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From bestselling author of Little Birds, Hannah Lee Kidder's Starlight touches your heart before taking a bite with twelve pitch-dark fantasy, horror, and contemporary short stories.

102 pages, Paperback

Published October 11, 2020

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Hannah Lee Kidder

2 books114 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 71 reviews
Profile Image for Kimberly Swartz.
360 reviews
October 12, 2020
I was given an ARC for an honest review.

I loved every story in this book. I don't know much about short stories but I know this was amazing.

My only experience with short stories was last summer when I read twenty of them for my AP English class and a few of these stories have that feel. They are well written and could be used an AP class for analysis.

As I read, I was able to understand the themes and the characterization that pulled me into each story. Not once did I falter with misunderstanding.

This is a good place to start if you are going to start reading again after a long break.
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,245 reviews3,563 followers
December 3, 2021
I stumbled across this author on YouTube. Now, I haven't exactly had stellar success with AuthorTube books yet, but I figured that since these stories are short (some of them are really short), there wasn't much to lose by checking them out.

Here are my thoughts on the individual stories:


I don't even know what the hell that was! Short, creepy, disturbing... yes. I'm not sure I get it, even after thinking about it for a while. But it's well written and really got my imagination going, so I don't have much to complain about.
3.5 out of 5


I wish this one were a bit longer. There are hints of bookception and (maybe) someone like Peter Pan, but it's really too short to say for sure. The writing is certainly evocative, though.
3.5 out of 5

"The Swamp Witch"

Well, that got really dark. I see that this story is among the favourites of other readers. It's definitely interesting, with an almost fairy-tale horror vibe. It's all a bit "ewww", though, so I'm not sure if I like it that much.
3 out of 5


A variation on "the monster under the bed", but the idea is a little more updated and (ironically) less contained. What if the monster weren't just under the bed, but in any number of places?
3.5 out of 5


A disturbing story punctuated by a thoughtful question. This one's very short, but its few paragraphs speak volumes and paint a complete picture.
3.5 out of 5


Historical fiction about two sisters and a paranormal scheme. What happens when the play starts to become reality? I enjoyed this one, despite some of the disturbing bits.
4 out of 5


This seems to be in a similar vein as "Warm", though it's not quite as explicit. It feels incomplete.
2.5 out of 5


There are some interesting hints at a very dysfunctional relationship here. The writing doesn't seem as strong in this story as in some of the others, and the repeated use of the main character's name (when he's the only one in the story) is unnecessary... and a bit annoying.
3 out of 5


I... don't get it. Is this metaphor? Shape-shifting? Just random weirdness thrown in to sound cool? (Okay, it does sound cool.) But I still don't get it.
3 out of 5

"Starlit Shadows"

This is a story about some bad domestic violence. The scene is set well, but it's pretty depressing.
2.5 out of 5

"White Rabbit"

An interesting tidbit with a paranormal twist. It's one of the longer stories here, but still short. Still, it feels complete.
3.5 out of 5

"Passing Ghosts"

Bittersweet but poignant. As the title suggests, this one is about a ghost. It's nothing earth-shatteringly unique, but it's a nice story.
3.5 out of 5

Taken as a whole, this is a collection of competent short stories. Some are a lot shorter than I'm used to (flash fiction more than short stories, really), but Kidder manages to pack quite a punch into a few of them. The stories with paranormal or fantasy elements were the strongest ones for me; the contemporaries that focused on interpersonal violence less so.

I would definitely like to read something longer from this author when she writes/publishes it. In the meantime, though, this collection is a nice introduction to her voice and style.
Profile Image for Mis Hashmi.
30 reviews22 followers
October 11, 2020
* I received an advance reader's copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

I don't usually read short stories, but when I do, I hope to read something like THIS. I didn't expect to fall in love so strongly with Hannah's writing, but boy did I absolutely love it. If you're into dark themes and short stories, you are in for a treat.
Starlight was not just a read, it was an experience, and I enjoyed every moment of it. There are a couple of stories in there that had me holding my breath, and I can't stress enough on just how good and effective the writing was.
More fangirling to come in my video review, which, as of now, is the video equivalent of excited keyboard smashing.

BLOG REVIEW: https://mythsnmisadventures.wordpress...

VIDEO REVIEW: https://youtu.be/s801d8bdgJE

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR: https://mythsnmisadventures.wordpress...
2 reviews
July 15, 2020
This book made me sob. Like scrunch up your face, make weird noises, can't see the page, sob. I don't remember the last book that's made me do that. These stories really are special. Kidder is one of my favorite authors right now.
Profile Image for A. M..
54 reviews2 followers
July 28, 2020
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

***PLEASE look at the end of this review for a list of trigger/content warnings for each story that needs them! Keep yourselves safe while reading***

Hannah Lee Kidder is truly a master of the written word. It's so clear how much care has gone into crafting each of these stories, and that's something wonderful to see and to experience while reading.

While of course some stories stood out to me more than others ("Sliced," "The Swamp Witch," "Margrove," "Home," and "Passing Ghosts" were my personal favorites, the ones that made my skin crawl, my mouth drop, and had me hanging onto the edge of my seat), all of these stories were beautiful in their own ways. I will definitely be revisiting this book, and it's so refreshing to see such a wonderfully written collection of speculative short stories and flash fictions, a style of writing which, I feel, is so dominated by more contemporary stories. I loved Little Birds, but I hope Kidder releases more stories like these in the future. Anything of hers, though, I eagerly await.

My biggest criticism is tied to one story in particular - "White Rabbit." While I did enjoy the story, it didn't feel like there was much of a different take on the vampire folklore/genre, and, to me, it ended very abruptly. I would've loved to see more of these characters. Because of this, it took my rating down to four stars (though it's really more of a 4.5/5. Come on Goodreads, get it together, let us give half ratings). Everything else was so well-crafted and interesting, so this story was the biggest let-down for me.

I'm very excited to get my physical copy in October, and again, thank you so much for the chance to review this beautiful collection before it's released to the world.

Sliced - Blood/gore
The Swamp Witch - Blood/gore, mutilation, cannibalism (discussed, does not take place)
Warm - Blood, sexual assault
Margrove - Parental abuse (physical, verbal, mental, emotional), implied self-harm, poor treatment of mental illness, blood/gore
Bruising - Mistreatment by police (not police brutality), implied sexual assault
Home - Implied parental abuse
Starlit Shadows - Parental abuse (physical, verbal, mental, emotional), death of a child, childbirth, alcoholism
White Rabbit - Sexual harassment/assault, blood
Passing Ghosts - Abusive relationships (physical, verbal), pregnancy, alcoholism, parental abuse (verbal, emotional)
**If there are any that I missed or got wrong, please let me know and I will gladly add/fix them!
Profile Image for Charles.
16 reviews2 followers
February 13, 2021
*I was given an ARC for an honest review and I'm late as heck*

Supernatural stories such as these rarely grab me and, though I don't love them all, Hannah was put together a very intriguing collection of stories (and creatures) here.

Apologies for the cliche, but she has a way with words. Not every analogy landed for me, but her artful prose made the settings and descriptions come off the page in a way poetry typically elicits.

I've only read a handful of short story collections and the variety of lengths in Starlight threw me for a loop. By the time I was done, I was in love with the format. Flash fiction. Microfiction. I appreciate that she gave herself the freedom to write all these ways and share them with us. To paint a beautiful picture with so few words is an art in itself.

I'd read a whole book of Swamp Witch short tales but I'm truly excited to see what Hannah does with a novel or novella length, singular story.

Favorite Story(s): Passing Ghosts & The Swamp Witch
Profile Image for Erin Clements.
184 reviews
October 12, 2020
Happy Pub Day to this gorgeous little collection of stories! I received an eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. Actual rating: 4.8/5 stars.

Starlight is a beautiful collection of supernatural/light horror stories, and I gave it a 4.8/5 because while I liked nearly all of the stories, there were some that just didn't grip me. My favorites in the collection were "The Swamp Witch," "Margrove," "Starlit Shadows," "White Rabbit," and "Passing Ghosts."

As a writer, Hannah packs so much detail, intensity, and beauty into so few words, and Starlight is such a perfect example of that. Starlight is full of unexpected twists and turns, and as a reader you feel like you're on a light horror rollercoaster, but it's so worth it in the end. I can't wait to read Hannah's other collection, Little Birds.
Profile Image for Zenita Dee.
22 reviews1 follower
July 14, 2020
Now, I have read Hannah's first collection of short stories and thoroughly enjoyed them. I don't often pay attention to prose, but when it's this good, I have to comment on it.

Now the difference between Starlight and Little Birds is there's a lot more darkness in the tone. It took me a moment to remember that after reading the third story that mentions blood and/or death.

When it comes out I do recommend getting a physical copy as the book comes with some beautiful artwork.

Please stay tuned to my Youtube channel for a mini-review as I go over some of my feels on particular entries in the collection.
Profile Image for Brodie Foster.
2 reviews1 follower
July 23, 2020
Hannah has this incredible ability to end her stories with such a gut punch that I have to immediately reread the piece even though I'm so excited to get to the next one. I loved Little Birds but this dip into the horror genre just really showcases her talent.

My favorite piece is a toss up between Starlit Shadows and Passing Ghosts. I just really connected with the protagonists and their defining emotion. I was so tense and clenched during Starlit Shadows and Passing Ghosts had such a sweet melancholy that I found really endearing. Honorable mention to The Swamp Witch because swamp witches really are what I think about when I think about the Hannah Lee Kidder brand TM.
2 reviews4 followers
July 14, 2020
I believe I called this author's last book a roller coaster. Well, this one is more like a House of Mirrors. Each time you turn a page and think you're out, BAM, you run right into yourself again. Every story in this collection reflects the darkest parts of humanity and, in a beautiful blend, the brightest. It's a twisting journey through swamps, barely-lit city streets, and haunted houses that is definitely more than worth the tickets to get in!
Profile Image for Helene Kathinka.
45 reviews1 follower
November 28, 2022
I think parts of it deserves better ratings, but I've realised I tend to not enjoy short story collections and ultimately my rating is based on my reading experience
Profile Image for Erelah.
112 reviews1 follower
June 27, 2021
This was a delightfully dark short story collection. The last one was definitely my favorite. Kidder is excellent at crafting stories that leave you wanting more.
Profile Image for Laura Fielder.
57 reviews5 followers
January 17, 2022
So, I recently read and reviewed Little Birds by Kidder and my review wasn’t the most positive. I first picked up this collection right after reading Little Birds, which if you saw my review… I found that collection boring.
However, I remember Starlight as being advertised as more spooky featuring fantasy and horror, so knowing that the stories wouldn’t all be contemporary gave me hope that the otherworldly aspects would make them more interesting.
Now the first two stories in this collection did nothing for me. The first was spooky gore, but lacked the depth of character I need to be interested and the second was more of a prose poem about a character’s actions, and not any internal struggle. And also the second wasn’t really anything particularly new.
So, in my head I was thinking “oh no am I going to feel detached about this collection too?” Then I read the third story “Swamp Witch” and everything changed.

Swamp Witch is a very cool imaginative story with a unique protagonist and a strong sense of setting, and an interesting story! After that story everything shifted and I really enjoyed every single story after that one.

Margrove, a historical fiction about two sister putting on fake seances to earn money to leave their abusive mother was my favorite. Such a good premise and I’m a sucker for a story about sisters. I loved this story so much, and want to get a physical copy of this collection so I can reread it whenever I want. I absolutely loved this story in the collection!

I loved the fantastical elements in some of these stories, but even the more realistic stories followed characters through genuinely compelling situations.

This collection did feature a repetitiveness in the theme of abuse throughout; however, unlike Little Birds where that resulted in very samey stories, these stories actually explored the topic in a variety of ways that I consistently found interesting.
In fact the first two stories that I didn’t care for I think were the only ones that didn’t feature abuse, and they were my least favorite.

The premises for each story was unique and the protagonists’ behaviors were varied enough resulting in an enjoyable collection.

It’s funny, because I’ve been disappointed by a lot of authortuber books, specifically the self-published ones. So, I was hopeful I would enjoy Little Birds more because many of those stories were originally published in magazines, meaning there was a certain level of quality required. Whereas none of Starlight’s stories had been published before. But I enjoyed Starlight way more, and I think that goes to show that traditionally published doesn’t mean better.

As someone trying to get back into short stories I definitely recommend this collection, and if anyone here specifically wants to check out Kidder’s writing this collection is what I’d recommend.
Overall, I really enjoyed this collection.
33 reviews
September 8, 2022
I really enjoyed this collection. It includes 11 short stories, six of which are flash fiction. The flash fiction was excellent. Kidder rarely uses exposition, and all of her stories in this collection unfold gradually with little to no expositional setup, leading the reader along through intrigue. Whether her stories end in a twist or not, there is almost always an excellent ‘drop’ at the end—an ‘Oh, shit’ realisation either of plot (as in The Swamp Witch or Margrove) or in theme (as in Warm, which might be my favourite). All of her stories start right where they should, in the middle of a scene which she sets well. As for the endings, the flash fictions don’t necessarily have one (which makes sense, given the subgenre of flash fiction)—and often deliberately so. Several of them end so as to enlighten the whole story, or to shift the reader’s perspective. For instance, the last line of Ink shows what everything preceding it really entailed, and the end of Mother shows the illusion that misled both the reader and protagonist throughout the story. Or in Bruising and Warm, the end begs new questions: When does violence end and healing begin, and how does violence impact our view of the world (disillusioning us, or warping our understanding); or how might an act of self-defence impact our view of ourselves?

Contained deserves credit as a good flash fiction of our childish fear of monsters. I’m 26 and my imagination still sometimes gets the better of me in this regard. That’s why I sleep with a Desert Eagle within arm’s reach (all the rounds having been dipped in holy water, of course).

Out of the longer short stories, I only liked two of the five—Starlit Shadows and Passing Ghosts. I enjoyed both of these due to their themes of acceptance and clandestine platonic love amid abuse or at least some level of cruelty from one parent while another parent remains passive. What exposition there is comes along naturally and piecemeal, or else through a flashback narrative scene. Since even this flashback scene (in Starlit Shadows) is later in the story, the reader doesn’t miss out on the joy of figuring things out as the stories unfold; and the narrative style of the scene doesn’t feel so much like exposition.

I am still trying to figure out what I think of the endings of Starlit Shadows and Passing Ghosts. As for the latter, I am pretty sure I do like the ending. The importance of an affirming person in another’s life, and the impact they can have on one another, is portrayed well in this somewhat bizarre ghost story. Kidder shows two people, though a world apart, each affirming the other as worthwhile, and how that changes their experience of the world from one of loneliness to a place where one can be seen, received, and then do the same for another outside the original relationship.

In Starlit Shadows, the pacing and the writing itself is good, and it includes some lines that perfectly evoke the tone of the scene: ‘I watch the skeleton trees swallow her up,’ and (regarding an abusive character who has a limp), ‘His foot drags the floor toward me. . . .’ I enjoyed the chilling expositional twist when the story jumps forward six years, lulling the reader into a sense of a transition and maybe even hope, only to immediately learn of a disaster that happened shortly after the previous scene six years ago. We expect disaster around the corner before us, but not behind us. I thought that was clever. It would be like if a Harry Potter book began, ‘Harry had spent that Summer grieving Hermione’s death after she choked on a chocolate frog coming home on the Hogwarts Express.’ (But less clunky than that sentence. Also, honestly, the choking hazards of chocolate frogs.)

As for the ending, I’m not sure I see the buildup to the protagonist’s decision. We have Annabelle and Kathryn sneaking out at night, and then the flashback to a similar night, then the final scene with her difficult and fatal decision. Perhaps the idea is that Kathryn reminds her on that starlit night of all she loved and lost since that night so long ago—that now she is losing Kathryn, also. I could believe that. But psychological trauma can be so deep-rooted, and since in the last scene we have the line, ‘The sides of my vision darken, and I can’t move,’ I thought perhaps there ought to have been more to get her out of her ‘freeze’ response. However, the sense of vindictiveness in her last line, and the subsequent realisation of what has become of her mother, could well be enough. Regardless, it was still a well-written story which I definitely enjoyed.

Similarly to my potential qualm with Starlit Shadows, the reason I disliked The Swamp Witch, Margrove, and White Rabbit was mostly thematic. There didn’t seem to be a whole lot of depth to them, especially not to Swamp Witch. Margrove was a little predictable, and White Rabbit was not really my type of story. Even so, I really enjoyed Kidder’s writing, and I would definitely recommend this collection (especially the shorter ones within) to anyone who wants to read some dark and overall well-written short stories. My personal favourites were Contained, Warm, Bruising, Home, Starlit Shadows, and Passing Ghosts. I will likely pick up Kidder’s other short story collection at some point. There is, by the way, an audiobook of Starlight. I sampled it and don’t recall disliking it, but since they are short stories I knew I’d have time to read it, even if it might take a little while (I actually got the Kindle because it was cheap and I wanted to read it RIGHT THEN because waiting for things is SO 2018).
Profile Image for Garrison Kelly.
Author 12 books33 followers
December 18, 2021
Hannah Lee Kidder’s credentials as a writing coach are very well-earned as evidenced by this collection of shorts. From the beginning, you as the reader will be treated to descriptive writing that captures every aspect of the scene without bogging down the pace. In fact, the pace moves along quite nicely, like a smooth sleigh ride through the snow. The main characters are easy to root for due to their three-dimensional personalities and the development they go through in spite of the short word count of their respective stories. The subject matter is as dark as the horror genre suggests, but Kidder handles it in a sensitive enough way that it doesn’t come off as a nonstop trigger fest. If anybody is qualified for the job of bringing the audience a delightful read, it’s Hannah Lee Kidder.

Obviously, the longer stories of this collection are the ones that shine the most (which sounds like a Captain Obvious statement if I’ve ever heard one). My personal favorites are The Swamp Witch, Margrove, and Passing Ghosts. Longer stories mean that we get more time to see how awesome and fun these protagonists really are (another Captain Obvious statement). The witch in The Swamp Witch is easily the most colorful character in the book due to her crotchety personality meshing well with her good intentions. Margrove has a creative plot that involves trickery masquerading as magic and sorcery for unsuspecting marks. Passing Ghosts is just plain sweet since the ghost haunting the house is literally the only source of comfort that a little boy needs in an emotionally abusive home.

But just because I have favorites, doesn’t mean the book is without flaws. Flawed characters are always a joy to read about. Flawed stories? Not so much. There are shorter ones in this book that feel incomplete because of how abruptly they end and how confusing the context really is. Sliced is a shining example of this. Okay, so a dude has a bloody mouth and is stalking a girl on the street. Then what? Same thing with Contained: the protagonist watches a vent for a ragged man or a demon or whatever. Then what? There are a few stories in this book where you’ll be asking, “Then what?” a lot. I get that flash fiction isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It certainly misses with me sometimes. But even then, I want to feel satisfied by the story’s conclusion and I don’t even know what the conclusion means.

The book’s flaws are incredibly minor, which is why I’m giving it a B and not anything lower. I firmly believe in my heart of hearts that the longer stories which have room to breathe overshadow the incomplete ones. This collection is very much worth your time, especially around Halloween season when all the ghoulish stories hit differently. The page count is less than a hundred, so you’ve literally got nothing to lose and everything to gain. You’ve got a master class in descriptive writing. You’ve got character development in such a short time span. You’ve got all these lessons you can learn from someone who is a certified writing coach. By all means, pick up a copy today and prepare to be entertained and educated at the same time! You won’t regret a thing!
Profile Image for Digvi Shah.
31 reviews37 followers
July 27, 2020
“…she was like a rat in the way that you’d no idea it was there until it had eaten through your cookie tin and shat on every shelf of the pantry.”

I don’t typically read short stories, horror, or books in one sitting. Starlight by Hannah Lee Kidder is well worth the exception for all three. I received an advanced copy, in exchange for an honest review. And honestly? It’s pretty much amazing.

A collection of 12 short stories, Starlight is designed to unsettle you.

Kidder uses a combination of imagery – fair warning, it can be graphic and gory – and wording to achieve this. Phrases like “whip laugh”, “squeezing her ankle”, “his hands stammer or “the underbelly of her arms” aren’t enough to startle you out of the story but jarring, nonetheless. They demand attention and build the unease. The last one is actually something Kidder herself pointed out in one of her YouTube videos. This is a writer who never forgets the medium she is using, and if you’re looking for prose that excites, this is definitely worth the read.

My favorite part of this collection is how the author, and by extension, the reader, sympathizes with characters we normally wouldn’t – the cannibalistic witch, the homicidal daughter – and places others in the well-deserved spotlight – the abused son, the unwilling vampire. The stories have supernatural elements, but the focus is always on the humanity lurking underneath. Maybe that is what horror is supposed to do. To expose the darker side of humans and find complexity and understanding within it. If so, Starlight does a bang-up job.

Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t read a lot of short stories. Which means I also don’t know how to. There are some stories that are hardly a page or two long with no obvious plot or character. Stories like these, that veer in the flash fiction territory were interesting for me, personally. Because I had to read them multiple times to fully understand and appreciate the layers to them. I have a feeling I’ll be returning to this collection as a whole more than once anyway.

But my top picks are naturally the longer stories. Passing Ghosts, the final story of the collection, had me in unexpected tears by the end. It’s hands down my favorite, followed closely by Starlit Shadows. Since the collection doesn’t release till later in the year, I don’t want to reveal too much. But when you get your hands on it, you should definitely lookout for these two.
Profile Image for Jeff.
Author 8 books4 followers
October 19, 2020
Starlight is a dozen short stories perfectly placed to keep the reader engaged and eager to read just one more story.

You'll eagerly burn through short passages - most of which are so good you'll want to re-read them the moment you finish them - before working up to slightly longer tales, building up to the two longer pieces: Margrove in the middle, and Passing Ghosts at the end. I found myself reading it in two sittings, in exactly that fashion; reading up to and including Margrove first, then the whole second half later.

The stories alternate between highlighting the darkness passing for the human condition these days and showing us pinpricks of light in the very same darkness, glimmers of hope and possibility in an otherwise cold and uncaring void. Sometimes you're shown both of these perspectives in the same piece, which is where Starlight truly shines. You'll have to read it yourself to figure out which stories are which, but it's a journey you'll want to take more than once to truly absorb the magic the author has imbued in each of these gems.

Don't sleep on this one. Unlike her first collection, Little Birds, which had something for everyone, the entirety of Starlight is universally appealing, if you'll pardon the pun.
Profile Image for T.
171 reviews1 follower
October 21, 2020

Is what I was tempted to leave as the only review, with 5 stars. But I should get a little more into it than that.

Where Little Birds: a collection of short stories is contemporary, and thus outside my usual taste, Starlight is much more in my wheelhouse for the supernatural aspects of the stories, and the spooky bits.
But Little Birds and Starlight are similar in that the stories in both will tug on your heartstrings.

I think my 3 favorite stories from Starlight are Swamp Witch (which had the bonus of being read by Hannah aloud on her twitch stream), white rabbit(for similar reasons as Swamp Witch. And different ones. You'll have to read them to get an idea of what I'm talking about), and passing ghosts, which was a solid ending to cap off the book.
But those are far from the only strong stories in the book. You get 12 of them with this book and they're all very worth reading.
Profile Image for Christian Chacon.
19 reviews3 followers
October 26, 2020
4 or 5 Stars - 12 Strong, Impactful Stories Told in a Short Amount of Space

I really enjoyed this book and I feel as if it is an improvement from her last book which I also really enjoyed. If you enjoy dark, dramatic, prose (which I really like), Starlight has a lot of that. Nearly halfway through, I felt the urge to take a break because of how unsettling one of the stories was. A story that was only a page long.

I also really appreciate how the longer stories build-up to a satisfying pay-off. One of which, the last one, almost made me cry.

In regards to the cover, although I liked the minimalist art of the author's previous novel, I liked the cover of this one more. Another thing I felt was an improvement in regards to the book's aesthetics is the line spacing/size of the lettering. That's not something I expected to rate, however, those are my two cents on that.

This is a really good collection of flash fiction/short stories. The stories, characters, and prose are really good as well as the themes related to love and family. And again, the stories are dark, as well as violent.
Profile Image for Marina.
22 reviews24 followers
November 5, 2020
I am in awe

I've read Little Birds before, and I thought that that was gonna be my favourite of the two. I was wrong.

Kidder's writing was always amazing, always good, but theres something about this one. Something awesome about it. The stories are spooky, and do have some elements of horror like ghosts and such, but Starlight is a suckerpunch the heart. Usually I'm stone cold about my feelings toward characters, but I'm dying inside. I can feel my heart shrivelling up, breaking. It's a pain I havent felt since my grandfathers passing.

Every story I read I was like "this ones my favourite," until I reached Passing Ghosts, the final story, and my god. It's Kidder's best work so far. If she can top that one in her next collection I will surely not be able to bear the pain. I still want to cry, the only reason I'm not is that I'm sureounded by people. Its haunting. I wanna say more but I'm still heaving from getting the wind knocked out of me, so if I find more to say I'll edit this review.
2 reviews
January 4, 2021
Starlight is an amazing collection of short stories. It has everything a book needs, exceptional writing, intriguing concepts and ideas, captivating stories that leave you room to think on your own and interpret them however you feel. I had high expectations since I waited so long for it to arrive (2,5 months, thanks Book Depository) but Hannah Lee Kidder delivered. I was chilled to the bone while reading it at the crack of dawn (a questionable choice, but would recommend). I couldn't even look at it critically (something I do quite often as an English major) because I was fully captured by the stories, every single one of them. I loved the ending, leaving you with an overall bittersweet feeling you won't be able to shake off for a few hours. The most important thing for me though when it comes to a book is if it doesn't leave me alone at night, if it inhabits my thoughts at daylight. Starlight certainly accomplished that, I still keep revisiting most of the stories in my head, trying to find meaning, trying to see where the ink trail ends. Probably the best short stories collection I've read until now, and probably until Kidder's next collection.
Profile Image for Karleigh.
7 reviews
February 7, 2023
Detailed rating: 4.5/5
I've been following Hannah Lee Kidder on Youtube for a while and decided to grab Starlight for myself! I don't reach for short story collections often, but it was a nice change of pace. I really appreciated the horror elements as well—don't read this before bed if you want to avoid second-guessing every shape in your room!
Kidder does a great job at evoking certain emotions with each story, doing so through simple yet punchy prose. It's precise, to the point, and can feel rather gut-wrenching. I can certainly see where her editing prowess comes into play.
I favored the longer stories since they offered more to connect with. The shorter ones were more lost on me, so I took off .5 from the rating. Other than that, it was a pleasure to read, and I was left feeling incredibly uneasy afterward. Well done!
("The Swamp Witch" and "Passing Ghosts" were my favourites!)
Profile Image for Slaidey Valheim.
Author 6 books3 followers
April 22, 2021
Starlight was great, I'm glad I picked it up. As I didn't let my bias in liking Hannah Lee Kidder as a person influence my ratings on her last work, I was a little worried going into this one, but I am happy, surprised, and impressed!

Whatever hadn't worked for me in "Little Birds" is now on-point in Starlight. Where the former collection had felt like a jumble of genres/quality this one hit a consistent vibe of short horror.

I really enjoyed how refined each story felt in its writing. You can tell they were meticulously cut to be concise as possible.
Even if I couldn't dissect a specific point to a story, they were fun to read, and held a consistent tone throughout the collection.

I would of course, have like it to be longer but that's not the point of this genre. I'll gladly pick up the next collection Kidder puts out. 4.5/5 Stars!
Profile Image for Nikki.
2 reviews
October 11, 2020

The joy! The sorrow! The emotional roller coaster of a one-page story!

Mostly I’m emotional over the palpable improvement between Hannah’s writing in this collection versus her previous collection. This isn’t a knock on Little Birds, which was good in its own right—Starlight is something special though. The heart and imagination and care in each story is beautiful.

Though I envy Hannah’s ability to say so much in so few works, I think she’s at her best in the longer works, where she has more room to flex the strength of her characterizations. The Swamp Witch and Margrove were my favorites.

There is so much heart in here, and I’m grateful to have been able to witness it.
Profile Image for Isobel.
398 reviews9 followers
February 28, 2021
Nabbed an e-copy because it was on sale for 99 cents, and I have seen her editing videos on Youtube, which made me curious about the author's writing. Overall, unfortunately, this collection was not for me. I think the majority of the short stories may be flash fiction, which I hadn't realized, and which, to be honest, don't often feel like a complete story to me. This may be my ignorance, but a lot of the stories felt more like a glimpse, or a character sketch, to me, than a story.

The story "White Rabbit," though, I loved. This story, in particular, was unpredictable and dark and interesting, and the main character experiences a change. This story causes me to think I might like a novel or more short stories where a change occurs.
Profile Image for Rosalyn Briar.
Author 8 books121 followers
August 10, 2020
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

I loved every moment of Starlight! I thought the writing was fantastic. Each story was either delightfully creepy or emotionally moving.

I flew through the collection and plan to go back and reread all of the stories. My favorite was "Passing Ghosts" because it was so moving.

Sometimes, reading works by those who offer advice about writing can be a let down...but Starlight PROVES that Hannah Lee Kidder knows her craft! I highly recommend this brilliant collection to anyone who loves spooky stories or to anyone who wants to learn how to write impactful short stories.
Profile Image for July.
13 reviews6 followers
November 9, 2020
5 stars.

A lovely short story collection without a single miss. Kidder manages the delicate balance of creating variety while maintaining a cohesive theme and mood and does it beautifully. The atmosphere Kidder creates with just a few words is just stunning.
It's a little sad, and a lot heartbreaking, and a little spooky, and a little hopeful, and so very very human. I won't claim I've already understood all the stories, especially some of the tiny ones, but they were engaging and beautifully crafted just the same; and since I'm planning on rereading this anyways, it will give me something to ponder.
July 24, 2020
(I received an ARC for free, although was not forced to review this book.)

Starlight contains a number of short stories, each of which does an amazing job of setting the scene and making you feel those shivers. The stories are not completely gruesome, but rather just twisted enough to make you re-think everything. The writing is impeccable, the descriptions eerily beautiful, and the dialogue just right. Definitely one for the coffee table, although make sure you have someone to hug if you are going to read Passing Ghosts.
Profile Image for R.L. Davennor.
Author 13 books141 followers
October 17, 2020
Starlight will keep you up at night, but not just because of it's spooky flavor. There's so much tragedy and hope masterfully woven into tales so well-crafted I couldn't tear my eyes away even when they were brimming with tears. The Swamp Witch and Margrove were my personal favorites, but even the shortest pieces of flash fiction left me thinking about them for hours, and sometimes days.

Hannah Lee Kidder is a master of her craft, and whether you came here to feel something or learn, you will find both—and more.

Profile Image for Nancy.
9 reviews
October 19, 2020
A fantastic spooky read

Hannah Lee Kidder is absolutely the master of written word. It's so exciting to see such a wonderfully written collection of spooky fiction. There is such a care to detail that is refreshing to read. 

I loved every story in this book. My favorites were “Margrove��� and “Passing Ghosts.” I felt every second of their lives. The unexpected twists and turns blew me away. 

This was the first spooky story I have read in a very long time and it was beyond worth it. 

The darkness in the tone does a book good. Anything of hers, I enthusiastically  await.
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