In this collection of poems, MJ Mallon has given us a wry series of vignettes of our society during a very strange year in history; it reminded me in part of theatre of the absurd, and she carries it out with an admirable lightness of touch. She conveys the folly, the irritability, the absurdity of people’s behaviour, along with a feeling of being lost and adrift.
Pop over to Sheila’s blog to read the review in its entirety.
Thank you so much to Sheila for reading and reviewing Lockdown Innit. A wonderfully detailed review, I appreciate it so much. <3
From the international bestselling author of If you love me, I’m yours, Ninja School Mum and Babe Driven.
Genie’s family is in crisis. Their seafront business is failing with the loss of Genie’s grandmother and her legendary ice cream flavours. Genie is determined to be the one to save her family’s heritage, but suddenly her mother wants to sell to developers and leave their shared history behind.
Buying the business and taking on a sixty-eight year old business partner, Ada, with a mysterious past and a gorgeous but distracting grandson, Genie sets out to prove her parents wrong.
Ada’s grandson, Cal, wants to protect his gran from ‘pensioner persuader’, Genie, but soon realises that living in a little seaside town and away from the paparazzi in Hollywood can actually give him time to heal. Hiding in a seafront business with its fiery owner and working as kitchen staff, is the only way he can think of to keep his ex-Hollywood glamour-puss, gran from harm. But his meddling might also ruin Ada’s second chance at love.
Hiring a private detective and learning about Genie’s parent’s past makes Cal regret his own impulsiveness. The information he has unearthed could destroy their blossoming romance and turn Genie’s world upside down.
Genie soon discovers that friends can become enemies and your closest family can have lied to you for your whole life.
Lizzie Chantree writes lovely romance novels and her latest is no exception. Her strengths lie in creating wonderful characters, beguiling settings and simple but effective story lines.
The main protagonist Genie has a lot of relatable qualities, such as her hardworking ethos, her strong sense of duty, and sadness at her family leaving to pursue a new life and business without her. Genie’s insecurities about her looks and the behaviour of her neglectful friends and family flame her vulnerabilities. Her uncertainties grow, making her fear that the people she loves will leave her, and this anxiety spills over into her private life.
Nevertheless, her confidence begins to grow as the novel unfolds. It’s a nice change to see a curvy girl feeling happy and sexy in her own body. It is also interesting to see Genie develop a friendship with an older woman, Ada – a grandmother like figure. That’s a nice touch, as is the references to older people and grandparents in general in this story.
As for the hot guys well they had me drooling… Bailey, Cal, Toby, all of which brightened my days, which is always good, as did Genie’s wrestling with her growing attraction towards Cal and Toby.
The revelations about Cal and Ada and the family add interest to the story too.
There are lovely touches of humour throughout.
And being that I am partial to the seaside and ice cream, (well food in general – yes I do love my grub,) this is pretty perfect. You can almost taste the ice cream, the writing is that flavoursome good!
A continually bullied runt of a youngster, Chas Larkin discovers his chutzpah and decides to take on the London gangs.
In the sleazy and violent East End of 1966 London, he is unwittingly assisted by Scotland Yard and MI5, who use the boy to delay an IRA campaign in the city. Together with the mysterious DCI Casey, an enigma amongst the bomb-damaged slums, they stir the pot of fermenting disquiet.
But can Chas achieve his midsummer night’s dream of total revenge?
Black Rose is a story of matriarchal might, of superstition, of a lucky charm tainted with malevolent juju, and of a young man’s smoldering anger and thirst for retribution.
I received a free e-copy of Black Rose in exchange for an honest review, which I give freely without bias. Many thanks to the author for the copy.
This is my introduction to the writing talents of Pete Adams and I was not disappointed. Initial impression, this is different and in a good way. The build up to the story, with a preface, foreward and then the initial chapter sparked a great deal of interest. I loved the idea of the grotty crumpet, being a good luck charm for the gang members, best explained by this quote from the book: ‘Someone’s ‘arf inched the lucky crumpet and replaced it with a replica…’ she paused to think on ‘… and this one’s got bad juju.’
It’s a tale of the senseless enmity between two equally villainous gangs: the Saints and the Larkins who own two pubs in the east End of London. I loved the word play used to describe the pubs. The pub owned by the Saints is called the Dog and Duck Pub (Dad’s.) The Larkins own the Bottle and Glass pub, “Arries.” The various character names, are entertaining too: Roisin O’Neill, ‘most called her Rosie, or Ginger Nut,’ …
There are speculations, whispers and uncertainties about an up-and-coming rival group: the O’ Neils and Roisin, a young girl who comes to the aid of poor long-suffering Chas.
There’s a rich diversity in the characters, all of which are so blooming great, particularly the female characters and gangster molls which Pete Adams did a wonderful job in portraying. Equally, Chas, the unfortunate lad with the club foot, who is bullied, ridiculed and treated appallingly by everyone including his mum, has an enviable creative character arc to keep you enthralled.
I loved the engaging banter between and amongst various characters notably: Detective Inspector Padraig, (Paddy,) Casey. Detective sergeant Flora Wade, Wendy Richards the child psychiatrist, Wade’s girlfriend Wendy, Nadia and the gangland molls.
At its heart this is a witty tale, full of observations about the deep recesses of human nature. It packs some surprises including: gangland killings, pub bombings, the threat of the IRA, heads exploding and extraordinary revelations as the tale unfolds. And that’s not forgetting the fate of the crumpet (which had me in fits of laughter!)
Thank you so much to Shalini for arranging an awesome book blitz for me and for this thoughtful review of my new poetry collection, Lockdown Innit Poems About Absurdity.
A cute collection of poems where some like a little library made me long for one. Danger to the pedestrians reminded me why I don’t go out. Some people are just rude and have no civic sense. Road rage is another one that is so relevant. I remembered being the brunt of one.
Author Marjorie Mallon’s keen sense of observation came to play in the way the poems were penned. Different emotions like fear, anger, longing, desire, humor were evoked while reading them. I am not a connoisseur of poems as I feel they are too personal to be judged or rated. But these were easy to understand.
The words also showed how people behaved during these tough times. It is the truth that some have still not learned after losing so many lives across the world. Many in the book were hard-hitting, some were humorous, and the best ones were, where the spoke of her love for her daughters through her words. Hope sailed through in them.
Then the author sneaked in a wispy one longing to be like the cat, dreaming peacefully of normal times. A perfect way to end the book.
All in all, at 35+ pages, the poems were eclectic and would touch everyone who has survived this pandemic.
Imagine a shift to the way you see the world that arises through poetic narration.
Imagine the world, at its base level, is a collection of selves. These selves collide, disperse, intermingle, and share themselves in lines of free verse. Such is the premise of Versions of the Self, poetry that assumes multiple types of selves exist and relate in ways that alter them. Each of the eight chapters looks at a different type of self, including the singular “I” and romantic interactions. These unique 80 poems definitely color themselves outside of the lines.
This is a wonderful collection of personal poetry which gives a fascinating insight into the concept of self and how our selves are affected by and change due to outside factors such as our loves, vulnerability, family, friendships, and relationships.
It doesn’t shy away or hide from difficult themes, the words are there for the reader to see and interpret in free verse which flows like a river.
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of poetry. It’s a little different, quite deep and intense in parts and fascinating throughout.
D.G. Kaye is back, and as she reflects on some of her more memorable vacations and travel snags, she finds herself constantly struggling to keep one step ahead of the ever-changing guidelines of the airlines—with her overweight luggage in tow. Her stories alert us to some of the pitfalls of being an obsessive shopper, especially when it comes time for D.G. to bring her treasures home, and remind us of the simpler days when traveling was a breeze. In her quest to keep from tipping the scales, D.G. strives to devise new tricks to fit everything in her suitcases on each trip. Why is she consistently a target for Canada customs on her return journeys? D.G.’s witty tales take us from airports, to travel escapades with best friends, to reflections on how time can change the places we hold dear in our hearts. Her memories will entertain and have you reminiscing about some of your own most treasured journeys—and perhaps make you contemplate revamping your packing strategies.
I read this as part of #ireadcanadian., @ireadcanadian #nowmorethanever.
This is such a hoot, what a laugh!
Have Bags Will Travel is such an entertaining read which gives you an insight into D G Kaye’s character, her shopping obsession, packing troubles, germaphobia, and brushes with airport security. Enjoy her recollections on the glamour and glitz, her love to travel and a nostalgic aspect to it all.
Her friend Zan shares her shopaholic tendencies too. The two of them together… can you imagine? A red head, blonde explosion of zaniness! I love the part when they end up at Buckingham Palace and chat to a Beefeater, the royal guard and after which… it gets funnier by the moment.
Have Bags Will Travel gives a historical account of how much easier it used to be to take overstuffed baggage through airports in the good old days. Now, it seems that D G Kaye will resort to anything to get her shopping home.
Zan and D G Kaye also travel to Paris and end up shopping for shoes!
There are manmade toboggan rides in Muskoka, Canada.
Trips to Venezuela: Margarita Island and Caracas with cousin Eileen.
Las Vegas, Then and Now – gambling/casinos, fond memories of the author’s love of the desert.
Have Bags Will Travel is just what we need right now, a good giggle! There is also a section at the back of the book with Helpful Travel tips.
A short, entertaining read. Highly recommended, especially for the shopoholics and travel enthusiasts in your life!
Amanda Ross is an average twelve year old Canadian girl. So what is she doing thousands of kilometres from home in the United Arab Emirates? It’s her own fault really, she wished for adventure and travel when she blew out those candles on her last birthday cake. Little did she know that a whole different world awaited her on the other side of the globe, one full of intrigue, mystery and folklore. A world with a beautiful princess, a dangerous desert and wonderful friends. Join Amanda on her first adventure as she discovers the secrets behind The Perfume Flask.
Such a cute middle grade book about Amanda venturing to the United Arab Emirates. It is educational too, various aspects of living in the desert and the culture and customs of the people are explained in an interesting way throughout the book. It is descriptive, fun, and amusing too. I particularly loved the sections with camels and how the author explained different types of camels and how wonderful the camel is especially in a sand storm!
What a great way to educate youngsters about the diversity of cultures in this world.
It transported me away for a while, and made me smile, which I’m grateful for particularly at the moment when we can’t go anywhere.
There’s something for everyone in this collection of 15+ romance stories from today’s USA Today bestselling, award-winning, and rising star authors. From reluctant billionaires to displaced gods, century old vampires to young lovers just about to graduate high-school, love strikes where it will, and who’s to say a Sinner is any less deserving of happiness than a Saint?
Let us tempt you to take a walk on the wild side, unleash a little bit of the sinner inside you to find that romance you’ve always been waiting for.
These original stories are packed with unforgettable characters, amazing romances, and intense emotion that will leave you on the edge of your seat waiting for more. From sweet to sultry, these stories will have you reading long into the night.
Fans of Mary Higgins Clark, Stephanie Meyer, Danielle Steel and Suzanne Collins won’t wait to misbehave for Sinners & Saints.
Don’t miss your chance to get this set before it’s gone! The sins will stack up and the saints won’t stay forever, so make sure to grab your copy of these 15+ titillatingly delightful stories when you scroll up and one-click today!
With stories from: Shaunna Rodriguez (AW), MA Abraham, Hannah Earl, AnnaMarie Gardner, Deborah Garland, Madison Granger, BK Harrell, Angelina Kerner, CA King (USAT), Darlene Kuncytes (AW), Megan Kuykendall, Andi Lawrencovna, Didi Oviatt, Crystal StClair, SE Winters,Tricia Daniels and Payne Craven
There’s a great variety in this collection and it was a nice surprise to see lots of fantasy, witchy and magical stories which is not something I was expecting. So, that was a nice surprise! This girl loves fantasy!
The stories were on the long side – some novella in length.
Overall, an entertaining collection of stories. Didi Oviatt did not disappoint. I enjoyed her tale Skinny Dippin‘ – what a title – it certainly had enough raciness to keep me reading! I particularly liked the banter between her and her twin children which I thought was written very well. I enjoyed her struggling with her emotions uncertain whether she should get involved with a mysterious younger man! The ending was a massive twist, returning to the hint of something unexplained which was mentioned at the beginning of the story. Cleverly done. In fact, I had the feeling that perhaps this story could be developed into a longer piece of fiction, but I’m not sure if that’s what Didi intends…
Anthologies are a great way to introduce readers to new authors. I’d also like to mention that I particularly enjoyed a contribution from a new author to me: Megan Kuykendall. Her story, A solstice to remember about a shape shifting wolf, a journalist and a siren, was ace too.
No More Mulberries is a story of commitment and divided loyalties, of love and loss, set against a country struggling through transition.
British-born Miriam’s marriage to her Afghan doctor husband is heading towards crisis. Despite his opposition, she goes to work as a translator at a medical teaching camp in a remote area of rural Afghanistan hoping time apart will help are see where their problems lie. She comes to realise how unresolved issues from when her first husband was killed by a mujahideen group are damaging her relationship with her husband and her son – but is it already too late to save her marriage?
I really enjoyed No more Mulberries. The story’s strength lies in its cultural detail, and in its great variety of characters. The tale transports you away to Afghanistan to a country we all have heard a lot about, but few have ever been there. It doesn’t shy away from mentioning the truth of living in Afghanistan where losing face and a woman’s place and freedoms are far different than in the west. It also touches upon the stigma of leprosy. And yet, with all the trials and tribulations there is a sense of how much Miriam loves this adoptive country, so much so, that she decides to convert her faith and become a muslim.
It is a slow burn of a story, with much detail in the beginning explaining the path that took Miriam from Scotland to living in Afghanistan. It is also a love story, and in some ways a love triangle between the ghost of her dearly departed first love, who was killed, and her new husband Iqbal with tensions apparent especially towards the end of the story.
The ending was emotionally powerful and brought all the threads of the story to a satisfying conclusion. I began to understand Miriam’s motivations and her actions.
A well-written, engaging story which I would highly recommend especially to those who appreciate cultural stories about family, marriage, love and honour.
Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet is a collection of short stories with scattered poetry, reflecting the complexities of life, love and loss.
The stories in the collection dip into the lives of men and women who are faced with an ‘event’ that is challenging and in some cases life changing.
Even something as straightforward as grocery shopping online can be frustrating, and a DNA test produces surprise results, the past reaches out to embrace the present, and a gardening assistant is an unlikely grief counsellor. Romance is not always for the faint-hearted and you are never too old for love. Random acts of kindness have far reaching consequences and some people discover they are on a lucky streak. There are those watching over us who wish us well, and those in our lives who wish us harm.
Well, what can I say about Sally Cronin’s latest collection of short stories and poetry?
It is a brilliant mix of bitter and sweet, a fine collection that I’m sure will appeal to everyone. In fact, I had so many favourite short stories and poems that I’d be hard put to try to pick just a few to highlight. Life is Like A Bowl of Cherries is a snapshot of life embracing all its complexities, with humour, joy and kindness.
Here were some of my personal favourites:
Short Stories:The Weekly Shopping (this will make you chuckle! A special one with dieters in mind!) The Date – (so humourous and sweet, think old lady out for a date but she sure does it in style!) The Wedding Day, The Scratch Card, (So lovely – a short excerpt of this particular story is available below in the author interview link,) Long Lost Love, The Night Shift (A lovely tale of a Care home and a cat,) Gaffer Tape (about fortitude and overcoming domestic abuse,) The Gardening Assistant (Loss of a baby – this will touch the heart of many, especially those who have experienced such sadness, or miscarriage (as I have,) but the ending with the help of a furry friend brings light and hope.)
Some of my favourite poems: The Visitor, Garden Birds, Ritual of Mehndi
I featured Sally with an interview and excerpt recently:
My recommendation. A highly readable and touching book of short stories and poetry. 5 stars.