Official Review: Holding Fire by Ten Awesome Writers!

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Kappy
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Official Review: Holding Fire by Ten Awesome Writers!

Post by Kappy » 27 Mar 2015, 17:50

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Holding Fire" by Ten Awesome Writers!.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Holding Fire: Short Stories of Self-Destruction (2015) is a 288-page collection of short stories whose theme is the self-destructiveness of vengeance and hate. Each of the book's ten stories is from a different author.

This anthology has earned 4 out of 4 stars. All these stories are compelling, and propel you swiftly from the beginning to the end. The plots are straightforward, but the tales are not simplistic. The authors have a well-founded confidence in their ability to relate interesting stories without resorting to unnecessary complications. Many of the tales include a substantial amount of introspective analysis of a character's thoughts, fears, motivations, etc. This allows a simple storyline to be the basis for an intriguing tale.

Holding Fire should appeal to a wide variety of readers; many of the stories feature individuals similar to people you know personally. The main characters typically are ordinary people who fall prey to their emotions, make a bad decision, and suffer the consequences. A girl despises her ex-boyfriend. A corporate manager steps over people to claw her way upwards. A teenage girl gets impregnated by a despicable charmer. A teenage boy's younger sister gets raped at a party. A boy bullied in high school seeks revenge, many years later. A woman's romantic advances are spurned. A writer is obsessed with becoming famous. A boy is beaten by his alcoholic father.

In addition to the main theme of the book, the authors examine a wide variety of other interesting issues: grief, trust, greed, suicide, forgiveness, lost faith, rape stigma, mental illness, child abuse, false accusations, personal responsibility, unwanted children, corporate espionage, murder versus justifiable homicide, justice versus revenge, and crimes of passion versus premeditated murder.

The subject matter of some of the stories could easily lead to gruesome descriptions, but the authors refrain from sensationalistic prose. Profanities are scarce, but they make the book unsuitable for some young readers. Grammatical errors typically are infrequent and minor; one tale, however, is in dire need of more editing.

The clearly defined theme of the book may lead you to expect predictable, formulaic stories. However, the authors possess substantial creativity, so there are no humdrum tales in this anthology. The stories generally feature a character whose unbridled hatred leads to his or her downfall, but there are plenty of twists and turns, so you can't easily foresee the endings. For example, one man meticulously plots his revenge, but eventually has a change of heart. Short stories sometimes leave you wondering what the point was, if any. That doesn't happen in this book.

******
Holding Fire
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Post by khudecek » 30 Mar 2015, 13:02

Fantastic review!
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by Kappy » 30 Mar 2015, 13:17

khudecek wrote:Fantastic review!
Thanks, khudecek! I much prefer novels over short stories, but I truly enjoyed this book.
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Post by khudecek » 30 Mar 2015, 13:26

I'm in the same boat. I read this book over the weekend and thought it was great. Did you have a favorite story?
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by gali » 30 Mar 2015, 13:28

Thank you for the lovely review. Sounds good. :)
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by bookowlie » 30 Mar 2015, 13:35

Great review! I love your phrase "no humdrum tales". :) I look forward to reading the book in advance of the May BOTM discussion.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing

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Post by Kappy » 30 Mar 2015, 20:13

Thanks, gali and bookowlie.
khudecek wrote: ... Did you have a favorite story?
"The Unsuspecting Nature of Grief" was my favorite because I found it to the most intriguing and compelling. It drew me in more than the others, leaving me baffled regarding what the story was leading to, and impatient to get to the ending. What was your favorite?
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Post by khudecek » 30 Mar 2015, 20:52

I liked that one, too but I think my favorite was "Burden of a Soldier". I liked the setting and the ending was a surprise. I wasn't sure what Thaddeus was going to do.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by ashley_claire » 31 Mar 2015, 08:12

Great review! I think it would be difficult to write a review of a book of short stories, but you did a nice job.

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Post by Kappy » 31 Mar 2015, 09:35

ashley_claire wrote:Great review! I think it would be difficult to write a review of a book of short stories, but you did a nice job.
Thanks! I was a little apprehensive about accepting the assignment, but I'm glad I did.
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Post by Lisalovecraft » 01 Apr 2015, 18:54

Lovely review! Sounds great! It's rare to find a collection of short stories that doesn't have at least one stinker! Sounds like an interesting read.

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Post by Kappy » 01 Apr 2015, 20:57

Lisalovecraft wrote:Lovely review! Sounds great! It's rare to find a collection of short stories that doesn't have at least one stinker! Sounds like an interesting read.
These stories are the winners of a contest, so there's a good chance you will like them all. But tastes vary, of course.
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Post by JessP25 » 02 Apr 2015, 12:33

Kappy wrote:Thanks, gali and bookowlie.
khudecek wrote: ... Did you have a favorite story?
"The Unsuspecting Nature of Grief" was my favorite because I found it to the most intriguing and compelling. It drew me in more than the others, leaving me baffled regarding what the story was leading to, and impatient to get to the ending. What was your favorite?
That's my story! Thank you so much for saying such nice things about it, it's great to have positive feedback! :D

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Post by Kappy » 02 Apr 2015, 17:32

JessP25 wrote:
Kappy wrote:"The Unsuspecting Nature of Grief" was my favorite ...
That's my story! Thank you so much for saying such nice things about it, it's great to have positive feedback! :D
You're welcome, Ms. Phillips! When you wrote that writing is as necessary to you as breathing, you made me think of Ray Bradbury.
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Post by bookowlie » 20 Apr 2015, 23:59

Kappy wrote:
Lisalovecraft wrote:Lovely review! Sounds great! It's rare to find a collection of short stories that doesn't have at least one stinker! Sounds like an interesting read.
These stories are the winners of a contest, so there's a good chance you will like them all. But tastes vary, of course.
I have read two of the stories so far and am really enjoying the book. I love the fact that these stories are contest winners. It's just a cool backstory about the book.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing

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