Sunday Salon – February 2021

May not be an accurate representation of my salon

I have not invited anyone to a Sunday Salon for a year; blame that on Covid, we’re not allowed to have visitors! I also got behind with reviewing the books I have read – and got behind with actually reading books. I also like to review television programmes and films. I have not been to the cinema for ages, who has? But I did get to watch that Korean film on Netflix… meanwhile here are some of the books I have enjoyed. As usual Amazon rejected all my reviews and it’s not just books. I have needed to order a lot on Amazon this past year, essentials and presents, nearly always with success…except for the picture frame. It came with the glass broken! So when Amazon asked if I was happy with the delivery I put a sad face and wrote a review, which they rejected! The story had a happy ending as I also noticed you could email the frame company direct and they replied quickly and sent me a replacement that was plastic.

 All these reviews are on Goodreads and on my Facebook Author page. I am not a book reviewer, I write short reviews, but I do aim to review every book I read and flag up my enjoyment or interest.

May not be an accurate representation of my office.

You Beneath Your Skin  by  Biswas Damyanti – 5 Star review

I enjoy reading about other countries, other cities and interesting characters and situations. This is a powerful story of complex characters with a jigsaw family put together in a loving home contrasting with the hard life of the streets and the various layers of society in a foggy New Delhi. Crime, corruption and touching love at the heart of a difficult investigation keep us totally absorbed.

Marriage Unarranged   by Ritu Bhathal   – 5 Star review

I have not been to India, but the pictures the author paints are how I imagine from stories told by British Asians ‘going home’ and others visiting for the first time. This is a romantic story, but also an amusing one, young people on holiday to India without their elders hiring drivers and keeping to an agenda. They want to visit a real cinema, not the new multiplex, travel around like locals. There is glamour, for this is also a business trip for Aashi’s older brother who wants to reinvent the family fashion shop, but solemn moments as they contemplate dark historic events. As the five visit the Golden Temple there is an insight into the faith of the Sikhs. New friendships are made, Aashi’s broken heart might be mending, but how will life work out when they all return home to Birmingham?
I would love to see this as a Bollywood movie, the settings in India and the wonderful clothes they have a chance to model, fashions they hope to take back to Birmingham.

Little Big Boy   by Max Power    5 Star Review

This is a story about a little boy’s first love, his mother. It is not autobiographical, but is so powerful readers might assume it was, with its vivid evocation of early childhood. It is more than that, a story of families, of Ireland in the early nineteen seventies. There are many things that are dark inside and outside the home, that will make you angry, but the tale also bursts with life, of young boys exploring and having adventures with their friends.

Warning Signs  by Carol Balawyder   5 Star Review

More vivid than a television murder drama, this is an intelligent psychological thriller with the killer trying to understand why he could be tempted to kill and how he can stop himself. It is also the story anyone will recognise of young women looking for love, the dating game. Everyone is a stranger when you first meet them, when do we start trusting a person and when you begin dating someone how do you know if you are safe? A great story that kept me on edge all the way through.

With Love Comes Hope      4 Star Review

A poignant and rare opportunity to have in one book views from many different parts of the world. All the contributors are writing in the first half of 2020 about the first half of 2020; their impressions, worries and hopes about this unique experience that has affected every human being. The atmosphere of the first lockdown now seems quite different from the various lockdowns we have had since, will we see again streets quite so empty? Every country has had different approaches to containing the virus and we have only seen what’s happening outside our own countries from news programmes. This book gives us the insiders’ views.

Sunday Salon – Recent Reviews

Two angels and a healer, an autobiography, a novelette and a novel; the three books I recently finished reading and reviewed on Amazon and Goodreads.

Or at least that was the plan, but for some reason Amazon would not accept my review of Angels Landing. I’m not sure why and won’t bore you with extracts from their ‘community help’. People have problems of all sorts with Amazon reviews, one of the reasons I decided to post  my book reviews on Tidalscribe.

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Angels Landing   by Christina Sandler

An autobiography inspiring on many levels, I gave it five stars on Goodreads

Sadly in the Twenty First Century we are too familiar with images of soldiers who have had limbs blown off, but stoically work hard at their rehabilitation with the support of others in the same situation. When we imagine what that would be like we probably have degrees of what we could bear, one limb lost is surely better than all, but most of us would no doubt make an awful fuss if we just lost a few fingers. People lose limbs in various ways, including through illness; Christina Sandler’s accident left her far removed from the instant medical response we see on hospital programmes.

On holiday in Australia, a car accident in a remote spot in the Northern Territory results in terrbile injuries. Christina’s recovery in the Darwin hospital took a long time because of the way her arm was lost, but it was excellent care, the staff at the hospital sound wonderful. The hospital became her world, though through her eyes we have glimpses of the life of the people of Darwin.
Back in England there was much more treatment needed, working up to the day she got her first artificial ‘pink Barbie hand’. This was still the eighties, artificial limbs have come a long way since then. Most of us would regard a serious accident as a good excuse to coast through life without too much being expected of us, but getting back to the teaching job she loved was not enough for Christina, she needed a new challenge, flying.
Looking up this book I see it was first published successfully in 2000 as a paperback and reviewers included one of her former pupils. A reminder that this is a true story. I would be so interested to know how life has been for her since that first solo flight.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angels-Landing-memoir-Christina-Sadler-ebook/dp/B077ZW34YK

 

 

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Where Angels Tread: a novelette

by Loretta Livingstone

4.0 out of 5 stars  A modern day fairy tale

By  Janet Gogerty  on 10 August 2018

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

A very different take on the homeless; most people walk by, but some stop to talk. This novelette tells the tale from each character’s point of view and some will surprise you. There is a happy ending and redemption, but not for all. This little book is rounded up with three delightful poems; from a creme egg to a rose.

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The Healer (Fraud or Miracle? Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars    Is everyone being decieved, including the reader?

By  Janet Gogerty  on 11 August 2018

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

There is nothing straightforward about this novel, we may think we are following Erica’s journey towards enlightenment, but it is not as simple as that. Gradually we realise we are not sure who to believe, perhaps the final truth will come out in Book 3. What is intriguing is that it does not matter how real the illness or the cures are, it’s how they affect Erica and those around her. I don’t think I liked any of the characters and certainly would not have enjoyed working for Erica. In her ruthless world of work she is surprised that even one person cares when she is ill. When she tries to return there is no welcome, the company has moved on, former colleagues expected her to die and appear affronted that she turns up to announce she is fine. Her personal life fares little better, even without the complications of secrecy we realise that being given a second chance of life does not necessarily make anyone a better person. Erica knows no other way of life and doesn’t have the resources to recreate herself as a lover of nature and humanity; events and new revelations also conspire against her.

 

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Views and Reviews

When I first joined Goodreads, with no idea what I was doing there and with my picture sideways, I did figure out how to write reviews and it seemed a good way to record all the books I read.

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My Kindle was a birthday present five years ago and the first books I downloaded were my own. I had already published two novels and one short story collection on Amazon Kindle, relying on a local friend and my sister in Australia, the only people I knew with Kindles, to tell me if they had ‘come out’ alright.

Once the Kindle was in my hands it opened up the whole world of Indie Authors. I had no desire to download 3000 free classics, we have a house full of dead authors in paperback. Reading about other writers on line, choosing books that sparked my interest and downloading them in a matter of seconds was part of the fun. I review all my fellow Indie Authors on Amazon and Goodreads, though it is often a while before I actually get around to reading. With all the angst about Amazon deleting reviews I decided to also put new reviews on my blog. I love variety so here are three very different books. One novel, one set of three short stories and my favourite, a collection of stories, flash fiction and poems.

on 4 July 2018
I read this collection on my Kindle and one disadvantage of Kindles is you don’t have the book lying on your coffee table showing off its cover. Coming back to Amazon to review this book I remembered how I loved the imaginative cover which does justice to the contents. I was really taken wih the stories and poems. I love writing short stories that are often dark so I appreciated the author’s style. Here are tales gruesome and scary, but also poignant poems. The book ends with a longer story that held me in suspense all the way through…

Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2 Kindle Edition

on 2 July 2018
A very different novel from the first Riverbend book and it would work fine as a stand alone novel, but those of us who enjoyed the first were eager to see if it was Willow’s turn to find true love, only to fear she would lose the love of her life so soon after finding him. Anyone who has had strange experiences when meeting the boyfriend’s family for the first time will sympathise with Willow and admire the way she stands by her man. But how can she stand by her man when he disappears? Hunter is a complex man with a difficult life, can love be strong enough to save him? I am looking forward to reading Book Three and following the next part of Willow and Hunter’s life together.

The One That Got Away and other short stories

4.0 out of 5 stars  Chances missed and chances taken.

on 4 July 2018
Three gentle stories, very different, but all about finding love and new paths later in life. My favourite was ‘More than a Mere Bagatelle’ . Modern grandmothers don’t just sit at home, they have lives of their own, but that can bring difficult choices.
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What do you like to read and do you review?


Four on Fact and Fiction

Sharing reviews helps all writers, especially Indie Authors. Here are four books I’ve recently read on my Kindle and reviewed on Amazon. I also put reviews on Goodreads, a site popular with many readers looking for a good book, it also acts as a digital library so I have a record of all the books I have read.

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At home I have a pile of paperbacks waiting to be read and on my Kindle lots of TBRs I have downloaded after reading reviews or author interviews on line. Part of the fun of reading is deciding what to read next and I like to choose a different time, place or genre from the previous book.

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Long or short? Personally I like reading and writing short reviews; I don’t want to return to school days writing long essays on the book we’re ‘doing’!  But others will like reviews that tell them plenty about the book and the author. What do you think?

 

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The Neighbours  by  Hannah Mary Mckinnon

on 27 April 2018
I enjoy stories where we go back and forth in time, especially if we are told when and who is talking. This is a good story to keep you on edge; the unthinkable has happened to Abby and then a new unthinkable event occurs to ensure the past cannot be forgotten. Nate and Nancy have each married on the rebound, though they don’t know it yet, that is a poignant second story line. How well do we get to know the characters and how well do they know each other? Secrets abound and I only half guessed the twist at the end. I’m not sure I actually liked any of the characters, except Nate. One aspect that jarred in the novel, I didn’t get a sense of place. As soon as I read neighbors with the US spelling in the early chapters I assumed we were in the USA and any English names mentioned could have been their US namesakes. It wasn’t till Wales was mentioned I realised we had been in England all along! This is a story that could be set in any modern suburb in any country, so perhaps that doesn’t matter.

A Kiss In The Dark  by Christine King

on 27 April 2018
Deliciously scary, what an assortment that leads us up the garden path, turns fairy tales upside down, gives us a very unreliable narrator and leaves us alone in the woods… and that’s just the first three stories. And then a poem, I loved ‘Click’. Enjoy ghosts, dragons and the gods of ages, a train journey and of course a graveyard.
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Living In The Past   by Jane Lovering

on 27 April 2018
I have never been on an archeological dig and I’m sure I would be as lacking in enthusiasm as Grace… This is an enjoyable read, as you would expect of a Choc Lit. Time Travel? Why not, people do disappear off the face of the earth and who’s to say they haven’t gone back in time? What would we find if we arrived in the past and how would we get on?
Duncan’s life has been blighted by his girlfriend going missing without trace and never being able to prove his innocence.
Grace has had her happiness cut cruelly short.
Two people who have nothing in common are brought together on the muddy Yorkshire Moors and dislike each other as soon as they meet; the stage is set for an unusual romance.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/review/RR03X4IAHQPGY

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African Ways  by Valerie Poore

on 28 April 2018
I really enjoyed reading this book. I have never been to the African continent, so my knowledge of South Africa is limited to people I have met and new friends on the internet. These are the memories of one family’s three year experience living in Natal, in the most beautiful place they will ever live. Bringing up two very young children was very different from the experiences I and my friends were having in the same time period! This is not a linear story, each lyrical chapter describes an aspect of their lives and the rich characters they became close to; the author obviously embraced her new life and the reader enjoys the humour and drama of a country so different to ‘back home’. Poignantly this chapter of their life had to close and I would love to read about the family’s further adventures.