Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Familydrama James J. Cudney, #Prehistoric Jacqui Murray, #Children’s Toni Pike

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore updates, with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is James J. Cudney for his family drama Father Figure.

About the book

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly.

Abused by her mother, Amalia Graeme longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies.

Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden New York City teenager, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent.

Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen is revealed. Father Figure is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 4.0 out of 5 stars Two women growing into their skins  Reviewed in the United States on May 31, 2020

This family drama alternates chapters between two women who, 20 years apart, are transitioning from high school to college. Amalia lives in rural Mississippi under the abusive thumb of her mother. Brianna is from New York City, and though she has a loving mother, she is desperate to know her father’s identity. Her mother, Mollie, refuses to disclose any details of her past.

In a way, the book is a character study, chronicling the two young women’s journeys from adolescence to young adulthood primarily through their sexual experiences and relationships, both positive and negative. This part of the narrative, for me, explored how each woman finally grew into her own skin.

I felt a great deal of empathy for timid Amalia, more so than for Brianna who is so persistent about finding out who her father is that she causes endless problems for everyone around her. It’s Brianna’s search that leads to the climatic end where the mysteries in the book are resolved.

The pace for most of the book felt very slow to me until the last 15% when things started coming together. Otherwise, the writing, characterizations, descriptions, and dialog are all well done. I think this read might be too long and slow for a YA audience, but I recommend it for readers of women’s lit and family dramas.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And on Amazon UK: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by James J. Cudney

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow James: Goodreads

Connect to James via his blog: This is my Truth Now

The next review is for the second book in The Crossroads Trilogy – The Quest for Home by Jacqui Murray. 

About The Quest for Home

Driven from her home. Stalked by enemies. Now her closest ally may be a traitor.

Bravo Jacqui! A fine read and meticulous research.” — Sue Harrison, author of the acclaimed Ivory Carver Trilogy,

Xhosa flees what she had hoped would be her new home after being attacked by invaders from the North. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands of what we now call Europe. As she struggles to overcome strangers around her and disruptions within her People, Xhosa faces the reality that her most dangerous enemy may not be the one she expected. It may be one she has trusted with her life.

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate any who came before.

Based on a true story, this is an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man spreads across Eurasia. Xhosa must regularly does the impossible which is good because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

A recent review for the book

Anneli 5.0 out of 5 stars Power Struggles Handled Well  Reviewed in the United States on June 10, 2020

The Quest for Home picks up where Survival of the Fittest left off. The overarching theme is to find a land that will support the tribes and provide the necessities of life for them. On this journey, several smaller tribes have banded together for safety and other benefits that a community can provide. However while dealing with the dangers the groups expect during a migration in search of a homeland, a power struggle develops between the leaders of the groups. The undermining of Xhosa, the main leader, makes her task of delivering her people to a new home all the more difficult. But Xhosa is no shrinking violet. She meets all the challenges meant to derail her – treachery thrown her way by traitors, cowards, and ambitious usurpers. Can she carry the weight of all her people’s problems and still fight the internal battles that threaten her leadership?

I was impressed by the author’s skill in developing the novel. The inner conflicts of the main characters are masterfully worked into the storyline to add tension to the major external conflicts. Each challenger for the leadership of the tribes has his own personality and reasons for wanting to lead. Each has a major flaw that becomes his own biggest problem. Add to the in-house intrigues and the natural dangers of weather and geography, the appearance of cannibals and other groups bent on killing them all, and you have the tension racheted up to the highest level. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Read the reviews and buy the book:Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Jacqui Murray

Read all the reviews and buy the books:   Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

 Read more reviews and follow Jacqui: goodreads

Connect to Jacqui via her Blog: Worddreams

The final author today is Toni Pike with a review for her children’s book Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer Space.

About the book

Brody Cody is almost eight years old and definitely, absolutely, positively does NOT want a mother. His mother died when he was a baby but life with his dad is just perfect.

Brody is horrified when his father goes away to a publishing conference and returns with a wife, Pandora Smith, who is a children’s author. His life spirals out of control as he is forced to eat healthy food, do his homework and help with some chores.

Even worse, he and his friends suspect that his new stepmother might be an alien from outer space.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious fun for kids  Reviewed in the United States on June 5, 2020

This book is a hilarious and fun read for young readers aged 7 to 13 years old. It is quite reminiscent, with its quirky and slightly dark humour, of Roald Dahl’s books, in particular, it reminded me a bit of James and the Giant Peach where James’ parents are eaten by a rampaging rhinoceros.

Cody, the young hero if this book, is raised by his relaxed and nonchalant father after his mother is mowed down unexpectedly by a runaway bus. Cody is spared because he flies out of his pram and across into the hands of the police constable who catches him like a baseball.

Cody is a happy boy who lives with no rules and little parental intervention. His father works from home in the afternoons, and is not given to checking on Cody’s homework or making sure it is done. They have an interesting diet too that comprises of sweet and sickly cereal in the morning and some fabulously unhealthy father created meals in the evenings.

Cody is happy and doesn’t believe he needs a mother like other children have. He has freedom and he is happy living with his father.

One day, Cody’s father needs to go away to an out-of-town conference. Cody cannot go with him and is sent to his friend’s home for this period. Cody’s friend has a mother and she sets about trying to mend Cody’s lackadaisical ways. Just before Cody is due to go home, he gets a quick call from his father telling him he has met and married a woman he met at the conference.

Cody is horrified and returns home quite determined to reject this new mother, but things don’t go quite according to plan. Cody discovers things about his new mother than lead him to believe she is an alien.

This really is a rollicking good story and young children will love it.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book:  USA  –  UK  –  Australia  –  Canada

A selection of other books by Toni Pike

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Toni on: Goodreads

Connect to Toni via her website: Toni Pike

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

58 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Familydrama James J. Cudney, #Prehistoric Jacqui Murray, #Children’s Toni Pike

  1. Reblogged this on Toni Pike and commented:
    I was delighted to have a wonderful review of BRODY CODY AND THE STEPMOTHER FROM OUTER SPACE included in a Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Author Update. Many thanks to the amazing Sally Cronin for her generosity.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well, I’ve read Jay’s and Jacqui’s books, so naturally, I had to purchase Toni’s. I’m looking forward to reading it with my grandson. He’s the perfect age to enjoy it. Thanks for showcasing some great reads and reviews, Sally.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I enjoyed Jay’s Academic Curveball, and have Father Figure on my Kindle. Jacui’s prehistoric fiction is so intriguing and I look forward to her new release of Against All Odds. Good to see Toni’s children’s book. Congratulations to all the wonderful reviews. Thank you, Sally!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – 12th – 18th July 2020 – Children’s Book Store, Relationships, Italian Cookery, Book Reviews, Health, Humour and Music | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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