The Smell of Magic and Other Stories

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  1. Bear's Magic and Other Stories: Carla Stevens, Robert J. Lee: Books
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  4. Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories

Maybe there is some really gorgeous metaphor that I completely missed? I did like the creepy aesthetic! I mean, this is a story about a Taxidermist who is very questionable, but something just made it so that I never connected. Seeing these two women, everything they went through, everything they were forced through. Seeing the father, only get the pieces that he was given.

Seeing that a woman can be everything, absolutely everything, but still have people try to make them feel like nothing. I felt like I was in this village, or on this ship, and experiencing the magic. This was so beautifully told, expertly crafted, and completely immerseful.

I know I said this above, but I felt like maybe this was a little too speculative for my personal tastes, and maybe I missed a few key tie ins, but I still loved the adventure of this story coming together. But, for me, this story was about being a woman, being a mother, being a daughter, being lonely, being free, and what each of these things mean in retrospect to the others.

I think this was expertly crafted. I just feel like this one was too over the top. I kept finding myself skimming and having to reread passages. But I do believe we all have wings. I loved this with every bone in my body. And we follow Sparrow, who died before the collection. This story switches perspective from past and present constantly, and it just makes it an even more haunting and powerful piece that expertly comes together in the end.

This novella completely made the collection for me. But if you love speculative fiction, and some of the most beautiful prose you will ever read, I completely recommend this collection with my whole heart. View all 3 comments. Feb 20, Janelle rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is a dazzling collection of eight short stories and one novella that make for a fantastic read!

The writing is beautiful, poetic, dark, disturbing, and speculative.

Bear's Magic and Other Stories: Carla Stevens, Robert J. Lee: Books

I would describe it as magical literary fiction. Barnhill did a phenomenal job writing vivid descriptions with original characters that have so much depth, the stories came alive in my mind. Each and every story is gorgeously written, incredibly unique, and they all completely captivated me. I could not put this book down! The standouts for me are Mrs. I have to mention that Dreadful Young Ladies is eerily creepy. May 19, Eilonwy rated it liked it Shelves: I was really excited to read this collection, mainly because of the title. I had an idea that dreadful young ladies would be the theme of these stories, with some sass and subversion and lightheartedness.

But this book is really none of those things. The theme of all the stories is death, and the style is mostly magical realism, with some poignancy, some sweetness, and some downright gruesomeness. For instance, the dreadful young ladies of the title story really are dreadful, with no tongue-in- I was really excited to read this collection, mainly because of the title. For instance, the dreadful young ladies of the title story really are dreadful, with no tongue-in-cheek amusing use of that word.

The stories aren't bad, and if they were spread out in one's reading -- say, one a month -- they're probably very good. They're definitely very creative, and the writing is gorgeous. I enjoyed the first three very much. But after that, they had a certain same-y-ness in their mood and feel, a bit too much pretty gloom and a bit too little substance.

So, this collection just wasn't for me, or at least wasn't for me as a library book with a due date so I had to read all the stories quickly. I suspect that under different circumstances in my life, with me in a different mood, I might have appreciated them all much more. So, don't let me dissuade anyone from reading these! There's no predicting how anyone else will react to the combination of macabre and magical elements woven into these tales.

I received an ARC of this to review for Booklist, so my official review will be published there first, but this short story collection was creepy good. May 09, Robin Bonne rated it really liked it Shelves: Aug 29, Melora rated it really liked it Shelves: Most of these were "okay. The only one that I couldn't make it through was "The Insect and the Astronomer," which just didn't engage me at all. But the Last story, and, I believe, the longest is Wonderful!

Dec 31, Tiffany rated it really liked it Shelves: I enjoyed most of the stories in this collection. I mean who wouldn't enjoy a book that starts put with a story about a woman and a sasquatch in a relationship. The magical realism was done well throughout. My only complaint is with the first few stories not being divided enough. I got confused without a clear starting and stopping point between each story. If you enjoy Barnhill or fantastical stories that both intrigue and occassionaly scare you, then this book is one I would recommend.

Thank y I enjoyed most of the stories in this collection. Feb 22, Niki rated it it was amazing Shelves: I am someone who always wants to enjoy short story collections but I never do. Usually, I find that collections have one good or great story and then everything else is ehh, or the author tries to do magical realism but the stories are just weird.

If you're interested, this book just came out on Tuesday! Dec 06, Storyheart rated it really liked it Shelves: Kelly Barnhill's Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories is a real treat for those who love lushly imagined weird worlds. Barnhill's style reminds me of early Jeanette Winterson i.

Sexing the Cherry; The Passion with their blend of magic realism and folklore. Though I found some of the stories a little too long, others linger in my mind like vivid dreams. Recommended for fantasy lovers. Jul 02, Red rated it it was amazing. I've only read the first story so far. It's about a widow who starts dating Bigfoot. It made me weep, it was so beautiful. Apr 05, Ellen Morgan rated it really liked it.

Mar 15, James rated it really liked it. Kind of a mixed group of stories. I loved The Unlicensed Magician, Mrs. Sorenson and the Sasquatch, and Elegy. A few of the others didn't hold my attention quite as well. But still a very good collection of short stories filled with magic. Feb 12, Mandy Kirkendall rated it it was amazing. This is not a collection to dart through, but one to be savored. I dream of their hands. I dream of a garden overripe and wild. Of a woman gathering the sea into her hands and letting it fall in many colored petals to a green, green earth.

I dream of words on a page transforming to birds, and birds transforming to children, and children transforming to stars. It is our scars and handicaps and lack of symmetry that prove that we are-or once were-alive. The chapters weren't titled so as I read there were times I didn't realize one had ended and the next had begun. That is not something that affected my review, but the publisher just made it a bit difficult to read this copy. Dreadful Young Ladies is a collecti "It is our flaws that make us beloved by heaven. Dreadful Young Ladies is a collection of short stories that range from fantasy to horror fiction.

I am obsessed with the cover! It is so beautiful and symbolizes the magic and fantasy underneath. It is whimsical with a touch of creepiness which is how I would describe this book. The first few stories knocked my socks off! Unfortunately, the book slumped in the middle with some confusing and uninteresting to me stories, but it did pick up at the end with the final story The Unlicensed Magician. Below I will give you the name of the story, a brief review of it, then a simple synopsis.

I gave this book 3 Stars overall because I like the majority of the stories within it. Sorensen and the Sasquatch was original and put me in the right mindset to read this book. I learned right away to expect the unexpected from this collection after reading about a widow who falls in love with a Sasquatch.

And that is that. I really enjoyed how much character depth Kelly was able to give us with such a short story. Once there was a girl who loved a boy who loved a boy.

See a Problem?

Once there was a girl who loved a boy who loved her back. They literally follow his beloved around in her life after he dies. More trouble than they're worth. Open them up and there's nothing more than a wad of torn up paper at the heart. I found the short little snippets that made up Dreadful Young Ladies were all very different and intriguing. At the start of each "chapter", we meet a new girl or woman and the story slowly reveals her dreadful secret.

Fran It was easy enough to lose a child by accident. To do so on purpose turned out to be nearly impossible. My husband does taxidermy as a hobby so there was lots of good info. A hideous copy of what once was unique and alive and beautiful. I did enjoy hearing of the magic that was happening in the village as Gabrielle grew up I didn't find this story enjoyable and I got confused in parts.

Maybe it was just me? I didn't understand how the witch came into the story and why the step mother hated her husbands first wife so much. I probably should re-read it, but I just don't have the time for re-reads. A witch is haunted by the deadly repercussions of a spell.

Try Not To Flinch Challenge!!!

The Insect and the Astronomer This one completely bored me. I skimmed through it and tried to catch on to what the point was, but I never got it nor did I care. Upends expectations about good and bad, knowledge and ignorance, love and longing.

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The Unlicensed Magician was really great! This was my favorite story in the collection. It has a Dystopian feel to it and I found myself very invested in the Sparrow and the people who loved her. One thing I will say though is that I felt this story dragged on a bit too long. This short story won the World Fantasy Award! Kelly Barnhill is a wonderful writer. Her stories are full of beautiful writing and colorful imagery. I could envision the landscapes she describes and could see the characters she created. That is why I hate saying anything negative about an artists work.

Some of these short stories were misses for me, but as I have said before in other reviews, books and works of art are subjective.

Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories

While I didn't enjoy all of this book, the next person will love the whole thing. Writing a book is one of the hardest things to do. I have so much respect for writers and give them all credit for doing something that I cannot. Below is a quote she wrote about reading and it is one I will write down and save forever. To become creatures with souls. We read because it allows us, through force of mind, to hold hands, touch lives, speak as another listens, and feel as another feels.

We read becasue we wish to journey forth together. There is despite everything, a place for empathy and compassion and rumination, and just knowing that fact for me, is an occasion for joy! Jul 16, Christine rated it liked it Shelves: Mar 03, Stella Paper Wings rated it really liked it Shelves: Strange how these things happen. It's weird and flowery, but it lets you dip your toe into the book before you're complet 4.

It's weird and flowery, but it lets you dip your toe into the book before you're completely submerged. I love how it's told from the point of view of the priest rather than, say, Mrs. You're let in on her secrets slowly, making it hard to tell who you're supposed to be rooting for. As usual, Barnhill's writing is sublime, and I think -with this entire collection- she's able to let it flow free and get flowerier than ever. This story was also, incidentally, the story marketed as "a young man wrestles with grief and his sexuality in an exchange of letters with his faraway beloved.

But I actually had to question how John's sexuality was portrayed. But then we find out that Angela has been dead this whole time And did John know about it? I can't tell, honestly. Maybe that's just how he was dealing with his grief. It's not ideal in terms of representation, but I don't think it's view spoiler [cheating.

Editorial Reviews

The writing style kind of reminds me of The Yellow Wallpaper for some reason. And it, um, has pretty words This one just went right over my head, honestly. I mean, it's kind of But, I just don't get how any of these stories are connected, and they're so short that I guess I kind of missed the point. I don't know, maybe it will make more sense if I reread it. I am still so puzzled. I mean, I can tell there's some meaning there, but I just don't get it.

It comes right after the fairly creepy Dreadful Young Ladies and just ups the creep factor x I hate, hate, HATE taxidermy, looking at it, smelling it, it just makes me want to throw up. So this story was, pretty much my worst nightmare. But um, it's good? I got to read some more beautiful words talking about birds and the ocean, and- and- Oh, it was good. I love pirate stories, and Gabrielle was one badass pirate lady. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful.

I love this little book. My mother used to read it to me and my brother when we were little. When she passed away a few years back I began searching for treasures like this that could bring back a sweet piece of our childhood with her. Now I read it to my little son and daughter and hope to pass on the magic. I remember this book from when I was a kid and I loved reading it. The stories are imaginative and well written. In Bear's Magic, Bear doesn't want to go to school and take a spelling test, so he wishes he wouldn't have to, then it snows.

So he thinks he's magic and will never have to take the test. His is just a plain, blue metal one. Every night he wishes on a star and then wonders why it isn't working. In the Birthday Wish, when Mouse blows out her candles, she wishes it would be her birthday every day. Is she surprised when it's her birthday again the next day! But after a few days of the same party and the same presents, she wants to change the wish.

It sounds silly, but it's written for kids and I remember identifying with the problems the animals had. I still have the book and my kids love reading it too. One person found this helpful. Exactly what I wanted thank you so much. Made my daughter's day a favorite childhood memory for her. Bear's Magic is pure and simple; a childhood treasure. It has 3 magical stories that involve real issues for kids. Every kid has desired to not have to go to school, envied something they didn't have, and wished it was his birthday every day!

I can still hear vividly my mom reading this book to me over and over. It is a child's book and it does not disappoint. See all 7 reviews. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime.