Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #History #JewishFiction Eva Hnizdo, #Fantasy Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, #Poetry Balroop Singh

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

The first review is for Eva Hnizdo and her new novel, released on 28th September. The historical Jewish fiction Why Didn’t They Leave?

About the book

You can’t ask for asylum in another country just because your mother drives you nuts, so when 19-year-old Zuzana flees from communist Czechoslovakia to England in 1972, she says she just wants freedom. Her relationship with her mother, Magda – a Holocaust survivor who lost most of her family in the concentration camps – is toxic and Zuzana finds happiness in London with a loving husband and beautiful son. But when her mother dies, Zuzana is crushed by guilt and feels an overwhelming urge to discover more about her family’s tragic history. So, she embarks on a life-changing journey, discovers some incredible stories and tries to answer the question which haunts her: Why didn’t they leave?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Peter Fink 5.0 out of 5 stars Why didn’t they leave? or Why did they stay?  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 October 2021

In the many books dealing with the dramatic canvas of twentieth-century European history, the Eva Hnizdo book: Why didn’t they leave? stands out.

By not following the format of other personal recollections of the horrors and inhumanity of the Holocaust, her perceptive writing focuses on a more universal question of how to capture the complexity of individual lives and how we become who we are by our decisions and actions. The book’s alternative title could have easily have been: Why did they stay?

What made this book stand out for me is how the writer seamlessly interweaves the enormity of the Holocaust and communism with the human desire of all the protagonists to be known and heard, in owning their unique story as a mother, daughter …. or being Jewish or Czech … The multi-layered narratives of Magda and her mother become an almost surgical step by step capturing of a shared burden of multigenerational trauma of encountering the values of another person formed in another time and of the ultimate redemption of allowing yourself to be  

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US – Follow Eva: GoodreadsWebsite: Eva Hnizdo Writer – Facebook: Eva Hnizdo – Twitter: @EvaHnizdo

The next review is for Dead of Winter: Journey 9, Doors of Attunement by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

About the book

In this ninth installment Emlyn, Osabide, and Fotia (in Zasha’s body) traveled to a third world, so little known that it is only called the Other Realm. They hope to restore Zasha. Will Fotia willingly relinquish her new life in a young body? There the trio meet unpredictable, but vastly powerful beings known as the Listeners. One of them is a new enemy. Another might be friend or foe. Either way, he is dangerous.
Arawn has grown stronger. An army of the dead gathers near the Lost Library. Hallgeir faces one of the biggest decisions of his life.
Journey with our travelers. Adventure awaits.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars A ramble through portals into different realms.  Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2021

Journey 9 begins with Emlyn, Osabide, and Focia stuck in another dimension in the lost library. They’re trying to return Zasha to her body as well as find their way back to the rest of the Deae Matras group. This novella-length journey expands on Emlyn’s ability to pass between realms, and they learn more about the dire condition of the veil that separates the dead from the living.

As always, Geneviene’s episode is full of luscious details about the world including stairways that seem to lead nowhere, runes that turn cold, and magical staffs that hold the key to power. Some of these story elements feel random, but they do enhance the mystery and adventure, and there’s a chance that they’ll tie together at some point.

There are lots of mysterious characters, some helpful, some malevolent, and a few who could go either way. Little by little stakes are rising and the Deae Matras are in the thick of it. I look forward to continuing the fantasy adventure.

A small selection of other books by Teagan

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Blog: Teagan’s BooksGoodreads:Goodreads Twitter: @teagangeneviene

The final review today is for Balroop Singh… and her poetry collection…Slivers: Chiseled Poetry

About the collection

When I stumbled upon haiku – a Japanese form of poetry, I scoffed it away, thinking it to be too short and easy to write. My hubris got a setback when I was challenged to write it! My earlier efforts show how I struggled with the syllables that could convey a meaningful message. Slowly I discovered this art form, which I revere now. I’ve taken some liberties with the rules though.

The poetry in this collection is not traditional haiku and tanka but inspired from them.This collection focuses on micro-poetry, inspired from haiku, senryu, tanka and acrostic poems. Brevity and discipline is the hallmark of these poems.

A recent review for the collection

Sep 10, 2021 Trish Butler rated it five stars

My favourite Balroop Singh collection so far!

I’ve read and enjoyed several of Singh’s volumes, but this one is my favourite. She has taken on the discipline of haiku and tanka and excelled.

Grouping these short poems into subjects was a great inspiration too and I particularly loved the images with some of them as I am a very visual person.

Singh’s poetry is calming and beautiful and this book is no exception. Take your time and experience the calm her words can have over you.

I’d love to hear them read aloud.  

Other books by Balroop Singh


Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop : Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter: @BalroopShado


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





41 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #History #JewishFiction Eva Hnizdo, #Fantasy Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, #Poetry Balroop Singh

  1. Congrats to all on wonderful reviews. Again I checked on Eva’s book (paperback). Last week there were none available. Now it’s showing $13.99 on Amazon dot com and charging Canadians on dot CA $30 imported from the UK. I don’t understand what’s going on with the pricing so until a fair price comes out, not doubling the price for Canadians, I will wait to see if this situation corrects itself. Certainly a book I look forward to reading. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I just read Eva’s Why Didn’t They Leave? — deeply moving! Thank you for featuring it, Sally, and for spotlighting Teagan and Balroop as well. All three are gifted writers. 💗

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great collection. I’ve read Balroop’s–savored it is a better word–have read some of Teagan’s books so can attest to their probably excellence. Eva is new to me but that question is haunting. Thanks for sharing these.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m loving Teagan’s Dead of Winter and am up to Book 9 now and so have skipped the review so I’m totally in the dark when I read it! Eva’s book is set against such an important time in our recent history and I must read Balroop’s book. Many thanks. xx

    Liked by 2 people

      • I’m genuinely loving it, Teagan, but I’m afraid I haven’t been able to write a review of every chapter but have merely left 5* ratings. I will do a full review at the end. The memory isn’t all it should be now and I initially read them with a pen and paper to take notes – but I was so caught up in the story, I didn’t stop to write anything…

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      • I’m truly thankful for all of your comments and support, Alex.
        These days, it’s so hard to focus. I think most of us remember things better when they’re presented in shorter bites. That was one reason why I chose to make this a serial/series, rather than one mammoth book. Hopefully the list of characters and places at the back of the novelettes will help trigger memory too. Regardless, thank you so much for reading. Stay safe and well.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Sally. What a wonderful surprise to see Journey 9 included here. I’m honored by Diana’s review.
    As always, you’ve let me know about more terrific books for me to read — and a wonderful balance of variety. Balroop’s poetry to lift us up contrasted by Eva’s very serious book. Well done, Sally.
    Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations to the three authors. I have been following Dead of Winter, and I’m looking forward to reading Journey 9 and 10 soon, and I’ll check the rest of the recommendations as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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