Thank you so much to Sally Cronin for dipping into her archives and resharing her previous review of my poetry collection: The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet. How kind. I really appreciate 🙂
From Sally’s blog:
My review for the collection This is a poetry and flash fiction collection seeped in nature and illustrates the love the author has for the environment, particular the forests. The first pages share the delightful love story of the Hedge Witch and the Musical Poet, bringing two solitary characters together in the sanctuary of a magical forest far from the human world. This story is followed by poems and flash fiction, some of which are poignant such as the tribute to a ginger cat in Chester, Don & I, and bewilderment voiced in The Network of Trees as they stand in danger from the human need for progress. There is also the sad reflection that much of the beauty and adventures to be found in the forests are being missed as children find themselves engrossed in the online world instead. The author makes sure to include the fun they could be enjoying instead. The Teddy in the Woods probably should come with a tissue alert. There are some reminders of poems from another collection which I also enjoyed Mr. Sagittarius Poetry; one of my favourites being Rainbow – Parasol of Light. In the second section of the collection there is a series of poems inspired by other writers.
Many thanks to Sally Cronin for featuring myself, Colleen and Robbie in this post. Here is some of the detail from her blog:
This year in the second part of the Summer Book Fair, I (Sally,) will be sharing my recommended books from the last 12 months and sharing either my review or one of their top reviews.The first author today is M.J. Mallon and her collection that I can highly recommend Do What You love: Fragility Of Your Flame Poems, Photography and Flash Fiction
About the collection Do What You Love is a personal poetry collection celebrating how the fates may have a part in all that we do.With special poems and short reflective moments inspired by family, flowers and nature, love, scrumptious morsels, places I’ve visited, lived and intend to live in, the friendships and hopes I have for the future.The overarching theme is to live a life well lived… And to do what you love.One of the reviews for the collection Sheila 5.0 out of 5 stars Prose, poetry and images: poignant, sensitive, playful: a lovely collection Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧I’ve read this author’s work before: young adult novels, poetry and flash fiction, and I love her imaginative handling of the magical, the phantasmagorical and surreal. This short book is no exception to the quality of MJ Mallon’s output. I found her exploration of her past life captivating.We may consider that the inclusion of often very personal material in a compilation of this sort would make it difficult for the outside reader to find a way in. This is not true at all of MJ Mallon’s poetry and prose: in many places, I related so much to what she writes, especially about a daughter ‘flying the nest’ to a faraway country. I particularly loved the device MJ Mallon uses to draw all this together: she presents it as a conversation with Atropos, one of the three Fates in Greek mythology: the Morai.Atropos presides over the past. I thought this worked extremely well as a central metaphor. It had me googling the three Fates, and reading all about them: Clotho, who spins the threads of life, guardian of the present; Lachesis, who measures the length of life with her measuring rod, and is guardian of the future: and Atropos, who is the guardian of fate and destiny, and who chooses the manner of death by snipping the threads of an individual’s life.MJ Mallon has had a fascinating and varied life experience: born in Singapore, she spent her childhood in Hong Kong and her teens in Edinburgh. She now lives in Cambridge. Every culture she has lived in, I believe, has influenced her imagination, her interests and her approach as a writer. In this book, we find a compilation of words and images which draw us in: poignant, sensitive, delicate, playful, as she opens up for us her past and present relationships, the places she has loved and spent time in, and her thoughts and feelings about it all.A highly recommended book for you.Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Amazon Ca
The next book that I recommended last year is by Colleen M. Chesebro and her collection Fairies, Myths & MagicII. A Winter Celebration
About the bookIn this second book in the Fairies, Myths, & Magic series, step into a world where dark fairies and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by winter and the celebration of the winter solstice.From autumn’s scary fairies to the forgotten female characters of Yule, prepare to embrace the magical winter solstice myths from around the world. Meet Frau Holle in the Wild Hunt, Befana—the Christmas Witch of Italy, and the Japanese goddess Ameratasu who controls the springtime. Prepare to embrace the Scottish trows, the Irish Goddess of Winter—the Cailleach Béara, and Snegurochka—the Snow Girl.Learn how to make Yuletide rituals part of your celebration by embracing the symbols of Yule by decorating with evergreens and crystals.
One of the reviews for the collection Jacqui Murray VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary introduction to mystical topics Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸75 pieces on a myriad of topics, all themed to fairies, pagan mysteries, and the winter solstice. I know little about those so for me, this was a literary banquet to be relished. I picked this book up because I was impressed with the posts on Colleen’s blog, then read it cover to cover because her wordsmithing is entrancing. If you like me haven’t spent much time thinking about the meaning of fairies and magic, rest assured you will enjoy this book. The entries cover so many topics and emotions, so many mischievous beings, there is going to be something for everyone.One of the reviewers called this an “extraordinary handbook as well as a captivating read.” I would have to agree. Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK
The final book today is by Robbie Cheadle’s. A stunning syllabic poetry collection in celebration of Africa’s wildlife. Lion Scream: Syllabic Poetry About Southern African Wildlife
About the collection
Do you rely on Earth for your survival?Lion Scream is a graphic collection of poetry and prose. The book portrays the author’s experiences with South African wildlife and the growing impact of the Sixth Mass Extinction and Climate Change on the natural environment.
Lion Scream There is no jungle Only acres of smooth stumps There is no jungle No habitat, no food source Hopeless lion screams tonight
A review for the collection Lauren Scott 5.0 out of 5 stars An beautiful, effective poetry collection conveying a vital message. Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸While I turned the pages of Robbie Cheadle’s new book, I became enlightened. I absorbed the information she includes about South African wildlife and the vital message that flows seamlessly from beginning to end. Lion Scream is a unique and touching collection of poetry that takes the reader on a journey to learn about the wildlife in South Africa from Robbie’s personal experiences in the bush, but not to omit “their plight in the face of the Sixth Mass Extinction.” Her passion for wildlife is surely felt throughout the pages.A wide variety of animals are highlighted in this collection with stunning, color photos. Animals range from lions, tigers, cheetahs, hippos, and elephants to the Hadeda bird that I had never heard of before. Robbie profoundly expresses how the habitats of these incredible animals have been lost due to global warming, and how the animals’ safety has been compromised due to the evil actions of humans, all because of greed. Robbie’s emotions are palpable through her powerful and sometimes distressing poems. The book takes a detour in the end with a short story that touches on mental health, but the story ties into the initial issue of global warming and the lost habitats.Robbie’s poem entitled, “Lion Scream” may be short, but its message is concise and effective:There is no jungle/Only acres of smooth stumps/There is no jungle/No habitat, no food source/Hopeless lion screams tonight And below is a verse from the heartbreaking poem “Rhino Dilemma” –Savage men move quickly/Hack out valued horn/Animal left bleeding; awakes to sure death/Tears of pain and anguish/Slide from fading eyes. Years ago, I read two non-fiction books about elephants, and I instantly fell in love with them. So, reading Robbie’s poems about these amazing animals and the poaching horrors they endure is beyond heart wrenching. But a few poems are playful, painting a delightful picture:Now it’s time for some fun/Trunk draws in water/Up it comes, spraying a fountain overhead/Cool drops sprinkle downward/She trumpets with joy. A few of Robbie’s poems made me smile, but most tugged at my heart because of the serious issues of extinction, human actions that result in the animals’ suffering, and climate change. Anyone who wishes to become educated on these issues or who wishes to foster a solution where humans and animals can contentedly coexist should read Lion Scream. Highly recommended. Head over to buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US
I’m taking a break this morning from my book promotion to shout out about a lovely friend of mine, Sally Cronin, the most wonderful supporter of the indie community of authors. She is one in a million!
Sally has a new book out too! And it has such an amazing cover… and title too. Love that! I can recommend Sally’s short stories and poetry having read several of her books before. Do consider adding her new book Variety Is The Spice of Life to your TBR, and reading and reviewing!
About the collection
Variety is the Spice of Life is a collection of poetry and short stories about relationships with others, including pets and animals inhabiting the world around us. The connection with others brings love and friendship, excitement and sometimes surprises, danger, mystery and sometimes the unexpected.
The poetry explores human nature, the fears, desires, expectations and achievements. Nature offers a wonderful opportunity to observe animals both domesticated and wild. Even in a back garden you can observe a wide variety of creatures and the daily challenges to survive a harsh environment.
The short stories introduces you to a healer whose gift comes with danger, a neighbour determined to protect a friend, a woman on the run, an old couple whose love has endured, an elderly retired teacher who faces a life changing accident, a secret that has been carried for over 70 years and a village who must unite as they face devastating news.
I’m a fan of Cronin’s syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and short stories, and this latest collection is an excellent example of why. The first half of the book is filled with 38 beautiful poems in a variety of structured forms. Many of the poems are poignant reflections on love and loss, the wonder of life, and the beauty of nature found in her garden. Each includes a complementary image. One of my favorites:
Rejection (form: a butterfly cinquain)
silence magnifies time and distance between us and your rejection leaves my heart hollow. the promises we made that day are scattered in the wind and dreams have turned to dust.
The second half of the book is comprised of 8 short stories, most of them heartwarming tales of human kindness, forgiveness, and redemption. (With a tale of magical murder thrown in). Three of my favorites were Miss Lloyd’s Robin, The Green Hill, and The Home Help. I highly recommend this afternoon’s read to fans of syllabic poetry and short stories.
Sally Cronin knows how to capture our hearts with her variety, indeed, full of heartfelt short stories of the human condition and moving poetry accompanied by beautiful images. Along with various poems written in both free verse and specific form, Sally includes a selection of poems about ‘Snapshots from my Garden’, where she shares about the various animals and insects who occupy her garden. We will also get a treat learning about her own DNA! Escape into nature with Sally’s poems about birds, butterflies, and other furry neighborhood visitors. A few of my favorites: Above the World, Kinship – ” … there may not always be harmony, but the ties of love cannot be broken … ,” and, Bear Witness, which emphasizes our freedoms.
Pour a cup of coffee and drift into stories of love, reminiscings, and compassion. A few of my favorites: the Green Hill – in loving memory where Bert and Ivy share a snippet of remembered love. Discover – The Secret about Eleanor’s mother Edith, which took her seventy-five years to reveal. Step into Serena’s world as The Healer who heals the sick while keeping a low profile in doing so for safety reasons as she works as a nurse in a free clinic. The Home Help gives a twist on caregiving (no spoilers).There is something for everyone here, and all guaranteed to touch your heart.
Sally Cronin is known for her short stories that pack a punch, grab at our heartstrings, and often end with an unexpected twist at the end. This new collection is a comforting read guaranteed to stir the soul.
Thank you so much to Sally for this wonderful feature about my family inspirations for I wish I knew Then What I Know Now… and review of my latest poetry and flash fiction book The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet on her blog…
I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have ac…
There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.
There are classical names such as Adam, David and Sarah that will grace millions of babies in the future. There are also names that parents have invented or borrowed from places or events in their lives which may last just one lifetime or may become the classic names of tomorrow.
Whatever the name there is always a story behind it. In What’s in a Name? – Volume One, twenty men and women face danger, love, loss, romance, fear, revenge and rebirth as they move through their lives.
Anne changes her name because of associations with her childhood, Brian carries the mark of ancient man, Jane discovers that her life is about to take a very different direction, and what is Isobel’s secret?
I really enjoyed this short story collection. it’s different from others taking a person’s name as the starting point for creating a story. There is a wide range of variety in this collection but all share one thing in common: these are about life, love and humanity. The range of topics in the stories will appeal to all from amusing, sad, emotional to happy stories. There is even a story about a nun, Celia, leaving her calling which remained with me a long time after reading. The twists at the end of the stories were entertaining too, especially loved the one in ‘George!’ and ‘Isobel.’
Another favourite of mine was ‘Clive,’ about a boy taking a walk in the tropics and walking into a whole lot of trouble – the little ‘un meets a cobra! But, the moment when the boy and cobra look into each others’ eyes is just priceless. Loved it. Cobras are not that uncommon a sight in the tropics, my mum’s step mum came face-to-face with one too! And, in ‘Eric,’ you’ll smile at the tale of a widower who learns to live again through his cat, Doris. in ‘Grace,’ the moving yarn of a young girl in an orphanage ticked all the boxes for me. And the tale of the drunk driver and ‘Hannah,’ was fantastic.
Highly recommended to short story enthusiasts and to all who enjoy well written tales.
Sally Cronin is the author of fifteen books including her memoir Size Matters: Especially when you weigh 330lb first published in 2001. This has been followed by another fourteen books both fiction and non-fiction including multi-genre collections of short stories and poetry.
Her latest release, Life is Like a Mosaic: Random fragments in harmony is a collection of 50 + images and poems on life, nature, love and a touch of humour.
As an author she understands how important it is to have support in marketing books and offers a number of FREE promotional opportunities in the Café and Bookstore on her blog and across her social media.
Her podcast shares book reviews and short stories Soundcloud Sally Cronin
After leading a nomadic existence exploring the world, she now lives with her husband on the coast of Southern Ireland enjoying the seasonal fluctuations in the temperature of the rain.
“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” Arthur Brisbane 1911.
An image offers an opportunity to see endless possibilities depending on the viewer’s perspective. Where some might see beauty and joy, others imagine sadness and loss of hope.
In this collection, images and syllabic poetry are brought together to tell a story based on the author’s perspective. The poetry explores our human experiences such as love, happiness, hope, aging, friendship, new beginnings, dreams and loss.
The world around us is an amazing playground and source of all our essential needs as well as sensory experiences that bring wonder into our lives. What lies beyond the horizon? What surprises will we discover as a garden bursts into bloom? Where do the night creatures live?
At the end of the collection there are some longer poems celebrating memories of the author’s life of travel, teenage exploits and love of food!
What strikes me about Sally Cronin’s books is the quiet unassuming way in which they appear without too much fanfare. Sally is a wonderful supporter of the indie writing community, so I am glad to be able to give her a little fanfare too by writing a review for her latest book Life is Like A Mosiac: Random Fragments in Harmony. Great title, I’m sure you will agree!
I loved the dedication within with all the names of the people within her writing circles, so lovely.
I’m a big fan of poetry in all its forms, so this book of eclectic poems from Sally Cronin really appealed to me. There are a wide variety, some wise, some amusing, some thoughtful, some just darn well cute. They are all beautiful presented with accompanying photographs taken from various sources.
Favourites include: Farewell to Colourful Friends, Spices, Dreams, Happiness, Mother Nature, Immortality, Hope, Loose Lips, First Steps, The Circle of Life, Finding Clarity, Creatures of The Night, A Toast to Life, Beneath The Redwoods, Persecution in The Garden, Advancing Years, The Crocodile, Silver Lining to Isolation, The Wise Woman’s Apprentice.
Some are illustrated with personal photographs taken from the authors Childhood Memories in Ceylon, and on Summer Holidays, and as she gets a bit older she becomes Rebellious in Frome!
This poetry collection is accessible, unpretentious, (which I love,) and enjoyable. It will make you smile, reflect and bring back your own memories of when you were young, mischievous and perhaps a little difficult too!
In my case, it brought back memories of when I lived abroad in Childhood Memories – Sally’s poetry spoke to me taking me back in time.
Highly recommended – 5 stars
Many thanks to the author for an ARC copy for review which I happily give with no bias.