Tag Archives: reading

Reading For Pleasure Is Becoming A Luxury

When I went away on holiday, I took a couple of books and I am ashamed to admit that I did not have chance to read a single page. I was so looking forward to having the time to read, to let my mind wander, but it did not happen.

I have no regrets that I spent so much time with family. If course my relatives come before reading for pleasure. But now I am back in London, I would still love to wangle a way to have some time to myself to pick up a book and have a little escape through it.

Photo by George Milton on Pexels.com

Precious Family Moments

One of my favourite moments when I visited family this month was when my four year old niece wanted to read with me.

Yes…I don’t have much to add that sentence. It was just a special moment, and it made me realize how hard it has been not to spend time with my family throughout the Pandemic.

She starts school in September. I feels like just yesterday when she was born!

Girl Leaning on Woman

Oh What To Read?

I found myself with an evening alone (because Jack had to make an appearance at a special charity event – socially distanced of course) at the weekend, and decided that I wanted to read something. I really did. Nothing to do with work or what is going on in the world – but some engrossing, enjoyable fiction.

Of course, my reading list now includes a large selection of both paperbacks and Kindle editions of books that have been written by bloggers right here on WordPress. There are so many great books I have read (and I still have lots of Caramel’s Corner Reviews waiting to be finished in my drafts folder so I can tell you what I thought of them).

But this week I read a post from Jacob Nyamake’s WEDNESDAY WRITER series, featuring WordPress writer/blogger Paula Harmon. I loved the interview, but I also checked out her books on Amazon and downloaded Books 1-3 of The Casper & Fleet Mysteries. What a treat!!!

Two Victorian young women become a mystery solving duo whilst dealing with all of the challenges of their era – from corsets to chaperones – both with their own interesting storyline. I loved getting to know Katherine and Connie and found it so easy to read chapter after chapter without wanting to put my tablet down.

I love that Book One – which I have read all of and can’t wait to get stuck into Book Two – traverses parts of London. As a resident of London myself, it is so easy to conjure up an image of those places nowadays.

Paula Harmon and co-writer Liz Hedgecock have produced a fantastic duo, incredibly enjoyable to read about, and I am really looking forward to reading the rest of their series.

A Walk In The Woods


Today I am reviewing a marvellous book penned by Esther Chilton, the creator of estherchiltonblog. This beautiful story book “A Walk In The Woods” (front cover art work by talented Charlotte Newton) is a book I have admired greatly from the moment my paperback copy arrived.

As I began to read this exquisite collection of stories, my thoughts applauded what I was reading. I just kept thinking to myself, “My! Esther is such a clever writer!” Why do I say that. Well, besides the obvious quality, perfect editing and quality production than shine throughout the book, Esther’s style in her short stories is notable. Each finely crafted story has impact.

Before I started blogging, I never read flash fiction or short stories, I only ever read long dramatic epic novels. I have marvelled at the talent of so many writers who know how to craft a meaningful story in few yet precisely chosen and arranged words and phrases. Well Esther’s short stories in “A Walk In The Woods” are a model of telling a powerful tale, often with an unexpected twist or a pithy veridical conclusion.

As I would expect from Esther, “A Walk In The Woods” excellently showcases her talent as a writer and editor. Not only will readers enjoy her compilation of stories, but also admire Esther’s superb crafting. Esther Chilton really is such a very clever writer!!!


You can find out what Caramel has been reading in her very own little reading corner, as she published book reviews of books written by WordPress bloggers each Saturday.

If you have any recommendations, please leave a message in the comments below.


Relax, Read, Silhouette, Woman, Dog, Hang, Tree, Pet

Wish Upon A Leaf


This week I am reviewing one of my favourite books written by Teresa Grabs, who many of us know as The Haunted Wordsmith, but has now created The Word Cubby. I own five of Teresa’s books and I have shared a couple of them with the younger ones in my family. I like all of Teresa’s stories, but especially her young reader books.

Wish Upon A Leaf” is ideal for readers aged 9-12 years old. But I loved it. It is a truly heartwarming story. Very early on in the book, I became very fond of the three children, Timothy, Sarah and Edward, who are the main characters in this book, and the more their character were developed the more I wished for them to have a happy ending.

I love the way Teresa builds a vivid picture of the world surrounding the children. I also grew to like the adult characters in the story who were are concerned for the children’s welfare.

Person, Human, Child, Girl, Hat, Book

Even though it is a long time since I was a 9-12 years of age, I found the story held my attention from start to finish and firmly tugged on my heart strings. My nieces and nephews absolutely loved this story.

My own parents were concerned with the content of the books I read, so I think that authors seeking to craft a book that will appeal to children, they ought to be aware that responsible parents/guardians may wish to vet books before their children read them.

I think Teresa has done a fantastic job of crafting a delightful story which will touch young hearts and leave them with an uplifting message. I would be very happy to recommend the story to any of my friends who have children as I think they will fall in love with Timothy, Sarah and Edward, just as I did.


You can find out what Caramel has been reading in her very own little reading corner, as she published book reviews of books written by WordPress bloggers each Saturday.

If you have any recommendations, please leave a message in the comments below.


Relax, Read, Silhouette, Woman, Dog, Hang, Tree, Pet

Permission To Promote

ready for rhtaLittle by little I have been scrutinising and correcting the three novels in my LEARNERS AT LOVE series. I have lost track of how many times I have updated the manuscripts of each book. I am so pleased with them. I loved carefully reading Annabelle’s story again. I read part of the third book on the train journey up north, and Jack laughed at me when he saw tears trickling down my face. But it is emotional! I love the way Book Three developed.

Now that I am happier with the three books, I am going to start promoting them more. I have told my family that now I am happier with them, they can tell their friends about them. I am going to get some Vista-cards printed advertising them and I am going to visit local independent book shops and local libraries. Jack has given me lots of ideas. He also now has permission to promote them,, but subtly. I don’t want them on his social media pages, but I said he can mention the books to people he knows, but only when it is appropriate.

He said people might want to buy the books as gifts in coming months. I must say, I do find that exciting. We have so many friends who love reading and the thought of them reading Annabelle’s story sends flutters into my heart.

Books Block

I love the characters, I have been living with them in my head for eighteen months already. I love Annabelle, but I also love Chris, Dean and Robin. I love Burt and Pearl. I love Gina. I love Ralph. I love Stephen and Fiona. I love Maggie and Angharad. All of my friends who have read the books so far come back to me and tell me who their favourite characters were (most love Dean Mathers!) and what they thought of twists and turns in the storyline. I love receiving feedback. It makes something that was very personal something I can share with people I love.

Managing The Depression Puzzle


Today I am going to review one of the most impressive books written by a blogger whom I respect immensely. Of all the books written by WordPress bloggers that I have bought and read, “Managing The Depression Puzzle” written by Ashley Peterson, the creator of Mental Health @ Home, is one of the most useful and valuable.

I have to read a lot of health related material in connection with my role within the NHS. As well as having relatives and friends with mental health challenges I also have had a taste of trauma, despair and intense emotions after some of my own experiences. Here is a quote from the World Health Organisation on the subject of mental health:

“Mental disorders afflict hundreds of millions of people in every part of the world and impact on the lives of their loved ones. One in four people will be affected by mental disorder at some point in their lives.

Depression is the single largest contributor to worldwide disability. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are among the most severe and disabling disorders.

Although huge numbers of people are affected, mental disorders remain hidden, neglected and discriminated against.”

World Health Organization (WHO).

It is my belief that some people are still frightened about the subject of our mental health, even though all people, people of all ages and cultures, should be aware of what can impact both their physical, emotional and mental health. The value of a health professional like Ashley Peterson writing articles on WordPress about mental health and producing comprehensive books is highly appreciated.

Ashley has already published three books and I bought and read all three in fascination. I am reviewing “Managing The Depression Puzzle” because it is so fresh in my mind.

The most important thing I wanted to mention to you is that right from the start I love the tone of this book. I felt as if Ashley was an experienced guide and was holding my hand and reassuring me, as she explained all sorts of facets of a mental health diagnosis and the array of potential treatments to aid recovery. As I mentioned above, there is still so much fear as well as stigma about mental health. So to read this book and to feel as if I was not on my own, but Ashley’s calm and wise voice was going over things step by step, and at a pace that was comfortable to read was very helpful.

Student, Typing, Keyboard, Text, Startup

Ashley clearly knows her subject. Her professional experience shines through from start to finish. She has been careful to cite her resources which makes her work even more authoritative and authentic. But if you know anything about Ashley, you will know she has been there, and she has the T-Shirt! Yes, one of the most significant factors in reducing fear and providing reassurance is the way Ashley candidly mentions her own experience throughout her book.

I mentioned earlier that I have had some challenges myself, and at times it was irritating when people told me what I should do to “get-over” it and move on with life. I have started reading some mental health resources and given up quickly because they were so unrelatable and frankly provoking.

But I did not feel this way at all when I read Ashley’s “Managing The Depression Puzzle“. I never felt patronised or pressured towards one treatment option. Ashley dignifies her readers in presenting clear information and allowing them to determine how useful it is to them. I especially appreciated that, because decisions on medications, therapies and matters like spirituality may be deeply personal. Whoever you are, whatever makes you “you”, Ashley communicates a respect for you being the one who is equipped to make decisions.

Communicate, Brainstorm, Logo, Face

She is careful not to endorse on the basis of what has worked for her, explaining how different we all are, and that what may work for one person may not work for another. But in providing information on a wide range of treatment options, from medications and therapies, from physical factors such as nutrition, exercise and sleep to perhaps more emotional factors such as pleasurable activity, creativity and spirituality, Ashley looks holistically at all of the aspects that can add up to make a significant difference to any of us who are aware we need to address mental health challenges that are impacting negatively on our enjoyment and satisfaction in life.

This book is excellent for anyone who has experienced any form of depression or another diagnosed mental health condition. I think it a great aid for those working within a medical field. However, even if you have not (or perhaps we should say not yet) had to avail yourself of professional assistance to support your mental health, a very large section of Ashley’s book still of great benefit. I say this because all of us have good days and bad days, all of us find it hard to maintain balance. So in the process of detailing and discussing all of the factors that can make a difference to our mental health, Ashley has shone light on how all of us can be aware of how becoming unbalanced, or neglecting some of the factors that make you “you” and me “me” overtime, can be detrimental to us.

We live in a world that is changing rapidly. Perhaps so far, your life has been relatively calm. But what if your stress levels began to increase and your mental health began to suffer? The last few chapters of “Managing The Depression Puzzle” deal with some of the frightening challenges that may come along with a mental health crisis. Yet again, Ashley provides tremendously reassuring practical suggestions that indicate that even if your darkest fears came descended before you, there is so much help available.

One of the most helpful aids to managing your own depression puzzle or mental health challenges is somebody who knows what they are talking about. Not only have they studied the subject inside and out, but they have also experienced what it is like to go through a mental health crisis and to try different treatment options to aid their recovery.

Ashley Peterson is an absolute treasure! Through her writing she is making an invaluable contribution to mental health resources. I am sure that not only will you be impressed by her in-depth knowledge, but also you will find that in candidly sharing so much of herself, she provided reassurance and that feeling that you are not alone in the sometimes frightening field of mental health.


You can find out what Caramel has been reading in her very own little reading corner, as she published book reviews of books written by WordPress bloggers each Saturday.

If you have any recommendations, please leave a message in the comments below.


Let.Love.Speak – Book 2


I have purchased several poetry books written by WordPress bloggers, including one by Maria Velazco, the creator of Let.Love.Speak. This review is of “Let.Love.Speak. – Book 2“, although I believe that there is also a Book 1 and a Book 3 also available on Amazon.

When I look at my WordPress Reader, I see other bloggers publishing poetry regularly, some of them publish a haiku or a poem every day. Different poets have different styles and use varying themes for inspiration. But reading a collection of poems by one writer is a more personal experience. As I read the poems in Maria’s compilation, I began to wonder more about the poet. Each poem feels like a little glimpse into the heart.

What I have learnt from reading poetry books, is that I cannot read the whole book from cover to cover in one sitting. That would be like sitting down to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner all in one sitting.

Camera, Book, Candle, Read, Cozy, BedSo instead, with the poetry books I have bought, I have developed the habit of reading one or two poems before I drift off to sleep at night. Some of Maria’s poems were a very pleasant way to end a day, sending my mind twirling, whirling around her verses and weaving them into memories they brought back to my mind. Some of her poems seem like earnest prayers, and having them dance around my mind was a sweet way to fall asleep.

Reading Maria’s slightly longer poems was a lovely experience. I wanted to languish in the romance of many of them. Poems which pack in so much feeling, so much yearning, cannot fail to stir in the reader memories of the marks on their own heart, past and present.

I like that a considerable number of the poems in this book are short yet complete. Each with a different beat or rhythm. There is no unneccessary fussing. Each short poem captures a delicate bubble before it bursts. Each verse catches the wave just before it crashes. What I am trying to say is that the shorter poems pique your interest as they register with you…but Maria does not force a conclusion. She has an enigmatic tendency to leave you as the reader feeling that after picking up the refrain, you could then add the finishing line.

I enjoyed Maria’s poems. I enjoyed the themes she wrote about. I found it an absolute pleasure to take my time over her delightful poetry. I look forward to her new posts arriving in my WordPress Reader and I am very glad I bought a compilation of her poems.


You can find out what Caramel has been reading in her very own little reading corner, as she published book reviews of books written by WordPress bloggers each Saturday.

If you have any recommendations, please leave a message in the comments below.


Relax, Read, Silhouette, Woman, Dog, Hang, Tree, Pet

Climbing Over Grit


Today, I am going to share with you my proper first book review. (Yikes!) I am reviewing books written by WordPress bloggers, which I have bought and read. The first book I have chosen to write a review of is one that many of you will recognise. “Climbing Over Grit” is a book that I discovered because I was following the posts by Laleh Chini, the creator of A Voice from Iran.

It’s been some time since I read this deeply moving account based on the real life experiences of Laleh Chini’s own mother. Laleh wrote “Climbing Over Grit” along with her own daughter Abnoos, and in many ways I am glad they could work on it together. It must have been a very emotional process to record this harrowing real life tale.

The first few chapters were rich in details, presented through the eyes of a child, that helped to paint a fascinating picture of the world Najma (Laleh’s mother) grows up in. Despite having the natural love a child has for their parents, Najma is candid about the aspects of their characters which would have caused challenges to the young children. As an adult reader, I found the tendency to judge was easily provoked in me. I wanted to scoop up Najma and her siblings and for them to be a part of my own family, especially as I knew what was coming.

But then came the moment I had been dreading reading about. I knew beforehand that the story features the real life accounts of child brides in forced marriages. Many of my friends and relatives have worked out in lands where they have been distressed at seeing young girls married at a very young age, often by their parents seeking economic survival. So reading about Najma’s experiences left me with tears trickling down my face. This is why so many organisations are trying to empower women in various lands so they can access education and they are not subjected to abuse.

However, the more I read, the strength and resilience of clearly a remarkable woman shone through. I don’t want to risk dropping any spoilers because this is so definitely a book I recommend, but anybody with a heart who reads “Climbing Over Grit” is going to be deeply moved by this story, especially when you realize how incredibly personal it is to the authors. There are are real life characters that you will want to be able to protect and fight for. In fact I wanted to know more about what became of some of the characters I was anxious about.

sarjytWhy would I recommend “Climbing Over Grit“? For a start, it is an education in itself. If you have grown up in a land where you were guaranteed an education that likely lasted into your late teens and were allowed to choose your own romantic interests, and decide who to marry, it may seem hard to grasp the very different world that Najma grows up in. This real life story shows the reality of what many child brides endure even now. I also think that a stark light is shone on abuse in general, and how it is allowed to be perpetuated for so long.

In many ways I hope that after reading this story, you will care more than ever about the welfare of young women in lands where forced marriages occur and the right to education is not protected.

I also think this story is a profound example of how a human can endure and grow stronger despite crushing circumstances. As much as I was weeping to think of what Najma experienced, I also fell a swell of pride with each of her personal victories. I don’t want to drop any spoilers, but I will say to be prepared (preferably with Kleenex and plenty of chocolate) for an emotional rollercoaster.

As well as employing vivid descriptions to help readers envision Najma’s world, Laleh Chini and her daughter Abnoos have very courageously provided an unsettling personal account that highlights astonishing endurance but also shows how a damaging cycle was perpetuated. The record they have published is a great asset providing insight into why many millions of women around the world need better protection.


This is the first of my book reviews. I have more scheduled to be published.

Relax, Read, Silhouette, Woman, Dog, Hang, Tree, Pet


Why We Read

Take, The Book, Girls, The Study

We read because sometimes this world stifles our ability to dream. So we pick up books and allow the writer to teach us what it is to dream, to imagine, to conjure up scenes where anything is possible and nothing is predictable. We read because we hunger for a break from the monotony, we long for dramatic twists and an inspirational ending. We read because we know that the hum drum is not what we were made for. We were made to live with gusto, to thrive and to exhilarate. We read for the sake of the reminder that the grey crusty routine is temporary and that all mankind are craving that day when real life becomes those repressed dreams.

Until then…we read.

We read to dream.






And…sometimes we read because we have a ton of NHS guidelines to wade through on the one day off we have each week.