Short reads perfect for daily commute – I.

Short stories by A.L. Lester

If anyone asked me how I manage the daily commute to my workplace which is located at a considerable distance from my apartment, I would certainly say: I read. On my phone using reading apps, on my Kindle, reading books, articles, blogs I follow, you name it. Not nowdays mind you, when due to the pandemic my daily commute is reduced to a 3 sec walk from bed to my work desk in the living room. Not that I’m complaining.

However if I ever had to return to the “traditional” way of commute, I would continue my above described ritual. So if you are like me, usually spending a lot of time on different public transportation vehicles, let me recommend some good short stories which can be easily read on bus/tram/underground etc, traveling a few/a lot of stops to your destination.

Playing Chicken: A St Dwynwen’s Day Short Story

Blurb:
Marc returns home from London to his isolated Welsh cottage for good, having found his ex boyfriend shagging someone else in their bed. Who’s the thin, freezing cold man with the bruised face he finds in his barn? Will the tenuous connection between them grow, or fade away?
Reading length: 30-40 min
Can it be read as a stand-alone:
Yes, it’s a stand-alone novella with no ties to A.L. Lester’s other works.

Story and character dynamics:
It’s a lovely short story depicting painful events of the characters’ lives. The come together was heart-felt, and all depicted emotions so vivid. The characters almost stepped out from the pages as the events unfolded before my eyes. My absolute favourite character was Dai with his loud and raucous personality, he was absolutely perfect in the self-proclaimed big brother role for Marc. And the chickens were absolutely hilarious! Favourite quote from Marc: Those are not my effing chickens! (If you read the novel you’ll understand.)

Why I recommend it:
I liked the Welsh version of St Valentine day, and I jumped to the opportunity to learn something new. It’s all my bad, but I never heard of St Dwynwen’s day until I’ve read Marc and Mal’s story.
My problem with it: I’m well aware it’s called a short story for a reason, but after the building affection and attraction between Marc and Mal and reading how Marc cared for Mal and did his best to nurse him back to health, the story ended so abruptly it felt too rushed for my liking. A few more pages giving us a better glimpse of their future together would’ve been nice.

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(4.5 to be honest)

A Small Secret Smile: A Flowers of Time Short Story

Blurb:
Story set a few years after the end of The Flowers of time. Edie and Jones are living in England, at Penel Orlieu. It’s a peaceful, contented existence filled with painting, science and each other. What could possibly go wrong?
Reading length: 20-30 min
Can it be read as a stand-alone:
No, absolutely not, this novella can be considered as an epilogue for the above mentioned novel, the Flowers of time.

Reading this short story without the full-knowledge of the novel, will just leave you confused, even though there are a few half-phrase explanations of the events of the original book.

Story and character dynamics:
Beware! Spoilers ahead! Jones and Edie are still cute and adorable together, I really liked the idea of Jones living as a man, and being able to marry Edie. I liked the world they created around them, the bubble guarding them against the narrow-minded society.
Why I recommend it: If you liked the original novel, you don’t want to miss this morsel of their lives. And the cuteness of it will blow you away.

My problem with it:
Mostly the same thing I mentioned regarding Playing Chicken. The ending felt rushed especially after Edie finding out their cousin’s secret while painting his portrait. It was like a bombshell dropped on my head, with that secret only mentioned but not elaborated. Until that point the short story felt like a perfect epilogue, but then it left me hanging and wanting more.

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(4.5 but the mean Goodreads doesn’t allow me to leave half-stars)

The Gate

Blurb:
It’s 1919, and Matty returns home to the family farm from the trenches only to find his brother Arthur dying of an unknown illness. The local doctor thinks it might be cancer, but Matty becomes convinced it’s connected to the mysterious books his brother has left strewn around the house.
Matty confides his suspicions in his friend Rob, a hired hand on the farm and potential lover. Rob has found something that looks like a gate of some kind, something Arthur referenced in his papers which may rest at the heart of his illness. But a gate to where?

Reading length: 30-40 min

Can it be read as a stand-alone:
Yes, even though this novella belongs in the Lost in Time series. This story is a stand-alone prelude for the main events of the series, setting the scene and creating the atmosphere. And at the same time it can be regarded as a prologue for the Inheritance of Shadows.

Story and character dynamics:
Matty and Robert are perfect as friends but works even better as lovers (this part is only implied in the story). The reader gets reacquainted with the green book and its powers, and have to face the dangers it holds along with the main characters.

Why I recommend it:
It’s a really lovely story, and if you have to pick your first read from A.L. Lester, you should choose this one. This novella is thrilling with the secrets of two worlds and paranormal seeping into its events, every aspect of it will keep you hooked despite of the novella’s shortness. And it will certainly show off the extraordinary writing style of the author.

My problem with it: I couldn’t find any.
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Those are the short stories I would recommend for daily commute. I hope you enjoyed it. If that’s the case I would be very grateful for shares, likes or comments. 😘 Thank you! 😘

Notes
  • Source of cover image: unsplash.com (Nicole Y-C)
  • Source of book covers: Goodreads

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