June 2021 Books #AmReading

I’m hazarding a guess that this will be another quiet reading month, as not only do we have the move to continue with, but it is also report writing month, which is always hectic! Anyway, let’s see what I managed!

5. I managed 5. And if I am totally honest, I am still reading one of them! It has been a really hard month, time is whizzing by…

peacefully reading
Songs in Ursa Major

Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The premise for the book, Songs In Ursa Major, intrigued me and it made for an interesting read.
The story follows the meeting of Jane, lead singer in a local band, and Jesse, up and coming popular musician, who ends up needing medical care after an accident.
Jane and Jesse’s relationship is very complex, but you can feel.the strength of their bond, and I was taken on an emotional roller coaster as their relationships journey progressed.
Filled with music, and the relaxed atmosphere of the 60s, coupled with more serious issues, dealing with drug culture, and loss, as well as the male-dominant industry that the music business was, at that time it was a compelling read.
My only disappointment was that the ending felt very displaced and abrupt, jumping from then, to the present, with not a lot to explain what had happened in the half century between where we were, and where the story actually ends.
An interesting debut.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Released 24th June, 2021

Pug Actually by Matt Dunn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I saw the cover, with that cute pug face, how could I refuse a chance to read? And, the title, Pug, Actually, made me giggle out loud, so, of course, it was a given that I would read this one!
We have Julia, stuck in a somewhat restrictive relationship with a married man called Luke, and a pug, called Doug (Yes, really!) who knows this man is not for his mistress, at all.
The book is all told through the large, sometimes bulging eyes of Doug, the pug, as he tries very hard, with the help of a few other humans, to manipulate situations, to make Julia realise exactly how bad this man is for her.
Knowing this Luke already has something called a ‘wife, at home, Doug knows that Julia could do much better, as he steers her towards Tom, a V-E-T-, (not ideal, because, well, his job, but so much better than Luke with the dodgy smell that he leaves in his wake!)
A delightful romance with a canine twist!
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ Digital for an Arc in exchange for an honest review.

Released 29th June, 2021

Geraldine Verne's Red Suitcase

Review to follow in a Blog tour post! But, here’s the blurb to whet your appetite!

His dying wish was to set her free. So why does she feel so trapped?

Jack had two dying wishes: that his wife scatter his ashes somewhere ‘exotic’, and that she not give up on life once he was gone. He intended to spur her on to new adventures, but despite clinging to her red suitcase, Geraldine Verne hasn’t left the house for three months.

It takes an accident for Geri to accept help from her friends, but when Meals on Wheels arrive she is mortified. Yet heartbroken volunteer Lottie brings with her more than cottage pie and custard. Like Geri, she too is struggling to cut loose.

As a gloriously unlikely friendship blossoms, Geraldine begins to feel a long-lost spark of life and a newfound confidence. Perhaps what both women needed most, after all, was each other.

Released 29th June, 2021

8 steps to Side Characters: How to Craft Supporting Roles with Intention, Purpose, and Power

Another one I read, for review purposes, and I shall not share the review until the release date, which is at the end of July, but, if you know Sacha, you know this will be a goodie!

Do your characters fail to bring your story to life? Are they flat, boring or have no depth? Is your story lacking a little cohesion or sparkle?
In 8 Steps to Side Characters, you’ll discover:

+ A step-by-step guide for creating side characters that bring your story alive
+ The main types of side characters and what you should do with them
+ The key to crafting character depth that hooks readers
+ How to harness your character’s voice to deepen your reader’s experience
+ Tips and tricks for using details to enhance characterization
+ Methods for killing characters that will help deepen plot, theme and story
+ Dozens of ideas for creating conflict with your side characters
+ Tactics for differentiating characters and making them feel real to your reader
+ Character archetypes and functions
+ The most common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid

8 Steps to Side Characters is a comprehensive writing guide that will help you create the side characters your story needs. This book is packed with tips and tricks for polishing characters for writers at any level.

If you want to power up your characters, eliminate dull and lifeless archetypes, and perfect your characterization, this is the book for you. By the end of this book, you’ll know how to strengthen your characters to give your story, prose and plot the extra something special it needs to capture a readers and fans for life.

If you like dark humor, learning through examples and want to create better side characters, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting supporting roles with intention, purpose, and power. Read 8 Steps to Side Characters today and start creating kick-ass stories. 

Releasing 29th July, 2021

The Beach Read Book Club

The Beach Read Book Club by Kathryn Freeman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now, just the name of this book drew me to request it, and I was not disappointed at all with the story. I have been struggling to read, recently, and this book pulled me out of the rut I had found myself in!
So we have Lottie, the blonde sparky, never an intellectual person, and definitely not known for her love of words.
She’s been attending a book club, but really isn’t feeling it, what with all the literary greats they are meant to be reading, when all she really wants is a bit of romance, happy endings, and a little steaminess thrown in.
An idea sparks (see what I did there?!) with the help of some other members of said book club to start their own, a more inclusive one, with less formal rules, and here’s how she finds herself the head of the Beach Reads Book Club, with a slowly growing number of members, who do like a book with a bit of a romp in them, but more than anything, they cherish the time they spend together, and the friendships that evolve.
Oh, and I can’t forget the romance within this book, either, can I? Matthew, the rather serious new book shop owner is eye candy for more than one of the members, but, slowly, as he sheds layers of clothing and his own mystique, he ends up being a perfect candidate for our Lottie.
Though, nothing is ever that simple. There is family drama, exes, and a gorgeous, protective dog, involved.
Oh, and who could forget the oldest member of the club, Audrey, who has a potty mouth disguising a heart of gold.
Such a lovely book, I highly recommend it!
Many thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released 30th June 2021

So, were you any better than me with your reading?

That TBR Pile/List! #AmReading

So, while I wait for my feedback from my Alpha readers, I need to do something to keep me from gnawing my nails to a set of stubs… (need good nails for the Bash!) … so that means reading!


And I have plenty to keep me busy.

There are at least fifty books sitting on my Kindle waiting for me to read them, and a couple of real books on my shelf too.

I wish I had the space to actually buy more physical books.

Before we had to give up the study so the kids could have their own bedrooms, I had two bookshelves heaving with my favourite books, and there was a third filled with children’s books.

I had to really force myself to sort through the existing books I had, working out which ones to keep, and which ones to give away… a painful task.

But I ended up with a bookshelf in both of the kids’ rooms, with their favourite children’s books on them, and one shelf left downstairs in our now dining room cum study.

This has to house my work books as well as any others I finally decided I couldn’t part with.

But it leaves no space at all for new books… boo hoo!

This is where I thank God, and Amazon, for my Kindle Paperwhite! It goes with me almost everywhere, and I love that I can have a whole library with me at any time.

Yes, I hear you diehard bookworms. A real book feels different in the hand, and you’re right. There is no better feeling than holding that book, and being able to see the pages lessen as you read towards the end. But at least I have my Kindle progress percentage to kinda get the feel!

And what do I have to keep me busy?

Quite an eclectic mix of books actually, from Shelley Wilson’s self-help book to Shame Travels, by Jasvinder Sanghera. There are books by Judith Barrow, and Mary Smith, Helen Jones and Barb Taub. I have Lucy Brazier and Christoph Fischer too.

Comedy, YA fiction, memoirs, information books, anthologies and poetry books too. And a heck of a lot more Indie Authors there!

I have downloaded recommendations made by many bloggers including my favourite Blonde, Lucy!

If you’ve had a promotion on your book, and it tickled my fancy, it’s on my Kindle too!

Soooo many books to keep me going!

So, which first?

Well, I tend to go to the bottom of my pile, to find the oldest book on there, and read that, unless something has appeared on there that I simply can’t wait to read.

This time it is Sathnam Sanghera’s Marriage Material…

Marriage Material by [Sanghera, Sathnam]

I read his book, The Boy With A Topknot with fascination, as it was about a young Sikh boy born and brought up in Wolverhampton, and it dealt with the subject of mental health within the Sikh Community, and how issues were always swept under the carpet.

Can I be honest? It was… okay. There had been such excitement about the book, and it was even made into a BBC Drama, but I think it ended up a bit self-involved… It would have got a Ritu-rated ⭐⭐⭐.

Still, as I was reading it, I downloaded this other one of his… hope it is a better read!

And I am solidly working on my GoodReads challenge too!


What do you do to keep yourself busy when you are waiting for something?


Oh To Be An Author…! #ShamelessPromotion

How big is your TBR pile?

I used to be able to judge how many books I had, by looking at my shelves.

Now, in this digital age, I turned to a Kindle to save space, as I have no room for more books, because of the children’s books, and my teaching resources!

I literally donated 7 huge boxes of books to the British Red Cross last summer when we had a clear out, and converted our study into a bedroom for Lil Man. It meant less space for our stuff, but at least the kids had the privacy they needed!

But it means that I really have no clue what is in my TBR pile, unless I scroll through the contents of my Kindle!

I appear to have around 35 unread books waiting for me!

The great thing about my Kindle is that I can pretty much support my fellow Indie authors straight away by downloading the books of interest to me as they get published.

Though I sometimes forget what I have stored to read for the future.

Just the other day I was looking to see what is next among my pile of virtual books, and I was so excited that I had, among others, books by Sally Cronin, Sue Vincent, Judith Barrow and April Munday. I have books by Robbie Cheadle and Colleen Chesebro to share with Lil Princess too.

And I felt proud that I actually know these talented writers, and can count them as my friends!

Two years ago, authors were haloed beings in my books, excuse the pun. The ones you could hope to emulate, but really had no chance to reach their successes.

But now I realise, two years on, that we are able to become one of ‘them’.

If we want to do it, we can become one of those haloed beings too!

Ok, so we may not reach the financial successes that the likes of J.K. Rowling and Stephen King enjoy, but to be honest, for me, success would be to be sat on the TBR pile of someone I know (and ultimately for the book to be read and reviewed, obviously!)

So, here’s hoping I pull off that writing through August thing, so I am able to say to you all, that “Hey! I have a fiction book out there too!” sooner, rather than later!

And, I know I am on the bookshelves, or Kindles, of some readers out there too… I managed to become a published poet last year!

Poetic RITUals by [Bhathal, Ritu]

If you fancy adding me to your TBR pile… click on the link below to go to the Amazon site of your country!


Oh, and if you do decide to check it out… a little request from me… please leave a review!

Have a wonderful Wednesday Peeps!!!!


My interactive peeps!

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