Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #WarDrama Marina Osipova, #Memoir Cynthia Reyes, #Thriller Gwen M. Plano, #Poetry Frank Prem

Welcome to this year’s Christmas book fair where I will be sharing the books of all the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore with their most recent review in the last six months. I will be selecting authors at random so that there is something for everyone in the post.

The first book today which has been recommended by several reviewers is a novella  Order No.227. From Stalin With Love by Marina Osipova.

About the book

“It is necessary to defend each position, each meter of our territory, up to the last drop of blood, to cling for each plot of Soviet land and to defend it as long as possible.” – from Order No. 227.

Based on the actual events on the Eastern Front of World War II, this short story is a rare account of a Soviet penal company, told from a perspective of a real person, the military prosecutor, Jakov Antonovich Krivenkov, and a fictional character, an ordinary Russian woman, Matryona, both caught in the horror of an impossible situation.

427,910 Soviet men shed their blood in defending their motherland in penal military units. They were to stop the enemy regardless of cost. Eighty percent of them did not survive. This is the story of thirteen of them.

One of the recent reviews for the book

anna kunkes 5.0 out of 5 stars War and Humanity September 17, 2019

“Order 227: From Stalin with Love” is the most recent entry in a series of books about World War II, written by Marina Osipova. I certainly enjoyed this one as much as her previous book “A Cruel Roman: A Novel of Love and War.”

The Stalin book consists of two separate, but related stories, about humanity, respect and love for people, regardless of their hope or nation, as well as the way in which people deal with wartime atrocities.

It is helpful for the reader to understand that, under Stalin, many people were arrested on weak charges and imprisoned and executed with no trial.
But it must also be remembered that not everyone involved in Stalin’s war effort necessarily agreed with his policies, and were not heartless, but that they had to do what they had to do in order for themselves to remain alive.

The first of this book’s two stories deals with a commanding officer, who tried to treat those destined to die under his charge with respect and compassion. It also deals with the regret and sorrow he bore in not being able to spare their lives.

The book’s second story deals with a woman who risked her own life in protecting Soviet soldiers and sheltering a German soldier from capture and certain execution. But who came to her home, and what’s happened there? Why did she did this? You will get answers to this questions as soon as you starting to read …

Thank you very much Marina for your excellent righting and I am looing forward to reading your future books with eager anticipation.

Also by Marina Osipova

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Marina on Goodreads: Goodreads

About Marina Osipova

Connect to Marina via her website: Marina Osipova

Now something for the lovers of memoirs with one of the recent reviews for her latest release is Cynthia Reyes, a gardening memoir – Twigs in my Hair.

About Twigs in my Hair

Author Cynthia Reyes returns with Twigs in My Hair, a book about her lifelong passion for gardens and nature and the surprising relationships and events involved. Gorgeous photographs by Hamlin Grange complement a humorous and profound story. A beautiful gift for gardeners and non-gardeners. Readers will meet a variety of interesting creatures, both human and animal, some of whom compete for gardening produce or gardening glory. You may conclude, after reading Twigs in My Hair, that the gardener’s love for growing things swings from reverence to mania. But there is also a deeply emotional side to this story about what happens when a passionate gardener can no longer do what she loves.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Cynthia Reyes has published another excellent memoir, “Twigs in my Hair”, accompanied by lovely photographs from Hamlin Grange. The chapters are well-written, straight from her heart, the vivid descriptions leaving me with the feeling that I was there, too, seeing all through her words. Although I knew I would love this book based on her earlier memoirs, ” A Good Home” and “And Honest House”, I found myself particularly moved by her latest work, as she takes her readers through her early days and gardens in Jamaica, her first real teacher and mentor, Mr. Smith, to all the various gardeners she has come to know, learn from and share with over the years. Beginning with her accounting of her elderly mentor Mr. Smith, it became apparent that one’s relationships with others need to be tended just like our gardens, each person being different, with different needs.

Lives are gardens, blossoming and fruiting if carefully tended. Love of gardening and love of life, even in the face of physical adversity in the form of a serious accident, are the ties that bind this work to the heart of not only any gardener, but to anyone with an interest in life.

Also by Cynthia Reyes

And co-written with Lauren Reyes-Grange – Illustrated by Jo Robinson

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia : Goodreads

Connect to Cynthia via her website: Cynthia Reyes

And the next author with recent reviews is Gwendolyn M. Plano for a thriller The Choice: The Unexpected Heroes which is the sequel to the paranormal thriller The Contract co-written with John W. Howell.

About The Choice

The Choice: unexpected heroesis the sequel to The Contract: between heaven and earth. In the first book, a catastrophic political event threatens Earth. The heavenly leadership decides to execute extraordinary measures to ensure the survival and long-term viability of the planet. Two volunteer souls return to Earth and take human form as Brad Channing and Sarah O’Brien. They are ultimately successful in preventing the catastrophe, but lose their lives in the process.

The Choicepicks up where the first book ends, at an Air Force Base in northern California. The base commander invites Brad’s former Navy SEAL instructor to help him determine who is behind the murder of Brad and Sarah. It is evident that their deaths are part of a bigger plan, and the commander has an urgent need to thwart that plan.

A mystery unfolds which implicates key Washington D.C. officials. A confidential team studies the evidence and pursues leads. Eventually, they uncover a traitorous conspiracy that has as its goal: world domination. The pressing question is who can be trusted and who cannot.

One of the recent reviews for the book

This is a sequel jumps in where the first book ended. Someone attempted to assassinate the US President at an Air Force Base in northern California. The central characters, Brad Channing and Sarah O’Brien, from the first book died saving the President. The AF Base Commander, General Taylor, wants to know what happened and why former Navy Seal, Brad Channing, became involved and saved the President. He calls upon the Navy Seal Commander at Annapolis, Admiral Parker, to help solve the mystery. When Adm. Parker arrives at the AF Base, he meets Donna Tucker who had been Sarah O’Brien’s Best-Friend and asks for Parker’s help in finding out what happened to Sarah and Brad. Gen Taylor and Adm. Parker agree to let Donna help because Donna knows where Sarah kept all her journals about the assassination team.

Taylor and Parker are formulating their plan of action when nefarious forces begin killing senior Cabinet officials, starting with the Secretary of Defense who is killed shortly after returning to WASH DC after visiting Taylor and Parker.

Spooks and spies come out of the woodwork, literally bugs hid everywhere. Parker calls in a favor from Seal members across the country, who recover Sarah’s journals’ out from under the feet of the CIA. Her journals make it clear a shadowy character known as the Lion is trying to bring down the US government and other heads of state to reorganize the world in the Lion’s new order. People on and around the AF Base are being killed by remote controlled bombs but Taylor and Parker can’t find the connection that ties it all together.

The powers that be, whether in the Lion’s control or not, are wondering what happened at the AF base and why all the attacks continue at the base, putting even more pressure on Taylor and Parker to make sense of whose is attacking the President and the US government.

In the midst of this turmoil loves blossoms between Parker and Donna and Taylor’s old flame, Julie Underwood, is asked to present an expose on live TV.

Taylor and Parker have based the hopes that once the skullduggery is exposed on TV by Julie, the scheme will fall apart. The press and media assemble at the AF base to listen to Julie’s presentation when a shot is fired.

Did the Lion succeed in his plot or will love conquer all?

This is a fast-paced story with adventure and intrigue in the middle of a love story. It’s an easy read, well-edited and no typos. I enjoyed this book enough to order the first book.

Also by Gwendolyn Plano and co-written with John W. Howell.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and on : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Gwen : Goodreads

You can find out more about Gwen on her website: Gwen Plano

I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing three poetry collections by Frank Prem and his latest The New Asylum: a memoir of psychiatry is receiving wonderful reviews.

About the collection

The New Asylum is the third volume in a series of free-verse poetry anthologies and personal memoirs from Australian author Frank Prem (Small Town Kid, Devil In The Wind).

This collection is an exposé of life in the public psychiatric system, spanning five decades and describing sometimes graphically, sometimes ironically, often poignantly, and always honestly, a search for meaning in extraordinary and often incomprehensible circumstances.

The journey begins with childhood experiences of watching immigrant parents earn their living in the Mayday Hills Mental Asylum… progresses through the oddities and antics of psychiatric nurse training in the 1970s… on to the high-pressure coalface of managing regional centres facing an inundation of modern urban challenges… and finally, settles into the generally calmer waters of a small town residential facility.

Join Frank Prem on his New Asylum journey, and discover what it means to become that particular ‘mental health creature’ that is a psychiatric nurse.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Frank catches the essence of life in a few words, he has the gift of enabling you to see it all.
Because my wife is a nurse, I approached The New Asylum eagerly. I wondered what Franks vivid descriptions would make of psychiatry, a field he knows so well. For a lot of people, it’s a difficult subject and one that I thought might be difficult to capture with empathy.
I needn’t have had any doubts about the content. I was not disappointed in the way Frank describes it. Living with a nurse (of any discipline), you get to hear all sorts of stories about life on and off the wards.

While there is great sadness in the job, there is also humour and hope. The humour is necessary, without it, survival would be impossible for staff faced with the day to day travails of caring for the patients. These poems have it all, poignant, sympathetic and non-judgemental, they are infused with ‘nursiness’, that mixture of no-nonsense and kindness that’s the hallmark of the professional.

And it bought back memories, in fact, the whole collection is stuffed with perfectly observed vignettes of nursing and asylum life; the patients, the staff and the reality of the job. It’s impossible to single one out, they all contain nuggets.

My favourite two are The Smell of Stockings and Not a lot Anymore, In the first, Frank describes nursing shoes perfectly, my wife used to keep hers outside on the window ledge (for obvious reasons). In the other, an old hand sums up the categories of mental illness.
The poems are grouped into sections and take the reader on a journey through the asylum through the eyes of a student and a nurse. There are also observations and stories of life, seen from all sides. And they show that, in the midst of despair, there is hope. There are a cadre of carers, who even if they can’t cure, can make things better.

I recommend The New Asylum, it’s a sensitive handling of a subject that, for so long, has been ignored.

Also by Frank Prem

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US

And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Frank on Goodreads: Goodreads

Connect to Frank via his blog: Frank Prem WordPress

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

25 thoughts on “Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #WarDrama Marina Osipova, #Memoir Cynthia Reyes, #Thriller Gwen M. Plano, #Poetry Frank Prem

  1. Here you go:

    Noel Perrin
    First Person Rural, Essays of a Sometime Farmer (1978): The first of Perrin’s four books on country living, each containing essays concerning Vermont country life and ranging from the intensely practical to the mildly literary. Also: Second Person Rural, More Essays of a Sometime Farmer (1980), Third Person Rural, Further Essays of a Sometime Farmer (1983), and Last Person Rural (1992).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up December 1st to 7th – Christmas Music, Festive Brussel Sprouts, Italian Biscotti, Winter Sun and plenty of other Shenanigans! | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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