May 2020 Books #AmReading

The month of May! Aaaah, the spring evenings seguing into summer. Lazy weekends filled with barbeques and drinks in the garden, or catching up with friends…

Or maybe not.

Coronagate is still with us, at the moment, so the meeting friends bit, well, that’s not gonna happen in the same way as before. But I hope the weather was good for you, and the added time allowed you to read plenty too!

Here’s what I managed.

Christmas Wedding (Cliffside Bay Series)

Christmas Wedding by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am steadily working my way through Tess’s Cliffside Bay series and this was a little novella to slip into the stream of love stories.
We finally get to see the wedding of Raphael and Lisa, but not without a few dramas along the way.
I enjoy how these extra snippets of stories add another layer to the relationship that us readers are building with all the characters in the series, and the fact that it is set in Emerson Pass, after reading the first book in Tess’s newest series, well, that was another pleasant surprise!
Onwards to the next book.

Scarred: Trey and Autumn (Cliffside Bay, #8)

Scarred: Trey and Autumn by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book 8 of the Cliffside Bay series, but the tenth I’ve read, counting the novellas.
I love that I kinda know what is going to be the conclusion, but knowing how Tess’s stories evolve, I am aware that it won’t be a straight path.
Scarred is the story of the pairing together of Autumn, the scarred sister of Wolf, Stone, and Trey, one of the Wolves pack. Again, plenty of loose threads from previous books are tied up, but there are a good few left dangling, so you know the next book has some work to do!

Jilted: Nico and Sophie (Cliffside Bay, #9)

Jilted: Nico and Sophie by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Boy, am I enjoying steaming through this series! I almost don’t want to have to wait for June for the last book!
Jilted gives us the story of the fourth Wolf, Nico, and his blossoming love story with Dog Sane’s half-sister, Sophie.
Both souls with feelings of abandonment, but totally different life situations, they go from pushing each other away to drawing close like two opposite ends of a magnet.
I enjoyed this next instalment, and can’t wait for David and Sara’s story. Thank goodness I still have a couple of novellas to read!

Kissed: A Cliffside Bay Christmas Short

Kissed: A Cliffside Bay Christmas Short by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another short novella to tie up some loose ends in Tess Thompson’s Cliffside Bay series.
This time we jumped to the seniors who now live there, and follow the blossoming romance between Rapahel’s mother, Rosa (Mama) Soto and Lisa’s Uncle Dominic.
A lovely, magical, light read to make your heart feel good.

Chateau Wedding by Tess Thompson

Chateau Wedding by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finally! I got to see (read) Pepper and Stone’s wedding!
Tess Thompson delivers a short side tale to her Cliffside Bay series, whisking the readers away to France to witness the dream marriage, that has its fair share of ups and downs, even in such a short book!
I could have carried on reading more!

They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher

They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher by Pete Springer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Retired elementary school teacher, Pete Springer, uses his experience and knowledge to create a wonderful book that is as much memoir as it is a handy tool to have as a teacher about to embark upon the best job in the world (I’m a teacher, maybe I’m biased), and just as useful for a parent to read, so they can understand a little more about the role the teacher plays in their children’s lives.
Peppered with anecdotes from his teaching career, as well as the story detailing how he ended up becoming a teacher, the book gives a personal account of the life of aa teacher, as well as many handy hints for setting up and running a successful classroom of your own.

My Untold Truth by Sharon Punni Khakh

My Untold Truth by Sharon Punni Khakh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imagine being that child who can see and hear awful things being done to your mother, then, when you try and raise an alarm, you get shot down?
This is the true story of Sharon, who, from a young age, witnessed her mother suffer from mental and physical abuse from her father, and eventually had to deal with fatal consequences.
The harsh truth is that there is still stigma attached to families who are vocal about abuse or wrongdoings in families in many Indian communities, even now. So much so, that it is easier to ignore the reality, or cover it up, rather than seek help and face the repercussions.
Well done to Sharon for bravely writing about this awful situation, with the hope it will give other young people the courage to come forward and speak out for members of their family in similar situations, who feel unable to themselves.
Domestic violence, physical, mental and emotional abuse is NEVER right.

Self Love

Self Love by T.L. Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A young woman; single, plump, and totally unconfident in her appearance.
That’s Molly.
But she’s a great florist, and a good friend, though she can be a bit self-absorbed sometimes.
But let’s be honest, who can honestly say, hand on heart that they never think about themselves, and only others?
And that’s why many readers will identify with Molly.
As I read her story, trying to find love, and acceptance for herself, as well as that elusive ideal weight, I found myself comparing certain parts of her life with mine.
I totally got her with the dieting, and ‘life-changing’ health plans. I’ve been up and down my whole life, and though many who know me, would say I’ve never been ‘big’, I know I have, compared to my previous, svelte self.
That hating what you see in the mirror? Yup. Been there, done that.
I read about her dating mishaps with intrigue, probably because I never went through all that online dating malarkey, myself.
She had her ups and downs, but Molly learns how to accept herself, and build changes into her life so she really does end up loving herself – and, no spoilers here, but she might just find someone else who loves her too!
There’s a lesson in the story for us all.
Self-care, and self-love is as important as getting acceptance from the outside.
I’m just glad Molly stopped apologising for herself by the end!

Life in progress

Pixy by Linda g. Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always enjoy the book sof Linda’s that I have read, and this short story, a free treat from Linda, was no different.

We are introduced to the world of Pixies, and meet Merryn, who has been transported to the human world as a joke, but there he meets Ivy, a widow, and they start a romance that develops in a flash, in human years, but takes much time, in pixy years! A cute love story with a twist!

The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1

The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 by Charli Mills
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just love Flash Fiction and I feel blessed to have got to know the crew over at the Carrot Ranch, with Charli, the head buccaneer!
I’ve had this anthology to read for a long while, but time, and so many books… you know.
But finally, thanks to Lockdown, I got to savour the wonderful bite-sized morsels that 99-word fiction can provide.
I enjoy crafting the stories to go with Charli’s weekly prompts, and I am also eager to read how someone else interprets the same prompt.
The first half of this book is filled with these, kind of like appetisers.
Then the second half has slightly longer pieces, like your main course, but selected Ranchers, and finishes with a dessert of essays from memoirists.
A wonderful collection to savour over time, or devour in one sitting!

The Sight of You (The Sight of You, #1)

The Sight of You by Holly Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what an emotional ride!
Imagine having a gift that could give so much joy, but at the same time, suck the joy of living from you?
This was what life was like for Joel, and what stopped him from fully living his own life.
And Callie? A simple, loveable woman, who isn’t quite sure where here future lies, until she meets Joel.
Add in Murphy, Callie’s dog, and you have a beautiful bittersweet love story, with an ending you didn;t expect… or did you?
I absolutely loved this story of Joel and Callie, and their forever love, that just wasn’t meant to be.
Descriptive, emotive writing that kept me reading all day, so I could finish the book, all the while not wanting it to end.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Life and Other Happy Endings

Life and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this book to read when it was still registered as Death and other Happy Endings. The title piqued my interest, and the blurb confirmed I would be up for reading.
Upon reading the book, I think the new title Life and other Happy Endings, is much better suited!
I was fully prepared for a swing of emotions, knowing I was going to be reading about a woman counting down to the end of her life, writing letters to three people who were so important in her life, and I wasn’t wrong there.
But the swing of emotions included laughter and smiles, as well as the sadness and dread that I had expected.
I loved the twist to the story in the middle, and the extra U-Turn at the end. Nope. Don’t ask for details. You need to read to find out!
Great book!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

One Summer in Santorini (Holiday Romance Book 1)

One Summer in Santorini by Sandy Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderfully whimsical, romantic read, perfect for a sunny holiday read, or even a read when there is no holiday sun around, as the vivid descriptions of Greek islands will whisk you away anyway!
I loved meeting Sarah, the woman who has sworn off men, taking a trip away to get away from all that romantic nonsense, then ends up with not one, but two suitors, and all with the backdrop of this beautiful greek scenery!
I really enjoyed this debut from Sandy Barker, and am already excited to dive into book two!

That Night in Paris (Holiday Romance Book 2)

That Night in Paris by Sandy Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What? So, I finished book one yesterday, and today, I’m here reviewing book two.
Think that is a clue in itself as to how readable Sandy Barker’s books are becoming to me.
I thoroughly enjoyed Sarah’s story in book one, One Summer in Santorini, and it was great to pick up on the story, interlinked, but on its own journey, about Catherine, Sarah’s sister.
Not only do you get a whistlestop tour of some of Europe’s most famous cities, complete with descriptions that make you feel like you are standing in the middle of said cities, but there is the huge dollop of ‘will she/won’t she’ romance added to keep you turning pages.
Cat’s been hurt before. She’s sworn off relationships and men, until a mistaken (bit more than a ) fumble with her flatmate. Disasterous enough to make her book a hasty coach tour around Europe, to get away from the atmosphere she’s created, by trying to stay away from her newly love-lorn flatmate.
On the tour, she visits amazing places, cements life long friendships with her ‘bus buddies’, and ends up bumping into her teen pen pal, Jean Luc, in Paris. And he’s no longer that cute, gawky teen whose features haven’t quite grown into adulthood at the same time.
No.
Now he is all kinds of hot, good looking – like model good looking, tall, with a to die for physique… and he seems to actually ‘like’ like Cat.
I don’t want to tell you what happens, but wills he be able to stick to her ‘no relationships’ stance, or will a holiday fling be enough? And what about that flatmate?
Book three – I am diving in, right now!!

A Sunset in Sydney (Holiday Romance Book 3)

A Sunset in Sydney by Sandy Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having devoured the first two books in Sandy’ Barker’s series, I was eager to get to this concluding title to see what happened.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
Sarah went on a trip to the Greek islands, sworn off men, and ended up coming home with the possibility of two relationships at the end of the first book.
In this third episode detailing the lusts, losses and loves of Sarah, along with plenty of wine and alcohol, we hoped to come to some conclusion.
And it didn’t disappoint!
Sandy Barker has a great way of describing the places visited, so you feel as if you are there with the characters, so I feel like I can say I’ve visited Maui, Sydney and parts of New Zealand!
Aside from the travel, the ‘who will she choose?’ scenario kept me on my toes the whole book.
Would it be cute, young American dude, Josh, or older, more experienced, extremely attractive, and rather rich, James?
Of course, I’m not going to tell you… you’ll have to get the book to find out!

Many thanks to NetGalley. Harper Collings and One More Chapter for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.
Releasing on 3rd July, 2020

The Day She Came Back

Okay, so this is a definite ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, but I’m saving the review for the Blog Tour of which I’ll be a part.

Releasing on 7th July, 2020

Busted in Bollywood

Busted in Bollywood by Nicola Marsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first Nicola Marsh book, and I had great fun delving into the very familiar world of India, Bollywood and cross-cultural East-West mixes.
I loved the doses of masala as we saw met Shari, the MC, thrown into a duplicitous situation, where she had to pretend to be her best friend Amrita, to break up an arranged marriage engagement.
What she didn’t count on, was hot Bollywood Dudes, stalkers, soothsayers, superstar opportunities and a new aunty who was eager to fatten her up and get her married off.
A fun read full of vibrancy.

The Love Square

The Love Square by Laura Jane Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed Laura Jane Williams first foray into fiction, One Stop, and was excited to get the opportunity to read her second offering, The Love Square.
A story about Love, of all sorts.
Penny is a cancer survivor, burned by her last serious relationship. She is a business owner, with a thirst for success with her cafe, but a huge amount of family loyalty too. And most of all, she wants love.
And it comes, from many directions, from her friends, her uncles and sister, and from three very different men.
Caught in a love square, Penny has to make decisions that could hurt, but could equally give her the best future ever.
I loved Penny. She’s a strong woman, who doesn’t actually know her own strength. Sometimes the need for approval of others overtakes the fact that she needs to be happy in herself, and love herself first.
Her three choices:
Francesco, the Italian chef with a passion for food to rival hers, and the promise of falling in friendship.
Thomas, the happy go lucky playboy with a huge heart.
Priyush, the mature, wave and sophisticated older man who is ready to offer a life of elegance and romance.
I loved the story and the characters. An easy to read tale with a deeper meaning that the cover may let on.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Avon Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 29th June 2020

The Sugar Queen of Emerson Pass

The Sugar Queen of Emerson Pass by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finally finished The Sugar Queen of Emerson Pass and I LOVED it!
Tess Thompson’s signature style of concentrating on a couple, within a group of close-knit friends, worked brilliantly, along with tying into the first book of the series The Schol Mistress Of Emerson Pass, even though it is set in a totally different timeline.
And I was overjoyed to get all the connections to the Cliffside Bay residents too!
A true story of second chance romance, with two childhood sweethearts torn apart in the midst of young love, and then thrown back together years later in very different circumstances, but in the same setting.
The story tore at my heart, with loss and confusion, misplaced loyalties and rediscovered romance. Oh and the build-up to the next romance. Loved it, truly!
Can’t wait for the next one, Tess. 💜

Love's Child: Power, deceit and betrayal, all in the name of love!

Love’s Child by Lizzie Chantree
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m not sure what I was expecting with this first Lizzie Chantree novel, but it wasn’t the interesting twists within this delicious novel.
David is the product of a loveless marriage, and left with his degenerate father, he learns, the hard way, how to get through life.
In adulthood, he’s found a way to channel all the negativity into a project to benefit the community, and turned his bad experiences into something positive.
Finally, life is going great, with his girlfriend Tilly, pregnant, and happy, then things start to go wrong.
Love’s Child takes you on a journey of mysterious twists, exploring certain family dynamics, and ultimately, LOVE.

Mr Portobello's Morning Paper

Mr Portobello’s Morning Paper by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s no secret.
Amanda Prowse is one of my favourite authors, and when she announced her novella, Mr Portobello’s Morning Paper, it sped its way onto my Kindle and raced to the top of my TBR pile. Her books always do. I’m not apologising!
Mr Portobello’s Morning Paper was a beautifully crafted novella and it hit many notes for me for several reasons.
Sophie is my age. Sophia is (was) a teacher. Like me. Disillusioned with the way teaching is going – been there, done that. Sophia loves books. Yup, me again.
That’s where the similarities end.
But the story. Oh, the story.
Sophia leaves her job to open a book emporium filled with the old books from her parents’ house. She develops. friendship with the eighty-year-old Mr Portobello, who was the previous tenant of her shop.
He pops in at 10 am every morning, on his way to get his morning paper, and slowly they build a relationship that leaves Sophia beginning to think long and hard about how she’s been living her life.
Mr Portobello’s Morning Paper is a bittersweet story which will tug at your heartstrings.

A Convenient Marriage by Jeevani Charika

A Convenient Marriage by Jeevani Charika
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stigmas are something many of us have to live with, and there are different stigmas attached to different diasporas.
Chaya is a Sri Lankan girl trusted to leave her family and study in the far away, yet prestigious university of Oxford. Love is the last thing on her mind, or shouldn’t be.
Gimhana is another Sri Lankan displaced in the UK. He’s hoping to get his qualifications and become that successful lawyer, as well as be able to be the real himself – a self that loves men, not women.
In a clever way, Jeevani Charika weaves chapters laying foundations and dripping clues as to what the past knew that hindered the progression of both individuals.
Fast forward to a time where both are being hounded by their families to get married.
In a strange twist of fate, they meet, and end up in a marriage of convenience, for them both. No expectations from each other, a friendship, and no secrets… but are there?
I really enjoyed reading this story, especially as a fellow South Asian, and knowing so many of these expectations that are hung around our necks as youngsters, weights that can hinder rather than help our lives.
There is a shift now, in the way many of the issues raised are thought of now, but not big enough.
An enjoyable read, and a cultural education for many, I believe.

The Opposite of Hew by Lisa W. Tetting

The Opposite of Hew by Lisa W. Tetting
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Having read Tetting’s story about Zora, and loving it, I was happy to pick up her book, The Opposite of Huw.
A quick read with an interesting premise, but I do feel it was rushed.
The whole idea of the spreading of the main character’s aunt’s ashes in key places could have been stretched more, and though I liked the main character, Kay, and her feisty nature, the idea of her aunt just forcing marriage upon her, was unrealistic in the setting.

That was over twenty books this month!!!!

So, which book caught your eye?




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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