Smorgasbord Book Reviews Round Up – July 2022- #Romance Jan Sikes, #Poetry Harmony Kent, #Dogs #Caravans Jacqueline Lambert, #Flash #Poetry M.J.Mallon, #Dystopian Teri Polen, #Western #Romance Sandra Cox

I had some great reading time in the garden during July and here are my recommendations from the month.

This review is for the first of four biographical novels by Jan Sikes based her own life and lifelong love story. Flowers and Stone.

My review for the book July 9th 2022

This is the first chapter in the passionate love story of a young woman enjoying the freedom of having left a restrictive upbringing with a bad boy of country music.

Although Darlina has tasted the joys of a more liberated lifestyle dancing for extra cash in a nightclub, there is still an air of innocence about her that attracts the much older and charasmatic Luke Stone. Wiser heads warn her of the dangers of becoming involved with a man who has long history of playing fast and loose in relationships, but she is in love.

That love will be tested in several ways over the following months and yet through it all Darlina is totally committed to being there for Luke in every way possible. His demons become hers as she watches him battle through a physical and mental crisis and yet there are still secrets that have the potential to rip them apart.

Despite his approach to women and previous relationships, Luke finds himself deeply connected to this young girl and her convictions. Secrets have a habit of being exposed to the light and in a desperate attempt to protect Darlina, Luke may have to make a major sacrifice.

You can tell that this story is written from the heart and is deeply personal. Even fictionalised the strength of the love and commitment to the relationship shines through and as the onlooker you find yourself hoping against hope things will work out. The love of a good woman can redeem a man who has fallen by the wayside, but the road is going to be long and hard.

The 70s and the setting for this story is also authentic and captures a time in music history that is legendary.

I look forward to reading the second book in this love saga soon.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Delighted to share the news of Harmony Kent’s new release and here is my review… Life & Soul (Book 2 in the Soul Poetry series)

My review for the collection July 7th 2022

This collection takes us on a journey exploring the many aspects of life, love, loss and renewal.

The soul that is our unique inner being, can be fragile at times, but also incredibly strong to withstand the storms that sweep through our lives.

The author is very open about her life and the traumatic events that she encountered and overcame and her strength is very evident in the poems she shares in this collection.

There are many that I can relate to, with poems that reflect the heartache of love that has not just faded, but developed a darker side, and being an outsider in a society that has strict rules for acceptance. It is also a celebration of finding love unexpectedly, and discovering true friendships that come with total acceptance.

Clearly love is all encompassing and there is a wonderful section devoted to the romance, growing connection and everyday joys to be found with your soul mate. One line in particular stuck with me.

Love in the simple things
Such as your glasses case left on the kitchen island…

I found the last section of the collection The Life of a Soul fascinating as the author takes us from birth to rebirth with such grace and poignancy. Certainly there are tears for the young child and woman trying to find her way, but also smiles at the determination to overcome a devastating accident and to adapt to the world on her own terms.

There were many poems that struck a chord with me including This Isn’t Love, The Group, True Friendships, Plastic Surgeon and This is Home.

Wild and Free is a lovely example of the authors way with words.

I’m not the prettiest flower in the field
But neither am I a weed
Take the time to watch me bloom
Don’t cut my stem and moan when I fade too soon
Far better that you leave me be
Dancing in the breeze, wild and free

I recommend this collection to those who would like to absorb the wise and poignant words of one soul to another.

Head over to read the reviews and buy new collection : Universal Link

My review for the highly entertaining and fascinating guide to caravanning and travelling through France… with four very individual pups… Year 1 – Fur Babies in France: From Wage Slaves to Living the Dream (Adventure Caravanning with Dogs) by Jacqueline Lambert.

Year 1 - Fur Babies in France: From Wage Slaves to Living the Dream (Adventure Caravanning with Dogs) by [Jacqueline Lambert]

My review for the book 9th July 2022

This book is a very entertaining and informative guide to caravanning with four dogs as companions through France.

Never having been on a caravan holiday, I was ignorant of all the technical requirements needed to not just tow this home on wheels, but manoeuvre it on and off pitches, keep it level, attach all the necessary services and avoid damaging critical pieces of the undercarriage.

The author shares her adventures for the preparation of both caravan and drivers before embarking on an ambitious debut extended tour of France. Daunting enough for the novice caravanner but with four dogs in the mix, quite a logistical challenge.

Whilst excellent information on the technical aspects are included, it is accompanied by an easy going and very humourous narration with some very witty double entendres thrown in for good measure.

For those who are planning a touring holiday of France in a caravan the book has a wealth of information on the best campsites for both scenery and facilities, especially when dogs are not always welcome. Certainly a pack is not usually considered to be acceptable despite the four in question being not only adorable but extremely well behaved. Whilst usually the case, apparently fox poop is the exception and then all bets are off. This can be a problem when you find yourself without a water connection and therefore no showers!

I know France reasonably well, but clearly you get to see a great deal more of the coast and inland areas than visits to the usual touristy hotspots. The book left me yearning for the open road and the freedom to stop in more out of the way places where campsites are the only option to stay for the night. A home on wheels definitely has its advantages, and again with four dogs who love to swim and run the beaches, the only sensible option if you take them with you, as hotels would be out of the question.

This is just the first book in the series and I am very much looking forward to reading the others. I finished this one with a smile on my face and a renewed desire for more travel adventures. I can highly recommend this honest, well written and amusing real life adventure.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

I am delighted to share my advance review for flash fiction and poetry collection The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet by M.J. Mallon. The collection is on pre-order for 15th August.


My review for the collection July 16th 2022

This is a poetry and flash fiction collection seeped in nature and illustrates the love the author has for the environment, particular the forests.

The first pages share the delightful love story of the Hedge Witch and the Musical Poet, bringing two solitary characters together in the sanctuary of a magical forest far from the human world.

This story is followed by poems and flash ficton, some of which are poignant such as the tribute to a ginger cat in Chester, Don & I, and bewilderment voiced in The Network of Trees as they stand in danger from the human need for progress.

There is also the sad reflection that much of the beauty and adventures to be found in the forests are being missed as children find themselves engrossed in the online world instead. The author makes sure to include the fun they could be enjoying instead.

The Teddy in the Woods probably should come with a tissue alert.

There are some reminders of poems from another collection which I also enjoyed Mr. Sagittarius Poetry; one of my favourites being Rainbow – Parasol of Light.

In the second section of the collection there is a series of poems inspired by other writers. Set in the woodlands and the beauty they offer. This includes the ethereal The Forest King.

The forest king lives in the shadows
his hair and beard, a flame alight
in his crown, the fairy queen sits
far from the tangled roots of his throne.

This is a collection to savour and to dip into when the technical world we inhabit becomes too demanding, or we are in need of a touch of magic. I recommend to lovers of nature and fantasy.

Head over to pre-order the collection for August 15th: Amazon UK – And:Amazon US

Here is my review for Teri Polen and her exciting Sci-fi thriller The Colony Series Book One – Subject A36

My review for the book 21st July 2022

This is one of the most exciting sci-fi thrillers I have read for some time. Action packed from beginning to end with fascinating and complex characters that pull you into, and along with the story.

Set in the future when those with money and power only want more of the same. To ensure those living in The Colony have health and wealth at their disposal, those outside the walls, particularly the children must pay the price.

There are secrets that have been kept for over ten years and Asher finds himself on the run with insurgents unaware that he knows more than his parents have told him. Given safe haven with and adoptive family he forms bonds that he will fight to the death to protect.

The Colony soldiers widen the net to bring in more test subjects and as the insurgents fight day and night to rescue those trapped, they find themselves embroiled in treachery and deceit. With the lives at risk of those Asher loves most at the hands of an evil scientist intent on revenge, the world becomes an even more dangerous place.

The plot is brilliant as is the writing which evokes an emotional response from the reader, as they connect to the lead characters and share their love and pain, to a feeling of loss as this first book in the series comes to an end.

I can highly recommend, and suggest as I have done, that you buy the second book The Insurgent, as soon as possible so you can discover how the story and its wonderful characters unfolds.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US –and: Amazon UK

I like to have one of Sandra Cox’s western romances lurking on my TBR for a wet windy day when escapism is a must…Today my review for Montana Shootists.

Montana Shootists by [Sandra Cox]

My review for the book July 23rd 2022

I have never been disappointed with any book I have read by this author and this novel was no exception. Action packed and written with such authenticity you could almost be there in person.

There is supernatural thread throughout the story as Abby finds herself caught with her body in 1882 and her heart still in the present day. Guilt and loss have a firm hold and even the devastating charm of Jake Barrow seems to be completely wasted despite his best efforts.

Abby has a strong sense of honour and duty, and whilst she may be pulled back to the future, she is also aware that there are those needing her help in this new dimension. I882 is smack in the middle of the range wars where cattle and sheep don’t mix according to those on the warpath and wanting to take over the lands of anyone who stands in their way. In a lawless town, there is strength in numbers and few can win against them.

Abby finds herself torn as she finds new friends in unexpected places who need her help despite her need to find a way back to the future to save another. Destiny however seems determined to made itself very clear about which way the cards should fall.

The characters are marvellous and colourful and those with evil intent are painted very vividly. It is easy to get swept along with the action and as always Sandra Cox brings everything together in a surprising and very satisfactory manner. I can highly recommend to anyone who love action filled romances that leaving you wanting more.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. Sally.




42 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Book Reviews Round Up – July 2022- #Romance Jan Sikes, #Poetry Harmony Kent, #Dogs #Caravans Jacqueline Lambert, #Flash #Poetry M.J.Mallon, #Dystopian Teri Polen, #Western #Romance Sandra Cox

  1. Oh my goodness, Sally! I am beyond honored to find Flowers and Stone here with these other wonderful reviews. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and congrats to these amazing authors!! Sending hugs across the pond!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All of these sound good. Jan’s is compelling. So many great people struggled with demons. Thank God for the people who helped them, like Darlina. Balroop and Sandra–what great books!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A wonderful reading list Sal. I loved Jan’s book, and just finished reading Marje’s, just working on review. Some fantastic talent in your readings this month. Congrats to all! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round up July 25th – 31st July 2022 – Hits 2000, Nina Simone, Waterford, History, Podcast, Book Reviews, Summer Bookfair, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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