Book Reviews

Life Seemed Good, But… by Richard Bell – Book Review

AD | I was kindly gifted this book by the author in exchange for a review. All opinions are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through my link, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. I only advertise products that I have used myself and would genuinely recommend.

Life Seemed Good, But… is a book of imaginative short stories written by Richard Bell. I received an e-book copy in exchange for an honest review, and I was excited to read it as it sounded intriguing!

Book Review - Life Seemed Good, But... by Richard Bell

What are the short stories about?

The stories are bizarre, silly and full of dark, fantasy humour. They are written in the style of fairy tales and indeed they feature magical creatures including gnomes, dragons, witches and talking animals. However, they are definitely not written for the young or faint-hearted as many of them contain comedy violence and adult themes.

As the title suggests, most of the stories end badly for one or more of the characters. This sets them apart from the typical ‘happy ever after’ fairy tale.

What is this book like to read?

The stories are all really short, averaging at about 2 pages long. This makes it easy to pick up and read a couple of stories when you have a spare few minutes or are waiting around.

Some of the stories twist and turn in a surprising way and don’t end as you would expect. This makes them very humorous, especially the ones that have a totally random, unexpected ending!

The author recommends reading the stories in order because there are recurring themes that come back in later stories. I did this and I was surprised by just how many recurring themes kept popping up. This created unity between the stories and a feeling that they were all happening within the same world, even though the individual stories differed a lot.

The cover art is amusing and reflects themes found in several of the stories. Therefore I could appreciate the cover art more when looking back at it after finishing the book.

I recently reviewed a similarly strange book, Magic by Mike Russell, however, this tops it on the strangeness scale! It is unlike any book I have ever read before, and Richard Bell certainly has a wild imagination. I like to widen my horizons and read books in genres I don’t normally read, so I found this book to be a refreshing change and I enjoyed it.

The cover art of 'Life Seemed Good, But...' by Richard Bell, shown on my Samsung Galaxy tablet.

What were my favourite stories?

Some of my favourite stories in this collection were:

  • Grilled Cheese
  • Making New Friends
  • The Gloomy-Bird
  • Were-Pigs

Would I recommend ‘Life Seemed Good, But…’?

Yes, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a humorous, quirky read that they can pick up anytime.

The author, Richard Bell, wrote this book when he was going through a difficult time in his life. Writing was his therapy to help him beat depression. It is his hope that these stories can help bring a bit of light relief and humour to others going through similar difficulties, and I think they could definitely provide that.

Therefore I would also recommend this book to anyone who is going through a difficult time and could do with some humour to cheer them up!

You can find ‘Life Seemed Good, But…’ on Goodreads or buy it on Amazon.

I would rate ‘Life Seemed Good, But…’ 4 out of 5!

4 stars
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Book Review - Life Seemed Good, But... by Richard Bell


  1. I love this idea of lots of different short stories with humour and with endings not as you would expect them. It’s also lovely to see that Richard used writing as a way of coping with what he was going through. That’s how I feel about my blog a lot of the times, writing definitely is very therapeutic. I also like that there is re-occurring themes throughout all the short stories. Sounds like a very interesting book! Great review x

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! I also feel that way about my blog, writing is therapeutic! These were really unique stories and I enjoyed them! x

  2. This sounds like a great book for when you need a good laugh. 🙂

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      It definitely is! I recommend it 🙂

  3. This book sounds like pure comedy escapism, which is exactly what I need right now!


    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      That’s exactly what it is! I recommend it xx

  4. This sounds like a really good book. I haven’t sat down in ages for a read xx

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      It is a good read! I hope you get a chance to do some reading soon xx

  5. ‘Dark, fantasy humour’… This sounds like something I could definitely dig into! I have been trying to read more this year with all of my usual plans cancelled. That being said, I’m slowly tearing through my TBR list. Always on the search for something that I can enjoy. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I hope you get the chance to read this one! I’ve been slowly working through my TBR list too xx

  6. Two paged short stories really are short. Does that mean both sides of a page in A5 size?

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Yes, they really are that short! I think they are the shortest short stories I have read xx

  7. I’ve been getting into short stories recently, and I love how you can just pick up this book and read a few pages at a time. I often think it takes more skill to write a comprehensive story in such a short page length than longer books. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      That’s true, I hadn’t really thought about it before but it must be harder to complete a story in only a few pages! I love that you can pick it up and read anytime without having to stop in the middle of a chapter xx

  8. Great post! I like reading short stories and this sounds really good! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! If you like short stories then I’m sure you will like this! xx

  9. Mini Bhati says:

    Such an intriguing read. Will definitely check this out

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I recommend it 🙂

  10. This sounds really good, I’ll have to check it out some time. I really enjoy funny stories 🙂

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      If you enjoy funny stories then you’ll definitely like this 🙂

  11. I haven’t heard of this book or author before. Sounds like this book is light hearted and a great activity to boost your mood. You have shared a great review. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! It’s definitely a fun, light-hearted read!

  12. This sounds like a really interesting book to read. I am not much of a book reader, but this sounds like something I would really enjoy. I love anything with a sense of humor. Great review!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      You’d probably like this then – even if you don’t do much reading you can just read one story whenever you feel like it 🙂

  13. Kayleigh Zara says:

    This sounds like the perfect isolation read, the humour and the short story mix is something that I would genuinely love! Thanks for sharing your review – I’m intrigued about the grilled cheese.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Honestly, the Grilled Cheese story made me laugh, definitely check that one out if you ever do read this book! It’s definitely the perfect isolation read xx

  14. Richard Bell says:

    The book has recently been updated with more detail.

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