Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: WONDERSTRUCK by various authors

by Rebecca Gober, Jon Messenger, Maren Dille, Jennifer Bull, Radeyah H. Ali, Gabrielle Arrowsmith, Beau Barnett, Liana Chau, MeMe Collier, Leah D.W., Julie Gilbert, Dominique Goodall, Brenna Harden, Sandra Havriluk, Sacha Hope,Erin Liles, B.T. Lyons, Julie Marcinik, Mia Marin,Miranda Maurin, Veronica Morfi, Ifeoma Ofuani, Paula Phillips, Jocelyn Sanchez, Clemy W. Thompson, Dana Wright, R.H.Ali, Lisa Goldman, Katie Ellis, and Cindy Saunders

When you look at a picture, what do you see? We gave authors around the world the challenge to write a story based on a set of five images. More than thirty authors rose to that challenge and created an amazing young adult anthology of drabbles, short stories, novelettes and novellas for you to enjoy. Flip the pages and prepare to be Wonderstruck!

Dive into a world where wind is a power that feeds the flames and love makes everything more complicated. A life where a scorned bride can cause a great deal of trouble and a place where silence as you will find out has a lot to say. Find yourself in a future where a powerful enemy can only be stopped by the most dangerous weapon of all: the truth. All of this and more lies within these very pages... Are you ready?

Wonderstruck is Clean Teen Publishing's first breakthrough Young Adult anthology. All stories within this book have fallen within our YA rating scale, however, not all stories have young adult characters. You will find a great deal of entertainment within Wonderstruck that is appropriate for readers of all ages. To view more information on our official content rating system please visit:

Here are the photos the authors used to create their whimsical stories.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these! As I'm a wanna-be-writer, I soooooo wish I had been able to participate in this project.  These are just amazing!!! 

And my favorite.....

Genre: Various, various and various!  Mostly some form of speculative fiction, all YA or YAish
Publisher Type:  Small Print
My Rating:  *  *  *  *
Purchase Link:  Amazon  
Add this gem to your Goodreads TBR:  Click Here ;)

My Review:
There is such an amazing variety to this anthology.  Firstly, it's HUGE!!!, even containing three full novellas!  There are stories I loved and ones I didn't.  A few stories were choppy or had plot holes.  Quite a few had less than happy endings (which I totally don't go for, but that doesn't really mean those stories are bad).  Then there are stories that had me hopping up and down hugging my Kindle for the love of them.  There are stories with dynamic characters and interesting worlds with hold-your-breath suspense and mystery.  Some of the stories are extremely sweet and brought tears to my eyes.  Wonderstruck is overflowing with creativity and mischief and is a fantabulously wonderful read!!!

As there are so many stories in this wonderful anthology, I wrote my thoughts down of each individual story in purple under the title.

Winning Authors:
Clean Teen Publishing choose a winner for each story style in this anthology.  You will see these in orange.  I decided to share my picks for winners, too.  You'll find those in purple.

Winning Novella-
Jon Messenger ~ Wind Warrior

B.T. Lyons ~ Heartkeeper --- TOP WINNER in my book!  LOVED THIS!!!

Winning Novelette-
Maren Dille ~ Pastiche

Erin Liles ~ Outside the Walls

Winning Short Story-
Kati Ellis ~ The Silent Man

MeMe Collier ~ The Fairy Jar

Winning Drabble-  
I had to look up what a Drabble is ... it's an extremely short work of fiction, 100 words exactly, testing the authors ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in an extremely confined space (per Wikipedia).
Jennifer Bull ~ A Lady's Revenge
Julie Gilbert ~ Keio and the Farsight Fire

Wonderstruck Authors (By Last Name):

Radeyah H. Ali
Drabble~ Magically Fitted
I'm really intrigued by this drabble.  I'd love to read more!

Gabrielle Arrowsmith
Drabble~ Joah and the Beacon of Light
This is a great little adventure story.  I'm really digging these drabbles!

Beau Barnett
Short Story~ Into Eternity
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!!  This was so incredible for such a short ...well... short story.  It made me cry, but happy tears.

Jennifer Bull
Short Story~ A Wizard's World

This was fun and whimsical; such a sweet story!
Drabble~ Life in a Jar
This was just too cute!!!  Loved it!
Drabble~ Round and Round I Go
**Shiver** .... crazy scary ... how'd that happen in 100 words?!?
Drabble~ A Lady's Revenge
I really enjoyed this one!  It's the first drabble I ever read and it was such a fun tibit!!!
Drabble~ Once In a Blue Moon

This made me smile.

Liana Chau
Drabble~ Ahead and Beyond

This has a lot of great mystery.  Color me curious. :) 

MeMe Collier
Short Story~ The Fairy Jar

Wowie-wow-wow!!!  This was a fantabulous, amazing, just wonderful story .... I'm struggling to express how much I LOVE this story!!!!  The depth of the characters, the trickle of whimsy, the beautiful truth discovered in the end ... it all adds up to a story that will stick with me for years!!!

Leah D.W.
Short Story~ Watery Grave
To be fair, I'm not a horror fan, but I just didn't feel this story.  I felt it was a bit disjointed.

Maren Dille
Novella~ Pastiche

A psychological thriller, for sure.  This was interesting and complex, unique and dark.  The pacing is extremely slow, by design, no doubt.  I can't decide if I liked it or not ... maybe just because it isn't really my preferred genre.

Kati Ellis
Short Story~ The Silent Man
This was sweet, but a bit slow for me.  I enjoyed the creativity that went into this "slice of life" piece.  The dialogue of the 5 year old character did bother me a bit.  She spoke too much like an adult.  I think an 8 or 9 year old might "play" at adult speech like this, but not a 5 year old.

Julie Gilbert
Drabble~ Keio and the Farsight Fire

Oooooo!  This one's really exciting and it leaves you wondering.  I WANT MORE!

Lisa Goldman
Short Story~ Oafish Me

This is a sweet tale; I really felt for the main character and would love to read more about her.  I feel conflicted about the ending, though it's a happy ending, which I love.  Just not sure I like the mc's end choice.

Dominique Goodall
Drabble~ Fairy Capture

Sweet and simple.... very nicely done :)

Brenna Harden
Short Story~ A Warriors Journey

I didn't feel there was enough to this story.  I was interested, but wished there was more development.

Sandra Havriluk
Drabble~ Jedidiah

Chill bump inducing, but sad, too.

Sacha Hope - In the book, the author is listed as Guilana Speranza
Novelette~ Glass Heart 

This was a very well written (no plot holes!) and interesting story.  The characters were developed nicely for a novelette and the story kept me engaged throughout.  It was really sad and the end was dark. 

Erin Liles
Novelette ~ Outside the Walls

This was an absolutely wonderful dystopian!  I really this enjoyed the well-formed, suspenseful story and especially appreciated the uplifting conclusion.

B.T. Lyons
Novella~ Heartkeeper 

Holy Cow!!!!  By far, my favorite story in the anthology!  This was soooooo amazing.  It was creative (what a great take on our future); it was suspenseful (kept having to remind myself to breathe); I immediately connected with the main character and fell in love with the rest quickly; I was deeply invested in both the characters and the story line.  Superb!!!
Short Story~ Peace
Steampunk! Woo hoo!  I truly adored this story!  Soooo much fun!!!

Julie Marcinik
Short Story~ The Executioner 

This was interesting and the story flowed well.  I had a few unanswered questions which concerned me ... where were the children raised before deemed royalty or outcast?  How did Tristian and Michael have such a deep friendship but Michael's fiancee (the mc) didn't know Tristian?  Also, I'm a bit fanatical about stories having happy endings and this one ended sadly.  It was a good ending, but I didn't like it.  So overall, mixed feelings about this one.

Mia Marin
Drabble~ A Note To My Traveler

This is smirk inducing.  Very enjoyable.
Drabble~ A Dear Dalliance

Too cool!  I really like this.

Miranda Maurin
Short Story~ The Dance of Time

This story was told in very much the tradition of the old-style fairy tales, you know, the ones that don't often end happily ever after.  I enjoyed the voice of the story, but I'm a happily ever after gal.

Jon Messenger
Novella~ Wind Warrior

I enjoyed the premise of this novella.  I felt like the characters and the idea behind the wind warriors needed more development, but I had fun reading it.  I believe this story is being published on it's own, but has been expanded and enhanced.  I will definitely read it!

Veronica Morfi
Drabble~ Shine

Cute and sweet!

Ifeoma Ofuani
Drabble~ He Would Be Great

Sad, but sweet.

Paula Phillips
Short Story~ Skye in High School Wonderland
So this one read like chapter one of a novel.  It was a bit choppy, but the story held promise, but then I turned the page and that's all there was.  I'm left wondering what happened next.

Jocelyn Sanchez
Novella~ A World Unlike Mine

This was a good solid story with less than perfect execution.  My big question: if regular humans can't see these supernatural folk, how did Tasha's mom meet and fall in love with that supernatural fellow?  With some more fleshing out of the story, reorganization of the choppy bits, this could really be an awesome read.
Drabble~ Night

The imagry in this one is so incredible!!! Just wow!
Drabble~ Darkness and Light

Very wise words here ... beautiful!

Cindy Saunders

Short Story~ Nirvana
Man, I'm loving these short stories!  This one was so beautiful!  Yup, I cried.  **Happy Sigh**

Clemy W. Thompson
Drabble~ The Truth

Not sure I understood this one.

Dana Wright
Drabble~ Fairy Lights

I loved the mischief of this one.  It wasn't so much a complete story as a start of one; one I'd like to read.


  1. Thank you SO MUCH for your awesome and very kind words about "Heartkeeper" and "Peace"!!! I sure hope you can make it to "Heartkeeper" and "Heartbound"'s release party on July 6th (yep, it's a novel now and book 2 is already written and on its way)!

  2. Of course it helps if I link up the party info ... *laughs* I'm still bouncing around the house right now so I must have hit Enter mid-bounce.

  3. Thank you so much for your positive words about my short story, Nirvana. I actually cried as I was writing it! Wanted to create something that would tug at the heartstrings and we all know and love somebody like Ethel ... thanks again!

  4. Thank you so much! It's always good to read what other people's views on a given story is. Constructive Feedback is the best motivation there is.

  5. Thanks a lot for your review! I really appreciate it when people take time to say something more than "I liked it" or "It wasn't my favorite." Here's a secret: I only had 3 days to write my short story, so I was a little bit worried about the reception and am especially glad that you thought highly of it.