Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update #Reviews – #Fantasy M.J. Mallon, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau, #Suspense Joan Hall

Welcome to the first of the weeks Cafe updates with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first review is for M.J. Mallon’s new release of Bloodstone (The Curse Of Time Book 1) – Book 2 is following shortly.

About the book

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who is imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house.

When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden path where she encounters Ryder: a charismatic, perplexing stranger.

With the help of a magical paint set and some crystal wizard stones, can Amelina discover the truth about her family?

A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Helen 5.0 out of 5 stars A great YA novel!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 September 2021

A great YA novel that will resonate with many young teenagers, as it touches on problems with feeling different, lack of self confidence, and difficult relationships with friends. The story is told through Ameline’s voice, with her anguish and confusion at her life, and the teenage characters are believable and well written. It touches on issues such as self harm and depression, but the author has written those scenes in a sensitive and compassionate way that is appropriate to the age of the readers.

I loved all the characters, but Esme, the girl in the mirror was the most intriguing. I hope we find out more about her in future books! The mysterious cottage, the crystals, and Ameline’s dormant powers coming to life all added to the mystery of the story.

The descriptive narrative and suspenseful story line make this a great read. I look forward to reading the next instalment!  

Books by M.J. Mallon

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK Website:M.J. Mallon – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

The next review is for Elizabeth Gauffreau and her poetry collection released at the end of September Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance

About the collection

“Poetry readers willing to walk the road of grief and family connections will find Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance a psychological treasure trove. It’s a very accessible poetic tribute that brings with it something to hold onto–the memories and foundations of past family joys, large and small.” ~Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

“Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance is a passionate ode to loved ones lost and an intimate portrayal of one family’s shared grief. It holds the key to solace in home photographs and illustrates just how special our singular moments can be. ~Toni Woodruff, Independent Book Review

“A beautiful, personal collection of family photos and poems that express the author’s most inner feelings. Nostalgic and heartfelt, Gauffreau’s poems are written in the Japanese style of tanka, simple, thoughtful, and full of love. Filled with wonderful memories of the past.” ~Kristi Elizabeth, Manhattan Book Review

One of the early reviews for the book.

BonnieD 5.0 out of 5 stars A Loving Tribute Done in Tanka  Reviewed in the United States on September 26, 2021

Grief Songs is a beautiful collection of Tanka poems, accompanied by family photographs. Each poem pays tribute to a family member and often goes behind the scenes, telling us what is happening “beyond the frame.” It is a wonderful and unique look at a family, both good times and bad.

To anyone who is unfamiliar with tanka poems, here is a quick definition: Tanka poems are Japanese in origin. They are very specifically 31 syllables, 5 lines. The first line has five syllables, the second 7, the third 5, and the last two lines have 7. The first three lines are supposed to evoke an image, and the last two describe an action or emotion based on that image.

In Grief Songs, Gauffreau gives heartfelt tributes to her mother, father, and brother George. Some will make you laugh, and some will draw a tear. My absolute favorite is Angelic, which is aptly named. It is accompanied by the most adorable, and yes, angelic, portrait of two children I have ever seen. Liz and her brother George look like the most beautiful, well-behaved kids ever to sit for a portrait in the history of time. However, the the last two lines of the accompanying tanka read: “George had cried piteous tears/while I railed against my bangs.” This made me laugh out loud–maybe not so angelic! The bangs in question remind me of a lot of pictures in my own family album of home haircuts where the bangs ended up a little too short, usually right before a school picture. This is just one example of the way Gauffreau brings the photos to life with her poetry.

Gauffreau’s ability to weave poems, even poems with strict guidelines, into very descriptive stories is quite evident in this book. A Goodwill Love Story is a great example of that. She describes her parents’ meeting, courtship, and marriage in 5 lines, 31 syllables, and we see pictures in our minds that go far beyond the accompanying photo.

Grief Songs will inspire you to pull out your own family album, remember your lost loved ones, and think about the stories behind the photos. It is a beautifully constructed book of memories full of joy, admiration, and pain.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the collection Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Also by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Website/Blog: Liz Gauffreau – Twitter: @LGauffreau

The final author today is Joan Hall with a review for Cold Dark Night: Legends of Madeira

About the book

New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.

Tami Montgomery thought her police chief husband was going to be the only investigator in the family when she gave up her journalism career and moved with him to Madeira, New Mexico.

But after the historical society asks her to write stories for a book celebrating the town’s one-hundred fiftieth year, she becomes embroiled in a new mystery. If she can’t solve this one, she could lose everything. Her research uncovers a spate of untimely deaths of local law enforcement officials. Further digging reveals a common link—they all lived in the house she and Jason now share.

Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, Jason will be the next to die.

One of the early reviews for the book

Maura Beth Brennan 5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Small-Town Mystery  Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2021

This book is classified as a thriller or mystery, but it will easily appeal to cozy-mystery-lovers. It involves a charming small town and a cast of appealing characters, complete with the mystery-solving main character, a town bossy busybody, law enforcement figures, and is devoid of extreme violence and coarse language. The story begins when Tami and Jason Montgomery move to the little town of Madeira, New Mexico, where Jason will serve as the town’s new police chief. Tami left her much-loved job as a journalist to move there, but soon finds her investigative tendencies engaged by stories she hears about the very house she and Jason occupy. And they’re definitely not good.

Of course, she sets out to learn more and joins the local historical society to take part in a project writing a book about the town’s past. The author skillfully weaves glimpses of the past with current events to create a feeling of impending danger. The characters were well-drawn and likeable. I loved how the author interspersed information about lunar activity and folklore into the chapters. The characters in this story were well-drawn and likeable, and the story kept me guessing. This is an engaging mystery with a satisfying payoff.

Also by Joan Hall

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read other reviews and follow Joan: Goodreads – Website: Joan Hall – Blog: Joan Hall – BookBub: Joan Hall – Facebook: Joan Hall Writes – Twitter: @JoanHallWrites


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.



76 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update #Reviews – #Fantasy M.J. Mallon, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau, #Suspense Joan Hall

  1. Lovely reviews of three enticing books. I particularly liked the review of Elizabeth’s poetry – I love poetry that stirs emotions and it’s nice to have a few that raise a smile as well. xx

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Congratulations to all the authors.
    I’ve read Joan Hall’s Cold Dark Night and agree with Maura Beth’s Review. It’s such a great story in a wonderful small town setting.
    Thanks for sharing, Sally!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. All great books!! I enjoyed Marje´s book and look forward to the next in the series. I enjoy any story set in New Mexico, as you know. And I just finished Elizabeth´s lovely book of poems and photographs and loved it.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 3rd – 9th October 2021 – James Bond, 1979 Hits, Green Kitchen, Stories, Book Reviews, Bloggers, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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