Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Musicians #Covid – Pause, Play, Repeat:The real impact of Covid-19 on musicians by Sammy Stein Reviewed by William Price King

This week I have handed over the book review to resident music columnist Jazz musician, composer and singer William Price King who has read Pause, Play, Repeat:The real impact of Covid-19 on musicians by Sammy Stein.

About the book

What was the real impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the lives and careers of musicians? In candid interviews, 18 musicians at the top of their game, including Ray Gelato, Tony Kofi, Ivo Perelman, Emm Gryner, Collette Cooper, Adrian Cox, Tara Minton, Champian Fulton, Graeme Flowers, Chris Bestwick, Camilla George, Alex Ward, Elise Morris, Grace Garland, Esther Bennett, Jennifer Lauren, Claire Cope and Beatrice Betley, discuss the impact of Covid-19 on their music, careers and lives.

They discuss the sudden loss of work and income, the closure of venues and rehearsal spaces, the effect on their emotional well-being and the sense of being caught up and overtaken by events completely out of their control. Access to reliable advice, funding and grants as well as support through the music community is also discussed. The musicians explain how they continued to be creative, how new collaborations were formed, the negatives and the benefits of lockdown. The musicians are based in different countries, of various ages and each has their own take on their experiences before and , during the pandemic.

They also give their views on the long term effects of the pandemic. These interviews describe the true effects of the pandemic on their lives and how they felt as a musician caught up in a global disaster. Most are jazz musicians but many play across genres. The interviews are profound, open and revealing. With a foreword from Ivors Academy and support across the music industry, the importance of documenting the effects of Covid-19 on musicians is important and necessary.

William Price King’s review for the book April 10th 2021

In her book “Pause, Play, Repeat,” Sammy Stein illustrates how the Covid-19 pandemic brought the live music industry to a standstill for jazz musicians. Through a series of interviews she segues into the lives of successful, touring musicians and documents their experiences during the lockdown. Using their own words, she paints a poignant portrait of how their lives suddenly changed when music festivals and recording sessions were cancelled, and when night clubs and theaters closed down. Their fears, anxieties, and the need to access new platforms to be more creative, resourceful, and collaborative such as on-line live streaming and Zoom sessions are underscored, as well as the desire to boost their efficiency with new recording software for their home studios. In this book Ms. Stein offers great insight into the lives of these musicians, as they try to adapt to their new realities. An enlightening read indeed.

Sammy Stein is no newcomer to the jazz world. She is the author of “All That’s Jazz,” and “Women in Jazz” which won the “Jazz Times Distaff Award,” and was named “Phace Magazine Music Book of the Year.” 

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

Also by Sammy Stein

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – More reviews: Goodreads – Website: Sammy Stein – Facebook: Sammy Stein 111 – Twitter: @SammyStein111

About Sammy Stein

If you like well researched and cleverly written narrative, you will love Sammy’s work. A writer who is highly respected in the fields of jazz, women in jazz, gender disparity and music. Jazz critic and columnist, one of UK’ S ‘go-to’ authors. Jazz festival curator, radio shows. The writer of series for radio and playlists, many people have enjoyed Sammy’s entertaining and diverse verbal blogs and guest appearances on shows, as well as her Women In Jazz series or shows and articles. . Music is this author’s passion, especially jazz and bringing lesser-known acts who deserve attention to the public arena. Sammy has had 5 books published and many superb reviews, including 2 Jazz Times awards.
Sammy also collaborates with other authors and musicians. She is International Editor at the Jazz Journalists’ Association.

Her columns include Something Else Reviews, Free Jazz Collective and Jazz Views.
Musicians comment on Sammy’s approachability and honesty in her reviews and writing. Her book include ‘Women In Jazz ( 8th House), In Their Own Words ( 8th House) and All That’s Jazz ( Tomahawk) and her passion for music is clear. One commentator said ‘the jazz jumps off the page’ and another ‘she gives clear facts yet does not try to force the reader’s opinion, the depth of research is incredible’. Researchers like working with Sammy, as do many musicians and she is a highly respected author.

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

Blog– IMPROVISATION William Price King on Tumblr – Buy William’s music: William Price King iTunes – FacebookWilliam Price King – Twitter@wpkofficial
Regular VenueCave Wilson


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to buy Sammy’s book.. and my thanks to William for his terrific review for the book.


Smorgasbord Stories – A return to Tales from the Irish Garden- Summer: Chapter Twelve – The Storyteller to the Rescue by Sally Cronin

Last Sunday The Storyteller’s daughter has been cursed and trapped in the body of a fox she must hope for a miracle to be returned to her family.

Summer: Chapter Twelve – The Storyteller to the Rescue

Image ©Tales from the Irish Garden..

As the morning light filtered through the branches above her head, Dorothy watched her three cubs as they wrestled and tumbled around her. Eddie was still not home but she knew that he would fight to the end to return to her and their family. Human tears fell from her blue eyes as she contemplated a future for them without his love and support.

Meanwhile, across the forest and only a few feet from the fence that separated the woods from the magic garden, Eddie lay panting in the damp grass. He had been returning from the village, where he had managed to scavenge half a cooked chicken, and some slightly rancid ham from waste bins behind the Inn, when he had suddenly felt a stabbing pain in one of his back legs. As he collapsed into a heap, dropping his precious food, he felt a sense of doom about the future of his small family.

He was losing strength as he had struggled to release his foot from the snare cutting into his flesh. It was hopeless, as the more he fought against the wire, the tighter it became.
Suddenly he heard whistling nearby and snarled, ready to bite the hand of the hunter who had laid this cruel trap. He looked up and saw a pair of leggings above sturdy boots, and a gnarled hand reaching down towards him. He snarled in warning as the flesh neared his nose, but then heard a voice that he knew.

‘There, there lad, don’t fret now, let’s get you out of that wicked thing my boy.’ Eddie lay back down, worn out from the night’s struggles, and also shocked by hearing the Storyteller’s voice after four long years. He had no way to communicate who he was to Dorothy’s father, but he tried to think of a way to get through to him.

Gently the old man held the fox’s leg in his hand whilst he worked the wire until it loosened. He could see that there was damage to the foot that needed to be treated with some of his magic potions, and having released the animal, he picked him up in his arms and carried him to the cottage.

Within minutes of the wound being washed and coated with the wild herb dressing, Eddie was out of pain and eager to be on his way back to Dorothy and the babies. He knew she would be frantic by now and would not be able to leave the den as the pups were far too young. She would be very hungry, and only have enough milk for another day or so. He wanted to express his gratitude to her father in the only way that he could, by gently licking his hand. The Storyteller reciprocated by stroking the dark red fur of his patient’s head and for a brief moment Eddie felt a sense of peace.

The old man picked him up and walked out of the cottage and down the path to the wooden gate. He deposited Eddie next to the chicken and the ham, which miraculously had not been filched in his absence. He stood back and waited to make sure that the fox would be able to move easily, but was taken by surprise as the animal sat down and looked right up at him with strangely human eyes. The Storyteller was a man of magic, and not one to have flights of fancy, and when the fox stood and ran around him several times before picking up the food and moving along the path, he decided to follow him.

Through the forest they moved, sometimes on the path, and at times through the undergrowth. From time to time, Eddie would stop and look over his shoulder to make sure that the old man was keeping up with him. Eventually they emerged into the clearing in front of the den and he pushed aside the bushes concealing the entrance. He was relieved to see his beloved Dorothy gently nuzzling the babies as they drank their milk. She looked up and saw him, and she gave a delighted yip to welcome him home. He dropped the food in front of her but she was too relieved to see him to eat right then. He stood by her side and nuzzled her neck fur, gently licking her ears in devotion.

Eddie rose and indicated that he wanted her to follow him into the sunlight and bring the babies with her. The family emerged, and immediately the cubs, full of milk and ready to play, chased each other in and out of their parent’s legs and biting their feathered tails.

On the edge of the clearing the Storyteller paused and took in the delightful scene in front of him. He didn’t want to startle the vixen and her cubs, but Eddie trotted towards him before turning back again in invitation. The man moved slowly, bending down close to the ground to show that he meant no harm and found himself looking directly into a pair of eyes that he had never forgotten. He fell backwards onto his bottom, staring in shock at the two foxes in front of him. He and Eddie’s family had mourned the loss of their children four years before, thinking that some dreadful accident had befallen them or that they had been killed by some passing vagabonds. No trace of them had ever been found and eventually they had to accept that they were gone forever.

Dorothy had been so intent on her three pups that it took a moment before she looked more closely at the man sat in front of her. Tears formed in her blue eyes, revealing the human hidden beneath the russet fur. She left the cubs with Eddie, approaching hesitantly and stood by her father’s knee. He stretched out his arms and she leapt into them so that she could plaster his face and lick away his own tears.

‘Who did this to you child?’ He gently smoothed the rich red fur of the top of her head.

‘Who could be so wicked as to take you both from us?’ he paused as a thought struck him.

‘The only one who would seek pleasure from this would be the Goblin and I suspect Magnus who left around the same time you disappeared.’ Dorothy, still under the curse of silence, nodded her head slowly and the Storyteller put her back on the ground, stood up and dusted himself off.

‘If I carry the cubs, will you and Eddie come with me to the Goblin’s cave and I will make him reverse his curse that he placed on you?’ He walked over to where the now fed and sleepy cubs were lying next to their father, gently picking them up one my one; tucking the squirming fur bundles carefully into the front of his jumper. Keeping one hand beneath them to keep them safe, he and the two foxes headed off to the other end of the forest and the dank place which stank of rancid goblin.

You have already heard and witnessed the persuasiveness of the Storytellers abilities, and the following day a message was sent to Eddie’s parents to come to the cottage in the magic garden for Sunday lunch. You can imagine their shock on arriving to find their son, now a mature grown man, with his arms around the shoulders of the beautiful Dorothy, alongside three gloriously red-headed triplets, tucking into a chicken purée dinner.

As to the Goblin, he has never been seen again. Those that wander into that part of the forest are amused by the statue of stone that looks like an old ugly monkey squealing in terror. The place is no longer dark and dank, but is sunlit and is always covered in a carpet of foxgloves.

©Sally Cronin

I hope you have enjoyed and will join me tomorrow for more adventures in the magic garden.

My latest short story collection is Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

MacTrish 5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, entertaining and delightful. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 March 2021

I bought Sam, a Shaggy Dog Story by this author partly because it featured the same breed of dog that had been cherished pets of ours. That book held me spellbound. When I discovered the existence of this one, I bought it despite the fact that short stories are not my usual genre. It turned out to be a perfect escape from a pandemic.

This book is a little gem! Each tale is different. I was impressed by the range of moods – comic, poignant, vengeful, futuristic, romantic – each one gripping in its own way. It’s hard to pick favourites but it opens with a humorous story about AI and its thwarting of a dieter craving a treat. Another one concerning domestic abuse has a delicious twist. I had intended putting this book by the bed and dipping into it on those nights when sleep doesn’t come easily. Well, sleep suffered considerably. I read the entire book in one sitting!

If you’re looking for a multi-faceted treasury of well-written tales about the human condition, then this book is one for you. I raged, wept, laughed and gasped at some of these but there was never a sense of hopelessness or cynicism . Read it and be moved, thrilled, delighted and diverted.

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

You can find out about my other books and their most recent reviews: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2021

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – Open Mic Night – Special Guest Malcolm Allen – #Malapropisms and #Thesaurus

Delighted to welcome Malcolm Allen again to the Open Mic Night …. Malcolm regularly sends us funnies from Australia and delighted to pass them on.

And last but not least.. don’t eat your words.. just sit on them…

Malcolm Allen’s latest book in print and Kindle

About the book

This is the third book by the author, following publication of his two autobiographies ‘From Birth to Perth – Memoirs of a Nomad’ in August 2013 and ‘World Turned Upside Down – More Nomadic Memoirs’ published in June 2018. This third book in the nomadic series, is a travelogue of the author’s journeys around the world. He shares both his travel experiences and his views on various subjects, with his usual frankness and humour. It’s a tale of the traveller as he moves by air, land and sea with assorted companions. The world of travel has changed the lives of many and continues to delight and surprise the author each time he packs his luggage and passport. As a fellow author, Michael Palin so eloquently said: ‘Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote. I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.’

One of the recent reviews for the book

Mr. Ian M. Smith 5.0 out of 5 stars A Nomad who really Entertains Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 January 2021

The author has already written his autobiography in two volumes and that is quite a story. He is much travelled and, in this new book, he gives us the benefit of his travels in a novel way. Instead of using a chronological framework, Allen uses an alphabetical format interposing memories of places he’s visited with a miscellany of anecdotes that keep you entertained.

There is plenty of humour and I’ve given the book five stars because of its readability. It’s a winning combination of real world travelogue that puts you right there with the author, and anecdotal humour that will make you chuckle (as well as groan at some of the quips). The result is a book that you will not want to put down. If you enjoy Bill Bryson, you will enjoy Malcolm Allen. He has taken a novel approach to non-fiction that is both entertaining and highly amusing. I now feel that I’ve really been to some of the places that I’ll never get to in person and that must be the highest accolade for a book that is much more than a travelogue.

Buy the book: Amazon US And:Amazon UK – And: Amazon AU

About Malcolm Allen

The author was born in London UK and experienced a challenging childhood, leaving school with no academic qualifications at the age of 15. He had mixed fortunes in his early working days but managed to secure a job in the banking industry at the age of 19. During a period of 32 years he enjoyed a demanding and successful career in London, the pinnacle of which was becoming a Company Director at the age of 37. Following a life changing experience in November 1998 he emigrated to Perth, Western Australia in September 2001, relocating to his current home in Melbourne, Australia in November 2015.

Thanks for dropping in today and I know Malcolm would love your feedback.. thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Mystery – Frozen Stiff Drink: A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 6) by James J. Cudney

I read some amazing books in 2020 and I would like to share them again with you, updated with the authors most recent releases and their biography.

This is my review from August 2020 for Frozen Stiff Drink: A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 6) by James J. Cudney

About the Book

A winter blizzard barrels toward Wharton County with a vengeance. Madam Zenya predicted the raging storm would change the course of Kellan’s life, but the famed seer never could’ve prepared him for all the collateral damage. Nana D disappears after visiting a patient at Willow Trees, leaving behind a trail of confusion. When the patient turns up dead and a second body is discovered beneath the snowbanks, Kellan must face his worst fears. What tragedy has befallen his beloved grandmother?

Kellan’s brother Hampton learns essential life lessons the hard way after his father-in-law accuses him of embezzlement. While trying to prove his innocence, Hampton digs himself a deeper hole that might lead to prison. Sheriff Montague wants to save him, but she receives the shock of her life as the past hurtles forward and complicates her future.

Between locating Nana D and solving the scandalous murder of another prominent Braxton citizen, Kellan and April’s worlds explode with more turmoil than they can handle. Too bad neither one of them knows what to do about the psychic’s latest premonition. The suspicious deaths happening around town aren’t ending anytime soon.

My review for the book 27th August 2020

It is hard to believe that Kellan Ayrwick has only been back at the Braxton Campus for a year in this series of mysteries. In that time he has solved several murders and other criminal activities and either charmed or alienated family and residents. Just when the poor guy thought he could relax with his daughter and nephew away in Florida with his parents, and his developing romance with the town sheriff April on track, a storm front races in.

It is not just the snow that Kellan is up to his eyes in, with his fiesty grandmother going missing, corruption allegations rocking the judicial office, accusations piling up against all his family members and bodies being discovered on an alarmingly regular basis.

As always the author keeps us on our toes with fast paced action and a growing list of suspects; all well drawn with their own quirks and characteristics. Some are familiar from other books and others new to the town.. including the irritatingly arrogant Fox Terrell who seems to turn up when he is least wanted or expected.

James Cudney writes a very good murder mystery and leaves the reader guessing to the last minute as to who could be the killer. He also unravels the other mysteries very satisfactorily in the final chapters, although we are left with a cliffhanger guaranteed to encourage you to buy the next book in the series, which of course we will.

Recommended for murder mystery readers who enjoy second guessing the author right to the last page.

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

Also by James J. Cudney

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US and: Amazon UKWebsite/Blog: This is my truth nowGoodreads: James J. Cudney – Twitter: @Jamescudney4

About James J. Cudney

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website:

What do I do outside of writing: I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at, I have over 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the review from 2020 and if you have not read any of James’s books yet, they are great… Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves -#YA – Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady (An Amanda Travels Adventure Book 8) by Darlene foster

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Darlene Foster – Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady (An Amanda Travels Adventure Book 8) on Pre-Order for May 11th 2021

About the book

Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her aunt. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda travels to Malta with her classmate Caleb and his parents.

Amanda is intrigued by this exotic island in the middle of the Mediterranean, full of colourful history, sun-drenched limestone fortresses, stunning beaches and fascinating birds. But…who is killing the protected birds? Who stole a priceless artifact from the museum? And why is Leah acting so strange? She couldn’t possibly be involved in these illegal activities, or could she?

Join Amanda and her friends as they visit ancient temples, an exciting falconry and the enchanting Popeye Village, as they try to get to the bottom of the mystery of the Sleeping Lady.

“Be prepared to learn a lot about the culture while you follow Amanda on her adventure.”—Laura Best, author, Bitter, Sweet

“What a great way for a young person to learn about a culture and to be inspired to experience other countries themselves.”—Irene Butler, author, Trekking the Globe with Mostly Gentle Footsteps

Head over to buy the book on pre-order for May 11th: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Darlene Foster


A recent review for Amanda in Arabia on Goodreads

Feb 20, 2021 M.J. Mallon rated it Four Stars

Such a cute middle grade book about Amanda venturing to the United Arab Emirates. It is educational too, various aspects of living in the desert and the culture and customs of the people are explained in an interesting way throughout the book. It is descriptive, fun, and amusing too. I particularly loved the sections with camels and how the author explained different types of camels and how wonderful the camel is especially in a sand storm!

What a great way to educate youngsters about the diversity of cultures in this world.

It transported me away for a while, and made me smile, which I’m grateful for particularly at the moment when we can’t go anywhere.

Find out more about Darlene’s books and read the reviews: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website/Blog: Darlene Foster WordPressGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @supermegawoman

About  Darlene Foster

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.


Thanks for visiting and I hope you will head over to pre-order Darlene’s latest book.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Weekly News – #Poetry Sue Vincent, #Paranormal #Romance Jan Sikes, #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach

Welcome to the Weekly New and recent reviews for authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first review is for Laughter Lines: Life from the Tail End by Sue Vincent.  I promised Sue that as long as I was blogging I would continue to promote her books that have been on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore since it began five years ago. She has left an incredible legacy for us to read and for me it is a way to keep her spirit alive and with us.

About the book

Do you know what really happened between George and the Dragon? Or why Briar Rose got her name? And have you ever suffered the indignity of an overdunked ginger nut?

Take a life with a small dog in tow, add a dash of red hair dye, a selection of crumbling biscuits and a passion for recitable verse… The result is a recipe for laughter. Sue Vincent shares her world in verse.

One of the recent reviews for the book

marjorie mallon 5.0 out of 5 stars Poems to make you laugh, and smile.  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 March 2021

Laughter lines – Life from the Tail End is a beautiful book of poetry celebrating the bond between man (or in this case woman!) and dog. The poems make you laugh, smile and are so relatable. That’s simply because they are about everyday life, sharing memories, experiences and humorous doggy anecdotes!

Poetic thoughts on:

Trouble sleeping, – being that I suffered badly from insomnia when I was younger I relate to this so much – (The Demon List.)

Cute doggy ones such as bathing Sue’s dog Ani, (Hair of the Dog,) and Sue’s poem about sharing her food with Ani and therefore not having to diet! (The Canine Diet,)

I loved the poem Grandad Doughnuts which involved being excluded from the kitchen by Grandma and therefore having to resort to cunning and imaginative measures to make another kind of doughnut with Grandad! This was probably my favourite poem in the collection. Loved it.

Hearts and Flowers explored how love should be more than a shop bought card

There were poems about being an indie author/creative living from hand to mouth –The Archetypal Indie, and An Author’s Lament, all very relatable!

Sue Vincent’s hair dye disasters Red For Danger and Saturday Morning Blues made me smile. Been there done that! And her desire to live the free life came shining through in Rewriting The Wrinkles.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the poems and would highly recommend.

A small selection of other books by Sue Vincent and co-written with Stuart France.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK and: Amazon US Blog: S.C. VincentGoodreads:Sue Vincent – Twitter:@SCVincent – Ani’s Blog: The Small Dog’s Blog – Blog: France And Vincent

The next author with a recent review is Jan Sikes for Ghostly Interference (The White Rune Series)

About the book

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

A recent review for the book

L D Tanner VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars Universal Themes Resonate in Multi-layer Romance  Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2021

The worlds of Jag Peters and Rena Jett collide when he nearly crashes into her motorcycle in “Ghostly Interference” by Jan Sikes. When Jag tracks down Rena’s candy apple red Harley at a corner pub so he can apologize to her, he is instantly attracted to the spitfire, dark-hair beauty. They are nothing alike. A computer programmer, Jag avoids risks while Rena is a brash waitress who appears fearless. Nonetheless, it is as though “the Universe had strange ways of bringing two souls together.” After meeting Rena, Jag strangely glimpses a ghostly figure in camouflage military attire at various times. As his relationship develops with Rena, he discovers that beneath her hard facade is a lonely girl with a troubled past and that her brother, Sam, had recently died in combat in Afghanistan. Jag wonders if the ghost is Rena’s brother who has stayed to protect and to assure her happiness. Rena’s brother’s last gift to her is a magical rune, symbolizing “happily ever after,” that helps tie their past and present together in a climactic ending.

Author Jan Sikes has written a romance with paranormal elements that will resonate with readers. For romance readers, there are some steamy scenes that will make your heart pound harder. Yet, there are more layers to the story, which on the surface seems a straight-forward romance. The following quote from the book resonated with me as I read the book: Live for today. Leave tomorrow alone. As for yesterday let it go. Rena needs to let go of the emotional scars she endured in abusive foster homes so that she can accept Jag’s love and a family lost to her. Jag must recognize that he has found something that he never knew he lost.

The secondary characters are memorable and their backstories help drive the story. I particularly like Jag’s mother, who made the ultimate sacrifice for her son so he could be raised in a stable family. We also learn about Sam, who can’t leave his little sister until he knows that she is safe and that she can embrace happiness. Other secondary characters from Jag’s and Rena’s past also help them learn how to live for the moment and to find their true passions. The themes of forgiveness, redemption, and unconditional love are enhanced with the multi-layered backstories of the secondary characters. Lyrics from songs and the symbol of the rune add to the rich tapestry of the love story.

The universal themes in “Ghostly Interference” will resonate with readers on several levels after they finish the book. It is a memorable, multi-layer love story between two completely different people who help each other find

A small selection of other books by Jan Sikes

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks

Now something for fantasy lovers with a review for Lorinda J. Taylor with The Blessing of Krozem: A Tale of Ziraf’s World

About the book

What would it really be like to be immortal? And how important is the power of friendship and the need for communion with one’s fellow humans? On Ziraf’s World, a planet in a universe far away from ours, an old priest named Gilzara decides to ask the Dreamers for the gift of immortality, and Krozem the Creator of Humankind grants his request, including giving him the power to make others immortal. However, things go tragically wrong; Gilzara’s dying wife refuses the gift, and Gilzara is left to live his immortal life alone.

The Troil, incorporeal spirit beings who also inhabit this world, take it upon themselves to save Gilzara from destroying the token that holds the key to his immortality, but he continues to see himself as a freak and an outcast, unable to relate to any mortal. The Troil teach him the power of venwara – wizardry – and thus fortified, he returns to the human world, desperately searching for a connection. He finds it in Halrab, a young novice priest, and together they set out to climb the Starbell, the highest mountain in Ziraf’s World, the symbol of an unattainable goal.

A recent review for the book

AK Cagg 5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful myth about immortality  Reviewed in the United States on March 4, 2021
This story feels like a modern fairytale wrapped up in a classic myth, and it will have you stopping to ponder what immortality truly is. I felt taken along on Gilzara and Halrab’s journeys. It often felt like I was sitting around a campfire being told their stories by people who knew them. The author weaves the language and trappings of a completely foreign world into the prose seamlessly. You will definitely read a word you don’t recognize and not feel out of place a bit due to the context and the fact you’ve been immersed into this universe so completely. This is not a light read, but it is the perfect book to delve deep into, and it will have you questioning your own views on mortality in no time.

A selection of books by Lorinda J. Taylor.

Lorinda J. Taylor buy books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Lorinda on : Goodreads – Blog: Termite Writer Blog Spot – Twitter: @TermiteWriter

And the last review today is for Diana Wallace Peachand Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1)

About the book

Behind the Veil, the hordes of Chaos gather, eager to savage the world. But Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, is untroubled by the shimmering wall that holds his beasts at bay. For if he cannot cleanse the land of life, the races will do it for him. All he needs is a spark to light the fire.

Three unlikely allies stand in his way.

A misfit elf plagued by failure—When Elanalue Windthorn abandons her soldiers to hunt a goblin, she strays into forbidden territory.

A changeling who betrays his home—Talin Raska is a talented liar, thief, and spy. He makes a fatal mistake—he falls for his mark.

A halfbreed goblin with deadly secrets—Naj’ar is a loner with a talent he doesn’t understand and cannot control, one that threatens all he holds dear.

When the spark of Chaos ignites, miners go missing. But they won’t be the last to vanish. As the cycles of blame whirl through the Borderland, old animosities flare, accusations break bonds, and war looms.

Three outcasts, thrust into an alliance by fate, by oaths, and the churning gears of calamity, must learn the truth. For they hold the future of their world in their hands.

A recent review for the book

Mar 19, 2021 Sandra Cox rated it Five stars it was amazing

An elf, a changeling and a goblin unite to save their worlds.
Sworn enemies discover that maybe their adversaries aren’t as bad as they have been taught and maybe their own cultures aren’t as perfect as they’ve been led to believe.
This was a fascinating story that was intricately written. The world building is second to none and the characters well-developed. The longer I read, the more I was drawn in. There are surprises that add an extra layer to the storyline and the characters. I enjoyed the read so much I purchased the second in the series.

A selection of other books by D.Wallace Peach


D. Wallace Peach, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach


Thanks for visiting today and I hope you are leaving with some books..thanks Sally.




Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Thursday April 8th 2021 – #Review by Elizabeth Gauffreau, #Challenge Antoinette Truglio Martin, #FREE Book Daniel Kemp

A small selection of posts that I thought you might enjoy and a special offer from Daniel Kemp on one of his books.

The first post is a book review by Elizabeth Gauffreau and a fascinating introduction by the author about the inspiration for the book.

Elizabeth Gauffreau – Bookreview: Zahara and the Lost Books of Light by Joyce Yarrow

Zahara and the Lost Books of Light opens with a gripping scene from the Spanish Inquisition. In a moonlit plaza in Granada, “The smell of incipient violence taints the air.” Although a dozen severed earlobes hanging from the Arc of the Ears bear witness to the loss of human life that day, the incipient violence in the air is not directed toward heretics. It is directed toward heretical works: books.

Head over to discover more about  Zahara and the Lost Books of Light and read the rest of Liz’s review: Zahara and the Lost Books of Light review by Liz Gauffreau

The next post is from Antoinette Truglio Martin and shares news of a blog challenge with a difference and one that sounds delicious. Antoinette also shares her course to share at a virtual dinner party.

What’s On Your Plate ? Blog Challenge

My talented blog friend, Donna at Retirement Reflections, has teamed up with Deb of Widow Badass to invite all of us to a monthly virtual dinner party. The goal is to spread meal inspiration and share dishes that we have recently enjoyed. Breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, dining in, dining out… all ideas are welcome!

Head over to find out more about Antoinette’s chosen course and how you can participate in the challenge: Antoinette Truglio Martin What’s On Your Plate?

And last but no means least.. Daniel Kemp who entertains us fortnightly with his humour, is offering one of his book FREE  until end of tomorrow 9th April

Free until Friday 9th April

The Story That Had No Beginning

A murder story that will keep you guessing until the very end.

About the book

Alicia Collinson poses a surprising question to her dinner guests:

“Do you think lying is endemic in society today?”

They all have different answers based on their experiences, but what was the purpose of Alicia’s question?

She was separated from her twin brother, Tom, when they were eight. Tom graduated into a life of violence, while Alice found a life of fortune and wealth in her partner, Mary.

But when Mary unexpectedly passes away, a new person enters Alice’s life – someone who seems to know every detail about her. Soon, her past and present lives collide with life-changing consequences.

One of the reviews for the book

Norma Miles VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars “It is the fantasy that is the truth.”  Reviewed in the United Kingdom

Twins Alice and Tom Collins were separated aged eight when their parents died, and grew up unaware of each other, each becoming known by different names and forging very different lives. Alice, now Alicia, is loved and embraced as a surrogate daughter by a prosperous banker, Mary, with no children of her own, and she assists Alicia’s rise and fame as a sought after photographer. Tom, however, gleefully choses the criminal route, eventually working for Mr.Henry, club owner and crime boss, adopting the new name of Bobby Brown. It is Tom, or rather his ghost, who tells the story, moving backwards and forwards in time as he relates the events leading up to, and including, the dinner party at which his sister, her partner and two others are in attendance and considering the recent killings, including that of Tom himself.

Although relatively short, The Story that had no Beginning, is not an easy read. It demands concentration with it’s numerous characters and movement through place and time. And again, who is actually telling the truth? Most everyone lies to some extent and for some reason: this book is a bit like peeling layers from an onion with eyes right shut. Actions, even ones quite slight, can have future consequences. Or past ones! This book is not easy, and all the better for it. Superbly written, it is worth a second visit to pick up on nuances missed first time round.

Characterisation is good. These people have a basic reality. And the narrator, Magnus Carlssen, gives a fine performance both giving gently individual voice to each protagonist (though on occasion his Irish accent felt questionable ) as well as reading with good pace, inflection and clarity. He certainly enhances the telling of the story.Sent

My thanks to the rights holder of The Story that had No Beginning, who, at my request freely gifted me with a complimentary copy. I struggled with the opening chapters but, fortunately, persisted. This was an unusual and excellent read in both form and content which I would recommend to anyone, not only those who enjoy the murder mystery or thriller genres but also those who like to ponder philosophical questions like the quirks of fate and chance and the nature of truth and lies. This is a book to which i will return for a second read quite soon, and I look forward to reading more by author, Daniel Kemp.  

Head over to pick your free copy up from this universal link on Amazon:

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read the posts in full and take up Danny’s offer for his book.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – Share an Excerpt 2021 – #Family – Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer Space by Toni Pike.

We put a great deal of effort into promoting our new, recent and upcoming books but often our previous releases get sidelined.

In this latest series I am offering authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and the Children’s Reading Room a chance to promote an earlier book (not your most recent) by sharing an excerpt from the book of up to 500 words. At the end of the post you can find out how to participate.

Today an excerpt from Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer Space by Toni Pike.

About the book

Brody Cody is almost eight years old and definitely, absolutely, positively does NOT want a mother. His mother died when he was a baby but life with his dad is just perfect.

Brody is horrified when his father goes away to a publishing conference and returns with a wife, Pandora Smith, who is a children’s author. His life spirals out of control as he is forced to eat healthy food, do his homework and help with some chores.

Even worse, he and his friends suspect that his new stepmother might be an alien from outer space.

The excerpt from the book – Chapter 2: The Lump of Slime

Kyle, with his parents and sister, lived a few streets away in a small brick house that had a neat little garden. Mr Johnson spent most of the weekend mowing the lawn and weeding. Mrs Johnson talked all the time, which is probably why she was so thin. She used all her energy to boss everyone around.

Kyle ran out to greet him with a smile that bent the red freckles all over his face. He had spiky orange hair and, just like his mum, talked without stopping to breathe.

“We set up the folding bed in my room,” he said. “We’re going to have fun. Put your stuff in there and we’ll go to school.”

As he walked inside, Kyle’s little sister Lucrezia said hello. She was six years old and, just like her father, had dark hair and hardly said a word. She always followed them around at a safe distance, watching everything they did like a well-trained spy.

When they arrived home from school that afternoon, Brody was feeling tired and hungry. But Mrs Johnson was waiting with her first set of orders. She repeated them three times, to make sure they understood.

1. Sit down.
2. Have a glass of milk.
3. Do your homework.
4. No fooling around.
5. No playing until your homework is finished.

“Yes, Mum,” said Kyle. He sounded like an obedient slave.

Brody thought there should be a law against things like that. Then, much to his horror, Mrs Johnson walked over to his own backpack. She stuck her thin pink arm deep inside – and let out a shriek that made him jump.

“What on earth is this thing?” she cried. In her hand was a black and horribly slimy lump.

Brody felt a knot of fear in his stomach. He knew that it was probably a very old banana.

“Just a piece of fruit,” he said.

“That is disgusting, absolutely disgusting,” she replied, pulling a hideous face. “Come and clean your bag, please, Brody.”

He was beginning to discover that clean was her favourite word. But he decided to talk his way out of trouble.

“Don’t worry, Mrs Johnson,” he replied calmly. “My dad always washes the inside of my bag every weekend. He’ll be back in seven days. I’m sure he’ll do it then.”

Mrs Johnson’s eyes opened wide and he wondered if she was going to faint. “I don’t think so,” she said and shook her head. “I think it’s time for you to look after your own bag.

You’re nearly eight years old now. I don’t have time to clean this mess up.”

But…” said Brody.

“There will be rats breeding in there if you wait until your dad gets home.”

Brody liked the idea of some pet rats. That would really scare Anastasia Bertorelli. She was their friend and sat in front of him at school. But she screamed every time she saw so much as an ant.

It was time for Brody to use his acting skills. He pretended to clean his backpack until Mrs Johnson left the room. Then he raced up to the bedroom and hid it under the bed.

He realised that staying in Kyle’s house was going to be really tough. Even worse than he could have imagined.

But at least it made him sure about one thing.

He NEVER EVER wanted to have a mother.

©Toni Pike

 One of the recent reviews for the book

Priscilla Bettis 5.0 out of 5 stars Cute and Exciting  Reviewed in the United States on March 26, 2021

Brody Cody is seven years old. His widower dad marries a new woman, and Brody’s life turns upside down!

It’s a cute story. I smiled SO much while reading it, and the alien discovery and investigation are exciting. Pike chooses the best names, like Brody Cody, Peppermint, and Persimmon, and Brody’s house is on Flowerpetal Street.

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

About Toni Pike

Toni Pike is a multi-genre author who enjoys writing exciting thrillers for adults, non-fiction, and hilarious books for children. She also loves travelling and being with family and friends. She lives in Australia and firmly believes that coffee and long walks are an essential part of any day.

Do you like books that you can’t stop reading? Pike is the author of DESOLATION BLUFF, DEAD DRY HEART and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series: THE MAGUS COVENANT, THE ROCK OF MAGUS, THE MAGUS EPIPHANY and HOLY SPEAR OF MAGUS.


She’s also the author of two non-fiction books. THE ONE WAY DIET is a no-nonsense guide to losing weight and coping with the journey. HAPPY TRAVELS 101 is a short book of travel tips with great advice for anyone who wants to travel overseas.

I hope you will participate in this series.. there are currently 130 authors on the shelves with reviews within the last six months and you can check your entry at this linkCafe and Bookstoreand Children’s Reading Room


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

Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health A-Z – Acne – Teenage and Adults by Sally Cronin

Although the focus has been on Covid this last year… there are still other health issues that have not gone away. Many are improved with simple treatments and dietary changes and in this series I am going to look at some of the more common issues.

Family Health A-Z – Acne – Teenage and Adults

Acne is the curse of the teen years and also as we go through hormonal changes later in life.. There is also a strong link to diet, especially the the over indulgence in sugars.

Some organs play a major role in our survival and others can be removed without impacting our general health in any significant way. As we have evolved, so an organ’s function may have changed to accommodate our modern environment, especially if their role is protective as in the case of the liver and the elimination of toxins. In this polluted world our body is under increasing stress and keeping the individual organs healthy ensures the general well-being of the entire body.

The skin

The skin in in fact our largest organ and weighs 12% to 15% of our body weight and has three vital roles to play. It protects us from external contaminants, acts as a temperature and moisture controller and is essential in the elimination of waste products.

There is a complex structure to our skin that is invisible to the naked eye and apart from slapping a bit of moisturiser on last thing at night; most of us are unaware of the crucial role that it plays in our general health.

Because of the skin’s role in the elimination of waste products and as a barrier to external contaminants it comes under increasing stress as we get older. Free radicals attack it from the outside from chemicals in household cleaners, cigarette smoke, pollution and ultra-violet light. From the inside it is the victim of a poor diet low in essential fatty acids, processed foods, food intolerances and toxins produced from an inefficient and under nourished operating system.

Some of the signs of skin under stress are acne, cold sores, eczema, psoriasis, hives, impetigo, shingles, warts and of course wrinkles. Today I am going to be covering acne, a bane for teenagers but can also come back to haunt us in our middle years as we go through another hormonal change.


I remember as a teenager getting a few spots at certain times of the month but was thankfully clear of major acne outbreaks. I did have a friend at school that was devastatingly affected by the condition and when you are a 16 year old girl or boy it can have a detrimental impact on not just your physical appearance but also your mental and emotional health.

Let’s face it, spots that are on your back and covered up on your arms are unsightly and irritating but if your face is covered in blackheads, whiteheads and scarring then it can result in lack of self-esteem that can last for years afterwards. In severe cases acne can lead to severe depression, withdrawal from both school and social activities and suicide.
Unfortunately even when the acne has departed in can leave scarring which varies in severity and often because it is deep and pitted it remains for a lifetime. The reason that it is so deep is because of the inflammation in the dermal layer of the skin which heals abnormally leaving the pitted surface.

The numbers across the western world when added together make acne the 8th common disease in the world. It is estimated that it affects over 80% of teenagers adding up to a huge 600 million people worldwide.

There are a number of suspected causes and I will take a brief look at these.


Most of us will associate spots that appeared during our teen years with hormonal changes after puberty. Sex hormones called androgens result in several changes within the body but also in the skin. The trillions of pores on the surface of our skin are really minute openings into canals called follicles. In each follicle you will find a hair and a sebaceous (oil) gland. This helps keep our skin supple and hydrated and also assists in the disposal of old skin cells that we are shedding continuously.

At puberty and for girls each month the surge of hormones results in a change in the follicle causing them to grow larger and produce more oil. Whilst this affects both sexes in the teen years it also affects women who become pregnant at any age or who suffer from PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). PCOS is caused by a woman producing too many of the male androgens affecting her menstrual cycle and ability to become pregnant.

With teenagers it is not just the increase in androgens such as testosterone which can cause acne. At that age there is a growth spurt particularly in boys that can take place between the ages of 16 and 24 and the hormone responsible for this is GH or HGH.

Additionally IGF-1 is a hormone that is similar in structure to Insulin and plays a role in growth in both teenagers and later with a different affect in adults can result in a similar response.

It is unusual for acne to develop after the body has completed its growth cycle in the early to mid-twenties.


It is believed that around 75% of acne could be genetic which is supported by studies with twins and also with immediate family members. Polygenic inheritance pattern controls our height, skin colour, eye colour and also it is believed our weight. Rather than just one gene being involved it requires a combination of two or more genes to affect these characteristics. Certain genes have now been identified that could be related to acne and that is an ongoing study.

This genetic link is reinforced by the incidences of severe acne associated with a dysfunctional immune system. This is not lifestyle related but an inherent over sensitivity to bacteria that results in an unusually aggressive immune system response. When bacteria are detected by the body the immune system produces large amounts of inflammatory cytokines. These induce white blood cells to unleash destructive enzymes and free radicals into the site of infection. Because this response is unusually aggressive it can cause damage to the surrounding tissue. This in turn results in another release of cytokines and it becomes a perpetual cycle resulting in long term inflammation and of course the associated acne. In this type of environment bacteria thrive rather than be killed off.

With the other form of genetic dysfunctional immune response the white cells themselves are under powered and do not have the ability to deal with any harmful bacteria that they encounter. Usually white blood cells work on the principal of divide and conquer, they are designed to ingest any bacteria they come across, isolating the bacteria in a special casing called a phagosome and then pumping toxic enzymes inside to kill it. It is then broken up into small particles that are absorbed back into the immune system. The system then takes these particles and designs anti-bodies that will be able to fight future infections of this bacteria.

In a faulty immune system the white cell takes in the bacteria but is not equipped to kill them adequately. They keep trying however, exhausting themselves in the process and dying. This releases the bacteria still alive and allows it to thrive. It also means that the immune system does not get the chance to develop anti-bodies to fight that particular strain of bacteria leading to long term infections.

The most common of the bacterial infections associated with acne is Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is a bacteria that grows deep inside of pores where it obtains its energy from the oil in the follicle canal. It is anaerobic which means that unlike most bacteria it is tolerant to oxygen so the low oxygen, oil rich environment of the follicle is perfect for its growth. Because it forms clumps of bacteria it can block and protect itself within the canal leading to persistent infections into the 20s and beyond. Unfortunately the bacteria have become resistant to a number of the anti-biotics used to treat acne including Penicillin.


There have been many assumptions made over the years about acne and its causes. Including the fact that some teenagers do not have a close relationship with cleanliness, that poor diet full of fats and sugars is to blame and the habit of the young today to spend more time indoors rather than out in the fresh air. In reality I believe there is an element of all of these factors involved. And in particular the increase in the use of both male and female facial and body beauty products.

Today we are spoiled for choice when we buy skin products in the pharmacies, supermarkets and online. The prices also vary from very cheap to extremely expensive but unfortunately whilst simple is better, cheap may not be so. Many cheap skin products have ingredients that could irritate skin further. This also applies for make-up that teenage girls are going to use to cover up spots and scars.

Most acne prescribed medication is designed to dry up the oil that feed the bacteria and may be causing the outbreak in the first place. This can result in dry and flaky skin and irritated patches.

The temptation is to buy moisturisers that are heavy and greasy to counteract the dryness but it is better when suffering from acne to use a light weight moisturiser with ingredients such as glycerine that will not clog your pores with more grease. Avoid those that have ingredients such as cocoa butter for example.

Use clean towels every day and dab your face rather than rub to dry.

Change your pillow case every two days.. turning it over in the night between so that it is fresh.

The one lifestyle activity which is definitely implicated in causing skin irritation and increasing the chances of acne is smoking.

You might find the following daily cleansing ritual helpful.

A mild cleanser for the face (ask advice on your skin type) Using your fingers gently massage the skin for a few minutes. Wipe off the excess with a clean cotton wool wipe. Then rinse your face in lukewarm warm water to remove all the lotion. Pat the skin dry and then apply the light moisturiser. You can use a mild exfoliant (and I mean mild) once or twice a week which can be helpful in cleaning the skin slightly more thoroughly.

These days there are a lot of products on the market but do be careful about just buying off the shelf. Ask advice from a pharmacist and check for side effects.


There are a number of prescribed medications available now to treat acne including topical creams. Antibiotics are also prescribed but there is a danger that this will then create a resistance to future antibiotics if over used. For girls sometimes being prescribed birth control pills can regulate hormone levels reducing the surge of hormones each month. I do advice however that you do not self-medicate by buying products online. Get professional guidance and if you add to your acne scarring by using the wrong product it will stay with you for life.

Alternative therapies.

My go to essential oil for skincare across all ages is Frankincense and earlier in the year I covered its benefits..Frankincense

You must be extremely careful with your skin as whilst it does a very tough job it is also very delicate. I have found that taking Echinacea for six weeks at a time may help boost immune system function Echinacea

Also you may find taking Grapefruit seed extract to help control an overgrowth of Candida Albicans which as a fungal infection of the intestines, does impact the efficiency of the immune system.

Topically, apart from the cleansing regime I have already mentioned, you may find that a couple of drops of tea tree oil mixed with your morning and night time moisturiser may also help kill off the bacteria. Do monitor and if it causes any irritation or redness of the skin stop using.

In addition to echinacea other herbal remedies can be useful for skin complaints including Saw Palmetto and Agnus Castus to help normalise hormonal levels. If you are considering taking any herbal remedy I do suggest that you talk to a qualified assistant in your local health food shop.. They should have received training in the uses for any of their products but do ask first.


The fact that the incidences of acne is certain cultures that are not exposed to the less healthy aspects of our western diet is virtually non-existent, leads to the assumption that sugars, trans fats and other additives in our food are contributing to acne. It also confirms of course the genetic link to the disease especially when those populations have remained isolated.

As you will have seen there is a genetic link to a dysfunctional immune system that results in persistent acne but there are also dietary and lifestyle related immune system issues that need to be addressed with a balanced diet and exercise.

It is tough when you are a teenager to stick to a really healthy diet when your friends are enjoying burgers, pizzas and other great tasting food. Nobody wants to be the odd person out but tough as it is, it is so important to eat a mainly fresh unprocessed diet with lots of vegetables and fruits with the antioxidants needed for a healthy immune system and of course skin health. Also lean protein and good fats and most importantly plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated.

It is more likely to be sugars rather than healthy fat that is causing food related outbreaks.

Foods that might be helpful in cleansing the body of toxins and therefore reducing the triggers for acne include the following: beetroot, artichoke, hot water and lemon juice first thing in the morning, beans such as chickpeas which helps moderate hormone excretion, fresh vegetables of any kind and fruits such as oranges which are high in Vitamin C. Dried apricots are a good snack as well as nuts and seeds containing zinc which is good for skin healing. Vitamin E is also essential for skin health and having half an avocado on a salad or on its own daily will provide you with that vitamin and healthy fat.

avocadoOne of the key factors of ridding the body of toxins is drinking water and this also helps prevent the skin from becoming dry and even more irritated

I hope you have found useful and if you have any questions I am happy to answer here or by email.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021


Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.