January 2023 Books #AmReading

The first month of the new year – done!

I started with one ARC left from last year… heaven knows how many others will follow… but, that TBR… it’s still waiting!

Okay, so I read a few more ARCS, but I did read some current books, too! And I brought myself to a grand total of 12 books for the first month. Not bad!


The Situationship by Taylor-Dior Rumble
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, so this is my first read of 2023, and I finished it in a day.
Tia is a young woman in her twenties in London, going through all sorts of angst about relationships, one specific one, and her place in a workspace that doesn’t seem to respect her ethnicity or many of those from minority backgrounds.
I have to say I am glad that, as a reader in my late forties, I have a teenage daughter, so some of the language and slang used were more familiar to me, and even some of the pop culture references didn’t fall on deaf ears…
Definitely, a book that Gen Z women would enjoy and appreciate, and if you are a little older, maybe a good one to read to understand a bit more about those younger than us since, even though we have been that age, life ‘then’ and life ‘now’ is very different.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone, Merky Books for an ARC.

Releasing 17th August, 2023

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5211858172

Scent of a Garden by Namrata Patel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Asha Patel is a young Indian American woman living in Paris, making her name as one of a handful of perfumiers. She’s on her way to the top, but Covid did on one her and robbed her of one of the most important senses in the world to her.
After a slight crash and burn, she is sent off for a break and returns home with her parents in Napa.
This story has many facets, including the strength of expectations on many children of Indian families. Asha and one of her childhood friends, Neel, are children of hotelier families. Businesses that have been built by grandfathers and passed down. The thing is, neither is interested in the hotel business.
Sometimes it does take a person a while to pinpoint their true passion, and this is what happens for both characters. They have to swim against the tide of disappointment as they attempt to venture out into the world for themselves instead of following a much easier, well-trodden path with more of a guarantee of financial success and stability. Which is what their forefathers always wanted to leave as a legacy,
Asha and Neel’s grandmothers live together after being widowed, and I loved their characters. a mix of pushy and supportive, they gave a much-needed sense of fun to the story.
I enjoyed it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC.

Releasing 27th June, 2023

Best Men by Sidney Karger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to read more broadly, and MM romances ranked on the list of genres I wanted to delve into a bit further, so this coming up as a suggestion for me to read was a no-brainer.
It starts with Max the ‘gay’ best friend of Paige. They’ve been GBBFs forever, literally. Since they were around six-year-olds. Okay, so the G may not have been in the acronym at that age, but you know what I mean.
Paige is getting married and wants Max to help with all sorts of arrangements and to be her best man/man of honour, as you will.
She also wants to involve the best man from the other side, Chasten, who is her fiance, Austin’s brother, and who also happens to be gay… hmmm, possible attempts at matchmaking??
The story pootles along, with a will they-won’t they angle to the romance, as well as Max’s angst at not really doing anything of substance with his life, and not being the stereotypical gay man, so he feels his input into Paige’s wedding is minimal, because he’s not into fashion/going out/the usual gay musical tastes/all the on-trend things that are happening out there. He’s stuck in a job in HR where all he appears to be doing is being the messenger and letting people go as his company cuts jobs.
It’s a quick read, a little slow-moving at times, but easy.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC.

Releasing 25th May, 2023

The Bennet Women by Eden Appiah-Kubi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Bennet Women is an easy-to-read, interesting take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, brought into the modern age, complete with true diversity.
We have a Black female MC, a transgender character, and all manner of other folks, all battling through life in their own way.
EJ, our MC, is pulled in two directions, with her goal-driven academic dreams vs A relationship that could lead to l.o.v.e…

Menopausing: The Positive Roadmap to Your Second Spring by Davina McCall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness! Not quite sure what more to say than absolutely brilliant!
So many parts that I could relate to, and plenty more I now know I have to refer to in future moments of perimenopausal hell!
I have already said I would get this for another of my family members, and I would urge others who are nearing this time to find a copy to read. It is enlightening!


Love on the Menu by Mimi Deb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not strictly a Rom-com, Mimi Deb’s book is more contemporary fiction, looking at relationships between family, friends, and romantically.
Gia, the female MC, is on a work visa from India and is perilously close to losing the one job she has, which would keep her in the country due to some mishaps. One at the work Christmas party that she is convinced will be the final nail in her coffin. She has a close relationship with Ma, her mother, or MiMasa as she is entered in her phone, Probably more open than the average relationship between an Indian mother and daughter, but then, Ma isn’t your average mother figure, either.
Gia writes a list of things she needs to do in the new year to make things better.
Somehow the list ends up travelling to her local Indian takeaway, of which she is a regular customer, and the list sparks the start of a note correspondence with someone who works at Namaste London – Ben.
Ben is the male MC, and he is struggling to find a place in the world that will fulfil his family’s hopes, as well as his own.
They disapprove of his job at the takeaway, but given the struggles he has already faced in life, they don’t say too much…
I enjoyed how the book was written, with the correspondences between the characters, as an end note to a chapter, or the beginning and the details of their lives, how they meet, and their lives intertwine as time progresses.
It is good to read of a heroine not cut from the same stereotypical cloth as many, with Gia being a woman of colour and not a lythe, tall, ‘dusky’ beauty, but someone with the beauty that shines from within.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for an ARC

Releasing 13th April, 2023

Spare by Prince Harry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How do you rate someone’s memories?
Spare isn’t a biography written by someone else, insinuating their own opinion upon the reader. It’s a memoir. Harry’s recollections (yes, written by a ghostwriter, but still, his own) of many critical moments in his life, from when he learned of his mother’s death to the present day when his Granny passed away.
Yes, we all think we know what has been happening in the Royal family. After all, anything they do is all over the news, and social media, before a second has passed.
But this candid book details Harry’s thoughts and the memories of his life.
So many out there have already slated the book as a load of untruths.
But it is stated several times in the book that he doesn’t have the best memory to remember conversations verbatim, and sometimes his recollections will be hazy.
Still, the most crucial part of these memories, I felt, was that we could read his emotions. No one else but him can ever convey those. (Not even the ridiculous personnel who write and release everything to the press!)
I read with a lot of emotion as he detailed his mental health. And this only highlights that mental health has no issue with who you are. If it wants to affect you, it will.
The first section and the last were the ones I felt most engaged with. The army part? Not so much, but it was by no means less necessary. There were light moments and several mentions of situations involving his private parts and various injuries, which made me giggle a little.
Who thought a Prince would write about his willy? And I don’t mean his brother, Willy!
His younger years, when he was innocent and vulnerable, just made me want to cry for that little boy who could barely hug his family. His romance and relationship with Meg was another section that made me feel deep sadness for them.
I felt for him throughout.
But can I say that just because I have read it, I can’t make judgements on others featured in the book.
I know these opinions are of one person, and as we all know, there are more than two sides to any story.
Person 1, Person 2, the media and the truth!
I have watched Prince Harry grow up. I watched his parents get married on TV. I stood with a line of schoolmates at the age of around 6, so we could wave to the newlywed couple as they did a drive-by through Solihull, where my school was. And the subsequent births of the princes, as well as the ups and downs of the relationship between Charles and Di. If I were to form an opinion, it would have been formed many moons ago.
What was also highlighted was the fact that the press is ruthless.
I am glad I read this. It is highly unlikely that we will ever read something so candid or intimate from any other Royals, but still… this opened our eyes to many facets of Royal life that none of us is aware of.

Lucy In the Sky by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Hart’s Ridge, Kay Bratt’s first book in her new series. Quite a departure from her usual genre of writing.
Lucy in the Sky is the second instalment of the series, and, as the title suggests, the story focuses more on Lucy, the youngest of the sisters.
Taylor is still the second POV throughout the book, and a common thread to hold onto from book one, as the oldest sister in the family.
Lucy’s selfish character left a bitter taste in my mouth at the end of the first book, so it was good to read more about her and discover that she wasn’t as awful as I first thought.
All she wants, in the beginning, is to get to New York and see the Dakota building where John Lennon used to live. She gets that and a heap more, as she is initially mistaken as a new dog walker for one of the wealthy residents.
Suddenly she has a job, a roof over her head, and everything seems peachy… even the chance of a bit of romance, even though there is a ‘bump’ or two in the road where that is all concerned.
As for Taylor, she is getting back into her work as a Deputy in the Hart’s Ridge police force after an enforced period of absence, but something she finds out from her father’s post sends her on a journey of discovery that will change her life and that of her sisters.
Oh, and we can’t forget the dogs. First, we meet the two cute pups who Lucy starts walking, then there is Taylor’s dog, Diesel from the adoption centre, whom we met in book one, and he might be why she is on the road to romance herself…
I love that each story has an element that is based on a real-life crime or situation that has happened. It makes each story a whole lot more interesting!
I can’t wait for the third book to come out now!

Releasing February 13th 2023

Oh, Sister by Jodie Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodness me! I know organised religion is a thing, but this was something else.
Chapman depicts a fictional cult where Christianity is at the root of the beliefs, but the followers/disciples are brainwashed into thinking that all that is preached by their ministers is the gospel truth.
Oh, Sister follows the story of three women. All three have been disfellowed from the cult because they are judged as having gone against the religion’s beliefs.
All it did was highlight the inequality between men and women in this particular one.
One woman is punished for being the one who suffers SA, yet, because she cannot provide two witnesses to the accusation, she is the one not believed.
One grieving a deep loss is punished for choosing to have a blood transfusion.
One is cast aside because her husband left her for a younger model, and she realises her life does not have to revolve around that man.
Not one of these women deserved to be treated the way they were. And yet, where is the sisterhood when the rest of the women in the cult sneer and ignore them?
It hit a nerve.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Random House and Michael Joseph for an ARC.

Releasing 13th April, 2023

Caroline, Adrift: by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Caroline is dreading the impending cruise. It was booked by her late husband, who fully expected to still be with her.
Instead, her daughters convince her to go, with them accompanying her. They have their reasons, which Caroline has some idea about, but despite not wanting to, she goes.
A beautiful story about a woman in her twilight years, navigating a road she always envisaged travelling with her partner by her side.
The cruise (I want to go on a cat cruise!) highlights many things to her, but the biggest one is that life does have to go on, and she realises this after meeting a new friend, Betty, who has been through the same situation herself.
I loved Caroline, and am so glad she was able to draw strength from an extremely tough time in her life, and that she was able to bond with her daughters in a way that would be more productive in the future.
And I think everyone needs a Betty in times of stress!

Releasing 22nd February, 2023

Releasing 10th February, 2023

So, tell me what you have been reading, and what caught your eye from the above!

December 2022 Books #AmReading

A December post means the end of the year! How did that happen? 😱

It’s a month filled with excitement and all things festive, as well as lots of chances to be gifted new books… and the holidays give a chance to read. How will I do this month??

Well, for a start, the plan to read my TBR went to pot, as I was inundated with amazing ARCS that I just had to read first!

So that makes 14 books read this month and just one ARC left on my NetGalley pile. Will 2023 be the year I crack that TBR Pile in half??

You’ll have to scroll to the end to see my Goodreads Book Challenge result for this year!


Big Chicas Don’t Cry by Annette Chavez Macias
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love a story revolving around family, and it was great to read about this Latino American group of cousins, their life and relationship with each other, as well as what is going on in their own lives.
I thought it would get a little confusing with the different POVs, but it was easy to keep a track of what was happening, and generally an enjoyable read.

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II: Book 2: A Winter Celebration by Colleen M. Chesebro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fairies, Myths & Magic book 2, as it brought a sprinkling of mysticism to the darkening nights.
Colleen Chesebro has woven her poetic verse and stories within recounts of various myths and legends, all things fae, and it won my heart!
The first story, about the changeling, was my favourite read. These things fascinate me, and if you are looking for something to add a little magic to your life, then you should really pick up a copy of this!

The Secret Keeper by Amanda James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed Amanda James’ book the Forgotten Beach, and The Secret Keeper is written in the same beautiful way.
Rosa heads off to Tintagel to fulfil the last wish of her Grandmother as she lies waiting to take her last breaths. She arrives, emotional and sceptical,
But, something in the air gets to her, as she begins to sense and see things she wouldn’t usually believe. The addition of the mysterious, but handsome Talen, adds to the mystery.
What a beautiful love story, or rather two; one tragic and one a blossoming one, with plenty of ups and downs.
I really don’t want to give much away, but the story involves some folklore, spirits, and a whole lot of belief.
I loved it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC

Releasing 13th January, 2023

Hart’s Ridge by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I sped through this book, the first in a new series (Yay!) by Kay Bratt.
Kay is such a talented author with fiction that spans different genres, and this one gives a cosy mystery crime thriller kind of vibe.
Taylor is a Deputy in a small town called Hart’s Ridge. Her past weighs heavy on her day-to-day duties as a member of the local police force, especially when small children are involved.
A small girl wandering into a local convenience store, alone, hungry and distressed, brings out the mama bear in Taylor as she tries to find answers as to where this little girl has come from.
Taylor’s innate sense of what appears right or wrong helps her to solve a huge mystery, all while dealing with her own pretty dysfunctional family; her alcoholic father and three younger siblings, one of whom keep going missing.
And her canine companion, Barnard, is an interesting soul with a back story of his own that Taylor fights hard to find out.
I was fully invested in the story and cannot wait to read the next one!

Releasing January 10th, 2023

A Ghost in Shining Armor by Therese Beharrie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What’s the plan when you find out you can see ghosts, but you don’t realise you might just be falling in love with one?
That’s Gemma’s conundrum. She’s known about her ability for a while and spent a few years helping hapless spirits find their way. Then she meets Levi. Except, things are a bit different with him because he’s been sent to help her, too…
Gemma is a happy soul, with her worries that she carries hidden away. Levi is a grump. He didn’t want to die when he did, and he had a chance to change his fate…
But things happen. You can never anticipate what your feelings will do.
An enjoyable paranormal romance read that is not filled with spooky stuff but rather more about emotions.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter for an ARC.

Releasing 27th January, 2023

The Davenports by Krystal Marquis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now I love a bit of Bridgerton, and I am all about diversity in all walks of life, so to read this dream of a book set in the early 20th century, based on one of a handful of wealthy Black families in a changing America, was pretty mesmerising!
The Davenports are rich. Richer than many of their White counterparts and certainly the richest Black family in the area. Their three children are of marriageable age, and the story shows that it doesn’t matter the colour of your skin, your children can be just as much of a handful as the next person!
Olivia, the oldest, is ready to conform. She knows her future is finding the right man to take as a husband, and she is well on the way.
John is the sole male heir to the Davenport Carriage Company, a business built up from scratch by his father, a formerly enslaved man, who has worked hard to bring himself and his family to the heights they now rest. But he has dreams too, that go against the grain of his father’s thinking.
Helen is the youngest and the polar opposite of her sister, wanting to push boundaries further by working, helping her brother to set up a new business, and getting her hands dirty, literally, instead of wearing silken gloves, awaiting being presented as ready for marriage.
The problem is, having your future prescribed is often the reason you want something different, which is exactly what these young people face. Forbidden love, unheard-of dreams, and previously unreachable ambitions all pull together to make for an amazing story. I am so glad this is the first of a series because I have definitely been left wanting more!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for an ARC.

Releasing 2nd February, 2023

A Secret Garden Affair by Erica James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read a few of Erica James’ books in the past, and the evocative stories have always enthralled me.
A Secret Garden Affair was no different.
Partially set in the early 1980s and with a timeline starting sixty years previous, the story follows several characters. Libby, a woman whose wedding plans are cancelled when she finds out her fiance is cheating on her, and her great aunt, Bess, who has worked for the third main character, Elfrida, for the best part of her life.
Running to Larkspur House, where Bess works, and a place filled with happy memories for Libby, she tries to make life easier for the two older women who mean so much to her but unearths truths and secrets she had no idea about.
A story of friendship, classism, forbidden love, disappointments and celebrations, losing and finding precious memories and forgiveness.
I really enjoyed it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC.

Releasing 30th March, 2023

One Enchanted Evening: From the #1 bestselling author of uplifting feel-good fiction by Katie Fforde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I have read pretty much all of Katie Fforde’s books, and though this wasn’t my favourite, it was still an easy read.
Set in the 60s, Meg is called to her mother’s workplace to help out. It is a quaint hotel that is barely breathing, with the opening of a newer, more modern hotel nearby, complete with ensuite bathrooms and a highly-rated chef as the owner.
Meg hasn’t got much professional training, but what she does have is passion, ideas and empathy, which endear her to the staff and guests alike.
Shame it doesn’t seem to be the case for the owner’s son, who firmly believes that women shouldn’t be in charge of a professional kitchen at all.
Family politics, whimsical stories of the past, and a lot of passion for this project make the tale a lovely read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC.

Releasing 2nd March 2023

One French Summer by Gillian Harvey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my second Gillian Harvey read, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Katy is at that time of her life when her child has flown the nest (rather far, actually, to Australia, and decided to stay there a while longer), and her husband wants a break which appears to be more permanent than she originally thought.
She’s devastated. After trying her hardest to change things up, enrolling in a BootCamp with her friends, and generally making herself more like she thinks her husband wants, her whole future is up in the air.
Then her friends take her away on a trip to France. Katy begins to rediscover herself and finds she rather likes what she remembers.
Could romance be on the cards?
There is something in this story that could speak to every woman of a certain age. We are battling with perimenopause and that feeling of being there for the use of the rest of the family, not ourselves.
I just loved how even though there were down moments, Katy was able to find herself in a way that she could enjoy a future that would embrace her as a person, not just a plus one.
Lovely read!
Many Thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for an ARC.

Releasing 14th February 2023

An Unwanted Inheritance by Imogen Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three siblings mourning the loss of their much-loved father.
One finds a stash of cash hidden by the man they thought they knew, and it raises all sorts of dilemmas.
Should they be honest and pass it over to the police for investigation? Declare it as part of his estate, risking losing a huge chunk to inheritance tax, or divvy it up between the three?
Each of the three siblings is very different in their thoughts.
Caroline is married to Max, the eldest son. She found the money. Her instincts, and that of her husband, are to keep everything above board.
Ellie, the middle sibling starts off thinking the same, but her husband Jamie discloses information that makes them want the money more.
Nathan, the youngest, wants his share because he needs it, and now.
The story is filled with moral dilemmas and explores relationships between eh siblings, as well as the couples.
I enjoyed this read.
Thank you to Amazon Publishing for sending me a copy of An Unwanted Inheritance to read and review.
All opinions are my own.

You Get That From Me by Charlotte Butterfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a beautiful book.
Stella is the youngest of three women living together. Three women, all from one family, each a generation apart.
Stella’s mother, Bonnie, and her grandmother, Florence, along with Stella, reside in the house that has been their home for decades. It’s the only home Bonnie and Stella have ever really known and the start of a lifetime of secrets that Florence started through no fault of her own.
As Stella reaches a certain age, she chooses to use a sperm donor to give her the child she longs for. A lot of research goes into the final decision of the donor, but as the story unravels, it becomes obvious that what she thought would be the best choice and the reasons for thinking that may not always be the right one.
Nature vs nurture is a strong theme, as well as family relationships.
Florence is extremely strong and resilient, and her concern for the women in her family is palpable. We all need a gran like her! Really enjoyed this.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC.

Releasing 9th March 2023

In a Thousand Different Ways by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alice has a life-changing moment when she is merely eight years old.
Her world becomes filled with colours that can be pleasant and some that are the exact opposite.
To be more precise, she sees colours associated with all the people, and even plants, around her. Like auras, but that’s not something she knows – yet.
This confusing discovery is a lot for a child to take in, and it impacts her behaviours, as well as her relationships.
She is already living with her two brothers and mother, who is deep in her own mental health issues, and as time goes by, she finds herself caring for her wheelchair-bound mother, living a life she is coping with but suffocating herself as well.
She does manage to live a life of her own, with the urging of her older brother, and moves away from the toxic environment that is her childhood home.
Over the years, and with the help of certain people, she begins to learn how to live with this ‘gift’, as it is described to her, but not without many battles.
An interesting fictional recount of how someone with synesthesia may see life and the world around them.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC.

Releasing 13th April, 2023

Call Time by Stephen Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This debut from Steve Jones was one I felt compelled to read after checking out the blurb.
I’ll be honest, it didn’t grab me from the off.
Not the kind of hook that ‘they’ all say is needed for a brilliant book. In fact, it took me a little while to get into the swing of the story, but when the phone appeared, I became more invested in it all.
Our main character, Bob (Rob/Robert), is an older, driven, successful and somewhat selfish man with a huge block of guilt on his shoulder from a tragedy in his past. It’s driven him to be a person that is not likeable.
When something rather mystical happens, and he is handed a phone that could change the past, he grabs the chance but doesn’t consider the butterfly effects of that one change in the past and what happens, because of it, in the future.
There is a lot to grip you once the story begins to flow. An interesting read.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Random House and Michael Joseph for an ARC.

Releasing 11th May, 2023

Lovestruck by Laura Jane Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laura Jane, I do believe you have done it again!
I have enjoyed Williams’ books so far, and this was so good.
Becca is a hairstylist and salon owner in her mid-thirties, worried that her time will pass. A timely event at the salon includes a session with a woman who encourages manifestations.
Becca chooses to manifest the love of her life into her life as soon as possible.
Within hours she gets a text from her ex.
Is it a sign?
The story is told intriguingly, running along parallel timelines in two different scenarios.
One where she doesn’t bother to answer the text and the other where she does…
I can’t write too much about the story, but it is really well done!
I loved Becca’s best friend, Jia Li, and her salon partner, Carlos.
The tension, as it builds in both storylines, is palpable, and oh, I couldn’t wait to see how the end panned out in both versions. Great read!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC.

Releasing 8th June 2023

And, with that last book read until the end of the year, my total of books read stands at 186 this year! That is a total record for me!

So, tell me do you know how many books you read, and was there anything that caught your eye in the ones above?

Fairies Myths & Magic Part 2 by Colleen Chesebro

Today I am delighted to have my dear Blog Sis, Colleen Chesebro over to tell us about her newest book, Fairies, Myths & Magic, part two!

Many thanks to you, Ritu, for the opportunity to share the news of my new
book, just in time for the winter solstice and Yule.


I often write about spirituality and faith in my poetry. In Fairies, Myths, & Magic II, I concentrated on some of the more mystical aspects of faith.
It’s not unusual for me to use the symbolism of a tree to represent a connection between the different cosmic zones. There is always an upper, middle, and lower level the mystic travels to arrive at a mystical revelation.
In the story poem “A Prayer to the Rowan Tree,” I share the legend of the Rowan tree as it connects to Paganism. It’s interesting how these myths and legends endure. The Rowan tree is still recognized as protection against witchcraft and enchantment.
The physical characteristics of the tree contribute to its protective reputation. If you examine a berry from the tree, you will see a small five- pointed star or pentagram on the bottom of the fruit. The pentagram is an ancient protective symbol.

(Image by H. Hach from Pixabay)

Another attribute of protection was the colour of the berries—red! Ancient people believed the vibrant red protected them against magic!

I’ll share the poem portion of the story “A Prayer to the Rowan Tree” here:

sacred rowan tree—
life-giver to all women
motherhood, birth, blood,
the fragility of life,
represents to us
protection and survival
under your abundant boughs
fleeting white blossoms
five-pointed starred red berries
start anew each spring
frail trees of the bleak highlands,
grows next to heaven
protects the living from the dead
no evil can enter here…
© Colleen M. Chesebro

Thanks so much, Ritu. I enjoyed spending time with you.

How lovely, Colleen! I had a chance to read an ARC of the book, and I will share my review, below.

My Review:

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II: Book 2: A Winter Celebration by Colleen M. Chesebro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fairies, Myths & Magic book 2, as it brought a sprinkling of mysticism to the darkening nights.
Colleen Chesebro has woven her poetic verse and stories within recounts of various myths and legends, all things fae, and it won my heart!
The first story, about the changeling, was my favourite read. These things fascinate me, and if you are looking for something to add a little magic to your life, then you should really pick up a copy of this!


About the Book:

In this second book in the Fairies, Myths, & Magic series, step into a world
where dark fairies, and other magical beings converge in a collection of
poetry and short stories inspired by winter and the celebration of the winter
solstice.
From Autumn’s scary fairies to the forgotten female characters of Yule,
prepare to embrace the magical winter solstice myths from around the
world. Meet Frau Holle in the Wild Hunt, Befana—the Christmas Witch of
Italy, and the Japanese goddess Ameratasu who controls the springtime.
Prepare to embrace the Scottish trows, The Irish Goddess of Winter—the
Cailleach Béara, and Snegurochka—the Snow Girl.
Learn how to make Yuletide rituals part of your celebration by embracing the
symbols of Yule by decorating with evergreens and crystals.

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II Links:
Colleen’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Colleen-M-
Chesebro/e/B01N9MV2RX

Amazon Universal Link: https://mybook.to/FairiesMythsMagicII

About the Author:


An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry
after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves
crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction.
In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes
participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and
poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on Word Craft
Poetry.com by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge,
called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and
current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry.
Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash
Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and
Carrot Ranch.
In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist
poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In
addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books.
Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by
the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.
Find Colleen here:
Word Craft Poetry: https://wordcraftpoetry.com
Colleen M. Chesebro, Author, Poet & Unicorn Cats Publishing Services:
https://colleenmchesebro.com

Facebook Page: Colleen M. Chesebro, Poet & Author:
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100085941528913
LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/colleen-m-chesebro-6b856b237

November 2022 Books #AmReading

So, we have reached the end of November. That means one more month left of this year! 😱

I know it is going to be a busy month. November always is, with parents’ evenings at school and preparation for the festive season. But I wonder what I end up reading?

As I start the month, I have NO ARCS on my list (bar the first book I am reading this month, but I started that on the 30th of October, so it doesn’t count! 😜), but you know me. I find it hard to say no… Still, my existing TBR is full enough to keep me going for a while. Here goes!

Update to the above statement: it is the 4th of November, and I finished that ‘last arc’ and now have two more on there, at least!

Update #2 on 20th November… I give up… you can see I read at least 7-8 arcs… 🙄

Update #3 – 24th November… I have read all the arcs… will I accept any more before the end of the month??

I managed 15 books in the end, and exhausted the ARC list, too, so my TBR began to get some attention!


People Change by Sara Jafari
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve not read Sara Jafari before, but she has been on my radar for a while, so it was great to get a chance to read one of her books.
Shirin is a British-born Iranian woman living in London, supposedly living her dream. She is working in publishing, which she always wanted to do, with plenty of friends and a potentially busy social life.
A blast from her past is at one of the parties she attends.
Kian is a guy she last saw ten years ago when they were both teenagers and at school in Hull.
Is it good to meet someone from a time when your life was not so great?
There are many loaded issues within the story, as Shirin and Kian get to know each other once again and open up about things they never had the chance to as youngsters.
The side story about racism and prejudices in workplaces adds extra spice to the story.
An interesting read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 2nd February, 2023


Single in the Snow by Helen Whitaker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Another great Christmassy feel-good read, without the need to get over slushy! (Though, can you ever get over-slushy at Christmas?)
Jen is a girl about to hit thirty, ricocheting from relationship to relationship, trying to mould herself into the perfect fit because she doesn’t want to end up alone.
After the last break up, her best friend convinces her to take some time out, find herself, and be alone to experience life for at least six months.
A pre-booked trip to Canada ends up being less satisfying coupledom and more a time to reflect on her life and what she really wants.
She does find out, but not before there are a whole load of shenanigans and new folk to meet! A job at a high-end ski resort in Whistlers gives her plenty of food for thought.
And then there was Art. He is a troubled ex-Olympian with a heartwrenching backstory of his own and a journey of recovery he needs to tread.
The way their stories entwine makes it a moreish read.
Now I kinda want to go and see slopes with the fresh powdery snow, but I’d be sat in a little cafe, with a hot chocolate, watching the daredevils on skis and snowboards!
There were some great characters, including Rob and Snowy, her first friends as she arrives in Whistler, and ooh, there was one to hate… Eduardo!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 17th November, 2022

Happy Place by Emily Henry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Boy was I excited to be able to dive into another of Emily Henry’s books, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I sat here this rainy Sunday and finished the whole book!
The story is about a group of friends about to hit an end note on an important part of their friendship, namely a specific place they all go to every year, which won’t be available to them much longer.
But it centres around one couple, in particular, Harriet and Wyn. From the off, there was an unwritten rule that you didn’t date your friends, or things would go weird if it ever finished.
They were the first couple of the group to break that rule, and now, they are desperately trying to hide the fact that it didn’t work out, so everyone else can have a good time together.
The whole group of friends were an excellent bunch, and the way Henry has woven in the intricacies of long-standing friendships and a second-chance romance is just brilliant.
Oh, and I want to go to a Lobster Festival, too, now. (And I don’t even eat seafood!)
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin General UK – Fig Tree, Hamish Hamilton, Viking, Penguin Life and Penguin Business for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 27th April, 2023

Zen Queen by Kirsty McManus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first Kirsty McManus book and I read it quickly.
A fun story about a woman who is sent to Japan on a work assignment that goes horribly wrong. However, there are glimmers of hope.
There is plenty of culture to read about, both modern and traditional. Japan is a pretty crazy place from what I read. And the characters our heroine meets there, from her colleagues to friends, to the wonderful Japanese man who literally adopts her, are all great.
I wish the romance could have stretched out more at the end. It felt a tad rushed when a little more build-up would have been great.

The Vibrant Years by Sonali Dev
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I chose this as my Amazon Prime First Reads book for the month, as I have read a good few of Sonali Dev’s books, and I’ll be honest, I do love her Bollywood style of writing!
The Vibrant Years is not a romance but more of a Women’s Fiction, a contemporary story based around the lives of three generations of women from one family; Bindu, the confident, sexy 60-something grandma, or Binji as her granddaughter calls her; Aly, the 40-something ex-daughter-in-law of Bindu who has a strong bond with her ex-mother-in-law, and Cullie, the extremely intelligent 20-something granddaughter.
There is a secret Bindu is hiding. Something she has hidden since her late teens. This secret is threaded throughout the book, with short quotes from an old journal.
Dev has covered a lot in this book, looking at the conventional ways of thinking and expectations put upon both men and women, the stigmas attached to certain jobs, and the way thinking has begun to change over the decades that span the three main characters’ lives.
They all end up going on dates as research for a new app Cullie is trying to design and end up finding more than love as they stumble from disaster date to disaster date.
It took me a little while to get into the story, but once I did, I was eager to know how the secret would unfold to the cast of characters, as we, the readers, are made aware of the ‘shame’ Bindu feels for her past, earlier on in the book.
There is a feel-good factor to the book once things unravel and settle back into a more favourable pattern, and overall, a good read.

Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family by Rabia Chaudry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is a really interesting read that combines the effects of culture and attitudes regarding eating and size.
We all know that in order to feel happy, we should be able to accept ourselves as we are and be healthy, no matter what our size.
This memoir by Rabia Chaudry shows how she found herself in a vicious cycle of eating, growing, distress, criticism, self-loathing, then eating again, and so forth,
The attitudes of certain cultural societies state you should be fair and lovely like the cream says, and tall and slim to get a good match in marriage.
We are not all built like that.
Rabia was fed, and fed, as that’s what her parents felt they should do, and when they realised they didn’t know how to reverse the effects of overeating, they continued to indulge because that was all they knew,
Food and our Asian culture are knitted together so strongly that it can be hard to separate the two.
It was fascinating and quite emotional to read Rabia’s journey, and how she fought her demons, but equally, how she failed several battles before winning the war.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for an ARC.

The Christmas Wish by Lindsey Kelk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love me a Lindsey Kelk book, and this was no different!
The Christmas Wish is a surreal love story where our heroine, Gwen, finds herself reliving Christmas Day like a Groundhog Day moment. She doesn’t know why, but each day relives it to see what she can change to get back to normality.
Through her repeated days, she comes to understand more about her family and their wants and desires, as well as many meetings with a person who might or might not be that special someone, but more importantly, she learns important lessons that will affect her own life and future.
I loved this story and sped through it in a few hours.
Gwen’s relationship with her cousin Manny was fantastic, and I loved Granny!
Even Pari, Dev’s dog, had a short but incredibly sweet role in the story.
A great festive read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, UK, for an ARC.

Pretty Evil by Zoe Rosi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, my days!
When asked whether I may be interested in reading an ARC of Pretty Evil, I read the blurb and thought, “Why not? Sounds like an intriguing read.”
Well, intriguing is perhaps not quite the word to describe it.
Hugely dark and (excuse my language, but) bloody fantastic!
Camilla, our protagonist, is a woman with a past that is ingrained so deep within that it’s almost hollowed out any other emotion in her body.
Wronged as a child, growing up, and abused as a young woman, she casts herself in the role of vigilante for womankind, wreaking havoc, and her version of revenge, upon unsuspecting predators
I found myself strangely aroused, a bit disturbed, and definitely sympathetic towards the woman with what appeared to be no emotion but whose heart is beginning to feel again.
Laced with sex, gore, and all manner of suspense, I was kept on my toes, reading the book almost in one sitting, and I truly didn’t predict the ending, either.
What a dark, kinky web the author has weaved…
You definitely kept this reader guessing!
Fab read. I can’t wait to get my hands on another book by Zoe Rosi.
(I first read this book under its previously released title, Predator, by Zoe Caldwell. It has been published by Amazon Publishing, and the tweaks and editorial changes have made it an even sharper story.)

Releasing 19th January, 2023

The Family Reunion by Karen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my first Karen King book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
A fantastic story filled with the twists and turns you’d expect in any family, however, the twists and turns are HUGE!
Mary is a widowed mother of two, and she decides to try and find a daughter she had, that no one else in her life knows about.
Couple that with two weary children, with secrets of their own, then the addition of this new member of the family, and there are plenty of fireworks!
I won’t say too much, because if I do, then what is the point in you reading, but OMG, the epilogue!
I was gripped by the story and couldn’t put it down!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for an arc.

Releasing 23rd January, 2023

Not That Kind of Ever After by Luci Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are days when you want an easy-to-read book with some laughs and a few quirks.
Well, this was just the kind of book I needed today.
A fun from com about a young woman who is tied deeply to her best friend, and the time has come for them to go their separate ways as the friend is moving in with a partner.
Bella has relied on Ellie since childhood as her one. Not in any romantic sense, but just that person who is her life support, who keeps her going, and Ellie has always been there for her, along with her twin brother Marty. She still is, but her attention is now divided between Bella and her boyfriend, Mark.
Bella wants to find ‘The One, too, but no amount of fairytale chasing seems to give her any results. There are no Prince Charmings out there in London.
But a chance comment about letting herself loose and enjoying the moment has her mimicking fairytales as she heads on dates that end up having no chance of a happily ever after, but they give her satisfaction in other ways.
The ending made me smile.
As I mentioned before, it was an easy read, a fun read and something you don’t have to think about too hard!
Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

Releasing 14th March, 2023

Falling Hard for the Royal Guard by Megan Clawson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I do love books where I can picture the setting because it is local to me, and this was a perfect example.
Maggie, our heroine, lives in the Tower of London. Lives there. Yup, I didn’t even know people lived there!
She lives in special housing for the Beefeaters, one of whom is her father.
She works at the ticket booth, a job she never thought she would be still at, all these years later, and she finds herself the butt of her colleagues’ jokes as the clumsy, lumbering red-haired girl who can’t even get a date.
But fate changes for her when she bumps into someone she thought was a lamp post, and he ends up being someone she spends plenty of time with as friends.
Maggie tells Freddie historical stories of the Tower of London, complete with ghost tales, and he introduces her to parts of the Tower that were out of reach, seeing as he is a part of the Royal Guard.
As she slowly lowers her barriers with him, she can feel there are parts of his life he is hiding, which she finds out most shockingly.
A great cast of characters, including the different Beefeaters, the rest of Freddie’s troop, and the ravenmaster, with her cryptic yet apt words of wisdom.
I read it in a day. really enjoyed it!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for an ARC.

Releasing 27th April, 2023

The Word Is Love by Florence Keeling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, I loved this book! The word definitely is LOVE!
I was excited to travel back to Weddington to read more about Lucy and her horses and, of course, about how love falls into her life.
There were a great number of twists to the plot, but all helped it make it a book I didn’t want to put down!
Lucy and Max have pretty much grown up together, working in Lucy’s family business after her father passed away.
He’s that older brother figure…
And you have Lucy’s mum who wants her girl to settle down with the right kind of monied chap who will ensure her girl won’t ever want for anything.
Put it this way, you sure have to kiss or date a few frogs before finding your Prince Charming, and Lucy managed to find a real toad!
It was a great read, and I’d love to know if there is more coming from the Weddington Crew!

Roommaid by Sariah Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What happens when you’re the daughter of a rich family, but you refuse to do what your parents want, so you get disowned, and your trust fund comes to a halt?
Why, you find an apartment share to live in, with a roommate hotter than the sun, and promise to o all the housework, despite never having done a domestic chore in your life!
That’s what happens to Madison, our newly poor teacher heroine.
For all the comforts of Tyler’s apartment, she can’t feel comfortable around him because he is so attractive, and one of the rules of living together is no crushes or emotional feelings towards one another… because he doesn’t have time for that.
But he does have a gorgeous dog called Pigeon, who Madison falls for, too.
Seriously, families can be manipulative, and it seems the arranged marriage culture between the high and mighty to strengthen business bonds is not just for us Indians! Who knew it was still occurring in the West?
An easy read with a few twists to keep you on your toes, but ultimately a feel-good read.

The Paid Bridesmaid by Sariah Wilson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another easy romance read by Sariah Wilson.
I am sure I have read something similar before, with the paid bridesmaid idea, but the storyline was different.
Rachel operates a business providing Bridesmaids to brides who are lacking in the friend department or who have too many people to choose from, so hiring someone seems the easiest option.
She’s on an extremely special job, in Hawaii, at the moment. A week-long sponsored extravaganza for a famous influencer and her beau.
Thing is, her NDAs mean that she can’t be honest about anything, from why she’s doing what she does, to acknowledging her feelings.
Because there’s a rather cute guest there, who she’s close to risking everything for, only he thinks she’s someone different.
The story was cute, and it was a quick read. Predictable, but the happy ending you want, albeit with a few drunken relatives, crazy exes and other twists thrown in!

A Magical Christmas on the Isle of Skye by Jodie Homer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to win a copy of A Magical Christmas on the Isle of Skye, and I read it with joy.
Emilia and Harry are best friends with a bit of a booty-call relationship, but nothing more.
Then Emilia, one drunken News Years’ Eve, calls a TV psychic, who sets off a train of events that makes them question whether there should be more to their connection.
A Christmassy Groundhog Day-style story as the two main characters realise things aren’t right but don’t know how to put it right.
Help from Psychic Alice and the magic of the Fairies on the Isle finally gets them to the conclusion they weren’t sure what the right one was at the start.
A fun, quick and easy read with likeable characters. I’d love to visit a magic Isle one day… looking forward to more from Homer and the cast of this book.

So, tell me what you have been reading, and what caught your eye from the above!

Book and a Brew with Ritu – Do What You Love by @Marjorie_Mallon by #NewRelease #BookReview

I’m back with a second edition!

Today, I am thrilled to welcome an old blogging and writing friend who I have met in person. None other than the lovely Marjorie Mallon, one of my blogging sisters! She’s got an awesome poetry collection out TODAY, entitled Do What You Love.

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway again, Marje! First things first. What would you like to drink?

We have all the usuals, tea, coffee, masala chai, fancy coffee from the Nespresso machine, or green tea if you’d prefer. Lil Princess has been busy baking cookies for us, too!

Ah, I’ve put a bit of weight on recently, Ritu, so I better say green tea, but I’d love a cookie! Thanks, Lil Princess. 🙂

So, firstly, let’s set the scene. You recently left British shores and have moved abroad to Portugal. What a brave move! Tell us about it. How has it changed life for you since you are also a mother? And are you able to be more creative out there now?

Thank you so much, Ritu, for inviting me over to chat about my new book and for taking the time to read and review it. I appreciate it so much. We’re still swamped in the bureaucratic post covid process, Ritu.

Even though things are starting to move! At the moment, I’m spending over half of the year in the UK, mostly in Edinburgh and the rest in Portugal. As I have elderly parents and my daughters are both based in the UK, I see this time as a precious gift to be with them. I miss my daughters, family and friends in the UK.

But… we have had a lot of visitors! In truth, I find it more difficult to focus on writing here as there are so many distractions! I have to be disciplined and find the time! Yesterday (after a late night and a rock concert,) I began writing this interview on the train travelling from Faro back to Tavira.

You haven’t pigeonholed yourself as a writer, have you? YA fantasy fiction, and all sorts of poetry and cross-over poetic fiction books. What is your favourite type of creative writing?

No, I haven’t. I would try anything… I might even attempt to write a crime and/or romance novel one day. My favourite kind of writing is… perhaps poetry and short fiction as I find it the easiest to write. I love writing full-length novels too, but they are much more challenging, frustrating and time-consuming.

I’ve been wondering, how is your 2nd book progressing Ritu… Can’t wait to read it.

Currently, it is sitting with my editors at my publisher! So, not long. June 2023 is the pencilled-in publication date! Oh, they do take forever to write, don’t they, especially when you are working full time, too!

You know I’m a nosy soul. Where do you like to write?  Is it a very different setup for you now you have moved?

Yes! We have downsized from a 5-bed family home with a large garden to a one-bed rented flat with a tiny balcony and no garden. I must be mad! I mainly write in said flat in Tavira – in the kitchen! My hubby bought me a nice table and chairs with a pretty view of the fields and trees nearby  I used to have an office in our old house, but we are only renting at the moment, so I am making do! I am flexible that way… as long as I have a laptop, power and wifi, I am ready to go.

What about you Ritu where do you write?

I have my little reading and writing room. I loathed to call it an office because it then seems like work rather than the pleasure I find creating stories!

We’ve been friends for a LONG time now. And we’ve had the pleasure of meeting each other in person at the ABBA’s. (Remember them? I miss those opportunities to catch up with my blogily!) How do you feel your blogging career has evolved over the years?

Yes, we have been friends for a LONG time, and I value your dear friendship so much, Ritu. I miss those events and your lovely in-person company! I must admit to having downsized my blogging activity. I miss it, but something had to give! I focus mainly on writing reviews now, doing blog tours etc., which I love doing. I’ve started a bookstagram account mainly for this purpose:  https://www.instagram.com/mjm_reviews/

Who knows where my future writing/blogging may take me.

I would love to write more about my travels…as I am a keen photographer. I’ve started drafting a story set in Tavira, so we shall see…it started off as a romantic idea but seems to be veering in another direction. So me!

You must find it so hard to find time Ritu with your work commitments… How do you manage? Oddly I find it even harder now I am retired from my day job. The opposite to what I expected!

I’m not actually sure how I manage, Marje! But, I feel that if you really want to do something, you will find the time for it, so that is how I manage. I don’t watch an awful lot of TV, so my spare time is all reading and writing and adding my regular posts to my blog!

I have been honoured to read most of your work as working copies, or arcs, over the years. What has been your favourite project so far?

You are a star and such a huge supporter of all my work! It’s a pleasure to read and an honour to be trusted with someone’s creativity!

I love your writing too and can’t wait to read more of The Rishtay series!  (Blushing…) Thank you.

My favourite project… a difficult one to answer as I love them all.

Overall, it has to be my debut novel Bloodstone, in The Curse of Time series, as it was my first writing project, the 1st novel I’d ever written and published. It kickstarted it all, and I am very proud of all the positive and diverse reviews it has received. It now has 84 reviews on Goodreads… and counting, with an overall rating of 4.14.

Also, I met the inventor of the Corpus Christi Clock (one of the inspirations for the series,) Dr John C Taylor, and went out for lunch and a stroll with him, which was a huge highlight of my life.  And Bloodstone is now available in audiobook which I love. We are currently working on the audiobook of book 2, Golden Healer. So excited about this!

I’ve just literally finished reading Do What You Love, your latest poetry collection with an eclectic mix of writing, where you revisit key moments in life and talk them through via the mediums of fictional conversations with the Three Sisters of Fate. Tell us how this idea came about.

I had a conversation with the sisters of fate, and they said to write this! Only joking. Like all of my writing projects, it evolved rather than was planned. It showcases poetry, prose and photographic images about my favourite places to live, emotional memories, happy times, amusing moments, and imagined discussions with the 3 three sisters of fate over a wide period of time. I suppose it is me having a soul-searching chat with myself about how my life is about to change and how perhaps I have to come to terms with that. Moving abroad is much more difficult than I first anticipated. I tend to jump and think later…

Since we’re sitting here with our drinks and cookies, and your book is about reminiscences, can you tell us a bit about a favourite food or snack and the memories it evokes?

My favourite food or snack has to be my mum’s beef rendang (Malaysian curry) or her Chinese duck, or sweet and sour pork – truly scrumptious, and her snacks…meat sate sticks, dim sum, homemade spring rolls.

My mum’s cooking evokes memories of family gatherings, and my hubby’s mouth-watering… he kept on coming to see me and ended up being spellbound by her fabulous cooking. Lol. Not joking. My mum is still a wonderful cook at age 80! She still gets up early every morning to cook. Bless her.

That all sounds delicious!

Now, to finish, can you tell us what to expect next? Will there be more from your YA series or other fiction? Or will you be concentrating on your poetry?

Next up is the final book in my YA fantasy series which will be set in The Land of Shadows. I also have several unfinished projects, some of which are short stories and as I mentioned earlier, the beginning of a story set in Tavira. Perhaps if I do write another poetry collection it will be set in Portugal… time will tell! 

Oh, now exciting!

Thank you so much for visiting, Marje. It’s been a pleasure.

Thank you for inviting me, Ritu.

My pleasure 😊

Peeps, you heard that right, the last in Marje’s YA series is on its way, too!

Now, as I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to read an ARC of Do What You Love, so let me share the blurb and my review.

The Blurb

Do What You Love is a personal poetry collection celebrating how the fates may have a part in all that we do.

With special poems and short reflective moments inspired by family, flowers and nature, love, scrumptious morsels, places I’ve visited, lived and intend to live in, the friendships and hopes I have for the future.

The overarching theme is to live a life well lived… And to do what you love.

float along with me
create clouds of sweetest joy
to do what you love
hold fate’s hand as we venture
near and far on life’s journey

My Review

Do What You Love: Fragility of Your Flame Poems Photography & Flash Fiction by M.J. Mallon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh what a lovely book, filled with poetic gems and beautiful prose!
I enjoy reading MJ Mallon’s poetic fiction, where she ties poetry with prose, and have read several of her previous books written similarly.
Do What You Love is almost autobiographical in the sense that she has taken her memories and written them in poetic form. The fictional, almost fantastical element is where she meets the three sisters of fate through her journey of reminiscences, and they talk about her different memories.
It’s not linear, but no conversation ever is, is it? Memories jump from the more recent to the older ones as they come tumbling into your mind.
I felt a keen connection to the poems about her daughters and the autumn trees. Autumn is one of my favourite seasons.
A lovely book with a personal touch.

AMAZON – DO WHAT YOU LOVE

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0BKLC9DYY/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/What-You-love-Fragility-Photography-ebook/dp/B0BKLC9DYY/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/What-You-love-Fragility-Photography-ebook/dp/B0BKLC9DYY/

And here are some links about Marje and her other books.

I am thrilled to say that two of my poetry collections (Mr Sagittarius and Lockdown Innit) have been requested by prestigious libraries in the UK: The British Library, The Bodleian Library Oxford University, the Cambridge University Library, the National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales and Trinity College Dublin for Legal Deposit.

Add the book to your TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63114445-do-what-you-love

The cover of the paperback and kindle have been designed by Colleen Chesebro who has a new service for authors which I can highly recommend. Colleen also designed the interior and cover of The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet.

https://unicorncatspubservices.wordpress.com/my-services

Blog: https://mjmallon.com

All links via: https://linktr.ee/mjmallonauthor


Portfolio:
https://unicorncatspubservices.wordpress.com/portfolio

https://wordcraftpoetry.com/unicorn-cats-publishing-services/

Other poetry/flash fiction collections:

Kyrosmagica Publishing

The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet

https://books2read.com/u/mv1OeV

Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose

http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

Anthology – This Is Lockdown (poetry, diaries and flash fiction – kindle)

http://mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Poetry during Lockdown – Lockdown Innit

 http://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit

Poetry also features in my highly acclaimed YA Fantasy series.  Each chapter begins with a short poem. The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone and Book 2 Golden Healer are published by Next Chapter Publishing.

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/bloodstone

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/golden-healer

https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon

About the Author

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began to be bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations, and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives sometimes in the UK and often times in Portugal. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile to greet her.

Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too.

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