Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Scifi -#PsychologicalThriller Richard Dee, #Occult Mae Clair, #Paranormal #Romance D.L. Finn


Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first book today is Life and Other Dreams: A Dual-time Psychological Thriller by Richard Dee. I have read a number of Richard’s book and can highly recommend.

About the book

It’s only a dream…, isn’t it?

Rick’s life is boring. He escapes it in his dreams. There, he becomes Dan, and that’s much more exciting.

Dan’s an explorer, six hundred years in the future and half a galaxy away. Dan’s life on Ecias beats Rick’s days, on Earth, writing advertising copy for cat food.

It shouldn’t happen, but people and events from Rick’s dream world start to appear in his waking life.

His wife wonders what’s going on. What can he tell her, what would she believe?

Neither of them could be prepared for what follows. Both worlds collide and fall apart.

This leaves the question, can a man exist in two places and times at once?

Find out now.

“Absolutely amazing, from a fresh original voice in fiction”

“a masterpiece of fiction”

“Fast-paced, edge of your seat stuff!”

One of the reviews for the book

This was the first novel by Richard Dee that I’ve read and I must say, I am impressed. What a simply delightful tale. The story has many elements that I enjoy in a novel (mystery, adventure, romance) which I also found so enjoyable because the characters are depicted so well; their lives become fascinating and vested with interest for the reader.

The change in point of view from an everyday bloke on Earth who works a 9 to 5 job, to leaping 600 years into the future and light-years away to another planet where our humdrum Earthman vicariously experiences the life of a futuristic settler/explorer thru the medium of his dreams is perfect.

The experiences of these two men begin to parallel in a fashion that is too similar to be mere coincidence. Are they the same man? Or are they men from different times who are somehow connected by a psychological, temporal thread that impacts the life of the other? For when disaster strikes for Dan on Ecias–an Earthlike world–it also bodes ill for Rick, back in Earth’s past.

With Rick’s wife wondering about his loyalty after he tells her about his dreams of being married to a beautiful woman on an Eden-esque world in an exotic future, and with invaders threatening Dan’s home on far, futuristic Ecias, will either man live happily ever after? It’s an intriguing story that I found quite captivating and well written. Bravo, Mr. Dee. 

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK And: Amazon US

A small selection of books by Richard Dee

Discover more about Richard Dee and buy the books: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Website: Richard Dee’s ScifiGoodreads: Richard Dee at Goodreads – Twitter: @RichardDockett1 Facebook:Richard Dee Author

The next book is occult horror novel Cusp of Night (A Hode’s Hill Novel Book 1) by Mae Clair the first in her successful series.

Cusp of Night (A Hode's Hill Novel Book 1) by [Mae Clair]

About the book

In this supernatural thriller series opener, a librarian moves to a small town following a near-death experience, and a chain of chilling events occur.

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger. Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

One of the reviews for the book

After surviving a car accident that nearly killed her, Maya Sinclair moves to Hodes Hill, Pennsylvania. She decides to rent an old brownstone close to where Charlotte Hode was murdered over a century ago.

Maya is still haunted by the time she spent in the Aether, hovering between life and death in a reality where souls with unfinished business lingered. Now, she finds her perceptions altered, opening the doors to her own clairvoyance.

It doesn’t take long for the house to connect with its new occupant. When the clock reaches, 2:22 am known as the cusp of night, terrifying noises explode from the walls of the house. Eventually, Maya recognizes a figure from the Aether… what could it mean?

In a city where the people refuse to let go of the past, the night of the annually celebrated Fiend Festival finally arrives. The townsfolk dress up in costumes to resemble the terrifying creature that murdered Charlotte Hode all those years before. However, this year is different. Something is out there, and it‘s killed again!

It turns out that Hode’s Hill sponsored the spiritualist movement of the Nineteenth century in the form of the Blue Lady, a blue-skinned spiritualist who perpetrated a scam against unsuspecting townsfolk. Now, she uses Maya’s sensitivity to the Aether to carry out her task.

Clair skillfully incorporates the tragic story of Lucy Strick, the Blue Lady, with that of Maya Sinclair bringing the past into the future in a story that was so riveting I couldn’t it put this book down.

The author also displays a rare command over language that’s unique. Her vivid descriptions and settings put me in the story, as if I’d experienced the events myself. I’ll never look at my watch at 2:22 am again!

Maya Sinclair is the type of heroine I like the most. She’s flawed, but in a way that makes her seem multidimensional and very human. This town is full of characters, which makes the story even more realistic. The Hode family contains some despicable figures, but Collin Hode teams up with Maya to help solve the mystery of the blue lady.

If I could give this book a rating over five stars, I would. I rarely say that, but this series is exceptional. I’m already reading the second book (End of Day) in the series and have purchased the third book, (Eventide) as well.

If you love mystery and suspense with a healthy helping of the paranormal, you won’t want to miss this series. 

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

Find out more about Mae Clair and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Mae on: Goodreads Website: Mae Clair – Twitter: @MaeClair1

The final book today that would make a wonderful gift, and I can highly recommend is the latest release by D.L. Finn.. a paranormal romantic fantasy – A Voice in the Silence.

About the book

Drea Burr has experienced more than her share of loss when a stray dog, cat, and rat enter her life. Although the animals start to mend her broken heart, there is something very unusual about them. During a snowstorm, Drea discovers a chilling set of footprints leading to her front window. Both the police and a ghostly messenger warn her about a killer stalking widows. Help comes from her late husband’s best friend, Adam Hale. As the two try to discover answers, more questions arise— about a killer, ghosts, and animals experimented on in a lab.

One of the reviews for the book

Jun 15, 2022 D. Peach on Goodreads

Drea, a recent widow, lives alone in her home far from town. There’s a serial killer roaming the area and a winter storm on the way. But what initially finds its way into her home isn’t a murderer, but a trio of animals who’ve escaped from a lab—a dog, a cat, and a rat. And before she knows it, they’re doing things that no animals should be able to do. They talk.

Suspension of disbelief was a necessity for this book. In some ways, the fantastical abilities of the animals gave the story a whimsical, childlike innocence. But that quality is countered by the presence of a serial killer outside in the storm, and the suspense intensifies when Drea finds his footprints in the snow. With the help of her animal family, a ghost, and a caring police officer, she just might get through the storm alive.

Three major plot lines thread through the story, and each comes to its own satisfying climax rather than all resolving at the end. The main protagonists are well-rounded characters, and that includes the animals. My favorites were Drea, Adam, and Charlie the dog. The villains range from mentally ill to completely deranged.

The story unfolds primarily from Drea’s perspective though the overall POV is omniscient. The pace is good, and descriptions gave a clear picture of the action and setting. There’s a romantic undercurrent and some violence, including an off-stage suicide. Overall, I’d say this book is suitable for YA and adult audiences, and I recommend it to readers who enjoy paranormal stories and want to try something whimsical, suspenseful, and entirely different. 

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

A small selection of other books by D.L. Finn

Discover more about D.L. Finn and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow D.L. Finn: Goodreads – Connect to D.L. Finn – Website: D.L. Finn Author – Facebook: D.L. Finn Author – Twitter: @dlfinnauthor

 

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

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Prehistoric #Adventure Jacqui Murray, #Psychological #Thriller Terry Tyler, #PostWar #Russia Marina Osipova


Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first book today is the third book in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy by Jacqui Murray. I can highly recommend Natural Selection (Dawn of Humanity Book 3)

About the book

In this final book of the trilogy, Lucy and her tribe leave their good home to rescue captured tribemembers who are in grave danger. Since leaving her mate, Lucy created a tribe that includes an eclectic mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium kit, and different iterations of early man. More will join and some will die but that is the nature of prehistoric life, when survival depends on a mix of man’s developing intellect and untiring will to live. Each brings unique skills to the task of saving Raza and his Group from sure death. Based on true events from 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her band of early humans struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

One of the reviews for the book

The final book of the Dawn of Humanity series ends on a positive note though I suspect that Lucy’s story of survival in the prehistoric world will continue to be riddled with danger and challenges. As the title suggests, not all the branches of primitive mankind will survive and those who do will depend on their ability to develop new skills and think strategically.

The plot is straightforward with two main threads. The first is Lucy and her group’s continuing search for a sustainable homebase. The second is their plan to rescue past members of her tribe from Man-who-preys before they become so weak from hunger that they’re killed. Lucy is the main character, but not the only point of view, and other characters are frequently brought to the forefront. These include her two-legged group members as well as those with four.

Murray’s research continues to add depth and realism to the read, and I found it as fascinating as I did in the first book. Our ancestors had it tough, and their lives were intricately entwined with the world around them. I appreciated that Murray didn’t spare our modern sensibilities. Grooming bugs from each other’s skin, eating rotten meat, and “fear poop” aren’t very glamorous, but they added to the authenticity of the story. Her word choices—to describe the harsh environment, its rhythms and wild creatures, and the nature and skill of each member of her diverse group—bring life on Earth 1.8 million years ago into vivid relief.

For readers who enjoy a meticulously researched primitive world and the remarkable challenges faced by our evolutionary ancestors, I highly recommend this series. It’s fascinating. 

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Jacqui Murray

Discover more about Jacqui Murray and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Jacqui: goodreads – Blog: WorddreamsTwitter: @WordDreams

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Terry Tyler and my review of this psychological thriller… Where There’s Doubt.

About the book

‘I can be anything you want me to be. Even if you don’t know you want it. Especially if you don’t know you want it.’

Café owner Kate is mentally drained after a tough two years; all she wants from her online chess partner is entertainment on lonely evenings, and maybe a little virtual flirtation.

She is unaware that Nico Lewis is a highly intelligent con artist who, with an intricately spun web of lies about their emotional connection, will soon convince her that he is The One.

Neither does Kate know that his schemes involve women who seek love on dating sites, as well as his small publishing business. A host of excited authors believe Nico is about to make their dreams come true.

Terry Tyler’s twenty-fourth publication is a sinister psychological drama that highlights the dark side of internet dating—and the danger of ignoring the doubts of your subconscious.

One of the reviews for Where There’s Doubt

Four rich and lonely women fall for the not unsubstantial charms of the thoroughly obnoxious and narcissistic Nico Lewis. Nico is only after one thing… money. He manages to divide his time between all four ladies, promising love and eternal devotion. If he’s not sorting out wedding plans or taking Polly, Kate, Heather and Minerva (separately of course) around the mansion where he proposes they shall live (of course he needs ‘help’ to fund a deposit), then he’s duping wannabe authors into believing he runs Curlew Publishing, a vanity press whereby authors pay money up front and then seemingly wait forever for their book to be published.

This book is very well written and told from multiple perspectives. When women like Kate, Polly, Heather and Minerva are lonely and isolated and then somebody like Nico comes along, wooing them with charm and the promise of eternal devotion, then they believe any lie they are told because they are looking for love and are gullible.

The four women all deal with the fallout of Nico’s activities in different ways, making this book very readable and quite a page-turner. I read until the very last page as I was interested in how things would turn out. I found Nico to be the most reprehensible person with no redeeming features at all, but then again that’s because of Ms Tyler’s writing skills. 

Read the reviews and buy the bookAmazon UKAnd: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Terry Tyler

 

Find out more about Terry Tyler and buy the books:Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Terry Tyler: GoodreadsBlog: Terry Tyler Blogspot – Twitter:@TerryTyler4

The last book today is by Marina Osipova – Push Me Off a Cliff a novel set in post war Russia when wounds and loss are still dominant in the minds of the survivors.

About the book

March of 1948. Three years have passed since the Great Patriotic War ended in victory, disposing into the streets of the destroyed and hungry cities and villages brave decorated soldiers: thousands of them having been burned, maimed, or disfigured beyond recognition.

On a crowded commuter train, Maria hears an invalid singing, which painfully connects her to her time at the front and to the love that failed to happen to her. Why, then, since that day, does the voice from the past echo so insistently in her present life? The torture of uncertainty—was it really Armen?—intensifies after the next encounter and leaves her with an unsettling compulsion to do . . . what? Help him? Or, rather, rescue herself from her lonely and unassuming existence her heart subtly rejects? She must decide whether she is willing to let go of the life she knows for feelings she had never thought she could experience.

But, first, she has to find him.

As the genocide of 1915 within the Ottoman Empire destroyed the lives of Armen’s parents and about one-and-a-half-million ethnic Armenians, his future is shattered by this other war and betrayal. Legless and totally alone, and without any family after his mother is gone, it seems the most merciful thing for him would be to end his miserable existence by leaping off a cliff. Otherwise, he must find the courage to continue living in the condition the war left him and find his place in the bitter every-day reality full of difficulties prone to men like him.

Maria and Armen. Each carries private wounds. In the face of despair, will fate offer them a chance to heal their souls and hearts?

One of the reviews for the book

Now that I finished reading it, I’m absolutely certain this book will stay with me for a very long time. The author doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities the Soviet people had to deal with during the post-war years, and the brutal honesty with which she describes the neglect and humiliation that yesterday’s heroes of war – now homeless and disabled people – had to face from their own government and fellow countrymen left me speechless many times throughout the book.

Both Maria and Armen are incredibly real and likable characters, but it was the character of Armen that has left me completely in awe. In the first part of the book we see him as a sensitive, compassionate and somewhat impetuous young man. The tragedy that befalls Armen later is supposed to crush his personality, it nearly destroys him, and that’s where it becomes evident just how much inner strength and will to live there is in him.

The parallel Marina Osipova draws between the two episodes with the man on the cliff shows that Armen wouldn’t become such a strong person without his mother and her love for him. His family’s legacy and his people’s culture live in his heart, preventing him from losing the last shreds of hope and guiding him towards the light even in the darkest of times.

I loved the gradual, careful and authentic development of feelings between Maria and Armen. Despite their youth, they are old souls because of what they’ve seen and lived through, and the fact that their bond is based on the same experiences, mutual respect, compassion and eventual friendship makes it all the more precious and hard-won. Together, they learn to heal and leave the pain and loneliness behind, and, as a reader, I couldn’t root for them enough.

I was also very surprised and happy to find the descriptions of Novopestchanaya street in the Moscow district Sokol where I myself live in one of the chapters.

Overall, if you are a World War 2 and Soviet Union historical fiction lover, Push Me Off The Cliff by Marina Osipova will be your best choice. Highly recommend. 

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

Other books by Marina Osipova

Discover more about Marina Osipova and buy the books: Amazon US – And on: Amazon UK – follow Marina : Goodreads – website:Marina OsipovaTwitter: @marosikok

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up November 21st – 27th 2022 – Author Interviews, Reviews, Chart Hits 1950s, Culinary A-Z, Tony Bennett, Podcast, Christmas Book Fair, Humour


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

Hope you are all well and a busy week I am sure for those of you celebrating family Thanksgiving gatherings. I find it hard to believe it is December round the corner and another year coming to a close.

I have been out and about with Debby Gies this week on Tuesday for a Q&A which gave the new book a lovely boost… and she generously reviewed the collection too for her Sunday Book Review.

I have also been scheduling the Christmas and New Year archive posts and some wonderful contributions already. There are still some spaces left before the 15th of December and also after Christmas for any New Year Posts you would like to share.

Details are in this post: Posts from Your Archives – 2022 – Christmas and New Year Special

Contributor News this week.

William Price King joined me for The Breakfast Show for the next in the series on hits from the 1940s and the next post in the series about the wonderful performer Tony Bennett and his music in the 1970s and 80s.  You can also find William Blog– IMPROVISATIONWilliam Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies​ is here on Monday morning with the next post in her Spiritual Awareness series .. Over on her own blog apart from the two posts I have already linked to you can enjoy another Q&A with author Jacqui Murray. Follow the link to Debby’s posts D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor was be here on Wednesday with her  A-Z of food with the letter ‘L’…on her own blog you will find Monday Musings with a cautionary tale from Clive about scammers, and a kind promotion for Variety is the Spice of Life, A wonderful recipe for Red Thai curry with mushrooms as a delicious plant based meal, A look at edible flowers and a trip to the local market for some exotics that in Thailand are everyday foods. Head over to check the posts out CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…20th- 26th November 2022

Thank you too for all your visits, comments and shares during the week. As always very much appreciated…♥

 On with the show….

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1950s – Bill Haley, The Platters, Frankie Lane and Pattie Page

William Price King meets the Music Legends – Tony Bennett – The 1970s and 1980s The Rollercoaster Years

Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘L’ is for Lamb, Lavender, Lemon/ Lime Meringue Pie, Liquorice and Liver…

Podcast – #Poetry #Flash Fiction – December and Sea Mist

Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – November 27th 2022 – Pete Springer, Marcia Meara, D.G. Kaye, Anne R. Allen with Sue Coletta, D. Wallace Peach, Judith Barrow with M. J. Mallon, John Howell with Harmony Kent

#Mystery #Thriller Genuine Deceit by Joy York

Previous Reviews 2021- #Western #Romance – Tumblestar by Sandra Cox.

Previous Reviews from 2022 – #Christmas #Romance – Love, Me by Jacquie Biggar

Previous Reviews 2021 – #Children – Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer Space by Toni Pike

#Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Memoir D.G. Kaye, #Familysaga Judith Barrow

– #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro, #SouthernCulture Claire Fullerton, #CrimeThriller Joan Hall

#Fantasy Dan Antion, #Biography John Cornelius Rogers and Sue Bavey, #SocialMedia #Cyberbullying Alex Craigie

#Shortstory Silent Night by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Christmas and New Year Special – Short Story, The Bike by D.L. Finn

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin November 22nd 2022- Thanksgiving food and Students

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin November 24th 2022 – Turkey Dilemmas and Betting slips

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week.. Sally.

Christmas Book Fair – Book Review – #Mystery #Thriller Genuine Deceit by Joy York


Another recommended book for you this week, a perfect gift for mystery and thriller readers. Genuine Deceit by Joy York.

About the book

Abandonment. Suicide. Murder. When a young woman finds herself unknowingly accountable for the past sins of her family, she must unravel their secrets and lies to stay alive.

When her grandmother is brutally murdered in her own home, Reagan Asher leaves her corporate job and rushes to her sleepy hometown in Ohio. She has barely entered the house before a second break-in attempt is made, prompting police to believe it’s not just a random burglary. Reagan’s lifelong friend Mattie asks Aiden Rannell, her brother-in-law and an ex-Navy Seal, to lend support and protection to Reagan as she navigates the investigation.

​Aiden suggests a ring that Reagan’s grandmother owned may be more valuable than anyone believes. Considering her frugal life growing up, Reagan dismisses the idea, showing Aiden an old pink box filled with similar colorful, ornate costume jewelry she and her friends played with as children. When they find a decades-sealed container with shocking contents supporting Aiden’s concerns, Reagan begs him to help her find the origin and if it is related to her Nana’s death.

​With the answers seemingly rooted in Reagan’s family’s past, they delve into her tragic childhood as the danger escalates. With each new revelation of betrayal and deception, Reagan begins to doubt everything she ever knew about her life.

My review for Genuine Deceit 26th November 2022

A terrific suspense novel with some unexpected twists to keep the reader turning the pages.

A mystery spanning decades begins to unravel as Reagan Asher encounters unsettling discoveries following the murder of her grandmother. To complicate matters she finds herself torn between her new protector and a boyfriend who may or may not be serious about their relationship. It is an emotional rollercoaster which is not helpful when her life and the lives of those she cares about are in danger.

The author does a great job of keeping the pace moving along and slipping in the reveals in a timely way to keep the reader glued to the story. Some of these are red herrings which result in the police and FBI are being creative with their investigations as they attempt to make the pieces of the puzzle fit.

All the characters are carefully crafted with strengths, but also the small imperfections that make them believable. Those on the dark side of the story are certainly well portrayed, and their attempts to retrieve what they consider to be theirs are chilling.

As Aiden’s and Reagan’s relationship develops, they are led into a complex and dangerous labyrinth built by a man and a woman with a secret they will go to great lengths to protect, and a criminal conspiracy from the past. There is plenty of action, romance, surprises and a great lead up to the climax of the story that both challenges Reagan’s belief in who she really is, and brings together a family separated by deceit.

I highly recommend this book to mystery and thriller lovers who love to be kept in suspense right to the end of the story.

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

Also by Joy York

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Follow Joy: GoodreadsWebsite: Joy York –  Facebook: Joy York Author – Twitter: @JoyYorkAuthor

About Joy York

Joy York grew up in Alabama but has spent much of her adult life in the Midwest, currently living with her husband in Indiana with their two golden doodles, Jake and Bailey. Inspired by a family legacy of oral storytelling, she began creating stories and adventures for her son when he was growing up. With encouragement from family and friends, she began to write them down. Her first book, The Bloody Shoe Affair: A daring and thrilling adventure with the jailer’s daughter, a YA mystery, was published in 2015. Genuine Deceit, an adult suspense novel, is her second book.

 

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you will be leaving with some books… Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Fantasy Dan Antion, #Biography John Cornelius Rogers and Sue Bavey, #SocialMedia #Cyberbullying Alex Craigie


Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first book is by Dan Antion with his second novel. I can highly recommend you read the first book in the series and then follow up with The Evil You Choose: Dreamer’s Alliance – Book 2

About the book

Zach Amstead has kept his ability to participate in lucid dreams a secret for over fifty years However, in the high-tech world of the 21st century, he has been discovered by an FBI Special Agent who has a corrupt agenda and who is willing to employ illegal tactics while working toward his goal.

Thomas Slocum gives Zach a choice – cooperate in an illegal operation or be treated as a terrorist. Slocum’s plan puts Zach on a collision course with organized crime leaders, a corrupt politician and brings innocent people into dangerous situations. Worse, the FBI process which allowed Slocum to uncover Zach’s abilities threatens to expose the abilities of his best friend, Billy.

One of the reviews for the book

I was born and raised near Pittsburgh. Spent half of my life there before adulthood so rudely intervened. So when I see a book set even some of the time in Western Pennsylvania, I’m interested. For that reason, I read Knuckleheads when it came out. The location drew me to the work, but the writing and storytelling sold me on it. i couldn’t wait for the sequel. And I’m delighted to say it was every bit as good as the first.

Zach and Billy are back. Zach’s powers have been discovered by someone who wants to take advantage of them, and he finds himself having to make one difficult choice after another to protect himself and the people he loves. In a tale where some members of law enforcement are as corrupt as criminals (if not more so), choosing which is the least of all evils is difficult for our hero. Watching how he and his supporting cast manipulate the system and navigate the dangerous situations they find themselves in kept me flipping pages faster and faster to see how it all played out.

I really enjoyed Billy’s return. He’s such a fascinating character. The development of Zach’s daughter has me especially intrigued. And while I miss Zach’s dad (very much), I love that his brother Mike kind of fills that role in his absence. To avoid spoilers, I will simply say two secondary characters and two tertiary characters really grew on me by the end, and I hope to see them in the next installment, which I can’t wait for.

As an aside, if you’ll forgive this slight tangent, the food sounds amazing. I’d love the recipes for the pork chops, the pie, and the mushrooms.

You don’t have to read these stories in order, but you’ll probably get more out of the second if you do. There are callbacks and characters that enrich the series, making the reading experience more enjoyable if they’re read in order. But I promise, each book stands on its own. In any event, I highly recommend this book and series and can’t wait for the next one. 

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

Also by Dan Antion

Head over to find out more about Daniel Antion and buy the books: Amazon US –  And:Amazon CA –  And:Amazon UK – More reviews: GoodreadsBlog: Dan Antion – Facebook: D. AntionTwitter:@DAntion –  Instagram:Dan Antion –  Bookbub:Dan Antion – LinkedIn:Dan Antion – Youtube: Dan Antion

The next book is  recently published biography by Sue. Bavey – a collection of stories, both fact and fiction and poetry written by her father – Daydreams and Narcoleptic Nightmares: Memoirs and Poems by John Cornelius Rogers. I have read and enjoyed the biography of her grandfather Lucky Jack and can recommend both books

About the book

Imaginary snakes, Ouija board experiments, World War II and Nursing Home Sex Scandals.

John Cornelius Rogers, a narcoleptic war veteran, experienced emotions so strong they made him collapse. You would, too, if you discovered sex scandals in nursing homes, saw snakes come out of the wall while you were eating dinner, and uncovered a murder using a makeshift ouija board. Join John in the journey through his prose and poetry, silly and sad…

15% of the profits from sales of this book will be donated to the charity Narcolepsy UK.

“So enjoyed it including the poetry. A 5* from me.” – Judith Benson

“Rogers writes in a very engaging manner, witty, thoughtful and taut. I laughed out loud in several places, very keen eye for the absurd!” – Sally Beety

One of the reviews for the book

Daydreams & Narcoleptic Nightmares is the second memoir from Sue Bavey about her family.

Now we all think that our families are interesting in some way, but Sue Bavey’s really is. Her grandfather lived through three separate centuries and her father was equally interesting.

I have to say that I found this book quite poignant in its own way, primarily I think because some of the anecdotes that are being told are something I recognise and are within my lifetime.

The memoirs that are contained in the book tell about life in World War Two right up to the late eighties.

I have to say that I have loved reading these memoirs and they provide an insight into the social history of the UK from the point of view of the people that have lived it. Often within regular history books, everything seems far removed. However, with this memoir there is a feeling of reality rather than it happening to ‘someone else’ and coupled with the fact that a lot of the experiences that are described within the pages resemble the experiences that I had whilst growing up. There was so much that I recognised through my own childhood.

Whilst there are stories from the recent past, there are also moments of poignancy, particularly when Mr Rodgers was a inspector for the council. Again, whilst these things may seem incredible, there are things in there that I personally recognise and understand how it can happen.

Not only that, there are descriptions of a person that go through the everyday trials and tribulations of someone who experiences difficulties associated with Narcolepsy. Often portrayed with an element of comedy, this book illustrates that it is anything but, and the everyday struggles that someone has with the condition can be quite difficult. Especially when you are experiencing hallucinations.

Now we need to get on to the poetry. Now as a normal rule of thumb, I generally stay away from poetry and tend to leave the enjoyment of this medium to others, however I did enjoy this aspect of the book. Admittedly not as much as the anecdotal stuff, but again, it was made easier to enjoy coming from someone who I can relate more to.

I found Daydreams & Narcoleptic Nightmares an often funny and poignant series of anecdotes and poems that capture the everyday life of one John Cornelius Rodgers. I loved reading about events that encapsulated both world wide events such as the Second World War, to the microcosm of family life.

Head over to buy the book:Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

Also by S. Bavey

 Find out more about Sue Bavey and buy the books: Amazon US And: Amazon UK – More reviews: Goodreads Website: Sue Bavey WordPress – Facebook:Sue BaveyTwitter:@SueBavey

The last book today is the latest release by Alex Craigie– a must read for all of us on social media – The Bubble Reputation

About the book

If you want to destroy someone’s reputation, social media provides the perfect tool.

Emmie Hobson, children’s author and TV presenter, is riding high on a wave of popularity when an unscrupulous newspaper editor, desperate for a scoop, brings Emmie’s world crashing down.

Social media picks up the baton and a terrifying backlash of hate and abuse is unleashed. Threats are made and there are those, inflamed by the rhetoric, prepared to take the law into their own hands.

One of the reviews for the book

I’ve read previous books by Alex Craigie and thoroughly enjoyed them all, The Bubble Reputation is no exception. This is a story with a chilling message, but it’s not overtly didactic; as usual with this author’s work, this is a steady unveiling of the plot; the revelation of how evil social media can become when driven with the intent of ruining someone’s life.

The character of the protagonist, Emmie Hobson, is well rounded and it’s easy to emphasise with her. And when her optimism and confidence, the enjoyment in her life, is gradually reduced to despair and uncertainty, it’s heartbreaking. This is a book where the reader can see what is happening and wonder how far her jealous antagonist will go, and what Emma can do to stop the malice.

And with a cast of realistic and credible minor characters, some of whom are spreading the spite and others who seem incapable of stopping it, it becomes frustratingly impossible to see who will finally win in this struggle.

The dialogue carries every character’s personality, leaving no doubt who is speaking. But, sometimes, that spoken dialogue becomes unreliable, and leaves the reader to question the words when they don’t match the inner dialogue and actions of of a particular character. The narrative is often the only disclosure of the reasons behind the actions. It’s a clever ploy by the author.

And, as I’ve said in the past, Alex Craigie has a talent for writing descriptions which give a great sense of place. So it is with The Bubble Reputation. But, equally fascinating for me, is the way she has brought the world of social media to life with all the possibility of the inherently manipulative and dangerous behaviour within it. Social media becomes a character in its own right and intrinsically carries the warning that is the main theme threaded throughout the story.

Above all else,The Bubble Reputation is well written, with strong narrative, convincing characters and a plot that progressively moves onwards, taking the reader with it towards an accomplished ending. I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who is looking for a slow-burning psychological drama.

Head over to buy the book:Amazon UK And: Amazon US

Also by Alex Craigie

Discover more about Alex Craigie and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Alex: Goodreads – Alex Craigie via: Facebook

 

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

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro, #SouthernCulture Claire Fullerton, #CrimeThriller Joan Hall


Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

Colleen Chesbro is responsible for creating many budding poets who have discovered the challenge and the joy of syllabic poetry. I loved this guide and can highly recommend

About the book

Are you ready to learn how to craft Japanese and American poetry? Consider this book the first step on your journey to learning the basics of how to craft syllabic poetry. Inside, you will discover many new forms, syllable combinations, and interpretations of the different Japanese and American forms and structures of haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, renga/solo renga, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, the cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, nonet, and shadorma poetry.

So… what are you waiting for? Let’s craft syllabic poetry together!

One of the  reviews for the guide and poetry collection

I have Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge “Tanka Tuesday” to thank for inspiring me to try writing syllabic poetry for the first time. That initial inspiration resulted in a tanka, which was followed by another, then another, finally becoming my first poetry collection.

Chesebro’s poetry craft book works in a similar fashion. Word Craft first acknowledges and encourages the creative potential in each of us, which I would consider the book’s main premise. We all have the inspiration for poetry inside us; we just need to help that inspiration find its most appropriate form of expression.

Given this premise, it makes sense to begin with syllabic poetry–and so be able to choose a structured form well-suited to what we want to express. For example, have we been struck by the way the winter sky looks when a cold front is approaching? Haiku can capture and hold this observation. Are we bemused by a particular human foible? This observation would be better suited to senryu. And so on, through a wide range of nonrhyming syllabic forms.

The book is well-structured and organized. Each section defines a form of Japanese syllabic poetry and its American counterpart(s), including a brief history of how they evolved. (Credible sources have been consulted and cited for this information.) Next is an explanation of how to write the form, including general subject matter, syllable count, and number of lines. Finally, there are numerous examples of each form written by a range of poets, including Chesebro.

What I most appreciated about Word Craft is that it shines light on syllabic poetry from a number of different angles–any one of which could serve as the reader’s inspiration for a new poem! 

Head over to buy the guide: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

Head over to discover more about Colleen Chesebro and buy the books: Amazon US And:Amazon UKGoodreads: Colleen at Goodreads – Website Wordcraft poetryAuthor blog: Colleen Chesebro – LinkedIn: Colleen M. Chesebro

The next author who is another of my personal recommendations is Claire Fullerton and her family saga and novel of friendship, Little Tea.

About the book.

Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.

One of the reviews for the book

Claire Fullerton’s lyrical writing always pulls me into one of her books, and her themes keep me there. Her latest novel Little Tea is about home, friendship, and family ties…how they define us, and how we carry them in our hearts always. It’s also a book about how we deal with tragedy and grief gradually, how the more we open up to our feelings, the more we heal. And opening up to them means exploring our shadow side. This story of the South, both old and new, which juxtaposes the 1980s with present day, asks the reader to ask and answer her own poignant questions about healing and bridging the racial divide.

The author doesn’t flinch from the hard truth of racism in the South and tells the story with a truth that packs an emotional punch so strong it’s physical. The character development and pacing are also spot on. Sense of place, manner, and conversation are told with the authenticity of a writer telling a story of “what they know.”

Yet in the end, it’s the friendships that will stay with you, leave you thinking, wondering: What became of these fast friends after they left their reunion at a lake house full of memories? Having lost my own two best friends to death, I found the ending especially poignant and real.

Can we change our friends? Can we change our world? Or can we only change ourselves as our friends witness and support our transformation? 

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

Also by Claire Fullerton

Discover more about Claire Fullerton and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Claire : Goodreads – website: Claire Fullerton – Blog: Claire Fullerton WordPress – Twitter: @Cfullerton3

The next author whose books I can recommend is Joan Hall who writes excellent atmospheric mysteries infused with the paranormal. Today I am featuring her crime thriller
Unknown Reasons (Driscoll Lake book two)

About the book

If you can’t stand the heat…

Rachel Jackson hails from one of Driscoll Lake’s wealthiest families. Like her father, she became a doctor and is now a respected physician. But despite her successful career, Rachel feels something is missing from her life—until she crosses paths with Brian Nichols.

The son of a hard-working mother and alcoholic father, Brian acted out when he was young, earning a reputation as a troublemaker. As an adult, he’s worked hard to clean up his act and now owns a burgeoning construction company.

Rachel and Brian form an unlikely friendship which begins to blossom into something more. But a series of structure fires—determined to be arson—puts Brian in the hot seat. The properties are all associated with his work, making him the prime suspect. Toss in his juvenile history, and he finds himself the focus of a tenacious investigator. Even Rachel starts to have doubts.

Brian struggles to save his relationship, his company, and his reputation. But unless the real arsonist is caught before striking again, everything Brian holds dear may go up in smoke.

One of the reviews for the book

Joan Hall has another winner on her hands with the second book of her Driscoll Lake series. Mystery and romance combine in a story that has an arsonist on the loose in the small town. Characters from the first book make appearances, but this is Brian and Rachel’s story. Hailing from highly different backgrounds—Rachel is a respected physician and Brian is a reformed bad boy, now a hard-working business owner—these two combat their feelings for each other while being caught dead center in the firebug’s sites.

There are ups and downs in the romance and twists and turns in the mystery, with several surprises looped together at the end. Well-written and plotted, with plenty of intrigue, this book will appeal to fans of both mysteries and romances. The small town setting is superb and the characters are engaging. I’m already looking forward to book 3 in the series! 

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

Other books by Joan Hall

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

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Memoir D.G. Kaye, #Familysaga Judith Barrow


Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you. 

The first book today is from fantasy author D.Wallace Peach who creates amazing worlds to set her stories in and amazing characters. The Sorcerer’s Garden.

About the book

Recently fired and residing with her sweetly overbearing mother, Madlyn needs a job—bad. In a moment of desperation, she accepts a part-time position reading at the bedside of adventurer and amateur writer Cody Lofton. A near-drowning accident left the young man in a vegetative state, and his chances of recovery wane with each passing day.

Cody’s older brother, Dustin, and eccentric grandmother aren’t prepared to give up on the youngest son of Portland, Oregon’s royalty.

Dustin’s a personable guy, bordering on naïve, and overwhelmed by familial corporate duties and cutthroat partners. Grandmother Lillian’s a meddler with an eye for the esoteric, dabbling in Dustin’s life and dealing out wisdom like a card shark. One innocent conversation at a time, she sucks Madlyn into the Lofton story, dubbing her the princess and bestowing on her the responsibility of both grandsons’ destinies.

And all Madlyn wanted was a simple reading job.

Uninspired by her self-imposed stack of literary selections, Madlyn opts for Cody’s work-in-progress. Fantasy isn’t her favorite, but with only four chapters completed, reading The Sorcerer’s Garden should be no sweat, right?

Little does she realize, the story will begin writing itself and, by the hand of destiny, become her own.

***

D. Wallace Peach’s eighth novel is a collision of medieval and urban fantasy centered in the Northwest Hills of Portland, Oregon.

Madlyn is quirky, blessed with a sarcastic sense of humor, and a tendency to say exactly what’s on her mind. At 28, she’s also abandoned her dreams of a fairytale life. A satisfying career and happily-ever-after romance simply aren’t turning up in her cards, and in fact, her junky car is careening downhill fast. A strong female protagonist with a reluctant streak, she finds herself trapped in a heroic adventure through overlapping worlds, unsure whether one or both are real.

Don’t look for a run-of-the-mill fantasy here. This is one tangled tale crafted especially for readers who enjoy plot twists that keep everyone, including the characters, guessing.

One of the reviews for the book

The Sorcerer’s Garden by D. Wallace Peach ranks high in the unique and clever category. The storyline weaves back and forth between reality and fantasy. Qualities such as integrity, greed, and feeling defeated by life itself play a big part. Peach intersperses delicate pieces of wisdom throughout this adventure that only entice you to press on – eager and excited to see what‘s revealed with each page turn. Madlyn, Cody, and Dustin become likable and genuine characters, keeping you entertained from beginning to end. Grandmother Lillian adds spice to the twist and turns. You’ll run into some bloody circumstances where you may be inclined to cover your eyes, but please don’t. You’ll miss the compelling action and superb description; even the subtle hints of humor add a bit of lightheartedness.

I began reading this book with the niggling awareness that fantasy isn’t my favorite genre. Candidly, I wasn’t sure if I’d like the story for this reason. But let me tell you, I was hooked from page one! Peach has an exceptional skill of painting pictures with her extraordinary words, along with her knack for excellent world-building.

Since I was thoroughly impressed with the writing and story-telling, I’ll peruse the author’s collection for more compelling tales to transport me into exciting imaginary worlds. So, if you’re a fantasy genre enthusiast, then I highly recommend reading The Sorcerer’s Garden. And even if fantasy isn’t your go-to genre, I implore you to dive into this adventure just as I did. Five stars for a fantastic adventure! 

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

A small selection of other books by D.Wallace Peach

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Head over to find out more about D. Wallace Peach and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: GoodreadsAuthors Website: D.Wallace Peach Books – blog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

Next non-fiction author and much appreciated long term contributor to Smorgasbord, D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies) with her heartfelt memoir Twenty Years After “I Do” – Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging. A perfect gift for those of us who have enjoyed a long-term relationship as it evolves over the years.

About the book

May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

One of the reviews for the book

Twenty Years: After “I Do” is an autobiographical non-fiction book about the author’s experience with marriage and relationships. I’ve previously read another of her autobiographies about her relationship with her mother, and it was such an emotionally charged and well-written book, I decided to keep reading more from her every few months until I caught up on all her works.

In this one, Debby tells us what happened almost twenty years ago when she debated whether to marry the man who is now her husband. Given he was twenty years older, she had a lot of decisions to consider when it came to how her life would change. At the core of this book, and her approach to life, is her commitment and honesty in all that she achieves. Debby knew… if she married him, she would have to accept all that came with it in the future. From there, she dives into key aspects of married life: emotions, sex life, personal time, separation of couple and individual, fighting, decision-making, and death. Lessons we all need to consider.

Debby’s writing style is simply fantastic. It’s easy to devour in a short sitting, but it always makes you feel like part of her life. She openly shares so much (the good, the bad, and the ugly) while holding back in all the appropriate areas to allow for proper balance, e.g. we learn about the impacts to her sex life when one partner is ill but she doesn’t go into the details. She tells us how she and her husband tackled the issues from a day-to-day perspective and moved on… because they loved one another (to the moon and back).

There is a refreshing honesty and truth in her words, and readers will quickly find themselves a path to compare their own lives to that of the author’s. What have I done well? What could I do better? What needs to change? Excellent questions to consider, but Debby doesn’t directly tell us to do this–her actions show us why this is at the core of a good marriage. I’m thrilled I had the chance to read this one today. Although I’ve only been with my partner for 8 years, it’s easy to track where things are and what we could do differently.

Debby bravely tells us her story, allowing us to interpret for ourselves what everything means, especially in this ever-changing world where people live longer and have access to more things but it’s harder to get them. I highly recommend this book to nearly anyone in a relationship, or those who want to know how to handle one when they are. Debby shares a few secrets, some hints, and a few suggestions to consider. It’s not just for newbies or long-term couples… there’s a bit of everything for how to co-exist and still be who you are. Great work!

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

Also by D.G. Kaye

Discover more about D.G. Kaye and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Debby: Goodreads – Blog: D.G. Kaye Writer – About me: D.G. Kaye – Twitter: @pokercubster Linkedin: D.G. Kaye – Facebook: D.G. Kaye – Instagram: D.G. Kaye – Pinterest:

The final book today is by Judith Barrow the compelling family drama that I found a compelling read The Memory.

About the book

Mother and daughter tied together by shame and secrecy, love and hate.

I wait by the bed. I move into her line of vision and it’s as though we’re watching one another, my mother and me; two women – trapped.

Today has been a long time coming. Irene sits at her mother’s side waiting for the right moment, for the point at which she will know she is doing the right thing by Rose.

Rose was Irene’s little sister, an unwanted embarrassment to their mother Lilian but a treasure to Irene. Rose died thirty years ago, when she was eight, and nobody has talked about the circumstances of her death since. But Irene knows what she saw. Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future.

The new novel from the bestselling author of the Howarth family saga

One of the reviews for the book

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”—attrib. Mark Twain

I have nine brothers and sisters who must have grown up in nine other families because our memories just don’t match up. Each of us sees our past through the filter of personal experience, making us the unreliable narrators of our own memories. Yet somehow, it’s those memories that shaped the people we are today.

In Judith Barrow’s The Memory, it’s the memory of one moment in time that shapes Irene’s family and defines her life. In a brilliant structure, readers are swept along dual timelines as we try to understand or even identify that moment. First we’re introduced to an adult Irene. It’s 2002 and she’s taking care of her dying mother. In the midst of her exhaustion and resentment, Irene wonders if her mother is also experiencing that pivotal memory, “The one that makes hate battle with pity and reluctant love.”

But it’s also 1963, the moment eight-year-old Irene’s happy childhood changes forever when her baby sister Rose is born with Down’s Syndrome. Even as her parents’ marriage crumbles, Irene’s world is transformed. “That was the first time I understood you could fall in love with a stranger, even though that stranger is a baby who can’t yet talk. And that you could hate somebody even though you were supposed to love them.”

As the two timelines converge, the impact of little Rose’s life and death continues to shape every aspect of big sister Irene’s life. With her parents’ relationship becoming increasingly dysfunctional, Irene tries to wrap a cocoon of fierce love and devotion around her beloved little sister. She realizes her life isn’t like other girls, but with her grandmother’s support, she struggles on. One of her earliest friends, Sam, becomes her rock and then her husband.

But despite Irene’s love for Rose, her grandmother, and Sam, she can’t prevent tragedy from striking. Her parents’ marriage ends, effectively separating Irene from her weak but loved father, while sending her mother into a downward spiral of resentment. Her only ally at home, her grandmother, becomes ill. Irene’s dreams of a teaching career and motherhood are sacrificed to the needs of her family.

With the death of Rose, Irene and her mother are trapped an endless cycle of love and resentment shaped by one memory. But it’s a child’s memory of an event, and even Irene isn’t sure exactly what it means. Unable to leave the childhood home that’s her only connection to Rose, she turns to the ghost of her little sister for answers.

The Memory is quite possibly Judith Barrow’s masterpiece. The dual timeline structure is ideally suited to bring us to that critical moment in the past. What exactly did Irene see? She’s an unreliable narrator, a child trying to understand a single memory that redefines her life in one timeline, while in the other timeline she’s a woman who has lost everything she ever loved except for the memory of the sister who haunts her.

The writing is spare and elegant, with just enough detail to create a picture of Irene’s world. Told in the first person, we see Irene as she grows from a bewildered child determined to care for her ‘special’ little sister to a woman who sacrifices her own hopes and dreams to care for her family. Those who’ve been caretakers to parents suffering from alzheimer’s and dementia will also recognize the sheer exhaustion and thankless effort demanded.

But the other thing I enjoyed in what could have been a desperately dark tale was that Irene knew love along the way. She remembered her childhood days with loving parents, she cherished the love of her grandmother, and she accepted the bedrock certainty of her husband Sam’s love. Most of all, she had the memory of loving little Rose.

As the two timelines converge, all of those loves combine in a single moment of realization that finally explains and then redeems the memory haunting Irene’s life. As a reader, when a character becomes as completely real to me as Irene does, I often find myself wondering what happened next for her. But Irene’s story is so perfectly and elegantly resolved that I know without a shade of doubt what her future holds.

The Memory is not a comfortable or easy read. But if you’re looking for a beautifully written, character-driven story with a dark base but superb resolution, it just might be the perfect choice. 

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

Also by Judith Barrow

Find out more about Judith Barrow buy the books:Amazon US – and: Amazon UK –  Goodreads – blog: Judith Barrow – Twitter: @judithbarrow77

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 14th – 20th November 2022 – New Book, Tony Bennett, Hits of the 40s, Spiritual Awareness, Christmas Book Fair, Podcast, Health, Bloggers and Funnies


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord

I hope you are all well and I am sure a busy time for those you preparing for Thanksgiving with family and friends.Wishing you a very Happy Holiday.

We celebrated are 42nd anniversary this week with lunch out at a local hotel and enjoyed a very nice meal. You will also find a special edition of the funnies in the Laughter section.

My latest WIP reached the point of no return and was published on Friday… today the ebook and paperback came together so I decided to do my promotion this morning. I hope you will pop in to the post to find out more about it.

Follow the link: Variety is the Spice of Life: A Blend of Poetry and Prose

There is a special series of Posts from your Archives for the Christmas and New Year season and if you would like to share one of your posts with us, then here are all the details along with one of my Christmas themed stories to give you an idea of how it will look. I have already scheduled 10 fantastic posts from authors who are participating and look forward to hearing from you. Don’t forget to look at your January posts too as this goes through to 2023.

Posts from Your Archives – 2022 – Christmas and New Year Special

Contributor News this week.

William Price King joined me for The Breakfast Show for the next in the series on hits from the 1940s and the next post in the series about the wonderful performer Tony Bennett and his music in the 1960s.  You can also find William Blog– IMPROVISATIONWilliam Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies​ was here on Monday morning with the next post in her Spiritual Awareness series on Angels… Over on her own blog you can enjoy Debby’s Sunday Book Review for Do What You Love by Marjorie Mallon also a wonderful selection of useful writer’s links, a poem from the heart and her latest podcast, Grief the Real Talk Follow the link to Debby’s posts D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor will be here on Wednesday with her  A-Z of food with the letter ‘L’…on her own blog you will find a fabulous recipe for Christmas Pudding, a poignant Remembrance Day post, a recipe for Thai Panang Chicken Curry, some great healthy eating options and you can join Carol on her visit to her local market with amazing fresh produce. Head over to check the posts out Carol Taylor’s Weekly Round Up

Thank you too for all your visits, comments and shares during the week. As always very much appreciated…♥

 On with the show….

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1950s – Nat King Cole, Big Joe Turner, Mel Blanc, Vera Lynn

William Price King meets the Music Legends – Tony Bennett – The 1960s Posted on November 18, 2022

Spiritual Awareness – Decoding Sequenced Angel Messages in Numbers by D.G. Kaye

Thanksgiving and Strawberry Jam by Sally Cronin

Winterise your Body – Influenza by Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – November 19th 2022 – Staci Troilo, Darlene Foster, Dorothy Grover-Read, Judith Barrow with Phil Rowlands, Cheryl Oreglia, Robbie Cheadle with Daniel Kemp

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Poetry – Annette Rochelle Aben, Harmony Kent, Bette A. Stevens.

#Mystery Noelle A. Granger – #Caravans #Dogs Jacqueline Lambert, #History Paulette Mahurin

#Anthology – Distant Flickers: Stories of Identity & Loss

Previous Reviews 2021 – #Psychological #Mystery- House of Sorrow: Legends of Madeira by Joan Hall

Previous Reviews 2021- #Children’s #Fairies – The Tree Fairies by D.L. Finn

Previous Reviews 2021- #Contemporary – Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin

42nd Anniversary Edition – Marriage – Hosts David and Sally Cronin

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Grandpas and Hell Freezing Over

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week… Sally.

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Mystery Noelle A. Granger – #Caravans #Dogs Jacqueline Lambert, #History Paulette Mahurin


Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you. 

The first book today is a mystery by Noelle A. Granger…Death by Pumpkin: A Rhe Brewster Mystery (Rhe Brewster Mysteries Book 3)

Death by Pumpkin: A Rhe Brewster Mystery (Rhe Brewster Mysteries Book 3) by [N. Granger]

About the book

At the annual Pumpkin Festival in the coastal town of Pequod, Maine, Rhe Brewster, an ER nurse and Police Department consultant, responds to screams at the site of the Pumpkin Drop. Racing to the scene, where a one-ton pumpkin was dropped from a crane to crush an old car, Rhe and her brother-in-law, Sam, Pequod’s Chief of Police, discover the car contains the smashed remains of a man’s body. After the police confirm the death as a homicide, Rhe embarks on a statewide search to identify the victim and find the killer. During the course of the emotional investigation, she survives an attempt on her life at 10,000 feet, endures the trauma of witnessing the murder of an old flame, and escapes an arson attack on her family’s home. There is clearly a sociopath on the loose who is gunning for Rhe and leaving bodies behind. With Sam unable to offer his usual support due to an election recall and a needy new girlfriend, Rhe realizes that the only way to stop the insanity is to risk it all and play the killer’s game.

Maine’s most tenacious sleuth is back, this time to confront a menace that threatens to destroy her life and those closest to her. The latest installment of the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Death by Pumpkin, is a murder mystery and thriller that tests the limits of Rhe’s strength and resolve like never before.

One of the reviews for the book

I have been a fan of Ms. Granger’s series of novels about the intrepid Rhe Brewster since the first was published several years ago. I love these books!

Rhe is an ER nurse who works part time with the Pequod, Maine Police Department. She has a brother in law who is crazy about her and who just happens to be the chief of police, a boisterous young son, and a best friend who must be the world’s best cook. I think I gained 5 pounds just reading about the meals consumed by Rhe and the other characters in the book.

One of the things I like most about this series is Granger’s endearing characters. Picking up this latest book is like saying hello again to old friends you haven’t seen in a while. It is both warm and inviting to spend some time with Rhe and friends. Um, yes, I did just say that about a novel dealing with murder!

In this latest outing, Rhe has her hands full as she investigates a murder at a pumpkin festival, organizes a campaign to help her brother in law maintain his position with the Pequod PD in the face of ugly student protests from the local college, and tries to evade the clutches of a crazy person out to kill her. She does all this while eating meals that induced hunger in this reader, and while juggling a male suitor or two. Whew!

If you’re unfamiliar with N.A. Granger’s Rhe Brewster mysteries, check them out. They are fun to read and will definitely hold your interest. Just get ready to gain a pound or two…

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

Also by N.A. Granger

Head over to read more about Noelle A. Granger and buy her books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK Blog: Sayling Away – Goodreads:Noelle A. Granger – Twitter: @NAGrangerAuthor

Now for some adventure with the intrepid travellers in a caravan including four dogs...It Never Rains But It Paws: A Road Trip Through Politics And A Pandemic (Adventure Caravanning with Dogs Book 4) by Jacqueline Lambert. – The next book in the series is on pre-order for December 9th.

About the book

Five years after giving up work to travel full time, Dog-ma Jacqueline (Jackie) and Dogfather Mark race against time to leave the UK before Britain exits the EU. If Brexit happens, their four Cavapoos (Cavalier/Poodle cross) Kai, Rosie, Ruby, and Lani will lose their puppy passports, and the Lambert Family will be unable to travel together. But Brexit isn’t their only obstacle. A few months into their adventure, the pandemic suddenly shatters their plans, and leaves them trapped in the epicentre of Europe’s No. 1 coronavirus hotspot.

The fourth road trip Europe adventure in author Jacqueline Lambert’s “inspirational and hilarious” series of true travel memoirs invites you to join the couple as they discover even more amazing and little-known places, this time in France and Italy. However, this isn’t just a priceless escape travel story filled with humorous mishaps and mountain adventure. The coronavirus pandemic separates the family from their loved ones at home, and leaves Jackie stranded alone during a blizzard in a remote Italian village, with Mark thousands of miles away, back in the UK.

Between terrible weather, political mayhem, and a global pandemic, Jackie and Mark try to take lessons from each hardship. Yet, even with a positive attitude, a sense of adventure, and a caravan full of loved ones, you can’t stop all the obstacles life rolls your way. These “amusing and informative” travel stories are certainly proof that It Never Rains… But It Paws!

One of the reviews for the book

Brexit is a reality, and new regulations will impact the author and her husband’s nomadic lifestyle. Do they stay put? No. Fearful that their beloved Cavapoo dogs’ passports will become invalid if the UK leaves without a deal, they pack up and head for Italy. But it isn’t plain sailing.

Adverse weather, financial worries and misadventures hound the family as they drive across Europe. Finally, they make it to their favourite Italian resort to face a new challenge. Covid. And they are locked down.

The book is filled with fun stories and honesty about their challenges, too. Jacqueline’s accounts of the difficulties associated with social isolation and the politics at the time are insightful. They are beautifully balanced with vivid descriptions of the fabulous countryside that becomes their temporary home.

As an established fan of the author’s writing, I loved this book. Interwoven throughout are enchanting tales about their four adored dogs, which were a highlight for me. Her empathetic, colourful style is warm and easy to read, and I always come away having learned more about the countries she and her family have visited. I look forward to the next episode in their travels. 

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

Other books in the series by Jacqueline Lambert

Get to know Jacqueline Lambert and buy the books: author.to/JLambertFollow Jacqueline: Goodreads – Blog: Worldwide WalkiesFacebook: Jacqueline Lambert Author – Twitter: @JLambertAuthor

Now for the historical novel by Paulette Mahurin – A Different Kind of Angel

About the book

Inspired by real events chronicled by a journalist for The World News, Elizabeth Cochrane (pen name, Nellie Bly), in 1887.

Klara Gelfman’s life in Kiev was serene until she turned nineteen. That’s when Russia’s Tsar Alexander II was assassinated, and a vicious propaganda campaign spread that blamed the Jews for his death. Klara and her family became victims of the many pogroms breaking out throughout Russia. None were so violent as what hit Kiev in 1881. It was there that Klara’s family was torn asunder and her world changed forever.

This is the story of what happens to this traumatized, orphaned, young Jewish woman when she escapes Russia and crosses an ocean to arrive on the rough streets of New York City able to speak only a few words of English. There, in the land of the free, Klara’s life is thrown into turmoil when she is mistaken for a drunken prostitute. Mistreated by those entrusted to protect her—the police, a judge, doctors, and nurses—she is condemned to an unrelenting hellscape when she is incorrectly and involuntarily committed to a lunatic asylum.

At a time when women had no political, economic or professional rights, comes a story where corruption by the powerful was as overt and commonplace as was garbage on the New York City streets. From the award-winning, international best-selling author of The Seven Year Dress comes an unforgettable story of the devastating effects of persecution, hatred, and arrogance. A Different Kind of Angel is also a story of love, family, friendship, and loyalty. It is a journey into the nature and heart of the resilience of the human spirit that will leave readers thinking about the story long after they finish the book.

One of the reviews for the book

Preceded by the pogrom of 1881 in Kiev, A Different Kind of Angel starts in 1882 in NY city, in the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island which is the epitome of the filthy conditions and malnutrition, inhuman treatment of patients bordering on the physical and emotional torture, indifference to the inmates’ suffering, and the criminal way of confining the ones who were unfavorable for those in power and other many innocents.

This is the place where a young woman, Klara Gelfman, a recent refugee finds herself—as if the horrors of her life in Russia were not enough to test the limits of her endurance. This is her story, as well as of other unfortunates whose fate brought them to that hell on earth. The author’s undeniable expert ability to bring the reader face-to-face with her characters and their emotions makes the feel of the devastating reality even more horrifying.

However, even in the place with an inexcusable carelessness, friendship and caring for others grows among the inmates. In the center of the story, there is a burning intrigue ready to explode. It held this reader glued to the chair till it was revealed in the last part of the tale—one of the author’s talents that makes the story enticing, poignant, and important.

The end of Klara’s story made me spellbound.

One of my favorite historical fiction authors, Paulette Mahurin gifted this reader with hours of touching and breathtaking read. I can’t recommend it highly enough. 

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

A selection of other books by Paulette Mahurin

Profits from Pauline’s books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Discover more about Paulette Mahurin and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Paulette : Goodreads – Blog: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on WordPressTwitter: @MahurinPaulette

 

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

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Poetry – Annette Rochelle Aben, Harmony Kent, Bette A. Stevens.


Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you. 

Poetry is an art form and has been enjoyed by readers for thousands of years. Today I am sharing some of the collections on the bookshelf that I am sure you will enjoy too.

The first is A Tanka Picture Book by Annette Rochelle Aben.

A Tanka Picture Book by [Annette Rochelle Aben]

About the collection

Life is alive with poetry; all the sights, sounds and smells. Blend it all together in your mind and you will begin to sing songs in your heart. You deserve a reason to smile, to feel good while pondering the magic of your world. You are closer than you think.

Open, A Tanka Picture Book! Consider the story each picture shares through its visual. Enjoy how each is enhanced with a tanka poem. Engage your senses while on a journey of passionate creativity. To feel the excitement found in even the simplest of sights is why A Tanka Picture Book was created.

Tanka is a form of traditional Japanese lyric poetry that uses 31 syllables spread out over 5 lines, to convey its message. The word “tanka” translates to “short song.” The short songs of this book elevate what may be considered average, to a new level of appreciation by connecting imagination and emotion.

Those wishing to be inspired, those seeking an uplifting read and those who are simply curious to see if they might enjoy poetry will love A Tanka Picture Book. You can add this happy, little book to your print or electronic libraries. Be sure to pick-up an extra copy for someone who can use a thoughtful gift.

One of the reviews for the collection

The Tanka poetry form is one of my all time favorites because it uses simile, metaphor, and personification. Similar to a Haiku, a Tanka also has the luxury of a few more syllables in which the poet can use to tell their stories. I’ve followed, read, and reviewed this author’s poetry for a long while. I know her favorite poetry form of choice was always Haiku. I am pleased to see her spread her wings into new writing territory.

Annette Rochelle Aben’s stories or songs bring inspiration and compassion to a weary heart. I always say if you want to get into the soul of a writer or a poet you must read their material and you’ll know everything there is to know about them. The best part is, you can’t help loving everything about this author.

When Annette Aben writes poetry, she bares her soul to the world sharing her most intimate beliefs and thoughts. I read these Tanka poems as songs of gratitude to a life well lived. I felt like part of her world and felt touched by the magic of her photos and meaningful words.

A Tanka Picture Book is a gift that will fill your soul with thankfulness and love. The photos are visually stunning. On those days when I perceive things are not as I had dreamed, I will re-read this book to reinforce my own beliefs in gratitude, magic, and most of all friendship.

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

A selection of other books by Annette Rochelle Aben

Discover more about Annette and buy her books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Annette: Goodreads – Blog: Annette Rochelle Aben WordPress – Twitter:@YouAreTheExpert

The next collection is by Harmony Kent –  Life & Soul (Book 2 in the Soul Poetry series) Harmony has the third book in the series on pre-order until December 2nd

About the collection

Life & Soul is the second book in the Soul Poetry Series by acclaimed author Harmony Kent.

This beautiful collection of over fifty poems will take the reader through the highs and lows of everyday life via contemporary poetry in a range of styles and themes. Within these pages, you will find reflections on the Lonely Soul, the Seeking Soul, Brief Soul, Friendly Soul, and the Loving Soul—states of mind and living and longing we each experience over the course of a life.

Life & Soul offers something for lovers of poetry from all walks of life.

A recent review for the collection

Author and poet Harmony Kent has a special skill that brings out the envy in many of us. Her ability to translate emotions into written words that touch the soul is quite impressive. On the pages of Life & Soul, she lays bare her own soul, sharing personal tragedies and traumas mingled with love and triumph that come from a will to move forward.

Her poems of friendship and what it really means to be loved stand as wonderful examples of a writer at the peak of her talent.

Many of her poems are short in length—though long on truth. Among my favorites are:
“Fun Friends”
“True Friend”
“New Girl on the Block”
“I Need You”
“Love Yourself”

As far as poetry is concerned, this is a stellar collection. I am honored to have this in my library. 

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

A small selection of other books by Harmony Kent

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Harmony:Goodreads – Website:Harmony KentTwitter: @Harmony_Kent

The final collection today is a poetry an photographic tribue to the state of Maine by award winning children’s, YA author and poet Bette A. Stevens

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the  reviews for the collection

Elizabeth Gauffreau5.0 out of 5 stars For Readers Drawn to the Constancy of the Seasons  

I was first drawn to Bette A. Stevens’s poetry collection, My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons, because I have connections to Maine myself, and I’ve become interested in syllabic poetry the past few years. For readers with similar interests, I would recommend My Maine as a must-read. For general readers, I would highly recommend the collection just for the sheer enjoyment of it.

The paperback is beautifully laid out with color photographs emblematic of a particular mood of the season. On the facing page, a series of haiku speak to each photograph. The book also features appealing section dividers and lettering. I mention the book design because it added another dimension to my reading experience, which I appreciated.

In terms of form, haiku aligns perfectly with observational nature poetry. The poems in My Maine follow the traditional 5-7-5 syllable count used for haiku written in English. They break with tradition by employing metaphor, alliteration, and rhyme. For me as a reader, this breaking with tradition to serve the needs of each poem ensures that the collection as a whole is more than an exercise in form. (Form purists may disagree with me!)

I read the book twice, and my experience reading My Maine for a second time was quite different from my first reading. With my first read, I wished that each poem had been placed on its own page, so that I could savor them individually without being distracted by the others.

The second time I read the book, I immediately realized that the placement of several poems on the same page was not a design layout decision. Each series of poems can actually read as a single poem moving through a progression of thought. The fact that my second reading experience was different from my first is the hallmark of a book that is rich in nuance, cohesion, and resonance.

Recurring imagery, metaphors, and themes also lend cohesion to the collection, including the land and people’s relationship to it, ties to the past, music, gardening, how light changes with the seasons, and how rain changes with the seasons.

I cannot end this review without citing my favorite poem from the collection:

Potholes irk drivers
As roadways turn to washboards
Kids giggle in back.

In just three short lines, Stevens evokes the contrast between the adult’s experience of spring as a car’s front end knocked out of whack and the child’s experience of spring as a carnival ride in the backseat of the family car.

Finally, I highly recommend My Maine to anyone looking for a constant in tumultuous times. The book will be a comfort.

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

Also by Bette A. Stevens for Children and adults

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette:Goodreads – Blog:4 Writers and ReadersTwitter:@BetteAStevens

 

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