Chilling with Books Corner Spotlight on C.R. Alam

April 2023

One of the authors that I have spotlighted in the past on my Chilling with Books Corner, has just released her third book. It is so thrilling to see C.R. Alam stride ahead in her series and getting better and better each time. Unexpected Entanglement, her third book takes its place in the The Echo Series with more to come in the near future.

One of the things aside from the main one involving working at their craft, that Indies excel at, is supporting one another. It help us all grow. We are not out there saying we are wonderful; we are out there saying hard work, perseverance and a love of words takes you places you don’t expect to go. And, if you pay it forward, an expression you may be sick of hearing from me as paying it forward is a recurring theme in my blog posts and not just about authors but in life, then good things happen. It is authors like C.R. Alam that make me proud to be a part of the Indie Author Community.

In this case if you like romantic served with spice and a good story then please indulge. You won’t regret it.

Barb’s news:

My own books

Currently I am at a standstill as I wait for my edits to come back. I was working on my third book and pleased with the results until nerves put out their feelers. Doubts when you send a manuscript away are hard to avoid and it has some seriously undermining results that unfortunately dig themselves into any new projects. However, whilst Unexpected Passion seems on hiatus, Unexpected Celebrations is not lying down without a fight, and I have spoken to my cover artist Christopher Brunton about getting it on paper. There is something special that happens in an author’s brain when a cover comes to life. Fingers crossed.

The world around me

Last month I discussed the benefits of nature, and the heartbreak well-fed grasshoppers bring to the table. As a consequence, I decided a cactus garden was in order. Tidying up the balcony I was full of ideas for the new project until a friend told me my Ginger plant was a Paw Paw tree. I mean when you plant ginger and get paw paw you need to rethink especially when one Paw Paw tree turns out to be twins – two trees in the one pot? How did this happen? I am certain the pesky grasshopper, chewing its way through my Moreton Bay Fig tree, is involved.

Books and Films


The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

In actual fact, I have read many books this month, but these are the books that stand out for me. Review comments were fascinating for both books. Reading is annoyingly subjective at times. For Klune’s  novel, many found the world building lacking. Personally, I found myself in Klune’s world to the point where I had to keep reading to the end. I had to know what would happen and it unfolded beautifully. For me, the world worked very well. As I said in my last post The Secondary Colours, sometimes complicated is best achieved by simplicity. This lovely fantasy brought home how much time we waste with judgements and thus there is an air of reality embedded in the novel impossible to ignore. It made me question myself even though I know who I am. To me, this was a beautiful read with a wonderful purpose beyond entertaining.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

I struggled to enter the world in which these characters lived. Reviews are meant to be honest, and I was. I did not like the characters. They had opinions but did not bother with what others thought and felt. Granted in this they were correct as they did come across some terrible people. However, change occurs when both parties listen and hear, and when the injured party makes themselves heard by their behaviour. In this case the injured party did not change or grow.

I thought this was great book providing plenty of entertainment and was very well written but for me it lacked heart and purpose. If it brought out such strong reactions then as a book it was doing its job and deserved to be rated highly and so I did.

Would love some other input on both books.


Crazy Rich Asians

Goodness me but it has been the month for reruns. This was one of them and I love it. The theme this month in all my reading has been ‘human behaviour’. In Crazy Rich Asians I waited anxiously as our hero presented the second engagement ring. If you don’t know what I am talking about, watch the film and wait for the spectacular moment when our heroine realises how much love is involved in this exchange of tokens. I’m not going to spoil it by telling you.

Meet Joe Black and Death takes a Holiday

One of my favourite reruns was Meet Joe Black. Although it met a lacklustre reception when first released I love the music (who wouldn’t – come on – Louis Armstrong?) and closer to home I like the idea of humanising Death even to the point of naivety. Years ago, I fell in love with a film called Death takes a Holiday with Yvette Mimieux and Monte Markham (hard to get a good photo of the poster). I loved this version, very seventies in hair, clothes and expressions.

The original Death Takes a Holiday was made in 1934 and starred Fredric March, Evelyn Venable and Guy Standing. It was a dynamic version. Black and White films can be eloquent and the lack of colour highlights the melodrama. An interesting fact – the film was based on the 1924 Italian play La Morte in Vacanza by Alberto Casella. Trust the Italians to know melodrama and I say this with love.

I can’t choose between any of the above as they each have their own set of pros and cons as films do but the premise is wonderful. This is the reason for the many versions. How can we resist the idea of Death taking human form, falling in love and becoming selfish enough to take what he wants. Does he though? Let’s just say the Brad Pitt/Joe Black character finds a solution with which he is happy. I prefer the previous films and adore the following quote.

Death in Death takes a Holiday, decides he needs time off from his job. The results for the world are devastating, no deaths equates to eternal suffering and brings home the fact that is not the problem; it is the way people die and Death has nothing to do with this. He believes it to be a human problem. He says:

‘I came here to solve what for me has been a riddle for as long as there’s been life. I had to understand why people cling so tenaciously to living… why they’re so afraid of what I can bring them. I want to know what is there that makes men and women fight so desperately to remain in a world so unhappy, so filled with hate and now so polluted with real poisons.’

What a wonderful question and are we capable of answering it? I love the older films. They are so wonderfully melodramatic but poignant at the same time. I am inclined to think they make the point better than all of today’s clever machinations because they thrive on being emotive. It is emotions, the right kind that may be our salvation.

A question for you or at least any Aussies out there. Do you recall a program called The Golden Years of Hollywood and its host, Bill Collins? If you do I love you already without knowing who you are. Talk to me.

Alla prossima,


P.S. If you are feeling kindly disposed, please feel free to check out my books. I would love some more input on Unexpected Obsession before I release Unexpected Passion. Links below.

Questions for me? Want to share your views and ideas? I’d love to hear from you. A like and a comment will keep me working harder and if by any chance you have read my books or a book I have featured then please if you can, leave a review leave a review on Goodreads or wherever you originally purchased the book. It helps writers learn to be better writers.

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    • Thank you for spotlighting my books, Barbara! It’s people like you who keep us going. I’m going to try my best to do the same. The doubt and anxiety of putting our work out there never ceases, but believe that we get better with each new book. I can’t wait to read your next book.

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