Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Gigi Sedlmayer, Jan Sikes, Balroop Singh, Mary Smith, Janice Spina, Kristina Stanley, Carmen Stefanescu, Phillip T. Stephens, Bette A. Stevens and Molly Stevens

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 or so.

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 is the next ten featured authors from the Cafe and Bookstore with their  reviews.

Gigi Sedlmayer, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Gigi’s website to view all her books.

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An extract from a recent review for Book five in the Talon Series Encounter

TALON, ENCOUNTER is Book 5 in The Talon Series and for those new to this ongoing series, the story is set in Peru and is focused on a young girl Matica who is congenitally small in stature (though nine years of age she appears to be age two!) and who is frowned upon by the Andean Indians because of her strange appearance: Matica is lonely and longs for friends which she finds not in people, but in the condors – birds of threatened extinction. She is guided by the great condors Tamo and Tima and when their egg hatches Matica nurtures the young condor, Talon, who becomes her closest ally. Together they soar through adventures that celebrate the majesty of the Peruvian landscape and beyond.

Matica goes above and beyond to help her beloved condors. Each book grows stronger as Gigi captures our full attention with her imaginative story. Grady Harp, January 18

Jan Sikes, Buy:

An extract from a recent review for The Convict and the Rose

This journey towards growth and a deeper understanding is one very special reading experience. The anguished struggle of two-fallible, and all too human people as life hands out its own deranged sense of justice is at times painful to read.

This book provoked anger, sadness and a deep sense of empathy in me. It in turn delighted me, and made me cry, and then continued to invade my senses long after the ending. There is a depth of love between these two damaged souls that defies the limitations of time. The drug abuse is a road many of us have taken in times of the darkest despair, the struggle to overcome it and move clearly distant is an epic one, as is the final understanding of the violent reactions of Luke to his imprisonment. Life knocked these valiant people to the ground again and again. BUT they didn’t stay down for the count.  A wonderful, moving and intensely memorable story of love!

Balroop Singh, Buy:


A recent review for Emerging Shadows

In a topsy-turvy world where people grapple to make sense of the events around them, they look to literature for a moment of reflection. Poetry by Balroop Singh helps clear the chaos by making life easier to navigate, find, and feel cheerful about.

In The Secret of Being Alive, she writes, “sharp shards of shattered emotions, pierce as I try to gather those sensations, wilderness walks with me; yet a dim, discrete light beckons” – has such spunk, that last shred commanding us to hang on to hope, not rope, as the first step. And, no matter how glossy the outside world looks, there’s always a struggle “beneath that beauty lie broken dreams, beneath that smile recline unspoken words,” which she pens in When Darkness Deepens. What she does in How Can I Thank You? “The dazzling rays of sun, had to pierce through you, to reach me, while the moonlight was all mine,” is pure enchantment. So many pearls of unalloyed magic glisten in Emerging from Shadows, worth visiting and revisiting. Anyone can externalize, but if one wishes to internalize in a world where emotions are fast dying, grab a copy of this book. Now.

Mary Smith, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Mary’s website to view all her books.

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An extract from a recent review for Donkey Boy and Other Stories

This is a fascinating collection of short stories, set in various places with a wealth of diverse characters, all wonderfully rounded. The author has a talent for setting the scene and giving a sense of place with few well-chosen words.

I read each of these unusual stories slowly, taking in the way each situation unfolded, savouring the reactions of the characters to each problem they faced, enjoying the touches of humour, poignancy, empathising with the great sadness in some of the tales.

Not sure I had an overall favourite, they are all easy to read, but these are the ones that stayed with me long after I’d read them:

The story in the title, Donkey Boy. The protagonist, Ali, should be in school but instead drives a donkey cart for his father. His resentment is palpable from the very start. The dilemma he faces exposes the way different cultures live; not only their values and ethics but the differences in the child and adult in these societies. This is well deserving as the title story.

Janice Spina, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Janice’s blog to view all her books for adults and children.


One of the early reviews for Lucy The Talented Toy Terrier

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne  5.0 out of 5 stars Another cute book by Janice Spina March 27, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Janice Spina’s new story about Lucy. It was great fun to learn about Lucy’s personality and how she liked to spend her day. For example, Lucy loved taking walks with her owners, but she hated bath time.Guess what Lucy’s favorite meal was? She loved spaghetti, with or without meatballs. But it needed homemade sauce. Parents and children will love learning about Lucy and her endearing traits. It’s another remarkable story by Janice Spina. I highly recommend that you add it to your collection of books by this talented author such as Louey the Lazy Elephant and Lamby the Lonely Lamb. You’re sure to enjoy them.

Kristina Stanley, Buy

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An extract from a recent review for Avalanche

Although Kristina Stanley says at the end of the novel that she wrote Avalanche first, this became the third book in the series. Having read and enjoyed the first two Stone Mountain mysteries, I recommend them all and suggest reading them in order. Once again, Kalin Thompson is the main protagonist, but characters from previous books return and previous incidents are cleverly referred adding to the backstory.

From the fast-moving opening when Kalin’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears, the plot twists and turns with enough clues and suspects to keep the reader thinking to the end.

The story is tightly plotted, well-structured and, as I noted down while reading, it’s ‘edge of my snowmobile tense’. There are various suspects when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police begin investigating from Ray to Kalin via other employees at Stone Mountain Resort. I kept wondering, ‘Who will be next?’, ‘Who is guilty of what?’ and ‘Who do you trust?’. Not only Kalin needed to be wary but others caught up in the events as the threat level escalated.

Carmen Stefanescu, buy:

One of the reviews for Shadows of the Past

Sandra Cox  5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Dark September 26, 2017

Shadows of the Past is a dark paranormal that flows smoothly between the present and the past when a young woman, trying to mend a broken relationship, finds an ancient jeweled cross, human remains and makes contact with the ghost of a medieval nun. Genevieve’s (the nun) oppression in the story is almost palatable. The written word weighted. Shadows of the Past combines romance and paranormal with a light trace of horror. Leave the light on when you read.

Phillip T. Stephens, Buy:

Please visit Phillip’s Amazon page or his blog to view all his books.

An extract from a review for Cigerets, guns & Beer.

The cover of Cigerets, Guns & Beer by Phillip T. Stevens catches the eye immediately. Beer and cigarettes are present, necessary for any good breakfast. While a gun is not displayed, bullet holes are, perhaps from the night before. A reader might predict that this will be a “good ol’ boy” novel replete with rednecks. The reader would be correct.

This novel will make those who grew up in a small town nostalgic; a place where there might be only one law enforcement officer who also read water and electric meters, sold alcohol in defiance of Sunday “blue laws,” was a source of under-the-table porn, and served as a de facto judge deciding what town residents could and could not get away with.

Bette A. Stevens, Buy:


One of the recent reviews for Pure Trash: The Story

I love this short story. I enjoy Bette’s easy-style of writing and her ability in creating her characters. The timing of the story takes place in the 1950s, and she sets a wonderfully nostalgic scene. A compelling story with a mixture of fun and drama.

Molly Stevens, Buy:

A recent review for the book.

Kids have Elf on the Shelf, why not give adults a Boomer on the Ledge? This is a very short book (24 pages) with images of an adorable middle-aged doll in a variety of staged positions that poke fun at the trials of aging. Stevens added humorous captions to the images, and some of them are laugh-out-loud funny. A quick and enjoyable read for boomers and anyone dealing with the less enjoyable aspects of aging. We might as well laugh!

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the authors and their books on social media. Thanks Sally



37 thoughts on “Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Gigi Sedlmayer, Jan Sikes, Balroop Singh, Mary Smith, Janice Spina, Kristina Stanley, Carmen Stefanescu, Phillip T. Stephens, Bette A. Stevens and Molly Stevens

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