I took a blogging break from 23 December until today. It was supposed to continue until Tuesday, 2 January 2018 but then, I was supposed to be on holiday until Monday, 8 January. My leave has been cut short due to an urgent piece of work and so I feel no compunction about cutting my blogging break short. I think eight days was pretty outstanding for obsessive little old me.
So what did I do during this little blogging break…
I read and read, and then read some more. These are a few of the wonderful books I read:
What’s in a name? Volume 2 by Sally Cronin
Sally Cronin is a very talented writer who can create characters that the reader builds an intense relationship with in a very short space of time. I love short stories about different peoples lives including their tribulations, joys and loves and this collection of short stories did not disappoint me. Each and every story was like dipping into a cookie jar and discovering your new favourite cookie each time.
My three favourite stories are as follows:
Kenneth – A beautiful story about a woman’s first and most memorable love. As a reader you feel as if you are standing on the sidelines, watching as the intensity of Georgina and Kenneth’s first meeting unfolds; not knowing what to expect. The outcome is most unexpected and really makes your heart fold over.
Norman – A bereaved widower sits at the window of his small flat in a block on a small estate, watching as his daily pleasure in seeing the small children who live on the estate enjoy themselves in the playground is stolen from him. The culprits are a bunch of aggressive teenagers, unemployed and bored, who have taken over the playground as their daily gathering point. Norman may be elderly, but he ended his military career as a Sergeant Major and he has friends who achieved similar status’ in the army. The war veterans have had enough, and it is time to act.
Rosemary – It is often said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, so beware if your wife catches you out. Rosemary is a complacent and happy wife to Malcolm, her husband of twenty-five years but something has been different for the past six months. Rosemary’s life has changed, not for the better.
All the short stories contained in this book, each featuring a character whose name starts with a letter form the alphabet from K to Z, are delightful. I chose to mention these three as these were the stories that I reflected on the most after I had finished the book.
I rated this book five stars out of five.
You can purchase What’s in a name? Volume 2 here:
Twelve Tales of Christmas: Fantasy and contemporary Stories to Brighten Your Holidays by Cathleen Townsend
The twelve tales of Christmas by Cathleen Townsend is a delightful collection of short stories, each one with a unique Christmas flavor. I read this book to my 11-year-old son. We are both great fans of Christmas and this book certainly put us in the mood for the season.
The three stories I enjoyed the most in this collection are as follows:
The angel in the tree – Michael and I were completely thrilled at this tale, which was one of the longer stories in this collection. Fourteen-year-old Jason’s family is really struggling financially, and he is not expecting much for Christmas, so when his older brother, Cameron, comes home with a Christmas tree it is quite a surprise. Even more surprising for Jason is that he thinks he can see a small and wispy angel curled up in the pine leaves. Imagine his reaction the next day when he discovers that the angel in the tree does exist and, not only that, but she can help him scavenge for cockles on the beach. There is a catch though, the angel’s destiny is tied to that of the tree and this tree is seriously ailing.
Snowman – This was a very poignant story about a young couple’s journey through married life, starting with their very first Christmas together and their very first Christmas tree and decorations. As they have no decorations at the time of their first Christmas in their new home, they have a party and all their friends are invited to bring a Christmas decoration for the tree. The young pair receive many interesting and unique decorations which make an appearance each year as the couple’s life starts to change with the intervention of children. Will the decorations survive to witness a happy or a sad ending to this marital tale?
Dragon Yule – This was Michael’s favourite story as it contained a dragon, trolls and dwarves. It is a longer tale and I read it to him over two nights. The whole of the second day he kept asking to make sure that we were going to finish the “dragon tale” that evening. This is a story about a mismatched couple, one a piper and one a blacksmith, who end up being evicted from the village where they were staying due to a misunderstanding with certain of the villagers. Left out in a storm to make their way as best they can the two seek shelter in a cave. The cave turns out to be the home of a rather frightening dragon who they must win over if they want to survive the night.
I rated this book four stars out of five.
You can purchase Twelve Tales of Christmas: Fantasy and contemporary Stories to Brighten Your Holidays
Savvy Stories: funny things I learned from my daughter by Dan Alatorre (audio book)
I listened to the audio book of Savvy Stories by Dan Alatorre. Up front I must state that I really enjoyed the narrator. I admit that I do like listening to someone else read to me so I generally like most narrators, but I did specifically note that this reader had a good pace, tone and a general air of joviality that really fitted this book.
Savvy Stories is a first time Dad’s voyage of discover with his new baby daughter. Everything is new, unique and pleasurable and Dan takes great joy in watching his daughter lying, rolling, crawling and walking through life. Dan shares some of the hard times of parenting, especially when his new baby is found to have a heart condition that causes great anxiety and alarm. She overcomes this obstacle though and together, Savvy and her parents set off on the incredible journey that is parenting.
Dan has a wonderful way of making the whole experience of bringing a new baby home [and being kept up a good deal of the night for, what feels like, forever] seem quite bearable and certainly highlights the fact that, however hard it may seem, this small baby stage passes very quickly, never to be repeated with this child, even if you have others in the future.
I really laughed at Dan’s descriptions about posting every move his daughter made on Facebook, it made me think of a few of the new parents that I know. I must say that everybody loves a baby and it is a joy to see all these delightful photographs on Facebook and watch a baby’s progress. First smile, first tooth, first step, all of these magical moments, and many others, are described in Dan’s really amusing way.
A thoroughly enjoyable and humorous book and one that I think all new parents should read so that they can really appreciate the miracle that is a child.
I rated this book five stars out of five.
You can purchase Savvy Stories by Dan Alatorre here:
Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series and Robbie Cheadle is the author of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town