Book Review – Versions of The Self: Christy Birmingham #ireadcanadian @christybis @ireadcanadian #nowmorethanever #poetry #review

Book Synopsis:

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. 

Book Review:

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.

Would highly recommend.

My rating: 4.5 stars.

Authors Links:

Blog: https://whenwomeninspire.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/christybis

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

This is the last in my group of three authors I read for @ireadcanadian. The other posts are:

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Pagehttps://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

#ABRSC – Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

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D G Kaye Book Review: Have Bags, Will Travel #ireadcanadian @ireadcanadian #travel #book #review #nowmorethanever

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

My review:

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!

My rating: 5 stars

Authors Website:  https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Pagehttps://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

#ABRSC – Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

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Book Review: Darlene Foster #ireadcanadian @ireadcanadian #nowmorethanever

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My review

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.

Four stars from me.

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Pagehttps://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

#ABRSC – Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

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Book Review: Sinners & Saints by Shaunna Rodriguez #anthology #review #romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

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 

My review

I was intrigued to pick this anthology up as I enjoy reading romances from time-to- time. I thought the cover was fabulous. Also, I’ve read one of the contributing authors before – Didi Oviatt – and was impressed by her writing style in Search For Maylee which I reviewed: https://mjmallon.com/2020/12/17/search-for-maylee-by-didi-oviatt-review-5stars-crime-suspense-thriller-fiction/

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.

A recommended read from me.

My rating 4.5 stars.

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MJ’s Book Reviews: Sally Cronin Life Is Like A Bowl of Cherries, Sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet #bookreview #shortstories #poetry

Goodreads Synopsis:

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. 

My Review

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.

My review on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56249417-life-is-like-a-bowl-of-cherries

Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries, Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet

Sally’s links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08QCQ4VVV

Blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58

Now where is my new reading seat… what will I read next…

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M J’s Book Reviews: Jacquie Biggar’s Silver Bells #romance #novella #review


Synopsis:

He doesn’t believe in love, so why can’t he forget her?

Mystery writer, Joel Carpenter, has no time for romance. He has a deadline to meet, and too many skeletons in his closet to trust the slightly spinny artist renting his house.

Christy Taylor has her hands full dealing with an ailing business and a diabetic daughter, she doesn’t need the temptation that is her landlord, Joel Carpenter.

Can a Christmas wish bring two stubborn souls together and give a little girl the gift she wants most?

A family of her own. 

My review:

A quick and enjoyable novella to read at Christmas time. It’s my introduction to Jacquie Biggar being the first I’ve read of her collection. I’m sure I will read more. A nice warm-hearted tale with mention of a single mother’s worries about her young daughter’s diabetes giving the tale a deeper aspect to it. The romance between writer Joel and artist Christy is swift – perhaps a little quick for my taste – but this may just be the short format of a novella pushing the story to a quicker resolution. Lots of enticing descriptions and delectably kissable moments to make up for any slight shortcomings.

A lovely read which I can recommend.


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have you read Silver Bells?

View all my reviews

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Book Review The Heart’s Lullaby by Natalie Ducey #poetry #collection #love #lost #family

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Heart’s Lullaby is a candid portrayal of love in all its splendor and pain. Love, in its purest form, is tranquil and soothes the soul. But love, as is life, can sometimes be cruel and unjust with its paths of uncertainty and forced goodbyes. In essence, it is a journey of self-discovery. A continuous journey of becoming. Often, it becomes a delicate dance of holding on and letting go.

We linger in memories of ill-fated love; our minds can easily soil them, and our hearts can effortlessly polish them to perfection, altering their resemblance entirely. We can anchor ourselves to yesterday by zealous choice or solemn grief. So easily, we can become obsessed with what “might have been” and miss the beauty that lies before us. Our minds craft spectacular moments that will never be realized. Why? Is it self-indulgence, or are they necessary companions for our soul’s survival?

Love, its force so formidable, transcends time, distance, and even death. Eternal love is the epitome of its grandeur.

To feel the exquisite, majestic splendor of love is the greatest gift we can give or receive. To have another see the unique beauty in our imperfections, that will protect us and elevate us without greed or envy, a soul willing and proud to walk this journey of life with us and share in its joys and sorrows … this is love, a gift unmeasurable and unmatched by earthly possessions.

But two souls must be willing. Therein lies the intricate complexities of the heart. And in the end, we must never forget … love, as is life, is a continuous journey of becoming.

My review

A lovely collection of poetry principally about love, love lost and the heartbreak of being no longer loved. There is also a wonderful poem about time, plus poems about particular topics related to the puzzles that Natalie Ducey also creates. “Still Me,” is a touching poem about Alzheimer’s. And there are poems about those who serve in the military.

It is a personal, and touching poetry collection about the ups and downs and fragility of life and love that you can easily return to again, perhaps gaining more on each visit.

My rating: 5 stars

I enjoyed all the collection but my personal favourites are:

Into the Light (about those suffering from PTSD in the military, police, paramedics, firefighters and first responders.)

Still Me

A Father’s Love

A Mother’s Love

To My Sister

Mighty Heart

and The Heart’s Lullaby.

Natalie’s blog: https://natalieducey.com

Have you read The Heart’s Lullaby? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the collection.

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Book Review Bowled, but Not Out by Ruchira Khanna

Amazon Synopsis:

What’s a girl to do when she wants to hit boundaries but life throws her beamers?

Saru expected her life to turn for the better when she found love and married. Instead, she kept getting deliberate yorkers from her mother-in-law. She hit a sixer when a baby arrived, but things got worse soon after. Her appeal to the umpire fell on deaf ears. Finally, she walked out of the stadium, and let go of the first love of her life.

Then she flew off to New York for her Masters.

Will Saru get a second chance at love and marriage and get to hit a century? Will her daughter ever form a relationship with her biological father?

Bowled, but Not Out is an entertaining family drama full of heart and thoughtful life lessons and will resonate with anyone fond of cricket. 

My review:

An entertaining read pertinent to women in Indian culture and also relevant to those of us who find ourselves at the mercy of the interfering mother-in-law and frustrated by the “mummies boy.”

The strength of the story lies in the characters and familial relationships which are well detailed, with Saru, struggling at first with the overbearing nature of her mother-in-law and her hubby’s weakness and inability to take her side. Saru is all the more admirable as she turns the situation around for herself and her daughter Simrn with the help of her family.

A lovely tale which will appeal to those who like cultural, family, and romance stories.

There are many references to cricket showing Saru’s need to raise her game to overcome her difficult circumstances. I am not a cricket fan, those who are may take away more from the story if they are.

Some of the phraseology was a little unusual which took me out of the narrative a few times but other than that I enjoyed the tale, finding it to be amusing, and charming.

The ending was well played out!

Many thanks to Ruchira Khanna for sending me a copy.

My rating: 4 stars. A recommended, enjoyable read. I particularly enjoyed the cultural and family references.

Have you read Bowled But Not Out? Please do comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Search for Maylee by Didi Oviatt: #Review #5stars #crime #suspense #thriller #fiction

Goodreads Synopsis:

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her.

It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead, and travels across the country to find more clues about Maylee’s disappearance.

But will she be able to pry Maylee’s case back open, and what will she uncover in the process of searching for Maylee?

It’s a cold, dark world we live in, and Autumn is about to find out just how cruel it can be. But strength and determination are on her side, and she will do whatever it takes to deliver justice.

My review

This is an impressive debut novel. It’s strengths lie in great characterisation, fantastic detailing and descriptions which enhance the reader’s experience.

Search For Maylee has much to commend it: sadness, anger, grief, fear, anxiety, the list goes on and on.

I won’t lie to you, it’s pretty grim and gut wrenchingly sad in places, and parts of it made me want to cry with the sheer terror and torment suffered by the young women, as you would expect in such abductions.

Autumn sets out to find her niece and uncovers a group of predatory and evil men. She puts herself in dangerous situations and doesn’t give up. She is one strong-willed, determined lady and I loved her for that. I particularly loved the part where she went undercover. That alone sent chills down my spine.

No spoilers, but kudos to the author for adding a touch of lightness with the developing love story between Autumn and Chance to soften the edge off some of the trauma.

The ending was bitter sweet. Personally, I don’t think it would have been right to end the narrative any other way. I can’t say anymore for fear of spoiling the story for you.

A fantastic tale, well done Didi Oviatt. I am sure I will be reading more from this author. I listened to Search For Maylee on audio and loved the Author’s About The Author page which was wonderfully recounted, so personal, giving the listener an added bonus – Didi Oviatt explains her love of writing and how she is an “unexpected novelist.”

I related to that sentiment a lot.

Rating: 5 stars. Highly recommended for readers of crime, suspense, and thriller fiction.

Amazon US link:

Author’s blog: https://didioviatt.wordpress.com/

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Book Review: Mr. Sagittarius by M.J. Mallon – This Is My Truth Now

Thank you so much to James Cudney for this lovely review of Mr. Sagittarius it really made my day!

Source: Book Review: Mr. Sagittarius by M.J. Mallon – This Is My Truth Now

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