MJ Reviews August Catch Up – Book Reviews #bookreviews #poetry #flashfiction @SarahBrentyn @BalroopShado @Frank_Prem

I’ve been behind on adding my reviews to my blog due to lots happening in my personal life plus my blog tour for my poetry and flash fiction collection: The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet which released mid August!

This is review catch up 1, and there will be catch up 2 next.

So, here are three fab books I recommend, the first is flash fiction and the last two are poetry. Enjoy!

On the Edge of a Raindrop by Sarah Brentyn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you have ever wondered about the power in the brevity of words then this collection by Sarah Brentyn is for you! It’s a wonderful collection of flash fiction which I loved reading.

It is divided into three sections:
Mindscapes, Lifelines and Micro bursts (the shortest of which! )

Here are 3 of my favourite microbursts:

We wake the same as we slept. Strangers.
Dreams cling to our eyelashes as we sip coffee & pretend to believe the beautiful lies we tell.

Fed up with death, she entered the reincarnation lottery, returning as a farmer famous for her prize-winning ghost peppers.

I wake to hundreds of spiders crawling across my floor, up the walls. They are everywhere. I want to scream. But I feel them on my lips.

Highly recommended especially to those who enjoy flash fiction and as a fine introduction to the form.

View all my reviews

Sarah Brentyn is an introvert who believes anything can be made better with soy sauce and wasabi.

She loves words and has been writing stories since she was nine years old. She talks to trees and apologizes to inanimate objects when she bumps into them.

When she’s not writing, you can find her strolling through cemeteries or searching for fairies.

She hopes to build a vacation home in Narnia someday. In the meantime, she lives with her family and a rainbow-colored, wooden cat who is secretly a Guardian.

You can find her online at www.sarahbrentyn.com

Emerging From Shadows : Poetry by Balroop Singh by Balroop Singh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Balroop Singh’s collection of poetry is thoughtful, emotional and stirring to the soul. Her love for the natural world, love of words, and her inner resilience shines through in her light and dark poetry.

Really enjoyed. Highly recommended for poetry enthusiasts.

The Call of Calmness is one of my favourite poems in the collection.

View all my reviews


Gentle breeze breathes a quiet message…

I am here to bless you

To softly swing,

Sway with your dreams

Don your dewy dress of harmony

Hold me in your arms lightly

I can take you beyond branches

Of those trees, stirring serenely

Inhale that cogent calmness

Expunge all angst and anger

Trust my trail, believe in hope

Breathe in breezy light of love

We can fly beyond boundaries

I can show you the gale of happiness

It follows us wherever we go

It changes its face when it has to flow

Over the vales of wishes

Even the dales of despair

Surmounting them all

Into the lucid light of serendipity.

Balroop Singh, an educator, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. She would jot down her reflections on a piece of paper and forget about them till each drawer of her home started overflowing with poetic reminders, popping out at will! The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first poetry book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling of leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in California. You can visit her blog at http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

I read Frank’s poetry a while ago while I was in Portugal! And shared my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. Here is the review:

The Garden Black by Frank Prem

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to poet Frank Prem for an advanced copy of The Garden Black. It seemed the perfect opportunity yesterday to read this poetry collection while I was relaxing on a beach! It’s a little different from some of Frank’s other collections with a speculative fantasy vibe to it. Being a keen fantasy reader and author I enjoyed it. Frank’s free verse form of poetry is always a delight, easy to read and enjoy and reflect upon.

My favourite poems with their titles below:
I who am, (I liked this for its references to: wind, sun, dark, soil, leaf, bough, root, bark, sap, wood, tree!)
the hunter writes a letter
swell, (this poem relates swimming to driving!)
storm and the sea (bubbles of foam)
I dig (a forest)
it is not clear (from the dream below)
a song for the (far) horizon
a line of destiny
pain control
garden black
isosceles and me (and the war over the pond,) – very unusual but in a good way!
davey’s interview (pre-recorded)
in the stone: through the water
a song for the (deep) horizon
the second beat.

View all my reviews

Frank Prem has been a storytelling poet since his teenage years. He has been a psychiatric nurse through all of his professional career, which now exceeds forty years.He has been published in magazines, online zines and anthologies in Australia, and in a number of other countries, and has both performed and recorded his work as spoken word.He lives with his wife in the beautiful township of Beechworth in North East Victoria, Australia. https://FrankPrem.com

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#ABRSC #Review The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 (Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology)

#books #flashfiction #shortstories #writing

Goodreads Synopsis:

Witness great feats of literary art from daring writers around the world: stories crafted in 99 words.

Flash fiction is a literary prompt, form, and tool that unites writers in word play. This creative craft hones a writer’s skills to write tight stories and explore longer works. It’s literary art in thoughtful bites, and the collective stories in this anthology provide an entertaining read for busy modern readers.

Writers approach the prompts for their 99-word flash with creative diversity. Each of the twelve chapters in Part One features quick, thought-provoking flash fiction. Later sections include responses to a new flash fiction prompt, extended stories from the original 99-word format, and essays from memoir writers working in flash fiction. A final section includes tips on how to use flash fiction in classrooms, book clubs, and writers groups.

CarrotRanch.com is an online literary community where writers can practice craft the way musicians jam. Vol. 1 includes the earliest writings by these global literary artists at Carrot Ranch. Just as Buffalo Bill Cody once showcased the world’s most daring riding, this anthology highlights the best literary feats from The Congress of Rough Writers.

My review:

Thank you to Charli Mills for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

A thoroughly enjoyable read and very well structured. It delivers a wide range of flash fiction and so much more. The anthology succeeds in celebrating the  wonderful sense of community that is Carrot Ranch and the benefits of participating, therein. Charli Mills has created a welcoming, nurturing community of ‘Rough Writers,’ who develop through practice – the necessary skills to polish their flash fiction writing, overcoming the challenging constraint  of 99 words.

I’d highly recommend this anthology to EVERYONE, but particularly to writers and aspiring authors. But, don’t let that discourage the general public as they will most definitely enjoy reading this compilation too.

Being a part of Carrot Ranch Community is indeed a fantastic thing to do for experienced writers and wannabe writers too. I just wish I had more time to join in Carrot Ranch more regularly. But the community allows for writers to come and go as they wish, which is a positive aspect of Carrot Ranch. No one feels pressurised to write flash, it is a very free and giving group.

My rating: 4.5 stars.


A very engaging Foreword from Charli Mills.

Part 1 : Best of Show

Part 2 : A New Flash Fiction challenge

Part 3: Expanded Flash. This interested me as I recently attempted this and struggled to take a story from 99 words and expand it to 1,000. It isn’t easy!

Part 4: Essays From Memoirists: An unexpected section entitled Essays From Memoirists which I found fascinating. Particularly as I am currently penning a 3000 piece memoir about my dad’s early years, national service, and first taste of exotic travel for a competition!

In this section individual writers penned their thoughts and feelings about writing memoirs:

Sherri Matthews: From Memoir to Flash Fiction And Back Again. How writing flash, ‘energised,’ and enabled her ‘to soar,’ ‘and write fearlessly.’

Paula Moyer.  In Praise of Nine Year Olds with Vision. Flash allowed for a ‘Parallel universe’ where the writer could ‘feel free’ ‘I am called to write.’

Lisa Reiter – How Flash Fiction Helps My Perfectionism by letting go and putting words on paper. Allowed her to realise that ‘The words are good enough’ ‘To Let it go,’ ‘the discipline of a little flash fiction is a good way to practice that.’

Jeanne Belisle Lombardo – How The practice of Flash Fiction Hones the Craft of the Memoirist – ‘focus on the moment’ and on ‘honesty in one’s work,’ which is what readers are looking for in memoirs.

Irene Waters – Defining Differences between Memoir and Fiction – ‘Writing fiction gave me a freedom I had not experienced before.’ ‘no room for unnecessary words.’  ‘major benefits’ – ‘freedom of expression’ – ‘honed technical skills.’

Part 5 : Building community with Flash Fiction

Part 6: Acknowledgements and Bios

Amazon UK Buying link: The Congress of Rough Writers Vol 1 Anthology

My A – M Reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-m-of-my-book-reviews/

My N – Z Reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2016/11/27/my-kyrosmagica-reviews-n-z/

Let me know if you’d read the anthology I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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