#BookReviews #Poetry #Shortstories

This week I would like to share some wonderful books of poetry and short stories. All three books are a quick read and I really enjoyed them.

Variety is the Spice of Life by Sally Cronin

True to its name, this book is packed with a variety of syllabic poetry, pulling at the strings of your heart with poems like ‘Face in the Mirror,’ accompanied by a beautiful picture of the poet and her mother – a reminder of her laughter and ‘The Waltz’ that captures the joy of two hearts. Cronin’s poems are short and meaningful, most of them capture vibrant colors of life. Even drought doesn’t escape her discerning eye. Robins, starlings, bees and butterflies come alive in her poems. If blossoms remind us of fleeting opportunities, bees convey a profound message of diligence and persistence.

Sally’s short stories have always been my favorite, as they bring out the best of human values. I loved ‘The Healer’ and ‘Home Help’ but the winners are the marmalade cat and robin of Miss Lloyd. Cronin’s love for furry friends shines through her stories. I highly recommend this lovely collection to readers of all genres.

Do What You Love by MJ Mallon

‘Do What You Love’ is a little memoir that captures beautiful moments of life, giving an insight into the author’s experiences, hopes and adventures. A delightful concoction of poetry, photography and flash fiction, imagination and reality merge here to share the stories of her life in a succinct manner.

With the symbol of hibiscus flower, Marje introduces herself as a giggling and carefree child whose mentor is Lachesis – the goddess of future. How creative! It is her innovative style of writing that would capture your heart, as all three “sisters of fate” – Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos remain close to her and offer her friendly advice at each step of life.

With a pang in her heart and tears of pride in her eyes, the empty nester also shares the story of her successful daughters and is reassured by Atropos that they have to take their own path. So relatable! It is fascinating to watch the poet conversing with “sisters of fate” and the moments we cherish come alive through her poems.  

The Christmas Bird by Robbie Cheadle

‘The Christmas Bird’ is a heart-warming story of love and compassion. Stella and her sisters are celebrating Christmas when they discover a bird’s nest that had been destroyed by their dogs. Stella gently picks up the surviving baby bird and hopes to save it despite her mom’s warning that it may die of shock. They prepare an old basket into a warm nest for the little bird, feed the bird lovingly and get attached to it. The bird seems to be a perfect Christmas gift for the girls.

This short story infuses a sense of respect toward our environment. The natural instinct of caring for all the species is highlighted in a subtle manner. Loving and letting go is also underlined, as the bird grows wings and learns to be free. Written in a simple language, it is a perfect story for children if the superfluous details of the beer making process are brushed aside.

Thank you. Happy reading!

If you like poetry: click here to hear Magical Whispers

Here is my latest release  Hues Of Hope 

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#BookReviews: #Mystery #TimeTravel #Memoir

Taking a break from syllabic poetry, I want to share the reviews of some fabulous books I’ve read this month. All four are my favorite authors (The Haunting… has been written by two perceptive stalwarts.) I have read one more brilliantly written book by our wordsmith – Diana. I would share it in my next post this week.

The Haunting of Chatham Hollow gives you a few hiccups in the beginning, oscillating between two timelines and many characters but soon picks up a steady pace and keeps you invested in the mystery as well as seances. A complex plot, ensconcing many stories, it is a combination of supernatural fantasy and cozy horror. 

The style of two authors mingles in a brilliant manner! Who seeks the hidden treasure of Ward Chatham and why? Would Chatham’s ghost reveal the secret? What is the significance of the curse? Many such questions keep gnawing at your heart till the end.

The strength of this book lies in the seances, each one more vivid, more captivating than the other, giving you the feeling of a real scene of a movie. Spiritualists and skeptics provide a balanced view but Ward Chatham adds a weird aura to the story.

Benedict is hardly a competitor for Victor, probably due to his nefarious designs and that is why the latter emerges to be my favorite character. All the characters have been crafted with equal astuteness and the most stunning one is the grandmother of Aiden. 

It is marvelous how all the links are woven together in the end. However, some of the details are superfluous; they hamper the pace of the book and eliminating them could have made it more thrilling. Highly recommended for all kinds of readers. 5 stars reading. 

Geller’s Find by Sandra Cox is an intriguing tale, a combination of western and time travel, with a cozy romance thrown in. True to her style, Cox dives into the story headlong, and keeps a brisk pace, never letting you waver an eyelid. While hiking through the majestic Great Basin, Luke’s love for artifacts leads him into the past, as he hurtles down into a deep hole, “whirling into a tube of rock”and reaches in the year 1882 where he meets Lily, a rancher. The vivid description of his journey, as if he were in an elevator is most captivating. Many questions would crop up in your mind – How would he get back? Will he stay and never go back? How would he find his bag that gets lost? Where would he stay? Can he adjust to the unfamiliar surroundings?

Cox’s characters are most realistic and the way they welcome Luke into their lives is heart-warming. Strong yet tender at heart, Saffron likes Luke but he keeps his distance, as he knows he doesn’t belong to their world. Stryker remains an enigma till the end though Luke is smart enough to see through his sinister plans. There is enough action to keep you enthralled. The book converts into a page-turner toward the end and much is left to the imagination of the reader. Pick up this book, you won’t be disappointed. 5 stars! 

The Winding Road is a poignant memoir of Miriam who was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in one of her organs at the time of her hysterectomy. It was considered to be incurable. She was told that the survival rate was six to twelve months among the patients over the past twenty years. An experimental treatment was recommended and Miriam decided to go ahead with it. Her candid account of the treatment and suffering is extremely heart-rending.  My heart goes out to her, as she had the grit and the determination to walk through the unknown road, never losing sight of her destination. The positivity that kept her going despite the long waits, failing health and side effects of the chemo, is noteworthy. It was the most difficult path, with excruciating pains that she had to bear throughout the treatment, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Her persistence paid off; the blessings and prayers of her friends and family plucked her from the jaws of life-threatening cancer and she could fulfill her wishes of playing with her grandchildren. It requires great resilience to relive those moments while telling the story but Miriam chose to share it and I admire her fortitude. She has also shared some beautiful pictures of her family that reinforces how valuable this life is with our near and dear ones. 5 stars!

Happy reading! Thank you.

– Balroop Singh.

If you like poetry, here is my latest release  Hues Of Hope 

Is it Creative Writing?

This post is inspired from some books, which I’ve read or dropped half-way recently. 

I’ve been wondering when did this happen: A marked erosion of language in modern fiction and deteriorating standards of vocabulary.

When I was a youngster, there was a striking difference between good literature and cheap novels and the students of literature were advised to avoid the latter kind of books. Though D.H. Lawrence was a prescribed author, but his ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ was not available in the libraries. When I could lay my hands on this novel, I didn’t find anything offensive in the language. Probably it is the theme of his novel that raised eye-brows.

Nobody seems to care about any such aspect of books now. Profane language and curse words are acceptable. Themes can be as obscene as never read. Many modern authors consider it the normal vocabulary of people and want to connect with them. Probably their brains are wired differently, they have been hearing such words at home, which may sound rational to them.

If a character is disgusted, they use a “F” word. If he is frustrated, same word, if he is angry, upset or stressed, their word doesn’t change!

Is it realism, as those authors claim?
Is it the rat race to immediate success?

Showing or telling the story in a conversational manner doesn’t give a permit to use profane language!

If teenagers are using such words, they are hearing them from their parents, friends, cousins or uncles. When they read them in the books, they get the message that such language is appropriate. They grow up with the use of indecent phrases and expressions, which become their second nature. 

Do you think some authors who use “F” and “S” words to convey anger and frustration in each dialogue are doing their real job, which is to describe the emotions and psychological demeanor of their characters?

Don’t you think they need to develop their vocabulary to explain the reactions of their characters?

To my mind, such books, with vulgar thoughts and language are no less than a storm in the tea cup, their value diminishes within days, they would be forgotten and buried in the rubbish of unwanted literature. Most of the times, I drop such a book.

A good writer doesn’t need to introduce himself. His language conveys his stature. He/she doesn’t stoop to the level of cheap tricks to make his books popular. Even erotic scenes are written in a creative manner by mindful writers. I’ve read some fabulous books without a single curse word.

Do you think readers are becoming immune to curse words? Please share your views.

Thank you.

– Balroop Singh.

#BookReviews 5 #Stars for each one

You would be amazed at the variety of the books that I am sharing with you today. If the young adult adventurous story made me feel as young as Lily and Christy, Mateo’s blood brother kept me at the edge of my chair and A Long Walk Home reassured me that Angels of hope are always around us. I have read three more books but would like to share only those that earned 5 star reviews from me.

The Bloody Shoe Affair by Joy York is a brilliant YA adventurous story of two teenagers who dare to venture into dangerous avenues of investigating a double murder, as Lily believes an innocent man has been imprisoned. A first person account, with exciting details and teen talk; teen tone never wanes throughout the book, and that adds an extra charm to the carefully crafted dialogues, interspersed with a dash of humor despite a serious theme. Lily’s crazy idea of stuffing marshmallows in Christy’s bra and Troy asking if any of them were wearing perfume that smells like marshmallows cracked me up! 

Joy’s characters are crafted with immense dexterity. It is the inquisitive nature of Lily that draws her reticent cousin, Christy into her daredevil plans of sneaking into the basement to locate the old jail cell and talk to the potential murderer. She believes in taking risks, possesses an amazing skill of cooking up stories at the spur of the moment, and has an incredible convincing power to impress people. An incorrigible liar, intrepid and obdurate, Lily exudes enviable confidence, which inspires Christy who nurses doubts at each step and is scared that if they are caught, she might have to spend the rest of her summer in reform school.

The strength of this book is connected with its characters. You would love them despite their irrational feats of lying and spying. It captures the true behavior of youngsters. An enjoyable read!

Mateo’s Blood Brother: Sequel to Mateo’s Law is a dark tale of revenge, action-packed with fierce attacks by Delilah, who returns in this book with a vengeance. Undeterred by the responses of the Chief of Police, Jesse and Sheriff Mateo, the wicked shape shifter is too smart for the brothers. The chase keeps you guessing till the last page, concluding in an incredible manner. The budding romance of Mateo and Blair has matured in this book and there are some steamy love scenes in the middle of busy hours of the chase. 

Cox’s crisp style adds to the pace of the story, which moves forward quickly, the investigations sound genuine and the friendships amazing. All the characters have an unbelievable strength and refuse to give up despite serious injuries. She puts just the right emotion into the relationship of Mateo and Blair. A thread of suspense hangs till the end, with the appearance of another brown wolf. I like how Sandra lightens the sordid situations with a dash of humor. This is a well-written book, just like her western romances. Though a sequel, it can stand alone. Highly recommended.

A Long Walk Home symbolizes trudging through your failures and frustrations into maturity, a lovely message of thinking about your own self and finding happiness despite all the negativity that tries to blind us. Written in an eloquent style that never falters, Finn takes you through the lives of two friends and delivers a profound message: “there is magic all year round but I am glad they take some time to think about it once a year.”

Kenzie’s pain would reach your heart; the season of joy and celebrations seems meaningless to her, as her emotions spiral out of control. The setting is perfect for the mood of the story. However, our Angels of hope are always around us to protect us before we plunge deeper into the dumps. This sweet story would win your heart. I finished it within an hour. 

Thank you. Happy reading!
Balroop Singh.

If you like poetry, here is my latest release  Hues Of Hope 

More 5 #Star #BookReviews @EverDreamer7321 @teagangeneviene

Today I have mystery and fantasy books, which I would like to share with you.

My Review: The Windwilder Haunting by Sandra Kopp

‘The Windwilder Haunting’ by Sandra Kopp is a riveting saga of three generations, action packed with deceit, lies and mysterious happenings. Kopp builds up mystery around the mansion slowly, with amazing details of the Windwilder mansion and her exquisite language adds an aesthetic touch to this book. The prologue is enigmatic, as it grips you with poetic language on the one hand but proceeds with a lightning speed to reveal that the mansion is being set on fire! Then the story flows at an amazing pace, without a dull moment. It is much more than just a ghost story; it is the superb style, the narrator’s love for nature and an eye for detail that elevates this book above an ordinary period story.

 I like how Bella, with her inconspicuous presence, holds the plot and keeps you invested till the end. Lillian is another strange character, who doesn’t seem to like anybody but her contribution to the story is astounding. Madelyn’s connect with nature and her passion to know more makes her a likable protagonist. Though drawn by the mysteries of the mansion, she refuses to be manipulated by John and has a mind of her own. She is intuitive enough to understand where the secrets lie and follows her own path in discovering them. However, all hell breaks loose, as somebody is unhappy with her visits to the mansion.

I like how Sandra keeps a control over the horror element and doesn’t let it slip into gruesome details. I admire how she switches gears to the descriptions of nature to lighten the mood: “The sun touched down, and a final scattering of brilliant light ignited the wispy clouds into flaming orange plumes that blazed for just moments before turning red and then purple as they drifted north.” I would recommend this book to all book lovers.

My Review: Dead of Winter – Journey 1 by Teagan Riordain

A riveting story, Dead Of Winter: Journey 1 would transport you to a world of fantasy yet Teagan’s characters seem absolutely real, as they are haunted by fears of religious fanatics who try to stamp out knowledge, brethren of Un’Naf have made oppressive rules for women and there is a fear of banishment for Emyln who is a gifted girl.

Osabide, an elderly widow has been banished from her village just because she is a healer and a person of great knowledge. She warns Emyln to keep silent about her ability to see and hear ghosts. The story is told from Emyln’s point of view; she knows she is not loved by anyone in her family, even her sister taunts her and she can’t share her thoughts with her. The refrain “winter is coming” dominates this novella and adds a touch of mystery to it. I can’t wait to read the next journey!

My Review: Dead of Winter – Journey 2

Journey 2, Penllyn takes the story of Emyln forward; new characters are introduced and the shocking intentions of Emyln’s father are revealed. Deae Matres, a group of women brings in some hope but Teagan doesn’t divulge much about these mysterious women. Zasha, Osabide’s niece, is the member of this organization. I like the way the story is developing and Emyln is growing stronger with each experience. The style of writing is intriguing, the mood mysterious and the language is beautiful. 

You would keep wondering why Emyln’s father who never takes her anywhere is taking her to Penllyn. She could sense that he is sad and angry but dare not ask a question. It was such a relief that Afon couldn’t succeed in his mission. I am loving these journeys.

Please click on the links to view the book descriptions.

Thank you. Happy reading!
Balroop Singh.

Here is my latest release: Hues Of Hope