Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm

Hi Reader!

I hope youre well and starting to enjoy the longer days if youre living in the Northern Hemisphere with me!

I spent most of January tucked up in blankets, reading and managed to read 5 books in total, with a really good mix in genres (one romance, one fantasy, two contemporary fictions and one revenge lit) – so not bad going towards my 2023 Goodreads goal of 50 books!

Today I’ve got bucket loads of newness* to share with you! We’ve got a brand new book to talk about, due for release in the UK on the 9th February and some delicious Tea and brand new Tea scented candles from The Tea Makers of London!

*For full transparency, I have been sent all items reviewed below free of charge by the relevant parties, for the purpose of review. Please be assured that receiving items free of charge by publishers and product companies does not influence or provide a more favourable review of their products. Reviews are always honest here.

First, lets get onto the book!


The Synopsis:

Love is messy. Love can make us feel alive. It can also bring us down. Sometimes we look for it in all the wrong places. This is a novel about longing, desire and dreams; about passion and risk and all the places in between.

Maggie is pregnant with Circus Palmer’s child. This may be her last chance, but she craves her freedom.

Pia is Circus’s ex-wife, still in love with the fantasy of the man who conjured jazz tunes for her into the night, but who left many years before.

Koko, Circus’s daughter, is lost in the maelstrom of teenage years, the confusion of awakening desire and yearning for the father she barely knows.

Peach is a barmaid who just wants someone to see the person she is inside.

Odessa is on the run from a mistake that can’t be undone.

And then there’s Circus, Circus Palmer, a jazz trumpeter whose moment of glory is fading. Selfish, damaged, scared, perhaps the only person Circus is fooling is himself.

Delivered in a lush orchestration of diverse female voices, Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm is a provocative and gripping novel about the desire to be loved, and the need to belong.

I picked this book to read for a few reasons really. Firstly, I love music, having grown up playing the keys I find music really lifts my mood and I felt I would feel this book about a Jazz musician as whenever I am in New York, a trip usually ends with a visit to SMOKE Jazz Club near Columbia University, and I find myself truly immersed in the rhythm and the smoothness of the music. Secondly, I LOVE character driven novels. If the characters aren’t singing off the page, it really doesn’t matter for me what you do with the plot. Finally, I like the idea of flawed characters and delving into different kinds of love with one character.

In addition, this is a DEBUT novel that has received some H-Y-P-E in the States, with some of my favourite authors such as Celeste Ng (Author of Little fires everywhere and Everything I never told you amongst other titles) gracing the cover with absolutely GLOWING reviews. I felt I was onto something special, so I fired up the kindle and got to reading.

Early on into the book we open with introductions to Koko (Circus’s daughter), Circus, Maggie and Pia. I quickly got through the first 25% of this novel, I found Circus and Maggie’s sexual tension to be electric, I loved all of the descriptions of the music and the bars music was played in and I absolutely adored Koko. I felt her teenage troubles right off the page and I observed and truly saw Pia’s depression.

From here on, I found that there isn’t one key character in this novel and instead multiple points of view of the women connected to Circus be it romantic love, sex, or DNA, as he carries on masking the pain and disappointment in his life.

Whilst I found it an interesting portrayal of the need to be admired and loved from all characters pov, I did find it primitive in the sense that all of the men in the story want the women and vice versa. It didn’t feel realistic and I found it annoying that so many people could fancy this guy. I mean, he’s a total tool, the definition of a ‘fuck boy’, except he’s not in his twenties and his chat up lines are out of date.

As time went on I found it harder to connect to some of the characters, some were certainly stronger than others. I guess I got myself a little irritated at some of these women falling to Circus’s charm, when really I didn’t see any ‘charm’ and I just wanted to shout through the pages ‘TELL HIM TO DO ONE!’.

The only character I admired in the novel is the only women who sees Cyrus for what he is.


You know what makes a good novel in my eyes? One that makes you feel something. I might have felt irritated, annoyed and frustrated at some of these characters and some of the predictive, same pattern outcomes from these diverse women, but it stirred those emotions within me, and can I forget about Koko? No, I can’t.

I found the writing extremely beautiful, lyrical and engaging. The connection to music in the prose was skilful and an art in itself.

However, if youre looking for a plot that takes you on a journey, then with that I was very disappointed and I felt that the ending was rushed. It was all wrapped up in a neat little bow, and I wanted more from that after a week’s reading these character’s lives. I also felt that the Maggie and Circus story didn’t go far enough.

However, for a debut, it packs one hell of a punch. It’s not a book I’d re-read as it didn’t tick many of my favourite book boxes, but I can still admire the beauty of the writing and I’m sure other lovers of contemporary fiction and stories about unrequited love will absolutely adore this one.

Hardback: £16.99 on Amazon, available 9th February 2023


This month the lovely folks at The Tea Makers of London have THIS WEEK launched some new Tea scented candles, and you just KNOW I am 100% in for that!!! They kindly sent me along some First Flush Darjeeling Tea and their new, hand poured Darjeeling Candle. I brewed up a pot of the loose leaf Darjeeling, which I found really refreshing and a nice light tea to enjoy early morning or afternoon.

I then lit the candle and I was honestly so happy!! It smells like Darjeeling and it’s SO calming. If you imagine walking into a fancy spa with the lovely music and a load of candles lit where you instantly feel it ease? Thats what it smells like to me!

I’ve been enjoying having this candle on whilst wrapped in a blanket, cup of tea in one hand book in another. Isn’t that just the best way to relax and enjoy a book?

Today and for a very limited time only, there is a 15% discount on valentines day gifts over on their website (this promo may have ended dependent on when you read this blog post!) so if you fancy bagging yourself one of these new candles at a discount, head over to their website to find out more. Here’s the link for you https://www.theteamakers.co.uk – candle prices currently start from £13.

I really hope you’ve thoroughly enjoyed my reviews today!

If you have please share the love in return, like, follow, comment, share with your friends and colleagues, one or all your engagement is your support <3.

As always you can find me on goodreads and instagram, I’m @papyrusandpeppermint 🙂

Have a fantastic weekend and I’ll see you next time for more new reads for 2023 – I’ve got lots of them for you!

Until the Next Chapter,

Emma X0

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