Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Middle-Aged Man and the SeaMiddle-Aged Man and the Sea by Christopher Meeks

If you have been reading my reviews for a long time, you may know that I am a big fan of author, Christopher Meeks.  I have had the opportunity to read and review most of his books.  However, I hadn’t read his book of short stories, ‘The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea’.  I bought the ebook a long time ago but didn’t have the opportunity to read it.  Then, a few weeks ago Christopher contacted me to let me know that he created a audiobook version on CD and on Audible and offered me a free download code to Audible. I couldn’t refuse!

My Thoughts on Middle-Aged Man and the Sea by Christopher Meeks

The Audible version is narrated by the author, Christopher Meeks, himself.  It includes 13  quintessential short stories about the human condition. With his trademark sense of humor and quirky, yet realistic characters, Meeks takes us on a journey through the lives of his characters and we even a glimpse into ourselves.

Many people who claim not to like short stories, usually say because they don’t feel complete.  I dare naysayers of Short stories to read this book.  Okay, so the endings aren’t wrapped up in nice neat bows but neither is real life.  “They all lived happily ever after” are the kind of stories we tell children to make them feel safe and secure. 

These stories have kernels of truth hidden within them. They cover, marriage, middle age, and old age.  The thread throughout is human relationships and how we dealt with them.  Of course, this wouldn’t be a Christopher Meeks book, if there weren’t some references to pop culture sprinkled with in.

Usually, I find short stories in a collection hit and miss however, ‘The Middle-aged Man and the Sea’, is quite an even collection.  I really loved them all.

As for the narration, it was good.  There were a few places that you could hear the wetness that can accumulate in ones mouth.  I haven’t detected this when I have listened to a more seasoned narrator.  However, with practice, I believe Christoper Meeks could go from good to great with his narration skills.  I hope he records more of his books.

5/5 Writing

4/5 Narration

I received a free download code for the Audible version for my honest review.

About Christopher MeeksChristopher Meeks

Christopher Meeks first published short fiction in a number of literary journals, and the stories are available in two collections, The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea and Months and Seasons. Recently, he’s focused on crime novels.  His first, Blood Drama had a graduate student writing a thesis on David Mamet in a struggle with a ruthless killer and bank robber. The new A Death in Vegas is a mystery based on the death of a young woman and the wrong man charged with it. Visit Christopher Meeks online at chrismeeks.com.

Buy Middle-Aged Man and the Sea by Christopher Meeks


Giveaway of Middle-Aged Man and the Sea by Christopher Meeks

You can enter to win my giveaway of a download code to get the Audible version of this great short story collection.  Enter here.

Widow Smalls 2CoverToday it is my great pleasure to kick off the tour for ‘The Widow Smalls’ by Jamie Lisa Forbes!

Book Description:

Publisher: Pronghorn Press (October 20, 2014)
ISBN: 978-1-932636-97-0
Category: Short Stories, Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Tour Date: November, 2014
Available in: Print & ebook, 231 Pages

Thirty years of browbeating from rancher Bud Smalls has penned his wife, Leah, into emotional isolation.  Now Bud is gone and Leah owns the ranch, but there is no help forthcoming from Bud’s brothers who want to force her out and take the ranch for themselves.  When their attempt to humiliate her instead becomes her opportunity to succeed, Leah begins to find her way back to herself and learns how much she can gain by opening her heart.

The Widow Smalls is just one of the stories in this collection by the WILLA Award winning author of Unbroken, Jamie Lisa Forbes, who writes about the hardships of making a living from the land with an understanding that comes from first-hand experience.

Her deftly drawn characters include star-crossed lovers, a young rancher facing his first test of moral courage, an inscrutable ranch hand claiming an impressive relative, a father making one last grasp for his daughter’s love and a child’s struggle to make sense of the world around her.   Each will pull you into the middle of their stories and keep you turning the pages.

My Thoughts:

In this collection of short stories, there are two novella length stories as well.  There are 6 stories in all.  The stories fit well together, with the common theme of ranching life in the 1930’s-50’s . I truly loved this collection as a whole.

I found the first story, Romona Dietz haunting.  It is about a rancher, Roy who brings on a couple to work for him.  Romona, the wife, is very young and does the cooking.  Roy starts out the day every morning, eating breakfast with the couple.  It soon becomes apparent to Roy that the couple are having problems.  He even asks Ramona if her husband is beating her.  She doesn’t reply but he is convinced.
At the end of the story, we find out something even worse.  All is not what it seems.

The last story is that of the title, ‘The Widow Smalls’.  Leah’s husband, Bud, just dies and already his brothers are trying to get Leah to sell them her ranch.  Bub an Leah have no children but before Bud died, sometimes their nephews would lend a hand.  However, now Leah is on her own and the brothers give her a very weak offer for the property.  Leah is tested she shines through as a strong woman, not to be taken for granted or “to the cleaners.”

I enjoy short stories but this has to be about the best collection I have read for a long time.  My favorite collection of all time is probably, Jhumpa Lahri’s ‘Interpreter of Maladies’ the stories are all about Indians and Indian Americans.  However, I have to say, ‘The Widow Smalls’ comes the closest to that, in terms of my favorites.  So, yes it is among my favorite collections now!

I think even readers who don’t usually like short stories that much will really enjoy ‘The Widow Smalls’.  It has a bit of a John Steinbeck feel so, those fans of classics and literary writing, should enjoy it.  I highly recommend ‘The Widow Smalls’!


I received an ebook copy for my honest opinion.

About Jamie Lisa Forbes:Jamie Forbes

Jamie Lisa Forbes was raised on a family ranch in southeastern Wyoming.  She graduated from the University of Colorado with honors in 1977 and then lived in Israel until 1979, when she returned to her family’s ranch and raised her own family over the next fifteen years.  Today, she writes and practices law in Greensboro, North Carolina.  She enjoys spending time with her grandsons and playing old time Appalachian fiddle.  With her Arabian horse, Cody, and her cattle dog, Reb, she still devotes part of her life to the outdoors.

Jamie Lisa Forbes won the WILLA Award for her novel ‘Unbroken’.

Buy Widow Smalls:

Barnes and Noble
Book Depository

Thanks to the author, Jamie Lisa Forbes, I am giving away one print or ebook copy of ‘The Widow Smalls.’  This giveaway is open internationally however, the print book is only available to the U.S. An international winner will receive the ebook. This giveaway ends on November 27, 2014.  Please use the Rafflecopter to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Tour:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 3 Review & Giveaway Pinky’s Favorite Reads Nov 4 Interview & Excerpt Inspire to Read Nov. 5 Excerpt Cassandra M’s Place Nov. 6 Review & Giveaway Back to Books Nov. 7 Review WV Stitcher Nov.10 Review Dr Bill’s Book Bazaar Nov. 11 Review Deal Sharing Aunt Nov. 12 Review, Giveaway, & Excerpt Unshelfish Nov 13 Review Indie Re Behind the Scenes Nov 13 9 PM Eastern Live Interview My Reading Addictions Nov. 14 Review Bound 4 Escape Nov. 17 Review What U Talking Bout Willis? Nov. 18 Review, Guest Post, & Excerpt Room With Books Nov 18 Interview & Excerpt Manic Mama of 3 Nov 19 Review Lady in Read Nov. 20 Review Two Children and a Migraine Nov 24 Review The Book Binder’s Daughter Nov. 26 Review

Book Description:

GRAND CENTRAL: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion is an anthology of short stories which all begin at New York’s Grand Central Terminal on the very same date, just after World War II ended by some of the biggest names in women’s fiction today.  With inclusions from New York Times bestselling authors Karen White (The Time Between) and Melanie Benjamin (The Aviator’s Wife), and an introduction by #1 New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah, GRAND CENTRAL captures a delicate moment in time and a city filled with opportunity.

Last year’s 100th anniversary of Grand Central has kindled a new interest not just in the beautiful building itself but also in the millions of people that have passed through the cavernous hallways and turnstiles; along with their stories. This anthology shines a spotlight on a moment of great power and possibility when the war was over; and the world was about to be changed forever.

From a war bride who awaits the arrival of her GI husband at the platform, to a holocaust survivor who works at the Oyster Bar where a customer reminds him of his late mother, and a Hollywood hopeful who anticipates her first screen test and a chance at stardom in the Kissing Room, GRAND CENTRAL is full of stories that resonate with every reader. From the romantic to the historian, this beautifully written anthology transports the reader to a time long since gone by the very events that brought us to where we are today.

 Featuring stories by:

Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of After the Rain
Erika Robuck, critically acclaimed author of Hemingway’s Girl
Alyson Richman, bestselling author of The Lost Wife
Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us
Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter
Pam Jenoff, bestselling author of The Ambassador’s Daughter
Amanda Hodgkinson, New York Times bestselling author of 22 Britannia Road
Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife
Sarah McCoy, bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter
Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Also, writing the introduction:
Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Home Front

Thanks to Jessica Butler of Berkley/NAL, I am giveaway one print copy.  This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on July 15, 2014.  Please use Rafflecopter to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway