Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Children – Victoria Zigler, Jann Weeratunga, Janice Spina, Bette A. Stevens and Gigi Sedlmayer

I am going to start the Christmas book promotions with children’s books, as most are in print that are posted and therefore require a longer lead time.  There are many talented authors in the bookstore who write for both children and adults and if that is the case I will also include the covers and the Amazon author page for you to explore their books further.

About Ulrike’s Christmas – Paperback and audio

Ulrike knows all about the Winter Solstice celebrations of the giants, being one himself. But what he doesn’t know is why the humans cut down whole trees, only to take them home to decorate. Other giants tell him to forget about it, but Ulrike is curious; he needs to know why they do it. Finally, when he’s puzzled over it so much his head is sore from all the thinking, he decides that this is the year he’ll figure it out, and risks a return trip to the home of the last family he watched to look for clues, despite almost being spotted last time he was there. That’s how he meets Billy, a friendly little boy who loves stories, and is happy to tell Ulrike all about tree decorating, and Santa Claus, along with a couple of stories he knows about them. Stories which Ulrike loves, and which inspire him to add some of what Billy says are Christmas celebrations to his own this Winter, in the hopes that Santa Claus will visit him too.

Buy the book or audio:

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A very small selection of other books by Victoria Zigler

A recent review for Rodent Rhymes and Pussycat Poems

Victoria Zigler writes the most delightful stories and poems for young children. This collection of poems is very appealing and teaches children about the lovely animals in Victoria’s household of pets including degus and chinchillas which, I think, are less well known pets. This book features the same little degus that characterise Victoria’s other children’s books about these interesting creatures and I enjoyed meeting them again and learning more about their funny little habits and relationships.

I listened to the audio book of Puppy Poems and Rodent Rhymes, narrated by Carol Weakland and I thought she did a great job. Her reading voice is lovely and clear which is important for young children.

You can download all the other print and audio books from Amazon:

and Amazon US:

Victoria has a great many reviews on Goodreads and I suggest that you head there first to read:

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The next author’s books feature a wonderful parrot who travels, has adventures and often shares an important social message and would delight any child this Christmas is Jann Weeratunga’s seasonal stories – Polly’s Hogmanay Holiday.

Polly’s Hogmany Holiday.

About the book

Polly the Parrot, Captain Hake and the crew of The Thistle take a short break in Scotland before they resume the search for Polly’s friends in Africa. The pirates get to meet the street children and their lives are changed forever. And who is Red?

A recent review for Polly’s Hogmany Holiday

Sep 07, 2018 Kailash Moore rated it Five Stars

Polly’s hogmany holiday is an awesome childrens book, it teaches you not to trust strangers or accept sweets from any one and not to steal. teaches you to be caring and help children on the street and stop them from drug abuse. i believe the lessons in this book will make children street wise about accepting sweets from strangers especially since they look like hard rock candy. i would recommend these book adults to read this to there children.polly’s hogmany holiday is an awesome childrens book, it teaches you not to trust strangers or accept sweets from any one and not to steal. teaches you to be caring and help children on the street and stop them from drug abuse. i believe the lessons in this book will make children street wise about accepting sweets from strangers especially since they look like hard rock candy. i would recommend these book adults to read this to their children 

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and Amazon UK:

A selection of books by Jann Weeratunga

Read the reviews and link to buy the books Amazon UK: Amazon UK

and Amazon US:Amazon US

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The next book which would make a great gift for children or grandchildren who love adventure stories and is from from award winning children’s author Janice Spina… It is the second book in her series Abby and Holly: Unfortunate Events.

About the book

Abby and Holly are cousins who are more like sisters. They enjoy doing everything together. Holly lives with Abby and her family in a haunted Victorian. Holly must deal with some difficult decisions in her family when unexpected and unfortunate events come to pass.

Abby is there to lend support to Holly along with two ghostly apparitions, Felicity and Minerva, who live in Abby’s house. These specters provide some magical and helpful advice along the way as they watch over Holly during this difficult time.

The girls’ friends, twins Davey and Derek Donato, from their own series, pop in to support Holly and bring some fun and comical relief to the story.

An early review for the book

I am so excited about the Abby and Holly Series for girls, but it could be equally enjoyed by boys. In Abby & Holly Series Book 2: Unfortunate Events, Abby’s cousin, Holly, is faced with some difficult issues. While her parents are away on overseas jobs, Holly is living with Abby. Things go downhill when her parents return for a visit and her mother becomes ill. Throughout this trying time, Holly has a tremendous amount of support from Abby, her Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob, and two ghosts who live in Abby’s house, Felicity and Minerva. Of course, their friends Davey and Derek are there to help, too.

As with all of Spina’s children’s books, Unfortunate Events teaches life lessons such as respect, kindness toward others, and the importance of being polite. This book concentrates on handling the unexpected and overcoming life’s disappointments. The unexpected was Holly’s mother’s illness and hospital stay. With the love of her extended family, Holly was able to cope with her worry for her mother. Disappointment was addressed when her father announced that he was flying out to finish his work overseas. He explained to Holly the importance of fulling his obligations to his employer.

I highly recommend Abby & Holly Series Book 2: Unfortunate Events to all middle-graders, both girls and boys. The storyline is one that will keep children interested with its elements of suspense and mystery. Though there are references to a childhood crush, they are not a major component of the story and certainly not enough to deter boys’ interest. And who doesn’t love a friendly little ghost or two! As with all the author’s children’s books, this one is true to her ideals of writing books that encourage children to read while incorporating those all-important life lessons. As a book I think every parent will want their daughters and sons to read, I give Unfortunate Events 5 stars!

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A small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Davey & Derek Junior Detectives: The Case of the Missing Cell Phone is on offer until 18th November 99c/99p: AMAZON (sale begins 11/11/18 through 11/18/18)

Also as J.E. Spina for adults.


Discover all of Janice Spina’s books, read the reviews and buy

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The first author is  Bette A. Stevens who created the magical world of Amazing Matilda the Monarch Butterfly and it continues to delight its young readers of all ages. I think it makes a wonderful gift for any child and introduces them to the amazing natural world that surrounds them.

About Amazing Matilda

Inspire the Kids with an Award-winning (Excellence in Children’s Literature) Monarch Butterfly Tale.

In this age of instant gratification, there’s an award-winning children’s picture book out that teaches kids that patience and hard work really do pay off.

‘AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale’ is a timely tale that follows MATILDA, a tiny monarch caterpillar, from the time she hatches from her egg on a giant milkweed leaf until she realizes her dream to fly. The story provides challenges and adventure at every turn.

Grandparents, parents and teachers will find that AMAZING MATILDA is a book that kids will want to read themselves and hear read to them again and again.

Get your FREE Autograph for your digital copy from author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens at

One of the recent reviews for the book

I can’t think of a better title for this book because Matilda truly was amazing. This sweet story captured me from the start with one of my favorite lines, “I want to fly! I want to see the world!”

Matilda’s determination, along with her encouraging friends the sparrow, rabbit and frog, is a lesson in going after what you want in life and never giving up. A wonderful story for children and adults, too. The illustrations were precious. I’m hoping there will be more Matilda adventures in the future.

Read all the wonderful reviews for the book:

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Also by Bette A. Stevens

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The next children’s author, whose books of adventure in the Andes for a small girl and Condors, continues to receive fantastic reviews, and the series would make an amazing gift. Talon; Connected

About Connected

Matica meets with the village eldest and wisest man, Elcano, who tells her ‘we are all connected’ to each other, Matica’s family and the Condors’.

Elcano also shares with Matica that he predicts that the Condors will be protected by all because Matica, her family, the Indians and the Condors are all connected.

It’s a heart-warming and inspirational story, intended for readers of all ages.;

One of the recent reviews for the book

VINE VOICEon October 6, 2018

Talon Connected is the continuation of the story of a young girl named Matica and her beloved condor friend, Talon. The book recaps the problem of the poachers trying to find and kill Talon and the magical leaf that helped heal Matica’s father in the previous installment. The theme of this book is that everyone and everything is connected. Elcano, the oldest man of the Indian village, makes sure that Matica realizes this. There is not a lot of action in this book, but the message of friendship, loyalty, love, and respect is a beautiful one. This is a story that is appropriate for all ages.

The other books in the series

515tsm3dql-_uy250_Read all the reviews and buy the books:

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I hope that you have enjoyed this selection of Children’s books and there will be more later in the week.. thanks Sally.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update #Reviews – Sarah Brentyn, Mae Clair and Stevie Turner.

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore update featuring recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author is Sarah Brentyn with a great review for her collection of short fiction Hinting at Shadows

About Hinting at Shadows

No One Escapes Life Unscathed

Delve into the deeper reaches of the human condition and the darkness that lives there.A girl haunted by her sister’s drowning. A boy desperate for his father’s affection. A woman forced to make a devastating decision. A man trapped by his obsessions.

Experience tales of love, loss, murder, and madness through this collection of flash and micro fiction.Take a peek behind the smile of a stranger. Get a glimpse inside the heart of a friend. Scratch the surface and discover what is hidden beneath.

These stories will open your mind, tug at your thoughts, and allow you to explore the possibility that, even in the brightest moments, something is Hinting at Shadows.

One of the recent reviews for the book

A real treat!  on October 31, 2018
An explanation on good micro-fiction written by Stephen Hastings-King, begins as follows (this is only a section of the quote): “There is a flat white fog. It is everywhere. There are birds. You can hear them. There are binoculars. You pick them up. You cannot see what you are looking at. You look at another thing to see what you are looking at…” Many of the pieces in Ms. Brentyn’s collection echo the above words. A real treat!

Read the rest of the reviews and buy the Collection:

And on Amazon UK:

Also by Sarah Brentyn

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The next author whose recent review is receiving rave reviews is Mae Clair for Cusp of Night ( Hode’s Hill Series)

About Cusp of Night

The truth hides in dark places . . .

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 recent reviews for the book

What a read!  on October 2, 2018

I loved this book, one in the Hode’s Hill series by Mae Claire. It had all the things that make for a good mystery – a historical basis, an unknown murderous entity, a psychic, a touch of paranormal, a growing romantic relationship and great story telling. What’s not to like? It was a perfect summer beach read, only I read it on a boat circumnavigating Iceland…

The story opens in 1900 with a dead-of-rainy-night visit by society woman Charlette Hode to a renowned spiritualist, Lucinda Glass, on whom she has come to depend. She’s been warned that the Fiend – a killer with seemingly supernatural abilities to kill and disappear – may be about, but she pays no mind…

In the present day, Maya Sinclair, recently recovered from a car accident during which she was dead for two minutes, settles in to an old house in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania. She soon discovers the house was once owned by the renowned psychic Lucinda Glass, who was called the Blue Lady because of her blue-hued skin and who was killed by the Fiend. When sightings of a strange creature occur at the time of the annual ‘Fiend Fest’ and Maya begins to experience strange happenings in her house, she can’t help but try to learn more of the history of Hode’s Hill and the Blue Lady. She soon meets the son of the current Hode patriarch, who believes her account of the mysterious events in her house, and she also learns of a secret research facility located outside the town.

I won’t say more because I want to leave other readers to the delight and chills of the story. Who was the Fiend? Has it returned to life or is it a more modern version of the legend?
Mae Claire has crafted a gem of a creepy thriller about supernatural occurrences and a centuries-old monster. She creates the perfect turn-of- the- century ambience, and I liked the alternating point of view from the 20th century Lucinda Glass and the modern-day Maya. The author clearly did researched spiritualists, who were so popular in Lucinda’s time, which lends authenticity top that aspect of the book.

The tale, while chilling, is not gory. There is no lurid blood-letting, and Maya and her friend Ivy are authentic characters. The author lays out the clues to the mystery in an agonizing precision – so I had to read faster – and I loved the way the twists and turns in the story came together at the end. A perfect paranormal cozy!
I’m anxious to read the next in the Hode’s Hill series

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

The Point Pleasant Series

A small selection of other books by  Mae Clair

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The final author today with a recent review is Stevie Turner with A Marriage of Convenience.

About the book

Gerrie Hermann, aspiring rock star from a rich South African family, has an unusual proposal for Sophie Woods when he meets her for the first time in their university canteen. Strait-laced Sophie has never done anything out of the ordinary in the whole of her 19 years. When she decides to take Gerrie up on his offer she has no idea that her decision is going to affect the rest of her life in ways that she could never have foreseen, even in her wildest dreams.

A recent review for the book

Would you marry someone simply to help them out of a dilemma?

This is what Sophie Woods, a university student, is about to do, a business arrangement, nothing more. But what happens afterwards is the stuff that dreams, and Hollywood movies are made of. Sophie, young and naïve, has never done anything risky before and has no idea of what fate awaits her.

Gerrie, a South African student, is an aspiring rock star with wealthy parents, who unfortunately don’t approve of his career choice. Gerrie wants to stay in England and the only way he can do that, is to get married.

Sophie falls in love with her new husband, but circumstances conspire to ruin their unexpected happiness and break both their hearts as well. The tension builds unbearably for them and their future outcome looks decidedly bleak.

There doesn’t seem to be an easy solution to their problems and after so long, can there really be a happy ever after?

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A selection of books by Stevie Turner please visit Amazon to view them all.

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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and discover more about these authors and their books. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Jacquie Biggar, Sacha Black and Charles E. Yallowitz

Welcome to Monday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore and a look at recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar for Sweetheart Cove (Blue Haven Book 1).

About Sweetheart Cove

Josie Sparks is looking for escape after a disastrous relationship. A summer job on a small Pacific Northwest island seems perfect. That is, until she meets her irascible new boss. She thinks she can help his sweet little girl–he’s another story.

Jacob Samuels needs someone reliable to care for his special needs daughter, but is sorry he trusted his sister with the task when help arrives in the shape of a too-young, too-tempting therapist with pain-filled eyes he can’t ignore.

Sand, surf, and soft island breezes bring two lonely hearts together in this heartwarming tale of second chance romance and a love that lasts forever.

A delightful mixture of women’s fiction, chick-lit, romantic comedy, and family saga, Sweetheart Cove has something for every reader.

One of the recent reviews for Sweetheart Cove

As usual Jacquie Biggars has written a five-star book. Jacob hired a nanny sight unseen. His daughter was confined to a wheelchair as the result of an accident that took her mother’s life. Actually, Josie was a therapist, hired to help Jane any way possible. Jacob was determined to send Josie back as soon as possible. He decided she was too young and would be too much of a distraction for him. A delightful tale of love on a tropical island. There was a puppy involved and that always makes a better story especially when a child owns the doggy. I recommend highly. 

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A selection of of other books by Jacquie Biggar

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The next author today with great recent reviews is Sacha Black for Victor: The Eden East YA Fantasy Novels

About the book

When Eden East kills someone, she expects them to stay dead. It’s only polite, after all.

Exhausted from battle and finally bound to her soulmate, all Eden wants to do is attend university and spend time with Trey. When her demon-ex, Victor, suddenly returns from the afterlife, Eden’s convinced he’s out for revenge. The last thing she expects is for him to ask for help, especially when he’s being controlled by evil forces.

But when an enchanted lock and key go missing, she’s no longer sure who she can trust. If Eden can’t find them in time, not only will her life, and her heart, be torn apart, the very world she lives in could be destroyed – forever.

Victor will transport fans of The Red Queen, The Young Elites, and The Lunar Chronicles to a world unlike any other…

The Eden East Novels: Book 0 – Sirens (coming soon) Book 1 – Keepers Book 2 – Victor

One of the recent reviews for the book

Sacha Black has done it again! Another ten star read from me! If you haven’t checked out her introductory book to this series, or would like to read my review on the first book, check it out! And if you’re looking to read this book, I advise either begin with Keepers, or if you’ve read it before to reread it again. Just as a refresher. First things first, this cover is AWESOME!

Now on to my review:

The characters I grew to know and love from Keepers are back and better than ever! Their development is plotted perfectly in progress with the current plot line of this sequel. And, of course, connecting with characters is a big plus. Black made them seem human and real, and I must say that I do not come across many authors who can beat that feat.

Obviously my ultimate favorite characters are Eden and Trey. Talk about the most realistic and adorable couple ever! Their fights were genuine, and their love was realistic, it wasn’t mushy, but actually tangible. We live in a world were YA love is cliche and makes you want hurl. So, thank you for giving us these characters who aren’t freaking annoying and represent what a real relationship should be like.

While I’m talking about characters, I’d like to mention that Eden goes through some hefty emotions in this book, but it’s her personality that made her troubles seem so plausible. She didn’t shy away from who she was as a person. She’s strong and independent, but she also knows her weaknesses and takes the losses she gets with a grain of salt.

The side characters and couple, Bo and Kato, are just as adorable and feisty. I’d love to see more of them as this series progresses. Both of these characters are the epitome of the word “friend.” They would do anything and everything for Eden and Trey, despite all the hardships they’ve been through.

Besides the wonderfully built and developed characters, there’s the fabulous setting of Trutinor. Black is so attentive when it comes to describing her world. All the colors and the similarities to Earth that are slightly different and tweaked to make Trutinor its own unique place is breathtaking.

And the technology she’s created for the world is hilariously brilliant! For example, CogTrackers are the equivalent to phones.

The pace the author has set is absolutely perfect. There was never a dull moments. Any slow moments were meant to obviously be written that way, and didn’t make me want to stop reading at all. I couldn’t put the book down! Especially after that ending ….Not cool, Sacha, not cool.

So, Sacha, if you’re reading this, I just want to say thank you for first introducing me to Keepers earlier in the year. It’s been a wild ride since then waiting for this sequel to come out, and I know it’ll be an even wilder ride as I wait for the next installment to be published.

And for you reader? If you’re looking for a fantastic action packed and adventure filled fantasy/dystopian series, I highly recommend checking out this indie series! You will NOT be disappointed!

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Also by Sacha Black

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The final author today with a recent review for his latest release War of Nytefall Book 2: Lost is Charles E. Yallowitz

About Lost

As the Vampire Civil War of Windemere rages on in the shadows, a mysterious girl appears to deliver mayhem to both sides.

Rumors of old-world vampires disappearing and mortals being attacked by an army of humanoid monsters have reached Clyde’s ears. Still learning how to rule the city of Nytefall as a strong, but fair leader instead of a vicious warlord, the former thief assumes he has rogue agents on his hands. Instead, his people stumble upon Lost, a teenage Dawn Fang looking for her father and aided by a decrepit bunny that might be an animated corpse. Bounding from one side of the Vampire Civil War to another, this carefree girl will turn out to be more trouble than she looks as all of the demons of her past emerge to get what they have been promised. Yet, her chaotic actions are nothing compared to the secret of her creation, which will change the very fabric of the Dawn Fangs’ world.

It is time for the womb-born to be revealed.

A recent review for the book

N. N. Light  4.0 out of 5 stars Yallowitz pens an all-encompassing world! October 5, 2018

As the vampire civil war intensifies, a new player emerges and like most in power, judging this teenage girl by her appearance is a deadly mistake. Her name is Lost and she’s a Dawn Fang. She looks innocent and keeps talking about her mission to find her father. Chaos follows in her wake, causing mass confusion between Clyde and the Dawn Fangs as well as Xavier, his wife and their subjects. There’s an army of followers looking for Lost, too. When she reveals she’s womb-born and not fang-born, the vampiric world erupts. Once reunited with her parents, will Lost obey vampiric law or will she destroy them all?

Lost continues where Loyalty left off and for the most part, the plot moves at a good pace. Lost is a deceptive character, appearing innocent yet she’s one powerful vampire. Lost reminds me of Darla from Buffy and Lamia Zacharius from Death Coach. Betrayal, especially in a vampire’s world, is a criminal offense and there’s plenty of it to go around. Yallowitz pens an all-encompassing world with quite a few twists and turns. The ending, though, was a little let-down. It can be read as a standalone, but you’ll understand characters’ motivation if you read book one first. Perfect for this time of year!

Favorite Character/Quote: “Fine, but after we take naps. A grumpy Princess General is a sloppy Princess General.”

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A selection of the most recent books by Charles Yallowitz


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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #RecentReviews Chuck Jackson, Annette Rochelle Aben and D.Wallace Peach

Welcome to Friday’s Cafe and Bookstore update and the first author with a review is Chuck Jackson for his memoir What Did I Do?

About What Did I Do?

What Did I Do?  is Chuck Jackson’s true recollection of the abuse he received from both his parents. It is a story where he spent years struggling to please them without succeeding. It is a story where they told him he was irredeemable and unworthy of being their son. When he saw love and happiness in other families, he wondered why not his.

Chuck came out of the darkness to expound on the stigma attached to child abuse. He admitted to the affects of shame, anger, guilt, and depression that he and so many experience. He tells the story of survival where he felt invisible. Follow him where he sought a warm touch and a kind word of praise. Follow his desperation for love from anyone. Follow Chuck’s story and help answer his question, What Did I Do?

A recent review for the book

Jackson takes us back in time into his childhood where he was adopted by his parents at 14 months old. Where one would think adoptive parents would feel so blessed to have a child, this story isn’t one of them. The author opens his heart in his telling without whining or complaining of what he endured, but instead questions – What Did I Do? As we learn about the emotional neglect he suffered along with the physical attacks from his father, the author steals our heart and has us wanting to reach out and just hug the boy.

We get a good look at emotionally bankrupt parents who carry their own demons, which gives us a hint at how they project their own unhappiness in their lives on to poor Bobby (author’ name in the book). This void of love Bobby exists in doesn’t sour his desire to want his parents to love and appreciate him, but rather, disturbs him through life as to why they couldn’t give him any affection. Eventually, Bobby runs away from home with fears that the beatings won’t stop despite the apologies that sometimes come after a consequent attack.

The story gives us insight into not only what the child had to live with growing up and into adulthood, but has us shaking our heads at what on earth went wrong in his parents’ life to make them so self-absorbed and uncaring.

I would highly recommend this book to parents to have a look at what abuse can do to a child through Jackson’s eyes and words, as well as for anyone who has been abused to be inspired by how Jackson handled his life and still came out as a compassionate good person without falling victim to his upbringing and continuing the trend of abuse. #Recommended

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Also by Chuck Jackson

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The next author with a review is Annette Rochelle Aben for A Tanka Picture Book.

About A Tanka Picture Book

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.

A recent review for the collection

Annette Rochelle Aben writes the most beautiful and heartfelt poetry, most frequently in the form of tanka and haiku verse. Annette bares her thoughts, feelings and soul to the world with her writing and enables you to experience her joy and delight at living with her. One identifying feature of Annette’s poetry is that she appeals to all five of the senses. I frequently find that poems focus on the visual, what the writer sees, but not that many poets manage to capture the smell, sound and touch of life in quite the way Annette does. One of the poems in this book that filled me with delight is this one: We found paradise Filled with rolling hills of green Houses so cozy Paths strewn with flowers fragrant Watercolor painted skies

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Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

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The next author with a recent review is D.Wallace Peach for Legacy of Souls (The Shattered Sea Book 2)

About the book

Peace descends on the Ravenwood freehold, and Raze Anvrell trusts that as love lays open his life, the turmoil of his past will loosen its grip. But in the halls of Avanoe and catacombs of Ezar, political intrigues thicken. Deflection and secrets manipulate the truth, assassins whet their blades, and more than one ruler stakes a claim in the quest for power.

A swallower of multiple souls, Sajem files his teeth and inks his eyes. Tentacles of madness slither deeper into the slaver’s afflicted mind. His raids grow brazen, tactics harsh, and conscience stripped bare. Alliances fracture and form, and no one is too old or young, too wealthy or beautiful to spare.

As his father’s health fails, Raze accompanies his brother to Ezar to plead before the Empress for slavery’s end. When death strikes, he and those who stand in the way of ruthless ambition must battle for those they love, the principles they hold dear, and the world they desire.

While heirs compete for the Ezari throne, slavers plot each other’s demise. The future of the Vales depends on the outcome. And if Raze wishes to save his family, his freehold, his chance at love, and his life, he must swallow one more soul.

A recent review for the book

“Legacy of Souls,” begins where “Soul Swallowers,” left off with Raze fully immersed in the expansion of his freehold into a larger operation for farming and raising horses. His heart is full as he pursues the lovely Bel who has miraculously healed his broken heart.

Because of Bel’s love, Raze finds the courage to move past the differences that controlled his relationship with his father. Even so, he keeps a careful distance as he retreats back into his life avoiding the political overtures that normally occur from a noble birth.

However, when his father begs him to attend a royal wedding with him, Raze stalls filled with guilt, not willing to give up either his lifestyle or his newfound reconciliation with his father.

Finally, Raze agrees to accompany his father and brother to the wedding when a horrible crime is committed, leaving his family accused of the murder while the royal family hunts them down.

By the time Raze escapes to the freehold, he finds most of his beloved family killed, and Bel kidnapped by the slavers. It is the death of his friend, Samoth, that changes the man forever. Raze chooses to swallow his soul which adds the necessary soldier’s skills he needs to survive and to save his family.

Once again, this author has waved her magic wand and created a world like no other. Here, life is filled with danger where human souls are bought and sold by the rich to increase their power. Political motivations and shifting loyalties explode within the schemes of the governing family, while the slavers do their bidding.

The characters and situations within these pages are unforgettable. For me, it was the philosophical dilemma of absorbing another person’s soul that I found so intriguing. Think about the possibility of accepting the soul essence of someone else into your existence. New skills and knowledge would have to integrate, for better or worse. If you swallowed too many souls, disaster would ensue as the personalities clash for control with possible madness being the end result. Would you swallow a soul?

This is a brilliant two book series that will keep you guessing until the end. As with most literature penned by this author, I could not put the story down. I read into the wee hours until the last closing chapter came to a satisfactory end. Now, I can’t wait to see what D. Wallace Peach conjures up next for me to read.

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

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A selection of other books by D. Wallace Peach

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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and explore these authors and their books further.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Mary Smith, Diana J. Febry and Sally Cronin

Welcome to the first of the author updates this week with recent reviews for some of the authors on the shelves of the bookstore..

First Mary Smith whose book set in Afghanistan, No More Mulberries continuous to receive fantastic reviews… and I can personally recommend.

About the book

Scottish-born midwife, Miriam loves her work at a health clinic in rural Afghanistan and the warmth and humour of her women friends in the village, but she can no longer ignore the cracks appearing in her marriage. Her doctor husband has changed from the loving, easy-going man she married and she fears he regrets taking on a widow with a young son, who seems determined to remain distant from his stepfather.

When Miriam acts as translator at a medical teaching camp she hopes time apart might help her understand the cause of their problems. Instead, she must focus on helping women desperate for medical care and has little time to think about her failing marriage. When an old friend appears, urging her to visit the village where she and her first husband had been so happy. Miriam finds herself travelling on a journey into her past, searching for answers to why her marriage is going so horribly wrong.

Her husband, too, has a past of his own – from being shunned as a child to the loss of his first love.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Thru the eyes of a converted Scottish midwife and her 2 husbands. Miriam is an highly trained midwife who meets an handsome Afghani engineering student in Edinburgh University. They fall madly in love, she converts to the Muslim faith for him and they marry and have a child. Not too long after their son is born, tragedy strikes and she is widowed. She marries again and the story, “No More Mulberries”, is the intricate unwinding of these lives in the midst of a war torn country.

The writing is rich with descriptions and emotion. The characters are well fleshed out, complex and burdened. This is not a one sided political treatise but rather an inside look from the vantage point of a common village family and some slightly higher up; but only slightly. Life in early 1990’s for the Afghani people was akin to 1890’s America, extraordinarily so for the women.

Altho’ M. Smith portrays the realities in her book, this story is not without a feeling of love and hope. These are resilient people in tragic circumstances trying to maintain families and some semblance of normalcy. There are moments of humor to relieve the tension so deftly written about.

There is nothing offensive in this book. All the language, violence and sexual content are easily within a PG rating with nothing being gratuitous or overly descriptive. You will get the picture without being given a high-def, 4K, knockout punch. This book will effect you, I know it did me. The invasion of Afghanistan was almost 25 years ago and the battle still rages. “No More Mulberries” will give you a chance to see what it might be like on the inside, from the inside.

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A selection of books by Mary Smith

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The next author is Diana J. Febry with a review for The Skeletons of Birkbury.

About the book

When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in Birkbury, the villagers close ranks. Gossip turns to fear and suspicion as they realize the killer is one of them and is prepared to kill again.

DCI Peter Hatherall must fight his past and class divisions to find the killer.
All must decide which secrets are worth dying for.

A recent review for the book

A good mystery  on 20 September 2018

The novel is a cold case detective story focusing on a dead girl who vanished twenty years earlier. This lends the story a slower pace than if it had been a recent murder, but that’s okay. In the small, slightly suffocating, rural community, we have plenty of suspects, and you’ll take against one or two right from the off. We certainly get a lot of detail about each character, possibly to make them all seem important (and therefore worthy of our suspicion), and we hop between points of view, even within a scene. The detectives work well together, although their off-topic back stories occasionally took centre stage, which may not suit an impatient mystery fan. All in all, a good mystery that keeps you guessing until the end.

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The other books in the DCI Peter Hatherall series


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Now for some self-promotion as I am thrilled to have some lovely reviews coming through for Tales from the Irish Garden..and this came in on Saturday.

About the book.

The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree.

Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature. Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight.

As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell. This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians. Suitable for ages 10 to 100 years old…..

The most recent review for the book..

Tales from the Irish Garden is a wonderful book. It has the magic of the Narnia Chronicles, the mystery of The Secret Garden and the delight of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.

As I read this book I became completely immersed in the world of Fairy Queen Filigree and her court. I shared her anxiety as she searched for a new home where her people and bees could be safe and participated in her delight when the perfect spot is found on the faraway Emerald Island.

It is not an easy task to undertake such a big move but the fairies managed it admirably with the help of some of their friends. The Storyteller, a delightful elderly man, is a wonderful new character you will meet and get to know and he proves himself to be kind, thoughtful and understanding. In no time at all the fairies are settled into their new home, kitted out in clothing more suitable for the colder, damper weather and even aided in meeting new friends.

Of course, life is never straightforward and Queen Filigree and the fairies experience their ups and downs, losses, romances and worries as they adapt to their new environment. There are plenty of celebrations and happy moments to smooth the way and it all makes for a very entertaining read.

The illustrations in this book are deserve a mention as they are amazing. They are the creations of talented illustrator Donata Zawadzka.

I rated this book five out of five stars on Amazon.

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A selection of my other books that are in Kindle on Amazon and available in Print from me directly via Paypal.

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Print books can be sourced directly through me and paid for at Paypal.. Please email

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you will explore the books further.. thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #reviews – Jack Eason, Claire Fullerton and Mary Adler

Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore update and three authors who have recent reviews for their books. The first author with a new review is Jack Eason with his historical novella Autumn 1066.

About the book

Down the centuries the British Isles has always been seen by invaders as a legitimate target for exploitation. This novella concerns the last few weeks of Anglo-Saxon occupation, ending on the 14th of October, 1066. In Autumn 1066, author Jack Eason gives a great sense of ‘place’, of detail. The reader is right ‘there’ in that poignant year, marching, shivering with September cold (as ‘…no warming fires were allowed lest ‘enemy spies would soon spot their approach.’) From the very first few lines, Eason, practising his unique drycraft, begins to weave his particular brand of magic on his reader.

Eason glamour’s with well-crafted dialogue, drawing his reader into the time and into the action. To accomplish this, the author proffers a gentle blend of informative nomenclature coupled with familiar speech, to ease the reader into his story without distancing with words too unfamiliar, which is a criticism frequently made of Bernard Cornwell’s epics. I long to read more Martin Bradley

One of the recent reviews for the book

I’m certainly no expert on British history, but after reading Autumn 1066 by Jack Eason my interest in this era was piqued and I found myself researching the battle of Hastings. Autumn 1066 presents as factual and well researched, looking at the battle from a “fighters” point of view gave a different perspective to the events. The read had me imagining the battle field and being part of the battle and the closeness of the fighting.
This is an enjoyable read which I have recommended to friends.

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A small selection of other books by Jack Eason

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The next author today is Claire Fullerton, with a review for her latest release Mourning Dove.

About Mourning Dove

“An accurate and heart-wrenching picture of the sensibilities of the American South.” Kirkus Book Reviews

The heart has a home when it has an ally.

If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, eighteen months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s tenth birthday.

Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother’s upbringing and vastly different from anything they’ve ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn’t gold. Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley’s world as they find their way to belonging.

But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?

One of the recent reviews for the audio book

I listened to the audio book of Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton. She narrated it herself and she does have a lovely voice with an enchanting Southern States of America accent which I found very enjoyable.

Mourning Dove is the story of a woman who made a mistake with her choice of husband which impacts on her behaviour and life choices for years to come. Posey Crossen marries an attractive and charismatic “Yankee” and moves to Minnesota where she becomes accustomed to her wealthy lifestyle and has two children, Finley and Millie. Her marriage does not turn out the way she expected and complex issues arise in both her relationship and lifestyle.

When Millie is ten years old and Finley eighteen months old, Posey leaves her husband and moves back to her family home in Memphis. Posey plunges back into the social scene of her youth and her children are left to adjust to the changes as best they can. While Posey does ensure that her children attend the best schools and mix with the most privileged of Memphis society, she is emotionally remote from them and can’t give them the support they need. Millie turns to her brother for support and Finley seeks it from his school friendships. It is not that Posey does not love her children, but as sometimes happens in instances of divorce, she becomes immersed in her own pursuit for a suitable escort and establishing her place in society and her children become a casualty of her own needs.

Claire Fullerton’s writing is very beautiful and she is detailed in her descriptions of the emotions and thoughts of Millie and Finley and their interactions with the people around them and each other. The story line develops slowly twenty six years and explores the effect on the lives of both Millie and Finley of the choices made by their mother over the course of her life.

My one criticism of this book is that it does not have many uplifting or happy moments.

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Also by Claire Fullerton

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The final author today is Mary Adler –  Shadowed by Death: An Oliver Wright WW II Mystery (Oliver Wright WW II Mystery Book 2). The book was released at the end of September and is enjoying terrific reviews.

About Shadowed by Death

San Francisco, 1944. Sophia Nirenska, a Polish resistance fighter who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising, finds safety in California until someone tries to kill her. She insists political enemies want to silence her, but homicide detective Oliver Wright, on medical leave from the Marines, believes the motive is more personal. He and his German shepherd, Harley, try to protect Sophia, but she insists on doing things her own way—a dangerous decision.

Oliver guards Sophia as they travel from an Italian cafe in Richmond to communist chicken farmers in Petaluma where her impetuous actions put them both in mortal danger.

When Oliver rescues a girl and her dog who are running for their lives, he discovers the dark secret at the heart of the threat to Sophia, a secret with its roots in Poland. When he does, he is forced to choose between enforcing the law as he knows it and jeopardizing Sophia or accepting a rougher kind of justice.

Shadowed by Death accurately portrays the fears and troubles of the communities of northern California as they bear the burdens of World War II and celebrate the gift of finding family among strangers.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

This is a new author for me as I’ve been on a kick to ‘read books I may or may not have picked up in the past.’ Score! I love historical fiction and this one is very well done. The characters were developed very well–not too many details, enough where I am able to see the story unfolding in my mind. It was difficult to put down and I found myself cheering certain characters on. Love a story that makes me think; put myself in another’s shoes; and long to travel back to a moment or two in history and walk around. I highly recommend this book, and I will be reading it again. It’s one of those stories where you will get more out of it, see something else, another clue, each time you read it. Block your time out & dive in!

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Also by Mary Adler

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Thank you for visiting today and I hope you will explore these authors and their books further.. there are around 500 books on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore with 150 authors with reviews. Please pop in and have a browse. Thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews- Brigid P. Gallagher, Mary Anne Edwards and Daniel Kemp

Thanks for dropping in today for the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates for the week. With new releases ready for Christmas and lots of great reviews being posted, it is going to be a busy few weeks.

So please let me know if you have a new release coming out or have received a great new review that you would like to share. With 150+ authors in the Cafe and Bookstore I can miss them. I have a few in the buffer, but don’t want to miss out. Email me on sally.cronin

The first author today with a recent review is Brigid P. Gallagher for her book Watching for the Daisies.

About the book

Millions of people around the world suffer from fibromyalgia; the majority of them are women. As yet, there is no cure.

In this memoir, Brigid P. Gallagher shares her experiences on:

  • The busy life she followed before succumbing to this debilitating disease
  • Stopping and soul searching for answers to her vast array of symptoms
  • Entering a new life of SLOW

Drawing on her knowledge and experience as a Natural Medicines therapist, she seeks out therapies to aid her healing and integrates a variety of self help techniques and lifestyle changes. She also unearths a love of solo travel including Egypt, India, Rome, Lourdes, Carcassonne and Bali…

Brigid learns many insights about LIFE on her journey, the most valuable being: “First learn to love thyself.”

In 2006, she began a new career in Organic Horticulture eventually teaching part time in schools. Although she has now retired from teaching, she continues to pursue her lifelong passion for gardening and watching the daisies.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robert Fear 5.0 out of 5 stars 5* Absorbing Read 11 September 2018

I finished this absorbing read in two sessions.

Brigid Gallagher’s memoir is a well-written book, full of beautiful descriptions, and tells of a life full of trials and tribulations. These include the childhood tragedy of losing her mum and the untimely deaths of her dad along with other family members in later life. She also experiences serious health struggles and learns how important it is to slow down.

The author’s travels in Egypt, India, Rome, Lourdes and Bali were of special interest. I also enjoyed her descriptions of the many homes she lived in and the way they represented different phases of her life. In addition, I felt a close affinity through her love of cats and the way they played an integral part in her life.

There were many other things I learned that I knew little about. The book shed a new light on areas such as auras, spiritual healing, crystal therapy, colour therapy, reflexology and aromatherapy. These played an important part in the author’s life development and working career.

Born in the same year as me, I found it interesting to read how her life progressed compared with mine. There are lessons on life and coping mechanisms she has learned to use I now want to apply to my life. I was left with a sense of positivity when I finished reading her story.

Thank you for sharing your life with us Brigid Gallagher. Many of us will learn that key lesson of the ‘Importance of Slow’.

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The next author with a new review is Mary Anne Edwards with Flirting with Time, Book Five in the Charlie McClung Mystery Series..

About the series

The Detective Charlie McClung mysteries are gripping yet tender novels. The books are set in the early 1980s, a time without cell phones or laptop computers making life more simple but solving crime more difficult. The plots are filled with twists and turns. The characters are believable yet complex. They are people you know or want to know.

About Flirting with Time – Book Five of the series

Do you know what it’s like to feel someone stalking you, shadowing every move you make?

For months now, Detective Charlie McClung and his wife have been tormented by an elusive figure, toying with them, almost daring the detective to catch him.

Any hopes that this is the work of a harmless prankster vanish when an innocent man is found brutally murdered.

McClung will go to any lengths to protect his family, but how far is too far?

A recent review for the book

Great read  on September 24, 2018

Fantastic book, this series just keeps getting better and better (if that is possible). Again I could not work out the end and boy what an end!!!! Full of thrill and suspense. Can’t wait for next book.

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Also by Mary Anne Edwards

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The next review is for Why? A Complicated Love by Daniel Kemp.

About the book

Why? Is a story set in a web of despair, sex, unreachable emotion and love.

One man’s crippling injuries, caused by an unprovoked, vicious attack, ruins the lives of everyone around him. This includes Terry Meadows, a nineteen-year-old boy who falls in love with the main character’s daughter Laura, twenty-seven years before the opening of the story.

The twisted, interconnecting matrix in which Francis, Laura’s father, lives, destroys and distorts his daughter’s image of life beyond repair. It is a sad tragedy with an unexpected ending.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Why starts with a sex-obsessed protagonist and develops into a tragic love story. There’s every possible element of a mafioso set-up, but it goes further. The story has certain elements that remind me of Rigoletto (the Duke of Mantua, his court jester, and a young innocent woman, caught in the power game belonging to a medieval court). It’s brought forward to a contemporary period, but the essence is similar, and the victim is female. There are some differences: two female leads, the young woman and her mother who suffers a similar fate, except that she’s left her innocence behind years ago. Why is well written and believable.

The protagonist survives to lead a new life of sorts, but he is damaged beyond repair. He knows this but is able to make the best of a lousy deal. The book starts at the end: the love-object has already died, and Kemp rolls out the narrative on this background. This isn’t a book that lives through the writing as such. It is the heart-wrenching plot that stays with the reader. Still, the writing brings across the characters’ agony. Nobody exists without suffering. Not in the world, Daniel Kemp opens up for his readers. The strong element of crime and sordid humanity makes the love-story even more devastating. It is a surprisingly thoughtful book. Highly recommended.

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Also by Daniel Kemp

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Thank you again for popping in and I hope that you will check out these authors and their books. There are around 500 + books in the Cafe and Bookstore so you need never be stuck for your next book….

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Judith Barrow, Jane Risdon and Christina Jones, Teri Polen

Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore and the first author celebrating a recent review is Judith Barrow for the sequel to her trilogy about the Howarth family – A Hundred Tiny Threads which I can also personally recommend.

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

It’s 1911 and Winifred Duffy is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother.

The scars of Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood linger. The only light in his life comes from a chance encounter with Winifred, the girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting her friend Honora’s silver-tongued brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down. But Honora and Conal disappear, after a suffrage rally turns into a riot, and abandoned Winifred has nowhere to turn but home.

The Great War intervenes, sending Bill abroad to be hardened in a furnace of carnage and loss. When he returns his dream is still of Winifred and the life they might have had… Back in Lancashire, worn down by work and the barbed comments of narrow-minded townsfolk, Winifred faces difficult choices in love and life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

A Hundred Tiny Threads, Judith Barrow’s prequel to her great saga about the Howarth family, is a brilliant read!

The characters are well-rounded and credible, the period detail first-class but unobtrusive, the prose masterful and compelling.

The central character is Winifred and she is so well-drawn we feel all her emotions as if they’re our own. She suffers under the spiteful control of her bitter mother but has the courage to make a stand for the things she believes are right. As in life, some of the people who impact on her are positive forces such as her father and grandmother, others are more destructive and malevolent. Winifred experiences hardship, tragedy, happiness and love and what happens to her matters because we know her so well.

The novel focuses on the decade that includes the fight for women to have the vote and some control over their own lives, the Second World War, the troubles in Ireland and the outbreak of Spanish Flu. These form the backdrop to the more personal story of a young woman and her struggles to cope with life in such tempestuous times.

I loved it and am surprised there aren’t more reviews here. I recommend you buy a copy now!

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The next authors with recent reviews are Jane Risdon and Christina Jones for their collaborative 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.

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A small selection of books by Christina Jones.

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To finish off today a recent review for The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen.

About The Gemini Connection.

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is. On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.

When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing. A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.

One of the recent reviews for the book

on September 1, 2018

This novel was fantastic. I’m not a big science fiction fan, but this one grabbed my attention and kept it through the whole story. (I was directing a play while reading this book, and I was often caught reading the book backstage before performances to see what would happen next.) I loved the complicated relationship between the twin brothers Simon and Evan and that the narrative goes back and forth between them AND back and forth in time. They also have a subconscious bond to each other that is explained well and essential to the plot. Simon is a pure genius. Evan is the athlete, and in this futuristic world, the parents value the brains over the brawn, which is an interesting twist. Another interesting twist to this book is the introduction of a LGBT plot line. It is shown in such a healthy, positive way, and I loved it.

I adored the fact that problem Evan had with the relationship when he discovers it was not that it was homosexual but that he didn’t like the guy because of a long-standing rivalry. There is a lot of emotional tension throughout the story, and the characters are fully formed. Evan has the coolest job. Through technology, he is able to go into the minds of people and eradicate their nightmares. This reminded me of an old 80s movie I loved called Dreamscape. I highly recommend this book for scifi and fantasy readers 12 and older.

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Also by Teri Polen

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Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that if you are looking for your next book to read you will find plenty to choose from these talented authors. Thanks Sally

There are approximately 500 books on display in the Cafe and Bookstore…and many authors have more than 7 releases that you can link to on Amazon to view and buy. So if you are stuck for your next book… then check them out..


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Paulette Mahurin, Annika Perry and Jan Sikes

The first author with recent reviews is Paulette Mahurin for  A Different Kind of Angel.

As with all Paulette’s books, profits from will go to rescue dogs from kill shelters.

About A Different Kind of Angel

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 recent reviews for the book  A Part of History We All Should Know About  on October 8, 2018

This book possessed me. It was a haunting read. Also, as I read it, it all seemed so familiar. I checked, and possibly I saw the movie “Ten Days in a Madhouse”. At any rate, I knew the story, but it had been shoved back into my memory until I read this book. And, even though Klara, Catherine, and Roy weren’t real, if I understood it correctly, they held some kind of memories for me, maybe some past life flashback. I hope not.

It reeked Twilight Zonish to me as well, as this was happening to women, two perfectly sane women being confined, their lives taken away from them, one by a politician. I also drew parallels with what is happening today in the news and women being taken seriously. What a gruesome thought of being shoved into insane asylums again.

This atrocity is akin to slavery, and we all should be aware of it.

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Also by Paulette Mahurin

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

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The next author with a recent review is Annika Perry for The Storyteller Speaks.

About The Story Teller Speaks

It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?

In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation. The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.

One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.

Open your hearts and minds as The Storyteller Speaks.

One of the recent reviews for the book
Sep 06, 2018 Janice Spina rated it Five Stars

The Storyteller Speaks is an electric collection of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry that makes for an entertaining read. These stories cover a wide range of situations such as love, murder, revenge, misadventures, injustices and grief.

The author bares her soul and grief over the loss of her Morfar and Mormor in the story, “Loss of a Patriarch.” She keeps the readers on edge and guessing until the end of some of the stories as in “Sofia.” She has an innate ability to use her words sparingly and dribble out little clues to keep the reader hanging on her every word until the end of the stories.

At the back of the book the author shares her inspiration for each story. It’s evident that she uses daily experiences in her life to create intriguing and fascinating tales.

This is a commendable beginning book for this talented author who will be one to watch for future books

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The book is reviewed by Janice Spina

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Please visit Amazon or Janice’s blog to view all her books for adults and children.


The next author with a recent review is for 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.

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

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

Michael Lynes 4.0 out of 5 stars A fun “Obsession” September 3, 2018

“Two Shorts and a Snort” by Jan Sikes is an interesting read. The writing is clean apart from a couple of typos and the stories are quite short. The Longest of the two shorts “Obsession” is my favorite of the collection. It is a worthy effort, a story constructed around the West Texas oil boom and its roughneck culture. Overall the story moves well – motivation is clear and the central conflict is well depicted. The feeling for the minor characters is a bit lacking but the overall resolution is good. I was less of a fan of the ‘moral’ at the conclusion as I’d rather that was left as an exercise for the reader to conclude rather than a sort od ‘Aesop’s Fables’ type of end.

Overall a good show – four stars. With better attention paid to character development – always a challenge in the short form – these stories could evolve into an excellent collection.;

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Also by Jan Sikes.

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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that this has given you some ideas for your next book… thanks Sally


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Judy Penz Sheluk, Robbie Cheadle and Elsie Hancy Eaton, Billy Ray Chitwood and Diana J. Febry

The first book with a recent review is one that I am currently reading and is the latest release of Judy Penz Sheluk – Past & Present – A Marketville Mystery.

About Past & Present

Sometimes the past reaches out to the present…

It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto?

Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations.

It’s not long before Callie and her new business partner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

This is the second in Judy Penz Sheluk’s Marketville Mystery series, set in a small town outside Toronto, and the series establishes a cozy, warm-hearted atmosphere. As in her earlier book, Skeletons in the Attic, the first-person narrator is Calamity (Callie) Barnstable.

Along for the adventure are her friends Chantelle Marchand and Arabella Carpenter, owner of a nearby antiques shop (the protagonist in Sheluk’s other series, the Glass Dolphin Mysteries).

In this book, Callie and Chantelle team up in a new business called Past & Present Investigations, in which they hope to use Callie’s research acumen and Chantelle’s genealogical knowledge to help people find missing relatives. Arabella will help if someone brings in an old object related to the missing person, and Callie’s retired librarian friend will do the archive searches.

Callie vacillates between loving the business idea and fearing they will find nothing but dead ends, but Sheluk has written nicely three-dimensional characters that are game to try. Callie also faces an ongoing personal challenge. It seems she cannot escape the hostility of her grandfather. He has never forgiven her mother for marrying Callie’s father who was, her grandfather felt, many ladder-rungs beneath her.

Before long, Arabella sends Callie a potential client. Louisa Frankow’s German grandmother, Anneliese, immigrated from England in 1952 on the ship Canberra. A mystery surrounds her grandmother’s death only a few years after that voyage. Family papers and photos and other clues to the grandmother’s past are few, but Callie locates an ephemera dealer with relevant artifacts from voyages of that era—much more glamorous than modern-day trans-Atlantic air travel, that’s for sure!

Callie and Chantelle capitalize on the growing online availability of genealogical databases, newspaper archives, and the like. You may be familiar with these possibilities, if you’ve done some family research of your own, and Sheluk makes the search for Anneliese’s past full of the thrill of discovering how the pieces fit. They learn that Anneliese was murdered, and her husband convicted of manslaughter (on very flimsy evidence, in Callie’s view). He’d been in prison only a few months when he was stabbed to death in the showers. If he was not guilty, as Callie suspects, the real murderer is responsible for two deaths.

Sheluk includes a couple of features that require a bit of a leap of faith. She relies on a long-ago coincidence, which, granted, might have been more likely in the early 1950s when Toronto’s population was a third its current-day size. And, she’s helped by a psychic who interprets objects, and while Callie remains skeptical of the validity of psychic phenomena, the psychic’s revelations help confirm her hypotheses about the crime.

The murder in this book is many years old, but it has consequences for Louisa and Callie too, which makes it significant even without splattering fresh blood all over the pages. It’s fun to watch Callie and her friends in action, and the book ends with the promise of another interesting case to come.

It’s a quick and satisfying read for those who like cozy mysteries or are fascinated by the long tail of the past.

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Also by Judy Penz Sheluk


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About Judy Penz Sheluk

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While the Bombs Fell which is written by Robbie Cheadle and her mother Elsie Hancy Eaton is also receiving new reviews.

About While the Bombs Fell

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes

One of the recent reviews for the book

While The Bombs Fell is a well written book about growing up in England during World War II. It’s brimming with great appreciation for the simple things in life that we take for granted these days, such as, eating bread and butter and getting a new dress. The accounts about families spending time together enjoying songs brought a smile to my face. It was impossible not to be in awe of the hard work and patriotism of the men, women and children so vividly depicted in this novel.

If you enjoy reminiscing or are interested in learning about growing up in Britain during World War II, then you’ll definitely enjoy While The Bombs Fell.

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Children’s books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

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The next author with a recent review is Billy Ray Chitwood for Hammer’s Holy Grail – A novel of Love and Redemption.

About Hammer’s Holy Grail

A star quarterback at Grand View University in Knoxville, Tennessee battles not only his gridiron foes but his Appalachian father’s anger toward his mother and sister. By a turn of fate and nature, Wesley Walton will meet a man ravaged by war and lost love, a man, through his hardships, has come to peace with his spirituality, a man who will become a surrogate soulmate and mentor to the confused young athlete.

This is a short novel but it is long on love, family, forgiveness, and football action – all blending to make this short read a ‘tour de force’ in its own right, with a twist at the end to tie the ribbon to this gift of a novel!

One of the recent reviews for the book

Billy Ray Chitwood has a wonderful way of telling a story. He writes as though he is sharing with a close friend. With humble casualness, he draws the reader into situations often hidden from sight and exposes a deeper story. His characters are familiar and their passions relatable. Through their vulnerabilities, we see our own. We experience domestic violence – as the hurt child, as the beaten spouse, and as the abuser. We experience love – driven, consuming and also tender. Hammer’s Holy Grail takes the reader on a journey through life’s challenges and life’s gifts.

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Here is a small selection of Billy Ray’s books


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Reviewer Gwen Plano is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

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The final author today with a recent review is Diana J. Febry the author of the Peter Hatherall mysteries and her recently published book Five…Twisted Truth

About Twisted Truth

It’s hard to defend yourself when you have memory lapses, and everyone thinks you are crazy.

Journalist, Megan Roach, is given a story by an old man in a nursing home that could make her famous. When her carefully constructed life starts to unravel, she is forced to confront her childhood demons and the possibility she could be a murderer.

DCI Peter Hatherall uncovers a conspiracy that confronts his own beliefs and goes far deeper than Megan Roach imagined. But can he believe anything she says?

One of the recent reviews for the book:

Twisted truth. What an apt title in our age of fake news and so much corruption, where truth is hard to come by or believe. Of course that title captured my attention but I’m also a frequent reader of this author, having read the earlier in the Powell series. And speaking of fake news, no surprise that one of the main characters is a reporter, Megan Roach, who works with her photographer, Rob. They are cast well; she with the frustration of working for a rag newspaper and wanting for her chance at fame and accolades and he a great counter-part to her character, a gay man who is just embarking on a relationship with a man in the closet (an elementary school teacher). Then factor into the cast of great characters is Peter Hatherall, his side-kick DI Fiona Williams (who he has an unrequited attraction for), his wife Sally, and their children (featured in the backdrop).

Into the storyline comes David Prater a wealthy and influential businessman, his mother, Miranda, a deceased wife, Carolyn (the victim who we learn about in hindsight who has a lover on the side who was also murdered with her), and mention of the rich and well connected deceased politician father. There are many other characters who enter for subplots that shine richness into the story: the newly married couple who ask Hatherall to check into another of their friends who have gone missing, a young runaway boy who stole a horse from a glue factory but this is no ordinary horse, and Lorna a friend who mysteriously pops up from Megan’s childhood (a childhood she doesn’t remember as she’s been adopted).

The story begins with Megan and Rob covering a story at a nursing home. There an elderly man on a wheelchair surreptitiously captures her attention. She mistakes him for a demented elderly, which couldn’t be further from the truth. He has a box he wants to give to a reporter. He can’t go to the police; it’s too dangerous—the police are in cahoots with the powerful involved. Megan is doubtful about its contents until later when she opens it and see evidence that points to a murder; of David Prater’s wife and lover. As the story unfolds the reader comes to learn that Carolyn Prater knew her life was endangered. She wanted to leave her husband who she claims has secrets.

The storyline’s intensity increases when Megan asks a police officer friend of hers to send her the file on the auto accident that killed Carolyn and others. It’s missing. Been deleted or sideswiped and she is told to leave it alone. Into the story factors the earlier mentioned boy on the horse who Hatherall and Fiona are now looking for. This leads them to David Prater, who takes an interest in working with the boy; training him for races as news has spread that the boy on bareback is jumping hedges and fences and showing great show promise. While on that case Hatherall catches wind that a reporter has asked about Prater’s wife’s missing file. When his interest is piqued, he enquires to some locals to discover that David and Carolyn had a discreetly open relationship. And another juicy tidbit is it’s questionable that their sons are his.

As the storyline comes together the reader goes beyond questioning if Carolyn and others in the car were murdered to who did it? No spoilers here. This is a tightly-written, well-crafted, detailed story rich in a main theme and subplots. The relationship between Hatherall and Fiona is witty and well dialogued, which has always been a treat in reading this author. Febry knows how to weave a mysterious yarn that not only captures and holds attention but is highly entertaining. 

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The other books in the DCI Peter Hatherall series

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Thank you for visiting today and I hope you will head over and check these authors and their books out further. thanks Sally.