Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a book for Christmas – #DogLovers, #Romance #Fantasy #Poetry – Patty Fletcher, Miriam Hurdle, Sandra J. Jackson and Deborah Jay.


Welcome to more Christmas gift ideas from the Cafe and Bookstore and the first writer is Patty Fletcher who despite being sight impaired has not let this stand in the way of becoming a published author. Patty’s companion and Seeing Eye Dog, King Campbell comes into his own with Bubba Tales that would delight any dog owner.

About Bubba’s Tails

In this magical and love filled tail, King Campbell AKA Bubba travels to the puppy nursery at The Seeing Eye to help ready a group of puppies who are just about to embark on the fabulous journey of learning to become Seeing Eye dogs. Just as he is about to finish his tail, a wee pup becomes very frightened of all that lies ahead, and one frightfully stormy night she runs away! Will King Campbell hear the urgent call from the puppy nursery in time? Will they find her and save her so she can fulfill her destiny?

The use of Tail instead of Tale for story and Magik instead of Magic is intended for these short stories. A great play on words from King Campbell

One of the reviews for Bubba’s Tails

Wow! I loved reading this! What an amazing story about an incredible journey. This is about a journey from The Seeing Eye, Inc. in New Jersey to Kingsport Tennessee, but is also about the journey of a loving owner, and her special canine companion. I loved reading the story through King Campbell’s point of view, and how he is talking to the next litter of pups about to train as Seeing Eye Dogs. This is something the has always fascinated me and was the first time I was really allowed a look at some of what goes into training these special dogs. The book is made all the more exciting because the author and her dog Campbell went through this journey years ago. Such a creative way to share their story, and I can’t wait to read more of King Campbell’s Bubba Tails!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Bubba-Tails-Nursery-Seeing-Campbell-ebook/dp/B0765BWDJF

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bubba-Tails-Nursery-Seeing-Campbell-ebook/dp/B0765BWDJF/

Also by Patty Fletcher

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00Q9I7RWG/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Patty-L.-Fletcher/e/B00Q9I7RWG/

Patty has also contribute to two anthologies

December Awethology Light  https://www.books2read.com/u/3yPZvB

A Treasure Chest of Children’s Tales  https://www.books2read.com/u/bzaAML

Connect to Patty via her blog: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com

A recent edition to the Cafe and Bookstore is Miriam Hurdle with Songs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude. A gift to keep close to hand to dip into for inspiration.

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

A recent review for the collection

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude,” is a journey into the mind of a woman who has found her voice in this world through her poetry. Hurdle splits the book into poetic songs categorized by Nature, Dissonance, Physical Healing, Marriage, Parenthood, Tribute, Reflection, Challenge, and Inspiration. These categories lead the reader on a path to understanding her life through times of joy and sorrow. Her photos and artwork are stunning and compliment her poetry. For me, reading poetry is like walking beside the poet and stepping into their footsteps, connecting with their experiences in a deeper realm of being. Reading poetry is subjective, so I judge most poetry by how it invokes emotions within me and how it makes me reflect on my own human condition. The poem, “Healing,” touched a deep chord within me. Yet, there were so many more connections I experienced. I received this book as a gift from a dear friend. That’s the kind of book this is, one to be shared with others, and to be reread many times. MY RATING: Character Believability: 5 Flow and Pace: 5 Reader Engagement: 5 Reader Enrichment: 5 Reader Enjoyment: 5 Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Stars 

The collection is available in Ebook and print: https://www.amazon.com/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

Read reviews and follow Miriam on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17252131.Miriam_Hurdle

Connect to Miriam via her website: https://theshowersofblessings.com/

Time for a metaphysical romantic fiction from Sandra J. Jackson and her book Promised Soul. Especially for those who experience déjà vu on a regular basis.

About Promised Soul

Just as Krista’s summer plans are almost ready, she is suddenly plagued by strange dreams and intense feelings of déjà vu.

Feeling like she’s losing her mind, Krista visits a psychic, only to feel more confused. When she arrives in England, her dreams persist, and she finds herself at the doorstep of another psychic. She needs clarity.

Finally, the words Krista was afraid to say out loud are spoken. Now, she has to figure out what it all means.

Promised Soul is a story of the past, present and future of two souls, bound together by eternal and transcending love.

One of the recent reviews for Promised Soul

Romance ficton on October 23, 2018

The book for review is “Promised Soul” by Sandra J. Jackson. This novel falls in the genre of romance fantasy and fiction.

Meet our main character Krista who has decided to take a chance and made summer plans to go away on a vacation on her own. Something her mother most definitely doesn’t approve of.

While she is entertaining her friends prior to leaving she starts getting strange dreams that feel so very real to her. Not knowing what to make out of them she visits someone a friend knows to help dive into the mystery of what is going on.

It however does not stop her from traveling or interrupting her summer plans to England. There the travel agent Aaron, who has arranged every detail, Krista is ready to embark on her adventure.

Between Aaron and his friend who has been very helpful Krista learns and loves the surrounding area as the landscape and people make her feel so welcomed.

But the dreams won’t stop. In fact they are getting stronger as the days go by. The couple in her dreams are vivid and won’t stop until Krista figures out what they mean and how it will impact her immediate future.

Will she figure it out before she loses her mind?

I enjoyed this book. The pace and characters were really nice. It’s a good romance novel that doesn’t get all gooey eye which is how I like it. A good pickup and a quick read.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Promised-Soul-Sandra-J-Jackson-ebook/dp/B07BZDK2SR/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Promised-Soul-Sandra-J-Jackson-ebook/dp/B07BZDK2SR/

Also by Sandra J. Jackson

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

Read other reviews and follow Sandra on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13681910.Sandra_J_Jackson

Connect to Sandra via her website: www.sandrajjackson.com

And the last author today but certainly not least  Deborah Jay with The Prince’s Man which is Book One in The Five Kingdoms Series.

About The Prince’s Man

Think ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’

Rustam Chalice, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life just the way it is. So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.

And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.

Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.

They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.

For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death.

Award winning novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN is a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Oct 05, 2018 Erth rated it really liked it  · 

Erth rated it really liked it · review of another edition now I am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. I was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.  I would highly recommend this author and this book.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Princes-Man-Five-Kingdoms-Book-ebook/dp/B00I9N2Q20

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Princes-Man-Five-Kingdoms-Book-ebook/dp/B00I9N2Q20

Other books in the Five Kingdoms series and other books by Deborah Jay

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Jay/e/B00E4X3UHY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deborah-Jay/e/B00E4X3UHY

Read more reviews and follow Deborah on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Connect with Deborah via her website: http://deborahjayauthor.com/

Thank you very much for dropping in and I hope that you will leave with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – The Third Day of Christmas with guests Jennie Fitzkee and Lisa Thomson


On the Christmas before we left for Cape Town and aged eight I was in a bit of a quandary. I had searched the house top to bottom looking for my Christmas presents including the in the basement which was officially out of bounds, unless I was with my sister listening to her record player which had been banished from my father’s earshot.

I had found my five year old brother’s present which I have to say being a tomboy I was more than envious of. It was a red cowboy hat, waistcoat and holster with a silver six shooter… I knew who the weakest link in the family was and I applied pressure daily to find out what my gift was… Eventually the week before the big day he partially cracked and announced heatedly that it had ‘four wheels and you pushed it’.

You will probably gather that a dolly pram was not exactly what I had in mind. But I was a properly brought up child, and whilst I was more excited by the books that I received, I showed appropriate gratitude for said pram, which held a blonde haired replica of what my mother considered to be the perfect child……

It took me 24 hours, but I was was wearing the holster, gun and cowboy hat which I borrowed from the end of my brother’s bed while he slept. Sadly…. when we left a few months later for South Africa the pram had to be left behind and of course by the time we got back two years later I was a teenager and it was gifted to another.

Time for a little music and here is Bing Crosby with the classic I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

Time to look at how Christmas is celebrated around the world and you can read more via Why Christmas.

Today a look at Egypt where around 15% of the population are christian and celebrate Christmas. They are far more serious about advent than we are here, with a 43 day period of abstinence from all animal products. It is 43 days because they don’t celebrate Christmas until January 7th as in Russia, Ethiopia and Serbia.

There is a special service on Christmas Eve that sometimes go on until the early morning. Having been so good before Christmas, families go to town for their Christmas dinner with a favourite being ‘Fata’ a lamb stew containing bread, rice and garlic.

A great many other Egyptians also celebrate Christmas, but in the commercial sense with most supermarkets selling traditional foods and hotels and restaurants hosting special festivities.

We are now on Day three and in the traditional 12 days this would be 27th December and celebrates the life of St John the Apostle. John and his brother James were disciples of Jesus and John is probably the only one of the apostles who did not suffer a martyr’s death. He lived a relatively long life and is attributed as the author of several books in the New Testament.

The origins of the Twelve Days of Christmas will probably never really be clarified as several people lay claim to it. France is the likely suspect but it has been sung in various formats since about 1780 in England. I suspect that modern day pop stars would be delighted to have their songs still being chanted 240 years later.

As far as the song is concerned according to folklore the Three French Hens probably refer to a variety of chicken from France. There are a number breeds of chicken associated with France particular around the time of the origins of the song. These were the Crevecoeur, Houdans and the La Fleche. I also suspect that the elite of the day thought that using the term French Hen sounded more upmarket that chicken!

Time for my first guest…..

Time for my first guest who is the lovely pre-school teacher and Wedding dancer and singer Jennie Fitzkee. If you have not visited Jennie’s wonderful blog, please do and rediscover the joy of reading along with the children in her classroom. Here is the link to part one of a three part series on Language, Literacy and Storytelling

And if you are wondering about the Wedding dancer and singer bit.. then find out more and meet the Mermatrons

Here is what Jennie had to share about her most favourite Christmas gift ever

1989 was a year of very little money. It was also the year our son desperately wanted the GI Joe Aircraft Carrier for Christmas. Yes, desperately. Ninety nine dollars was the price tag, and that might as well have been nine million dollars. We couldn’t get him his dream. He understood, sort of. He never complained, yet we talked about that dream occasionally over the years.

When he became engaged to be married, we spent Christmas with her family. He unwrapped a huge package from her parents. And there it was, the GI Joe Aircraft Carrier. I don’t know who cried first, but there were many tears shed. Everyone watched in delight as this now grown man played with his beloved toy. Sometimes dreams do come true.

How lovely and what a moment.. I did manage to find a picture of a GI Joe Aircraft Carrier

I had a few ideas of what I could get Jennie as a gift for Christmas and eventually decided on a virtual invitation to join in with the next Mama Mia flashmob… location to be determined…courtesy of Youtube

 

Time for another recipe from Carol Taylor from one of our cook from scratch posts in recent weeks. Cranberries have long been associated with Christmas and usually in cranberry sauce to go with the turkey, however you might like to create a starter from these delicious ingredients. You can find other cranberry recipes Here

Camembert Puffs:

These little puffs don’t take long to make so if I need a quick snack if visitors pop in around sundowner time then these don’t take long. I always keep a little box of already cut puff pastry squares which I can just pop in the oven and I always have a container of cranberry as we like it in a sandwich if we have cold chicken or pork and it is lovely with hot meat or pork schnitzels which I just top with some cream cheese and a spoonful of cranberry sauce.

Ingredients:

• I pack of frozen Puff Pastry, thawed.
• 125 gm(4 oz) of Camembert Cheese.
• 100gm Cranberry Sauce.
• 1 sprig of thyme…leaves picked.
• 1 large egg, beaten.

To Make:

  1. Line 2 baking tins with baking parchment.
  2. Roll out puff pastry and cut into bite-sized squares ( 3cm)
  3. Put onto baking trays making sure you space well apart. Brush top with beaten egg. Chill in the fridge for 20-30 mins.
  4. Put into pre-heated oven 180 or gas mark 6. Cook for approx 10 minutes or until golden brown. Slice Camembert into equal sized pieces and put one in the centre of each pastry square. Top with a tsp of cranberry sauce. Put back into the oven until cheese has melted.
  5. Garnish with Thyme.

My next guest is Lisa Thomson whose passion for writing began during her divorce and has blossomed into more creative pursuit without losing that drive to help others. Her two self-help books, “The great Escape; A Girl’s Guide To Leaving a Marriage” and “A divorce Companion”, help economically-dependent women going through divorce. You can also find helpful posts on the subject on her blog 10 Reasons to watch the War of the Roses again…

“Hearts Unbroken-short stories”, is her first published fiction. Lisa resides in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Lisa shares her most favourite Christmas present ever….

It was 1976 and I was in seventh grade. My best Christmas present ever was a brand new pair of skis, a ski jacket and proper ski pants!

The year before I had been enrolled in ski lessons along with my two brothers. It was exciting. It was thrilling to fly down the snow covered slopes! The only problem was, I hadn’t the proper jacket or pants to wear. We rented the equipment which was fine by me! But my warmest pants happened to be a pair of corduroy slacks. Unfortunately, they tore during one of my lessons. How embarrassing! For the next lesson I fixed them up by sewing them myself. I was 11 years old and not exactly proficient in my sewing skills, LOL. I was proud of myself though and wore them again. When another skier looked at my pants in the tow rope line up, and pointed at the stitching, she asked “Did you sew those yourself?” I must have blushed 50 shades of pink. “Yes,” I answered hesitantly. I’ve never been more mortified. Why on earth did I think I could sew and no one would notice?

Well, getting that brand new ski suit and skis was dreamy and the best Christmas present of my childhood, hands down! I did NOT say pants down…

Oh my, I do feel for Lisa, and one does hope that the skier in question got stuck on the ice on the ski lift for a very long time by her tongue……

So I headed off to ‘Youtube’ and I have secured an invitation to the next Freelance Nutcases Ski Expo – you will however have to provide your own health insurance.

A review for Hearts Unbroken.

Hearts Unbroken’ by Lisa Thomson is an anthology of short stories that tug at reader’s heart, as they talk about human emotions and relationships, some of them so fragile that they need a solo long drive to figure them out. Sarah’s marriage is a façade and she discovers it the day she decides to attend her family reunion without her husband who has no respect for her emotions and desires. He shrugs her off with an insensitive remark. No less poignant are the questions of Samantha who is too little to understand why her mommy is not coming home to tuck her in her bed.

Lisa excels in bringing out raw emotions without letting them melt into a melodrama. Her characters move on with their life despite heavy baggage of betrayal and internal strife. If Kora felt imprisoned within her own home, she had the courage to break free from the dazzling world of Jack, if Ava had rebuffed men to avoid an affair, she also knew how to calm her carnal desires. Grief stricken Rachel could rise to the occasion to save Alex. All these persons seem to be so familiar. They could be one of our friends, struggling with an unhappy marriage or a neighbor who doesn’t know how to deal with domestic abuse.

Lisa’s stories deal with these realistic problems in the most authentic manner, holding the reader’s interest till the end. If you wonder what good relationships are and how they can be nurtured, read this book. If men fail to appreciate the role of a woman in their homes and how much work is required to keep it blossoming, they would surely learn from Mack. I devoured this book within hours!

Time for a carol and one of the favourites of mine as a child….and sung by another great artist – Nat King Cole

You cannot leave the party without enjoying a festive drink… or two

Mulled wine is not the invention of early Christmas revellers as the Romans were heating red wine a long time before and no doubt other pagan cultures too. After all it is a delightful drink. They even spiced it up and it was the invading Roman soldiers who took it through Europe and into Britain and like their long straight roads that still exist today, they left behind their recipes for us to enjoy.

It has various levels of sobriety from non-alcoholic through to lethal. Concoctions abound with port and spirits being added liberally. Apart from Christmas it is also drunk extensively in ski resorts and there is usually a mobile aid station at the bottom of the slopes at the end of the day. I do not trust two short planks down a mountainside at 60 miles an hour but would of course force myself to await my husband after his black runs for an hour or so fortified with a couple of mugs of warmed wine.

In the Scandinavian countries and the Alps it is usually referred to as Glögg, or Gløgg the accent differing from place to place and dependent on inebriation.

Here is a lovely recipe that should be delightful on cold nights leading up to Christmas: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/235298/hot-mulled-wine/

Thank you for dropping in today and please let us know about your most memorable Christmas gift  in the comments… and if you could share that would be amazing.. thanks Sally.

My guests tomorrow are Olga Nunez Miret, Norah Colvin, and Amy Reade.. I hope you will join us.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #relationships #Italy #Scotland #mystery with Leslie Tate, Patricia Salamone, John Quinn and Jessica Norrie


Time for more authors from the Cafe and Bookstore who have amazing books that would make amazing Christmas gifts. Many authors write in series and the first author today does so in shades of Lavender Blue.  As with most of the featured series, I am starting with book one… Purple (Lavender Blues: Three Shades of Love) by Leslie Tate

About Purple

Lavender Blues: Three Shades of Love takes us deep into the lives of the Lavender family. The three books – ‘Purple’, ‘Blue’ and ‘Violet’ – explore free love, traditional courtship, open marriage and late-life romance.

Matthew Lavender, starting college in 1969, has embraced a student underworld of drugs, image and cooler than thou. But behind his wild and witty persona lies a shy, sensitive romantic – a ‘feeling type’ bullied at school and restricted by his parents – who knows absolutely nothing about sex.

As Matthew gets involved with fellow-student Sally, the scene shifts to the early 20th century and his grandmother Mary Lavender begins her story.

Brought up by an over-controlling father nicknamed ‘Jack the Hammer’, Mary witnesses her parents’ fierce, monosyllabic rows and the long-running battles between Jack and his children. After the defiant exit of Mary’s brother and sister, Mary meets Stuart Lavender and a traditional courtship begins, leading to the birth of Matthew’s father, Alan.

History repeats itself as Alan and Matthew clash and Matthew leaves home. He takes up residence at a commune where he witnesses some supremely laughable examples of 60s free self-expression. From here on he grows and matures through contact with children and a number of deeply-felt and unpredictable love affairs.

In the end Matthew returns to the beach where he played as a child with Mary. As the two stories come together, Matthew learns a whole new outlook on youth, relationships and the man he has become.

One of the reviews for the book

Purple’ is a delicate, detailed watercolour of a novel. It starts out with the shy and awkward student, Matthew, who is trying his hardest to look cool, clever and with-it. I really disliked Matthew at first but came to like him better as the novel progresses and he has his rough edges rubbed off by his relationships with different female characters, two of whom let him down very badly. He also meets adult role models and eventually comes to realise that his anxious, micro-managing parents were once young and extremely cool – and still can be.

The novel has fabulous descriptive passages, some of which are very poetic. Leslie has given Matthew a number of well-written sex scenes showing his journey from the first awkward encounters to a full and passionate relationship. I enjoyed the scenes at the commune where Matthew discovers a muddy and chaotic world of dreadful poetry and worse art, controlled by a dictatorial leader who forces decisions on everyone and makes them believe it is the group’s will. He progresses from this world to the Colony, which is a family living an ordered and creative existence. The Colony leads him to his godmother and aunt, who in turn shows him who his parents really are.

The story of Matthew’s grandmother Mary is interwoven with Matthew’s, and is a progress from tyrannical father to cold and unloving husband, before eventually finding fulfilment in her children and grandchildren. I’m looking forward to the next two novels in the series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Purple-Courtship-Generation-Lavender-Shades-ebook/dp/B0163F2ESQ

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Purple-Courtship-Generation-Lavender-Shades-ebook/dp/B0163F2ESQ

Also by Leslie Tate.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Leslie-Tate/e/B07BL5L23B

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Leslie-Tate/e/B07BL5L23B

You can find all the books with reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6043204.Leslie_Tate

Signed copies of all the books can be bought at Leslie Tate’s own bookshop: https://leslietate.com/shop/violet/

Connect to Leslie via his website: https://leslietate.com/

Another author who has written a book that would be perfect for those who are of Italian extraction who might be visiting relatives in Italy at some point.. Patricia Salamone is the author of The Italian Thing an entertaining account of a family reunion in Italy with all its unexpected and glorious memories.

About The Italian Thing

Join me in my hilarious recount of how I explored my heritage during a more-than-memorable trip to Sicily. I detail our adventures and misadventures as my husband and I visited our relatives in Naro. I share how we got to know the locals, their customs and lifestyle, and how everyone seemed to think that “everything will be fine” no matter what troubles they were in. During those weeks, we went through culture shock despite the fact that we are both Italian. In the end, it was “the Italian thing” in all of us that made ours an unforgettable trip!

One of the reviews for the book

I have always wanted to visit Italy, such a timeless and beautiful country with so many interesting places to visit. Reading “The Italian Thing” will be like going there and seeing the country through someone else’s eyes, I thought, expecting to find a country I was already familiar with. I was looking forward to the trip of a lifetime and the book did not disappoint. It was well written, full of all the wonderful scenery and architecture I have come to expect of the country. However “The Italian Thing” isn’t about the country, not really, it is about the people and family. About the lives they live and the glorious food they eat. “Everything will be fine” is the Italians hilarious answer to everything, and is the key to understanding their very different way of life. I loved the touches of humour, the very descriptive narrative, and the loving but feisty relationship between Pat and Mike. Who were out of their depth, and up to their eyes in food of every delicious description. How they came home weighing less than before is remarkable!

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Salamone/e/B00E6ZLPY0

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Italian-Thing-Patricia-Salamone-ebook/dp/B00EL0AGIG/

Read other reviews and follow Patricia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7515864.Patricia_Salamone

Connect to Patricia via her Blog:  https://the-italian-thing.com/

And now for a book set in the 1970s in Scotland.. a time of unrest in most of the UK with miners’ strikes and the influences of the Northern Ireland troubles.. John Quinn and his debut novel, The Eyes of Grace O’Malley.

About The Eyes of Grace O’Malley

State … Security … Secrets …

Scotland 1972. A turbulent place – miners’ strikes, blackouts, Clyde shipyard workers defying the British Government, oil discovered in the North Sea and the long and deadly arms of conflict in Ireland reaching across the Irish Sea.

Farrell Golden is a bright working class kid from Dundee with an Irish heritage. But he hasn’t always paid it much attention. Thanks to his family he’s made it to the University of Edinburgh against the odds. But does he want to stay there?

There’s beer and there’s women – in particular a beautiful ethereal English girl called Maggie. She’s out of the London stockbroker belt but she’s not all that she seems. Then there’s an Irish girl who is somehow familiar …

Roisin O’Malley’s not like any trainee teacher Farrell’s ever seen. What is she getting away from in Edinburgh? What are her family’s links to the Troubles? What of her ex-boyfriend?

At a Bloody Sunday protest march Farrell sees Roisin in trouble and goes to help. He’s knocked unconscious. When he wakens up he finds he’s stepped down a rabbit hole of Irish history, family ties and state security. Is there a way back? Should he have paid more attention to the family heritage? Who is Roisin O’Malley really?

One of the recent reviews for the book

A great read on 3 November 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel. It reminded me of a distant past but one I remember well. The story is very well developed but to me it is the setting that really evokes those memories. All senses are involved in remembering Edinburgh and indeed Scotland in those days. The characters of Farrell, Roisin and Maggie are particularly well developed – I felt I actually knew them. Their back stories are interesting and realistic. Their adventures, while simple in the beginning, develop into something deeper and more complex and reflect perfectly the world of young people at that time. I look forward to reading more from this talented author.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eyes-Grace-OMalley-John-Quinn-ebook/dp/B07G65CLY8/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G65CLY8/

Connect to John Quinn via his blog: https://johndquinn.wordpress.com/books-by-john-quinn/

And the final author today is also a popular contributor here on the blog with her Literary Column.. Jessica Norrie is busy with her next book but in the meantime, here is The Infinity Pool to enjoy or give as a gift.

Jessica Norrie

About the Book.

In this thoughtful novel set on a sun-baked island, Adrian Hartman, the charismatic director of the Serendipity holiday community, is responsible for ensuring the perfect mindful break, with personal growth and inner peace guaranteed. People return year after year to bare their souls. For some, Adrian IS Serendipity. But Adrian disappears, and with him goes the serenity of his staff and guests, who are bewildered without their leader. The hostility of the local villagers is beginning to boil over. Is their anger justified or are the visitors, each in a different way, just paranoid?

As romance turns sour and conflict threatens the stability of both communities, everyone has to find their own way to survive. This evocative story explores the decisions of adults who still need to come of age, the effect of well-intentioned tourism on a traditional community, and the real meaning of getting away from it all.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Nice holiday read  on 29 September 2018

I enjoyed reading this book during my summer holidays. It gets you thinking about the way we interact with local communities and the environment during our few weeks away in the sun. The book is a nice mix of crime, romance, philosophy, and social constructs.

Read some of the many excellent reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jessica-Norrie/e/B01CEUZF26

and on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Infinity-Pool-Jessica-Norrie-ebook/dp/B011RA8QZW

Find more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3270629.Jessica_Norrie

Connect to Jessica via her blog: https://jessicanorrie.wordpress.com/

Thank you very much for stopping by and I hope you leave with a book or two.. thanks Sally

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas #Mysteries and #Satire – Anita Dawes, Christoph Fischer, Sue Hampton, Allan Hudson and Ian Hutson


Welcome to another of the Christmas book promotions and the next book is for those in your close circle who enjoy paranormal thrillers. Anita Dawes and Secrets.

About Secrets

SOME SECRETS WILL KILL YOU…
and some are about someone who is already dead.
A mother must find the truth before the secrets destroy her family…

One of the recent reviews for the book

Aug 29, 2018 Lizzie Chantree rated it 5 stars

I have had this book on my kindle for a while, but just found some spare time to pick it up. I read it over a day and it’s a really thought provoking book. The relationships between the child, Danny, and his invisible ‘friend’, kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen next. The characters are really well written and although I have read other books by this author, they’ve all been completely different. This story is full of suspense and you might need to read this story during the day and not before going to sleep 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-SOME-SECRETS-WILL-KILL-ebook/dp/B00B9EQR3

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B9EQR3K/

A selection of other books by Anita Dawes

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anita-Dawes/e/B0034NUE10/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Anita-Dawes/e/B0034NUE10

Read more reviews and follow Anita on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6586480.Anita_Dawes

Connect to Anita via her website and blog: http://jenanita01.wordpress.com

Now time for the second book in a murder mystery series from Christoph Fischer – Over my Dead Body: Murder at Eurovision – A Bebe Bollinger Murder Mystery.

About the book

On her return from a cruise ship gig Bebe Bollinger learns that fellow Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler has decided to enter a European Song comptition for the UK. While Bebe jealously watches the pre-publicity trail for ‘Eurovision’ in Malmö, a string of ‘odd accidents’ endangers several participants of the competition. This stirs her desire for playing detective again but also a curiosity to check out the suitability of Eurovision for her own career.
Follow Bebe’s continued search for fame and a comeback before it’s too late, step into the weird world that is Eurovision fandom and see how Bebe gets on with her naughty daughter and deals with those evil TV presenters.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Singer BeBe Bollinger is back to work, professionally and in her new found talent—as amateur detective. And I’m delighted to see her back as I read through the pages of this entertaining story. The story begins with a singing contest and murder, with a billion people watching. It then moves to six weeks earlier with BeBe coming off a job from a cruise ship and having just bought an expensive sports car. We are introduced to the well-cast characters: Beth the not-so talented detective from an earlier crime that BeBe helped solve, Fred BeBe’s agent and lesbian Beth’s ex-lover, the daughter with few boundaries, Helena, and Tom a Danish friend from the cruise ship.

As the beginning scenes unfold, BeBe’s attention goes to Eurovision contest and the upcoming competition. When a mysterious “accident” occurs BeBe catches wind from Tom that it might be more devious than just an accidental mishap. When he convinces her to enter, she decides it would be a good opportunity to gain some attention with the press coverage already focusing on the event and to put her detective skills to use. It would be a good way to heighten her comeback. I love the set-up and want to know how the story will unfold, a sign of a well-crafted mystery novel. No spoilers here but suffice it to say that it’s well worth the read to follow the delightfully written twists and turns as BeBe does it again! It’s rare I leave a read smiling but that’s exactly what this character does to me. Grab a copy and enjoy. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Over-Dead-Body-Eurovision-Bollinger-ebook/dp/B07CGNL2HJ/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Over-Dead-Body-Eurovision-Bollinger-ebook/dp/B07CGNL2HJ/

A  small selection of other books by Christoph Fischer.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/Christoph-Fischer/e/B00CLO9VMQ

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christoph-Fischer/e/B00CLO9VMQ

Read more reviews and follow Christoph on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer

Connect to Christoph via his Blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

The next author today with a mystery series is Sue Hampton for The Lucy Wilson Mysteries – Avatars of the Intelligence.

About the Book

Threatened by an old enemy, Lucy must step into her grandfather’s shoes. But in her new hometown, who can she trust?

Lucy Wilson doesn’t want to move from London to sleepy south Wales. But when she arrives at her new seaside home, it doesn’t appear to be as boring as she expected.

Ogmore-by-Sea seems to be under the control of a mysterious and powerful force. But why is Lucy its target? And why, when students at her new school start to disappear, does no one seem to care?

With the help of her new friend Hobo, Lucy Wilson must assume the mantle of her grandfather, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, and defeat an invisible enemy before it’s too late.

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries is a Lethbridge-Stewart spin-off adventure and features licensed characters created for Doctor Who by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln.

One of the reviews for the book

AlaranTop Contributor: Doctor Who TOP 1000 REVIEWER 4.0 out of 5 stars Lethbridge-Stewart: The Next Generation 12 June 2018

With the ongoing publication of Lethbridge-Stewart novels as well as the Brigadier’s daughter, Kate, now a recurring character in onscreen Doctor Who and his genetic grandfather, Archie, making an appearance in ‘Twice Upon a Time’, the Lethbridge-Stewart extended family has been quite prominent in the last few years. Now his granddaughter receives her own spinoff series of novels.

Clearly this is intended to be a children’s or young adult novel. However, it seems more likely that its primary market will be adults who have been following the Lethbridge-Stewart series of novels. It is independent enough from those, though, that it will hopefully attract a young fan base new, perhaps, to the Brigadier and maybe even Doctor Who.

The character of Lucy Wilson really began life in a short story named after her by the same author. This established the close connection between her and her grandfather. ‘Avatars of the Intelligence’ is set several years later. Her grandfather has sadly passed on and she is determined to follow in his footsteps.

With her parents moving the family out of London to the coastal Welsh town of Ogmore-by-Sea, the story is initially concerned with young teenage worries of being uprooted and having to start a new school and make new friends.

However, Lucy almost immediately picks up her own ‘companion’ in the form of Hobo. He is an intriguing and enigmatic character who looks likely to become her investigating sidekick. Together they are soon thrown into a mystery of disappearing children. It is not too much of a mystery though as they don’t exactly have time to solve it before events move on ahead of them and they embark on a trip to London to celebrate the life of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart.

Although this is yet another clash with the Great Intelligence, it makes sense that the first Lucy Wilson novel puts her up against the foe that the Lethbridge-Stewart family has faced for several generations. Setting the story in the modern day means that the Intelligence can operate in a way it wasn’t able to during the time-period of the main Lethbridge-Stewart books and exercise its influence through the technology of mobiles, tablets, etc. Thus, the Intelligence is utilising a similar medium to that which it does ‘In the Bells of St. John’.

I wonder what Nicholas Courtney would think about all this. I’m sure that, like the Brigadier, he would be pleased with Lucy Wilson adopting the Lethbridge-Stewart mantle.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucy-Wilson-Mysteries-Avatars-Intelligence-ebook/dp/B07CNC9H7P/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Lucy-Wilson-Mysteries-Avatars-Intelligence-ebook/dp/B07CNC9H7P/

A small selection of other books by Sue Hampton

Read the reviews and discover all the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Hampton/e/B0034PD8GG/

And Amazon US. https://www.amazon.com/Sue-Hampton/e/B0034PD8GG

Find more reviews and follow Sue Hampton on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3212403.Sue_Hampton

Connect to Sue via her website: https://www.suehamptonauthor.co.uk/

Now for an adventure series that will take you out of your comfort zone, Allan Hudson’s  Wall of War: A Drake Alexander Adventure Book Two.

About the book

Deep in the wilderness of the Peruvian Andes lies a monument hidden for centuries. Who were the builders? Why was it abandoned? What secrets will it reveal?

In 1953, an amateur rock climber makes a startling discovery. He decides to report his findings as soon as he returns from climbing the mountain. It will take another fifty years before anyone reads his findings.

In 2004 when Drake Alexander hears of the strange discovery, he and those dear to him are plunged into a nightmare of avarice, impairment and death. Using his skills as an ex-soldier, can he and his accomplices save his tormented friends from the raiders that thirst for the secret lying within the mountains?

One of the reviews for the book

Mar 30, 2018 L. rated it it was amazing

Thrilling, action-packed adventure!

A magnificent discovery leads Drake Alexander and his team to follow a trail of greed and murder in this excellent crime-solving novel. Kudos to Allan Hudson for a fast-paced, intriguing page turner.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Wall-Drake-Alexander-Adventures-Book-ebook/dp/B0776L5XYQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wall-Drake-Alexander-Adventures-Book-ebook/dp/B0776L5XYQ

Also by Allan Hudson

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Allan-Hudson/e/B00HP8FSEI

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Allan-Hudson/e/B00HP8FSEI

Read more reviews and follow Allan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7738610.Allan_Hudson

Connect to Allan via his website: http://www.southbranchscribbler.com

Ian Hutson recently released a satirical look at our current establishment… Cheerio, and thanks for the apocalypse. Many of you will already be familiar with Ian’s entertaining and occasionally hair-raising stories of life on his Narrow Boat

About the book

It is seven disconnected tales of self-indulgent, self-deprecating, self-referencing woe, woe and thrice woe, Petunia, filling the pages in a most seriously unserious giggle-fest. Atom bombs rain down, there is some confusion as to who ought to be within the insane asylums and who ought to be without, and England’s pensioners are treated quite implausibly dreadfully. Life never ends, death isn’t forever and the afterlife, such as it is, is in chaos. The greatest thinkers of our time think awe-inspiringly vast, modern thoughts – and their dog makes them look like intellectual minnows swimming with intellectual sharks. This is not entirely unexpected though, since the dog in question, based upon a real-life dog of the author’s real-life experience, put Genghis Khan in the shade and was apt to make Charles Darwin spin in his grave, embarrassed by his demonstrably flawed theories.

England is neither Heaven nor Hell, but both are English Empire territories and you can see both from the White Cliffs of Dover without using binoculars. God often pokes an eyeball down through the clouds and the Devil is apt to leave hoof-marks in the lawns. The politicians in this book, all delicious one-hundred and twenty-six thousand calories each, are not loved and respected as are all politicians in real life, but are here portrayed simply as two-dimensional lying, self-serving, ignorant, shameless mediocrities. Further, the reader must be warned that London, the centre of the universe and beloved by one and all, the only portion of England that truly matters, is …brace yourself …reduced to black, powdery ashes. No, seriously, you ought not to laugh at that. Whatever would we do with the country’s tax income if London were not there to soak it all up?

Is ‘Cheerio, and thanks for the apocalypse’ a book of its time? Well, the author reckons that he’s caught the essential flavour of the present Establishment and of the rank and file, and caught it just moments before we all climb back into the trees and forget how to read and write, too. That much he claims as a success.

What then of the book’s failures? The author is, as are we all, a prisoner of his own constitution and can no more change his ways than fly. Flies are particularly known to not change their ways. The author hasn’t changed his ways since Poonah, in forty-three or forty-four, although it must be said that the charges were dropped then, and an out-of-court-martial settlement reached. Consequently, this book is old-fashioned, it’s verbose, and it’s certainly not subtle. It features strong male leads, mild political incorrectness, wilfully woefully little to no diversity, and yet, the author hopes, a laugh or three. The author, ever the optimist, ever the fool, casts this literary pearl before his readership*.

*Yes, we thought that too, but the man’s both desperate and unstable, so it’s best to just smile, nod, and hurry into your bomb-shelter.

An extract from a recent review for the book

Bazza, Gazza, Shazza, Tom, Dick and Harry – The end of civilisation, the nobility, and most of London at any rate, takes a direct hit from Europe’s nuclear temper and the 4 minute warning sees the dithery PM saved in the nick of time by the proximity of No 10’s very own nuclear bunker. Her only companions other than Boris Da Silva Spoone and Right Honourable Tony Lyrelyre-PantsonFyre (ex-Prime Minister) and a handful of other Honourables, is the common people serving her at the time, notably Bazza (of the Police Special Protection Unit), Gazza (a plumber), Shazza (the tea-lady), Tom (the Government Duty Nutritionists), Dick (an aide-de-camp) and Harry (the Prime Minister’s hairdresser). In this not too complimentary look at British Politics (or what’s left of it after a severely hissed off Europe lets rip) leaves the PM worrying about her majority in a post-Apocalyptic England; can she rebuild a stable government with a mismatched bunch of disparate people? With the door to No 10 still standing and the downstairs toilet intact, but still blocked, it looks promising at least; only time will tell as they set out into the radioactive wasteland of England as described excellently as usual with a lack of finesse and in a total irreverent fashion by the author. It’s not so much an adaptation of ‘Ten Little Indians’, as a medley of pork recipes for healthy eating – naughty but nice!

Ian Hutson writes with an excellence that I find breath-taking, his knowledge alone of British society, politics, history, human relations, Royalty and theological teachings is exceptional and only surpassed by the humour and wit they come wrapped in. At times I do wonder when his descriptive prose peaks (like in the last of these short stories) whether there is a serious storyteller imprisoned, like his genie, condemned by a curse and wanting to be freed. For my first, second and third wish I request it be set free – ‘let it be so!’ Pat McDonald British Crime Author.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cheerio-thanks-apocalypse-Ian-Hutson-ebook/dp/B07H2MRJX9

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H2MRJX9

A selection of books by Ian Hutson

Read the reviews and buy the books:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ian-Hutson/e/B00C6XFRBG

And at Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Ian-Hutson/e/B00C6XFRBG

Read more reviews and follow Ian on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7043626.Ian_Hutson

Connect to Ian via his website: https://dieselelectricelephant.com/

Thank you for visiting today and I hope that you have enjoyed the selection.. Thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves for Christmas – #Romance – Forgetting My Way Back to You by Karina Bartow


Another new author joins the Cafe and Bookstore today and please welcome Karina Bartow and her latest release – Forgetting My Way Back to You.

About the book

At one point or another, everybody finds themselves wanting a second chance, whether it be missing the mark on an investment, failing to live up to a certain goal, or letting a true love slip away. It’s very seldom, however, that one receives the proverbial do-over.

Charlee Stoll and Hunter Jett become the modern-day exception. After a decade-long estrangement, the high school sweethearts reconnect when Hunter, fresh off a career in arena football, returns to his hometown. Their reunion catches both of them by surprise, and they quickly recapture the love they once shared. When Hunter begins to rethink his choices, though, tragedy strikes. During a heated confrontation, Charlee’s thrown off a horse and sent into a week-long coma.

When she awakens with no clue who he is, he seizes the chance to right his wrongs, but it proves more challenging than he expects. On top of romancing her, he must overcome her father’s displeasure, another ex-boyfriend vying for her love, and her own mission to regain her memory. Through charm and deception, can he win back her love…before she discovers the truth?

One of the reviews for the book

Wit, humor, words of wisdom ….evoking fond memories of dear friends, laughter and tears, and encouraging hope beyond hardship…. all this and more make this book a package as beautiful as a wedding present filled with promise of wonderful things yet to come! A true page-turner! Can’t wait to read the future works of this talented author!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Forgetting-My-Way-Back-You-ebook/dp/B07H3H5X6

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgetting-My-Way-Back-You-ebook/dp/B07H3H5X62

Also by Karina Bartow

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B076L4FCGV

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Karina-Bartow/e/B076L4FCGV

About Karina Bartow

Karina Bartow grew up and still lives in northern Ohio. Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her. Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters who have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want. She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart

Connect to Karina

Website: http://www.karinabartow.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarinaBartow
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karina.bartow.58

Thank you for visiting today and it would be great if you could share the news of her books joining the Cafe and Bookstore.. Thanks Sally.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas #Mystery #Adventure #Fantasy – Andrew Joyce, Daniel Kemp, Teagan Riordain Geneviene and Linda G. Hill


We are now over two thirds of the way through the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore with plenty more books that would make great Christmas gifts. I grew up with a father who loved Westerns, even more so if they had John Wayne in them. They are not making as many these days in Hollywood, but don’t worry because Andrew Joyce has a series that would satisfy the cowboy in all of us!

About Redemption

The Winner of the 2013 Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western

Three men come together in the town of Redemption Colorado, each for his own purpose. Huck Finn is a famous lawman not afraid to use his gun to protect the weak. He has come to right a terrible wrong. After his wife’s death, Tom Sawyer does not want to live anymore; he has come to die. The third man, the Laramie Kid, a killer Huck and Tom befriended years earlier has come to kill a man. For these three men Death is a constant companion. For these three men it is their last chance for redemption.

One of the many outstanding reviews for the book:

Andrew Joyce is a fabulous storyteller. After reading his second novel, Molly Lee, I knew I had to read the first. Serendipitously, I was gifted the book and was thoroughly entertained once again.

Action-packed, chock-full of adventure, and easy to read, Redemption is a book that the reader will find difficult to put down.

Huck Finn doesn’t seek notoriety, but from Missouri to Mexico to the Colorado Territory, he finds himself amidst situations that eventually give rise to fame. And even though he doesn’t fancy himself a lawman, destiny has a badge with his name on it that he wears for many years. Grit and an iron will provide him the fortitude necessary to establish order in many a lawless town. But he also has a kind and just heart that intermittently reveals itself without emphasis or fanfare.

Tom Sawyer has an unrelenting itch to sail to China. But when the journey proves longer and more arduous than anticipated, he jumps ship and ends up in Hawaii, where he falls in love and begins to settle down. But as it was for Huck, so it is for Tom; destiny has designated him a different fate. A series of misfortunes compels Tom to go stateside and once again partner with his old pal, Huck.

The two men team up with Jed Bevins, a young and now infamous man they’d met early on. Jed sets out to avenge the deaths of his adopted Pawnee tribe and, over time, garners fame as a gunslinger. However, the notoriety is ill-placed, because his intention is to kill only those who slaughtered his people. And, yes, destiny intervenes for Jed as well; the title “Laramie Kid” sticks and will not be dismissed.

These three men join forces to fight a corruptive and treacherous power in the town of Redemption. As tempers flare and bullets fly, farmers and ranchers find common ground, adding a sensational element to the spectacular showdown.

For those who enjoy a well-written adventure that trumpets the victory of good over evil, Redemption has it all. You won’t be disappointed.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ENOPHVQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Redemption-Further-Adventures-Huck-Sawyer-ebook/dp/B00ENOPHVQ

The other novels in the series – Molly Lee and Resolution and other books by Andrew Joyce

Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Joyce/e/B00EUCFDTM

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Andrew-Joyce/e/B00EUCFDTM

Find more reviews and follow Andrew on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7242284.Andrew_Joyce

61uytgjxb0l-_ux250_Connect to Andrew: https://andrewjoyce.wordpress.com/

Now time for another series that would make a perfect gift- starting with the mystery, What Happened in Vienna Jack?, by Daniel Kemp.

About the book

A robbery in London’s Charing Cross Road. The murder of a catholic priest at the end of World War Two. A genocide in Namibia. The discovery of the remains of Hitler’s personal secretary.

Something connects all these things, and former British spy Jack Price knows the answer. He’s willing to die to keep the secret, but the problem is… he’s not the only one who knows.

It’s the lies that are not heard, but kept as secrets, that own us all. Deep in the world of espionage, lies and deception, how far is Jack willing to go to fulfill his mission?

One of the reviews for the book

Truth and lies, lies and truth and which is which? Can the truth be hidden in a lie and a lie be veiled in the truth?Suppose there are secrets too? Just the knowledge that something is hidden, well, reality can become a little blurred and obscure. When Patrick West meets Jack Prior in Daniel Kemp’s “What happened in Vienna Jack?” an investigation into police corruption in Soho leads, indirectly, to what could become a world ending catastrophe.

“What Happened in Vienna Jack?” Is a thriller, a tale of espionage and deceit, a story where a turn of reality can change with the turn of a page. I am constantly amazed by Daniel Kemp’s ability to not only keep control over a vast array of characters but, simultaneously, weave an erudite absorbing narrative that leaves me confounded. It was difficult to harness what I was reading. Daniel Kemp is meticulous in his research and extremely knowledgeable about Europe’s political landscape of 1933-1970.

In November of 1937 a violation, somewhere in Europe and prior to WW2, precipitates the unfolding narrative. Like any violation it is cruel, humiliating…just by reading about it, I felt dirty. The violation involves a prominent Nazi and a member of the British monarchy…see what I mean about secrets? This secret is so controversial (and “controversial” here is a massive understatement) that it is hidden, even to the point of murder, for fear of the secret being divulged. It’s an adroit piece of writing.

When I’ve posted this review I shall be reading “What Happened in Vienna Jack?” again. I think that most lovers of the thriller genre will feel the same. I’m not ready to leave either the characters, or this compulsive, gripping narrative…I’ll linger over every paragraph. And I’m pleased to learn that this book is just part one of a book series. If I haven’t made it clear enough, this book is highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Happened-Vienna-Jack-Daniel-ebook/dp/B076NMZ4P7

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/B076NMZ4P7

The other books in the series – Once I Was a Soldier and Percy Crow and other books by Daniel Kemp

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Daniel-Kemp/e/B075XRTBRP/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Daniel-Kemp/e/B075XRTBRP/

Read more reviews and follow Daniel on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17257200.Daniel_Kemp

Connect with Daniel Kemp via his Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/booksbydaniel/

Now time to revisit the town created by Teagan Riordain Geneviene in the second book of her series Atonement in Bloom which was released in October this year.

About Atonement in Bloom

“Atonement in Bloom” continues the urban fantasy from the point where “Atonement, Tennessee” ended.The quaint town was stranger than Ralda Lawton could have imagined. The local population included supernatural beings of the fae variety. Although only she and a few others knew about that.In a past life, Ralda ― Esmeralda had been involved in something with those supernaturals and it had carried into her present life. In Atonement, Tennessee, that almost got her killed. Now she has new problems, and new supes to complicate matters.Atonement in Bloom continues the misadventures of Ralda, her friends, and neighbors in the small (but far from peaceful) town of Atonement, Tennessee. Her old house and cemetery are still there, along with Lilith the cat, quirky townsfolk, and assorted supernaturals.Now Lilith the calico sniffs out a strange beast.Fae foolery backfires. A friend is abducted.On a cold December day, Atonement, Tennessee comes into bloom.

One of the recent reviews for the book

When pigs fly… Even for Tennessee, the little town of Atonement is different. Of course Esmeralda—Ralda to her friends and, well, everybody except a few flying pigs and misinformed fae—already knew that. Her (now missing) next door neighbor occasionally has giant black wings, the handsome local florist does magic but then makes people forget it, and don’t even get her started on those glowing pigs with wings. But what really has Ralda worried is the house that just appeared, the same one everyone else seems to think has been there forever. Then her worry turns to fury when fae magic takes a decidedly dark turn, disturbing the balance of winter. Flowers appear in the snow, and further manifestations endanger Ralda’s friends. When one of them is attacked and another disappears, Ralda realizes it’s up to her to save Atonement. She just wishes she knew how to do it when all those things that go bump in the night turn out to be real.

I absolutely love the setting. Small towns in the South are already so full of idiosyncratic characters and moody locations that they fit perfectly into a southern gothic setting. In true gothic style, Ralda lives in Sunhold, a huge wreck of a mansion with its own graveyard. Her new neighbor, the owner of the mysteriously appearing house, is properly dapper and charming, but his eyes give him away.

“Then I saw it. I accidentally made eye contact with the man in the purple pinstripe suit. There was intensity in his eyes that did not match the gentle face. I don’t mean evil or anything over the top. However, something was definitely off kilter. I had to wonder if he was mentally stable.”

Add in an antique silver locket, attractive yet mysterious men, supernatural beings, a sheriff who speaks in Shakespeare quotes, and one small cat who seems to know more about the situation than anyone else, and you have it: a seamless southern gothic paranormal mystery genre mashup. Then if you stir in a sense of fun and humor that includes flying pigs and even a grocery store, Hogley Wogley, that echoes the South’s iconic Piggly Wiggly, and you have a recipe for a great addition to the Atonement Tennessee’s story.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy a bit of Southern wit and humor with their tales of magical mystery. But Atonement in Bloom is definitely not a standalone. The large number of characters and prior events mean you should treat yourself to the first book, Atonement Tennessee. Although both books’ story arcs are nicely resolved, there are so many questions remaining. What really brought Ralda to Atonement? What are the supernaturals atoning for? Of course, Ralda’s cat Lilith probably knows the answers, but since she’s not talking, the rest of us will have to wait for the next installment of Atonement’s story.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07J5RRBLH

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Atonement-Bloom-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B07J5RRBLH

Also by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Read the reviews, buy the books : https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM

Read more reviews and follow Teagan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13707141.Teagan_Geneviene

Connect to Teagan Geneviene  via her blog: https://teagansbooks.com/

And last but by no means least today another writere with a second book released in a series, award- winning author Linda G. Hill, and her modern-day Gothic romance series, The Magician’s Blood: A Paranormal Romance- The Great Dagmaru Book Two.

About the Magician’s Blood

Herman Anderson is in love. Thrilled to travel across Canada with her boyfriend as his assistant onstage, she returns to her hometown—the first stop on the Great Dagmaru magic tour. Anticipating a reunion with her brother, instead she finds her family has moved without a trace.

Stephen Dagmar’s career as a stage magician is taking off. With Herman by his side, his only concern is her father’s dislike for him. But as Herman’s father makes a prediction and resolves to come between them, Stephen’s family curse returns to haunt him.

Darkness descends as the reality of the Dagmar’s incubus bloodline surfaces for the first time in over a generation. Can Herman and Stephen’s relationship survive this new trial? Will Herman survive at all?

A sinful tale of beauty and romance, love and determination, The Magician’s Blood will chill you and leave you breathless for more. *18+ Contains explicit scenes.

One of the reviews for the book

Jul 30, 2018 Gina rated it Five Stars

I’ve been waiting for the 2nd book in this series for what seems like for ever and it definitely didn’t disappoint.

Full of magic and intrigue, the story kept me gripped from the first page to the last.

I loved the development of Stephan and Herman’s relationship as well as the further glimpses into the supporting characters.

While this book concludes the story nicely and doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, the very last scene gives me hope that Stephan and Herman and their friends (and foes) will be back. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FKZMVLS/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magicians-Blood-Paranormal-Romance-Dagmaru-ebook/dp/B07FKZMVLS/

Also by Linda G. Hill

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-G.-Hill/e/B01K2LICL0/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Linda-G.-Hill/e/B01K2LICL0/

Read more reviews and follow Linda on Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15577348.Linda_G_Hill

Connect to Linda via her blog: https://lindaghill.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure there was a book or two that might have caught your eye.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #thrillers #short stories Luna Saint Claire, Jan Sikes and Kristina Stanley


Some more books on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore that would make great gifts this Christmas, and the first is a psychological thriller The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire

About the book

Whether by free will or fate, Luna’s encounter with Nico provokes a storm that shatters her perceptions of identity, duty, morality, and self-worth. The storm didn’t blow in from the outside. She was the storm. Its turbulence within her, forcing her to confront the darkness, uncovers her secrets and her pain.

Luna Saint Claire has a loving husband and an enviable career as a Hollywood costume designer. Still, something is gnawing at her. Bored with her conventional and circumscribed existence, she feels herself becoming invisible. When she meets Nico Romero, a charismatic yoga guru, his attentions awaken her passions and desires. Dangerous, but not in a way that scares her, he makes her feel as if anything is possible. Infatuated, she becomes entangled in Nico’s life as he uses his mesmerizing sexuality to manipulate everyone around him in his pursuit of women, wealth, and celebrity.

Immensely erotic and psychologically captivating, The Sleeping Serpent is the compelling story of a woman’s obsession with a spellbinding guru and the struggle to reclaim her life. At its heart, it is a painfully beautiful exposition of unconditional love that makes us question what we truly want.

“She realized in an instant that being around him awakened her, stirring the sediment that had long ago settled at the bottom of her well. He made her feel a part of him–of something larger, and somehow more alive.”

One of the reviews for the book on Goodreads

Ellen Weisberg‘s review Mar 11, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed reading THE SLEEPING SERPENT. The writing was excellent, vivid and detailed and effortlessly evoking empathy for each female character as they rapidly oscillated from intense passion to overt fear. I found the content very realistic and likely to be painfully relatable for anyone who has found themselves helplessly drawn to someone whose wants and needs come first and at all costs to those closest to them.

As an example, I could feel Olivia’s anguish after being abruptly dropped by Nico once she confided her news about the fellowship she had been awarded, and for the moment I was transformed into Olivia and experiencing her torment of being so sexually and emotionally attached to Nico that she was more than willing to give up her life’s dreams and aspirations to avoid losing him. And of course, Nico being Nico was unwilling to give her the option of having both her own life as well as a part of his, and no response to her final text was accompanied by her heart shattering into a thousand pieces.

Similarly, I was easily able to vicariously ride on the same rollercoaster as Sofia and Luna with Nico’s flattering sweetness and sensuality that would suddenly change to angry control and reprimand, sometimes insidiously interwoven with yet more sexual seduction that served to entice the women even further into his dangerous lair.

Luna Saint Claire and Virginia Bowen have created quite the fascinating page turner and eye opener that any woman with a breath and a pulse and who has found themselves under someone’s toxic, hypnotic spell can relate to.;

Read the many reviews for the book and buy: https://www.amazon.com/Sleeping-Serpent-womans-struggle-obsessive-ebook/dp/B016LUUB1K

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleeping-Serpent-womans-struggle-obsessive-ebook/dp/B016LUUB1K/

Discover more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14551692.Luna_Saint_Claire

Connect to Luna Saint Claire via her website: http://www.compelledbooks.com/

A recent review that would make a lovely gift is from award-winning author Jan Sikes with Two Shorts and a Snort

About Two Shorts and a Snort

This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Obsessed:
How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.

Maggie:
Is it possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.

Friends Instead of Lovers:
Sometimes it’s better to remain friends, instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Sometimes when you’re gifted an Amazon card, you become like a child of the 1950’s who’s just found a $5.00 bill in the street, and you head over to buy as much candy as you can. [Back then with most candies/gum costing less than a nickel, you got a good-sized bag loaded to the brim with this stuff.] This is how I felt getting a $25.00 card.

Usually, I wouldn’t have bought a short book like this, but like an adult kid, I went on a shopping spree for KINDLE books I wound up buying this book, a purchase which wound up not being a disappointment, but a wonderful find.

Being an author of Flash Fiction, I love being able to read stories which cuts to the chase, and gets the message it’s trying to communicate readers without wasting time with a lot of unnecessary verbiage. And author, Jan Sikes, succeeds in doing this quite well with OBSESSED and MAGGIE.

If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a guy whose got an fixation on having to marry you, and is going to unbelievable lengths in seeing that you’ll say YES to his proposal; then you’re in Nelda Sue’s shoes being confronted with Charlie Riddle being OBESSED with you and you knows precisely how she feels. As I did.

In regards to MAGGIE, anyone who has a child know it’s essentially a God-given gift. But what happens when despite numerous attempts at having one, nothing has resulted. If you can understand how a woman might feel when this happens, then you can step into Mary’s shoes and feel the elation she gets when her husband Jackson finds an abandoned baby and brings it home; if this isn’t a God-given gift for his finding the infant then what is?

For giving her readers these two delightful stories and a bonus poem, I’m glad to give Ms. Sikes, the 5 STARS she’s gotten from this reviewer.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DY8FSWL/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Shorts-Snort-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B07DY8FSWL

Also by Jan Sikes.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan via her website: http://www.jansikes.com

Now for a real treat… a boxed set from Kristina Stanley at an extremely attractive price for three of her popular novels – Stone Mountain Mystery Bundle.

About the Stone Mountain Series.

A majestic mountain resort in the middle of nowhere, a newly-appointed security officer and malicious killers make this trio of thrillers a roller-coaster ride through ice and snow…

DESCENT – Book 1

When Kalin Thompson is promoted to Director of Security at Stone Mountain Resort, she soon becomes entangled in the high-profile murder investigation of an up-and-coming Olympic-caliber skier. There are more suspects with motives than there are gates on the super-G course, and danger mounts with every turn.

Kalin’s boss orders her to investigate. Her boyfriend wants her to stay safe and let the cops do their job. Torn between loyalty to friends and professional duty, Kalin must look within her isolated community to unearth the killer’s identity.

BLAZE – Book 2

Instead of exchanging vows, Kalin Thompson spends her wedding day running from a forest fire near Stone Mountain Resort, and the pregnant friend trapped with her has just gone into labor. Meanwhile, Kalin’s fiancé, Ben Timlin, hangs from the rafters of a burning building, fighting for his life. Can the situation get any hotter?

When the fire is declared as arson, finding the firebug responsible becomes Kalin’s personal mission. In the course of her investigation as Director of Security, she discovers that some people will go to extreme measures to keep her from exposing their secrets.

AVALANCHE – Book 3

On a cold winter morning, the safe at Stone Mountain Resort is robbed, and Kalin Thompson’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears. As Director of Security, Kalin would normally lead the investigation, but when her brother becomes the prime suspect, she is ordered to stay clear.

The police and the president of the resort turn their sights on Kalin, who risks everything to covertly attempt to clear Roy’s name. As threats against her escalate, she moves closer to uncovering the guilty party. Is Kalin’s faith in her brother justified? Or will the truth destroy her?

One of the reviews for the series

Although Kristina Stanley says at the end of the novel that she wrote Avalanche first, this became the third book in the series. Having read and enjoyed the first two Stone Mountain mysteries, I recommend them all and suggest reading them in order. Once again, Kalin Thompson is the main protagonist, but characters from previous books return and previous incidents are cleverly referred adding to the backstory.

From the fast-moving opening when Kalin’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears, the plot twists and turns with enough clues and suspects to keep the reader thinking to the end.

There are multiple suspects when the safe at Stone Mountain Resort is robbed, but with Ray as the prime suspect, Kalin must act covertly to clear his name. How she handles her discoveries and her torn feelings about her brother’s guilt drive the main thread of the novel.

The story is tightly plotted, well-structured and, as I noted down while reading, it’s ‘edge of my snowmobile tense’. There are various suspects when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police begin investigating from Ray to Kalin via other employees at Stone Mountain Resort. I kept wondering, ‘Who will be next?’, ‘Who is guilty of what?’ and ‘Who do you trust?’. Not only Kalin needed to be wary but others caught up in the events as the threat level escalated.

The suspects were gradually narrowed down, although there were enough remaining as the end drew near. Plus, the accusations against Kalin were ongoing, adding to the tension. Twists kept coming, leading to the final confrontation that I only half-guessed in advance. Key elements were cleverly foreshadowed.

The author’s characterisation is excellent in that everyone has something to distinguish them – even the lift-girl from New Zealand. The reader sees the other characters through Kalin’s eyes and through other characters’ viewpoint. The use of various POVs enhances the story and adds to the subplots, diversions and to the red herrings that I always enjoy in a mystery.

The resort offers an evocative setting and Kristina Stanley’s knowledge of that world rings true without creating unnecessary detail. From my time in Canada and my winters skiing on different hills, Stone Mountain Resort and the intrigues came alive for me.

Avalanche was a fast-paced and easy read, and, as I’ve come to expect from Kristina Stanley, and from Imajin Books, it’s well-edited. A definite recommendation if you want a pacey mystery. But read Descent and Blaze first for maximum enjoyment – not vital but best.

Buy the boxed Set for just $7.32 : https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075DK4864

And on Amazon UK for £2.35 : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mountain-Mystery-Bundle-Kristina-Stanley-ebook/dp/B075DK4864

Buy the novels individually and other books by Kristina Stanley.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Kristina-Stanley/e/B0106J097I

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kristina-Stanley/e/B0106J097I

Read more reviews and follow Kristina Stanley on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14130411.Kristina_Stanley

Connect to Kristina via her website/Blog: http://kristinastanley.com/blog/

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves for Christmas – Alchemist Gift (Alchemist Series Book 1) by Mark D. Giglio


Please welcome Mark D. Giglio to the Cafe and Bookstore with his books. Today I am featuring Alchemist Gift (Alchemist Series Book 1)

About The Alchemist Gift.

★★★★★”Reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magical realism” – Red City Review

Time travel to the age of alchemy.

The life of grad student Roland Hughes changes when he cheats on his long-term girlfriend Liz. Soon after, specters of Renaissance men and women pull him back to a time of witchcraft, magic and curses.

Roland pays dearly for his fling, and desperately wishes for another chance. The cosmos hears and delivers him – with the help of the enchanted Alchemist Cabinet – to a new life and time.

But will he redeem himself, or chase the same temptations?

One of the reviews for the book

As essentially a thriller writer-reader, I took a while to get into the flow of the highly descriptive writing style and magical-realism of “Alchemist Gift” and enjoy the journey. Since I love history in general, I grew to appreciate a story set in mainly in Renaissance Italy with connections to the present through his protagonist, Roland; one that entertains and educates.

Transporting Roland back five hundred years to Italy through to his discovery of an alchemist’s cabinet, the author, Mark Giglio, also a professional Renaissance furniture maker, uses his knowledge of and enthusiasm for the time to paint Roland into a turbulent time when nobles squabbled; religions fought for supremacy; superstition ran rampant; disease and famine could claim their victims into the millions; and peasants simply struggled to survive. A rich setting for the interaction of a myriad of characters: the good, the bad and the very ugly.

As the author points out, he is “interested in the ways people connect with each other and ultimately how they are all connected and, how tenuous our existence is”. His story reflects this: it wanders unpredictably from one character to another. What does the future hold for Roland? It’s unpredictable. As it is for every one of us. Enjoy being transported back to the Renaissance. A great read for lovers of magical realism.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O4C5230

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alchemist-Gift-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00O4C5230

Also by Mark D. Giglio

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mark-D.-Giglio/e/B00NID9AAW

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-D.-Giglio/e/B00NID9AAW

Read more reviews and follow Mark on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7936157.Mark_Giglio

You can also find other books and Mark’s short stories individually on Smashwords and here is a selection

Discover all the books and buy: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MarkGiglio

About Mark D. Giglio

Mark Giglio has always been fascinated by the connections people have with each other and the world around them. What we do or what we say is a result of our most recent and our forgotten ancestors. Like our ancestors, we will have that same effect on countless people yet to be born. He has always loved history, the humanities, art, philosophy, anthropology, world religions and the natural world. All of these things have been a fountainhead of inspiration.

He spent the first nine years in upstate New York and the next ten in southern California.   He started his adult life when he joined the USAF and got his discharge after four years. He then went to SDSU and earned a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. At that point, he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. Somehow that Great American novel didn’t materialize, not for want of trying.

Life gifted him with a wife and in no time a little boy then another and another. Not able to wait around for those huge royalty checks to roll in, he fell back on his family heritage and became a craftsman. He needed something he could do to make a living, cabinet and furniture making to be specific. He worked for an outfit called California Design Group for a couple of years; then decided to go it alone.

Over the years he kept up his writing with little vignettes or the occasional short story for his own amusement. It wasn’t until he made a specific piece of furniture, The Alchemist Cabinet, that he felt inspired to write seriously. He had entered his art furniture in contests and came away with first and second prize ribbons.

His latest novel is “The Patron’s Wife,” www.thepatronswife.com.  The novel involves a love triangle.  The setting is on a sprawling plantation in the Ecuadorian highlands and the Amazon jungle below.  He has also been working on the next installment to the Alchemist trilogy, “Curious Journey”, and has a toehold on the last novel.

Mark has three grown sons.  He lives in Escondido, California with his partner, Mary Ellen Cavanaugh-Wilson. His other interests include painting, piano improvisation, and interior design.

Connect to Mark D. Giglio

Website/Blog: http://www.alchemistgift.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/markdgiglio
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markgiglioauthor
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/artofgiglio

Thank you for dropping in and it would be great if you could spread the word about Mark’s books.. thanks Sally

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves for Christmas – Fascinating New Yorkers: Power Freaks, Mobsters, Liberated Women, Creators, Queers and Crazies by Clifford Browder.


Delighted to welcome a new author to the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore today. Fascinating New Yorkers: Power Freaks, Mobsters, Liberated Women, Creators, Queers and Crazies by Clifford Browder.

About Fascinating New Yorkers

A prostitute’s daughter who got to know two ex-kings and a future emperor; a cardinal archbishop known in certain circles as “Franny”; a serial killer who terrorized the city; a pioneer in female erotica who had two husbands and kept a “lie box” to keep her two lives straight – they’re all here in Clifford Browder’s collection of posts from his blog, people who, some remembered today and some forgotten, fulfilled themselves richly or horrendously in the wild and crazy city of New York. Some of these people Browder knew or encountered briefly, and some he got to know through their works. He relates surprising things about J.P. Morgan and his nose, Andy Warhol’s sex life, Nicky (Mr. Untouchable) Barnes, and Polly Adler, Queen of Tarts. Getting to know these New Yorkers, readers will be shocked or angered, puzzled or amused, but never bored.

One of the reviews for the book

The figures in Cliff Browder’s Fascinating New Yorkers: Power Freaks, Mobsters, Liberated Women, Creators, Queers and Crazies are as pulsing with energy and as varied as the city itself. Drawn from Browder’s engaging blog, No Place for Normal, these lively sketches of everyone from David Berkowitz to Edna St. Vincent Millay are informed not only by Browder’s assiduous research but by his rich personal experience and perspective.

These little biographies are studies in concision. His depiction of Robert Moses is a masterful distillation of Robert Caro’s wonderful but massive biography The Power Broker. Yet in each of these chapters he incorporates his own personal perspectives and experiences that give these commentaries a deeply human groundedness. Then there’s the writing. His sketches have a sharpness reminiscent of Dos Passos (if anyone reads him anymore). He describes Thomas Dewey “as devoid of charm as a turnip” and demonstrates Boss Tweed’s nimbleness with a single crafty sentence: “When he hobnobbed at the upper end of the social scale, his speech was trimmed and neat; toward the lower end it grew weedy with ain’ts.”

Browder separates his New Yorkers into six categories: Dark Desires, Men of Power, Remarkable Women, Creators, Celebrities, and Bohemia. Yet it is amazing how many of these figures cross boundaries and encounter each other in their rich and turbulent lives. Plus, typical of the city’s international quality, these characters often bound in and out of New York’s boundaries (Helena Rubenstein comes by way of Poland, Australia, and Paris). Ultimately, these New Yorkers transform the ever dynamic city and often introduce new directions in society. “Both Walter Winchell and Sherman Billingsley wielded a new kind of power … Winchell’s power based on fear; Billingsley’s, on exclusiveness, on getting people to want, and want desperately, what he had to offer.”

The book is filled with amusing nuggets of battles, whether they be between Joan Crawford and Gloria Swanson over long-held Hollywood jealousies or between the Catholic dioceses running Peoria and New York over Bishop Fulton Sheen’s remains. One of my favorite elements of Fascinating New Yorkers is Browder’s commitment to ending each story as close to present day as possible. Anaïs Nin may have died in 1977 but through Browder’s research and subsequent encounters with her work the reader observes how his perceptions evolve.

The tale of narcissist Taylor Mead (oh, these pages collect into quite the gallery of narcissists) is a fitting summary to this volume: it is another fascinating story, shot through with Browder’s hard-earned wisdom – a wisdom marked by sensitivity, awareness, and rich experiences. Like Browder’s previous book, No Place for Normal: New York, this book manages to be both tremendously revealing and fun. I deeply enjoyed Fascinating New Yorkers.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DQRDYPC

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fascinating-New-Yorkers-Mobsters-Liberated-ebook/dp/B07DQRDYPC

A selection of other books by Clifford Browder

Read the reviews and discover all Clifford Browder’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Clifford-Browder/e/B001HOP166

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Clifford-Browder/e/B001HOP166

Read more reviews and follow Clifford on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/296927.Clifford_Browder

About Clifford Browder

Clifford Browder is a writer living in New York. He has published two biographies, a critical study, and three novels in his Metropolis series of historical fiction set in nineteenth-century New York: The Pleasuring of Men (Gival Press, 2011), Bill Hope: His Story (Anaphora Literary Press, 2017); and Dark Knowledge (Anaphora Literary Press, 2018).

His blog, Nø Place for Normal: New York, is about anything and everything New York. His nonfiction title No Place for Normal: New York / Stories from the Most Exciting City in the World (Mill City Press, 2015) is a collection of posts from his blog that won first place in the Travel category of the 2015-2016 Reader Views Literary Awards; the Tenth Annual National Indie Excellence Award for Regional Non-Fiction; and Honorable Mention in the Culture category of the Eric Hoffer Book Awards for 2016. Another collection of posts from his blog, Fascinating New Yorkers: Power Freaks, Mobsters, Liberated Women, Creators, Queers and Crazies is being published by Black Rose Writing in 2018. His poetry has appeared in various journals online and in print.

Browder is fond of slime molds, never kills spiders, and eats garlic to fend off vampires. (So far it seems to be working.) Recently he learned the Charleston; geezers rock.

Connect to Clifford

Blog: https://cbrowder.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clifford.browder

Thank you for dropping in and it would be great if you could share Clifford’s books around the usual haunts.. thanks Sally

 

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Collaborations – Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle, John W. Howell and Gwen Plano, Jane Risdon and Christina Jones


Time for more book gift ideas for family and friends this Christmas and I wanted to revisit some of the books that have been co-written including the recently published poetry collection Open a New Door, now in print, by Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle.

About the collection

Open a New Door is a poetic peep into the lives of the poets, Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle, both of whom live in South Africa.

The book is divided into four categories: God bless Africa, God bless my family and friends, God bless me and God bless corporates and work. Each part is sub-divided into the good, the bad and the ugly of the two poets’ experiences, presented in rhyming verse, free-style, haiku and tanka, in each of these categories and include colourful depictions of their thoughts and emotions.

The purpose of this book of poetry is encapsulated in the following tanka and haiku poems:

What drives me to write?
To share my innermost thoughts
The answer is clear
It’s my personal attempt
To make some sense of this world.

Inspiration blossoms
Like the unfurling petals
Of the Desert Rose

One of the recent reviews for the book by Collen Chesebro Book Reviews

Poetry encourages a reader to get in touch with the emotions they feel when reading the written word. “Open a New Door,” does exactly that. The book is divided into four categories: God Bless Africa, God Bless of my Family & Friends, God Bless Me, and God Bless Corporates & Work, which are then sub-divided into the good, the bad and the ugly, of the continent they call home.

The book is liberally sprinkled with photos and even some image poetry, all sharing the thoughts and observations of the two authors. Their writing styles are different but they compliment each other perfectly allowing for smooth reading.

Africa is filled with extremes, ranging from the landscape to the temperatures, to the animals and the people, all impacting the culture of one of the largest continents on earth. The author’s poetry reflects the diversity of the people and how poverty has infiltrated and changed their societal views.

For someone who knows little about the life and culture of Africa, I found my own perceptions changed with each new poem.

One of my favorite poems written by Kim Blades was: “Lessons learned in a rural African village.” Her words tell the story of growing up with all the comforts: food, water, love, and plenty of sunshine. She compares her life to that of an aged beggar who lives at the edge of her village. The man has little food, and the people of the town always give him their leftover bread. He passes on the good deed by sharing his crumbs with the birds. The lesson is that we receive what we give. What a wonderful thought!

Robbie Cheadle shares a poem that also touched my heart but in a different way. It’s called “Disillusionment” and speaks of a world lacking in ethics while making decisions by using plastic integrity. I couldn’t help but draw similarities to what’s happening in my own government right now.

I enjoyed this collection of poems because it exposed me to a different culture and way of thinking. After each poem, the authors share their thoughts revealing what prompted them to write the particular piece, making their prose more intimate and intense.

MY RATING: Character Believability: 5 Flow and Pace: 5 Reader Engagement: 5 Reader Enrichment: 5 Reader Enjoyment: 5 Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Fairies

Head over and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Open-new-door-collection-poems-ebook/dp/B07K4RRC4W

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Open-new-door-collection-poems-ebook/dp/B07K4RRC4W

You can connect to Kim at her blog and Website: https://kim153.wordpress.com/

Connect to Robbie via her blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

A small selection of other books by Robbie Cheadle

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Now for the paranormal thriller The Contract: Between Heaven and Earth by John W. Howell and Gwen Plano, which I read and reviewed earlier in the year.

About The Contract

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires. A Great summer read.

My review for the book

The Contract is a fusion of fantasy, thriller and romance and is the debut novel of the new collaboration between John. W. Howell and Gwen Plano.

I have read all of John Howell’s books and enjoyed, so I was eager to find out how these two popular writers would rise to the challenge of collaborating.

The concept is intriguing, and the opening chapter sets out this well, with the introduction to two souls, who had little time on earth to enjoy their love of each other. They are tasked by the divine council with preventing a major catastrophe on earth that could threaten mankind, but it will mean that they will be separated and have no memory of their task. Their hosts are two people with the knowledge and skill set to overcome the threat, but they are thousands of miles apart and both in mortal danger.

The writers do a good job of bringing these two characters together; now infused with the souls who have been contracted to neutralise the upcoming disaster. Watched and abetted  by guardian angels, their relationship begins with subterfuge, but quickly becomes attraction, and then love strong enough to take them through to the end of their endeavour.

This love story runs parallel to the fast escalation of violence and intrigue that reveals hidden agendas and treason in high places. The story has a good pace and there is plenty of action to keep the thriller lovers engaged with a number of surprising twists and turns in the plot along the way.

The final confrontation is a fitting climax to the story, bringing together all the players and their roles in the conspiracy, in an action packed battle of good against evil.

I am sure that this writing duo will go from strength to strength following this creative and exciting debut.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Contract-between-heaven-earth/dp/0996911588/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Contract-between-heaven-earth-ebook/dp/B07CZQ8WKH/

You can connect to John on his website: https://johnwhowell.com/

Books by John Howell

 Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

You can find out more about Gwen on her website: http://www.gwenplano.com/

Also by Gwen Plano

Read some of the reviews for the book: https://www.amazon.com/Letting-into-Perfect-Love-Extraordinary-ebook/dp/B00K7WYTW6/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Letting-into-Perfect-Love-Extraordinary-ebook/dp/B00K7WYTW6/

Read more reviews and follow Gwen on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7341478.Gwendolyn_M_Plano

The next authors with a successful collaboration are Jane Risdon and Christina Jones for their novel Only One Woman.

Two women, one love story.

June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heartthrob guitarist Scott. But after a romantic summer together they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.

December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stella meets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.

As the final colourful year of the sixties dawns, the question is: can there be only one woman for Scott?

One of the recent reviews for the book

An interesting read I wasn’t sure how it would work with two authors, but it is cleverly written like a diary of the two girls Renza and Stella who become involved with Scott the sexy guy from the band. Set in the late sixties there are lots of references to music and magazines and general things of these times. Renza can’t believe her luck when the band move in next door to her. Her life isn’t that exciting and she has to help her Mum a lot with the rest of her large family when all of a sudden she’s popular with the girls at school who want to hang out in her garden to see the boys. After falling for Scott Renza unfortunately has to move to Germany with her Dad as he is in the army. Stella comes into Scott’s life slightly older then Renza who will Scott choose. It was good reading the story through the eyes of both girls in their diary. I won’t give any spoilers to say who Scott ends up with. I wonder if there will be a second book following on so we can see if he made the right decision.

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP

Read more reviews and follow Jane on Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5831801.Jane_Risdon

Connect to Jane Risdon via her blog:  https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/

A small selection of books by Christina Jones.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christina-Jones/e/B001K8U57Y/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Jones/e/B001K8U57Y/

Connect to Christina via her blog: https://christinajones-writing.blogspot.ie/

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you have found a few books to take away with you.. to read or to give as gifts. Thanks Sally