Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – December 3rd 2021 – #RoundUp Carol Taylor, #Christmas Donna Parker, #Guest The Story Reading Ape, #Children’sbooks Jennie Fitzkee, #Guest Colleen Chesebro with D.L. Finn

Welcome to a small selection of posts I have enjoyed during the week and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full…thanks Sally.

The first post is from Carol Taylor and it is her round up from last week.. so if you missed any of her amazing posts, here is your chance to catch up.

My environmental A-Z, Cheese and Chard Pie with filo pastry …The Yule Lads, Christmas Music by Bing Crosby and Sir Rod Stewart and more …Oh Yes!, so much more!

I cannot believe we are nearing the end of November …Have you made puddings and cake, pickled your pickles all ready for the festive jolly on the 25th it’s only 27 sleeps…Jeez, that crept up…

Welcome to my weekly roundup…This week last week has bee n a little colder in the mornings and darker but the days have been warmer the chillies are ripening well and the bananas are plenteous so lots of banana milkshakes, banana bread and this week I will be making some banana Appam…

My week started with some Christmas Cocktails…plus Limoncello which is a beautiful addition to many a cocktail…also some homemade Irish Cream and the many variations… all delicious 


Head over to be informed, entertained and fattened up: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…November 21st-27th 2021…Environmental A-Z, Recipes for “Cheese and Chard Pie”, the Yule Lads, Music and Snow Globes

The next post is from the creative Donna Parker who not only entertains but provides thought provoking observations about the current state of the world.

Have Yourself a Merry Little #Christmas

Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year? Can’t we make the most wonderful time of the year any old time of the year? Does it have to be scheduled? Does it have to be a certain day? Why not wish each other well and treat each other well every single day in each and every single way?

The message is drummed into us in every seasonal day, in every seasonal way, that if you’re not involved in a holiday social barrage then you’ll be unhappy, that you’ll be sad, that you’ll be lonely, you’ll miss out on the perfect Christmas. It’s CFOMO – Christmas Fear of Missing Out.  

Head over to absorb this festive message in full: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas with Donna Parker

The next post is from Chris, The Story Reading Ape and introduces his guest author Wayne Cooper.

Hello everyone, I’ve never written an article about myself and the last time I submitted a CV it was called a resumé.

I am in my 70’s and was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In those years Montreal was the largest city in Canada.

My book, Bunker Down takes place in the late 1960’s and is loosely based on my personal activities in those years and in that city. 

Head over to discover more about Wayne and his intriguing sounding book: Meet Guest author Wayne C. Cooper with The Story Reading Ape

The next post is actually the third in a series by Jennie Fitzkee on terrific books for children and she is the expert in this department.. you can link to books 1 and 2 in the post.

Books #1 and #2 dealt with the all-important social and emotional issues – friendship, fear, worry, kindness, courage, giving…and more.

Here is #3, a story on the same important path, but at a much more complex level. Oh, this one is really good!

This is a story of love, courage, and finding oneself. It is a story of overcoming obstacles and of trust. It is a story of words – oh, the power of letters and writing and of words. It is a story of finding your purpose in life. Finding your way home. 

Head over to discover more about why this book is recommended by Jennie: Terrific children’s books Jennie Fitzkee

The final post today is from Colleen Chesebro who has begun a new series of Meet the Poet. Her guest in this post is author and poet D.L. Finn.

Welcome to Meet the Poet, a Word Craft Poetry feature written to introduce you to the poets in our writing community. This is a way to get to more about the poet and their work. Did you know many of our poets are accomplished fiction and non-fiction authors? Some of our poets are also artists, crafting their magic through watercolors or other artistic means along with the written word.

At least once a month, I’ll be introducing you to the poets in our community! Grab a cup of tea or coffee, and meet the poet!

Head over to enjoy the interview with Denise Finn and discover more about her love of writing and calendars: Meet the Poet with Colleen Chesebro


Thanks for dropping in and I hope you will head over to read these posts in full… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – #Children’s Books – Emiliya Ahmadov, B.C Byron, Dawn Doig

Another selection of gift ideas for younger members of the family.

The first book is by Emiliya Ahmadova with – My Twin Sister and Me: A scout always does her best! Readers’ Favorite five star rated

About the book

Glue on the windowsill and toothpaste in the shoes. Who did the deed?

Twelve-year-old Cub Scout twins Julieta and Rafaela have to deal with their older sister’s ugly tricks, which get them into trouble.

At school, Julieta is being mocked for the freckles on her face and her crooked teeth. Forgetting her own plight, however, she stands up to a bully, Claudius, in order to protect her friend Montano from being persecuted. Out of kindness she agrees to go to the movie with Montano. Due to situations beyond her control, it ends up being an embarrassment in more ways than one. However, once again, she stands up for Montano.

Another time, their Uncle David surprises the family by flying from his home in the US to Caracas for a visit. His visit causes worry; something is wrong. Julieta faces her fears in order to save her ill uncle in the middle of the night. After saving him, she becomes a hero in the uncle’s eyes.

The Scouts plan to attend a Jamboree in Russia, and the girls get caught up in the planning and carrying out of various schemes to pay for the adventure.

This book not only introduces children to Scouting, but also teaches them values, morals, and faith. My Twin Sister and Me shows how to manage anger, face one’s fears, the importance of self-respect, and how to deal with bullying. Above all, it helps kids learn how to show kindness to others. Oh–and very importantly: how to have fun.

One of the great reviews for the book

Amanda Gentry 5.0 out of 5 stars Great book no matter how old you are  Reviewed in the United States on May 30, 2020

This book is about Rafaela and Julieta, twelve-year-old Venezuelan twins who fight most of the time, but they still love each other. Julieta hates her freckles with a passion and would do most anything to get rid of them as they make her the butt of jokes and the object of a lot of teasing at school. But she learns to stand up to bullies when she stands up to someone who is bullying a classmate of hers.

The sisters are Scouts and have been taught to always be honest and truthful. Like all humans though, they don’t always live up to those standards, not even with each other. When a trick is played on Julieta, she is convinced that her twin is behind it, and without investigating to find out whether or not she is right, she takes her revenge.

Julieta and Rafaela’s uncle comes for a visit. Even though he has stage 4 cancer, he is financially better off than their parents. Besides paying for braces for the twins, he has brought something of great value to them: toilet paper.

The plight of those in Venezuela is brought to light in several different ways, but it isn’t dwelt on nor are political statements made. I just want to say that I cannot imagine having to go to many stores and being able just to find two rolls of toilet paper to purchase. In another part of the book, one of the prizes is a roll of toilet paper. Those situations broke my heart.

Parts of the book made me laugh. The names of the girls’ Scout leaders—Baloo, Bagheera, and Raksha—amused me. I love Rudyard Kipling’s 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐽𝑢𝑛𝑔𝑙𝑒 𝐵𝑜𝑜𝑘, so much so that one of my cats has been blessed with the name Bagheera.

When their Scout troop visited Russia, Julieta and a couple of the other scouts sneaked off the bus because they had to go to the bathroom. When they arrived back to where they left the bus, it was gone. How much trouble will they get in? Julieta being lost in a foreign country brought to mind the time I became separated from my classmates while on a school trip touring the Smithsonian Institution.

Not only are those who read My Twin Sister and Me introduced to Scouting, they also see how the sisters learn to handle bullying, manage their anger, and face their fears.Being able to relate to certain situations in this book made it even more enjoyable for me.  

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK

Also for adult readers

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Emiliya: GoodreadsWebsite: Emiliya Ahmadova – Twitter: @authoremiliya

Delighted to welcome B.C. Byron to the Children’s Reading Room with his first illustrated children’s book – A Cat Named Lump: 48 Poetic Tummy Turners – age 6-12

About the collection

Can you touch your own eye? I think you should try?
Can you lick your own nose? Hey that’s pretty gross.
Can you suck your own toe? Bend in half, there you go.
These poems are strange and a little deranged.Can you read the whole bunch without losing your lunch?
Maybe you can, but one thing is true:you’ll laugh out your insides before it is through!

One of the reviews for the collection

Amazon Customer5.0 out of 5 stars Super clever and just awesomeness! Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2021

This book is so great! I find myself chuckling at the cleverness and silliness of the poems! There’s some new ways of describing things I’ve not heard before, but are very accurate!

For example, he describes being about to puke as going to “remix the salsa” or “burp the rainbow.” One of my favorites is “The Noah’s ark Burger,” which raises an important question of what animal does baloney come from?? I also really love “Nursery Grimes!”

This book is a lot of fun and both children and adults (at least the cool ones) can enjoy!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – More reviews: Goodreads – Connect to B.C. Byron: B.C. Byron – Twitter: @BCByronAuthor 

The next book which encourages younger children to embrace the differences in others they play and learn with And So, Ahmed Hears by Dawn Doig

About the book

Ahmed is a little boy who spends his days with his family doing things he enjoys like going to the park and swimming in the ocean. Although he seems to be a typical two year old, mama has concerns that he may not be hearing. So off they go to the doctor and eventually to the audiologist who diagnoses a hearing loss. Fit with hearing aids, Ahmed is now able to enjoy the sounds of life. And So Ahmed Hears was written to increase public awareness about childhood hearing loss and to help alleviate some of the stigma associated with it.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully illustrated Reviewed in the United States on August 23, 2021

A young boy doesn’t sing or talk or hear the roar of the sea, shouts of warning, or his mother’s call. Concerned, his mother takes him to the doctor and audiologist. Fitted with hearing aids, he gets to hear the sounds that he’d missed before.

A beautifully illustrated children’s book for young children with hearing aids or interacting with hearing-impaired people, especially peers. A simple story about diversity and acceptance.

A selection of books by Dawn Doig which are available in several languages.

Read the reviews and Buy Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Dawn: Goodreads – Website: Dawn Doig – Twitter: @Shoebears


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books…Sally.

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – New Author on the shelves – #Thriller – The Hurler by Jack Talbot

Delighted to share the news of the debut novel by Irish author Jack Talbot, a thriller set in the world of the sport – The Hurler

About the book

Hurling, revenge, atonement, murder….

A missing man, a tenacious female sergeant, a murky world of criminal activity and murder, all set in motion when local family man and hurler Jim Rourke goes missing….

When family man and local hurler Jim Rourke goes missing in Oldcastle, a troubled call from his wife sends Sergeant Britney Kent delving into his disappearance. Initially, the incident is dismissed as trivial by her colleagues. However, when another man is found murdered at a local hurling field, Britney is convinced there is a connection. This murder is closely followed by that of a high-profile sports correspondent and the connection is only enforced.

With victims piling up, Britney finds herself on the trail of the sadistic killer known only as ‘The Courier.’

However, as Britney digs deeper, it is made clear her interference in the investigation is unwelcome. Deep suspicion of corruption and criminal connections come to light. Britney finds herself wondering who she can trust. Is the killer really one of her own?

Only by unravelling the connection between the hurler, the criminal underworld and corruption at the highest levels, will the killer be revealed. But all is not what it seems.

With time running out, can Britney save this latest victim and in doing so, save her career?

In Jack Talbot’s thriller ‘The Hurler’ we learn how the ancient surrogate for war is more than just a game. And that all may not be as it seems.

An early review for the book

Ana Rocha 4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 November 2021

Really enjoyed this book. Lots of twists and turns that kept me thinking until the end.

Was shouting for Britney Kent but also felt for the villain.

His revenge means I will never look at hurling in the same way again.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon UK –  And: Amazon US

About Jack Talbot

Jack Talbot was born and raised in Kilkenny, Ireland. He lived for a short while in Australia, America and Europe before returning home to his native country. A carpenter by trade he also worked in drapery, bars and as a fitness instructor before turning to writing. Being an avid reader all his life his main interest is fiction, especially crime thrillers. This passion allied to his life experience and his youthful fling with the game of hurling provided plenty of inspiration for his first novel, ‘The Hurler.’

Connect to Jack Talbot: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US – Website: Jack TalbotFacebook: Jack Talbot –  Facebook Author Page: The Hurler –  Follow Jack: Goodreads –  LinkedIn: Jack Talbot


Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could spread the word of Jack’s novel… thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – #History – #Britain Mike Biles, #Russia Marina Osipova, #Transylvania Patricia Furstenberg, #Witchcraft Nancy Kilgore, #StephenFoster Sarah Taylor

Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair and today historical non-fiction and fiction offering great gift options.

The first author is Mike Biles for his history compendium A Bit About Britain’s History: From a long time ago until quite recently, which I can highly recommend along with his second book A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays.

About the book

Could this short, elegant, volume be the only book on British history you’ll ever need?

A Bit About Britain’s History is for anyone who wants a light introduction to Britain’s amazing story. If you don’t know the basics, or would like a reminder, this book is for you. It is also perfect for those that didn’t enjoy history at school, but who have suddenly realised they’d like to understand it a bit better now. Organised clearly and chronologically, A Bit About Britain’s History covers every period from a long time ago until quite recently. It begins by briefly mentioning that the place was once inhabited by extremely large lizards, and ends up with a post-war 20th century consumer society. Short articles explain the essential aspects of Britain’s past, including how the ancestors of its current inhabitants arrived, how they fought each other, formed nations, fell out over religion, acquired a large empire, became gradually more democratic, helped win a couple of world wars and were left wondering what to do next. At the end of the book are detailed timelines for each period, which provide useful reference and make fascinating reading in their own right.

So – what did the Romans achieve? How did Christianity arrive? Who are the English and why did they fight the French so often? What is Henry VIII’s greatest legacy? When did democracy start and people get the vote? Why on earth did Britain get involved in WW1?

A Bit About Britain’s History might be the only book on British history you’ll ever need; or it might be your stepping stone to more in-depth academic reading.

One of the reviews for the book

Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2021

One of the best nonfiction books I’ve purchased & read in a while. It seemed appropriate to use my favorite and treasured bookmark I picked up at Cheddar Gorge back in 1999.

This isn’t a comprehensive history book yet richly detailed to keep your interest. The writing isn’t dry as one might think when conjuring up ideas of our school history tomes. The delivery of the historical information is very engaging and the humor kept me turning the pages. The time periods are broken down in eight chapters starting with ancient Britain, early medieval, Tudors, Stuarts running to the modern history.

I loved reading about the Romans and the timeline at the end of the book breaks things down, sort of a basic crash course on which period you may want to explore more. I learned more about Britain’s history and the development of government from this book and found subjects I want to know more about. Why couldn’t history classes in school/college be this delightful?!

If you have a history buff or Anglophile in your family this would make a dynamite gift for birthday or Christmas. Mike Biles has a wonderful and informative blog as well called A Bit About Britain.

I enjoyed this book so much that I ordered another of Mike Biles’ books – A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays. This time I selected a Kindle version. My paper copy of the history book is littered with post-it bookmarks for reference. As soon as I have access to internet again (sigh) I will download and enjoy the holidays and high days book.

Looking forward to any publication by Mike Biles.  

Also by Mike Biles

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Mike on : Goodreads – Website: A Bit About Britain – Twitter@bitaboutbritain

The next book today is by Marina Osipova – Push Me Off a Cliff a novel set in post war Russia.

About the book

March of 1948. Three years have passed since the Great Patriotic War ended in victory, disposing into the streets of the destroyed and hungry cities and villages brave decorated soldiers: thousands of them having been burned, maimed, or disfigured beyond recognition.

On a crowded commuter train, Maria hears an invalid singing, which painfully connects her to her time at the front and to the love that failed to happen to her. Why, then, since that day, does the voice from the past echo so insistently in her present life? The torture of uncertainty—was it really Armen?—intensifies after the next encounter and leaves her with an unsettling compulsion to do . . . what? Help him? Or, rather, rescue herself from her lonely and unassuming existence her heart subtly rejects? She must decide whether she is willing to let go of the life she knows for feelings she had never thought she could experience.

But, first, she has to find him.

As the genocide of 1915 within the Ottoman Empire destroyed the lives of Armen’s parents and about one-and-a-half-million ethnic Armenians, his future is shattered by this other war and betrayal. Legless and totally alone, and without any family after his mother is gone, it seems the most merciful thing for him would be to end his miserable existence by leaping off a cliff. Otherwise, he must find the courage to continue living in the condition the war left him and find his place in the bitter every-day reality full of difficulties prone to men like him.

Maria and Armen. Each carries private wounds. In the face of despair, will fate offer them a chance to heal their souls and hearts?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Just Reading 5.0 out of 5 stars A heartfelt look at war Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2021

We will truly never know what went on inside the minds of the ones who fought in this war. We only have books to guide us through history.

This book will captivate you. It did me. The time and energy this author put into this storyline is incredible.

As a veterans’s wife, I felt so.much of the main character’s thoughts and bravery. I’m sure life wasn’t pleasant back then and I couldn’t imagine anything they went through.

This is a story of love, but not just love. This is set at war time. The book gives us a peek into the lives of the main characters that are dealing with life.

It is well written and so worth the purchase!

Other books by Marina Osipova

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And on: Amazon UK – follow Marina : Goodreads – website:Marina OsipovaTwitter: @marosikok

Another book that I can personally recommend is by Patricia Furstenberg – Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories

About the book

In Transylvania’s History A to Z, a collection of 100-word stories sprinkled with breathtaking photographs, Patricia Furstenberg uses the confining rules of the 100-word story form to stirringly capture Transylvania, Romania’s historical and geographical region.

Transylvania’s unspoiled natural beauty, its tumultuous history, and the people who touched it are depicted in this book.
Written as snapshots, tall tales, and descriptive narratives, these 100-word stories are the espresso of creative writing.

A – Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1

Each 100 Words Story is followed by a brief historical reference

The unique beauty of a 100-word story is in the way the words are strung together, each one a gem, and in the spaces left between the words, and between the sentences. So much can be told, with little words. It is a challenge for the writer, and a thrill for the reader, as each time the tale is read, a new detail springs to mind.

“As an armchair historian, I love researching lost tales, traveling, exploring hidden corners, and unearthing new facts, forgotten characters, or hidden clues. I love to give them a voice and to bring them into the light in my tales. Be it people, animals, or the land and its architecture, no detail is too small, no voice is too soft. What was once overlooked now brings history alive in my historical or contemporary fiction books and short stories, such as the 100-Word Stories based on the history of Transylvania.” (Patricia Furstenberg)

My review for the book November 20th 2021

What an amazing way to learn history, particularly of a country that has such a  rich and tempestuous story to tell.

The author has written 100 word fiction for each entry dating back to paleolithic times with the historical background to the story following. The stories tell of a country that is tempting to invaders, inhabited by resilient and proud people, who have survived extraordinary periods of occupation by Romans and successive marauders from neigbouring kingdoms many times over the centuries.

Transylvania is showcased in wonderful photographs, either of the breathtaking scenery or surviving historical structures of monuments. It is clear that Patricial Furstenberg has a deep knowledge of the country and its history and a love and respect for it too.

She offers a guided tour through the ages using fiction and fact creatively and compiled with great skill.

Not only do I have a greater understanding of the history of Transylvania but it has encouraged me to explore it further. Recommended

A small selection of other books by Patricia Furstenberg (some in Afrikaans)

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK Blog: Alluring Creations Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @PatFurstenberg

The final review today is for Nancy Kilgore for her most recent release, Bitter Magic: Inspired by the stgory of a confessed witch.

About the book

Bitter Magic, inspired by the true story of Isobel Gowdie and her witchcraft confession, reveals a little-known corner of history—the lives of both pagan and Protestant women in the Scottish Reformation of the 1600s as witch trials and executions threatened their lives, values, and beliefs.

The story is told by Isobel herself and also by Margaret Hay, a fictionalized seventeen-year-old noble woman. When Margaret stumbles across Isobel one day, it seems as though Isobel is commanding the dolphins in the ocean to dance. Margaret is enchanted. She becomes interested in Isobel’s magic, in fairies, and in herbal remedies; Isobel freely shares her knowledge. While Margaret worries that being around Isobel could be dangerous, she also respects Isobel’s medical successes and comes to believe that acknowledging the efficacy of herbal remedies or believing in fairies does not challenge her Christianity.

But Isobel believes in more than cheery fairies and herbal medicine. She has dark wishes as well, unknown to most people. Isobel seeks vengeance against the local lord who executed her mother for witchcraft. More important, Isobel’s trance experiences (or are they dreams?) lead her to confess to a wide range of sins, including consorting with the devil. Then, during her trial, Isobel names thirteen others, calling them all witches. To her great shock, Margaret hears her own name. Can her tutor, a Christian mystic named Katharine, save them?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Tom Riddell 5.0 out of 5 stars Kilgore Enchanted Me With Her Prose- Pure Magic!  Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2021 

Isobel Gowdie was a 17th century woman who confessed to witchcraft during the Scottish Reformation of the 1600s. She is the main character in this riveting historical fiction novel that examines not only her life, but the lives of all of the people who were caught up in the witch trials during that period of time.

Margaret Hay, a fictionalized seventeen year old noble woman, who is filled with curiosity meets Isobel after watching her enchant several dolphins, causing them to dance in the waters of the ocean. Margaret becomes drawn to Isobel despite her Christian upbringing and this creates a great amount of conflict within her. She is afraid that it will estrange her from her family, who forbids her from involving herself with people like Isobel. Regardless of the consequences, Margaret becomes enthralled with Isobel’s magic, fairies and herbal remedies.

As pleasant and helpful as Isobel is with Margaret, things turn much darker as Isobel soon becomes entranced by the devil and black magic begins to take hold. Isobel is put on trial and she confesses to her “sins” but she admits to having a coven of witches and she names Margaret as one of them.

I love historical fiction. It transports me back to a time where I can endeavor to understand people and the places that have gone before me. To journey back to the 1800s or even the late 1700s is enjoyable for me but to take me back to the 1600s? It’s a little too far removed from the present for me, but I decided to take the leap with this one- and I am so glad I did! The author made me feel very comfortable as she walked me around inside of an old Scottish castle, visiting with the people of those times. Kilgore’s words have a beauty and a rhythm all of their own and the pacing flows nicely- I was entranced by her prose. I didn’t want to stop reading. It was pure magic by itself.

This story had me thinking a lot about religion, our views of the world and how we quickly jump to conclusions, without deeper introspection and examination of the world and the people around us. Even to this day, we are a deeply conflicted people. If we just took the time we could learn a lot from people like Margaret and the wonderful but tortured spirit that was Isobel Gowdie.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – More reviews: Goodreads

Also by Nancy Kilgore

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Follow Nancy: GoodreadsWebsite/blog: Nancy Kilgore – Twitter: @NancyKilgoreBks – LinkedIn: Nancy Hayes Kilgore

The final book today is by Sarah Taylor with Beautiful Dreamer – A fictional biography of Stephen Foster American songwriter of such iconic songs as “Oh! Susanna” and “Camptown Races” Sarah is also in the Children’s Reading Room in  with Old Dog Tray.

About the book

Quiet and dreamy-eyed, Stephen Foster wants nothing more than to be a musician in a world where boys are supposed to grow up and go into business, like the family hero, his older brother William. Even though he can play the flute perfectly from the age of six, his family’s expectations of a traditional profession drive him to Cincinnati, where he works at his older brother Dunning’s warehouse. While in Cincinnati, he publishes his first great hit at the age of twenty-one, “Oh! Susanna.” With Firth, Pond and Company, the best New York publisher, to sell his songs and E.P. Christy, among the greatest of minstrel performers, to sing them, Stephen is sure he can make songwriting his business. He turns out hits like “Old Folks at Home” and “My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night,” songs that Frederick Douglass said “awaken the sympathies for the slave,” as if his life depends on it. With the Civil War approaching and personal tragedies striking, it does.

One of the recent reviews for the book

In Beautiful Dreamer, Sara Taylor not only gives us the story of a gifted artist working his way through a difficult life but she offers a remarkably convincing portrait of the author’s world, which was the eastern half of the U.S., both north and south, during the treacherous years leading up to the civil war. For this alone, the book is mighty valuable, especially since that age so resembles the one we live in, with political differences driving apart friends and families.

Aside from the background, what most engaged me was the fate of Mr. Foster’s courtship and marriage. Here is a capsule version (a spoiler, so stop here if you have already decided to read the book): a lovely woman accepts the hand of an artist, though he can’t promise her prosperity. But when times get hard, he senses her discouragement and retreats to the lonely part of himself, in part to devote himself to his art, and in part to get away from her attitude. His withdrawal sends her into darker discouragement, from which his only defense is to retreat even farther away, by solitude or with the help of liquor.

If you have any fondness for Stephen Foster’s music or for U.S. history, you should read Beautiful Dreamer.  

Also by Sarah Taylor

Connect with Sarah on her author pages: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Follow Sarah: GoodreadsWebsite/Blog: Beautiful Dreamer


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.





Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – December 2nd 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – To Do Lists and Police visit

Author Daniel Kemp entertains us again with his funnies from: Danny Kemp .. Always a place to find funnies and jokes to cheer you up… plus some satirical political commentary on politicians at home and abroad.

Age inspired resolutions.

As I was sitting around, pondering the problems of the world, I realised that at my age I don’t really give a rat’s ass anymore.

  • If walking is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.
  • A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water, but is still fat.
  • A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years, while a tortoise doesn’t run and does mostly nothing, yet it lives for 150 years.
  • And you tell me to exercise??

I don’t think so. Just grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to remember the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference. Now that I’m older here’s what I’ve discovered:

1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.
2. My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes and all-bran.
3. I finally got my head together, and now my body is falling apart.
4. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.
5. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.
6. If all is not lost, then where the heck is it?
7. It was a whole lot easier to get older than to get wiser.
8. Some days, you’re the top dog, some days you’re the hydrant.
9. I wish the buck really did stop here, I sure could use a few of them.
10. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.
11. Accidents in the back seat cause kids.
12. It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.
13. The world only beats a path to your door when you’re in the bathroom.
14. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he’d have put them on my knees.
15. When I’m finally holding all the right cards, everyone wants to play chess.
16. It’s not hard to meet expenses . . .they’re everywhere.
17. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
18. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter . . .I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I’m “hereafter”.
19. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.


A lad from Hartlepool is doing really well on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He’s got to £125,000 with all his lifelines.

Chris: OK, for £250,000 which of the following was one of the Great Train Robbers was it: Take your time.

Ronnie Biggs
Ronnie O’Sullivan
Ronnie Corbett
Ronnie Wood

Lad: I’ll take the money, Chris

Chris: Are you sure, you’ve still got 3 lifelines

Lad: I’m sure Chris, I’ll take the money

Chris: OK audience give him a big round of applause, but before you go I’m sure you’d like to know the answer.

Lad: I know the answer, Chris.

Chris: You know the answer? You’ve just turned down a quarter of a million quid, are you mad? are you mental?

Lad: I may be mental Chris, but I’m no grass.

Christmas Cake Recipe

This year I’ve had loads of requests for my vodka Christmas cake recipe so once again, here goes. Please keep it in your files as I’m beginning to get tired of typing this up every year! (Made mine this morning).


  • 1 cup sugar
  • Half pound butter
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1cup brown sugar
  • lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • Nuts
  • 1….bottle vodka, large
  • 2 cups dried fruit
  • 4 cups self-raising flour

To prepare

  • Sample a cup of vodka to check quality.
  • Take a large bowl, check the vodka again to be sure it is of the highest quality, then repeat.
  • Turn on the electric mixer.
  • Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again
  • At this point, it’s best to make sure the vodka is still ok
  • Try another cup just in case
  • Turn off the mixer thingy. Break 2 eegs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
  • Pick the fruit off the floor, wash it, and put it in the bowl a piece at a time trying to count it. Mix on the turner.
  • If the fried druit getas stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver
  • Sample the vodka to test for tonsisticity.
  • Next sift 2 cups of salt, or something.
  • Check the vodka.
  • Now shit shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
  • Add one table
  • Add a spoon of sugar or somefink.
  • Whatever you can find.
  • Greash the oven.
  • Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over—-I eaht siht sllpechcke
  • Don’t forget to beat off the turner.
  • Finally, throw the bowl through the feckin window.
  • Finish of the vodka and wipe the counter with the cat

Should you call a lawyer?

A police officer turned up at my door this morning.

“Do the letters TG mean anything to you?” He asked.

“No,” I said.

“What about RP?”

“No, means nothing to me,” I said.

“How about AH?” He asked.

“Look,” I said, “am I suspected of something?”

“No sir.” He replied, “These are just initial inquiries.”

My thanks to Danny for allowing me to raid his Facebook: Danny Kemp

About Daniel Kemp

Daniel Kemp, ex-London police officer, mini-cab business owner, pub tenant and licensed London taxi driver never planned to be a writer, but after his first novel –The Desolate Garden — was under a paid option to become a $30 million film for five years until distribution became an insurmountable problem for the production company what else could he do?

In May 2018 his book What Happened In Vienna, Jack? became a number one bestseller on four separate Amazon sites: America, UK, Canada, and Australia.

Although it’s true to say that he mainly concentrates on what he knows best; murders laced by the mystery involving spies, his diverse experience of life shows in the short stories he writes, namely: Why? A Complicated Love, and the intriguing story titled The Story That Had No Beginning.

He is the recipient of rave reviews from a prestigious Manhattan publication, been described as –the new Graham Green — by a managerial employee of Waterstones Books, for whom he did a countrywide tour of signing events, and he has appeared on ‘live’ television in the UK.

A selection of books by Daniel Kemp

A review for Once I Was A Soldier

billierosie 5.0 out of 5 stars Once I was a Soldier by Daniel Kemp Reviewed in the United Kingdom

Once I was a Soldier by Daniel Kemp is the second in a trilogy that opened with What Happened in Vienna Jack? Once I was a Soldier picks up the narrative some 20 years later. It’s not obvious, at first, because the characters seem new, but if you have read the first book, you will realise, slowly, slowly that you have met these characters before.

This is a thriller of the highest quality. I’ve made the comparison between John le Carre and Daniel Kemp before. Both of these writers have agile, creative minds and both are experts in their chosen fields of espionage and the politics of the era.

The theme of Once I was a Soldier is power. People crave power, even if they already have it, they are greedy and want more. Those in power are afraid of losing it and guard it jealously.

The novel opens with an abuse of power. Melissa Iverson has inherited a vast fortune. Her lawyer reads her the contents of her Father’s Will. Her Father has made provisions for his two elderly, much loved servants, leaving them a house in which to live out their days. But the clause isn’t water tight and Melissa demands that the elderly couple are thrown out of their home immediately. This abuse of power drives the narrative.

This is some of the finest erotica I’ve read. The writer lulls the reader into believing that sex and wealth are so high on the agenda that we are reading a narrative that lures us into the sexually determined world of Jackie Collins, or Shirley Conran.

And neither is this Agatha Christie, there’s no room for Miss Marple here. There is a change of mood and pace that is shocking. We stumble into a gritty, dark world…the characters with whom we thought were safe and dependable are not what they have seemed. Who are their masters? Who truly, ultimately has power? We don’t know and for the most part we never find out, we can only guess. but the final pages bring us back to the narrative…it is shocking, leaving us in no doubt that evil really does exist.

If you like your reading to be challenging, if you like the mystery of where Daniel Kemp is taking warned, Once I was a Soldier is disturbing, but you will enjoy the journey.

Read the reviews and buy the books also in audio: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – follow Daniel: Goodreads – Website: Author Danny Kemp – Facebook: Books by Daniel – Twitter:@danielkemp6

Thanks for visiting and I know Danny would love your feedback..Have a good weekend…Sally


Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – #Children – #Chocolate Robbie and Michael Cheadle, #Tractor Deanie Humphrys-Dunne, #Monkey Donald Lloyd jnr #Fairystory Wanda Luthman

And another Christmas book fair today… some children’s books in print that you might like to order now so that they arrive by the big day.

The first authors today are Robbie and Michael Cheadle with a review for one of the books in a series for both children and parents… with a story and recipes – Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies Story and Cookbook

About the book

Join Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet on a fun adventure to discover why the milkshake rain is pale and white.

One of the recent reviews

Marian Beaman 5.0 out of 5 stars Candy Delight Reviewed in the United States on May 25, 2021

Treat yourself to a delightful confection of rhyming poetry, photos of creative fondant, all ensconced in a playful story featuring fairies, rainbows, and fanciful flavors of ice cream.

The author, who works in high finance by day, gives expression to her creative side in this book, tasty Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow and Fairies Story, part of a series. Recipes are included in this book with colorful photos, including cheese and bacon scones, fudge balls, and strawberry jelly cupcakes.

I can imagine parents and grandparents enjoying baking the recipes or simply reading the rhymes together. Excellent gift idea!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Other books in the Sir Chocolate Series


Read the reviews and buy the books :Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Robbie on : Goodreadsblog: Robbie’s Inspiration- Twitter: @bakeandwrite

The next author is Deanie Humphrys Dunne with a review for one of her books that would appeal to younger readers.. also in Spanish A Tractor Named Wilbur – Illustrations by Holly Humphrys -Bajaj

About the book

WILBUR is a small, shy tractor. He loves cutting the grass for Jim. But what happens when he must find a new home? Will Jim still be his friend? Who will the new owner be? WILBUR would love for you to take him home and read about his adventure. A Tractor Named Wilbur is the first in a fun series coming your way!

A recent review for the book

Diana 5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive and educative book Reviewed in the United States on April 13, 2021

In the last two evenings I read with my 7 y.o. son the beautiful story about the red tractor Wilbur. My son liked the book and I think that the plot is suitable for every child.
In the end of the book you will also find questions from the author that the kids will love to answer together with their parents. Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne


Deanie Humphrys-Dunne, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Deanie Humphrys- Dunne : Goodreads – website: Children’s books with Life Lessons – Twitter: @DeanieHDunne

The next author with a popular book is Donald Lloyd Jr. for The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends

About the book

Ever wanted to make a new friend but were not sure how? Have you ever met someone and instantly knew that you would be friends? “The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends” is a story about finding a friend, learning how to be a friend and realizing that a true friend can be anyone from anywhere!

One of the recent reviews for the book

Laura 5.0 out of 5 stars Your Childrens favorite bedtime story. Reviewed in the United States on August 5, 2021

My 8 year old daughter loved this book. The characters and colors are beautifully illustrated. We read it aloud, and she re-read it “all by herself” . The parent in me really appreciates the positive message. Looking forward to the sequel.


Read the reviews and buy the book:Amazon US –And: Amazon UK – Read reviews:Goodreads – Author Pages: Amazon US –And: Amazon UK – FacebookDonald LloydInstagramDonald Lloyd Author – Twitter@DonaldLl0yd

The final book which would make a lovely gift is the fairy story – The Lilac Princess by Wanda Luthman.

The Lilac Princess (The Princess Series Book 1) by [Wanda Luthman]

About the book

A young Princess with too much responsibility and not enough freedom finds herself facing the greatest decision of her life. She is an only child to an elderly King and Queen of a Kingdom in turmoil.

Upon her rests the responsibility to rescue her Kingdom one day, but for now, she is held within the castle walls for her safety. She longs to go outside just for a moment, to smell the sweet lilacs growing in the meadow.

Come along on her adventure when she dares to escape the castle walls and meets a cursed dragon. Little does she know that while the dragon has an evil plan, she holds the key to bringing peace to her Kingdom.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jessica D. Adams, Author VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars A short chapter book for kids with a lesson on forgiveness Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2021

“The Lilac Princess” is a fun, short chapter book for kids. Each chapter starts with a brightly colored graphic of a character or scene. The story is about a princess who feels trapped inside the castle walls and she wants to explore beyond the walls despite her father’s wishes. The chapters are short yet capture the reader’s attention with a little suspense. It is interesting how the princess gets her nickname of the Lilac Princess and how she meets a common boy, Dirk, who becomes her friend and accomplice for her escape from the castle walls. The book touches on loyalty as well as forgiveness. When the two main characters are asked to forgive a wrongdoing, they must decide if forgiveness is the best choice even though they were wronged. They both realize that they too, are in need of forgiveness. It’s a good lesson for kids to learn about forgiveness.
I would recommend this book to kids around ages 8-11.

A selection of other books by Wanda Luthman

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Wanda: Goodreads – Blog: Wanda Luthman WordPress- Twitter: Wandalu64


Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.



Smorgasbord Book Reviews Recap – November 2021 – #Mystery Joan Hall, #Western Sandra Cox, #Children’s Toni Pike, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau, History Patricia Furstenberg, #Poetry Colleen Chesebro, #Anthology Allan Hudson and Other Authors

Welcome to the recap of my book reviews in November and the first is for Joan Hall for her psychological mystery short story. House of Sorrow: Legends of Madeira

My review for the book November 1st 2021

I have read great reviews for this prequel to The Legends of Madeira series, and I was certainly not disappointed. Great characters, descriptive writing and a sustained air of mystery throughout the story.

Set in the 1960s, and the town of Madeira, we are introduced to Ruth who has lived in one of the few remaining Victorian homes in the street for most of her married life. Following the death of her husband, a former police chief, Ruth is under pressure from family to move into assisted living.

She reflects on her life in the house and town since the 1960s and we discover more about her background, marriage and the major events of the decade that impacted the nation and the world with both sorrow and jubilation

Ruth had loved the house and lavished time and effort to bring both the interior and the porch back to its former glory. A favourite in the neighbourhood with neighbours and their children she becomes a much loved part of the community.

Over the years there are veiled hints about the house and its previous owners. Ruth brushes them aside as superstition, and the active imagination of Sam a close neighbour and friend. Until suddenly one day it all becomes very real.

Now in old age and alone, she carries a burden. Whoever lives in the house next must be warned.

This book is a great way to introduce the town of Madeira and importantly the house, opening the door to the first book in the series which I am looking forward to reading.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Other books by Joan Hall

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read other reviews and follow Joan: Goodreads – Website: Joan Hall – Blog: Joan HallBookBub: Joan Hall – Facebook: Joan Hall Writes – Twitter: @JoanHallWrites

My next review is for Sandra Cox for the western romance another wonderful read, Tumblestar

My review for the book November 6th 2021

What can I say… Sandra Cox always succeeds in sweeping her readers away to the plains and towns of the West. Her characters are so engaging and even those who smell like rotten buffalo hides are drawn in great detail.

There is danger, adventure and of course romance with some heart stopping moments when it seems all will be lost… heroes and villains vie for attention, as do the magnificent wild horses that roam the prairies.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know rancher Coop Malloy, his multi-tasking cook, the lovely Randa and Coop’s niece Kalli and those who find themselves welcomed into their warm kindness.

Apart from the danger and heart stopping moments it is also a feel good read that you won’t be able to put down.

Highly recommended for western and romance fans.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAmazon UK

A small selection of Sandra’s books

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon UK –And: Amazon US- follow Sandra Cox: Goodreads – Blog: Sandra Cox Blogspot – Twitter:@Sandra_Cox

With Christmas in a few weeks I thought I might check out more children’s books and delighted to share my review for Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer Space by Toni Pike.

My review for the book November 11th 2021

The book does begin on a sad note with the death of Brody’s mother in an accident when he was a baby. However, he and his dad have become very close and lead a rather relaxed lifestyle with a flexible approach to nutrition and after school activities. Brody loves his father completely and their close relationship. He is therefore very put out when a whirlwind romance ends up with a new stepmother, a famous children’s author, who has different ideas about both suitable breakfasts and homework.

His friend Kyle becomes convinced that a UFO has landed, and it is rather coincidental that Brody’s stepmother, who seems a little too perfect, arrived on the scene at the same time.

We follow Brody and his friends as they investigate how his stepmother seems to have special powers of persuasion, and why despite their misgivings, they seem to be falling under her spell.

Many children are faced with loss of a parent or a split in their parent’s relationship which leads to a stepmother or stepfather trying to find a way to integrate into an established family unit. This story highlights this with a humourous tale involving overactive imaginations and a need on both sides of the dilemma to find common ground and acceptance.

Apart from an entertaining read, I think younger children who are experiencing this change in dynamics within their family would find it very helpful as they make adjustments in their lives. Also the adults who are attempting to win hearts and minds as newcomers into a new home.

The story is relevant in today’s society, the characters are all delightful and I can highly recommend.

Head over to buy the book: USAUKAustralia Canada

Also by Toni Pike for children and adults

Connect to Toni: Buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Toni:Goodreads – Website: Toni PikeTwitter: @piketoni1

My next review was for the poetry collection,that is both poignant and thought provoking.  Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance -Elizabeth Gauffreau

My review for the collection 13th November 2021.

As we get older we lose more of those we love, and grief is one of the hardest of life’s experiences to comes to term with. Brief eulogies that express love and respect for a person are often more meaningful than longer testaments to their life.

This is the case in Elizabeth Gauffreau’s collection of syllabic poetry. Brief glimpses into the lives of her parents as they met and married, followed by early childhood memories and the teen years.

The wonderful early family images set the scene and the words bring them to life. They are emotionally engaging and evoke the reader’s own memories and also regrets for lost opportunities to share more moments with those no longer with us. For example:

27 Edgewood Road

clearing out the house
entering forbidden rooms
hidden photographs
baby picture never seen
her pride in me now showing.

A collection for reflection and enjoyment.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the collection:
Amazon US And : Amazon UK

Also by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Read the reviews and buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Twitter: @LGauffreau

The next review is for Patricia Furstenberg – Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories

My review for the book November 20th 2021

What an amazing way to learn history, particularly of a country that has such a rich and tempestuous story to tell.

The author has written 100 word fiction for each entry dating back to paleolithic times with the historical background to the story following. The stories tell of a country that is tempting to invaders, inhabited by resilient and proud people, who have survived extraordinary periods of occupation by Romans and successive marauders from neigbouring kingdoms many times over the centuries.

Transylvania is showcased in wonderful photographs, either of the breathtaking scenery or surviving historical structures of monuments. It is clear that Patricial Furstenberg has a deep knowledge of the country and its history and a love and respect for it too.

She offers a guided tour through the ages using fiction and fact creatively and compiled with great skill.

Not only do I have a greater understanding of the history of Transylvania but it has encouraged me to explore it further. Recommended

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A small selection of other books by Patricia Furstenberg (some in Afrikaans)

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK Blog: Alluring Creations Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @PatFurstenberg

More delightful poetry in a multi-author anthology – Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse – The Moons of Autumn. – Colleen Chesebro, Jules Paige and other Poets

About the collection

Word Weaving is a yearly poetry journal, and for our first issue, we bring you poetry crafted from a broad mix of new and established voices across the spectrum of Japanese and American syllabic poetry forms. Enjoy this collection of poems that celebrate the Moons of Autumn.

Contributing Poets:

Annette Rochelle Aben, Mona Bedi, Nancy Brady, Colleen M. Chesebro, Goutam Dutta, Bill Engleson, Elizabeth F., Andrea Finichiu, D.L. Finn, Jeff Flesch, Ken Gierke, Franci Hoffman, Thom Kerr, Sujata Khanna, Ruth Klein, Jules Paige, D. Wallace Peach, Gwen M. Plano, M. J. Mallon, R.V. Mitchell, Elaine Patricia Morris, Lisa Smith Nelson, Pat Raffington, Susmita Ramani, Kerfe Roig, Aishwarya Saby, Akhila Siva, Merril D. Smith, Willow Willers, Cheryl Wood.

My review for the Journal 25th November 2021

This is an excellent example of how a collaboration between writers can result in a wonderful collection of thought provoking and heartwarming poetry.

Syllabic poetry is a broad term for the formats such as Haiku, Rnga, Tanka, Haibun, Gogyohka, Cinaquain, Etheree and other Japanese verse. There are examples of many of these forms from the contributing poets in tribute to the autumn moon, and all stand out as poignant, witty and memorable.

Very tough to highlight favourites but here is a small taste which I hope will encourage you to read the collection in full. Apart from a wonderful 18 stanza Renga by the poets spearheading this collection, Colleen M. Chesebro and Jules Paige, here are two other examples of the quality of the poetry offered.

D. Wallace Peach

moonlight stitches lace
frosty hems on scarlet leaves
glints of fallen stars

Gwen M. Plano

the empress rises
summer and winter curtsy
nature holds its breath
while the symphony begins
fireflies dance in the moonlight

A lovely collection to dip into.

Head over to buy the collection: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And:Amazon UKGoodreads: Colleen at Goodreads – Website Wordcraft poetryAuthor blog: Colleen Chesebro Twitter: @ColleenChesebro

This is my review for the seasonal collection of short stories featuring nine authors and their stories. Autumn Paths: An Anthology.

About the Anthology

Nine writers from both sides of the Atlantic, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have created this miscellany of stories.

These tales of family, mystery, intrigue, adventure, and suspense will take you across continents, through time and space in this world and others. With a linking theme of autumn, discover new landscapes, encounter new and intriguing characters, uncover secrets and lies, and witness the resolution of old enmities.

Take the first step on this roller-coaster of an emotional journey, and you won’t be disappointed.

My review for the anthology November 26th 2021

I enjoyed them all and if I was to mention just one or two to highlight it would be Winter Tar by Jeremy Thomas Gilmer – a glimpse into an Ireland in a post-apocalyptic world of the return of the Viking raids. And The Path to Redemption by Pierre C. Arseneault
which will strike a chord for anyone who returns home out of necessity when all they wish to do is leave their past behind.
If you are looking for a well-written multi-genre collection to enjoy then I have no hesitation in recommending.

Head over to buy the collection: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Reviews: Goodreads

To read more about the contributing authors.. here is the link to my full review: Authumn Anthology


Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.




Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – #Mystery Novels – Sharon Marchisello, Harmony Kent, Geoff Le Pard, Amy M. Reade

Welcome to the Christmas book fair and today I am sharing some of the great mystery books on the shelves that would make wonderful gifts.

And the first mystery today is one I can personally recommend is Going Home by Sharon Marchisello.

My review for the book 30th September 2021

This is a well written and thought provoking story that combines a care crisis that many of us face with elderly parents who have developed dementia, and the unravelling of the mystery surrounding a murder in a family home.

It is clear the author has experience of the challenge of communicating with someone who has short term memory loss, and brings in a cleverly crafted murder plot with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested.

There are flashbacks to the past and events which have a bearing on the present, and the reader is witness to the fallout that revelations result in as the search begins for a viable suspect amongst the outsiders who have access to the family home. It would seem that the authorities have only one suspect in mind, and without the ability to communicate coherently, an elderly woman must rely on her extended family to prove her innocence.

The author does a great job in keeping all the various strands of the plot running smoothly in parallel and brings the story to a satisfactory climax.

I recommend to those who enjoy well written murder mysteries and family sagas.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UsAnd: Amazon UK

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

Another mystery that I can recommend is The Vanished Boy by Harmony Kent... a parent’s worse nightmare.

About the book

It’s so remote out here. Anything could happen …

A missed phone call in the night is all it takes.

When Carole’s 18-year-old son goes missing, she breaks into Jayden’s laptop to try to understand his life.

All too soon, Carole discovers just how little she knew her boy.

And when one lead after another dead-ends, the distraught mother has to face the unthinkable.

Sucked into a sticky web of deceit and lies, nothing is as it seems.

When your life turns inside out and upside down, who would you trust?

My review for the book June 23rd 2021

A parent’s worst nightmare. A missing teenager and a realisation that you didn’t know them as well as you thought you did.

The author has created a fast paced thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat, as widow Carole searches social media for clues as to where her missing son might be. She heads down paths that lead to even more questions, as the empathetic detective in charge of the investigation does his best to keep her updated on developments.

The circle of family and friends she can turn to is small, and as she slowly uncovers key pieces of information, she begins to feel even more isolated and her sanity is threatened. The physical evidence mounts up and turns her world upside down; trust in everything and everyone in her life is challenged.

The characters are relatable, as are the extremes of emotions and pain that fuel the events leading to the unexpected climax of the story.

Can you believe all that you see and hear? Or are you being manipulated by someone with something to hide? You will have to read the book to find out.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Harmony Kent

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Harmony:Goodreads – Website:Harmony KentTwitter: @Harmony_Kent

The next book is by Geoff Le Pard.. a contemporary mystery romance – The Art of Spirit Capture

About the book

Jason Hales is at his lowest ebb: his brother is in a coma; his long-term partner has left him; he’s been sacked; and Christmas is round the corner to remind him how bad his life has become.

After receiving an unexpected call telling him he’s a beneficiary of his Great Aunt Heather’s estate, he visits the town he vaguely recalls from his childhood, where his great aunt lived. Wanting to find out more, he’s soon sucked into local politics revolving around his great uncle’s extraordinary glass ornaments, his ‘Captures’, and their future.

While trying to piece his life back together, he’ll have to confront a number of questions: What actually are these Captures and what is the mystery of the old wartime huts where his uncle fashioned them? Why is his surly neighbour so antagonistic? Can he trust anyone, especially the local doctor Owen Marsh and Charlotte Taylor, once a childhood adversary, but now the lawyer dealing with the estate? His worries pile up, with his ex in trouble, his flat rendered uninhabitable and his brother’s condition worsening. Will Christmas bring him any joy?

Set in the Sussex countryside, this is a modern novel with mystery, romance and magic at its core, as well as a smattering of hope, redemption and good cooking.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Mae Clair5.0 out of 5 stars A brillant, quirky, and charming read!  Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2021

The Art of Spirit Capture is a VERY unusual story that mixes a bit of the metaphysical with small town politics, a splash of romance, and a collection of eccentric and intriguing characters. Jason Hales has just been sacked from his engineering job when he learns he and his brother, Peter, are the joint executors and beneficiaries of his deceased aunt’s estate. Peter, however, is in an induced coma following a biking accident, leaving Jason to sort out the legalities.

When Jason arrives in the small town he vaguely recalls from childhood, he learns the estate includes not just his aunt’s home, but also a large surrounding stretch of woods and several workshops where his uncle made spirit captures—glass ornaments containing the last breath of departed loved ones, and capable of producing strong emotional reactions.

Because Jason hadn’t seen his aunt in decades and because the spirit (and light) captures are integral to the life of many people in the town, Jason is immediately viewed with suspicion. What keeps this story moving forward is Jason’s need to locate the formula for producing captures, and the townspeople’s wariness of what he intends to do regarding the future of captures.

The characters are an eccentric collection, each with backstories of their own, many of which overlap in surprising ways. The deeper I sank into the book the more complexities the author revealed. The plot is ingenious and rewarding, with many twisting threads tied neatly together at the end. I loved the descriptions of the captures (especially the light capture display), and the resolution of how everything played out.

Jason is a highly likable character, but I also need to mention other personal favorites. Lotte, Jason’s childhood friend, now a lawyer assisting him the estate, and Cyrus, a neighbor farmer with a chip on his shoulder really stood out for me. I also loved Viscount, a dog Jason “inherits” with the estate.

If you’re looking for something different, give this quirky and well-written book a read. It’s well worth sinking into the pages!  

Head over to buy the book: Amazon UK And Amazon US

A selection of books by Geoff Le Pard

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website: Geoff Le PardGoodreads: Geoff on GoodreadsTwitter: @geofflepard

The final mystery day has a festive theme and is by Amy M. Reade with The Worst Noel (The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series Book 1)

About the book

Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love, and joy, but for Lilly Carlsen, this Christmas is murder.

As a single mom, small business owner, and president of the local Chamber of Commerce, the last thing she needs is to find a dead body on the floor of her jewelry shop on the busiest shopping day of the year. And as if that isn’t enough, Lilly has to deal with a deadbeat ex-husband, a mother with declining mental health, and two teenagers.

But when a second body turns up, Lilly finds herself squarely in the crosshairs of suspicion. Can she figure out who killed the victims before she becomes one herself? And will her family’s Christmas be merry…or scary?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jun 28, 2021 Marissa rated it four stars really liked it
Christmas spirit takes a deadly turn.

Lily a single mom and president of the local chamber of commerce finds a dead body in the floor of her jewelry store during the busiest shopping day of the season. Not only has she had to deal with her no good ex-husband, two teenagers and a mother who mental condition is declining.

When another body is found she finds herself in the middle of the things. Will she be able to save the day and find the killer before she might be another victim? Can she survive the chaos of Christmas alive and in one piece?

A delightful read which pulls you in.  

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by Amy M. Reade

51dikCmd-RL._UY250_House of the Hanging Jade cover with USA Today

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Blog: Amy Reade WordPress Goodreads: Amy Reade Goodreads – Twitter: @readeandwrite



Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books… thanks Sally.