Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #GraphicNovel Sue Vincent and Stuart France, #Historical #1950s Bette A. Stevens, #Poetry Balroop Singh

Welcome to the first of the Cafe updates of the week, where I will share recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first authors are Sue Vincent and Stuart France for Mr. Fox: The Legend.

About the book

Mister Fox- The Legend…
A tale born of fire and dance, folklore and a mysterious Red Book.
Who is Mister Fox? Or… what is Mister Fox?

A graphic novel

One of the recent reviews for the book

I purchased the hard copy of this graphic novel and I was very pleased that I did. The artwork is very visually appealing and really adds to the enjoyment of this intriguing and mysterious story.

I was not familiar with the legend of Mister Fox or the dance which tells his story until I read this book. I was intrigued by the story of the crow that hatched a devious plan to steal the sun from old man fox who cared for it. The way in which the crow tricks old man fox and his vixen daughter reminded me of other myths and legends I have read, in particular, Brer Rabbit, which was a great favourite of mine when I was a girl.

Of course, as with all good tales, the crow gets caught and punished and is doomed to spend his life trapped in time, where he is cast by old man fox and his fox troupe, and surrounded by “seven leaping tongues of flame.”

The next part of the book tells the tale of how the story of Mr Fox came to in Yorkshire and associated with certain sports and revelries which have survived over the years.

According to this book, the fox dance is still performed on the night of the Hunter’s Moon in a secretive and mysterious way. The identities of the dancers are also a secret and only known within the dance troupe.

An informative, entertaining and beautifully illustrated graphic novel.

A selection of other books by Sue Vincent and Stuart France

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

and: Amazon US

And you can find more reviews and follow Sue: Goodreads

And follow Stuart France: Goodreads

Connect to Sue and Stuart through their book website:  France and Vincent

The next review is for author and poet Bette A. Stevens and her coming of age novel Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey

About the book

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

One of the recent reviews for Dog Bone Soup

Marian Beaman 5.0 out of 5 stars Bullied boy makes good after all  Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2020

Novelist Bette Stevens’ Dog Bone Soup is like “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” nurturing and heartwarming. Though protagonist Shawn Daniels grew up in a dysfunctional home with an alcoholic dad and longsuffering mother, he also had a Mrs. Ashley who championed him, and an indomitable spirit that must have been written somewhere in his genetic code.

The Daniels family live in a ramshackle house without indoor plumbing or enough groceries in the pantry. Yet, the dark passages of hardship are tempered with a tone of optimism. Lines like these capture Shawn’s ability to find pleasure in the everyday: “Us boys were still in stitches—laughin’, hollerin’ and jumpin’ up and down—when we spotted Mrs. Nettle. It was funnier than watching a Laurel and Hardy show. There she was running up that road—bare footed, curlers dangling and her housecoat blowing every which way. She grabbed ahold of Ben by the hair and started slappin’ him around and cussin’ up a storm. That’s when Willie and me and Buddy shot off like bullets.”

Readers will root for the main character because they have come to care about him. And perhaps because he is bullied at school and deprived of the necessities at home, we tend to excuse Shawn’s stealing apples from his neighbors or sneaking around milking a farmer’s cows before sunrise. Early on, we understand that Shawn wants a better life for himself down the road, which may include college or the military.

The dialogue and depiction of the era are outstanding, the entire story told from Shawn’s point of view. It’s not hard to believe that the novelist is a former middle-school teacher who understands the heart and soul of a boy – and the era of the 1950s and 60s in which the novel is cast. I can imagine author Stevens may have had a young man similar to Shawn in her classroom at some point in her career. A great coming-of-age novel I can recommend for all ages.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Bette: Goodreads

Connect to Bette A. Stevens via her blog:  4 Writers and Readers

The final author is Balroop Singh, with a review for her most recent poetry collection Moments We Love

About the collection

Moments of fragrant love that stand frozen in time, of dreams that dare not unfold, of passion that fleets by, of erratic joy that we meet at the crossroads of life, butterflies of time that add color to our dark moments to scare the demons away – I have gathered all of them in this book. Some of them whisper softly to create a magical aura while spring of life sings with them, trying to wipe silent tears. Mother Nature steps in with all her grandeur to breath quiet messages of tranquility.

Each poem would soothe your emotions with élan and add a dash of color to your life. Life – that doesn’t halt for your sad moments; that just floats by. You just need to dive in to soak in myriads of moments to discover how it could ignite positive tones. All the poems in this collection are imaginary but inspired from people around me, some of whom chose to share their frustrations and tremors with me. Sometimes I could read between the lines to pen my thoughts down.

Memories and moments merge here
Today when I return to share
The glow of rainbows
Embers of emotional entreaties
And smoldering debris.

One of the recent reviews for the collection on Goodreads

May 26, 2020 Smitha Vishwanath rated it Five Stars

Like the name suggests, ‘Moments we love,’ is a book that captures moments in life where the beautiful feeling of love exists. The book is divided into three sections – Moments of love, Moments of Harmony and Moments that make Life. Before each section is a beautiful personal quote – not more than three lines that sets the tone of the section. The poems follow the free-verse style and are not punctuated making the reading easy. There is a tenderness in each poem which reflects the poet’s nature. Even when the poet is angry about love being bitter, the feelings change but the tone is still gentle and sounds more like a learning. There is an absence of hatred but the presence of an inner strength. The book cover sets the tone of the poems.

If love was a three-dimension object, the poet has covered every side, every angle and every surface – the feeling of first love, the yearning, the doubts that one has when one is in love, the rift (there is a poem by the same name), the memories are some of the themes under the first section – Moments we love.

There is a equal mix of romanticism and rebelliousness in the poems. The poems are a light read and can be read by non-poets as well.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on: Goodreads

Connect to Balroop via her blog: Balroop Singh on WordPress


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

36 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #GraphicNovel Sue Vincent and Stuart France, #Historical #1950s Bette A. Stevens, #Poetry Balroop Singh

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