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!


Two More 5-Star Reviews! (And Another Vote Appeal!)

I went onto Amazon.com to find 2 more 5 star reviews of my book, Poetic Rituals, which I felt I had to share!

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“Bhathal’s Poetic Rituals is a collection of poems that explores life’s rituals, those of a mother, wife, lover, and teacher. There are real gems in here with lovely imagery, humor, passion, and ambivalence. My favorite poems were the lighthearted rhymes about being a mother of young children. A great read to visit and browse throughout the day.” – Diana – Ritu’s poems are original, witty, humourous and full of life. A must read for all those who love wit in verses!” – Diana – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

And

“Ritu’s poems are original, witty, humourous and full of life. A must read for all those who love wit in verses!” – Shivangi – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’ve been requesting you all to vote for the cover of my book, but I felt I ought to at least let you know I have some lovely reviews too, and that I am eternally grateful to you as my voting Peeps, and to my wonderful reviewers, Shivangi and Diana!

Anyhow, please, if you can, vote here.

The Zombie Dogs are whipping my butt right now! 175 me to 341 for the Rabid Pups!

Votes, shares, anything would be so appreciated! Thank you so much!

 

Poetic RITUals – Reviews!

It’s been a manic few weeks, and after the launch of my poetry book, Poetic RITUals, I haven’t really been touting it, or really promoting it, because, well, life got in the way!

Poetic RITUals

A massive thanks to those bloggers who have reblogged my original posts (Erika, Judy, Rich, Sue, Annette, Hugh) to name a few) , and those who interviewed me and arranged guest posts. (Al, Sally, Chris) For them, I am truly grateful!

I was unaware, until Judy mentioned that she had reviewed my book on Amazon, that I had had any reviews! I was expecting a notification from Amazon, to be honest, so now I understand that I have to keep checking myself!

And I have not one, but TWO 5 star ratings!

Judy wrote:

This book is jam-packed with fun, smiles, laughter and even a bit of the Awww factor. Ritu’s writing is refreshing.and honest; she puts her heart and soul into this book, and it shows. A must-read, especially if you need perking up!

And the other review,

I love this book. My daughter and I have been reading a few poems from it and cannot wait to read more. Lots of funny bits. I can really relate to some of the poems. Some of the best poetry I have read. I’m truly inspired. This book is a must read.

I am so touched!

And eager to hear from anyone else who may have bought it, and read it.

What do you think of it?

Please let me know, and if possible, leave a review on Amazon!!!!

My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

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