Chai And A Chat #58 #ChaiAndAChat

Happy Monday to you all! It’s the start of week three back at school, and plenty is going on around us!

  • If we were sipping chai together I’d start by telling you that I am still standing! Yes, the aches and pains are drifting from here to there, but they are not bad. My knees still hurt, but not as extreme as the week before. My shoulder aches. But, over all, it’s not too bad at the moment. I ran to the hospital on Tuesday in my lunch break to have the next set of bloods taken. So now it’s waiting until this Friday for the next Drs appointment.
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d let you know that my dear Beauts in my class are such a lovely bunch! They are still enjoying our Superhero topic, and they love dressing up in capes and masks, and rescuing everyone! And the idea that if they are Super helpful and Super friendly, they have more of a chance of getting on the class rainbow, has worked a treat! They aren’t allowed to tell me themselves, but if another classmate comes and says someone has been Super in any way, to me, they get to be my Superkids for the day!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say that on Wednesday, we were all dreading our twilight evening. It would mean 2 hours after school, not actually training, but meeting with other teachers in our age group from our academy, and comparing classes and attainment. Thankfully, our Reception meeting didn’t take as long as we hd anticipated, so that was a result!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that the weekend arrived, quick as a flash, and it was a busier one than the last few weeks. We spent Saturday evening with the in-laws, and the night, I was up most of the night with Lil Man, who was sporting a raging temperature and a really sore throat. As he is prone to tonsillitis, I took him to our local walk in doctors surgery and after a two hour wait, we were told that yes, his tonsils were mildly inflamed, but not infected (thank goodness). So, no antibiotics, but lots of salt water gargles and keeping his neck warm.
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say that Lil Princess had a great afternoon as she had arranged a visit to one of her new secondary school friends’ house. We both had a lovely time, as I got to have a cuppa and chat with her new friend’s parents and the girls spent the afternoon esperiementing with makeup and hairstyles. Makes me feel happier, that I know some of her new friends.
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d not forget to mention that I have mad a plan to do a cover reveal for THE BOOK soon, possibly this week, so if you haven’t already, make sure you follow my author blog, http://www.ritubhathal.com, so you don’t miss out! I have been very busy, editing crutch words out of the manuscript this week, and from a list of arounbd 10 words, there are 2 left to check. That means I have been through the manuscript 8 times in the last 3 weeks, adjusting and deleting! Once I finish this time consuming task, I need to spell check and read myself to make sure it all makes sense, then I can send to my editor for the final read through! OMG, so nervewracking….! I still have to write a proper blurb yet!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d tell you that today and tomorrow I will be at school until late as it is that time of year again… parents evenings! I actually quite enjoy them, speaking to the parents about how their darlings are coming along! But it’ll be tiring.
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d mention that obviously, Friday I will have my Dr’s appointment, so fingers crossed there will be something to discuss, after all the blood tests.
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d let you know that I already can’t wait for the weekend!

Right, that’s me done Peeps! Let me how your week has been.

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 245

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“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanks for that Spidey. How did you know that I have been struggling with making a padrticular decision recently?

You all know I have been writing, or rather, editing the last few months on and off. My novel manuscript is almost as polished as it can be, give or tale a few crutch word tweaks.

I made a crunch decision a few weeks ago, to self publish, and join the ranks of Indie authors out there.

I have self published already, but that was my poetry book.

My initial dream was to get a traditional publishing deal, but I know that is a tough call. A few positive rejections and I thought “Hey, it can’t be that bad, if the comments I got have been pretty positive.” so I made a little decision, in my mind.

If they aren’t going to do it, then I’ll do it myself!

I haven’t been working on that book for nigh on 19 years for nothing.

And so, my decision has been made, and I have had huge encouragement from various sources too.

I have also made another decision, that within the next week, or so, there will be a cover reveal on my author blog!!! Eeeeek!

Yes, I have a beautiful cover. And I can’t wait to share it!

So if you haven’t already, follow me there on www.ritubhathal.com and you’ll see my pretty cover first, when the post is up!

I’m nervous as anything, but can’t wait to hear what you all think!

So… tell me, what decision have you made that you will never regret?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps  And enjoy your week! ❤ 

The Last Will Of Sven Andersen – by @geofflepard #BookTour

I enjoy spreading the word about books written by friends of mine, and it gives me great pleasure to allow my dear friend Geoff Le Pard to the stage today. Now, His Geoffleship and I have a lovely, comical relationship going back a few years now, and I have always loved his quirky short stories, as well as his fully formed novels.

Here he is presenting me with an award at the 2019 ABBAs, in his wonderfully dramatic way!

Today we are lucky enough to hear a bit about His Geoffleship’s newest novel, a sequel to his Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, following the story of hapless teen Harry Spittle during the summer he really grew up. In the Last Will Of Sven Andersen, Harry is back, as a fully fledged lawyer, and there are still plenty of crazy goings on!

I’m going to step back and allow His Geoffleship to take the stage now.

Fantastic cover, don’t you think?

The first book in the Harry Spittle Sagas, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle took its inspiration from a summer I spent, back form university working in a country house hotel in the depths of the New Forest. I took the time (summer 1976) the age and sex of the main character (19, male), the setting (New Forest, working in a large hotel) and carved a story of love, loss, a psychotic cat and a fair few bodily fluids. But the rest was made up, all my febrile imaginings. There were times I took an anecdote and dragged elements into the story, but I was very careful to ensure none of the characters could ever be identified as real people.

When the call came from my characters to write the second book, I knew I had to follow the process I’d adopted before: I kept the main character and some of his closest friends and rivals and put them in the time, place and situation that I found myself in. The clock wound on to 1981 and Harry, like me, is finishing his training as a lawyer in a small three partner firm of solicitors in the West End of London. He shares a flat on the south of the river near Wandsworth Bridge and commutes to work on his bicycle. So far, so me. But Harry’s life is inextricably entwined with a gangster’s affairs and his life takes on a more bizarre life than mine ever did. Thank heavens.

Once again I really wanted to avoid having characters from my past leaping off the page but, boy is that difficult? Some, such as the senior partner in that small firm will now be dead but, boy did they deserve a story of their own? I’ve done my best to avoid the pitfalls of writing any real people into my book but, having embraced a second instalment in the Sagas, I realise that becomes more difficult. And with Book three, already written and being edited, it’s even harder. Maybe if I hadn’t taken any elements so overtly from my own life I might have avoided that risk but, well, the scheme is set now and we will just have to see if anyone thinks they’ve found fame if not fortune on the upcoming pages. I just hope, they being lawyers, they won’t sue…!

Here is the official Blurb for The Last Will Of Sven Andersen

When Harry Spittle, nearly qualified as a solicitor, is approached to write a Will for old acquaintance Sven Andersen, he is somewhat surprised but rather pleased. That pleasure sours after he finds that the Will Sven actually signs is very different to the one he has drawn up, with Harry as the executor. Disappointment turns to horror when he discovers that Sven has been winding up his late father’s criminal empire and a number of not very nice people are interested in the Will’s contents.

Set in 1981 to the backdrop of punk, Thatcherite politics and an upcoming Royal wedding, this is a book for those who like their nostalgia served with a side of humour and a dash of optimism all wrapped up in a compelling mystery.

If he is to remain in one piece, able to continue his career in the law and save his on-off relationship with his girlfriend Penny, who is unfortunately under suspicion of murder, he needs to find out what’s happened to the money and distribute it according to Sven’s wishes. The trouble is Sven has not only hidden the assets but also the identities of those who benefit. Harry will have to solve a fiendish puzzle Sven has left behind with the help of his sister Dina before his world comes crashing down. With so many people depending on him, Harry knows it’s time for him to grow up – it’s just that he really, really doesn’t want to.

Pre Order Here

And the Blurb for Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, which will be FREE for a few days, check out the details below to find out!

It’s summer 1976 and hotter than Hades. Harry Spittle, nineteen, is home from university, aiming to earn some money to go on holiday and maybe get laid. He expects he will be bored rigid, but the appearance of an old family friend, Charlie Jepson, his psychopathic son, Claude, and predatory wife Monica changes that. As his parents’ marriage implodes, Harry’s problems mount; before he knows it he’s in debt up to his ears and dealing in drugs. Things go from bad to worse when he is stabbed. He needs money fast, but now his job is at risk, his sister is in trouble and he has discovered a family secret that could destroy all he holds dear. Will Harry have to join forces with the local criminal mastermind to survive the summer and save his family? Can he regain some credibility and self-respect? Most importantly will he finally get laid?

Dead Flies will be free from 30th October 2019 to 3rd November 2019

And if you want to know a little more about Geoff Le PArd and the other wonderful works by His Geoffleship, check out the details below.

Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.

My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Buster & Moo is about about two couples and the dog whose ownership passes from one to the other. When the couples meet, via the dog, the previously hidden cracks in their relationships surface and events begin to spiral out of control. If the relationships are to survive there is room for only one hero but who will that be?

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Flash is a set of super short fiction, flash and micro fiction that should keep you engaged and amused for ages

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Smashwords

Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Conversation is an anthology of short and super short fiction that explores connections through humour, speech and everything besides. If you enjoy the funny, the weird and the heart-rending then you’ll be sure to find something here.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Geoff Le Pard’s Amazon Author Page

Let me tell you that The Last Will of Sven Andersen is a fantastic sequel to Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. I was honoured to be asked to beta read and I can vouch for it being a great read! I have read all His Geoffleship’s books, and have never been disappointed, and I can tell you (off the record) that there are more Harry stories to come, and a couple of other projects that he as up his sleeve… Including a full length novel about Pearl Barley, a modern day exorcist, who featured in a few of Geoff’s short stories: a character I love!

So? What you waiting for? Go, get your free copy of Dead Flies and pre order the Last Will! You’ll have a giggle, promise!

October’s Books #BookReview

Well well well well! October is done and that means it’s nearly the end of the year! I’m still suffering tiredness, but reading is always my go-to for relaxation, so I’ll always make sure I have something on the go! Possibly not as many books as usual on the list, but there are some good uns!

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ever since I saw a trailer for the movie, I wanted to read this book. What with all the #BlackLivesMatter stuff going on and apparent race-fuelled hate crimes, I was interested to read this story, written by a young Black American woman, about a girl caught up in the tragedy of a senseless killing by a police officer.
Starr Carter is sixteen, and is already very aware of gang culture, and the dangers that living in the ghetto put you in.
Her family make the decision to send her to a school away from the horror of shootings and gangs, but it doesn’t mean she is protected.
In The Hate U Give, we see a girl who witnesses not one but two horrific shootings, in her life, where she loses her best friends. Both are truly senseless losses of life, with one being a drive-by shooting, where the victim was only ten, and in the wrong place at the wrong time. The second is marred by the fact that a cop opens fire on a young black youth because he ‘thinks’ he was a danger.
The story shows Starr’s journey to fight for justice for her friend, who may have made bad decisions in his life, but who was a true innocent, and a victim of Police brutality.
I’ve read many reviews of this book, and most applaud how this sensitive topic has been approached. There are a few that mention disappointment, because yes, racism is a thing, and something that causes hell, but racism isn’t exclusively white on black.
Racism is unfortunately global.
White on black. Black on white. White on brown. Brown on white. Black on black. Brown on brown… you know where I’m going.
This book is an account of the feelings of a young black woman who loses her best friend because of a senseless shooting by a white cop. Of course, it’s going to be filled with hate for the police, and the white officers. But isn’t that a form of racism in itself?
It took me a little while to get totally into the book, but I was engrossed after the first 50 pages or so. You get a view of the thoughts of someone who is right in the middle of the situation, and their thoughts on many issues, from #BlackLivesMatter, to gang culture and drugs too.
What you take from the book is up to you.
What I took was that it’s all about education, or lack of.
A white officer only knew the stereotypes and was fearful of a couple of black teens. Instead of reading the situation, he reacted with a gunshot because isn’t that what this black kid would do to him?
But then again, all white people aren’t the same. Starr has a white boyfriend in this story, and the reverse stereotypes that the black community have of white people are also shown, in how Starr’s family and friends react to Chris initially too.
A thought-provoking read, that’s for sure!

Dishonoured

Dishonoured by Sofia Hayat
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I picked up this book, thinking it would be a harrowing recount of a terrible life…
Sad to say, I, unfortunately, didn’t feel that at all.
Sofia Hayat is apparently a household name.
Not in my household.
And I live in Gravesend, the place she was born and brought up in. I started this book, and a sense of connection formed when I read that she was born in Gravesend.
I felt a little sorry for her as she recounted the events of her childhood, but I’m afraid she lost me as soon as she left her family.
A bit of a self-indulgent book, where it was all about hearing of her encounters with famous people, and others telling her how wonderful she was.
This could have been such a powerful book, if it had been written with more sympathy and details of the emotions she went through during her childhood. A couple of chapters at the end of the book to show her success would have sufficed.
Definitely not a recommended read by me, I’m afraid to say… And she made Gravesend out to be much worse than it actually is.. and no, it’s not named because people who died from the plague were buried here…

Another Love (No Greater Strength, #3)

Another Love by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness, Amanda Prowse!
Every time I think you can’t find another situation to write about, you go and surprise me and do it again!
I’ve slowly been working my way through Amanda’s back catalogue and Another Love was a seriously touching story.
Alcoholism is indeed an awful illness that affects each and every member of the family of that person suffering.
I wanted to cry with Romilly the repentant mother and wife. I wanted to slap Romilly the drunken idiot who couldn’t say no. But most of all, I wanted her to conquer her addiction.
Some people don’t realise just how much alcohol can play havoc with a family, and this book hit the nail on the head.
Thank you Amanda, for a really powerful story.

So Lucky

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, what can I say?

Absolutely fantastic book!
I urge all women to read this and know that none of us is perfect. No one has a perfect life. No matter what is portrayed on the outside, there is always some inner struggle beneath.
We follow three women, each with their own secret, struggling to make life work, and trying to make sure no one on the outside is aware of their issues.
From body image to mental health to marital issues, so much is covered in this brilliantly written story.
Honestly, I have already recommended it to a couple of friends with whom the whole concept will resonate.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Olive Kitteridge (Olive Kitteridge, #1)

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, so I read this book as I had the sequel, Olive, Again, to read as an ARC.
I’m not sure I quite understood everything that went on.
A lot of head-hopping within the stories, all a bit more depressing than the last.
Sorry… I just didn’t get it…
Having said that, I don’t have much luck with Pulitzer prize winners. I struggled with American Pastoral too!

Olive, Again (Olive Kitteridge, #2)

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I made sure I read the first book about Olive, before reading this, and I found it interesting, but disjointed.
This brought me to Olive, Again with a little trepidation.
It was another mish-mash of different character stories, with Olive as a connection, and also a real eye-opener into Olive’s journey through her twilight years.
I’d say this was a lighter book, than the first, which I found quite dark in places. I felt that Olive had softened with age, and it was interesting to read her thoughts as she grew older,
It definitely gave me an insight into how someone who is at the tail end of life might be feeling.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books UK for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

True to Me

True to Me by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have followed Kay Bratt for a while now, and have read one or two of her books, which I enjoyed immensely. AI jumped at a chance to read True to Me, as it sounded like another fantastic story.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
Quinn Macguire is a woman suffering loss. The loss of her mother, and the loss of the idea of a father who she never knew. The loss of herself.
On her deathbed, Quinn’s mother tells her a secret that has been eating away at her.
This leads to Quinn going on a journey of self-discovery with the aid of DNA testing, and boy, what a journey!
The majority of this book is set in Maui, and I want to go now, so vivid were the descriptions of the settings.
Quinn definitely finds the answers she was after, but not before undertaking a tumultuous, emotional journey towards them.
I loved the characters she met on the way, some who will stay with me for a long while, and I do hope to read more about Quinn and her new life after finding herself!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 10th December

A Wedding in December

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sarah Morgan always has the ability to move me in a way not many other authors do.

In a Wedding In December, we meet Rosie White, who has been swept away in a whirlwind romance with Dan, culminating in an extremely fast proposal of marriage, followed by a date set mere weeks in advance. but who wouldn’t love it? A magical December wedding in Aspen, with the snow falling and all your family around?

Well, for a start, quite possibly her parents. Struggling with a secret of separation which they have hidden from their daughters for the last few months, Maggie and Nick wonder how are they going to get through a whole wedding, playing the charade of the happily married mother and father of the bride?

And what about the sister? Katie is a doctor in the A & E department of a busy London hospital. Being ten years older than her romantic sister, Rosie, she has worries and doubts of her own about whether this wedding should even take place, based upon her sister’s past and her own present.

So, will this wedding happen? Well, I shan’t spoil it for you, suffice to say the journey towards the end of this story is far from smooth, but I felt a true sense of satisfaction by the time I reached the end page!

Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Lost Ones

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG! WOW!

I don’t think I can do this book justice, honestly!
Mysteries, thrillers, not usually my thing. I do love stories set in the past though.
And from the first few pages, I was totally hooked!

It is 1917 and England is in the midst of the war, Stella Marcham is grieving for the loss of her fiance, Gerald. Her family is concerned about her mental stability and rather than send her to some asylum that many grieving women were incarcerated in, she is shipped off to visit her sister, Madeleine, who is expecting her first baby, and living at her husband’s large mansion in the countryside,
From the moment Stella arrives, with her maid, Annie, at Greyswick, there is a strange feeling about the house.
Inexplainable happenings spark a chain of investigations and events that uncover some deep, dark secrets that were once buried within the house, and the memories of its inhabitants.

A truly gripping read. I cannot recommend it enough!

Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry

Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You’ve got to love a good Christmas based festive story, and I enjoyed the light read that Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry provided.
I haven’t read the first book, but this wasn’t an issue, as the story works as a stand-alone as well.
Rachel and her mother Jill are rallying around, keeping the family farm going, as well as setting up a new business, the Pudding Pantry, in an old barn, trying to plug the hole of the loss of Rachel’s father a couple of years before.
The lead up to Christmas is quite quiet, and Rachel isn’t sure they will even survive as a business.
But with the gentle encouragement of beau, Tom, a neighbouring farmer, the creative charm of Eve, Rachel’s best friend, and the effervescence of her five-year-old daughter Maisie, Rachel comes up with an idea that may just swing the farm’s fortunes.
But it’s not all smooth sailing. Wayward sheep, unwanted exes, inclement weather and illness all find their way to hamper Rachel’s plans.
Will she be able to keep her farm, and romance afloat?
You’ll have to read the book to find out!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Impulse for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A Fire Sparkling

A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a beautiful book!
I have always loved stories that have connections with the war, and family sagas that reveal secrets, long-buried, so as not to hurt or harm anyone.
In this beautifully crafted story, Gillian comes away from her fiance’s house, after learning of his deceit, to her father and grandmother.
Eager to forget her troubles, she is quickly sucked into learning a whole new past that her grandmother experienced, but had hidden from the world, and all but a handful of people.
I can’t tell you more, because I would hate to spoil the story, but a definite recommended read!
There is romance, tragedy, and it will ignite a yearning for the ‘right; ending to be the one you read!

So, Peeps, tell me which one appeals to you!


Wave Of Light #infantloss

Not only tonight
Do I remember you, child
But every night
Ritu 2019

The moment I knew you were there, growing within, you gained a life, an identity, all of your own.

It matters not that you were with me mere weeks. 

You were real.

You were mine.

And the moment I knew you were gone, a piece of me died.

I’ll always remember you, my two angels ♥️

Today I lit a candle at 7pm, joining thousands, to create a wave of light, remembering our beautiful babies that were, perhaps, too good for this world.

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