Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Dolly Aizenman, Dan Alatorre, Paul Andruss, Richard Ankers, Carol Balawyder, Andrea Balsara, Judith Barrow, Linda Bethea, Ritu Bhathal, Jacquie Biggar, Christy Birmingham, Sacha Black and Steve Boseley

Welcome to spring….. and there might be a hint of colour in the garden, as daffodils push their way to the surface, but there is plenty of colour on the shelves of the bookstore that I thought I would share with you over the next week.

If you are looking for you next book to read then look no further than these talented authors and over 600 books currently on the shelves.

Instead of the usual Cafe and Bookstore updates on Friday and Monday.. I will be featuring a number of authors each day with their updated reviews.

I will give you their listing which also includes a link to buy the books but also discover others that they have written but are not listed. You will also find a link to their website or blog to find out more information, and as you can imagine… they write great posts too.

Here we go with the first authors of the series….

Dolly Aizenman, Buy:

One of the recent reviews for the book

They say that to properly review a cookbook you should try to make at least five of the recipes. I have to confess that I’ve not made any YET, because Kool Kosher Kitchen is no ordinary cookbook. It’s like sitting down at the table with a friend–wine coffee, whatever your poison–and having a long, warm chat about all kinds of everything. Did you know, for example that some of the French non military personnel stayed in Russia after 1812 and this led to the creation of Apple Charlotte? It’s one story at least. Dolly Aizenman doesn’t just share recipes, every page brims with the story, anecdote or family history, connected to the dish. A tall order but one she doesn’t fail to deliver. Soups, sides, main courses, desserts and bread. Indian, Italian, Jewish, whatever. There’s something for everyone here. Dolly’s gift is in making you believe you’re making the dish as you chat.

Dan Alatorre, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Dan’s website to view all his books.


An Extract from one of the most recent reviews for An Angel on her shoulder

I really enjoyed the audio book version of this story and thought the narrator had a very good voice and reading style.

The style of this book reminded me a bit of Stephen King’s book It where he goes back in time to the children’s childhoods for pieces of the story which help to explain how the events in the book all fit together in the end.

Alatorre’s main character, Doug, is an ordinary man with a good job and a lovely family. He adores his wife and small daughter and enjoys spending time with them and going on family holidays.

The story starts with an unexpected and nearly tragic incident in the parking lot at a wine farm which appears initially to be frightening, but not completely out of the ordinary; accidents and tragedies do happen in life. When Doug starts to realise that this latest incident is another in a seeming series of similar events, he starts to wonder what is happening to his family. Is this normal or is there more to these near tragedies than meets the eye?

Paul Andruss, Buy:


The most recent review for the book.

Magic and mayhem… on February 2, 2018

A child is missing under very peculiar circumstances, there is nothing worse that can befall a family.The tale of magic and mayhem soon unfolds. There is not much time to find Dan or he will be gone forever. I was drawn into the story which soon progressed at some speed at times which left me quite breathless and wanting to read more. Would they find Dan in time? So many dark forces were working against Jack and Co as they raced against time to find Dan. I thought fairies were pretty little creatures who sparkled in the dark and did good deeds …was I wrong.

Author Paul Andruss has a very impressive knowledge of fairies and mythical creature as well as knowing his geography and history I was impressed.

The ending was as it should have been after all the adventures and magic … Dan was home!

Richard Ankers, Buy:


The most recent review for the third book in the trilogy Into Eternity.

The final book of Anker’s The Eternals series doesn’t disappoint. Gradually, the trilogy has shifted from a story about a vampire to a story about a man seeking the truth of his life and discovering what it is to be human. This is a trilogy that must be read in sequence as the action continues without backstory through the strange and epic landscapes of a dying world.

The search for Linka leads Jean, Merriweather, and Aurora from the Arctic ice to the Baltic sea. Secrets of the past are revealed and reconciled, and at the final confrontation with his enemies, Jean endures betrayal but also learns the truth of his destiny.

Anker’s writing is stylistically poetic, the pace of the book steady, and dialog natural as well as imbued with personality. The verbal repartee between Jean and Merriweather is characteristic of their relationship and a pleasure to read. Walter Merriweather takes on a greater role in this book. Reveals about his history, personality, and motives is perhaps the most interesting and startling part of the story. The ending is an emotional and exquisite read.

If you enjoy vampires, epic vistas, tales of redemption, and stylistic writing, this series is well worth picking up. 

Carol Balawyder, Buy:

A recent review for The Longest Nine Months

on March 7, 2018

Pregnancy can seem interminable for many woman. In this instance, there’s an added reason that Campbell’s pregnancy seems long, convoluted, and stressful. Author Balawyder uses excellent description and dialogue to allow her readers to feel great empathy and fear and joy along with Campbell. The themes of love, marriage, getting through a relationship through good and bad, abortion, and disabilities intertwine throughout this well-written contemporary women’s fiction. I wasn’t sure if the ending would be sad or happy, but I did know that whether the relationship grew or dissolved, the main character’s strength would shine through her challenges.


I found the book absolutely delightful. More importantly, the 4-yr old immediately said read it again! That response is the definitive sign he enjoyed the book. He particularly loved the song and thought the carrot being a sword was hilarious. The illustrations are inventive and make the fun story even more enjoyable. We look forward to many more adventures with the guinea pig turned pirate.

Judith Barrow – Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Judith Barrow’s blog to view all her books.

A recent review of A Hundred Tiny Threads

As a big fan of the Howarth family series, I was delighted to read ‘A Hundred Tiny Threads’. It’s the fourth book and a prequel set the early 1900s. As always, Barrow paints a big picture and juxtaposes it with clever detail to create a work of intimacy. This book involves suffragettes, the 1919 influenza epidemic and the horror of WW1. Throughout though, the dark family secrets of the Howarth clan are liberally sprinkled and keep the page turning tempo to the max. This is no pretty sanitised version of the times. Expect violence and cruelty and a realistic depiction of the harshness of the era. But there’s love too, and unexpected kindness from the always engaging characters. A great and satisfying read.

Linda Bethea, Buy:

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A recent review for Just Women Getting By

Linda is a great storyteller and I will recommend this book, if you also like to read about strong women’s stories through centuries. I felt it difficult to lay down this book, I just wanted to read and read. I learned a lot of history by this book and while I compared these women’s life with our times, I got lots of respect for such strong women.

Ritu Bhathal, Buy:

Extract from the most recent review for Poetic Rituals

Colleen M. Chesebro 5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic RITUals is a must read for wives and mothers of all ages who also wear many hats just to get through a normal day.January 17, 2018

The first thing that attracted me to this book of poetry was the clever play-on-words with the title, Poetic RITUals, and the author’s name. They always say to not judge a book by its cover, but in this case, you should. As clever and heartwarming as the title suggests, so is the poetry inside.

The book was filled with a delightful and eclectic mix of metered poems filled with patterned beats and rhymes, Haiku, and freestyle poetry. Another charming addition was the way the book was divided into four different sections of “RITUals,” family, life, of the heart, and to make you smile. I found the categorization to be a peek into the ingenious mind of the poet.

The themes of motherhood and family, her work as a teacher, and that of being a wife are shared with love and laughter. Many of the poems shared a realistic look at the author’s life that I found endearing. I remembered feeling much the same way when my kids were young.

One of my favorites in this collection was a piece called, “Poetic Confusion,” which I found in the last section of the book. The author laments the writing of poetry in its many forms; finally coming to the conclusion that she would rhyme and vent to her heart’s content, and write poetry in her own way. I love her poetic spirit and spunk.

Jacquie Biggar, Buy:

Please visit Jacquie’s Amazon page of website to view all her books.

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One of the early reviews for – Valentine: A Hearts I Kisses Romance

If you are looking for an endearing light-hearted romance look no further and try “Valentine: A Hearts & Kisses” romance by Jacquie Biggar. Valentine Hodgins, our hero, is reluctantly taking care of the dog and home of his great aunt who has fallen ill with pneumonia. Val is busy with his successful architecture firm and really doesn’t have time for the dog, the home or checking up on the caretaker who is living in his great aunt’s home. Sierra Johnson is the caretaker and working as a baker at a catering company while trying to get her life back in order. Sierra had great plans to open her own catering business, but now that seems to be a long way off. These two both have past histories that will get in the way of romance – will they work things out? Great characters and witty dialog make this a fun and lovely read. I received a free copy of this book and voluntarily chose to give an honest review. (by paytonpuppy)

An extract from the most recent review for Versions of the Self

Sheila rated it 5 stars on March 8th 2017 Goodreads.

These poems resonated with me when I read them, and they’re still resonating. There are so many feelings that can be found here, so many relationships, so many selves.

I loved the poems that celebrated freedom and could at times feel my soul soaring along with the words. Then different poems made me stop and think while bringing me back to Earth.

Sacha Black, Buy:

I just started this book but it’s already provided tremendous value. There have been three sentences that just jumped off the page and organized a very loose set of thoughts that have been swirling around in my head. You know the feeling, right? I’m working on a screenplay in which I’ve been stuck on writing both the antagonist’s and the villian’s role for the past 5 months. And I mean stuck. Having this book is a tremendous relief – at last a process by which I can think this through clearly!!! On top of this, Sacha is an EXCELLENT WRITER – and VERY FUNNY on top of it. In the first 15 pages I have laughed out loud hard four or five times. She’s a delight to read and so far the advice has more than paid back the cost of the Kindle version. If she keeps it up I’ll buy a hard copy, too. I don’t know Sacha, I wasn’t paid to review this. I’m just a guy from PA who is really impressed by this book because I am so very tired of having Villian writer’s block. Thanks, Sacha.

Steve Boseley, Buy:

A recent review for Serial

Isabella Fulton 5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy Surprise 9 December 2017

I enjoyed this book a lot, wasn’t sure what to expect because of the serial killer title, it’s creepy and a good read for a short story with a twist.


37 thoughts on “Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Dolly Aizenman, Dan Alatorre, Paul Andruss, Richard Ankers, Carol Balawyder, Andrea Balsara, Judith Barrow, Linda Bethea, Ritu Bhathal, Jacquie Biggar, Christy Birmingham, Sacha Black and Steve Boseley

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  4. Wow, another unbelievable lineup of wonderful authors and their books, Sally! I have read some and willl add others to my TBR list if I can squeeze a few more on without it groaning too much! Hope you had a lovely Easter! Congrats to all authors for being on your blog – quite an honor! 🤗 xx

    Liked by 1 person

I would be delighted to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

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