Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Actionthriller Yigal Zur, #Children’s Barbara Ann Mojica, #YAFantasy M. J. Mallon, #CrimeThriller Paulette Mahurin

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 featured book today is an action thriller that I have read and reviewed recently is Passport to Death – Dotan Naor thriller series by Yigal Zur

About the Dotan Naor thriller series

DOTAN NAOR is an ex-Mossad agent, bounced out of the agency not just for a fatal miscalculation in Palestinian Jenin but for his inability to live within the bureaucracy and submit to authority. Dotan is now a private detective who uses his immense skills of persuasion and violence to rescue Israelis who are in peril throughout the world. Through his extensive travels in Asia, Dotan has developed a love for Eastern philosophy and lifestyle; his enhanced spiritual existence also happens to be good for business as many Israelis run off to exotic Asian locales to let off steam after their mandatory and often dangerous military service.

About Passport to Death

Dotan Naor, an Israeli private investigator, ousted from Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—goes to Thailand to find Sigal Bardon, a beautiful young girl from a wealthy Israeli family. Sigal has disappeared in Bangkok—completely. Dotan has connections in Thailand and he’s familiar with Bangkok’s dark side—the narrow alleys with bars and hookers, trenches of stagnant water, hotel rooms with illicit activity. This is where he intends to start his search. But when the passport of the missing Israeli girl ends up in his hands during his first taxi ride in the city, he’s suspicious that someone is playing him. But who? And why?

As Dotan searches for Sigal, police corruption blocks his every path. Every lead he pursues draws him closer and closer to a black hole in his “own” past—one intertwined with his pursuit of Sigal—one that leads him to Reuven—and the haunting failure that led to the dismissal of both of them from Shin Bet. The wound between Dotan and Reuven is raw and deep, but Dotan realizes it must be healed in order to save Sigal.

A recent review for Passport to Death

Al Johnson 5.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Read December 5, 2019

First, I must provide three disclosures before reviewing the book.

One, I have lived off and on in Bangkok (The location where Passport to Death takes place) and Thailand for many years as an advisor to various Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams, network analysis groups, etc to include the Royal Thai Police.

Two, I normally don’t read fiction books, unless there is a very compelling reason to, and additionally I have never reviewed them (except if you count Bill O’Reilly’s Killing the Rising Sun, which should count as a “Historical Fiction” Novel).

Three, I was asked to read the novel by the author in a message, as he received my name and contact information from a mutual acquaintance.

Having said that, I have no hesitation in recommending this book for those that enjoy a good international detective novel, or those that want to “read between the lines” to get a peek inside the world of the underbelly of Bangkok’s narcotic cartels.

First, I have to commend Mr. Zur for presenting his story with a very engaging cadence and pallet. From the opening chapter I was interested in the main character, and easily able to visualize the canvas that Yigal was painting on each page. Gradually he layered in additional textures, so that both the people and places began to become “real”. His gradual reveal of background stories mixed the fiction with real world events and archetypes kept me turning each page in order to see what would be revealed next.

The life experience of the author comes through in that, unlike so many other fictional novels, this one remains grounded within realism and true to character interactions. Many readers outside of Bangkok and Southeast Asia will be surprised by his descriptions of the “Backpacker Mule” culture that has arisen there, and destroyed so many lives in the river of Narcotics trade, but Yigal Zur has been able to do so in a way that gradually lets the reader in so they can absorb the start reality.

The book in English is a translation from the Hebrew original, however, it does not suffer as have other translated books. Unless I read the inner material carefully and noted it was a translation, I would never have guessed it wasn’t written in native English. The translation work by Sara Kitai are to be commended!

After having been introduced to the Dotan Naor series with this book, I will be purchasing the Death In Shangri La, also written by Yigal Zur. It is obvious he is able to infuse an engaging fictional character set amongst realistic scenarios and locations, and I look forward to his next work.

Also in English by Yigal Zur

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Yigal on : Goodreads

Connect to Yigal via Facebook: Yigal Zur Author

Now for something for the younger members of the family to introduce them to American history with the latest addition to the Little Miss History series by Barbara Ann Mojica. – Little Miss HISTORY Travels to Hyde Park, Home of FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT: Presidential Library & Museum 

About the book

Little Miss HISTORY loves to educate children by engaging with interesting and overlooked historical facts. Interest and insight into historical places or persons are maintained by this engaging character and her fun facts, of each book. Illustrations of Little Miss HISTORY are upbeat and lighthearted.

Little Miss History Travels to Hyde Park Home of FDR walks the reader through FDR’s private life within the confines of his home. As Little Miss HISTORY takes us through each room of this home, we become increasingly aware of FDR’s accomplishments and struggles.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Oct 05, 2019 Diane Robinson rated it Five Stars and it was amazing

The Little Miss History series is incredible! The author’s newest release, Little Miss History goes to Hyde Park, home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, is another spectacular learning book in this series; this book takes the reader on a tour of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s house and his personal and political life. This series is always interesting, has vivid illustrations, and is written in a way that children, and adults, will love. Kudos to Barbara Ann Mojica!

A selection of other books in the series

Discover all the books, read the reviews and buy: Amazon US

And on : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Barbara Ann on : Goodreads

Connect to Barbara Ann via her blog: BAM Author

The next author is Marjorie Mallon with The Curse of Time : Book One – Bloodstone a YA fantasy and science fiction adventure.

About The Curse of Time

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Her house is haunted by a girl who lives in the mirror, her dad returned from a strange disappearance oddly aged, and inanimate objects can talk to her and control her. Her cat is capable of disappearing, a talent shared by her dark, handsome, and creepy crush, Ryder. Her family is cursed. Amelina is not a happy teenager.

Each chapter is a puzzle piece that leads the reader deeper into Amelina’s experience. The first third of the book is primarily exposition – filling the reader in through dreams, memories, visions, and the mutterings of the girl in the mirror. The odd things that happen to Amelina reminded me of the adventures of Alice in Wonderland, the connection and significance of each puzzle piece not yet clear. The line from the book, “Nothing is crazy. Everything is possible” sums it up.

For a while, the story shift and focuses on Amelina and Ryder, a budding romance riddled with teenage angst and hinting at a darker side to the handsome teen. It’s not until near the end of the book that Amelina’s goal —to rid her family of its curse— takes over, accompanied by the means to accomplish her wish.

I liked the character of Amelina and was sympathetic to her plight. She’s stuck in that teenage place of caring for one’s parents while also thinking they’re annoying. The use of crystals was intriguing and included the real-life power and wisdom that crystals are thought to possess. The read is full of teenage-life details, and I recommend it for YA readers. 

Read the other reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And on : Amazon US

Follow M.J. Mallon on: Goodreads

Connect to Marjorie Mallon via her website: M.J. Mallon

And for those of you who enjoy a good crime thriller here is Paulette Mahurin with Irma’s Endgame

As with all Paulette’s books, profits from will go to rescue dogs from kill shelters.

About Irma’s Endgame.

When newspaper headlines screamed in large bold print that one of the world’s leading heart-transplant surgeons, Peter Dayton, was arrested for the death of one of his transplant patients, shock waves were felt around the world. Particularly impacted was an attorney, Irma Mullins, who found it inconceivable that the man she once loved could have committed the heinous act for which he had been arrested. Determined to find out what happened, she embarks on a course of action to uncover the truth. But when all paths lead to one dead-end after another, and Dayton continues to maintain his innocence, she detours.

Through desperation, frustration, fear, and determination she grasps at thin threads for anything that might uncover facts to help exonerate Dayton. What she ultimately discovers is both shocking and unbelievable. Written by the award-winning, international best-selling author, Paulette Mahurin, Irma’s Endgame is a story of friendship and loyalty, of betrayal and revenge, of mystery and discovery, of enmity and love. It is a narrative that shakes the very core of the scientific ground we all walk on and proves that what we think is real is not always solid terrain. This is a novel that will be remembered long after the last page is finished.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I enjoyed the complexity of the characters in this work. They feel like real people, dealing with real problems. Which is a difficult feat to pull off for any author, dealing with stark realism. The story of a doctor accused of manslaughter is intriguing in and of itself but giving the lawyer a personal investment in him is the essence of drama and kept me turning the pages. An excellent work.

Also by Paulette Mahurin

Read all the reviews and BUY the booksAmazon US

And : Amazon UK

Profits from Paulette’s books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Read more reviews and follow Paulette on : Goodreads

Connect to Paulette via her blog: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on WordPress
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm…thanks Sally.

14 thoughts on “Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Actionthriller Yigal Zur, #Children’s Barbara Ann Mojica, #YAFantasy M. J. Mallon, #CrimeThriller Paulette Mahurin

  1. Wonderful display of books today Sal. Funny, I just went through my Kindle and pushed up some books I’m eager to read that sort of got lost in the shuffle. Paulette’s book is slotted for next month. She’s another of my favorite authors to read 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – The Weekly Round Up December 15th -21st | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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