honest review

Review: Scorched: A Leila Marx World Novella

scorchedScorched: A Leila Marx World Novella by Amber Garr
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of author

Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting into here. When the eARC was offered, my thought was that I could do with an Amber Garr’s short story. So, I’ve put my hand up for a copy.

When you read a prequel to a series, you would usually already have a vested interest in the character. However, as I haven’t read the Leila Marx novel, Touching Evil, I feel a lot of it is missing and my rating, therefore, is lacking the ‘squeee’ factor.

I enjoyed this sneak peek into the world of Leila Marx by reading about Conner’s background and how he came to be what he is now. It is a novella so there really wasn’t much of a plot especially since it had a lot of time jumps and the characters weren’t that well developed though I wonder if these characters are in the novel and so, again, am I just missing out on certain essential info?

Overall, it’s an interesting teaser and I have added Touching Evil onto my TBR. Conner, however, seems to be quite a different character in there though he sounds a lot yummier! -definitely better groomed than I imagined him to be in this novella. I am looking forward to get to know him better 😉

Thanks, Amber for preview of the eARC

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Review: The Legacy

legacyThe Legacy by Patricia Kiyono

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Source: courtesy of Astraea Press via their Facebook Book Club group.

This is a case of over expectation letting you down. I expected full novel length story with a paranormal twist but instead it is a contemporary short story. I fully confessed that this is one of those times that I didn’t research the book and had let my imagination fill in the blanks based on cover, title, and vague recollection of blurb.

I am not a fan of short stories to begin with as I just find that they usually do not satisfy me. I think short story is a hard medium as with word limitation, you’d need to be able to tell the story succinctly but with enough zest to entertain. I found that there was too many things being fit into
The Legacy so the story really barely scratch the surface. Too many things were happening that I didn’t have time to relate or get attached to any characters. I found Andy to be a little confusing as he does weights and Leigh walked into ‘a wall of muscle’ [Andy] but yet, he couldn’t get a punch in? The story around the actual ‘Legacy’ has promise and is probably a good premise for a full length novel but I was a bit short and the ending was also a bit simplistic.

This is a simple story which you may like to read during a boring lunch time as it will help you while a way the time. For me, the disappointment mostly stemmed from incorrect expectation but as long as you know what you’re getting into, you may find the story to be tolerable and somewhat sweet.

Thank you, Astraea Press, for providing copy of story in exchange of honest review.

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