Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – January 12th- 18th 2020


Welcome to this week’s posts on Smorgasbord that you might have missed.

I hope you have had a good week… I am in housekeeping mode both on and offline. At the moment the Cafe and Bookstore is in the middle of a facelift with the addition of both UK and US Amazon selling pages, Goodreads where the author has a page, and their website or blog. It is a work in progress so don’t worry if your entry does not reflect this change yet, it will soon.

You can help me out if you are an author on the shelves by letting me know in advance that you have a new book being released. That helps me keep your entry up to date but also ensures that you receive a new book promotion when your book is available or is on pre-order offer.

I do go through every week to check for recent reviews but with 150 authors it is easy to miss one. To keep the cafe at a manageable size, authors listed have reviews within the last six months.

A few statistics about the Cafe and Bookstore.

  • In 2019 there were 130 Cafe Updates including the summer features and Christmas book fair and 125 New book Promotions
  • The top viewed (220) New Book on the Shelves was A Bit About Britain’s History by Mike Biles
  • The average new book on the shelves promotion has over 100 views on the blog, multi-retweets on Twitter and shares on Facebook.
  • It is a free book promotion and all it costs is a little bit of your time, letting me know and responding to comments. Judging from comments, I am confident that the posts do result, in not only effective exposure for your books but also sales and more reviews.

If you are not already an author in the Cafe and Bookstore you can find all the details at this link: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore FREE Author promotion

As to my offline decluttering… with the likelihood of a move and alleged downsizing this year, I am working through my depleted but still over subscribed clothes stash. Despite my continued weight loss, I doubt that the silver lame 1970s disco trousers that I have clung on to will see the light of day (or glitter ball) again… despite the pain it will cost me it is time to send to the charity shop and hope that some other young person might enjoy taking them for a twirl… along with the last of my stilettos….(I need a hoist to keep me upright).  Still I have my glory days to remember… and I still take to the kitchen floor when the mood takes me….

Anyway.. keep dancing

And as always my thanks to the wonderful team who keep coming up with amazing posts and to you for dropping in to read them.

A wonderful introduction to the new column from D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies who explores the Realms of Relationships. She will be on her winter retreat for February but will be back in March. In this column Debby explores our communication skills both verbal and behavioural and strategies for resolving conflict.

D. G. Kaye – Exploring the Realms of Relationships

Welcome to a new series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful A – Z of Food and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of wonderful ingredients across the food groups, spices and herbs.

Caroly Taylor’s A – Z of Food – Almonds, Arrowroot, Aubergines and Avocado

This week on the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills   the prompt was a husband carrying his wife…

Carrot Ranch – A Dream Home by Sally Cronin

Two more stories from this collection…

Francis – Forging New Bonds by Sally Cronin

George – Playing Away from Home

This week the prompt for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 160 the prompt is ‘Calm and Present’… I have chosen the synonyms ‘Serene and Deliver’ for my Etheree.

Etheree – On the Wind by Sally Cronin

Movie Hits – Mrs Robinson – The Graduate by Simon & Garfunkel

My review for The Hat by C.S. Boyack

My thanks to Mark Bierman for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award

To start the new series, author Jacqui Murray who shares the wonderfully descriptive simile…very useful for all writers.

51 Great Similes to Spark Imagination from Jacqui Murray

#Canada, #Pottery and #Eagles by Darlene Foster

#Memoir Byte – Reminiscences of the 70s and 80s Fun and Fearless by D.G. Kaye

Scifi – The Magisters Book One by Jack Eason

Acts of Convenience by Alex Craigie

Vandana Bhasin, Smitha Vishwanath, Mae Clair, Miriam Hurdle

#Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Fantasy Fiona Tarr, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach

#SunshineBlogger Mark Bierman, #ReadingAloud Jennie Fitzkee, #IndieShowcase Richard Dee

#Karma D.G. Kaye, #Interview Patricia Furstenberg, #Afghanistan Mary Smith

#Guest Marcia Meara with Joan Hall, #Bookclub Amy Reade, #Q&A D.G. Kaye, #Review by Michelle Clements James

#Children’sfears Becky Ross Michael, #Nonverbal Communication Jim Borden, #Familyhistory Liz Gauffreau

#Publishing 2020 Nicholas Rossis, #Freebook Olga Nunez Miret, #Flash Charli Mills Carrot Ranch

In part two I share the best sources for vitamins C to K2 to ensure your shopping list reflects what your body needs to be healthy.

Shopping List by Nutrient part two Vitamin C to K2

More funnies from Debby and a joke from Sally’s Archives

Even more funnies from Debby Gies and Sally

Thank you for dropping in today and during the week. Your support is very much appreciated. I hope you have enjoyed the posts you might have missed and look forward to your feedback. See you next week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Review by Sally Cronin- #Fantasy – The Hat by C.S. Boyack


One of the books that I enjoyed over the holidays was the novella The Hat from C.S. Boyack… and here is my review.

About the book

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

My review for The Hat.

What a fun escape from the gloom and doom of the world’s woes. I remember trying on a variety of wigs at a costume shop once and as I looked in the mirror I was met with so many different versions of myself… In Lizzie’s case, it is a hat that opens up possibilities and talents that she had no idea existed.

With the very serious baby kidnapping case to solve, initially the hat assumes control encouraging its sceptical partner into action. But, soon Lizzie begins to showcase her own ingenuity and the two of them are unstoppable.

When your life is not particularly fulfilling and you have suffered tough times, it is hard to put your trust in anyone, let alone an antique, inanimate object who tells tall stories about your long dead family members. But, as the story evolves, it is clear that there is a new crime fighting duo in town and they are entertaining as well as effective.

I recommend The Hat as an escape from reality with a well written plot, wit, great characters, including the versatile hat, and the promise of more to come. I am looking forward to Viral Blues the second book in the series.

Read the reviews and buy The Hat: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A small selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

 Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

AndAmazon UK

Read more reviews and follow C.S. Boyack:  Goodreads

About C.S. Boyack.

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Connect with Craig.

Blog: Cold Hand Boyack
Twitter: @Virgilante
Facebook: Lisa Burton

Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you have enjoyed my review enough to head over and buy and read the book yourself.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 5th – 11th January 2020 – Count Basie, Phosphorus, Reviews, New Books, Bloggers and Funnies.


Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed during the week here on Smorgasbord.

It seems to take longer each year to get back to normal after the holidays. Almost the middle of January and at least spring always appears to be around the corner once we get into this part of the year. Nothing startling happening around the house as we are waiting for dry weather to get in stones for drainage and topsoil to finish the piece where the new fence has been erected. We have adopted a much more relaxed approach to these jobs now, as nothing we do or say is going to make the weather more amenable to our needs!

Never mind, there is plenty of warmth and friendship online to enjoy and we could have it a great deal worse. As the fires in Australia continue, we can only be grateful for days of rain and the ability to live safely. The devastation and loss of life and wildlife is something that will take decades to fully recover from and it must be a huge worry for relatives of families in the areas under attack.

As always my thanks to the regular contributors and to you for dropping in and supporting us with your comments and sharing of posts.

This week William shares the music of the legendary Count Basie – 1904 – 1984

William Price King with Count Basie

In the final post of this series Carol Taylor and I team up to share the symptoms of a deficiency of Phosphorus and the foods you need to include in your diet regularly.

This week cooking from scratch to prevent a deficiency of phosphorus

This month Silvia Todesco shows us how to make authentic pesto sauce, and essential ingredient in pasta sauces.

Pesto alla Genovese sauce, ten tricks for the best result

What I wish I knew then by Pete Springer

My review for Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney

My review #Mystery Watching Glass Shatter by James M. Cudney

Two more stories from this collection…

Eric – Just Making Do

Fionnuala The Swan

For the first Tuesday in the month for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 159 it is poet’s choice.  I have selected a Butterfly Cinquain…

Butterfly Cinquain – Friendship

Unarranged Marriage by Ritu Bhathal on pre-order February 9th.

Beck ‘n’ Call Lands of Exile Book 2 by Stuart France and Sue Vincent

The Old Gilt Clock by Paulette Mahurin

Thriller Carol Balawyder, Mystery Diana J. Febry, Afghanistan Patricia Furstenberg

Poetry Lynda McKinney Lambert, Thriller Don Massenzio, Prehistory Jacqui Murray

Book Review Michelle Clements James, Book Launch Tips Mary Smith, Climate Change Carol Taylor

Movie Review D.G. Kaye, Funnies The Story Reading Ape, Measurements Beetley Pete

Recipes Amy Reade, Tarot Jan Sikes, Interview Jane Risdon

Carol Taylor – Whimsical Wednesdays – Robbie Cheadle Book review, Marcia Meara with a marketing opportunity

Aurora Jean Alexander – Books, Inspiration Charli Mills, Japanese Poetry Colleen Chesebro

Here is part one of an alternative shopping list that your body might write if it was capable. It does try to tell you that it is missing elements that it needs which is when you are sick. This list contains the top sources for the nutrients our bodies need to be healthy.

Shopping List by Nutrient – Vitamins A- B

More funnies from Debby and a joke from Sally’s Archives

More funnies and an invitation to join in the fun

Thank you for all your support and wishing you a great week ahead. Look forward to seeing you here again.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Review – #Family #Mystery – Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney


The first book review for the year is for the family drama Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney. Having enjoyed the books in the Braxton Campus Series, I was looking forward to reading the first of the author’s books, and was not disappointed.

About the book

After 40 years of marriage, Olivia’s husband unexpectedly passes away. But when Ben’s will reveals a life-altering secret, she suffers a blow no widow should ever experience.

Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers.

Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change their family, and discovers that each of them has been harboring a painful secret, just like their father. But will the secrets destroy their family, or bring them closer together?

My review for the book.

Another excellent read from author James J. Cudney.

For anyone coming from a large sized family this book will only confirm that brothers and sisters, and sometimes our parents, don’t share everything with us as they tend to operate on a need to know basis. Especially as we don’t necessarily reveal every side to our nature when it might go against other people’s expectations of us, real or imagined.

There are five brothers all grieving the untimely death of their father, all with different emotions about their connection to him and also their mother Olivia. On the surface Olivia is elegant with a perfect home and life laid out meticulously, leaving her sons with a sense of coolness and detachment, despite her own way of showing her love for them. This has forced some of them to keep secrets from her in case of upsetting the status quo. From what we hear about their father Ben, he was much more attuned to the events in their lives even if he might not have acknowledged their choices whilst alive.

Whilst dealing with her own grief at the loss of the love of her life, Olivia now is faced with a dilemma about how she handles the secret she has now been made aware of. Which one of her sons is not the one she gave birth to? And how can she forgive her husband Ben for his actions and for leaving her to clear up the mystery on her own. Sensibly she decides to spend time with all of her sons before reaching a decision, and in doing so uncovers other truths she was unaware of, some of which are hurtful and some devastating.

For me Olivia is well crafted central and complex character, with what appears to be a coldness, but which is really a facade hiding a doubts about her abilities of a mother and her perceptions of how she is regarded by the society she has grown up within. Throughout the story we watch as she dismantles this facade to reveal the warmer and more genuine person beneath.

We also get to know each of the sons in turn discovering their secrets and their misconceptions about how they will be received. It shows what most of us know, that much of the time we misjudge how others are going to react, projecting our fear onto them. Usually we find they already know and have accepted the situation without judgement.

There is much miscommunication to sort out and James Cudney does this very well, with understanding and compassion as well as a realistic view about family life and relationships. There is tragedy ahead but that too brings another element to the story that strengthens the bonds between the brothers and their mother.

This process is facilitated by another well developed character, Olivia’s sister Diane, childless and recently divorced, and who is an impartial, loving, non-judgemental sounding board for both her sister and her nephews as they re-establish their connection to each other and mysteries are revealed.

I came away from reading the story with a renewed sense of appreciation of my own family, as I realised how easy it is as we grow older to detach ourselves from the lives of those close to us, only sharing what we think they might want to hear, instead of who we really are.

I recommend Watching Glass Shatter to anyone who enjoys well written family sagas with the mystery at the heart of the story, skillfully kept hidden until the last pages.

There are over 150 excellent reviews for the book: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by James J. Cudney

Discover more about James J. Cudney – read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow James: Goodreads

About James J. Cudney

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com

What do I do outside of writing: I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

Connect to James via his blog This is my Truth Now

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsMyTruthNow/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the review and will head over to discover more about James J. Cudney and his books. Thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – More Recommended Books by Sally Cronin


I wanted to share more of the books that I have read and reviewed over the last couple of years as they are amazing books that deserve another shout out. I know that most of you have groaning TBR’s but I have told mine ‘to get over it and get on with it’.

Some of my reviews went straight to Goodreads and Amazon, or were part of a Cafe Update prior to 2017… but you can find all my reviews on Goodreads

Historic Adventure – Born in a Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray

Fantasy: The Glowing Pigs by Teagan Geneviene

Psychological Thriller – Lies by T.M. Logan

Memoir: On Leopard’s Rock by Wilbur Smith

Paranormal thriller – The Contract by John W. Howell and Gwen Plano

Contemporary Fiction – Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton

Memoir – Twenty Years After ‘I Do’ by D.G. Kaye

Post Apocalyptic – Project Renova Book Three UK2 by Terry Tyler

Post Apocalyptic – Project Renova Book Two Lindisfarne by Terry Tyler

Thriller – Circumstances of Childhood by John W. Howell.

Mary Tudor Princess by Tony Riches

#Memoir – Words We Carry by D.G. Kaye

Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes

Owen – Book One The Tudor Trilogy by Tony Riches

One Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow

Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees Story and Cookbook by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Look the Other Way by Kristina Stanley

Yellow Hair by Andrew Joyce

No More Mulberries by Mary Smith

Some of the books I reviewed were part of the Cafe and Bookstore updates or were before 2017 but if you go to Goodreads you will find a complete list of books and their reviews… I hope these have given your TBR’s something to think about….thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 22nd – 28th December – Christmas Music, Food, Short stories and Recommended Books 2019


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed whilst enjoying your Christmas with family and friends.. a much more important priority than reading blog posts. I hope you had an amazing time and are now looking forward to New Year’s Eve and 2020.

According to some astrologists, 2020 is going to be a fabulous year so buckle up.

In the coming week although there will be more recommended books that I have read and reviewed.. A final post in the Cook from Scratch series on the subject of Phosphorus, and news of Carol Taylor’s upcoming series in 2020.

There will also be changes to Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore.. in the name to start with as it will now become Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore in line with the other series on the blog.

As always the aim is to support your own book marketing strategies, and for new authors who do not have a presence on a blog or any social media, I do have my FREE pdf which now includes setting up Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and also a blog for accessibility and readability. It does not have to be complex and have all the bells and whistles as Keeping it Simple is just as effective. Just email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com for a copy.

There will be some Cafe updates during the week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves and here will also be a new series of Posts from Your Archives and more about that on New Year’s Day.. and more stories from What’s in a Name series every day.

As always my thanks to the regular contributors and this week William Price King and D.G.Kaye have done a wonderful joy in keeping us entertained. Also to those who have submitted festive stories and this week two more from Audrey Driscoll and Eric Lennick.

Now for the posts from this week you might have missed.

William Price King shares more Christmas Music with us…

Today Christ is Born and There is No Rose Behold the Star

The Christmas Day post with a video that should leave you smiling

Merry Christmas and Afternoon Video

I have read and reviewed 26 books in 2019 and wanted to share them with you.. Part two coming up this week with my recommended books from 2018/2017 since they are fabulous books that I hope you will enjoy reading.

My recommended books Part One – 2019

 

And my last review of 2019 Blackthorn by Terry Tyler.

My review for Blackthorn by Terry Tyler

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing the stories from A- Z from my collection What’s in a Name.

Alexander Defender of Men

Anne Favour and Grace

Beatrix – Behind the Mask

Brian the Birthright

Audrey Driscoll shares two festive excerpts from her action and adventure novel  Book 4 of the Herbert West Series – Hunting the Phoenix.

Winter Solstice in the House of the Phoenix by Audrey Driscoll

Eric Lennick, the other half of the writing Duo with his wife Joy Lennick shares a short story with a twist…

Jemima’s Christmas Stocking by Eric Lennick

New book on the shelves

Warning Signs, a novel about obsession by Carol Balawyder

Author updates with recent reviews.

#Doglovers Sue Vincent, #Fantasy Vashti Quiroz-Vega,#Novella Jan Sikes

#mystery James J. Cudney, #Memoir Brigid P. Gallagher, #Children’s Annika Perry, #Romance Harmony Kent

#Warromance Marina Osipova, #Poetry Frank Prem, Children’s Pamela S. Wight

#Interview D.G. Kaye and Darlene Foster, #Interview Richard Dee with Emily Moore #Scams by Dan Alatorre and Christoph Fischer.

More funnies from D.G. Kaye and a festive poem from Sally.

Even more funnies from Debby Gies and Sally

Thank you very much for dropping in during the week and today and wishing you Happy New Year.. hope to see you soon. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – My recommended books for 2019.


It has been an amazing year for books and I only wish I had read more. However, one of my projects for 2020 is to set aside more time to appreciate the work of other authors.

These are the books that I have enjoyed and reviewed over the last twelve months and I hope that you will head over and check out the reviews and add them to your own reading list for 2020.

I have many more on my TBR that I am going to be working on over the holidays and I aim to write a weekly review in 2020.

If you click on the links they will take you to my review and buy links for the books.. thanks Sally

Post Apocalyptic – Blackthorn by Terry Tyler

Doggerel: Life with a Small Dog by Sue Vincent

A Southern Season Stories from a Front Porch Swing

Romance by Jacquie Biggar Skating on Thin Ice

Vikings: Taken (The Great Heathen Army series Book 1 by Ceri Bladen

Mistaken Identity by James J. Cudney

Thriller – Passport to Death by Yigal Zur

Poetry – The New Asylum by Frank Prem

History: A Bit About Britain by Mike Biles

Afghanistan: Silent Heroes by Patricia Furstenberg

Children’s Space Dust by Eloise de Sousa

Historic Adventure – Quest for Home by Jacqui Murray

Mystery – Braxton Campus Mysteries 3 – Flower Power Trip by James J. Cudney

Contemporary Fiction – The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie

Thriller – The Perfect Assassin by Ward Larson

History: Mahoney by Andrew Joyce

Thriller: Desolation Bluff by Toni Pike

Mystery – Braxton Campus Mysteries 2 – Broken Heart Attack by James J. Cudney

Fantasy: Swimming for Profit and Pleasure – Jim Webster

Post Apocalyptic – Hope by Terry Tyler

Poetry: Devil in the Wind by Frank Prem

Anthology: Understanding compiled by Stevie Turner

Historic Adventure – Survival of the Fittest by Jacqui Murray

Poetry: Small Town Kid by Frank Prem

Short Stories More Glimpses by Hugh W. Roberts

Mystery – Braxton Campus Mysteries 1 -Academic Curveball by James J. Cudney

Fantasy; The Beast Within – Mended Souls Book two by Jacquie Biggar

Fairies Myths and Magic by Colleen M. Chesebro

I hope you will explore my reviews for these books further and enjoy them as much as I did.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – My review for Blackthorn by Terry Tyler


As a fan of Terry Tyler’s Project Renova series and follow on novels, I was looking forward to Blackthorn set 115 years after the virus wiped out most of humanity. And I was not disappointed.

About the book

The UK, year 2139.

One hundred and fifteen years ago, a mysterious virus wiped out ninety-five per cent of humanity.

Blackthorn, the largest settlement in England, rose from the ashes of the devastated old world. It is a troubled city, where the workers live in crude shacks, and make do with the worst of everything.

It is a city of violent divisions, crime, and an over-populated jail block, until a charismatic traveller has a miraculous vision, and promises to bring hope back to the people’s lives.

Blackthorn falls under Ryder Swift’s spell, and the most devoted of all is the governor’s loyal servant, Lieutenant August Hemsley.

Twenty-one-year-old Evie has lived her whole life in the shacks. She and disillusioned guard Byron Lewis are two of a minority who have doubts about Ryder’s message. Can they stand against the beliefs of an entire city?

My review for Blackthorn Five Stars

I have read all the books in the Project Renova Series that follow the survivors of a virus that wipes out most of the population of the UK. Blackthorn has risen from the ashes and promises sanctuary in return for hard labour and obedience.

Characters in this book set  a hundred and fifteen years after the outbreak, carry familiar names to those we have met before in previous books, and some bear the traits of their ancestors, occupying positions of power, often by manipulation and violence such as the governor Wolf Thorn. This familiarity extends to include the narrators of the book, loyal lieutenant to the governor August Hemsley, Evie from the poverty ridden shacks, and Byron Lewis one of the colony’s guards.

Despite harsh rules and their enforcement, Blackthorn is a troubled colony and Wolf Thorn is looking for resolution. This miraculously appears when charismatic traveler Ryder Swift brings the promise of redemption and faith to the citizens, from the humble shacks of the disillusioned and impoverished workers, right into the governor’s mansion.

Very few can deny the fire and passion that this golden-haired orator brings to the people, and with only a few dissenters, massive changes begin to take place in the dynamics of the colony. Some of which hide an evil and deceit that only a handful begin to glimpse behind the fanfare.

As with all Terry Tyler’s books, the characters are believable, even when they are not likeable.The world that they live in is vividly portrayed and you are invited to utilise all your senses to appreciate the living conditions from Stinky Bottom to the relative luxury of the shacks to the dank prison blocks.

This post apocalyptic world is not a comfortable one to inhabit, whether behind the walls of Blackthorn, or out in the small settlements struggling to survive nature and predatory gangs. You might grow enough food, but there is always someone coming along who is willing to use violence to take it from you. This encourages people to put up with the bare existence in the confines of Blackthorn, in return for its relative safety.  To turn a blind eye to the dark nature of those in charge, and to accept without question the miracle that is being offered to them of a brighter future.

Can those with doubts change the direction that this reformation is taking? Or will they disappear as so many have before them?

When I have finished a book I like to think about what I have taken away from the story. Clearly we live in a world today that seems often to have a very thin veneer of civilisation, but the reality is that we do have structure, most of us have access to education and health care,and live in safety. Billions of us are privileged and have more than enough for our needs, and yet there is always that drive to have more.

But all it takes is one virus!

You can try to imagine what it would be like to survive in a world where all that we possess and love has been stripped away, or you can read Blackthorn and the other Project Renova stories and get a disturbingly believable look at the future. #Recommended

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

and: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And : Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Terry Tyler: Goodreads

About Terry Tyler

Terry Tyler is the author of twenty books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Blackthorn’, set in a post apocalyptic England, 115 years in the future. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history (particularly 14th-17th century), and sociological/cultural/anthropological stuff, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix, autumn and winter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.

Connect to Terry Tyler

Blog: https://terrytyler59.blogspot.ie/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerryTyler4

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you will enjoy reading Terry’s books as much as I have. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Verse – Doggerel: Life with the small dog by Sue Vincent #Doglovers


Delighted to share my review for this lovely book of verse that so brilliantly reveals more about a small black dog with a massive heart. From the writing team of Sue Vincent and Ani a perfect gift for dog lovers. Doggerel: Life with the Small Dog

About Doggerel.

The relationship between Ani, the inimitable Small Dog and her two-legs, first came to light in ‘Notes from a Small Dog: Four Legs on Two’. Their poetic adventures continued in ‘Laughter Lines: Life from the Tail End’. In this new collection of poems, their daily life together takes centre stage. From the perfidy of humans who insist on bathing dogs, to the unpunctuality of writers at mealtimes, the relationship between two legs and four is explored in verse. The Small Dog reveals her continuing fascination with chicken, tennis balls and the compulsion to re-write Shakespeare, while exposing her two legs’ misdemeanours to the world.

My review for Doggerel: Life with the small dog

I opened this charming little book whilst waiting for the power to come back on following an outage and became so enchanted that I read in one sitting; even after the electricity was restored!

I am a long time fan of Ani, the small black dog and her observations on life, from bath time (not her favourite activity) to cows and lost yellow balls. She also reflects on her two-legged human and her behaviour, and clearly has a great deal of empathy and compassion for her shortcomings. Usually these involve a tardiness when serving dinner, and being rather stingy with treats. What does come across very clearly is that their match is one made in heaven.

If you currently have a four legged companion or have in the past, you will recognise the situations and the shenanigans that make this particular relationship so entertaining and rewarding.

A lovely reminder of that special bond we have with our pets and I can recommend that you buy for any other dog lovers in the family too.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon UK

and: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Sue Vincent

Read the reviews and buy the books from the following links.

 UKUSAFranceGermany

And you can find more reviews and follow Sue: Goodreads

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer currently living in the south of England, largely due to an unfortunate incident with a map, a pin and a blindfold. Raised in a spiritually eclectic family she has always had an unorthodox view on life, particularly the inner life, which is often reflected in her writing, poetry and paintings.

She maintains a popular blog, S.C. Vincent and is currently owned by a small dog who also blogs and whose own book, “Notes from a Small Dog,” is a bid to raise funds to buy an automatic tennis ball launcher.

Sue lived in France for several years, sharing a Bohemian lifestyle and writing songs before returning to England where the youngest of her two sons was born. She began writing and teaching online several years ago, and was invited to collaborate with Dr G Michael Vasey on their book, “The Mystical Hexagram: The Seven Inner Stars of Power” (Datura Press).

Since then she has published a number of books, beginning with “Sword of Destiny”, a magical tale set in the ancient landscape of Yorkshire. Her retelling of the Egyptian myths, “The Osiriad”, came shortly afterwards along with the Triad of Albion – “The Initiate”, “Heart of Albion” and “Giants Dance” in collaboration with Stuart France. These books tell a factual tale in a fictional manner, that is at once a journey into the landscape, myth and iconography of Albion and the story of a growing and rather oddball friendship.

France and Vincent  are now working on the last of the three books in the Doomsday series.

Sue, along with Steve Tanham and Stuart France, is a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, an international modern Mystery School that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being. The Silent Eye

Connect to Sue

Blog: S.C. Vincent
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SCVincent
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/svincent.echo

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you will be taking home a small black dog courtesy of Sue Vincent.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up- 18th – 24th November – Storms, Malta, Thanksgiving Menu and Tributes, and Christmas Book Fair.


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

For most of us in the Northern Hemisphere it has been a stormy week with flooding, high winds and lashing rain… and political highs and lows too!. I watched as four hardy workmen dug holes in a hail storm for our new fence posts, and had my wish for a swimming pool on the doorstep fulfilled. I even unearthed some of my dog walking gear from the depths of the wardrobe and was thankful that other shoppers in Tesco looked like they were heading out on an Antarctic expedition too.

As an antidote to the continuous downpour, I spent several days researching our destination for our 40th wedding anniversary next year. A month or two earlier than the actual date to ensure good weather, we are heading to Malta. I can recommend Oliver’s Travel who made the process very straightforward and were very responsive at every step.

My father was Commanding Officer of  Royal Naval WT station Rinella in Malta from 1959 to 1961 and whilst I have very happy memories of our time there being age 6 to 8 years old, my two sisters were 16 and 17 years old and remember a great deal more than I do. They will be joining us for a week and hopefully despite the amazing changes to Malta, we can still find some of their old haunts. We have an amazing villa booked, and as the wind and rain lash the windows, we do at least have some sunshine to look forward too. Hopefully after a good summer here to prime the tan.

We went to the movies yesterday, and despite being a wet Saturday afternoon, we and one other couple were the only occupants. The film was in its second week and the weather was atrocious and I suppose people had been out shopping all day. I do wonder how multiplexes will manage as more and more film streaming services come online with annual subscriptions. Even with a senior ticket you are still looking for £20 for two, multiply that by a cinema visit once a month and you would be able to stream a great many movies for a great deal less per year.

Anyway.. being into action films, we enjoyed 21 Bridges – a police drama set in Manhattan – great action, script, acting and production. If you are into that kind of film we can highly recommend.

Here is the official trailer for the movie..courtesy of Movieclips Trailers

It is Thanksgiving for many of you this week and in the spirit of being grateful, I have a few posts this week paying tribute to four of the contributors during the year who continue to create new content to entertain, inform and inspire you…

In this post today I am featuring my friend D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies who has been a supportive influence since I began the blog and who writes the Travel Column and co-presents the Laughter Lines and Afternoon Video.

A time to be thankful for friends and collatorators – D.G. Kaye

On Tuesday I am featuring William Price King in concert, celebrating over five years of the Music Column, on Wednesday a spotlight on Carol Taylor our food columnist but also an advocate for the environment, health and Thailand. And on Thursday the lovely Annette Rochelle Aben who for the last year has been introducing us to our universal energy with her numerology column… A talented poet and broadcaster, Annette is a wonderful talent.

I little bit earlier than last year, but with Thanksgiving not until 28th of November, I thought those of you having Turkey for that celebration might enjoy some of the dishes Carol Taylor created for this menu. Traditional Christmas Menu (and some ideas for Thanksgiving)

Carol Taylor’s Thanksgiving/Christmas Traditional Menu

I have saved up this repeat of Jessica Norrie’s Literary Column  to share as we move into the gift buying season… these books are timeless and the recommendations are never out of date. Picking the right book for the person you are buying for is an art. Jessica shares the books that she has gifted her daughter….

Christmas Book Gifts from Jessica Norrie

This week Mike Biles takes us to Oxford and shares a pint or two with literary greats who have frequented the ancient pubs of the city….How often do you walk into a pub mentally dwelling on things like wizards and talking lions? Be honest now. If you need help with this, try stepping over the threshold of Oxford’s Eagle and Child, because it was a favourite watering-hole of close friends JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.

Eagle, Child, pub, Oxford, Tolkien, Lewis

Aslan and Gandalf Go for a Pint

Another one of my favourite movies with stunning soundtrack.. Gladiator.

Music from the Movies – Gladiator – Now We Are Free

Pneumonia – Appalling statistics – Six children per hour hospitalised in the UK

I was staggered and shocked when I read this headline . I cannot believe that in this day and age, in a country with access to one of the finest medical systems in the world, that people are so crass as to ignore the dangers to their children by avoiding vaccinations.

Shocking statistics on children with pneumonia in UK

Mirror Cinquain – Westward by Sally Cronin in response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 154

We wait
within the cave;
looking towards the east.
The sun rises to guide the way
westward.
We leave,
driven to pass on precious genes,
of strength and stamina,
humans will need
to thrive.

Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 154 – Mirror Cinquain – Westward

This week’s prompt for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills  is Romance... in all its glory… It is the glue that keeps a relationship strong along with other elements such as laughter and respect. And your heart can flutter at any age when you receive a romantic gesture, grand or as brief as a touch of a hand on your cheek.

Flash Fiction – Romantic Gestures

My review for Vikings – Taken (The Great Heathen Army Book 1)

In the first part of the Sewing Circle, a group of elderly women are faced with a violent and devastating event.

Flights of Fancy – The Sewing Circle Part One.

Justice is on the agenda for the Sewing Circle and with a little outside help, they are determined to achieve it.

Flights of Fancy – The Sewing Circle – Part Two

Delighted to welcome author and book reviewer Kevin Cooper as a guest to talk about book reviews and I am sure you will find it very helpful as I did.

Kevin Cooper on Book Reviews

New book on the shelves

Doggerel – Life with a Small Dog by Sue Vincent

Examining Kitchen Cupboards by Stevie Turner

The Secret Life of Humans by Jo Robinson

Oh Baubles Romance Novella by Harmony Kent

Author updates and reviews

Anita Dawes, Chuck Jackson, Sharon Marchisello and Olga Nunez Miret

Denise O’Hagan, Christa Polkinhorn, Miriam Hurdle, Iain Kelly, Harmony Kent

Vashti Quiroz Vega, Mary Smith, Teri Polen, Karen Ingalls, Patty Fletcher

Jan Sikes, Janice Spina, D.Wallace Peach, Terri Webster Schrandt

Laura M. Baird, Lizzie Chantree, Colleen M. Chesebro, S.A. Harris

Mary Smith Afghan Adventure, WIP Jacqui Murray, Marketing Nicholas Rossis

25 books Patricia Furstenberg, 99p/99c Bette A. Stevens, Funnies Story Reading Ape

Christmas Carol Taylor, Dogsitting Debbie ‘The Dog Lady’, Blueberry Pie Dolly Aizenman

Crystals M.J. Mallon, Indies showcase Richard Dee, Blog comments Hugh W. Roberts

Free books James J. Cudney, Spotlight Valentina Cirasola with Robbie Cheadle, Hanging Curtains Beetley Pete

More fun and laughter from Debby and Sally

Even more fun from Debby and Sally

 

Thank you very much for dropping in during the week and today, and I hope you will join me again next week.. thanks Sally.