Tag Archives: reviews

A Walk In The Woods

CARAMEL'S CORNER

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!!!

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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.

CARAMEL’S CORNER

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

The Bloggers Who Smashed 2020!!!

New Year'S Day, New Year'S Eve

It struck me a few days ago – am I supposed to do one of these HIGHTLIGHTS OF 2020 posts I have seen floating around? Deep breath. Let me say that again…the “highlights of 2020” – aaaaah sigh! Should we laugh or should we cry?

At least there has been one part of 2020 that has never failed to delight us – WordPress bloggers have been amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!! So my 2020 round-up is dedicated to the bloggers who have made this year on WordPress one to remember!

THE BLOGGERS WHO BECAME VLOGGERS DURING 2020!

While many of us were tested to the limit of our patience just trying to figure out how on earth to use the new block editor, some bloggers have ventured into the realm of videos to bring something extra special to their blogs. Here are two of my favourite bloggers who have delighted us with video productions:

Jeanne the creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen has been recording videos of her culinary creations and they are just brilliant.

And to my absolute delight Kristian, the creator of Tales from the mind of Kristian, has been recording songs and broadcasting them on both his YouTube channel and on his blog. I cannot tell you how much Kristian’s videos have lifted my spirits throughout 2020!

What an inspiration these talented bloggers are! What are you planning for your WordPress blog in 2021? Will you venture into video productions too?

THE BLOGGERS WHO BAKED IN 2020!

One of the highlights of 2020 on WordPress for me was “THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF SUMMER PICNIC” – an entire weekend of baking and picnic creations from our magnificent international blogging community and a huge shout of support from so many WordPress bloggers who joined the party!

It was a pure joy to open up my inbox day after day and see more and more photos sent in from other bloggers. The response was tremendous! I am so grateful to all of the fantastic bloggers who were a part of THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC – whether you were baking or cheering on all of those who baked. It was just so joyful!!!

I am so glad to both Gary, the creator of A Dad trying to cope with the loss of his Partner and becoming a single parent, who had the idea originally of a BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF and who injected so much fun and unforgettable baking creations (and please accept our sincere apologies over the soufflé – it has been dealt with by special security forces and is in a nuclear containment facility until it can be safely destroyed) and our marvellous baking guru Jeanne the creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen, who is the most superb judge!

If I had to pick my personal favourite, I should pick Jack of course, however, as he got to see his family last week, and I did not, I am going to pick another blogger who I was just overjoyed with. You may remember that in the 2019 GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF, Amanda Cade baked a chocolate cake that although clearly delicious had some issues with gravity! But Amanda was not going to give up easily! In 2020, she smashed THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF producing not just one but an array of sensational cheesecakes.

Back in July I published a thank you post…

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2020/07/20/thank-you-for-a-perfect-day/

…but I cannot thank you all enough! What a perfect weekend that was – a real highlight of 2020 for me without doubt! I always choke up when I hear the line of this song “you just keep me hanging on”.

As you may know 2020 for me has meant a lot of work. The NHS like other health services has been put to the test. So many times I have come home from work feeling exhausted and deflated. But it has always been a delight to see the heart-warming and uplifting posts of bloggers on WordPress.

I know many of you have had a very tough year. I know some of you also work for health services or are key-workers in other vital sectors. I know you have had to deal with an increase of stress and frustration from customers as well as adapting to adjusted working practices. I know some of you lost loved ones during this year. I know some of you lost your jobs. I also know that many of you have found it hard to be separated from your nearest and dearest for long periods.

But I also know that the vast majority of you have been brilliant! You have been a positive influence on others. You have kept our spirits up! You have encouraged people to take the warnings seriously, to be diligent in applying the safety guidance issues – YOU HAVE BLOGGED ABOUT WASHING YOUR HANDS, WEARING FACE-MASKS, SOCIAL DISTANCING AND THE MANY SACRIFICES YOU HAVE MADE TO PROTECT OTHERS.

That is special!

2020 has been a year where unselfish love has been shown on an enormous scale!

During 2021, please keep up the positive influence. We are an international team who can make a difference. We can support and encourage others. That might involve being honest about what we are finding challenging, but also commending others for all of their unselfish sacrifices.

Please remember that some are overwhelmed with their challenges – A LITTLE KINDNESS CAN MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE to a person. Even though you are often interacting with strangers, the power of your words in your posts and in your comment can be constructive or it can be damaging. Please CHOOSE KINDNESS. Do not crush others at a time they may feel as if their whole world is falling apart around them.

What will you do with your blog to encourage and inspire others during 2021?

THE BLOGGERS WHO SUPPORTED MY BOOKS!

Something that was new to me and also very exciting for me during 2020 was seeing three novels and one poetry book leave my WordPress blog and be transformed into real Kindle and Paperback publications available on Amazon.

What started as a short story written in response to a blogging prompt became a series of over one hundred posts. But the story of Annabelle Riley became a three part novel series: LEARNERS AT LOVE.

Back in the spring of 2019, I published a series of little ditties – poetic verses that were expressing the range of feelings I experienced on losing the tiny life growing within me. Well as I wanted a permanent record of such a momentous event in my life, we turned my little ditties into a poetry book.

So many bloggers have been encouraging throughout my journey in starting out with writing fiction to finally holding paperback copies of my books and seeing my friends reading them and hearing their feedback (everyone seems to love rock star bad boy Dean Mathers!)

I am especially grateful to the bloggers who very kindly reviewed my books! Ashley, the creator or Mental Health @ Home who has read and reviewed all of my books has been such a phenomenal support and encouragement. It is so touching to receive that level of support! But she is not the only one. I am also deeply grateful to Iain Kelly and Paula Light, who also read and reviewed my work.

As I am sure anyone else would agree, publishing your writing is a personally rewarding process. I know this is something I would probably never have done without the inspiration, support and encouragement from other WordPress bloggers.

THANK YOU FOR MAKING WRITING SUCH A JOY!

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE TO MAKE WORDPRESS A GREAT PLATFORM TO BE BLOGGING ON! THANK YOU FOR HELPING US GET THROUGH 2020!

Preposterous Tales From The Newbury Short Story Teller

CARAMEL'S CORNER

The book I have chosen to review in this week’s CARMAEL’S CORNER is the perfect solution for feeling blue about all the silliness in the world at large. I bought a book written by Martin Strike, who you may know as The Newbury Short Story Teller. I love Martin’s very humorous stories, which often show a farcical side to people and life. He complied a fantastic collection of his short stories and published them in the sensational “Preposterous Tales From The Newbury Short Story Teller”.

I used to live in Newbury Town Centre, and then later I moved to a beautiful estate a few miles from Newbury. So for me, it is easy to conjure up images when Martin references locations in the Newbury area. I found it a very happy reminder of a place I came to love.

But even if you don’t know Newbury I heartily recommend this book to you. Why? Because we all need some laughs! Martin’s writing is packed with humour. Every story from start to finish will bring smiles to your face. The comic characters, descriptions and conversations he employs can’t fail to cheer you up.

People, Woman, Girl, Female, ReadingOf all the books I have bought from WordPress readers I have to say, this was the one that left me in the best spirits. His compilation of light hearted and very amusing tales, which highlight some of the absurdities of human behaviour (and it’s not only Newbury where you will find oddballs) are a terrific read.

If you would like a treat to pick up your mood, I definitely would recommend Martin’s “Preposterous Tales From The Newbury Short Story Teller”, because it is great fun and full of great storytelling.

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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 (books written by WordPress bloggers), please leave a message in the comments below.

CARAMEL’S CORNER

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

Let.Love.Speak – Book 2

CARAMEL'S CORNER

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.

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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.

CARAMEL’S CORNER

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

Ashley Is Amazing!!!

Young Woman, Lying Down, Female, PeopleMy rather ridiculous work schedule continues unabated! So I have to admit that due to the lack of time and some mega headaches, I have not been able to write many new posts over the past week.

However, all is not lost! Not only do I have a lot of posts scheduled to be published over the next few weeks (SCHEDULING IS THE BEST FEATURE ON WORDPRESS!!!), my very patient friend has also published Part Two of my LEARNERS AT LOVE Series. Incredible! When it is live on Amazon, I will tell you all about it!

I came home tired on Wednesday evening and found a beautiful surprise waiting for me on WordPress. The amazing Ashley Peterson, the creator of Mental Health @ Home, had reviewed Part One of the series, entitled “We Hide What We Hate About Ourselves”. I can’t tell you how much it encouraged me to see Ashley’s review! Take a look at what she says about the book in her post below:

https://mentalhealthathome.org/2020/02/19/book-review-we-hide-what-we-hate-about-ourselves/

We Hide What We Hate About Ourselves: Part Of The "Learners At Love" Series by [Finch, Melody]I am very grateful for all of the support and encouragement I have received. I have been making little tweaks to my manuscript over the past couple of weeks, trying to make sure any spelling or grammar mistakes are corrected, and adding a few details that will link to Part Two and Part Three.

Who would have thought that writing longer fictional stories and seeing them in paperback form would be so exciting?

If you have a novel in you, go for it! Please do. Even if only three people ever look at your book, I cannot tell you how rewarding it is to see your story become something real. The hilarious thing is, my friends and family are asking me to sign their copies. They are loving the idea of Melody Finch being a published author.

I am not very technical, but hopefully the link to the Amazon page showing the Kindle version has carried over. Or…if you go to Amazon and type MELODY FINCH, you will see the book available in Kindle and Paperback.

Thank you again Ashley, and all the other gorgeous bloggers who are just so awesome!!!!

Supporting The Best Bloggers Out There

I think it’s safe to say that we all enjoy blogging, because if we did not, we would have long since popped our blog clogs – would we have not? For those of us who are still blogging and enjoying it – are there any bloggers that wonder if it might one day be possible to go on to publish a book? Or several books? If we did – would we hope that perhaps our blogging buddies might extend their support by forking out and buying our book?

It seems fairly obvious that we may have all had different reasons to start blogging. Some of us have been surprised that there seems a real nice crowd of bloggers out there who either inspire us with challenges and writing prompts, or give to us a big dollop of daily encouragement which helps us to flourish in the blogging world.

I have been blogging since the very end of April – almost seven months now and one of the first bloggers I came across, and received great advice and encouragement from right from the start, is Teresa Grabs the creator of the site The Haunted Wordsmith.

Many of you will already know Teresa. She is a true writer. I have said this before about her – PROLIFIC!!! Boy can she write! She clearly has a remarkable mind that just keeps on creating perfect flash fiction and full length novels. But it’s not just the sheer amount of stories she comes up with. She is a clever writer. She is an expert at endings with an unexpected twist. Or she writes stories with an almost fable-like quality, which make you think again about the world we live in and motivations of people.

Now, I would have thought for any bloggers who are true writers with a creative talent, that compiling your work into the form of a book and publishing it, would be the icing on the cake of all the hours you have put in to producing great stories. As far as I know, Teresa has published three books (correct me if I am wrong please Teresa!) and I have bought all three, including Teresa’s recently released novel, in paperback form from Amazon.

My initial reason for buying the first of her books “Tales From the Haunted Wordsmith” was that after all the support and encouragement and inspiration from Teresa’s stories, writing challenges and her comments on my work – I figured that it was the least I could do to support her writing career by buying one of her books. Surely, the best way to support a blogger you think is superb is to buy their book and tell all your friends about it!

I loved it! I put it straight into my work bag and it was at work that I read it during my break times. The book is perfect for those who read in short bursts during travel or breaks. The stories vary in length, from a page to several pages.

I will be honest, because I don’t like ghost stories, I was a bit hesitant about ordering Teresa’s book because with a title including the word “haunted” that is what I thought it would be. But the book is exactly what it says on the cover “multi-genre”. Which I love. Every story has a fresh feel from the one before. But time and again the way she finished a story made me smile – so many unexpected endings. This is typical Teresa Grabs style. She is a clever woman! I also loved the stories which make you think again about “things” – why people do what they do, or think the way they think.

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I have my favourites. I started to fold the corners down on each of my favourites (my grandfather would be shocked – he never allowed us to fold corners, books were sacred to him). But looking at my copy of Teresa’s book now…I think the first page of almost half of the stories have their corners folded down.

Anyway…I am very grateful for all of Teresa’s support since I have been blogging. I am thrilled that she is publishing her work. It feels great to be able to support a great blogger by buying her book.

In order to obtain a copy of one of Teresa’s books for yourself, you need to travel all the way to Brazil and trek through the Amazon rain-forest, wading through the jungle in the hope that no poisonous snakes or scorpions find you first.

No!!! It’s so much easier than that! I just clicked onto the Amazon website and typed in “Teresa Grabs” and her books appeared. Or you could type in the specific title of the book you think will interest you most.

I have included a link below to Amazon.uk for us Brits:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Haunted-Wordsmith-Multi-genre-Collection/dp/1983008486/ref=sr_1_5?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1542924577&sr=8-5&keywords=teresa+grabs

Reflected Echo

These are the other two of Teresa’s books I have bought recently and I would highly recommend to you.

I would certainly recommend Teresa’s books, her blogging, and her writing challenges to all other bloggers.

For bloggers who are talented creative writers and publish their work as a book, we as members of the blogging community can be a superb support in promoting and advertising the books of our favourites. We can become a fantastic marketing team and help promote the books of other bloggers, by means of social media, and by our enthusiasm when we tell people what we have been reading recently.

I have been showing Teresa’s books to friends and  workmates, and will take them up to Wales when I see my family at the end of December. There is a local book club that meet in the restaurant round the corner from my little nest and since a couple of my friends attend (to be honest I am terrified of them because it’s more of a wealthy wives club, and I normally try to make sure I am not on their gossip radar), my next mission is to introduce Teresa Grabs’ books to them. There is a newspaper journalist who lives a few doors down from here. I keep wondering if during one of our morning chats, I might slip in how much I enjoyed Teresa’s book.

Well…

…all of us play an important role in the blogging community. By reading each other’s posts, liking and commenting, we provide enormous encouragement to other bloggers. I am sure that like me, you have found that bloggers notice your support and they seek out your posts to encourage you also.

For those amongst the blogging community who are publishing their work, I think it would be a very fine thing for as many as possible of us to extend our support to not just their blogs, but their books. By all means buy one for yourself. But…even better, talk about it, show your friends and if you are bold like me, invade the local book club too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/11/23/random-quotes/