A Morning Ritual

Free Cup of Coffee and Flowers at Daybreak Creative Commons

She sits quietly by the window
Taking in the morning air.
Enjoying the sounds of the birds.
Her coffee cools
As she recalls all she dreamed the night before.

Then she starts to write
Without thought or censor
Writing of her dreams, her prayers,
Her memories and her pain,
Her love, her gratitude
And everything that makes life rich and colorful.

The pen seems to take on a life of its own
The pages seem to absorb it all
Clearing her head
Helping her to move on
To focus on the day ahead.



This is a colorful version of my morning ritual – the Morning Pages. I have been struggling with them since January – off some days, on some days. But it’s been one of the most life-changing exercises for me. It’s made me see things in my past and present like I’ve never done before. It has opened up a lot of creativity within me.

The Morning Pages’ ritual is recommended by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way.

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Do you have a morning ritual that centers you and helps you face the rest of the day in a better way? Do share?


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True Vines

True Vines
True Vines

Title: True Vines

Author: Diana Strinati Baur

ISBN13: 9780982102343

Publisher: Gemelli Press LLC

Genre: Women’s Fiction



When her Italian winemaker husband dies suddenly, Meryl Michelli  leaves her husband’s home in Italy and moves back to her hometown in   Pennsylvania. She hopes this move will close the door on the heartache and she can move on.

However, a meeting with a childhood friend brings back a flood of memories of betrayal that she hasn’t come to terms with. Trying to re-adjust, in her mid-life, to life in the US is hard too. Added to that is the emotional distance she feels with her only sister. Everything adds up and Meryl has a complete breakdown.

True Vines moves between the Pennsylvania and the vineyards of northern Italy as Meryl tries to make sense of her life. The reader is treated to a wealth of emotional encounters that Meryl makes as she allows herself to heal the past and make peace with the present.

I found the book hard to put down as I was drawn into the drama of Meryl’s life – her relationships, her choices, her emotions. Baur has done a great job of characterization. She has also dealt with some great subjects – family ties, loyalty, love, following one’s heart with a great deal of sensitivity.

It’s not easy to do justice to descriptions of entirely different locales and cultures in one book, but Baur has managed to do that very skillfully.

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of the book from Net Galley in exchange for a review.


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Various Love Stories

I have a huge backlog of books to review. I’ve read most of them immediately but haven’t posted reviews. I’m doing three together today.

True Love (Nantucket Brides Trilogy)
True Love (Nantucket Brides Trilogy)

Title: True Love
Author: Jude Deveraux
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
ISBN13: 9780345541796
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Series: Nantucket Bride’s Trilogy #1

I’ve always wanted to read a Jude Deveraux novel, but somehow didn’t get to read one earlier. This one didn’t disappoint me at all. Set on the  Massachusetts island of Nantucket, the story is a fun romance with just the right bit of mystery provided by ghosts of the ancestors of the couple – Alix and Jared. How they set about righting the wrongs of the past and finding love and friendship, makes a delightful read. I loved the characterization and look forward to reading the rest of the series soon.



Title: Rose Harbor In Bloom
Author: Debbie Macomber
Series: Rose Harbor # 2
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN-13: 978-0345528933
Genre: Woman’s Lit., Romance

Jo Marie Rose has taken over Rose Harbor Inn after the death of her husband. Here she welcomes each guest with thoughtful hospitality. This is a very sweet story of love, friendship and hope as t


Title: Last Chance Summer
Author: Hope Ramsay
Publisher: Forever Yours
ISBN13: 9781455549030
Genre: Romance/ Short Story

Synopsis from Goodreads: It wouldn’t be summer without the Watermelon Festival, and single mom Amanda Wright is looking forward to a carefree day eating funnel cakes and sipping sweet tea. But with her inquisitive son and elderly grandmother in tow, she’s not in the mood for carnival rides or the kissing booth, until she hears a charming, funny voice over the loudspeaker.

Grant Trumbull is the new DJ at the local radio station, and his deep, booming cadence has all the ladies of the church auxillary atwitter. Even without seeing his face, Amanda can’t help but wonder if he’s the one for her. When she finally comes face to face with the man behind the mic, summer is about to get a whole lot hotter in little Last Chance, South Carolina.

My take: I found this a very sweet read and look forward to reading more stories from Hope Ramsay – hopefully, a full length novel the next time.

I received these books from NetGalley in exchange for reviews.


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Three Little Words

English: Poori & Potato Masala

He didn’t mind the dreadful stench that came from the gutter opposite the restaurant. He didn’t mind waiting to be served. He normally didn’t make such hasty decisions about where to eat, but the sign had drawn him in. He couldn’t resist. He attempted to play a game on his phone, but his eyes kept wandering to the next table, where the boy was eating poori-bhaji.

Then the waiter served him his order. Hot poori-bhaji and the precious stuff in a little bowl. He ate with relish. He wouldn’t be able to come this way again until tomorrow. Until then, the memory of this meal would have to sustain him. As he left the restaurant, he turned back to read the sign again: Onions served free!

Onions are an integral part of Indian cuisine. With this particular dish and several others, raw onions are served, without an extra charge. However, in the last few months, onion prices have hit the roof and restaurants are cutting back on that free serving of onions.

I’ve underlined three words as I’m linking into Three Word Wednesday.  

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I’m also linking into the Ultimate Blog Challenge and October’s NaBloPoMo.

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Amy, My Daughter

Amy, My Daughter
Amy, My Daughter

Title: Amy, My Daughter
Author: Mitch Winehouse
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN13: 9780007463893
Genre: Biography

With her unique voice and her musical genius, Amy Winehouse, became an instant celebrity when her debut album Frank was released in 2003. She soon became a musical icon with a huge fan following.

Her musical career was cut short when she died on July 23, 2011, she was mourned by fans not just for her outstanding musical talent but also her generosity. However, Amy’s death wasn’t quite a surprise. For years she had been, very publicly, struggling with alcohol and drug abuse.

In this book, using exclusive extracts from his own personal diaries, Mitch Winehouse talks openly about his daughter’s early childhood, way into music, her successes and her relationships and her struggles with her addictions.

Mitch Winehouse throws light on Amy’s stubborn behavior as a child, how she supposedly reacted to his leaving her mother, her relationship with her brother and her special relationship with her paternal grandmother who he credits for Amy’s musical genius.

A large part of the book is about Amy’s struggles with addiction and Mitch’s part in trying to save her from her self-destructive behaviour. No book written by a parent of a child who died so tragically can be completely objective, however, Mitch’s admiration for his daughter’s genius, ability to love with all her heart and her generosity with strangers comes of as being genuine.

Mitch Winehouse tells of his pain and that of the loved ones of many addicts very poignantly in these lines:

Perhaps the most difficult thing about loving and helping an addict, which most people who haven’t been through it don’t understand, is this: every day the cycle continues is your new worst day. When looked at from the outside it seems endless, the same thing over and over again; but when you’re living it, it’s like being a hamster on a wheel. Every day there’s the chronic anxiety of waiting for news, the horrible rush when it turns out to be bad, the overwhelming sense of déjà vu – and the knowledge that, despite your best efforts, you’ll probably be here again. Even so-called good days are not without their drawbacks. You enjoy them as much as you can, but in the back of your mind there’s the lurking fear that tomorrow you could be back to square one again, or worse.

Amy comes across as being a very lonely woman, who despite her genius, struggled with self-acceptance and sought her escape in drugs. Mitch does try to pin the blame for her addiction on her ex- husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, but it’s clear that her psychological problems started way back in her childhood.

Overall, I found the book  fascinating in parts and boring in others.

I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley in exchange for a review.



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