Reader Review Wrap Up and Giveaway for Elizabeth Maria Naranjo's What Was Never There

Friday, June 07, 2024
What Was Never There by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo

Today, I'm thrilled to share a reader review event for Elizabeth Maria Naranjo's short story collection, What Was Never There.  

About the book:

A mother and daughter lost in the woods must overcome their worst fears to find their way back. A father going through a divorce witnesses a seemingly impossible motorcycle accident, which forces him to question the truth of his own perceptions. A little boy with a terrible secret routinely steals away at night to meet a girl beneath a willow tree—only to discover she has a secret of her own.

What Was Never There is a collection of short stories with the common theme of memory, or rather, the way memory haunts us.

Includes Pushcart Prize nominated stories “We Never Get to Talk Anymore” and “The Dinosaur Graveyard” and the award-winning “Windows,” selected for Best Microfiction 2023.

ISBN-13: 979-8866571697
Publisher: Independent (December 2023)
Length: 276 Pages

What Was Never There is available in print and as an ebook at Amazon. Add it to your Goodreads list.

What Was Never There by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo Reader Review Event and Giveaway

Here is what WOW! readers had to say about What Was Never There by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo:

Rosh says: An indie short story collection with a mix of emotional and bittersweet tales. The writing is exceptional, but the endings could have worked better for me as many fail to provide resolution. A great option for those who are more about the journey than about the destination. (Read the full review here:

Katherine says: What Was Never There got me interested just from the title. The premise is gripping. I wanted to find out more. It sounded so mysterious. The first story was just perfect to start the book off and left me feeling warm, fuzzy and satisfied. I eagerly progressed through the book and enjoyed it so much. (Read the full review here: (

Beth says: I was pleasantly surprised to find variety in the collection and especially liked the varied lengths of the stories in this collection. The author has a beautiful talent for imagery and placing her reader in the scene. (I have a willow tree in my front yard and can attest to how magical it is to step under it!) (Read the full review here:

Angela says: What a captivating short story collection! I enjoyed the variety of stories in What Was Never There by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo. What ties them together is a cohesive style, which comes from Elizabeth’s sparkling prose, authentic characters, and atmospheric settings. Reading one is like having lived in a dream with all its vivid surrealism. I couldn’t stop thinking about these stories and their open endings, which are very much alive and breathing. (Read the full review here:

Leslie says: These stories are filled with wonder, too. There was really nothing off the table for this author. I really enjoyed how she wrote her stories to engage the reader (ok, me!), and this is an author that I wouldn’t mind reading more from in the future. (Read the full review here:

Lily says: A beautiful collection of short stories, many of which will tug at your heart strings. Each story is unique, and often deal with difficult themes. Memory and the past that shape us are complicated things, and change people differently. Naranjo did an amazing job of drawing you into each story, and while they vary in length, I wouldn’t mind spending more time with the characters in some. The stories that revolved around the memories of children were the most memorable for me, but each story sticks with you a bit after you finish. Overall, the short stories have a literary fiction vibe, but shorter than what you’d normally associate with that genre. Definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a collection of emotional short stories. (Read the full review here:

Andrea says: As a reader, I find it difficult to resist the allure of a well written short story, so when I came across Elizabeth Maria Naranjo’s collection in her book, What Was Never There, I was thrilled. In this collection, Ms. Naranjo brings to the forefront the things we fear, the things that cause us to worry, the things that make our blood simmer with dread, and has spun them into tales woven deeply with both imagination and realism. From the first story to the last I was captivated - instantly immersed in worlds and scenarios that left me satisfied yet curious. All the while contemplating the fact that it is not the trials we face, but how we deal with them that truly matters. What Was Never There is a collection of short stories worthy of reading, and one that I will surely turn to again and again. (Read the full review here:

Anthony says: Thoughtful, imaginative, and engaging author Elizabeth Maria Naranjo’s What Was Never There is a must-read short story collection. The fast pace and compelling storytelling instantly draw the reader in, and the emotional connection they make with each story will make them eager for more of this author's moving work. (Read the full review here:

Allie says: I am so happy that it was suggested that I read and review Elizabeth Maria Naranjo's book of short stories, What Was Never There. What a delight! Elizabeth has a way of writing that is lyrical and poetic. Each story was engaging and I was drawn in by her beautiful, descriptive words. While each story was different, her style remained consistent. I have read some reviews where the reader felt that the stories did not come to a clear conclusion. I, personally, like a story that allows the reader to think and, perhaps, come to their own conclusion. It is a good story, or book, when the reader is left thinking about what happened. I look forward to reading more from Elizabeth Maria Naranjo! (Read the full review here:

About the author, Elizabeth Maria Naranjo:

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo is the author of The Fourth Wall, The House on Linden Way, and What Was Never There. Her stories and essays have been widely published and nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best American Essays, and Best of the Net, and her short story, “Windows,” was selected for Best Microfiction 2023. She lives in Tempe, Arizona, with her husband and two children.

Visit her website at
Twitter/X: @emarianaranjo

What Was Never There by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

Enter to win a copy of the short story collection, What Was Never There by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo! Fill out the Rafflecopter form for a chance to win. The giveaway ends June 20th at 11:59 CT. We will choose a winner the next day and announce in the widget and also follow up via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Elizabeth Maria Naranjo said...

Thank you to all of the reviewers, and good luck on the giveaway, everyone!

Anonymous said...

Thank you

Anonymous said...


Joe K said...

Looks like a good read!

kywave said...

I've been looking for a new collection of short stories

Crystal Otto said...

This is such a great collection - thank you Elizabeth for sharing your talents! I am so thankful to be a part of promoting your books and I love reading all these fabulous reviews!

Heather Swanson said...

Do you write in a daily journal?

AshleyS said...

I've recently gotten into reading short stories. I'm adding this to my list.

Anonymous said...

Who is the winner of the giveaway? I haven’t found it yet?

Anonymous said...

Thank you! And where is the winner posted?

Angela Mackintosh said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thank you for your question! The winner was randomly selected via Rafflecopter and displayed in the Rafflecopter widget automatically. We also followed up via email. The winner is "Allie."

Thank you everyone for entering, and if you didn't win, please check out Elizabeth Maria Naranjo's What Was Never There on Amazon. :)

Happy summer reading!

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