REVIEWED BY JULIANA LEAL FOR READER VIEWS (02/17)

In “12 Random Words/12 Palabras al Azar” by Fabiana Elisa Martínez, you will find a beautiful collection of very short stories in which the author describes every character and every place in a unique way.
It is very easy to get immersed in such an excellent way of writing. Your imagination will fly and will transport you to the place she is describing and you will feel what she wants the reader to perceive.
Each story is full of so many feelings, wanting to continue knowing more about the characters. I enjoyed every story but especially Door/Puerta, in which she writes:

“He’ll be here soon. Breathe. Smile. Relax. You will never live this waiting again. Steal this moment. Feel a window opening your chest, much bigger and wider than the three sad windows that only look at a gray wall. Listen! That is the elevator. Those are his steps. Lay your head on the pillow, close your eyes. The key is clicking easily and the hinges are singing. He is opening the door. He is in.”

And the story, Highs/Alturas:

“The sun of her hair and the sea of her eyes are the posthumous presents from my friend to me. My heart leaps high inside my chest, and I know that I am not dead and will not be for a long time to come.”


I love how she describes every moment with so much detail. So human, with a beautiful touch and surprising endings.
“12 Random Words/12 Palabras al Azar” by Fabiana Elisa Martínez is truly a piece of art that you will enjoy as well as the contrast in reading in two languages. Where it can be a great instrument of learning on how to write and read in English and in Spanish.

REVIEWED BY RACHEL MCGRATH OF READERS FAVORITE

12 Random Words/12 Palabras al Azar: A Bilingual Collection written by Fabiana Elisa Martínez is a wonderful collection of short stories. The author cleverly takes twelve random words and from this she builds a story around them. It is the concept of this book that appealed to me initially, but upon finishing the collection it is the writing that completely drew me in. Every story is built with very strong characters, descriptive surroundings and a storyline that is unique and appealing. Very quickly, I found comfort and poise in the author’s style of writing, the way she brings you into the stories and keeps you turning pages with every twist of the plot. The author also writes all the stories in both English and Spanish so the collection will certainly engage and reach a much broader audience.

What I enjoyed most about 12 Random Words/12 Palabras al Azar: A Bilingual Collection is that it can be read in one sitting, or you can pick it up and read a story, and put it down. The stories each have their own uniqueness, and some I found that I was tagging as a favourite. The complex human emotions and the intrigue of each story will keep readers wanting to turn to the next story, and wanting more. Fabiana Elisa Martínez has a gift for storytelling, and I highly recommend this interesting and unique collection of short stories that are structured in a bilingual format that gave this book a unique edge to it.

REVIEWED BY ALI ASIM PITAFI FOR AMAZON (05/16)

The writer has a grip of language as well as human feelings. The book is very well written with intense capturing potential pulling you deep into each of the short stories. The flow is also remarkable with an existential level grip that you do feel reading it. This is also a great study help for the foreign language students learning English/Spanish. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

REVIEWED BY M.A. ROONEY, PhD FOR AMAZON (04/16)

These compelling vignettes are so artfully sketched that the reader is left both with the pleasure of surprise endings, and with lingering “what ifs” tantalizing the mind, gifts that only a good story can bestow. One knows the author has an astute eye for unmasking the reasoning and passions underlying human interactions. The beauty of this volume is that the character descriptions and narrative developments are equally wonderful in English and in Spanish. I enjoyed each story, but especially Puzzles /Rompecabezas, Stories/Historias/Pisos, and Highs/Alturas. There were several sentences that were so beautifully structured this would also be an excellent book for those contrasting how to write in either language. I bought a copy for my children's Spanish teacher. Really very impressive how cleverly constructed are these short stories. Looking forward to more from this author!

REVIEWED BY HEATHER CARLILE FOR AMAZON (05/16)

With these twelve (plus a thirteenth) stories settled into my thoughts, I find my words, my sentences and my writing somehow wanting to be poetic and fearlessly constructed without concern for art or aesthetic being considered precious.
The "12 Random Words" book is not just a casual little read. If you don't savor every exotic sentence, you will miss something. Read with full attention like when, eyes shut, we pop a handmade bonbon in our mouths.

Fabiana Martínez has a comfort with finding the mythic even in our world today. Her stories follow the echoes of the great writers and pierce, artfully, through modern stories and modern culture. She succeeds in fulfilling those intentions of telling the universal tales of relationships, of hearts of men and women without the clumsiness that we see when an opera is moved from its historic era to modern-day sets and costumes. Fabiana’s stories are satisfying to my hope that writers with understanding of humanity’s breadth and depth continue to be schooled...so that fine authors are not figures of history but continuing to live, love and express in these times. Bravissima!

REVIEWED BY DOUGLAS D. BOX, M.A. FOR AMAZON (03/17)

I just really enjoyed 12 Random Words (or 12 Palabras al Azar) by Fabiana Martínez. It's a beautiful book and the author has put together an eclectic set of whimsical short stories that takes the reader on a funny, poignant and ever-twisting journey. This collection serves as a touching commentary on the human condition and I found it hard not to be drawn into the author's writing style. I particularly appreciated that it was bilingual because as a former student of Spanish, it was nice to first read the chapter in English and then switch over to the back of the book and read the same words in Spanish. This allowed me to pretend that I could actually understand each word of these delightful stories. I am proud to have 12 Random Words be a part of my library and I know you will, too.

REVIEWED BY IRVING M. ROTHMAN, Ph D. FOR AMAZON (05/16)

This is a very impressive book. The sensitive and artistic depiction of her friend's funeral in "Highs" was memorable with "a tear falling over the whole injustice of his early death at sixty-two." So much expression is found in but a few words. One is moved by the poignancy of Britney's death in the chapter "Envy" with the brief statement, "Your fend Britney isn't going to be at school for a while." A relationship begins with a key in the door: "Another breath. Is the door's lock mocking your irrational love? Isn't it counterclockwise and counterintuitive? He gave you the key to let you into his new world in his own city. Open the door. Barge in and try to stay." One is excited by the agglomeration of unique words and the anticipation of the relationship that will follow with her entrance and hope that all will prove successful. Author Martínez sets up situations and follows through with logic bathed in emotion.

Sincerely,
Irving N. Rothman, Ph.D.
Professor of English and American Literature
Department of English
University of Houston

REVIEWED BY G.L. ROTHMAN FOR AMAZON (08/16)

The most delicious part of this book is that each short story cracks a window onto a rich world beyond. It repays a slow careful reading - and re-reading - as it plants clues and limns characters. It's a special pleasure.

REVIEWED BY P.S. MERAUX FOR GOODREADS (11/17)

This collection of short stories is very entertaining on the surface and yet hidden in the cleverly structured paragraphs there are deeper meanings which resonate and make you stop and think about the story and its implications on a greater level.
Fabiana’s writing style is tight and descriptive, often focusing on a single detail, invoking concrete images and emotions. This economy of speech is a sign to me of a writer who is also not afraid to be an editor -- fine tuning each sentence so that it becomes an art form. 
My favorite story was 'smoking' mainly because of the boy’s description of the doctor’s mole and his disgust of it and yet we discover that even though the kid is very judgmental on the surface he is also fiercely protective of those he loves. 

REVIEWED BY TARA LEWIS FOR GOODREADS (07/16)

12 Random Words - a wonderful collection of short stories worthy of The New Yorker - is to be read slowly and savored. The title of each story is truly a "random word" given in a series of creative writing assignments to this amazing first time author. Presented in a highly original format, each story can be read both in English and in Spanish. The stories will take you to places, familiar and unknown, places in her country and ours, places of the heart and of the mind. As you read, you physically feel the anticipation of new love and the depths of profound loss. This is one not to be missed!

REVIEWED BY RACHEL MCGRATH FOR GOODREADS (04/17)

12 Random Words/12 Palabras al Azar: A Bilingual Collection written by Fabiana Elisa Martínez is a wonderful collection of short stories. The author cleverly takes twelve random words and from this she builds a story around them. It is the concept of this book that appealed to me initially, but upon finishing the collection it is the writing that completely drew me in. Every story is built with very strong characters, descriptive surroundings and a storyline that is unique and appealing. Very quickly, I found comfort and poise in the author’s style of writing, the way she brings you into the stories and keeps you turning pages with every twist of the plot. The author also writes all the stories in both English and Spanish so the collection will certainly engage and reach a much broader audience.

What I enjoyed most about 12 Random Words/12 Palabras al Azar: A Bilingual Collection is that it can be read in one sitting, or you can pick it up and read a story, and put it down. The stories each have their own uniqueness, and some I found that I was tagging as a favourite. The complex human emotions and the intrigue of each story will keep readers wanting to turn to the next story, and wanting more. Fabiana Elisa Martínez has a gift for storytelling, and I highly recommend this interesting and unique collection of short stories that are structured in a bilingual format that gave this book a unique edge to it.