July 2020 Books #AmReading

Waving goodbye to July…

What book reading pleasure have I managed this month?

Departed: David and Sara (Cliffside Bay…

Departed: David and Sara by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have managed to work my way through pretty much the whole of the Cliffside Bay series this year, and I was eager to read this last instalment, but at the same time, not so, as it meant that a cast of characters that have become friends, would be wrapping up the story in this book.
I don’t know about anyone else, but with the current COVID-19 climate, I seem to have got a bit addicted to reading books that have endings that aren’t as perfect as I’d usually like, and when I started Tess’s book, I knew there would be ups and downs, then a wonderful, perfect Happily Ever After… and I wasn’t entirely sure I was ready for so much positivity.
But, reading the story of how Sara and David finally fall for each other, I proved myself wrong.
How a will, and a desire to do something good for the world, can make an ‘arrangement’ end up in True Love, was the perfect antidote for the depression that has hit my reading mind.
And I have to admit to a few happy tears at the end, as the story wraps up.
Thank you, Tess, for these wonderful characters, and I do so hope that something may just get resurrected in the future 😉

The Secret of You and Me

The Secret of You and Me by Melissa Lenhard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Form the beginning, I was captured into the story of two women, torn apart as young girls, upon discovery of their forbidden love, and how they cope with being thrown together again eighteen years later.
Nora finds herself back in her hometown after eighteen years of exile, sent away by her father, after she was found in a compromising situation with her best friend Sophie.
Sent off to join the military, Nora comes to terms with her feelings, and her attraction to both men and women, as Sophie is left back home, building her own perfect future.
The twists come hard and fast, as her father dies, and she returns for the funeral, to come face to face with her childhood love, Sophie, who is married to Charlie, who used to be Nora’s boyfriend.
Confused?
It will make sense once you read.
This is a beautifully told story of love reclaimed, and two women finally being able to be themselves, after decades of hiding their true selves. Set in a town filled with strict religious beliefs, and a whole new generation to think about, along with the older people, who see same-sex relationships as the ultimate sin, there are so many layers this story peels through.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Mills And Boon for an ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Releasing on 4th August 2020

Emily, Gone

Emily, Gone by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first of Bette Lee Crosby’s books that I have read, and I have heard so much about it I was looking forward to getting stuck in.
A rollercoaster of a read is what I would describe it.
Imagine being pregnant, nearing the end of your pregnancy, when you go into labour, only to have the tragedy of a stillbirth?
Now, imagine, you somehow find yourself in a strangers house, and a tiny infant lays there, looking just like your baby should have?
Then, imagine being the parent who wakes after a deep slumber, caused by three sleepless nights, to find your infant gone?
All these things happen in the book, as we explore the emotions that run through the minds of both women, who have motherhood robbed of them, in two deeply tragic ways.
We experience the fear of a woman on the run, and the faith of a woman ever hopeful… With twists and turns to accompany every step of the story.
A well-written story, with loss at the centre, but ringed with hope all the way through.

The Secret Letters

Read as an Arc. Full review in post in Augus

The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rachel is a woman who has worked hard to get where she is now, in her own clinic as a psychiatrist. In a long-standing relationship with Will, her boyfriend, she thinks things are moving slowly, but in the right direction, but at the back of her mind, there are niggles.
Then she is attacked in her own home, by the same man who attempted to rape her as a teenager.
What follows is the story of how she overcomes her fears, sheds the dead weight in her life and finds some amazing new friends, rekindles relationships with family, and finds her forever love, too.
The Secret Letters is a bittersweet romance, covering some serious issues within, including attempted rape, estranged families and unfaithfulness.
Written in an uncomplex way, The Secret Letters is an easy read that can be devoured in a few hours, by young adults, as well as the more grown kind.
There are some fantastic characters in the book. I almost wish there was even more development of some of them, like Mr Lemon. I loved Mr Lemon. Everyone needs a Mr Lemon in their lives!
In fact, there were some places I almost wished that the scenes took a little longer, to explore some of the issues within, or expand upon details, so it didn’t feel rushed.
I was offered a chance to read this book by the author, for an honest review.

Released 9th August, 2020

Soldier's Girl : Love Story of a Para Commando

Soldier’s Girl : Love Story of a Para Commando by Swapnil Pandey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book but I’m sorry to say I found it so hard to finish.
Poor spelling, sentence structure, going of rails, tense mix ups… I’m not sure where to start.
Poor execution of what could have been an interesting love story.
😢

Soul Waves

Soul Waves by Sylvester L Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautiful set of poems and life lessons written by prolific poet, Sylvester Anderson.
This is a book you can pick up and open, to give yourselves a morsel of wisdom, or positivity, whenever you need it!

Dance in the Rain by [Shreya Dutta]

Dance in the Rain by Shreya Dutta
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An emotionally packed anthology of poems.

Down The Tubes

Down The Tubes by Kate Rigby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve had this on my Kindle for a while, now, but only just got round to reading it.
Gut-wrenching is the word I’d use to describe it.
Drug addiction is an awful thing to experience – not the highs – that’s what gets you addicted – but the lows, the cold turkey, the trying to get back on the road to normality, to ‘clean’.
This story explores addiction in a raw, sometimes difficult to read, way. Realistic. Almost too realistic.
We follow the story of a mother and her son. They’re estranged, but their life routes are parallel in so many ways.
She finds the art of being a mother to a baby addictive, but can’t deal with a baby who doesn’t act like he’s supposed to.
He finds solace in his father’s adoration, which takes a sinister turn, that ends up with him running away.
Abuse, substance misuse, deaths, births favouritism… so much discussed.
It was a hard, but very good read.

One Step Behind

One Step Behind by Lauren North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I was approached to read this arc, I didn’t hesitate, Having been a reader of Lauren North’s previous book, The Perfect Son, despite it being a book not of my usual genre, and really enjoying it, I was more than happy to read this new one, not least because it comes out on my birthday!
Gripped.
That’s what I was, with this book.
Imagine being a busy, A & E doctor, as well as a wife, and mother to two young children, with the horror of a stalker to add to the mix?
That is the life of fear and exhaustion that the main character Jenna is facing.
Every time she goes anywhere, the feeling that she is being watched.
Each time she opens her emails to find threat filled messages.
Whenever she opens the front door. or goes to the garden, the thought that another ‘gift’ may be left.
At least she can keep her family safe in the house… until she finds out he’s been inside.
Then, as she begins to piece together evidence, and works out who this person might be, she ends up having to treat him after he is brought in with life-threatening injuries.
I really enjoyed the book, and every time I thought I’d pieced together the mystery, something else was thrown into the mix to twist the story further.
Recommended read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 3rd September, 2020

All About Us

All About Us by Tom Ellen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How many times have you sat back and wondered ‘what if’?
Ben is having a personal crisis. The world and its aunt seems to have their lives all mapped out, from his wife, Daphne, to his old uni mucker, Herv. Everyone has goals and seems intent on getting there. Ben, however, is wallowing in a pool of self-pity. His dream of being a writer, following in the footsteps of his estranged father, seems increasingly unlikely. In fact, he is just not cut out fo this life. He’s no good for is wife, his friend, himself. Better than he walks away now, right, and steps into a relationship that was the ‘could-have-been’ in his life…
All About Us charts a Christmas Carol style tale of visitations into key points in Ben’s past, Could things really have been better if he’d done something different at these times?
It was an enjoyable read, and I especially felt for Ben, with regards to his mother. All those unspoken words, conversations that you wish you’d had when they were alive…
Oh, and, sometimes that old adage, that the grass is greener? It ain’t always true!
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ Stories for an arc, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 15th October, 2020

Atomic Love

Atomic Love by Jennie Fields
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Atomic Love is a literary thriller, based in the ’50s, about a young woman, Rosalind, a scientist, whose livelihood is left in tatters after the bomb in Hiroshima. Having been involved in the Manhatten project, and the development of the Atomic Bomb, she is scarred with the guilt of all those lost lives, and to top it off, she lost her love , who sold her under the river, and disappeared,
A few years later, she is working a simple job in a department store, when he comes back, to rekindle love, or to wreak havoc again?
Enter an FBI agent scarred from his own battles in the war, who needs her help.
What follows is a story filled with emotion and twists, as Rosalind’s life is turned upside down.
Will she turn to her ex-lover, and help him with his troubles, or will she succumb to the feelings that are developing for a certain FBI agent?
This isn’t my usual genre to read, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and found myself willing my eyes to stay awake to finish the book.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Michael Joseph UK for an Arc, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 3rd September, 2020

Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You

Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You by Annie Lyons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having thoroughly enjoyed books like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and seeing that parallels had been drawn, I was intrigued by the blurb, about an octogenarian, Eudora Honeysett, who is contemplating an end of life clinic in Switzerland, to be her final stop on this planet, having no one around to care.
What a fantastic book!
I loved Eudora, the staid eighty-five-year-old, who has her simple days planned out and fancies sorting her end out too, so she doesn’t become a burden upon anyone else, or have to suffer, like her own mother.
But, then along comes Rose, a ten-year-old whirlwind, who enters her life as a new neighbour, and who injects the affection into Eudora’s life. Something she’s been missing.
And I can’t forget Stanley, the fellow octogenarian widower, who craves company but has never quite got the response from Eudora, that he hoped for.
The story flits back to Eudora’s childhood formative years and key points in her past that have shaped her.
It was a heartwarming read, showing that it’s never too late to form meaningful relationships.
I really loved it.
Many thanks to NetGalley. Harper Collins and One More Chapter for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 17th September, 2020

Second Chance Lane by Nicola Marsh

Second Chance Lane by Nicola Marsh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Second Chance Lane is my second read by author Nicola Marsh and a very different read to the one I read before.
Tash is living her simple life as a single mother to young Teen Isla, in her small backwater village of a hometown. No one knows the details of the father of her child, Isla included, and she plans on keeping it that way.
Until he rocks up at the house next door. Kody Lansdowne is Australia’s Rock Golden Boy. From humble beginnings, he, and his rich band have conquered the world, these past thirteen years, but nothing can prepare him for the news that he is a father. To a teenager.
Jane is fed up of her reputation as the village homewrecker. After years of putting on aa facade, her resolve crumbles, as. she finds it harder to cope with the way she is viewed by the locals, and her mother doesn’t help matters either. Then up rocks Morgan. Nerd from school who she had no time, for, but he’s not so much of a nerd now.
Second Chance Lane is a wonderfully written story, a Rural Second Chance Romance (or two of them in one book!) I enjoyed reading the story and loved the twists and turns. taken to get two couples so obviously right for each other, to realise, and get it on!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia, HQ & MIRA for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Releasing 7th October, 2020

The Chalet by Catherine Cooper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A captivating read!
Set in the French Alps, at a ski resort, The Chalet focuses on a tragedy that occurred in the past and moves fluidly back and forth between then, and the present, to bring the story to its conclusion.
An impromptu break for two brothers and their girlfriends in the late 90s begins well but ends in chaos as an awful tragedy occurs and the story that follows takes us through the minds of several people supposedly not connected, but in reality, they are, entwined with the death of a man, in the most complex ways.
The Chalet is an excellent psychological thriller and a fantastic debut for Catherine Cooper.

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

Releasing 31st October, 2020

The Boy Toy by Nicola Marsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thirty-seven-year-old Samira has moved back to Melbourne after years of living her own life in LA, following a painful divorce that left her reeling from the lack of support from her local Indian community.
It didn’t help that she herself was a product of a mixed marriage, with an Indian mother and an American father.
Fast forward over a decade, and she’s back, on the pretext of helping her cousin, Pia, out with her new business.
What she didn’t count on was meeting a young Aussie hunk on pretty much the first night she’s back in town.
It’s not often I come across a novel that leaves me nodding my head in agreement to much of it, but as a British born Indian, I related to a lot of scenarios covered in The Boy Toy.
I wasn’t only nodding my head, but laughing aloud, in parts, as I recalled going through similar events.
The Boy Toy covers some big issues, in an extremely light-hearted way, an easy read, with the chance of being educational to those Westerners who aren’t familiar with the Indian culture, bar eating curry at the local Indian restaurant!
Mixed race relationships and marriage, infertility, pregnancy out of wedlock, and dealing with a verbal disability, a stutter, all feature in this book. Oh, and rather a lot of naughty scenes!
And reading the taster of a Man Ban, and finding out that a certain, rather tasty Doctor from this book is featuring, I am sure I’ll be reading that too!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for an Arc, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 17th November, 2020

Fifteen books… not bad for the last few weeks of term, and a productive reading month, at that!

Which one tickles your fancy?

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 280 – Read

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“Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body.”

Joseph Addison

Thanks, Spidey! I always appreciate your quote selections, and I love that you chose to think about reading today. This quote makes me happy that my brain is being exercised as much as the rest of me at the moment, perhaps even more so!

I love books.

I definitely have an addiction.

I try not to buy too many physical books, because – space. But somehow they still end up in my basket. My Kindle is groaning with the amount of books I hvae waiting to be read.

I’ve even started adding ones I’d like to another list, on Amazon, so I don’t get them, just yet, as I must do justice to the ones I already have! (Unless they go on sale, in which case, it would be foolish to not!)

And as I read, I always review. I have done for the last few years, since I started blogging, and getting to know authors. The importance of reviews stretch beyond just letting other readers know what you think.

Well constructed reviews are also crucial for authors too. It’s not just about the ratings and getting five stars across the board. A good review will give the author food for thought. There may be huge praises involved for the writer, but sometimes there is constructive advice within reviews too, things that may help an author refine and hone their skills for the next book.

Since I started doing my monthly review posts, I realised that initially, I wasa automatically giving any book I read 5 stars, because I felt I should. And to be honest, I rarely read books that I wouldn’t like. Tried and tested authors.

But my range changed as I began blogging, and I found my preferred genres widening. Becoming a member of NetGalley further expanded my reading and reach, and I realised that blanked 5 stars were no good for anyone!

So, over the months, I honed my ratings to the meanings below. I shall be including this in all my round up review posts, so you will know what the ratings mean to me!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - loved it so much, I need ALL the books this author has ever written!
⭐⭐⭐⭐ - great read, something I'd read again
⭐⭐⭐ - enjoyable storyline and characters
⭐⭐ - an okayish read
⭐ - really wasn't for me 

And please remember, your reviews and ratings mean a lot to all authors!

If you’ve read Marriage Unarranged, and haven’t quite got round to reviewing… pretty please do!

So tell me, how do you rate books you read?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps  And enjoy your week! ❤ 

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 244

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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss

I just love this quote, Spidey! Thank you for popping it up on here today!

If I can’t do a lot of creating, which I am finding to be the case at the moment, with health issues etc., then reading is my next go-to!

And I honestly find that the more books I read, the more my world expands.

I am able to visit places I may never get to in reality, experience lives that I may not cross my path otherwise, escape in to fantasies that would otherwise always remain just that.

And the big one – I can dream that one day, my own book will end up taking readers on a similar magical ride one day too!

So, tell me, which book really helps you escape from reality?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps  And enjoy your week! ❤ 

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 230

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“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

Groucho Marx

Oh, I loved this quote, Spidey!

This weekend I have been talking reading and books a lot, with my uncle, who came to visit me. This is my mum’s eldest brother. My Mamaji. And he lives in Kenya. I haven’t seen him in 18 years, since my wedding,

He’s a very special man to me. Another dad. And someone who has inspired me to read. Both him and my mother read copiously when I was younger, and though life may not allow them to read as much, even in retirement, they are both like me and would rather have a good book in their hand, than an eye on the goggle box, as my mum always calls it!

My Mamaji treated himself this trip, to an All New Kindle Paperwhite, and he brought it with him, to compare with mine, and to discuss book-related matters.

He’s a non-fiction reader more than fiction, and my memories of him are always of him with his nose in a book or the paper. I remember his bedroom in Kenya distinctly, with piles of books lining walls too!

In fact he was nearly a PhD Graduate in the 60s, but due to personal problelms, he never finished it, and it is a regret he feels keenly. He studied here in London, at Queen Mary’s College and Imperial College, both of which his took my aunt, my Mamiji, to visit last week!

There was a trunk filled with his belongings in my parent’s garage. My mum has kept it safe since it was entrusted to her care in the early 70s and she hasn’t dared open it, or get rid of it.

A couple of weeks ago, Mamaji stationed himself in the garage of Pops and Mum’s house, to rummage through his memories. The trunk was filled with all sorts, including a handmade suit of his, some other hilariously 60s clothes and TONS of books. When I phoned mum that day, she was laughing as she told me how he was like a child in a toyshop, delving into the memories of an extremely precious time for him.

I was in awe of his memory.

Even yesterday, as he mentioned the titles of some of the books, and the authors, some of whom had been his PhD lecturers, his eyes glistened with pure joy. He told mum to give the books away, as he can’t take them back, but he also had a ‘small’ list of ones he would ask her to keep, for memory’s sake.

I know I shall be rummaging around in that trunk before they get given away, to get another insight into Mamaji and his younger life.

Before he left, his parting words to me were, “Send me that book of yours when it’s done.”

Another member of my family who has been such a strong, silent support of my writing dream. He was so proud the day my poetry book came out, and I know I just need to do this, get this book published, not just for me, but for all those dear to me, who have so much faith in my ability.

So… tell me, who is part of your silent support group?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps  And enjoy your week! ❤ 

The Four Stages – #Poetry #Inspired

After a wonderful review of my poetry book, Poetic RITUals, Lucy Mitchell, of BlondeWriteMore blog fame (she is too funny, you must follow her!) she mentioned to me that she had been searching for inspiring pietry aimed at writers and creative types… words that may inspire and help nudge you through the tough writerly moments we go through…

ISn’t that just wonderful? ❤

Now, I can’t magic up a whole book but it got me thinking, and I penned a little Etheree quartet, dedicated to my fave Blonde, Lucy, and all the writers out there!

The Four Stages

Write
Right now
Momentum
The need to type
I feel them coming
Ideas multiply
Fingers fly across the keys
Story seeds blossom into trees
A book the world will all want to read
Thousands of words reaching a crescendo
 
Blank
It’s gone
I’ve lost it
My story thread
No ideas flow
Inspiration has run dry
All my dreams come crashing down
I’ll never be a best seller
Should I delete the whole sorry lot?
No one will ever want to read this stuff
 
Read
Inspired
Just maybe
I can do this
My book could happen
Someone might just like it
Plot twists thicken in my mind
Endings start to come together
Put the book down; get the keyboard out
It’s time to make my book dream come to life
 
Write
Again
Typing fast
Renewed vigour
Finish is in sight
I almost can’t keep up
Words tumble onto my screen
Loose ends seem to come together
Tying up the story completely
Breathe… and finally type those words… ‘The End’
 
  Ritu 2019
There is my inspiration for this verse… Lovely Lucy, alongside my dear friend, His Geoffleship!

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