Roar- 30 Women, 30 Stories

Roar

How did I get it?:
It was a gift from Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Have you ever stood at a crossroads, undecided? Have you ever had a moment when you wanted to roar?

From much-loved, international bestseller Cecelia Ahern come stories for all of us: the women who befriend us, the women who encourage us, the women who make us brave. From The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared to The Woman Who Returned and Exchanged her Husband, discover thirty touching, often hilarious, stories and meet thirty very different women. Each discovers her strength; each realizes she holds the power to make a change.

Witty, tender, surprising, these keenly observed tales speak to us all, and capture the moment when we all want to roar.

Thoughts:

It’s really hard to review a book of short stories as it’s such a mixed bag. There are some fantastic stories within the pages and some that I could have done without, although that being said, that’s the case for most short story collections. Instead, I noted down some words as I was reading that I thought best described this book. Here they are:

I think this is a fantastic book to read if you’re looking for short stories that are a little different. They all start with The Woman Who… There was a great range of stories all carrying a message, some that made me stop and think and some that made me laugh out loud!

Would I recommend it?
Yes! 3.5 stars

A collection where I think there will be at least one story that everyone can connect with!

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Banned Books #55- Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread

Banner made by Luna @ Lunaslittlelibrary

Welcome to this month’s edition of Banned Books. This month we read Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahnuik.

Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread
First published: 2015
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2016 (source)
Reasons: profanity, sexual explicitness and being “disgusting and all around offensive.”

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: As this collection was first published only a few years ago now, my answers for the first two questions in this post are going to be similar as it’s a relatively recent release. I have to be honest and say I had a really hard time reading this book and am now having an even tougher time trying to answer these questions. If you follow our Banned Books series I think you’ll probably realise that I don’t think any book should be challenged or banned however if it were a situation within a school library, perhaps access should be monitored when we think about more controversial books. However, I haven’t read that many banned books in this series so far where I think access should be limited – perhaps apart from the graphic novel Saga in a primary school situation. This is one of those cases where I think (in my personal opinion) that Stories You Can’t Unread isn’t particularly suitable in an educational setting. That is not to say I agree with it being challenged or banned, I think I’ve already made my opinion clear on that but with this collection, I can unfortunately see why parents might have issues with it if their child brought it home from the library.

CHRISSI: In an educational setting, I can totally understand why it’s challenged/banned. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable with teenagers reading this book. I, myself, felt very uncomfortable through several of the stories. I think the author has an incredibly aggressive writing style, that I couldn’t get on with. Would I want it to be banned in general? No. The author clearly has an audience and I imagine so many would enjoy his writing. Me, however? No. It’s certainly not for me. I could barely read some of them because they were incredibly twisted. I like twisted but there’s a line, for me personally, and I think this book crossed that line.

How about now?:

BETH: Should Stories You Can’t Unread be challenged/banned? Well, no I believe people should be able to access all works of literature if they want and not be subject to rules or regulations that prevent them having that freedom of choice. Do I agree with the reasons that it was challenged? Well, not agree but it’s one of those rare times that I do understand the potential problems that this collection has raised. I don’t have a particular issue with profanity but I know a lot of people do and this collection doesn’t hold back on that count. The same is true for sexuality which can be incredibly graphic in some of the stories and not necessarily to everyone’s taste as some of the tales are quite twisted regarding sex. I’m not easily offended and the stories in this book didn’t shock me so as to speak but I did find myself reading some of them with a little bit of a grimace nevertheless. Especially the stallion story – say no more!

CHRISSI: Like Beth, I’m not easily offended. Yet, there’s something about this book that didn’t sit right for me. There’s too way much content that could offend others and the writing style just made me feel uneasy. I know the author makes you want to feel that way and he was highly successful with this book. I don’t think any book should be banned because I believe every person should be able to read what they want. However, challenged in education? Yes.

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: I think the thing is with Chuck Palahniuk is that he likes being shocking and deliberately controversial. You have to take the stories you read in here with a pinch of salt, open your mind as wide as it could possibly go and prepare to be a little bit grossed out by what you’re about to read. If that’s not your thing and you are sensitive or easily offended, this collection definitely isn’t for you. I like to think of myself as quite open-minded and I only had a very strong reaction to a couple of the stories in this book but my problem was that there only seemed to be a few pieces that I genuinely felt interested in. The rest of the stories just didn’t seem as well constructed and none of them (even the intriguing ones) ended satisfactorily which was just frustrating for me as a reader. I’ve still to read some of the author’s novels but as a short story writer, I just don’t think he’s for me.

CHRISSI: I didn’t like it at all. I don’t often come out and say that. I usually look for positives, however, for me, I felt too uncomfortable and I didn’t enjoy the author’s tone.

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: Probably not.

CHRISSI: It’s not for me!- I couldn’t get into the author’s writing style and certainly won’t be reading more from him.

The Killing Type

The Killing Type: A short story from the bestselling author of My Husband’s Wife

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Penguin Books UK

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Susie and her sister have never been close. These days they barely speak. So when Danielle messages her out of the blue and begs to meet, Susie knows something must be wrong.

But what Danielle tells her seems crazy. Her husband, Simon, may be a bully, but surely he wouldn’t hurt her?

Then the accident happens. And Susie is forced to rethink everything.

Who is lying?
Who is telling the truth?
And who, really, is the killing type?

Thoughts:

I’m not usually into short stories. I don’t think I’ve read many thrillers that were short stories, so I was intrigued to read The Killing Type. I have enjoyed Jane Corry’s books in the past, so I thought I’d give this story a go. I’m glad I did, because I found it entertaining and easy to whip through. The perfect novella to read in-between stories.

The Killing Type centres around Susie and Danielle. We get the impression that they’re not very close with one another. However, they’re still sisters. There’s some massive drama surrounding Simon, the husband… Then six months down the line, Simon is dead. Who killed him? Did he really try to hurt the sisters? It’s all a bit confusing.

In true Jane Corry style, she whips through the story with twists and turns along the way. It may not be as well developed as you may like, but you can’t really expect that in a short story. It certainly entertained me and that was its intention!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

I’m not usually a fan of short stories but I enjoyed this one from Jane Corry!

Summer Days and Summer Nights

Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to St Martin’s Press

Synopsis:

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Review on a note:

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Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Fairy Tale Friday: The Cat And The Mouse Set Up House

Thanks to Luna for making Fairy Chrissi!

The next fairy tale in my Philip Pullman collection of Grimm Tales was the fable-esque The Cat And The Mouse Set Up House.

The Cat And The Mouse Set Up House is simply a fable. The cat and the mouse live together, and store a jar of fat for the coming winter in a church. The sneaky cat disappears off to eat a little under the pretence that he is going to a christening at a church as he is Godfather of a new kitten. The cat disappears three times and each time he lies to the mouse about his true whereabouts!

When the mouse finally works out what has been happening, the cat decides to gobble him up too!

I thought this was a fantastic fable. I hadn’t heard of it before, but I absolutely loved how wicked the cat was!

Next fairy tale: The Boy Who Left Home To Find Out About The Shivers!

Fairy Tale Friday: The Frog King OR Iron Heinrich

Thanks to Luna for making Fairy Chrissi!

Thanks to Luna for making Fairy Chrissi!

My Fairy Tale Friday feature will start with highlighting some wonderful fairy tales. The first collection of fairy tales that I am going to use is Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales for Young And Old. I’m kicking off this feature with The Frog King also known as Iron Heinrich.

The Frog King/Iron Heinrich was so familar to me, but I certainly didn’t read the Brothers Grimm version!

The story involves a beautiful Princess (of course) who lost her golden ball in the well. A frog helped her out, but only if she promised to have him her as a companion- to love and to cherish and care for. The Princess agreed to get her ball back and didn’t think the frog would hold her to her promise. He did though, and went to find the princess so he could dine with her and sleep next to her. The King holds the Princess to her promise despite the princess moaning about the frog’s ugliness!

The part I didn’t remember was the Princess throwing the frog against the wall in frustration and this beheaded him, which turned him back into a Prince. He had been enchanted by a witch and the Princess had broken the spell. Then comes a strange part in the fairy tale, where the next day the Prince’s servant comes to take him to the palace, as the Prince and the Princess are travelling, the coach cracks. The Prince believes its breaking down but his servant tells him that the noise is the bands in the servant’s heart, which cracked when the Prince was suffering, and that seem to continue to crack now the Prince is happy.

Of course, this story is so familar to many. I remember the version I read involved the Princess having to kiss the frog to turn him back into a Prince. I think this is definitely the more child friendly version! Disney’s The Princess and The Frog is loosely based on this story. I think the Brothers Grimm’s version makes you think… Philip Pullman notes the moral implications of the repulsive frog turning into a handsome Prince which he believes becomes a metaphor for central human experience!

Next Fairy Tale- The Cat and The Mouse Set Up House!

Love Hurts

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How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Random House Children’s Publishers UK

Synopsis:

Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak and Patrick Ness, and with a brand-new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.

Thoughts:

I was SO excited about this book. However, I was a little disappointed when I got to it. I thought that this book was going to be original stories from some authors that I loved. There are some great original stories in there, but they’re few and far between. What I actually found was that I skipped a lot of these stories- either because I had read them already and didn’t feel like reading them again…or I have the full book waiting to be read and I didn’t want it to spoil it.

I don’t want to put people off this book though as the extracts from the authors I love like Malorie Blackman and Patrick Ness are such high quality writing- it’s just not what I wanted from this collection of short stories. James Dawson’s original story is good and well worth reading.

This book would be perfect for those wanting to dip into some of these author’s writing or to read the original content that there is. I love the range of diversity there is within this collection.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Some good original content, but don’t expect to go into the book with fresh, new material from all of the authors!