Review: Flying Solo by Zoe May #Book #Review #Romance #India

Goodreads Synopsis:

Rachel Watson has it all worked out. By 30, she’s ticked off most of the goals on her Life List. She’s a home owner, a partner at her law firm, she has a gorgeous boyfriend, lots of hobbies and loads of good friends. The only thing that’s missing is a ring on her finger.

According to her Life List, Rachel should be getting hitched around now, so when her boyfriend, Paul, plans a romantic date, Rachel’s pretty confident he’s going to propose. Except Paul has other ideas. He’s jetting off to India to find himself.

Distraught, Rachel doesn’t know what to do. Not one to easily admit defeat, she embarks on a mission to win him back.

Flying solo to India is definitely not part of Rachel’s plans, but could her trip teach her unexpected lessons about love, life and herself? Could she realise that perhaps her Life List wasn’t exactly what she wanted, after all? 

My review:

This is the first book I’ve read from Zoe May and I really enjoyed it. Well, I was in the mood for romance! It was different and in a good way. I liked the whole Spiritual aspect to the ashram in India and the laughable scenes, (yes I fell about laughing,) particularly when Rachel first meets Seb. Paul not so much so, I didn’t warm to him at all, now Seb that’s a different matter! That guy sounds hot! I wonder if a sequel is planned, there are some loose threads.

Now, when can I go to India? Take me there!

Highly recommended, quick fun read. Loved all the scenes in India.

I received an ARC copy via a competition. All opinions are my own.

Release date: July 6, 2020.

My rating: 4 stars.

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Book Review: The Willow Woman (Philip Ye, #1) by Laurence Westwood

Goodreads Book Synopsis:

Chengdu: a teeming, modern metropolis.

Yet China’s painful turbulent history still leaves its mark on the minds of all who live there.

Philip Ye, half English, half Chinese, is a homicide detective with the Chengdu Public Security Bureau who suffers his own anguish from a life blighted by tragedy and the unsettling appearance of ghosts that often intrude in on his investigations.

On a misty grey morning one such apparition leads him to a busy street corner during the rush hour where he bears witness to a shocking event. Against his better judgment, Phillip is drawn into the search for a missing, vulnerable boy. His investigation brings him into contact with Xu Ya, a brilliant and beautiful public prosecutor. She is new to Chengdu, determined not only to make her mark but to also leave behind her own personal heartbreak. They have crossed paths before. He has no memory of her, but she remembers him very well indeed….

Soon enough Philip Ye has a vicious murder on his hands, and then another – the boy’s disappearance seemingly sparking a chain of violent events. With the help of Xu Ya – dedicated to upholding făzhì, the Rule of Law, in China ‒ and her indefatigable and worldly-wise assistant Fatty Deng, Phillip Ye is quickly on the trail of a mysterious figure known as The Willow Woman. But, unbeknownst to them all, there are secretive and subversive forces at work within the dark heart of the city and tremendous danger awaits…. 

My review


This isn’t my usual genre but when I read the cover and synopsis I knew The Willow Woman would be for me. I was lucky to win a copy, (this in no way influences my review – all opinions are my own,) and I wasn’t disappointed.

What a great novel. The Willow Woman is well written, engaging, and thoroughly researched too. There are masses of characters in the novel, but don’t let this put you off. The author kindly gives us a detailed list, so we don’t get confused who is who!

Within the cover of this book you’ll find: touches of the paranormal and the mystical, police procedural, China’s historical past and the frailties of what it means to be human and vulnerable set amongst the cliques, violence, cults and mysteries of China.

There are many characters in this tale to keep the reader entertained. Laurence Westwood introduces them with care and such detail that the reader is immersed in this world.

My personal favourites are Fatty Deng, Constable Ma, Mouse, the main protagonist Philip Ye and the Prosecutor Xu Ya.

In fact, I wish we had more of Fatty Deng…

Moreover, there are the lovely touches of spontaneous humour that bring a smile from time to time.

The ending what can I say – read it and see! 

I look forward to reading more from this author.

My recommendation: Highly recommended.

My rating: 4.5 stars

Authors Website: https://www.laurencewestwood.com/

Book Review: Words of Alchemy by Camilla Downs #FreeVerse #Poetry #Nature #Family #Relationships #Love

Goodreads Synopsis:

The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love …

In Words of Alchemy, Camilla Downs invites you to walk with her to share her love of Nature and Life through a free-verse poetry memoir.

During her daily strolls she is mindfully present as she delves into life in the raw and experiences her heart’s observations.

Camilla embraces what happens when she opens her heart and invites the written words to flow.

The Alchemy of Love and Healing is what happens. 

My review

What a joy it is to read this gem of a poetry book. Full of beautiful free-verse, a memoir about friends, family, relationships and the love of the nature. This is for you if you enjoy the natural world, (as I do,) if you appreciate poetry that delves into the heart and doesn’t hold back. In many ways it is an intimate and brave expression of the author – Camilla Down’s – thoughts and feelings.

I highly recommend.

5 stars.

I had the pleasure of an engaging author interview with Camilla on my blog:

https://mjmallon.com/2020/04/12/author-interview-camilla-downs-poet-writer-wordsofalchemy-nature-inspirational-family/

Praise for Words of Alchemy

Words of Alchemy, a heartfelt new collection by Camilla Downs, lives up to its namesake in numerous ways. Downs spans the broad range of nature, healing, love, and parenting, while making sure we have a little fun along the way. And the bridge she creates from the mindfulness of how we see the world at large to the poetry of everyday life is certainly worth a stroll or two across its borders.” – Thomas Lloyd Qualls, Award-winning author of Painted Oxen

“This poetry collection offers contemplative words, soothing thoughts and peace to the reader.”

– Sue Bentley, Bestselling author of Second Skin

“Camilla Downs shares truth, vulnerability and wisdom in her Words of Alchemy collection, inviting readers to be inspired, contemplate and dive into her world of self-awareness and growth.” –

 G. Brian Benson– Award-winning author, actor and spoken word artist

“These poems take you on a calm and loving walk through the verses of the author’s thoughts. Alchemy is a perfect word for the title as Camilla Downs understands nature; connecting with its magical, medicinal qualities and beauty which she conveys throughout her poetry.”

– Ailsa Craig, Author of The Sand Between My Toes

Words of Alchemy is a chronicle of hope. These poems are an encouragement, especially when we are feeling at our lowest, to keep seeking the light that is our way forward, and focus on the real. This collection is a walk through the positive nature of life. Camilla Downs is to be commended.”

– Frank Prem, Author of free-verse memoir Small Town Kid

About Camilla: Camilla Downs is a bestselling author, indie publisher, mentor, and mom. Nature and life experiences are a constant source of inspiration for her writing. She enjoys living a minimalist lifestyle, practicing meditation and mindfulness, reading, going for walks, and capturing nature’s essence with photographs. Camilla is the founder of MeetingtheAuthors.com and lives in Northern Nevada, USA with her two kids.

Author Links:

Website: http://camilladowns.com/

Family Website: http:/theteamtlc.com/

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CamillaDownsAuthor/

twitter: https://twitter.com/camilladowns

instagram: https://www.instagram.com/CamillaDowns/

pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/camilladowns/

Amazon Author Central:

amazon.com/author/camilladowns

Meeting the Authors:

http://meetingtheauthors.com/

Where to Buy:

Words of Alchemy: If you’re in the U.S. and would like a personalized, signed book – free shipping! (I will ship internationally, if the reader would like to pay the international shipping fee): https://camilladowns.com/books/words-of-alchemy/

Amazon – Words of Alchemy: mybook.to/WordsofAlchemy

Amazon Author Central:  amazon.com/author/camilladowns


All of our bookshttp://camilladowns.com/books/

Have you read Words of Alchemy? do comment below if you have I’d love to chat about Camilla’s poetry book…

Book Review: The Enhanced League by C. S. Boyack #Book #Review #Recommended #Reading

Goodreads Synopsis

The Enhanced league is a collection of short stories and anthems centered around a year in a fictional baseball league. It has a slight science fiction background. This league has a lot more pomp than you might be used to, and nobody seems to care if the players use performance enhancing drugs.

Stories involve existing heroes, up and comers, and falling stars. While there are the obvious stories that take place on the field of play, there are also human interest stories that take place around the baseball gyrations. These stories involve scouting, trades, ruthless business decisions, and even relationships.

I enjoyed researching and bringing you The Enhanced League, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

My review

An enjoyable read, and a different one for me. I can’t say that I am a baseball fan but reading The Enhanced League by C.S. Boyack does make you feel as if you are immersed in the world of Baseball. C. S. Boyack achieves this by writing engaging characters, adding a touch of humour and superb descriptions of the intricacies of the game itself, and the characters who live, breathe baseball, plus the use of devices, or drugs to create ‘enhanced’ players.

An interesting concept for a story.

My rating: 4 stars

I recommend this particularly for baseball and sport fans and to those who enjoy well crafted human interest storytelling.

I look forward to reading more from C.S. Boyack. This is the first book I have read from him and I am pleased to say it was an engaging read. I believe to date he has written 17 books.

The Enhanced League

It is available to buy on Amazon:

Links:

C. S. Boyack’s blog: https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/

C. S. Boyack offers interesting interview possibilities on his Lisa Burton Radio show:

https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/lisa-burton-radio/

Book Review: A Walk in The Woods by Esther Chilton #Book #Review

Goodreads Synopsis:

An autumnal stroll through the woods, colourful leaves crunching underfoot, the air fresh on the face, laughter and lightness portraying a happy mother and daughter scene. But something isn’t right…

A young boy who thought he knew his parents finds out that he doesn’t know them at all.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to die and then to look down upon yourself?

These are just a few of the scenes and scenarios found in A Walk In The Woods and other short stories. There are stories to make you smile, tales to bring a tear and stories to shock as well as delight.

Following the success of The Siege and other award winning stories, penned under the name Esther Newton, Freelance writer, copyeditor and Writers Bureau tutor, Esther Chilton brings you her second short story collection. You’ll find plenty of prize-winning stories throughout, as well as some new tales to enjoy.

My review

An excellent collection of short stories from Esther Chilton and a beautiful cover created by her talented daughter Charlotte too.

My thoughts – all the stories have much to offer but these are my highlights:

Ranging from sad and poignant pieces: Walk in The Woods, Jake, and The Letter to humorous tales of strangeness in the Book Lovers that will appeal to bookish souls.

Amusing endings in The Secret Diary of Marvin Martin aged 14 and a half, and a great twist in The Lover plus heart-warming stories about a new baby’s arrival in The Brat.

The Godfather features a truly amazing cat, which is always appealing to me!

William is a touching war time story and Operation Flora is a Christmas tale with a difference.

Home sets the scene in a care home with regrets and ghostly tales delight in Gus.

A confident variety of stories which kept me entertained throughout.

My rating:

5 stars

Connect with the author: https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/

Have you read A Walk in The Woods?

Social Media Links

Authors Websitehttps://mjmallon.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L/


Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time


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#Book #Review: Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

A Jewish girl-turned-spy must infiltrate an elite Nazi boarding school in this highly commercial, relentlessly nail-biting World War II drama!

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah–blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish–finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can’t attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she’s ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined. 

Review:

I’ve been keen to read his for a while and I am so glad I took the plunge! I absolutely loved Orphan Monster Spy from page one right through to the fabulous ending. Matt Killeen has a wonderful way with words and I loved the heroine of the story: Sarah. She’s so feisty and rises above all her terrible experiences, (including the death of her mother,) to be a truly awesome, fierce, brave and engaging character.

You’d enjoy this if you like stories set in Nazi Germany.

It doesn’t shy away from the ugly side of this time period of history. This is a different take, focusing on a young Jewish girl infiltrating a Nazi school for the ‘elite,’ and convincing them that she is one of them. What a great idea for a story.

It is obviously well researched and the author Matt Killeen’s compassion and humanity is evident in his writing.

It’s an easy one to rate. A five stars without a doubt. Definitely a favourite. Highly recommended.

Social Media Links

Authors Websitehttps://mjmallon.com
Collaborative Bloghttps://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

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Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/m-j-mallon

Book Review: Academic Curveball by James J Cudney #murder #mystery

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.

Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. And if that wasn’t enough already, his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.

In the debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mysteries Series, you’ll discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic and nosy residents. 

My review:

A light-hearted murder mystery set in an academic setting with strong family vibes. I enjoyed this cozy story. It is for you if you like a well written story with lots of engaging dialogue. It is perhaps a bit different from what I would normally read but it is good to try new genres from time to time. I particularly enjoyed the main character’s Kellan Ayrwick’s feisty Nana who is such a fun character!  Kellan is a widower with a young daughter, he works on a true crime television series called “Dark Reality.” His father’s retirement party at Braxton Campus brings more than he expects when Abby Monroe is found dead and it soon becomes clear that her death is not of natural causes.

Recommended  reading for murder mystery fans who enjoy humour as a side dish to the murder mystery.

My rating 4 stars.

Social Media Links

Authors Websitehttps://mjmallon.com
Collaborative Bloghttps://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/

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Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/m-j-mallon

Book Review: Marriage Unarranged Ritu Bhathal #ARC #Review

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Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

 

My review:

Well, I loved Marriage Unarranged so much I read it twice. Lol. It’s quite a long book!

I read it for the first time as a beta reader with an ARC and then again for this review. Everything about this engaging romance appealed to me: the characters, the cultural aspects, the little touches of humour, the Asian family dynamics,  the beautiful and informative descriptions of India, (I’ve never been, but it has always been forever on my bucket list,) This story transported me there, and I especially loved the detail in the Gurdwara  scenes in which Sikh’s come together to worship and share simple community tasks. Oh, how I would love to visit!

I found it particularly relatable as my mother is from an Asian background and the first thing she says to me in the morning is ‘What are we having for dinner!’ The lovely cooking scene between two of the characters in the book, sums this up so much. Food is of prime importance in Asian culture and can be a great ice breaker.

I also loved how Aashi ‘s character changed as the story progressed, retaining all her admirable qualities (and she has these in abundance,) but becoming more confident. To begin with she is cossetted by her family and her brothers, Sunny and Bali. But, away from home, her trip to India with her brothers and her best friend Kiran does wonders for her flagging self-esteem after Ravi’s selfish treatment.

All the characters in the story are well crafted. I especially have a soft spot for: Aashi, her best friend Kiran, (who fights her corner like every best friend should,) her feisty brother Bali, and Arjun, the potential love interest otherwise known as ‘Pillow.’ Even the subsidiary characters such as the fashion designer Milan are well crafted and entertaining! And, Ravi well he’s a rat!

The fledgling romance unfolding between Aashi and her ‘Pillow’ was just so lovely, especially after all the heartbreak she experienced with a broken engagement.

The reveal towards the end of the story regarding Arjun was an interesting addition and I loved the humorous ending!

I better not say anymore for fear of spoiling the story for you.

My recommendation: Go get a copy! My rating 5 stars.

Have you read Marriage Unarranged? Please do comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

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Book Review: The New Asylum: a memoir of psychiatry

Goodreads Synopsis:

The New Asylum is the third volume in a series of free-verse poetry anthologies and personal memoirs from Australian author Frank Prem (Small Town Kid, Devil In The Wind).

This collection is an exposé of life in the public psychiatric system, spanning five decades and describing sometimes graphically, sometimes ironically, often poignantly, and always honestly, a search for meaning in extraordinary and often incomprehensible circumstances.

The journey begins with childhood experiences of watching immigrant parents earn their living in the Mayday Hills Mental Asylum… progresses through the oddities and antics of psychiatric nurse training in the 1970s… on to the high-pressure coalface of managing regional centres facing an inundation of modern urban challenges… and finally, settles into the generally calmer waters of a small town residential facility.

Join Frank Prem on his New Asylum journey, and discover what it means to become that particular ‘mental health creature’ that is a psychiatric nurse.

 

My review:

I have the utmost respect for those who work with mental health patients. It must be one of the most challenging jobs to be a psychiatric nurse. The relentless and at times hopelessness of such an experience is delivered in poetic form in this memoir with a wry mixture of sadness, melancholy and just the right amount of humour. The free style verse is a perfect stylistic choice for this type of memoir.

Frank Prem’s poetry delivers a powerful punch – I also enjoyed Devil in The Wind: https://mjmallon.com/2019/06/17/book-review-of-devil-in-the-wind-by-frank-prem-poetry-blacksaturday-wildfires/

My rating of The New Asylum: 5 stars. #highlyrecommended

 

Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

Social Media Links

Authors Websitehttps://mjmallon.com
Collaborative Bloghttps://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
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Book Review: Catling’s Bane by D Wallace Peach #Bookreview

Goodreads Synopsis

In the tiers of Ellegeance, the elite Influencers’ Guild holds the power to manipulate emotions. Love and fear, pain and pleasure, healing and death mark the extremes of their sway, but it’s the subtle blends that hook their victims’ hearts. They hide behind oaths of loyalty and rule the world.

A child born in the grim warrens beneath the city, Catling rues the rose birthmark encircling her eye. Yet, it grants her the ability to disrupt the influencers’ sway. Established methods of civil control disintegrate before her. She’s a weapon desired by those who reign and those who rebel.

To the Influencer’s Guild, she’s an aberration, a threat. They order her death and thus the betrayals begin. One woman protects and trains her, plotting to use her shield to further imperial goals. No longer a helpless child, Catling has other plans. As chaos shakes the foundations of order and rule, will she become the realm’s savior? Or its executioner?

The Rose Shield Tetralogy – a blend of science fiction and fantasy.

Welcome to a world of three moons, a sentient landscape, rivers of light, and tier cities that rise from the swamps like otherworld flowers. A planet of waterdragons, where humans are the aliens living among three-fingered natives with spotted skin. Where a half-blood converses with the fog and the goddess plans her final reckoning.

Follow Catling’s journey as she grows from childhood into the deadly force that shapes the future. She is the realm’s shield, an influencer, assassin, healer, mother, and avenger. And all she wants is to go home.

 

My review:

Catling’s Bane is the first in the Rose Shield series and showcases D. Wallace Peach’s wonderful fantasy writing. It is a character driven story with a young girl: Catling taking centre stage. BUT don’t be fooled into thinking this is a gentle read. It is not. There are influencers at work, who think nothing of killing people, even the youngest members of society are cruelly eliminated for minor crimes, whilst their peers, and family members are ‘influenced,’ to believe that their hangings are no more than a fun day of entertainment.There is a strong political element to the story, with warrens representing the classes of society. Also, there is a sense of wanting to belong, to be part of a caring family, and poor Catling longs for that more than anything: even though her mother isn’t exactly maternal Catling still cares for her.

The beginning was a little difficult to follow due to the large cast of characters. A short introduction to them all would have been welcome.

At times the plot shifted in an unexpected way but the ending had me buzzing for more. The ending was brutal but beautifully written. I couldn’t look away! Oh my!

This is my first introduction to D. Wallace Peach’s novels. I’ve been following her blog for a long while and been impressed by her writing. There is no doubt in my mind that D. Wallace Peach is a talented author.

Beautiful writing in all categories: descriptive, emotive and very entertaining dialogue and I couldn’t help but be invested in Catling’s plight.

#highlyrecommended

My rating: 4.5 stars.

Social Media Links

Authors Websitehttps://mjmallon.com
Collaborative Bloghttps://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
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