Review: The Red Coat

In these nine heart wrenching stories, Vidhipssa Mohan explores the lives of Indian women and the problems they face and have been facing through the ages. These women are caught between who they really are and what society expects them to be. The stories are poignant, suffused with joy, pain and suffering.

In the title story, “The Red Coat”, a young student understands the price you have to pay for your dreams when you come from poverty. In “Going Home”, a young girl understands what home really is. In “Noises”, the father of a young bride understands what it means to be a woman in the 18th century India.

In this collection the author tells the story of a number of different characters in varying situations, but always illustrating many of the challenges Indian women have faced in the past and continue to face today. It is obvious that some of these subjects are dear to the author as there is real life within some of the stories.

The writing was very simplistic at times and sometimes didn’t flow as well as I would have liked it to, but there were also some passages and paragraphs that were beautifully descriptive and had real emotion woven into them. This was especially evident in the moments when we are getting the internal thoughts of the characters.

Overall the collection was insightful and in some ways a heart wrenching read. It really was a glimpse into some of the struggles that not only Indian women but women in general can face.

Thank you again to the author for reaching out to me and giving me the opportunity to read her book. Happy reading!

Review: Grumpy Old Gods

What happens when gods wane, retire, or just decide they need a change of employment?

13 writers took up the challenge and let their imaginations run wild in this anthology that is nearly-always amusing, somewhat insightful, and completely irreverent as we imagine the gods of yore in retirement.

The premise of this book alone was able to interest me. Anything incorporating mythology will typically pique my interest, so when it was pitched to me as a short story collection with gods who are perhaps…past their prime.

I loved the hijinks that were detailed in the stories. Some stories were based on either one god within one mythology, while others had a lovely mix of different cultures and religions. So many of the stories ended up being hilarious as the gods had to cope with their retirement or advanced ages in worlds that perhaps didn’t worship them anymore.

I can’t think of any particular story that I didn’t enjoy, but there were definitely some that were absolute gems and left me laughing and thinking about them for a while afterwards.

Happy reading!

Review: Scream and Scream Again

Being an 80s/90s kid, I was ecstatic when I heard that a new anthology was being released by none other than R.L. Stine, full of scary stories.  I was determined to pick it up and make it one of my reads during October.  Scream and Scream Again is an anthology of 20 spooky stories that either begin or end with a scream – or both.

scream and scream againI was a little disappointed that none of the stories were truly scary, but I was entertained none the less.  Every story had a unique concept and setting.  These stories are definitely middle grade and are perfect to feed your Goosebumps or Are You Afraid of the Dark? cravings. While it wasn’t exactly what I expected, it was still enjoyable and a fun time.

Some of my favorite stories in the collection were Kamikaze Iguanas by Alison McMahan, Area Code 666 by Carter Wilson and The Unknown Patriot by Chris Grabenstein.

I hope this is just one in a long line of new stories and books from R.L. Stine.  For me this book was more nostalgic than anything else.  It took me back to the times when I read Fear Street and similar books as a teen.  Be sure to check it out if slightly spooky and funny stories are what you are looking for!

Happy reading!

Anthology Appreciation

Not everyone enjoys anthologies, but they are some of my favorites.  I’ve always been a lover of the short story and that love was fostered by some teachers who also thought they were a great medium.  In some ways they can be more difficult to write as they must be much more concise and concentrated than a full length novel.  In this post I’m going to talk about a few I’ve recently read as well as some of my favorites.  All pictures of the covers will be linked to the book’s Amazon page so that you can pick them up if you want to.

Recently I was given the opportunity through NetGalley to read two anthologies which recently came out.  They were very different genres and subjects, but I thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

Toil and Trouble CoverToil and Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft, which was edited by Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood, included stories that represented a number of cultures, mythologies and genres.  My detailed review of each story is on my Goodreads so I won’t rehash that here, but I can say that while there were some stories I didn’t enjoy as much as others it was an enjoyable read.  It would be perfect for reading not only around Halloween, but anytime during the year.

The other anthology I received on NetGalley was Fresh Ink, which was done in Fresh Ink Coverpartnership with We Need Diverse Books.  Having already read Flying Lessons, I was super excited to be able to read this one ahead of time.  I wish there were more anthologies like these two as they explore topics and situations that often need to be explored and discussed by wider audiences.  Again, I didn’t love every story in this anthology, but it exposed me to a number of authors I had not previously read. That’s another great thing about anthologies, you get to read stories from so many authors who you often may not have read from before.

My True Love Gave To Me CoverI have a number of anthologies on my bookshelves, so picking out Summer Days and Summer Nights Coverfavorites is not always an easy task.  I have anthologies in different genres and with different subject matter, but I’ve chosen a few that I really loved when I read them.  My True Love Gave to Me and Summer Days & Summer Nights are collections which were edited by Stephanie Perkins. One has love stories based in the winter while the other is set during the summer (bonus, the story in Summer Days & Summer Nights by Perkins is a continuation of the story she wrote for My True Love Gave to Me and I LOVED them both).

Slasher Girls and Monster BoysSlasher Girls and Monster Boys and Unnatural Creatures both tackle Unnatural Creaturesdarker subjects and were both amazing. They are perfect to read closer to Halloween and each have a spooky vibe that I enjoyed immensely.  There are some stories in them which are definitely not for the faint of heart.  I especially loved that Unnatural Creatures was edited by Neil Gaiman.  A lot of the stories in these two anthologies had great twists and were very addictive.

Meet CuteMeet Cute is an anthology purely about the initial interactions between characters that lead to a romance, or the “Meet Cute.” There are some stories in this one that are absolutely amazing and each one leaves you wanting more, but in a good way.

 

Do you enjoy anthologies and short stories in general? Feel free to comment and let me know!  Happy reading!