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Close To My Heart

Virginia O'Malley
Virginia O’Malley Author Interview

Key to my Heart is a collection of love poems that I thought were thought-provoking and stirring. What serves as your inspiration when writing poetry?

I am inspired by places, events, people, and my poetry reflects the things I love or in my vision at that time. This collection was written as individual pieces and my most recent poetry. I will be revising this and making the book into a bigger collection with additional artwork.

I have an interest and inspired by world mythology, history, astrology, archaeology, photography, art, poetry, and music. I come up with a variation on my poetry from these influences. I have written over 200 poems and some are still unpublished because they do not fit into any category to put into a collection. I am working on publishing more books in the future.

What are some themes you find yourself often moving towards when writing?

I have a strong link towards mythology and the wonderful world of faery. I find the stories fascinating and feel inspired to write poetry after reading up on the subject. I have done a lot of research in the past on Irish mythology which is a subject close to my heart. I have been inspired to write a complete book on this subject with my favourite tales and original poetry to accompany the stories. I also like to create writing with a moral to the story which inspired by children’s book, “Princess Sweetness & Light”

My favorite poem from the collection was An Element Of The Horoscope. Do you have a favorite poem from this collection?

The Ghosts of Wuthering Heights is my favourite poem, based on the book by Emily Bronte published in 1847. The first time I read this book was on our school syllabus and I loved the story so much it has stayed with me all through the years.

Do you plan on publishing more books of poetry?

I am working on a new book of poetry, but this will not be ready until next year.

I spent all the lockdown writing and rearranging some works I had previously written and I have already independently published the following books which are available on Amazon worldwide:

Mythos Early Ireland (formally A Celtic Moment in Time) – based on my favourite Irish mythological stories with original art.

Princess Sweetness and Light – Illustrated children’s book with the moral of the story, “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”

The Faery Tree – Earth Queen of Faery – Illustrated children’s-young adult story with adventures to faery.

Eire West – Poetry based on the West of Ireland – Mayo and Galway (original homeland)

Lockdown 2020 – Short read collection containing thinking time poetry/verse with my own photography.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

This is a collection of poems about love in all forms and love related issues. Some are suitable for weddings and special occasions, and others deeper inside your soul. Some are inspired by authors like Emily Bronte with “Wuthering Heights” and Baroness Orczy with “The Scarlett Pimpernel.” Suitable for all types of poetry lovers whether it be everyday verse or more deep thinking. There is a poem here to suit everyone’s taste.

Silent Screams

Silent Screams by [Zachary Ryan]

Silent Screams by Zachary Ryan follows the lives of four high school friends forced to grow up due to a school shooting. Lane struggles with whether or not to come out to his friends while mourning the loss of his lover. Cass struggles to find someone to save her from her home life. Zachary deals with losing what she thinks makes her special. Ben finds his life of luxury torn away and struggles to figure out who he is without it. Being friends with the shooter, these four students battle with their own demons while attempting to cope with the guilt and responsibility they feel for their friend’s actions.

The raw emotion and authenticity of the characters is something that is outstanding in this book. I applaud Zachary Ryan for creating such imperfect characters that are so relatable. Each character deals with something different and grieves in a unique way. Each character, even background ones, go through so much character development and really grow up and learn how to trust and depend on each other. We get to see through each character’s eyes through point of view changes that happen each chapter. It’s refreshing in a way because you get to see into the heart of each of the four main characters and see their innermost secrets and insecurities. Silent Screams is a story about friendship, love, insecurities, trust, and the dangers of keeping secrets in for too long.

I enjoyed this book, but there were some times I had to reread a line because of a typo. There was also one background character who’s name was inconsistent, being Violet in some places and Valerie in others. However, this book is still thoroughly enjoyable.

Silent Screams was a roller-coaster of emotions from beginning to end. I am not ashamed to admit I cried a couple of times. This is the sort of book you pick up and can’t set down until you finished it. I’m not sure that I would class this as a feel good story but it ultimately leaves you feeling satisfied and rejuvenated.

Pages: 254 | ASIN: B08BK4DPN5

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Brittany’s Rose: Finding Peace After Losing a Loved One

She was a bubbly and jovial little girl one day and sickly the next. Brittany’s condition deteriorated along with her family’s spirit. When a loved one passes away, they leave with a part of us. You are left with a big hole in your heart that you have no use for. How then do you get past the loss? How do you feel the sun on your face again? How do you accept the loss and learn to live with it rather than let it derail your life? How do you finally find some peace despite the ache in your heart?

Brittany’s Rose is the story of a little girl’s death and her family’s journey through grief. It tells the story of their struggles with mourning. Mary Jane Clayton gives a candid account of what she and her family went through for the benefit of the reader. You can never truly prepare for such a loss. But with a book like Brittany’s Rose then you can hope for a better day. You can hope for a day when the grief will be more of a background ache than an earth-shattering life stagnating condition.

This is a quick read meant to help you get past the fog. To hold your hand through this turmoil. Because, really, there is no way to avoid it. The only way to get through it is to go through it. The author creates a sense of kinship with the reader by being honest and open. This book is written with the utmost empathy and is all heart. It is evocative and sad but comforting at the same time. It works whether your loved one passed recently or a decade ago. It is personal and uplifting and written in simple language. It is almost casual but still in a tone that lets you take in the message therein.

The simplicity of this book, the tone, the emotion, the personification of it and the honesty and transparency all make this book a great companion. Sometimes you have to let the healing happen naturally rather than forcing it. It is a natural process. You will also learn the importance of faith in the process.

Brittany’s Rose is a personal story that is always important and useful to someone. The one telling the story requires bravery and courage to tell their story especially one of this caliber so kudos to the author for letting us in. May all who have suffered losses be divinely guided through their grief to a space of peace and acceptance.

Pages: 206 | ASIN: B0792Y4LFF

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Duplicity

Duplicity by [Maralyn Frances]

Duplicity by Maralyn Frances is a delightful mix of a novel that is a little bit mystery, a little bit romance, and a whole lot of fun. It is a charming amalgam, being both thoughtful as well as a little quirky and outrageous, in a good way. Frances succeeds in balancing serious topics such as guilt, physical and emotional abuse, and grief with the exciting and fast-paced romance of the main characters. My favorite part of Duplicity was its structure: I adored that the the first third of the novel is told from the perspective of protagonist Toby Wendell, the middle third recounts the same series of events but from another character’s perspective, and the concluding third brings the story together with a heartwarming and surprising close. While the turn of events of Duplicity may, at the surface level, appear almost impossible to readers stuck in reality, it is an engrossing read to escape the drudgery of everyday life and it will charm readers with its full-hearted plot.

Duplicity centers on Toby Wendell, the up-and-coming executive of his father’s agricultural equipment company located in rural Australia. With Toby, Frances has created a handsome, well-read, and thoughtful lead star who is delightfully tasty to read about. Toby has the piercing eyes and the chiseled body, as well as a university-educated and well-traveled intellect, making him a triple-threat to the unsuspecting women of his small hometown. But, one evening, Toby happens across a forlorn beautiful, young woman on the side of the road, and his world is unexpectedly turned upside down. With Toby and the mystery woman, Frances crafts a unique relationship that builds in heat over the pages, tantalizing readers with its colorful and tempting language. And, just when you’re getting settled in with Toby’s story, Duplicity takes you back to the beginning to show you the story from a very different set of eyes. Personally, I loved being able to see the same series of events from two characters’ perspectives, and I enjoyed imagining how fun Duplicity would be to watch as a movie due to this unique structure.

One thing I particularly enjoyed about Duplicity was how Frances kept the plotline varied and moving quickly. It could be possible that reading the same story twice, effectively, could become dull with other authors, but Frances does a truly impeccable job of hiding “Easter eggs” throughout the middle third of the novel for readers to rediscover after having already read them.

Overall, Duplicity is a thoroughly enjoyable and unique book to read. The plot will surprise and delight; the romance scenes will fill readers with romance and excitement; and the characters will begin to feel like real-life friends. With Duplicity, Frances creates a world for readers to escape to and soak up the feelings of overcoming grief, coming to terms with guilt, and falling in love anew.

Pages: 380 | ASIN: B081TN17CM

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SEX, CONS & ROCK ‘N ROLL – Trailer

I have been widowed, divorced, conned, lied to, and cheated on.

This book is often humorous, sometimes sad, but mostly a truthful account of my life and experiences; THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY. I hope you laugh, and I hope you cry.

A big part of this book is the nasty truth about online dating and mature dating in general.

I will tell you about the bad guys, scammers, and con men, working hard to steal your money, the ones that make their living taking advantage of your vulnerability, by lying to you.

I will tell you how I was conned out of $10,000 by a man I thought loved me.

GloriaMoodie.com

Our Forever Crazy Love

1

Jennifer Nolan’s debut romance novel, Our Forever Crazy Love, is quite the emotional roller coaster. First of all, the fact that it’s written in the first person through the perspective of the main character, Vivienne is something that makes it more personal. In many ways, it feels like you are reading her diary, taking a sneak peek into her most intimate thoughts.

In this riveting novel, we get a front-row seat to not only Vivienne’s personal life but her career life as well. As she explores her relationship with her long-standing crush Danny, we understand more and more why they have never ended up together. While in the beginning Danny is described as handsome but a bit standoffish, this perception is radically challenged as we get to know him better.

The book starts with Vivienne trying to seduce him but ends with her getting a complicated but yet fairy tale ending. More importantly, this is the story of a woman trying to juggle the demands of her career while trying to be there for everyone she loves. As life throws her numerous curve balls and she grapples with excruciating grief, her independent persona begins to unravel.

Apart from love, a recurring theme in this book is the struggle for control. Through the main character, the author attempts to explain how many women struggle with letting go and taking it easy; much to the detriment of their love lives.

As a modern woman, this book hit very close to home with me being able to see some elements of myself in Vivienne. Her struggle with relinquishing control is one that I believe many women can identify with.

While the author does a good job of describing the characters and their relationships with each other, there are some discrepancies and details left unshared. For instance, it would have been great to know more about Danny’s family and how that fed into the man he is today.

There was also little on Luis’ side of the family, especially during moments when such information should have taken center stage. Other characters like Rach also need more development. However, I do understand that the author may have been trying to focus on the main character, Vivienne.

On the plus side, the book has a rhythm to it quite like that of real life; there are a few things that matter and others that are just part of the flow. I also appreciate the use of foretelling by incorporating a psychic; that was a nice touch. At the end of the day, Our Forever Crazy Love is a good read.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-989733-00-4

The Dreams of Demons

The Dreams of Demons (The Legends of the Pale Series Book 3) by [Tarrant Smith]

Gabriella didn’t know what she was in for when her roommate, Darren, left on a weekend vacation with his boyfriend and told her to have fun and get herself out there! Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine that her life would be completely changed that weekend by the man of her dreams. Or should I say demon?

The Dreams of Demons is the third book in The Legends of the Pale Series. We follow Murmur, a demon who serves Lugh, a god, for all eternity, as he dreams and searches for a woman who keeps coming to him in his dreams. The thing is, demons don’t dream.

Gabriella, who has always had a gift to read people’s minds and feelings, dreams of Murmur as well. After Murmur materializes and saves her life at her local park they find their attraction to each other is so strong that after surrendering themselves to each other they are now bound forever. But is Gabriella ready to be someone else’s, someone she only just met?

The Dreams of Demons is the most unique book I’ve read this year in that it is set in modern-day, but involves gods and demons who have lived for thousands of years, so there is an ancient feel to it as well. Smith has been able to not only braid these two times into one, but the lives of mortals and gods as well, and she has done it exquisitely.

The love that Murmur and Gabriella have for each other is always brewing in the background, even when Smith takes us into the different story lines. Rhiannon, another goddess who feels something dangerous brewing, the relationship of Lugh and his woman, Keely, and the friendships of Keely, Gabriella, and Zee that emerge. All of them are intricately drawn characters.

This is book three in The Legends of the Pale Series, but if you have not read the first two books I think new readers will still understand what’s going on. Smith gives a bit of back story here and there, but not too much that would make the reader bored if they had already read the series in its entirety.

There are only so many ways you can describe the act of love and lovemaking. But Smith has breathed new life into the classic romance genre, with steamy scenes enhanced by the raw power of a demon and a mortal who may have otherworldly blood in her. While reading you can feel the magnetism between Murmur and Gabriella. Their relationship was an enthralling escapade of emotions that I looked forward to.

Pages: 222 | ASIN:  B0886K161B

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Love, Loss, Long Beach

Love, Loss, Long Beach by [Pasquale, Christiaan A.]

4 Stars

Love, Loss, Long Beach by Christiaan Pasquale tells the journey of Christiaan, and his endeavour to find true love. Set in the USA – predominantly Los Angeles; the story follows Christiaan, from his early twenties surviving as a musician and truck driver into his forties, overweight, on disability and living in Long Beach. The question is – will he be successful in his hunt for true love?

The story opens with a Trucker’s Mantra, “Aces never fall, they may slip, but they never fall. And I’m an Ace, and that’s that!” Christiaan is driving a Peterbilt, the sounds and sights of the trucker’s view realistically described.

He then describes his journey from The Slanderin band member to truck driver. Lured by the promise of money and the chance to improve his life he accepts a position with a local LA truck company. There he learns to drive a truck and gains his licence. Christiaan soon learns why his father tried to discourage him from a truck driving career. The hours are long and erratic and soon take their toll. I felt like this part of the story was realistically and authentically described. Descriptions were easy and vivid and always depth to the story.

The American Hotel becomes his home for a while. The squalid conditions are described in detail, again the nuance and detail is something that much enjoyed in this book. Dark, dingy and smelling of piss. Drug deals were common, as were a trail of women. The people and setting are described in depressing, realistic detail. From junkies to prostitutes to long legged nurses. The descriptions of both add to the authenticity of the story. The dialogue is raw, distinctive and realistic making it difficult not to empathize with Christiaan and his circumstances.

Christiaan is saved from this existence by his sister – who rings him and asks him to move in with her and his niece. However, after a while his old acquaintances catch up with him. They bring old habits with them, and I thought the idea of a man trying to escape his past is uniquely captured in this moment and in Christiaan’s character overall. Christiaan escapes most of this as he is spending more and more time in the inside of a truck cab. I always empathized with the hopeless situation, the long and unsociable hours and the vivid descriptions of the depressing neighbourhoods. However, the large number of characters can be difficult to follow, particularly friends coming into his life from his early years. But these characters also give the story a realistic feel, as people often come in and out of our lives when we least expect it.

By chance he reconnects with Lourdes and is thrilled to form a friendship with her. Eventually she encourages him to move to Long Beach and he leaps at the chance. Will he finally find the love he has been yearning for or does the ace finally fall?

This story leaves me with only one word to describe it all; authentic. I enjoyed the characters and appreciated the journey that Chistiaan has been on.

Pages: 214 | ASIN: B07QCYDBQJ

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