Genre: Women's Fiction

Book Spotlight and Extract | Featuring Notes by Jorie on behalf of “Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree” by Simi K. Rao

Posted Tuesday, 28 July, 2020 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You might have noticed I haven’t had the chance to host a lot of poets & collections of short stories in quite a long while. For quite a long while I was starting to get announcements about tours which featured these kinds of stories and then, there seemed to be a bit of a dry patch about the availability to host poets and short fiction writers. I love to dive into a poetry collection and/or a short story and novella anthology – for the latter, I have mostly staid within the Speculative Fiction realms but when it comes to Poetry, I have been a bit more exploratory in my selections. You can read through my past reviews for poems if you scroll to the bottom of my Story Vault.

There you will find former reviews I’ve shared where I truly tried to peer into the poems and to see how the vision of the poem and the reaction I felt after reading them could become articulated into a review. I found it most challenging in the beginning to sort out my thoughts about poetry because how a person reads a poem is such an interpersonal experience. It is rooted in our own living histories and our own perceptional insight – *everything!* about us goes into how we read a poem because poems are small glimpses into the human spirit and our soul. It is how we can share a portion of ourselves within the tender small space of a poem.

What drew me to host this lovely blog tour is how all the poems are about a women’s experience and of the tides of her life – I love reading Women’s Fiction for similar reasons, as the genre itself tucks into the emotional heart of a women’s life as it is being lived. Women’s Fiction for me always felt like a cosy niche of where I could write stories myself because unlike Romance where it is more hinged on the HEA (happy ever after) or the HFN (happy for now) – Women’s Fiction goes deeper into the heart of the women in the story. To get into her head and to see a more interpersonal journey of where she is when we arrive inside her life.

I knew I wanted to feature this collection ahead of reading it – as there were only digital copies available for review – which gave me a chance to host a small extract for the blog tour. I hadn’t opened the file until I went to write my spotlight and I had to smirk. The topic for my extract had a personal connection as I’ve been distancing myself with my love of coffee to reacquire and reacquaint myself with ‘tea’. I’ve been enjoying copious warming cuppas of chai recently and it is like ‘coming home’ in a cuppa!

If you enjoy Poetry & short fiction, perhaps this collection will resonate with you – I am thankful I could champion the collection on Jorie Loves A Story today. And, hopefully the poem which is being shared leaves you with a few ruminations, too!

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Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree by Simi K. Rao

Converse via: #UnderTheShadeOfTheBanyanTree, #Poetry, #ShortStories
as well as #WomensFiction and #BTPrism

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add to LibraryThing

Published: 30th September, 2019 | ISBN: 9781951375072

Life is not about achieving perfection, it’s about reconciling with your imperfections.

Poems are fragments of life. In Simi K. Rao’s unique poetry collection for women, there are blissful moments; deep, invisible wounds; cries for help; declarations of defiance and philosophical observations. The poems and prose pieces compiling the collection are fragments of life elucidating the different phases of the human condition. Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree will leave readers wanting for more and have a deep impact on women of all ages.

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Posted Tuesday, 28 July, 2020 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours

A #SatBookChat Book Review | “Happy Everything” (Merry Hanukkah series, Book Two) by Debby Caruso

Posted Friday, 12 June, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: In 2018, I was approached by the author to read the first story in her Merry Hanukkah series – whilst in 2019, I had the delightful joy of having her as a featured guest during my @SatBookChat! I naturally was curious about the sequel and when she offered to send me “Happy Everything” I felt it was a fitting way to begin my New Year reading the sequel and kicking off my #SaturdaysAreBookish featured reviews.

Except to say, it took me until #IndieApril to find the focus I needed to re-absorb myself back into this lovely series – as the first bits of the New Year did not quite pan out the way I had intended them too! By sharing this review during April, I was hoping to re-highlight how much I enjoy hosting my #SatBookChat authors whilst also noting that I am a champion for #IndieAuthors both on my blog Jorie Loves A Story and through my @SatBookChat showcases.

I had the best of plans to run this during #IndieApril – however, a migraine and seasonal pollen allergies interfered and I had to bump this showcase forward to a weekend where I was free of both! I find May the hardest month to transition through for my pollen allergies and thus, this review kept getting bumped forward until now, finally in JUNE I can share it at long last! It also kicks off a new sequence of #SatBookChat Reviews wherein I am reading and reviewing my @SatBookChat backlogue!

I received a complimentary copy of “Happy Everything” direct from the author Debby Caruso in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On what I enjoyed about “Merry Hanukkah”:

We enter Rhonda’s life at her wedding – where despite the festive nature of the day, there is a foreboding undercurrent of doubt in regards to whether or not her in-laws truly accept her as they’re daughter-in-law; as an ill-fated scene played out at the height of the celebrations. You could gather there was something brewing in the background – perhaps, the in-laws weren’t certain of their son’s choice due to the combining of their religious backgrounds? As the ceremony was delightfully equally divided between both their traditions, uniting them both through love and the faith they shared between them. Yet, I could imagine this might not settle well for traditionalists who might prefer the ceremony had been singular rather than plural and spilt.

It is here where you see how Rhonda is trying to balance her life through the holidays – as we fast forward a bit to where she’s bursting with anxiety about how to combine Christmas and Hanukkah – or rather, to come up with a crazy plan of action with her best friend Dez (whose never out of zingers and zany remarks!) as this is the year she wants to prove to her mother-in-law she and James can have a happily ever after as a family who celebrates both religious heritages. The irony though is that she is approaching it as if she needs to make it the picture perfect reality she envisions rather than trying to keep it a bit more real and humble, knowing not everything has to go smoothly in order to be the best holiday you’ve celebrated.

Before Rhonda can make her plans though, life starts to grab her at the quick! Her agency wants her to be part of the team who can deliver an ad campaign worthy of a New Year and her husband’s family goes through the process of loss before the holidays even start to blink into sight. It proves that no matter how hard you try to organise your life, there are days and moments you can’t plan for ahead of time. Life finds a way to unsettle your status quo and take you for a bit of a ride whenever things seem to be a bit on the quiet side.

As soon as you pick up Merry Hanukkah, you know your in for a delightful fun read – as Caruso has a natural talent for humour and wit; lacing in her style of Contemporary life with the fuell of comedy she evokes a sense of festive cheerfulness in her story. This isn’t a story to take too seriously as at the heart of the story itself is the truer blissitude and purpose behind why we all celebrate the holidays together as best we can as we merge our families together. Not all families can agree on the details but for those of us who celebrated the holidays whilst combining traditions and memories, those were the holidays you remember the most. Where everyone found a way to come together uniting through the blessing of the season and finding a reason to celebrate the joyfulness of being together.

This is what you can pick up on whilst reading the story – as Caruso wants to show how even if you have a family at odds with one another on certain points, there is renewed hope in being able to come together for the special moments in life which unite us without having to worry about all the little particulars that no one will remember anyway!

Caruso has a quick style – similar to writing for screen where she places you in-scene rather immediately and lets each individual scene speak for itself. As you shift between the chapters, you notice her style as you don’t wait long for embellishments on the previous disclosure and sequences, as you’ve found the plot has already moved forward. This works well for a short Holiday Contemporary like this one, as the pacing is matching the rush you feel at the holidays where there is never enough time to get everything accomplished you wish to get done.

-quoted from my book review for Merry Hanukkah

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A #SatBookChat Book Review | “Happy Everything” (Merry Hanukkah series, Book Two) by Debby CarusoHappy Everything
by Debby Caruso
Source: Direct from Author

Happy Everything is the ongoing story of Rhonda and James, following them from Merry Hanukkah directly into the much anticipated second installment in the Merry Hanukkah series.

Everyone’s favorite newlyweds have settled into married life, but now it’s Dez and Jack’s turn to make it official. In typical Rhonda fashion, she’s determined to give her best friend Dez the best bridal shower ever, all while juggling yet another work crisis and still trying desperately to fit in to her new family situation. Unfortunately, Aunt Bunny is diagnosed with cancer, and the entire family starts coming apart at the seams. Rhonda and James step in to help support Uncle Ben any way they can, but it’s never enough for Rhonda’s incorrigible mother-in-law, Vivian. Will Vivian’s constant meddling finally cause Rhonda and James irreparable damage? Is there any way that Rhonda can pull the family together by hosting both Passover and Easter on the same weekend?

Why is Rhonda’s Dad suddenly dating someone much younger than him? And how can Rhonda come up with a new and exciting way to sell protein bars?

Follow Rhonda into this new chapter of her life, where success hinges on the latest and greatest ad campaign, and her personal triumphs are determined by how much she can do for others. Journey with her as she begins to slowly realize that she can’t be all things to all people; even the ones you love the most.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy (Rom Com), Women's Fiction



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732519022

Also by this author: Merry Hanukkah, Ghastly and Good

Also in this series: Merry Hanukkah, Ghastly and Good


Published by Self Published

on 13th September, 2019

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 182

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The Merry Hanukkah series:

Merry Hanukkah by Debby CarusoHappy Everything by Debby Caruso

Merry Hanukkah (book one) | see also Review

Happy Everything (book two)

Converse via: #SaturdaysAreBookish + #WomensFiction or #RomCom

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 12 June, 2020 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Christianity, Contemporary Romance, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Indie Author, Judiasm, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction, World Religions