Strange Secrets But Are They Too Strange?

When I received this book I was intrigued, being promised 'strange' from the out can go a number of ways; creepy, quirky, informative, things you'd never think of etc. In this case, Strange Secrets left me curious from the cover.

I was contacted by Strange Books and asked if I wanted to review the latest book 'Strange Secrets' by Mike Russell, as an avid reader and general bookworm I was kind of excited to review this book full of short stories about the strange and unusual. It's Mike Russell's third short story collection, so I thought I'd be in for a treat.

I started this collection of stories with an open and inquisitive mind:

The first story I read was definitely on the 'strange' wavelength and definitely not my usual kind of reading so it was good to experience something new.
As I progressed with the collection I did find that this book was definitely not to my usual tastes - the stories are interesting, with twists and turns and some unexpected endings, but sadly it just couldn't grip me the way a full length novel would. As people we are often creatures of habit, it seems that one of my habits is liking to get stuck in to a book with in depth exploration of the story - I was left with questions after reading Strange Secrets, the oddities within the book not quite having answers for me but I suppose that is also part of its whimsy. With a full length novel we are usually left asking some things, but perhaps not as much as this little book of curiosities.

The writing is surreal and creative, the story of the puppeteer is one story that I couldn't get out of my head - not being able to quite work out what it was all about and how the puppeteer came to be in such a situation - I'd have loved a bit more background on this because it's something that my dreams seem to be fascinated with at the moment. I'm a simple creature in that sense, I like to know how things work and the stories just don't make sense to me - but that I suppose, is the point. Much like with Salvador Dali's art, you are often left wondering - is that the epitome of a true artist/storyteller?

To be truthful, I was left quite unsettled by the stories in this book, it doesn't quite sit right with me. The narrative doesn't quite have the beginning, middle and end that I would usually enjoy as a lot is left to the mind to question. I often prefer a book to escape to a better place, or at least a more appealing world, the worlds in these stories didn't quite do that for me.
I don't really enjoy the feeling as if I am constantly missing something with a book - but I can see the appeal for other readers who are fascinated by this style.

My rating - I read the book thoroughly and gave it a chance but unfortunately I think I'll stick with my usual style of reading. I pride myself on my honesty in reviews and wouldn't have it any other way, If you love the unusual; this may be for you.

Something that has come from this piece of writing as that I've realised how much I enjoy writing book reviews - so more may be coming in the future. I learned that short stories are perhaps not my forte when it comes to reading. I also tried a new style of writing from a new author and that's always nice, Mike Russell is a very creative writer with a lot to say and his readership generally seems to really enjoy his books.

Onto the next book eh?

Pikaduck always wants a photo opportunity

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