Category Archives: Reading Challenges

Book Review: ‘The Long Body That Connects Us’ All by Rich Marcello

Title: The Long Body That Connects Us All

Published: 28th February 2018

Publisher: Langdon Street Press

Author: Rich Marcello


Twitter: @marcellor




Provocative and profound, Rich Marcello’s poems are compact but expansive, filled with music as seductive as their ideas, and focused mostly on how to be a good man. This is a collection of deep passion and wisdom for fathers, husbands, and sons, but also for mothers, wives, and daughters, many who began with a longing for the things they were taught to desire by their forefathers, only to later discover a different path, one lit by loss and welcoming of the vulnerable, one made of the long body that connects us all.



Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book under 100 pages. This book is split into 3 parts with around 16 poems per section. So you can dip in and out when the need strikes or plow through in one go.

I find it kind of calming to read some forms of poetry. Letting your mind flow in different directions as you make your own interpretations of what you think they could mean.

There were lots of poems to choose from but here are a few of my favorites from each section of the book and my interpretations on what I thought they were about.


Part 1 – In the Coming:

I Do Now – Exploring the light and dark that people can hold and accepting someone’s shadow as much as their light.

Porchwork – About reliving a memory and place in time so much that you want to recreate it forever in other ways so you can hold dear.

Daughters and Sons – About embracing each other, the love we share and how to send it out into the world to heal it and others.


Part 2 – Yab Yum:

How We Struggle to Pass Down – Feeling the need to tell those younger than yourself to remember the feelings and dreams they have as they come. To not live with regrets when they get older but in the end learning that all must go through lessons and learn things at their own pace. As you remember you were once that young who thought you knew best.

Stillness – Finding some place still and calm to reboot and recharge in a way so you can find your center and balance to start again.

The Return of Hippies – Remembering a time where everything and everyone was carefree. To go back to a forgotten time where sun, hope, rainbows and love played their parts. Showing a world of possibilities to remember and to push forward with love and kindness.


Part 3 – Aether:

Belong to No One – Finding your center and learning to belong to yourself and no other. Feeling happy with who you are and how you see the world and your life around you.

How to Be a Good Man – About embracing new ways to think and act when troubles come your way. If you want to walk away, step closer. Hate then love. To find ways to see things differently and learning to forgive if needed.

The Long Body – Finding ways to see how things and people are connected. Letting love, kindness and memories guide you forward to help with any challenges ahead. As the title suggests it’s about the long body of life that connects us all.


Interesting collection of poems that make you stop and think. Some I liked more than others but all intriguing in their own way. It’s a good book to go to as a stopgap book between heavier ones. A break book so to speak that won’t take long to get through. Worth checking out for anyone interested in poetry.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.


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Filed under Non-fiction, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts

Book Review: ‘The Sweetest Oblivion’ by Danielle Lori

Title: The Sweetest Oblivion (Made Book 1)

Published: 20th June 2018

Author: Danielle Lori


Twitter: @daniellelori2




She’s a romantic at heart, living in the most unromantic of worlds . . .

Nicknamed Sweet Abelli for her docile nature, Elena smiles on cue and has a charming response for everything. She’s the favored daughter, the perfect mafia principessa . . . or was.

Now, all she can see in the mirror’s reflection is blood staining her hands like crimson paint.

They say first impressions are everything . . .

In the murky waters of New York’s underworld, Elena’s sister is arranged to marry Nicolas Russo. A Made Man, a boss, a cheat—even measured against mafia standards. His reputation stretches far and wide and is darker than his black suits and ties. After his and Elena’s first encounter ends with an accidental glare on her part, she realizes he’s just as rude as he is handsome.

She doesn’t like the man or anything he stands for, though that doesn’t stop her heart from pattering like rain against glass when he’s near, nor the shiver that ghosts down her spine at the sound of his voice.

And he’s always near. Telling her what to do. Making her feel hotter than any future brother-in-law should. Elena may be the Sweet Abelli on the outside, but she’s beginning to learn she has a taste for the darkness, for rough hands, cigarettes, and whiskey-colored eyes. Having already escaped one scandal, however, she can hardly afford to be swept up in another.

Besides, even if he were hers, everyone knows you don’t fall in love with a Made Man . . . right?

This is a standalone forbidden romance.



Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book that takes place in the summer. Suns not only thing heating up the temperature when Elena and Nico get in a room together.

Elena used to be seen as Sweet Abelli but that’s all changed. She doesn’t want to be that girl anymore. Always docile doing everything she can to not rock the boat within her family. Her family is more complicated than most, mainly due to the fact she is one of the daughters of an Italian mob boss. Theirs is one of five families within New York who don’t always see eye to eye. Her father is the don and what he says goes. A mistake she made months before has put her at odds within her family and herself. Running away and getting rid of something that should not have been given away only ended in bloodshed and a guilty conscious for her. She can’t undo what has been done but has a plan to ease the pain and guilt, whether she can see it through and what trouble it causes is something else entirely.

Now because of her indiscretion she seems to have thrown her sister Adriana under the bus with who she has to marry, even though it should have been her being the eldest. Not good when Adriana sees herself in love with the gardener, even more so when a shock announcement changes everything. Neither knew that they would marry for love. Just pawns for their father to use when needed. Adriana is a creative, eccentric, free spirit, who might just live in the clouds so isn’t really prepared for her new husband. Their father is having a bit of trouble that needs help from another family so goes to Nicolas Russo, the don of the Russo’s, to strike a deal. A marriage arranged in exchange for him making a problem disappear. Elena feels sorry for her sister but also a little glad it’s not her. That is until she meets Nicolas – Nico – and starts to get all hot and bothered for him and the way he makes her feel with just a look.

Talk about tension at the lunch table! A meeting of the families was never going to run smoothly, throw in some heat and Elena’s hotheaded reckless brother Tony and you are asking for trouble. He just loves to goad people to get a reaction but in the process ends up putting Elena in the firing line, quite literally. Good job Nico has good aim but the pressure to continue the meal after was extreme. You don’t disobey your father or the don boss who will be your brother-in-law.

Nico has quite the reputation, enough to make Elena nervous whenever he is near. He also manages to get her to say the first thing that comes to mind in any situation – some she may want to take back as he’s not one to be goaded. She may want to keep her distance but finds a pull there whenever he is close, which seems to be a lot. He only wants to be called Nico so you can imagine what she will keep calling him – hello Nicolas! In a way she finds she can be herself around him and not ‘Sweet Abelli’ like everyone else expects. The more she sees him the more she starts to crave what she knows he could give her, even though she knows she can’t have it. Pulse racing whenever he is near. Here’s hoping no-one notices or trouble will be coming from both families. Elena’s future might be in her fathers’ hands but let’s see if Nico can change that fate.

Connection only builds the more time they are together, tricky as she knows she’d fall for him. A moth to the flame not wanting to escape, even though she knows she probably should. My god they are like magnets pulled together whenever they are in the same room. The energy coming off them was insane. When they finally got what they both had been craving you could see they’d become addicted to each other. Marriage contracts are fickle, a Russo sees something he wants and takes it. The moment Nico saw Elena that was it. He would find a way to claim her as his own no matter what obstacles her father put in his path. Trouble may be a way of life with these families but secrets from past mistakes could be one step too far.

Elena’s cousin Benito, her driver/guard for whenever she needed to go somewhere, was amusing. Loved her Nonna, she sees more than see let’s on and goes with the flow. Her parents were high strung, but with her father being a don what would you expect. Nico’s cousin Luca was entertaining, he knew right off the bat that it would be Elena Nico would start to crave. Gianna was intriguing so I can’t wait to get inside her head in the next book.

Love it from start to finish, great characters and chemistry throughout. Electric energy from the moment Elena and Nico locked eyes. Craving something neither thought they could have until its right in front of them. Can they keep what they’ve got without getting lost in it? He would do anything for her and is fearlessly protective so god help anyone who ever tries to cause her harm. Great start to the series, full of other interesting characters that are all calling for their own books now.

5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts

Book Review: ‘A Girl Named Calamity’ by Danielle Lori

Title: A Girl Named Calamity (Alyria Book 1)

Published: 12th July 2016

Author: Danielle Lori


Twitter: @daniellelori2




*This is a New Adult Fantasy Romance*

I was a simple farm girl living in the magical land, Alyria, where men ruled and women only existed.

Call me sheltered. Call me naive. I was probably both. I never expected to be the key to Alyria’s destruction.

The journey I was on wasn’t only one to save me. But one where I had a lot of learning to do. With men. With magic. And with myself.

But I wasn’t alone. I had an escort. One I wasn’t so sure about. But one I couldn’t afford to lose and one I wasn’t so sure I could even leave.

I had many hopes. But the most important one was that my name wouldn’t become my fate.

WARNING: This novel contains blood, violence, profanity, and some sexual content.
It does end on a cliffhanger.



Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book that features supernatural powers. Magic used to flow around more freely within many people, but now just a few. Those with it will always seek more power. It is locked into the world around them. If someone has a key to unlock it think of the magic they could posses. A fantasy adventure to be taken along on but be warned it does leave on a cliffhanger!

So even though Calamity’s Grandmother is only in the very begin she does make an impact. Pop off to town and come back with a horse, well of course you did Grandmother lol. Seems she foresaw Cal would soon be of need of it, more to her than meets the eye, for one thing she has healing magic in her. Something Cal always wished that she would have too but was always told she didn’t. She has a pair of silver cuffs that she must never take off. Something of value or something holding in magic so she is left unaware? Could they be hiding her from those that could cause her harm? The truth in that is about to be revealed.

Trouble arrives at their door in the middle of the night when Reina – Cal’s mother who she doesn’t remember – comes to steal one of the cuffs. The moment it is off her Grandmother knows Cal has to run, as she will no longer be safe in Alger. The shock of finding out who, or rather what, her mother is has to be pushed aside for the journey she is about to take, one without her Grandmother.

Escape and run away as fast as possible from dangers that are soon to follow. That’s the only thought running through her head at her Grandmother’s warning, not that she completely believes what she was told. A route through the red forest is the path chosen – let’s just say it’s called that for a reason! Scary place to travel but better than the darkness coming for her and her ‘unknown to her’ magic just waiting to be released. She must get through to the next town to find herself an escort to guide her across Alyria to Undaley to where she will be safe. An escort needed but having extra skills as an assassin might come in handy. Hello Weston, warrior ex-Titan turned assassin with enough raw malice vibe energy around him to make you tremble in your boots with a stare, fancy helping our girl? What can be said with no words, a lot it seems. He might be her guide but that doesn’t mean they need to talk. Funny how she didn’t realise how much she liked to talk until she couldn’t.

Stopping at towns along the way can make for interesting interludes. Going for a bath in one with, to her, bad smelling soap from a stranger has a strange affect on some men, Weston being one of them. He doesn’t want the temptation so throwing her into a pool of water for her to wash it off is one way to solve it. Not that she really understood why he wanted her to wash it off, I mean she knew she stank but thought he wouldn’t care. Oh how wrong you were! Small shops along the way have a pull towards them for Cal as well. Magic inside that might help her out of her predicament. Some – if not all – are surely to back fire and she may or may not like the results.

Funny how she keeps thinking Weston might have magic, as he can always tell what she is thinking. True or not it might have more to do with her thoughts being written all over her face. As the journey continues she’s going to need to work on that to stay safe. Does her guide have ulterior motives for helping her? Something about him is different and Cal has to figure out how safe she really is, with or without him. He does keep saving her from danger – the Untouchables and Mages being top of that list – but for what purpose. Out of the frying pan and into the fire on more than one occasion. No matter how hard she tries she just can’t catch a break.

Red haze or blue haze – come on girl which one do you want most? Love (or maybe rather lust) and hate are two sides of the same coin in regards to Cal and Weston. They know just the right buttons to push to get a rise out of the other but there is chemistry and denied passion just waiting to find a release. She may not trust her assassin guide but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want him or feel a perverse sense of safeness in his presence. She just needs to figure out his true motives. The seal for all magic is what those chasing her want her to open and she is the only one who can do it. So far she has no faith in that and thinks they have the wrong girl.

Interesting read that had me hooked right from the start. The chemistry between Calamity and Weston is great. Fighting each other along the way but also feeling a need to stay close at the same time as wanting to escape. At war with her own feelings she has for him and the weight of the world on her shoulders for fear of letting Alyria down and causing death and destruction by opening the seal. No pressure then! Now we do end on a cliffhanger, but that just leaves you wanting more. Where do we go from here? Book 2 and 3 I think.

5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author via Instafreebie for my honest review.

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Filed under Fantasy, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts

Book Review: ‘Frisky Business’ by Lila Monroe

Title: Frisky Business (Chick Flick Club Book 3)

Published: 13th May 2019

Publisher: Lila Monroe Books

Author: Lila Monroe


Twitter: @lilawrites



Get frisky with the sizzling new standalone romantic comedy from USA Today bestselling author, Lila Monroe!

Noah Hathaway is infuriatingly hot, annoyingly charming… and my new room-mate?! This pet-sitting gig was supposed to be a vacation from drama, but that was before the hunky guy in the pool-house started sticking his nose (and his annoyingly chiseled abs) in my business.

I’m looking for Mr. Right, not Mr. Most Likely to Sneak Out of Bed (And Steal Your Breakfast Pop Tart On the Way Out the Door), so despite the red-hot sparks between us, I’m determined to stay away. But when one little party gets way out of hand, we’re suddenly both on the wrong side of trouble. Unless we can come up with ten thousand dollars in the next three weeks, we’re screwed. And not just when it comes to the adorable pooches.

With the clock ticking, we have no choice but to team up and embark on a madcap scheme to save our asses – with the help of a few furry friends. But with the chemistry between us reading Defcon-69, can I keep my hands (and heart) to myself? Or will this pup-tastic scheme leave us both in the doghouse?

Find out in the latest hot and hilarious rom-com from “the queen of romantic comedy”, Lila Monroe!

The Chick Flick Club Series:
1. How to Choose a Guy in 10 Days
2. You’ve Got Male
3. Frisky Business



Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book from a series you love. That being the Chick Flick Club one! Really anything by Lila Monroe I find great; just fun, flirty, romantic comedy style reads that always entertain.

Now with the other two books I had seen the films the concepts are loosely based on so I had a feel for the direction they might take but not this one so was taken on a new fun journey. Let’s see what trouble our animal loving / true love believer Eve can get up to when she meets the delectable Noah. All she’s looking for is a guy to give her love, affection, and sizzling hot sex. Not too much to ask for, right? A dating app match leads to drinks at a bar with a handsome stranger, though is she talking to the right bloke? Wrong one now but right in the end I’m thinking!

Eve works at an animal shelter, which she loves, as she is very much a dog lover and can’t understand people who aren’t. As a side job she also does dog walking and house sitting so it’s her lucky day when a friend of her boss comes into the shelter asking if there is anyone free to house sit and look after her two pugs for a month. The fact her living arrangements are a bit strange in that she lives at an unofficial sorority house with slobby, horny roommates, you aren’t surprised with how quick she says she can do it. Dream job looking after the dogs but throw in practically a mansion and she’s loving it.

Spanner in the works from the get go when she finds out that her ‘not-Kyle’ date Noah just happens to be staying in the pool house while his place is being fumigated. Now Noah likes to push buttons and after first meeting Eve, and well pretending to be her date, I think he’s going to like continuing that. Sparks flying, chemistry follows, and annoyance in equal measures from both. He is one fine looking man who seems to be adverse to shirts – muscles to dream about, something she might start doing. Small world hey!

So Noah is a social media-marketing guru trying to branch out on his own and build a portfolio for his brand. This doesn’t stop him from wanting to kick back when the need strikes. Starting with a house party, even though he isn’t meant to be using that as well – much to Eve’s annoyance. It’s all fun and games until something breaks. Crystal chickens cost more than you’d think! His carefree attitude is about to change sharpish. Can they band together to fix it or find the money to replace? Ideas time needed, and it appears dogs are the key. Anyone want a Dog for a Day? Have to keep it a secret though!

“You’ve got the dogs, I’ve got the charm … together, we’re going to run this town.”
“Oh boy,”
 Eve sighs, shaking her head. “I’m going to regret this, aren’t I?” Totally saying that with a smile on her face.

Tricky situation aside Eve still finds herself going on more disaster dates in her search for ‘the one’. Could he be closer than she thinks – pool house perhaps? Noah might be keeping his cards close to his chest but he wants her just as badly. Mostly when he gets her to rant and rave, gets him thinking of what else they could be doing for her get her that reaction.

The spark we are waiting for comes in an unlikely place – her mothers’ surprise wedding he insists on going with her to. Wine and protective defensive talk leads to Eve thinking of rom-com moments and wishing she were living one. To hell with it girl and kiss him senseless! Hot fire from the moment their lips meet and the first OMG ‘O’ moment. It’s not just a physical connection as they have fun together too – cake tasting for two anyone? May not have been for them but in their defense they were hungry. Such an easy chemistry between them and no stress, well to start with anyway. The more intimate they get – both in and out of the bedroom – the quicker they start to fall. With the secret site getting more attention they have to tread carefully before it blows up in their faces and certain people find out. Cracks begin to appear as tensions rise with tempers following. When an opportunity puts a spanner in the works will they follow head or heart to get what they really want?

Loved all the little ‘in jokes’ they have with each other. Noah might not believe in romance or ‘the one’ but after spending time with Eve he does start to see the merit of it. Also love the fiery connection they had with each other, smoking from the first kiss, couldn’t keep their hands off each other. The fact there’s dogs throughout too makes everything better!

Loved all the cameos with characters from the other books and how all the series interlink with each other. Side characters from one end up being leads in others, one great series to the next. Got another snippet of Poppy again, Noah’s sister, can’t wait to read her story next. Romance guru for others but can she find it for herself?

5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts, Romantic Comedy / Humour

Book Review: ‘The Player Gets Coached’ by Janet Nissenson

Title: The Player Gets Coached (Bachelor Book 2)

Published: 20th September 2018

Publisher: BookBaby

Author: Janet Nissenson


Twitter: @JNissenson




The Manwhore Versus The Maneater

Finn McManus thrives on his reputation as a player’s player – a term that has nothing to do with his years as a professional athlete. A notorious flirt and ladies man, the handsome, charming retired football player rarely dates a woman more than a few times, and shies away from relationships like they were a contagious disease. And despite his parents’ decades long, blissfully happy marriage, Finn just can’t see himself ever being in the same situation.

Delilah Ferris has acquired her own reputation over the years as something of a maneater. She makes no bones about the fact that she expects to call the shots in the relationship, and that she’ll never be any man’s fool. And when she meets her new neighbor Finn for the first time, she automatically puts him in the same category as her handsome, playboy father – the same father who not only broke her heart too many times to count but broke their family as well. Delilah has always vowed to steer clear of heartbreakers like Finn McManus, unwilling to ever fall victim to his charms.

But when the gorgeous, tempting Delilah quickly becomes the only woman Finn has eyes for, he pulls out all the stops to convince her to go out with him. And if Delilah weakens her resolve and agrees, will she regret her decision sooner than later? Or will the coach finally manage to whip this player into shape?



Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book you heard about on Goodreads.

So from book one you get a very clear impression on what Finn is really like. A manwhore who wants to relive his frat boy days like him, Jordan and Max used to. Why pick just one woman when he can have many? After 20 years of friendship the difference now – much to Finn’s disgust – is that Jordan is now happily in love with Aubrey, and Max is taking a step back from the whole hook-up scene – will be interesting to find out why. So neither is really interested in Finn’s bedhabits anymore.

Finn came off as obnoxious in the first book so I was hoping that getting inside his head would help my opinion of him. He was a pro-football player for around 12 years and now is an analyst for the NFL network. Work trips for him can quickly turn into fun filled wild weekends. He likes not having to depend on someone else or having them depend on him. Footloose and fancy free without wanting to grow up, still acting like he’s in his 20s. His friends can see it but he refuses to listen. Will his priorities change or will he stay a bachelor for life? The fact he’s about to hit 40 might be a key factor. Or perhaps when he meets a certain new neighbour.

So when Delilah moves in the apartment across from his to say one look almost floors him would be an understatement. The fact he was showing a one-night stand out the door at the time could problematic as our girl Delilah seems like a tough nut to crack. Changes will need to be made to even stand a smidge of a chance, starting with his clothes. The more she refuses to bend to his advances the more he wants to chase. How long before he wants to keep her?

Delilah knows how to take care of herself and doesn’t need to rely on a man. She is the CEO of her own design company – Ma Belle Petite. Designing and modelling some of the clothes and lingerie on her website – how quick before Finn tries to search for these pictures? I love that when he finally tries to get her to first go out with him she shuts him down saying he’s not her type. “It’s pretty obvious you think you’re God’s gift to women, but I definitely don’t share that opinion.” She might date a lot – maneater contender – but on her terms and not with players, something she can see Finn is. Reminds her of what her father was and how he destroyed her family. Hardest he’s had to work for a date, no hookups of any kind until he can get her – longest he’s gone without in years. How long before she caves with the attention he is showering her with? Not so long as he does eventually wear her down to get a date – dinner and the symphony of her choice, smooth Finn, very smooth. Love how nervous and tongue-tied he gets around her though.

When they finally get together it is kind of electric. Delayed gratification in some ways as they have been thinking about it for so long – even if Delilah didn’t realise it at first. When she gave the green light nothing was going to stop Finn from claiming her. It’s not just the physical connection but also an emotional one that starts building with Finn finding himself wanting more. Can Delilah give him more or hold back? Seems that are both very bad at relationship for different reasons. Shockingly she finds it easy to open up to Finn about everything. Doesn’t stop her from setting out some ground rules. She is very controlling in everything she does and focused on her career. Fine for a while but how long before Finn starts to want more than she can give?

She can be very insecure and because of that react before thinking and start playing games. Comes off as a bit bitchy when Finn really hadn’t done anything wrong. Everything is on her terms, he does anything she asks but the moment he asks for one thing she says she’s too busy. Busy or not, love one day off wouldn’t kill you or your business! Even before they started dating she seemed to string men along. Might have thought she was being clear but not coming off great.

It was a good read but it took me a while to warm up to Finn, and Delilah to a degree. It only really happened when he started changing for the better and she started letting go of all the control. To become the best version of himself, someone who has always been there, he just needed a good coach. Great connection between them but with old insecurities coming to the surface will one fuckup be game over?

Loved her sister Desiree, protective big sis always with words of wisdom. Delilah’s PA Calvin was a lot of fun. Love Max, can’t wait to get inside his head. A heartbreak needing to heal it seems so I can’t wait to check out his book next.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts